Alfred P Southwich
By Patrick Kavanaugh

Alfred P Southwich was a Buffalo Dentist who experimented with electric shock. In 1881 he began his experiments.

He thought it had great potential for dispatching death sentenced criminals. His electric chair for human beings was first used at the NY State Penitentiary in Auburn, New York on August 6, 1890 with the electrocution of William Kemmler.

Southwich is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Sec. 31/ Lot 21.

[Ed. note:  Southwich home: 9631 Sandrock Road, Elma; built 1890]

William Kemmler

Tillie Ziegler came to Buffalo from Philadelphia, PA with William Kemmler.

While they were residing at 526 South Division Street, in Buffalo, Kemmler, who was known for being hot headed, went into a drunken rage and struck Ms. Ziegler 26 times in the head with a hatchet. After several hours, Ms. Ziegler died at the Fitch hospital.

Kemmler readily admitted to the crime saying, "I struck her with a hatchet. I wanted to kill her, and the sooner I am to hang for it, the better." Little did Kemmler know he would not be let off so easily.

On August 6, 1890, at Auburn Prison in Auburn, New York, Kemmler was the first person to be electrocuted in the United States. It took three jolts to kill Kemmler.

The entire world was outraged at this method of termination.

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