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Sep 25, 2021
Franklin County (MA) News Archive
The Franklin County Publication Archive Index

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Article Archives: Articles: Murder

Showing 25

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

Posted by stew - Mon, Jan 18, 2010

Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 20, 1875
News of the week



Moses Hull of Boston and a crowd of other lunatics, profaned the Sabbath and the beautiful Lake Walden at Concord on the 12th by a noisy meeting, advocating free love and Spiritualism, and resolved "that our present system of marriage is slavery, and that, considering that idiocy, insanity, prostitution, adultery, rape, drunkenness and murder are its legitimate fruits, it is the duty of every lover of humanity to protest against it".

[See the article on Moses Hull in Wikipedia].
 

Subjects: Amusements, Boston (MA), Crime, Criminals, Drunkenness, Insanity, Marriage and Elopement, Massachusetts, Murder, Prostitution, Rape, Religion, Rivers / Lakes / Oceans, Seduction, Sex Crimes, Spiritualism, Wife Abuse, Women

Posted by stew - Mon, Jan 18, 2010

Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 20, 1875
News of the week

A resident of Venice, N.Y. attempted on Sunday to murder his 3 children and then shot himself.


 

Subjects: Child Abuse, Children, Crime, Criminals, Family, Insanity, Murder, Suicide

Posted by stew - Mon, Feb 23, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 20, 1875
Oration of Hon. George B. Loring at Bloody Brook, Sept. 17, 1875

Oration of Hon. George B. Loring at Bloody Brook, Sept. 17, 1875 - Fellow citizens: 200 years ago an event occurred on this spot, which on account of its significance and its touching details, has passed into that long heroic line over which the mind of man is compelled to pause and ponder...At the name of Bloody Brook the men, women, and children of New England started and held their breath in horror, in that primeval time when the sickening tidings were borne on the wings of the wind as it were from hamlet to hamlet...

The sad event of the 18th of September 1675, calls upon us still to remember the trials through which our fathers passed and to rejoice over that fraternal spirit which bound them together in their day of sorrow, and watered the soil of this charming valley with the choicest blood of the sons of Essex. I stand on ground made sacred to you by the sacrifices of your hardy and devoted progenitors; but I meet here the names of Lothrop and Stevens and Hobbs and Manning and Dodge and Kimball and Trask and Tufts and Mudge and Pickering, of the three-score braves who died that you might possess this goodly land and these pleasant homes...

How would they who were familiar with the cruel warfare of the savage; whose ears had heard the shrieks of the tortured mother mingling with the groans of her dying child, and whose eyes had beheld her fear, her patience and her despair; whose highway was an Indian trail, and whose home was a frontier block-house - how would they rejoice over these sunny fields, these laughing harvests, these busy towns, these tasteful homes, this cultivated landscape adorned with these institutions of learning and religion; and how would they count their own sufferings but small when compared with the manifold blessings which have descended upon the spot made sacred with their blood?

...Deerfield two centuries ago, was on the very confines of civilization - one of the outposts of a feeble Christian people, who had hardly a foothold on this continent, and between whom and the strongholds of power and wealth and learning, rolled 3000 miles of stormy and almost unknown sea. The fate of a great and wide spread empire rested then in the hands of a few colonists scattered along the Atlantic seaboard, divided in interests and tastes, perishing continually from exposure and want, not all actuated by the highest motives, but all recognizing, as by an unerring instinct, the fundamental principle out of which was to grow the American government, and all in danger of being exterminated at any time by the "pestilence which walketh in darkness and the destruction which wasteth at noonday".

Scattered up and down the great extent of territory stretching from the Passamaquoddy Bay to the capes of Florida were but about 200,000 souls, of whom Massachusetts, with Plymouth and Maine, may have had 44,000; New Hampshire and Rhode Island, with Providence each 6000; Connecticut from 17,000 to 20,000; that is, all New England, 75,000...

These people had come largely from that "Germanic race most famed for the love of personal independence". They were not men of high estate, but they were men who possessed an inherent love of land, with all the individual honor and freedom which go along with it...

Of one colony said "Spotswood, a royalist, a High churchman, a traveler", "I have observed here less swearing and profaneness, less drunkenness and debauchery, less uncharitable feuds and animosities, and less knaverys and villanys than in any part of the world where my lot has been"...

