Legends of America

Follow the links to the various pages of Legends of America

The Old West Legends of America Outhouse Madness Ghostly Legends Outlaws Old West Saloons Rocky Mountain General Store Legends Photo Store The Book Store Make your travel reservations here! Route 66 Native Americans The Old States - Back East

Legends of America    |    Legends General Store    |    Legends Photo Shop

 

Legends Of America's Facebook PageLegends Of America's Twitter PageLegends on Pinterest

Legends Home

Site Map

What's New!!

 

Content Categories:

American History

Destinations-States

Ghost Stories

Ghost Towns

Historic People

Legends & Myths

Native Americans

Old West

Photo Galleries

Route 66

Travel Center

Treasure Tales

 

   Search Our Sites

Custom Search

Google

 

About Us

Advertising

Article/Photo Use

Copyright Information

Blog

Facebook Page

Guestbook

Links

Newsletter

Privacy Policy

Site Map

Writing Credits

 

We welcome corrections

and feedback!

Contact Us

 

Legends' General Store


Old West/Western

Route 66

Native American

Featured Items

Sale Items

Books/Magazines

CD's - DVD's

Nuwati Herbals

Personalized-Engraved
Postcards

Wall Art

Custom Products

and Much More!

 

  Legends Of America's Rocky Mountain General Store - Cart View

 

Legends' Photo Prints

Legends Photo Prints and Downloads
 

Ghost Town Prints

Native American Prints

Old West Prints

Route 66 Prints

States, Cities & Places

Nostalgic Prints

Photo Art Prints

Jim Hinckley's America

David Fisk (Lens of Fisk)

Specials-Gift Ideas

and Much More!!
 

Legends Of America's Photo Print Shop - Cart View

 

Family Friendly Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South Carolina FlagSOUTH CAROLINA LEGENDS

Lavinia Fisher - First Female American Serial Killer

Bookmark and Share

<<  Previous 1 2 Next  >>

 

Widely recognized as the first female serial killer in the United States, Lavinia Fisher was born in 1793, but, the location of her birth, her maiden name, or any information about her childhood, is unknown.

 

However, she grew up to marry a man named John Fisher and the couple lived near Charleston, South Carolina. The pair made their living operating a hotel called the Six Mile Wayfarer House, which they managed in the early 1800's. Mysteriously, men who were visiting Charleston began to disappear. As more and more reports were filed with the authorities regarding these missing men, it was determined that they were last seen at the Six Mile Wayfarer House, which was called such because it was six miles outside of Charleston.

 

Though the local authorities began an investigation, there was no evidence that the Fishers were involved. This, coupled with their popularity in the town, led to the investigation being dropped.

 

Lavinia was a very beautiful and charming woman, adding to her popularity in the community and to the business of the hotel. However, it would later be learned that she utilized those characteristics to help her husband rob and kill many male travelers. And, as more and more men went missing, the rumor mill began to do its work. 

 

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina.

 

 

 

The locals soon gathered up a group of vigilantes who went to the Fishers in February, 1819 to stop the activities that were occurring there. Though it is unknown what they may have said or done, they were obviously satisfied with their task and returned to Charleston, leaving one man by the name of David Ross to stand watch in the area.

 

Early the next morning, David Ross was attacked by two men and dragged before a group of men along with Lavinia Fisher. He looked to her for help, but instead, she choked him and smashed his head through a window.  Somehow, Ross was able to escape and alerted authorities.

 

At nearly the same time, a man named John Peeples was traveling from Georgia to Charleston and tired from his long trip, stopped at The Six Mile House to see if they had a room. He was warmly greeted by the beautiful Lavinia who informed him they didn’t have a room available but invited him in for tea and a meal.

 

Her company was so pleasant that he ignored Lavinia’s husband’s odd glances at him and chatted with her, answering her every question. When she excused herself from the table for a moment, she returned with tea and good news. A room had suddenly become available if John still wanted it. He accepted and Lavinia poured him a cup of tea.  

