Cynthia Nixon's tragic family secret uncovered on TV show

'Who Do You Think You Are?': Cynthia Nixon's Connection to Prison Reform
'Who Do You Think You Are?': Cynthia Nixon's Connection to Prison Reform

On a recent episode of the TLC show 'Who Do You Think You Are?' Cynthia Nixon got some news that floored her.

The actress, well-known from her role on HBO's 'Sex and the City' series, came on the show to learn more about her family lineage on her father's side, with whom she is less familiar.

Her search took her to Missouri, where producers tracked down records of her ancestor Martha Curnutt, who mysteriously did not keep the surname of her husband, Noah Casto.

As her journey into her past continued, Cynthia discovers that Martha's husband Noah had been extremely abusive. Backed into a corner, Martha murdered him with an ax and was imprisoned in a Missouri penitentiary in 1843.

Cynthia uncovered even more information about her troubled ancestor through a book published by a former prisoner from the same time period in which Martha was imprisoned. The book mentions Martha specifically, and details that she gave birth to her third child more than a year after her imprisonment, breaking the lineage from her abusive husband.

Martha was then pardoned, having gained support from prominent political figures at the time. The whole experience was a turning point in Missouri's penal history.

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