I don't know if this is something to be proud of, but the first prisoner to be executed by the electric chair was from Buffalo. He committed a grisly murder, which lead to him being sentenced to death.

The Chair
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William Kemmler of Buffalo had the honor of being the first person to be executed by electric chair. He probably deserved the electric chair experience he got, which was far from smooth, after hacking his wife, Tillie Ziegler to death with a hatchet on March 29, 1889. This is the stuff the ID channel is made of.

A Buffalo dentist had been toying around with using electric voltage as a method of execution,

Buffalo dentist Alfred Southwark had been experimenting with electrocution as a new and humane form of execution in the aftermath of a number of botched hangings. After hearing reports of a drunk worker who died from touching a high voltage electrical generator, Southwark began work on the first ‘electric chair’.

Southwark had conceived the method after malfunctioning street lights in Buffalo had killed several people by electrocuting them. Using the street lights as his inspiration, he worked with a local animal shelter to try his method of killing on stray dogs,

Southwick joined physician George E. Fell and the head of the Buffalo ASPCA in a series of experiments electrocuting hundreds of stray dogs. They ran trials with the dog in water and out of water, and varied the electrode type and placement until they came up with a repeatable method to euthanize animals using electricity.

On August 6, 1890, Kemmler was set to be killed by a 1,000-volt generator. Kemmler was electrocuted for 17 seconds, but witnesses said he was still breathing, which doctors confirmed! After realizing that the 1,000 volts hadn't done the job, his executioners increased voltage and shocked him with 2,000 volts. The blood vessels under Kemmler's skin burst and bled, and his body caught fire. The entire process took 8-minutes, which certainly defeated the purpose of being humane.

According to Murderpedia, Kemmler didn't scream, cry or act out. He even is quoted as saying,

Gentlemen, I wish you luck. I'm sure I'll get a good place, and I'm ready.

After the first electrocution, 26 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Military and the Federal government all began to use electrocution as a form of capital punishment. The first woman to die by the electric chair was Martha M. Place. She was executed at Sing Sing Prison on March 20, 1899, for the murder of her teenage step-daughter.

Credit: HistoryPod via Youtube

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