ELECTROCUTION OF MIDDLETON
Warren County Wife Murderer Paid the Penalty of His Crime.
Condemned Man Passed Sleepless Night But was Calm at the Last—
Story of the Crime—Was the Tenth Electrocution at Clinton Prison
George D. Middleton, of Pottersville, Warren County, N.Y., who murdered his wife on the 22d day of June, 1901, paid the penalty of the law yesterday forenoon at Clinton prison, Dannemora, when he was electrocuted at 11:42 a.m.
Warden Deyo went to Middleton’s cell Monday afternoon and read him the death warrant. Middleton made no comment of any kind. In the evening Middleton wrote letters to his brothers and sisters, bidding them all good-bye and saying that he hoped for God’s forgiveness if he had sinned. He has claimed all along since his arrival at Dannemora that he had no recollection of shooting his wife nor of any of the events immediately prior to or since the crime. Middleton did not sleep a wink Monday night, but paced the floor from sunset to sunrise, repeating prayers. Yesterday morning, however, he ate a pretty fair breakfast of potatoes, eggs, bread and butter and coffee. Chaplain Metcalfe was with him during the last two hours of his life, and Middleton was ready to go when the warden accompanied by Principal Keeper Vogan and Keepers Jos. Robarge and Edward Lewis appeared at the cell door at just 11:40 a.m.
Chaplain Metcalfe said: "Now George, good-bye. It will soon be over. Be strong." Middleton replied: "I will, Chaplain, good-bye."
Preceded by Warden Deyo and Principal Keeper Vogan, Middleton, very pale, walked steadily through the long corridor leading from the death house to the electrocution room, where State Electrician Davis had everything in readiness. Middleton with his eyes to the floor walked quickly to the electric chair and sat down, bowed his head, and closed his eyes. He did not utter a sound nor did he make any signs of recognition. The straps and out-cap and electrodes were quickly adjusted, one electrode at his head and the other at the bare calf of his right leg. He wore a dark blue woolen shirt, dark grey trousers and felt shoes, but no coat or vest. The right leg of his trousers was slit up to the knee to permit the fastening of the electrode.
Prison Physician Ransom then waited two or three seconds, and just as Middleton breathed out so that his lungs were practically free of air Dr. Ransom gave the sign and State Electrician Davis instantly switched on a 7½ ampere current of 1800 volts for 7 seconds. There was a quick convulsive movement of the whole body, the current evidently making the body rigid, just as the current was turned on, but no sign of pain on the victim’s face and no twitching of any muscle. The current was lowered to 200 volts for two seconds, then raised to 1800 volts for four seconds, and then lowered to 200 volts for 47 seconds, and then just before being finally switched off the current was jumped up again to 1800 volts for a second or so. In just one minute and twenty-four seconds from the moment Middleton seated himself alive and well in the fatal chair, Dr. Ransom pronounced him dead, and called on all the physicians present to examine him, many of whom did so, but there wasn’t so much as a flutter of the heart or a murmur of the lungs.
He was taken at once to the operating room, assisted by Doctors E. L. Bullis, of Glens Falls and F. D. Whitehead of Burke, performed the autopsy. The doctors present were unanimous in their praise of Dr. Ransom’s wonderful skill, one of them saying that it was the finest demonstration he had ever seen.
This was the first electrocution to take place under Warden Deyo, and he has the satisfaction of having performed a most unpleasant duty in a most creditable manner. State Electrician Davis said after it was over, "This is the seventieth electrocution at which I have officiated, and I have no hesitation in saying that it was in every respect the most successful electrocution I ever witnessed."
John Middleton, a brother of the condemned man, took the body back to Pottersville last night for burial.
Those who witnessed the electrocution were W.L. Kiley, of Glens Falls, N.Y., the district attorney who prosecuted Middleton, Dr. Charles S. McLaughlin, Dr. E.S. Bullis and Henry L. Sherman, of Glens Falls, N.Y.; Deputy Sheriff Alfred C. Stone, Dr. John Gillespie, Albert H. Thomas, and Arthur L. Soper, of Warrensburgh, N.Y.; Chief of Police William S. Libbey, Robert J. Clark, John B. Mooers and Howard D. Hadley of Plattsburgh, N.Y.; William E. Dibble, of Sandy Hill, N.Y.; Willard B. Farrington, of Dannemora, and Bernard Sullivan, of New York city. The physicians and assistants present were Prison Physician Dr. John B. Ransom, Dr. G.D. Dare, of Cadyville, N.Y>; Dr. John J. Robinson, of Saranac, N.Y.; Dr. H.C. Southworth, of Chazy Lake, N>Y.; Dr. F.D. Whitehead, of Burke, N.Y.; Prison Chaplain J.H. Metcalfe, Warden George Deyo, Principal Keeper E>J. Vogan, Keepers Joseph Robarge and Edward Lewis, State Electrician E.F. Davis and Stenographer William Lundell.
George D. Middleton, of Pottersville, Warren county, N.Y., aged 45 years, actuated it is supposed by jealousy, shot and instantly killed his wife on the 22d of June, 1901. His wife was Miss Alma Stanton, daughter of George Stanton, a well-known Adirondack guide, and four small children are left orphans, as a result of their father’s horrible crime.
Middleton was indicted in November, 1901, by the Warren county grand jury and convicted at the June term of the Supreme Court at Caldwell, N.Y., last months, Justice Martin L. Stoyer presiding. He was defended by Charles P. Coyle, of Chestertown, and Hon. James M. Whitman, of Sandy Hill. Insanity was the plea set up by the defense, and it was brought out at the trial that Middleton’s mother became insane and died two months after he was born, and that the actions of Middleton himself at various periods of his life were to say the least, peculiar. District Attorney William L. Kiley was assisted in the prosecution by Colonel H.A. Howard and George S. Raley.
George D. Middleton was the tenth man to be electrocuted at Clinton prison, Dannemora. No woman has ever been electrocuted at Dannemora. The list is as follows:
Joseph Wood, electrocuted August 2, 1892, for the killing of Leander Pasco, May 10, 1890, at Stony Creek, Warren county.
Kornell E. Loth, electrocuted Jan. 16, 1893, for the killing of Esther Demasek, Schenectady.
James Martell, electrocuted June 6, 1893, for the killing of Parello, May 4, 1892, at Saratoga Springs.
Martin Foy, Jr., electrocuted October 23, 1893, for the killing of Henrietta Wilson, May 13, 1892, at Saratoga Springs.
George W. Smith, electrocuted October 29, 1895, for the killing of Phillip Richtmeyer, September 5, 1895, in Albany county.
Charles N. Davis, electrocuted Oct. 29, 1895, for the killing of Anna May Shannon, May 20, 1895, at Albany Co.
Bartholomew Shea, electrocuted Feb. 11, 1896, for the killing of Robert Ross, March 6, 1894, in an election row in the city of Troy, Rensselaer county, N.Y. This case was fought bitterly in all the courts, and strenuous efforts were made to save "Bat" Shea’s life, but to no avail.
Joseph Zlamel, electrocuted April 14, 1896, for the killing of Teresa Karmona, August 30, 1895, in Fulton county.
Frank C. Conroy, electrocuted August 10, 1897, for the killing of his wife, Kate Conroy, in Ogdensburg, N.Y., May 20, 1896.
George D. Middleton, electrocuted July 29, 1902, for the killing of his wife, Alma Middleton, at Pottersville, Warren county, N.Y., on the 22nd day of June 1901.
This was a contemporary newspaper account.