Home Page

NYCHS Timeline on Executions of 12 Men
Convicted of Murder in Cattaraugus

Two Hanged at Little Valley Jail.

March 18, 1870 -- Barred by his parents from their home because of his misconduct, Theodore Nicklas, white, 19, on Dec. 18, 1869 beat retired Alleghany Doctor Andrew Mead, 79, to death in the latter's store when the old man refused the young one's demands for money. . . .
-- For more details.

May 23, 1884 --

Angry over his wife's refusal to return to him after she had fled their home, Charles Clarke, 35, on Dec. 1, 1883 fatally shot, stabbed and choked her . . . .
-- For more details.

Four Electrocuted at Auburn Prison

March 16, 1909 -- At West Salamanca, Salvatore Randazzio, white, 22, a railroad section hand, on Jan. 11, 1908, in a boxcar that served as the labor crew's sleeping quarters, axed and bludgeoned to death his cousin Pietro Randazzio, also a spike puncher, to steal $45 in wages the latter had been saving to return to his native Sicily . . . .
-- For more details.

April 26, 1909 --

An alcoholic widower living with relatives in Cuba, Pacy Hill, white, 41, on March 18, 1908, took violent exception to being scolded by his cousin, Chloe Hancock, 18, about his being drunk and he fatally shot her . . . .
-- For more details.

July 27, 1910 --

While out with others hunting small game in some woods near Oleans Aug. 23, 1909, William Gilbert, black, 29, fatally shot Viola Hughes whom he suspected of being unfaithful. His claim the shooting was accidental was disputed by others in the hunting group . . . .
-- For more details.

August 31, 1914 --

Angry over his wife's refusal to return to him after she had fled their home, George Coyer, white, 45, on July 4, 1913 went to the Little Valley home where she was working, wrung her neck with his bare hands and completed the fatal attack with a shotgun blast . . . .
-- For more details.

Six Electrocuted at Sing Sing

March 20, 1919 --

Angry that a supervisor had criticized and demoted him from railroad track repair crew foreman to a common laborer position while working a section near Franklinville on July 12, 1917, Giovanni Ferraro, white, 36, fatally shot the supervisor William Dunbar in the back and fled to nearby Pennsylvania. He was captured much later in Philadelphia, but not before he killed a policeman while resisting the arrest. In Sing Sing, he seriously wounded two death row guards . . . .
-- For more details.

Jan. 17, 1921 --

Two Mexicans, convicted in unconnected murders, were executed on the same day despite efforts of a the Mexican government and death penalty opponents to win them stays. A tanner, Enrique Garcia, 21, on Sept. 30, 1919, fatally shot fellow Olean rooming house tenant Andre Elmenski, 29, in rivalry over a woman. A few weeks later in Olean (Nov. 16, 1919), Buffalo steelmill worker, Augustin Sanchez, 31, stabbed a Latino co-worker Jose Lizirraga, 32, to death to steal wages the latter had saved to return to his native land . . . .
-- For more details.

Jan. 12, 1933 --

While fleeing Olean police with whom he exchanged gunfire, a situation that began as a domestic dispute but spun wildly out of control, Peter Harris, white, 22, on March 3, 1932, encountered a former co-worker Michael Vessil, 29, against whom he had a prior grudge. Harris fatally shot Vessil, continued his flight and eluded his pursuers, But he surrender after four days in the woods without food or shelter . . . .
-- For more details.

August 29, 1935 --

Despite the fact that reformed ex-con Harold Farnsworth, 52, and wife, Bernice Kenyon Farnsworth, 55, had given Alfred Lindsay, white, 29, a job on their Cold Spring farm after he had gotten out of Great Meadows Prison (where he been Harold's cellmate), Lindsay on March 5, 1935, killed them with an ax, stole their car and valuables . . . .
-- For more details.

July 11, 1940 --

Angry that retired Olean contractor Dominic Gregory, 86, might change his will, dropping from it his caretakers, Oliver Aldridge, black, 47, and Aldridge's wife, Willie Pearl Aldridge, 33, Oliver on Dec. 9, 1939, fatally shot the old man . . . .
-- For more details.

A NOTE ON SOURCES: The principle printed source of information was the very excellent Legal Executions on New York State: A Comprehensive Reference 1639 - 1963 by Daniel Allen Hearn. It provided starting points -- dates as well as the names of people and localities -- for follow-up research on the Internet. New York Times on-line archived articles provided information on a number of cases as did the Cattaraugus County web pages of the US GenWeb/NY GenWeb system. Much use was made of the excellent research resource Northern New York Historical Newspapers.

Construction of this timeline was initiated by the NYCHS webmaster after receiving an email from Cattaraugus County administrator Jack Searles concerning a prison facility photo image on our site that he was interested in using on one of the DVDs he was producing to help raise funds for that county's 2008 Bicentennial celebration. Besides assisting with that request, our posting this timeline seemed another way NYCHS could participate in the occasion.

To help the New York Correction History Society with this project, the Cattaraugus County Historical Museum and Library very generously provided copies of jail-related and sheriff-related materials from its vertical files. We are indebted to Cattaraugus County Historian Sharon Fellows for her support and assistance with this project.

Thomas McCarthy,
General Secretary/webmaster
NY Correction History Society