Portrait of Benjamin Henry Latrobe by Filippo Costaggini, painted in 1881.

Benjamin Henry Latrobe

Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820) is best known for the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. But he designed a notorious building earlier in his career—the state penitentiary in Richmond, Virginia, where Virginia Christian died in the electric chair in 1912. Emigrating from London to the United States in 1796, Latrobe landed in Norfolk, Virginia, after a […]

Mug shot of Floyd Allen taken at the state penitentiary in Richmond, Virginia, where he would die in the electric chair. Library of Virginia.

A Crisis Somewhat Akin

Found guilty of first-degree murder in the courtroom shooting in Hillsville, Virginia, Floyd Allen was sentenced to death by electrocution in May 1912. Virginia Christian’s murder trial took place a month earlier. Her lead attorney, George Washington Fields, a former slave, was blind. Despite the disability, he was masterful at interrogating witnesses. J. Clay Smith, […]