Bertha Gifford was born in October of 1872 in Grubville, Missouri to father William Poindexter Williams and mother, Matilda. Her parents named her Bertha Alice Williams at birth, and she had nine siblings. Bertha married Henry Graham, and they had one daughter named Lila. Bertha married Eugene Gifford after Henry had died they had one son named James. She was a farmwife in the early 1900s in rural Catawissa, Missouri where she was accused of murdering 17 people in her community. Bertha died from natural causes on August 20, 1951, at the age of 78 in the mental facility she was sentenced to for killing her victims (about 3-17) from the 1900s - 1928 in Missouri.
Bertha was well known by many people in her community for her cooking and for her generosity in caring for her sick neighbors and relatives. Bertha Gifford was arrested in 1928 in Eureka, Missouri and was charged with murdering three people. Edward Brinley, Elmer Schamel and Lloyd Schamel bodies were exhumed and examined. Their bodies concluded that they had large amounts of arsenic in their bodies. Bertha was on trial for three days and was found not guilty of murdering Edward, Elmer, and Lloyd because of insanity and was sentenced to serve time at the Missouri State Hospital #4 which was a mental institution. Bertha died on August 20, 1951, at Missouri State Hospital.