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  • 2 PA Traveling Girls

Hanging of Susanna Cox - Kutztown Folk Festival, Kutztown, PA

Updated: Jun 28, 2021

For years we would go to the Kutztown Folk Festival over our lunch hour. We always wanted to see the re-enactment of the hanging of Susanna Cox (1785-1809) but the timing of the re-enactment didn't fit with out schedule lunch times. Two years ago we were finally able to see it and hear the story.

At the age of 13 years old Susanna was sent to live with the Snyder family in Oley, PA to work on their farm in exchange for room and board. The story goes that a neighboring farmer began visiting Susanna at night - whether this is true or not no one knows.

On February 17, 1809, the Snyder’s son-in-law found the frozen dead body of a baby boy in the family’s cold cellar. When Susanna was questioned she admitted that the baby was hers, but said it was born still three days earlier.

After an inquest showed that the baby had injuries, Susanna was arrested, found guilty and hung in City Park, Reading. The crowd was estimated to be about 20,000. Susanna was the last public execution of a woman in Pennsylvania. While it may seem gruesome to re-enact the hanging, it does give you a glimpse into the history of the Berks County area.

The Folk Festival will be held virtually for the 2021 year.

Details on the Kutztown Folk Festival can be found at:

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