In all their customs they were obliged to exercise the utmost simplicity and they voluntarily regulated their conduct by those formal rules, which, in their day, constituted the Puritan’s guide through the world. We are told, as an illustraton of their character and manners, that by the laws of the Plymouth Colony, in 1651, "dancing at weddings was forbidden". In 1660, one William Walker was imprisoned one month for courting "a maid without the leave of her parents".

In 1675, because "there is manifest pride appearing in our streets", the "wearing of long hair or periwigs", and so "superstitious ribands, used to tie up and decorate the hair were forbidden under severe penalty"; the keeping of Christmas was also forbidden "because it was a popish custom". In 1677 an act was passed "to prevent the profaneness of turning the back upon the public worship before it was finished and the blessing pronounced".

Towns were directed to erect a cage near the meeting house, and in all this all offenders against the sanctity of the Sabbath were confined. At the same time children were directed to be placed in a particular part of the meeting house, apart by themselves, and tything-men were ordered to be chosen, whose duty it shall be to take care of them. So strict were they in their observance of the Sabbath that "John Atherton, a soldier of Col. Tyng’s Company", was fined 40 shillings for wetting a piece of an old hat to put into his shoes, which chafed his feet on the march; and those who neglected to attend meeting for 3 months were publicly whipped.

Even in Harvard College students were whipped for gross offenses in the Chapel, in presence of students and professors, and prayers were had before and after the infliction of the punishment. As the settlers of Deerfield are described as being of "sober and orderly conversation", we may suppose that these laws and customs were here rigidly enforced.

[Here follows a section on "subsistence and diet of your ancestors". Also talks about how they were good farmers, fishermen and readers]...

...Possessed evidently of a common origin, for "between the Indians of Florida and Canada the difference was scarcely perceptible", they were divided into tribes, which differed from each other mainly in their fighting capacity, and the vigor with which they roamed from place to place; and they were liable at any time to be swept off by disease, or exterminated by war, or absorbed by other and more powerful tribes.

In language, the North American Indian was limited by the material world, an abstract idea finding no birthplace in his brain and no expression on his tongue. "In marriage the Indian abhorred restraint, and from Florida to the S. Lawrence polygamy was permitted". Divorce meant merely desertion. The wife was a slave. Domestic government was unknown. The Indian youth grew up a warrior, adorned with vermilion and eagle’s feather, as fleet of foot as the deer, and as tolerant of hunger as the wolf; the Indian girl grew up a squaw, degraded and squalid and servile.

A rude agriculture, resulting in a weedy corn crop, and a few squashes and beans, was the Indian’s, or rather the Indian woman’s occupation; he had neither trade nor manufactures. "There can be no society without government; but among the Indian tribes on the soil of our republic, there was not only no written law - there was no traditionary [sic] expression of law; government rested on opinion and usage and the motives to the usage were never imbodied [sic] in language; they gained utterance only in the fact, and power only from opinion...

The Indian had a government without laws; a State without institutions; a church without faith, or creed, or head; a town without schoohouse or meeting house; a punitive system without jails or gibbets; a history based on tradition; a religion based on superstition; he was ignorant of the ownership of land; and knew nothing of a system of inheritance.

As in peace he was an idler - so in war he was a marauder. An organized army was to him unknown. He fought in small bands, seldom over 50 in number, to surprise and slaughter. He pursued, and killed, and scalped. He had neither commissariat nor hospital. He fought his enemy in the rear and in ambush; and he tortured and roasted and devoured his captives. These were the national characteristics which our fathers found on this continent.

Nor did their attempts to modify and humanize and Christianize them meet with much success. The Indian could be tamed, but he was the Indian still...Neither John Eliot nor Roger Williams was able to change essentially the habits and character of the New England tribes..."They are unspeakably indolent and slothful; they deserve little gratitude; they seem to have no sentiments of generosity, benevolence or goodness".

The Moravian Loskiel could not change their character...In New Hampshire and elsewhere schools for Indian children were established; but as they became fledged they all escaped, refusing to be caged. Harvard College enrolls the name of an Algonquin youth among her pupils; but the college parchment could not close the gulf between the Indian character and the Anglo American.

The copper colored men are characterized by a moral inflexibility, a rigidity of attachment to their hereditary customs and manners. The birds and brooks, as they chime forth their unwearied canticles, chime them ever to the same ancient melodies; and the Indian child, as it grows up, displays a propensity to the habits of its ancestors...

