Ruth Blay's Story

In 1768, a 31-year-old teacher was hanged for concealing the birth of her illegitimate child. Ruth Blay ultimately admitted to wrapping her stillborn baby in a quilt and hiding it under the floorboards of a barn in South Hampton, N.H. Children playing in the barn discovered the baby’s body three days later.

Ruth was hanged at the highest point on South Street, now South St. Cemetery, in Portsmouth, N.H., before a thousand spectators when a wagon under newly built gallows was pulled out from under her feet. She is buried there with no grave marker. Ruth was the last woman hanged in N.H.

Carl Aichele's artistic rendering of Ruth Blay for her "History Through Art" mural on Court Street, Portsmouth.