John Ross Burson photograph   Save
John Ross Burson photograph
Description: This photograph from the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus is of 33-year-old parolee John Ross Burson. His formal attire suggests that the photograph was taken during his trial or sentencing. Burson was convicted of murdering a young veteran, Ellsworth Ruch, Jr., and became the 272nd individual to be executed via the electric chair in Ohio. The caption at the bottom reads: “No. 272 John Ross Burson of Stark County, Legally Electrocuted May 27, 1949 for the Murder of Ellsworth Ruch Jr.” In 1885 the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio, became the location for all executions, which previously took place in the various county seats. In 1896 the Ohio General Assembly mandated that electrocution replace hanging as the form of capital punishment. The Ohio Penitentiary regularly offered tours as well as souvenir photographs and postcards of the building and prisoners on death row. A total of 315 prisoners, both men and women, were executed in the electric chair known as “Old Sparky” between 1897 and 1963. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: AL08324
Subjects: Ohio History--State and Local Government--Law; Capital punishment--Ohio--History; Death row; Electrocution; Ohio History--State and Local Government--Corrections; Ohio Penitentiary (Columbus, Ohio); Prisons--Ohio
Places: Columbus (Ohio); Franklin County (Ohio); Stark County (Ohio); Canton (Ohio)