From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Susan Eliza

(born: 1854  -  died: 1868) 

Susan Eliza, a 13 year-old, was the last African American female child hanged in Kentucky: on February 7, 1868, she was hanged behind the New Castle, KY, courthouse for the murder of a white child who had been left in her care. [Her name is also given as Eliza in some newspaper articles.] Susan's body was allowed to hang for 20 minutes before she was pronounced dead. The rope used to hang her was cut up and the pieces were distributed amongst the spectators who had come to witness the hanging. Susan had been scheduled to hang in December 1867, but it was delayed after an appeal was made for a new trial. The appeal was denied. The child Susan killed was the three year old son of the Graves Family. She had stoned the child to death and hid his body. For more see Female hangings 1632-1900;  "Execution of a Negro girl for the murder of a white child," New York Times, 02/14/1868, p. 6; and "Execution of a Colored girl in Kentucky," The Daily News and Herald, 02/22/1868, issue 44, col B.

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NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)
NKAA Source: The Daily news and herald (newspaper)

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“Susan Eliza,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:20