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Feb 8, 2023
Franklin County (MA) News Archive
The Franklin County Publication Archive Index

Article Archives: Articles: Amusements

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Posted by stew - Mon, Jan 18, 2010

Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 20, 1875
The Coleraine Murder

The Coleraine Murder - As briefly stated in our last issue, Daniel Dwight, supposed to be one of the murderers of Joseph R. Farnsworth, was arrested Sat. night at the door of his father’s house on Catamount Hill, Coleraine, where he had come 5 days after the murder. There were 6 men, under Deputy Sheriff John Gould, stationed around the house, and between 10 and 11 o’clock, they saw a man coming up the road, which proved to be young Dwight.

They allowed him to approach near the house, when a signal was given, and they stepped from their hiding places. Dwight ran around the house in the direction of the barn, but he was then surrounded and forced to surrender. When taken into the house before his father, he fainted.

Dwight was confined in the lock-up at Shelburne Falls, and on Mon., Trial Justice Brainard of Greenfield held a court at the office of H.M.Puffer, Esq., and had the young man brought before him. A large gathering of people were in attendance, and among them Dwight’s wife, father and mother.

He pleaded not guilty, and the magistrate, without having a hearing of evidence, arraigned him on the charge of murder and continued the case to Mon. the 17th. Officers Swan and Gould then brought the prisoner to Greenfield,where he is now confined in jail. Dwight appears quite calm and is not disposed to talk much about the affair. He accounts for his absence and his whereabouts during the 4 days as follows:

"I had some trouble with my wife on Tues. aft., which had ended by my saying I was going off, and her replying that she hoped I would, and what was more, that I would stay away. She then started to go to father’s house, which is only a short distance from mine, and I started for a pasture where some of father’s cattle were grazing.

On the way I met Herbert Davenport, and together we went to Farnsworth’s house, and afterward went down the lane to the road leading to Shelburne Falls. Herbert wanted a cane, so we stopped and cut one, I bending the tree over while he cut it; but he did not carry it long before he threw it away.

From there we went through the fields directly to my house, where I changed my clothes and gave a suit to Herbert, as his were all patched and dirty. We left home about 5 o’clock, and went down the mountain to Heath, and then through Hartwellville down to North Adams, getting there on Wed. aft.

We walked all Tues. night.Wed. night we slept on the hills near North Adams, and on Thurs. morning, after staying a while in North Adams, we walked to Pownal on the railroad track. At Pownal we got on board a train which was returning with the firemen from the muster at North Adams that day.

At Petersburg Junction Herbert got left with some Salem, N.Y. firemen, because the train started so quick, and I could not get off, it was going so fast. That night I stopped at Greenwich, N.Y. and registered my name in the hotel book in full - Daniel J. Dwight, Coleraine, Mass. I remained there that night, but had nothing to eat, as I only had money enough to pay for my lodging.

[For more information on this area, see the Internet Archive’s "Williamstown, the Berkshire Hills, and thereabout"]

The next day I walked to Troy. I did not remain there long because I was hungry and sick, and thought I would go right home and go to work for father, and let my wife do as she chose. Coming back I got a ride part of the way on a freight train, and got to N. Adams Sat. aft.,and walked to central shaft in the tunnel, and from there I rode to the east end on the workmen’s train and walked to Zoar, where they let me ride on a hand car to Charlemont. From there I rode with a Mr.Wells as far as his house, and then went across the fields home".



A portion of Dwight’s story has proved to be true. Bradley Davenport and Wesley Woodard, sent to Petersburg Junction, sent back that two men answering the description of Dwight and Davenport had been there. At Greenwich, N.Y., Dwight’s name was found registered in full, as he had said, and there is nothing to show that Davenport was with him at the time.

The Davenport boy arrested - Search was continued for Davenport and finally he was tracked to Williamstown, and Thurs. aft. was found there by a Mr. White. He made no efforts to escape, but on the other hand seemed glad to give himself up.

He was brought through the tunnel to Shelburne Falls Fri. morning, and Trial Justice Brainard of Greenfield held a preliminary trial, arraigned him for murder, and continued the trial until the 27th. The Davenport boy’s narrative is substantially the same as that given by Dwight, but he does not deny that they killed Farnsworth.

He says their only object was to obtain money, that he had no enmity or ill will towards the murdered man. He and Dwight had made up their minds to go West and hoped to get enough money from Farnsworth to pay their expenses, but he says they only got about $4.

There were 2 sticks cut, he says, a walnut and a maple. It was with the latter that Farnsworth was knocked down. He says that he did not do the striking, though he was there. After he was left at Petersburg Junction, he wandered from place to place, working for something to eat when he could get employment, and was endeavoring to get back home.

Davenport is not of ordinary intelligence. He was dull at school, and has since been lazy and shiftless. Want of mental responsibility will be entered as a plea in his behalf. His mother says that he has always been a "strange boy". She has another son and a daughter who are bright, active and industrious.

Davenport was brought to Greenfield and lodged in jail on Fri. by Deputy Sheriff Swan. Both boys, who are allowed to be together when not locked in their cells, do not appear to be cast down or afflicted much with remorse. They will be brought before the Grand Jury at the November Court and if bills are found against them the trial will be before a special session of the Supreme Court.
 

Subjects: Amusements, Animals / Reptiles, Charlemont (MA), Coleraine [now Colrain] (MA), Courts, Crime, Criminals, Diseases, Economics, Education, Family, Farmers & Farming / Flowers, Fires, Food, Greenfield (MA), Handicapped, Hoosac Tunnel (MA), Hotels, Households, Juvenile Delinquents, Marriage and Elopement, Missing Persons, Murder, Names, Police


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