The trouble lay deeper. Year after year the Indian discovered an irreconcilable difference between himself and the stranger...When he entered the home of the settler, he discovered that the joys of the fireside could never be found in the group squatted beneath the shelter of the wigwam. He felt the antagonism - and his soul burned within him. The strife was not for land...It was for supremacy. And as revenge is stronger than ambition, and hate is stronger than avarice, so the war raged with unspeakable fury, and was as cruel as the passions of a desperate savage could make it.

The great contest which grew out of this antagonism, and lasted more than a year, unabated either by the heat of summer or the frosts of winter, threatening destruction to the New England colonies, was known as Philip’s War. With the story of this conflict you are all familiar. The peaceful death of Massasoit at a good old age, after a long life of friendly relations with the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies; the sadder death of his son Alexander, worried out of life by the failure of his intrigues against the colony, and the exposure of his meanness and his crimes; the gradual development of the worst of passions in the breast of Philip, and his passage from treachery to war are all fresh in the memory of all who have traced the hard path which our fathers traveled in the work of settling these shores.

The war which began in Swanzey on the 24th of June, 1675, reached this spot on the 18th of September - three months of murder, and fire, and all the bloody horrors of savage warfare. At the time the war broke out Deerfield had been settled 10 years, or had been deeded for the purposes of settlement to John Pynchon that length of time. It was then, as it is now, one of the most delightful spots in New England...

http://images.nypl.org/index.php?id=808204&t=w

And here in the luxurience of that natural beauty, and in the wealth of wood and stream, the Indian found his favorite resort. In this town and in the towns of Hadley and Hatfield he mustered a numerous and a powerful tribe. And upon these lands purchased by the settlers, with titles confirmed by the court, the whites and Indians lived together in peace for years. It is amazing with what rapidity the war, once opened, spread from village to village, and from tribe to tribe in this wilderness...

The Pocumtucks had received their orders - and in a day had stepped from the blessings of peace to the misery of war. having promsied to deliver up their arms, on suspicion that they might misuse them, they broke their promise, fled to Sugar loaf Hill, engaged with Captains Beers and Lothrop commanding the English here, lost 26 of their number, and then sought shelter under the standard of King Philip...

Deerfield too was abandoned; and the attempt to secure a quantity of wheat which had just been partially threshed by the farmers there before their flight, resulted in the massacre which still thrills me with horror, and the anniversary of which we have met to commemorate...From behind hundreds of trees the savages poured their deadily [sic] fire. At the first volley many were killed, and the remainder were panic stricken...Lothrop...was among the first to fall. The savages, numbering nearly 700, "rushed upon the defenceless men, and the work of slaughter was soon complete.

But 6 or 7 Englishmen escaped to tell the tale, of whom one had been shot and tomahawked and left for dead, and another forced his way through the yelling ranks of the savages with the but [sic] of his musket...

While the Indians were employed in mangling, scalping and stripping the dying and the dead, Captain Moseley, who, as has been observed, was ranging the woods, hearing the report of musketry, hastened by a forced march to the relief of his brethren. The Indians, confiding in their superior numbers, taunted him as he advanced, and dared him to the contest. Moseley came on with firmness, repeatedly charged through them, and destroyed a large number with the loss on his side of but 2 killed and 11 wounded...

A quantity of bones lately found in that quarter is very probably the remains of the Indians who fell there at the close of the action. The united English force encamped for the night at Deerfield. They returned in the morning to bury the dead and found a party of the Indians upon the field stripping the bodies of their victims. These they quickly dispatched, and the remains of the brave young men, or some portion of them, were committed to the earth near the spot which we have this day consecrated anew to their memory.

The stream on whose banks they fell, and whose water ran red with their blood, has been called from that day, in memory of the disaster, Bloody Brook...[Two more entire columns follow, but they are quite blurry and unreadable].
 

Subjects: Archaeology, Barber / Hair, Birds, Business Enterprises, Cemeteries, Children, Connecticut, Connecticut River, Courtship, Crime, Criminals, Dance, Deerfield (MA), Diseases, Divorce, Drunkenness, Economics, Education, English (and England), Eye, Family, Farmers & Farming / Flowers, Fires, Fishes and Fishing, Food

Posted by stew - Mon, Feb 23, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 13, 1875
Stop the murderer!