 

But, John didn’t like tea, but didn't want to seem impolite. So, instead of refusing it or leaving it untouched, he poured it out when she wasn't looking. Afterwards, she showed him to his room. He then began to wonder why she had asked him so many questions. Why was her husband staring at him all evening?

 

Suddenly, he felt uncomfortable with all the information that he had provided and worried if he might become a target for robbery. Feeling safer in the chair by the door than in the bed, he dozed until he was awakened by a loud noise. Looking around, he realized that the bed he should have been sleeping in had disappeared into a deep hole beneath the floor. John quickly jumped out the window, got on his horse and fled to authorities in Charleston.

 

Police then arrested John and Lavinia Fisher, as well as two men they had been operating with.

 

The Six Mile Wayfarer House was thoroughly searched and the grounds dug up. Filled with hidden passages, the Sheriff reportedly found items that could be traced to dozens of travelers, a tea laced with an herb that could put someone to sleep for hours, a mechanism that could be triggered to open the floorboards beneath the bed, and in the basement, as many as a hundred sets of remains.

 

Old Charleston Jail

Old Charleston Jail in 1937, Frances B.Johnston

 

The Fishers plead not guilty, but were ordered to stay in jail until their trial. In the meantime, their co-conspirators were released on bail. At their trial in May, the jury didn’t agree with their innocent plea, found them guilty of multiple robberies and murders, and they were sentenced to hang. However, they were given time to appeal the conviction.

 

During the wait, they occupied themselves making a plan to escape. Housed together in a jail that was not heavily guarded, they began making a rope from jail linens. On September 13, they put their plan in place and used the rope to drop down to the ground. John made it out but the rope broke, leaving Lavinia trapped in the cell. Not willing to go without his wife, he returned to the jail and the two were afterwards, kept under much tighter security.

 

In February, 1820, the Constitutional Court rejected their appeal and their execution was scheduled for later that month.

 

A local minister named Reverend Richard Furman was sent in to counsel the pair if they so wished. John freely talked to Furman and is said to have begged the priest to save his soul if not his life. However, the cruel Lavinia would have nothing to do with him.

 

On the morning of February 18, 1820 the Fishers were taken from the Charleston Jail to be hanged on the gallows behind the building. John Fisher went quietly praying with the minister, whom he had asked to read a letter. Before a crowd of some 2,000 people, the letter insisted on his innocence and asked for mercy for those who had done him wrong in the judicial process. He then began to verbally plead his case before the gathered crowd, but before he was hanged, asked for their forgiveness.

 

Lavinia did not go so quietly. She had requested to wear her wedding dress and refusing to walk to the gallows, had to be picked up and carried as she ranted and raved. Before the crowd, she continued to scream, pointedly at the Charleston socialites, who she blamed for encouraging a conviction. Before her executioners could tighten the noose around her neck, she yelled into the crowd, “If you have a message you want to send to hell, give it to me – I’ll carry it.” Then, before they could finish the job, she jumped off the scaffold herself. Not quite reaching the ground, she dangled down into the crowd. Later, onlookers would say they had never seen such a wicked stare or chilling sneer as that which was on 27 year-old Lavinia’s face.

 

Though many sources say that the Fishers were buried in the Unitarian Church Graveyard located between King and Archdale Streets in Charleston, this is highly unlikely. There was a Potter's Field Cemetery next to the jail at the time, where most criminals were buried if their bodies weren't claimed by family members. Additionally, church records have been searched, indicating no evidence that she was buried there. This tale has likely been perpetuated by tour guides.

 

 

See The Ghost of Lavinia Fisher Next Page

 

<<  Previous 1 2 Next  >>

From Legends' Photo Shop

Unique Greeting Cards Exclusive to Legends of AmericaCustom Greeting Cards - Combining our great vintage photographs with words, wisdom and proverbs of the Old West, these photo cards are unique to the Legends of America.

 

Unique Greeting Cards Exclusive to Legends of America

 

                                                            Copyright © 2003-Present, www.Legends of America.com