Martin Foy's End (1893)







The Fate of the Man Who Killed Henrietta Wilson –
Cool and Collected in the Death Chamber
Death Came Quickly and Silently

 Martin Foy, Jr., who on the eve of May 13, 1892, shot and killed Henrietta Wilson, a notorious woman in Saratoga Springs, died in the electric chair at Clinton prison yesterday morning.  Since committing the crime Foy has been the principal in numerous sensations, and has gained more newspaper notoriety than any other criminal in the state.  Yesterday electrocution brought to an end a career that was fraught with little good, and much that was otherwise.


At 11:30 o’clock yesterday Warden Thayer’s private secretary, E.M. Coughlin, announced to the witnesses who were in waiting at the Adirondack Hotel, that all was in readiness and the following witnesses filed into the death chamber: [21 names omitted].


Upon arrival everything was found in readiness.  Near the chair stood Dr. J.B. Ransom, the prison physician, and his assistants, Drs. Madden of Plattsburgh, Bontecue of Troy and Ledlie of Saratoga.  State Electrician Davis tested the apparatus with a bank of lamps across the arm of the chair.  Everything being found satisfactory Warden Thayer and Deputy McKenna started for the prisoner.  They re-entered the death chamber at 11:47:10.  Behind them was Father Belanger and the condemned man, who bore in his hands a crucifix upon which he gazed intently.  Foy’s face was pale, with a resigned expression upon his countenance.  He walked to the chair in a most natural manner seemingly without concern, but with an utter lack of the bravado, which has characterized his career.  Reaching the chair there was a momentary pause, after which Foy turned quickly around and seated himself.  The electrodes were placed upon his head and right leg and all was ready  for the signal for the current which was to launch the prisoner into eternity.  This was given at 11:49 and 1640 volts of electricity passed through the body of Martin Foy, causing instant death.  After four seconds the current was reduced to 150 volts, and kept at that point for 10 seconds when it was again turned on for two seconds and again reduced to 150 volts, and kept on for 43 seconds, making a total contact of 59 seconds.  At 12 o’clock, noon, after the physicians had made a careful examination he was pronounced dead and this ended the eventful career of Martin Foy.  The body was then removed to the dissecting room where an autopsy was held.  The body was found to be in a normal condition.


Foy’s father and brother were in the village of Dannemora when the electrocution took place.  After it was over the body was turned over to them and was taken to Saratoga on last night’s train.


The electrocution was in every respect a success, thanks to the care of Warden Thayer and Prison Physician Ransom, who saw that no detail was lacking to carry out the law in a perfect manner.


The witnesses were invited to dinner at the warden’s house at which they were shown through the model prison of the state.


Since the present law went into operation there have been nineteen electrocutions in the state as follows:

             William Kemmler, at Auburn,August 1890.

            J.J. Slocum, at Sing Sing, July 1891.

            H.A. Smiler, at Sing Sing, July 1891.

            Joseph Wood, colored, at Sing Sing, July 7, 1891.

            Schi Hoke Juglo, at Sing Sing, July 7, 1891.

            Martin D. Loppy, at Sing Sing, Dec. 7, 1891.

            Charles McElvaine, at Sing Sing, Feb. 8, 1892.

            Jeremiah Cotto, at Sing Sing, March 28, 1892.

            Joseph Tyce, at Auburn, May 1892.

            Joseph Wood, at Clinton, Aug. 1892.

            Fred Maguire, at Sing Sing, Dec. 1892.

            Cornell E. Loth, at Clinton, Jan. 16, 1893.

    Joseph J. Hamilton (colored), at Sing Sing,    April 3, 1893.

            Carlisle W. Harris, at Sing Sing, May 8, 1893.

            Joseph Martel, at Clinton, June 6, 1893.

            John L. Osmond, at Sing Sing, June 12, 1893.

            John Fitzhume, at Auburn, June 26, 1893.

            W.G. Taylor, at Auburn, July, 1893.

            Martin Foy, at Clinton, October 1893.