Stop the murderer! $500 reward! The above reward will be paid for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who murdered Joseph R. Farnsworth of Coleraine, on the eve. of Sept. 7th.

Daniel J. Dwight and Herbert Davenport are suspected of being the parties who committed the deed. Dwight is a young man about 5 ft. 8 inches tall , 19 years of age, weighing about 140 lbs, light complexion, light hair, light eyes; he usually carries his head a little on one side, with a downward look.

Davenport is 17 years of age, not so heavy or tall as Dwight, with light complexion, light eyes and very light hair; head and shoulders quite stooping, eyes usually turned to the ground. Joseph B. Clark, Chairmen of Selectmen of Coleraine.
 

Subjects: Advertising, Barber / Hair, Coleraine [now Colrain] (MA), Crime, Criminals, Economics, Eye, Government, Murder

Posted by stew - Mon, Feb 23, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 13, 1875
Stop the murderer!

Stop the murderer! $500 reward! The above reward will be paid for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who murdered Jseph R. Farnsworth of Coleraine, on the eve. of Sept. 7th.

Daniel J. Dwight and Herbert Davenport are suspected of being the parties who committed the deed. Dwight is a young man about 5 ft. 8 inches tall , 19 years of age, weighing about 140 lbs, light complexion, light hair, light eyes; he usually carries his head a little on one side, with a downward look.

Davenport is 17 years of age, not so heavy or tall as Dwight, with light complexion, light eyes and very light hair; head and shoulders quite stooping, eyes usually turned to the ground. Joseph B. Clark, Chairmen of Selectmen of Coleraine.
 

Subjects: Advertising, Barber / Hair, Coleraine [now Colrain] (MA), Crime, Criminals, Economics, Eye, Government, Murder

Posted by stew - Sun, Feb 22, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 13, 1875
Catamount Hill Reunion



Catamount Hill Reunion - The sun never shone upon a jollier band than was gathered on Catamount HiIl at the Reunion on Sept. 1. The day was all that could be expected, and everyone seemed to partake of its joyousness. The company from Adams, together with a delegation from the west, preluded the occasion by riding though the Hoosac Tunnel and viewing the wonderful work thereof.

Then on up the mountain they went, stopping ever and anon to hear an old time story, from Paul, Henry, or Chauncey, and maybe from the Dr., to say nothing of the Professor from the Hub. At the old school house they halted, and the story of whipping out the muster was triumphantly related.

When they reached the picnic ground, such a hurra of welcome as came from the Catamount Hill boys, one could hardly imagine, but it made the old hills ring, and the rocks their silence seemed to break, for "Uncle Bill’s" enthusiasm was fearfully contagious.

But to the programme first, reading of the 90th psalm from Mr. Benjamin Farley’s old family Bible; then prayer from one of the old time residents, after which "Coronation" was sung and the chronological history read by Dr. A.. Davenport (a copy of which appears in this paper).

Family histories were also read by Miss Emma Farley and Miss Nellie Ives beautifully worded and well worthy of print would space be allotted. "The Old Oaken Bucket" with appropriate remarks by Mr. David Cary were listened to with interest.

http://www.scituateh...tes_oakenbucket.html

Then too, the picnic part of the programme must not escape mention, which was basket in every sense of the word - a group here, another here, and so all around the rocks and ledges were seated, the happy families partaking of the good things brought to sustain the inner man.

And last, but not least, the miscellaneous, of which there is not room to speak in detail; reminiscences of bygone years.

"And jokes that cracked a bit (etc.)
One did, perchance,call forth the tears
The other shouts and cheers (etc.)"

Then there were notes from C.J. Davenport and Levi Davenport; poems from "Q in the Corner"; and "Mrs. M.D."; speeches from many, etc. too numerous to mention. In short, many appropriate and spicy things were said; one was "Once I was young, but now I am old; never have I seen a Catamounter forsaken or his seed begging bread". [Kind of ironic considering the murder that would take place there a week later]. Estimated number present, 700.
 

Subjects: Amusements, Animals / Reptiles, Astronomy, Boston (MA), Charity, Coleraine [now Colrain] (MA), Education, Emigration and Immigration, Family, Food, History, Hoosac Tunnel (MA), Jokes, Literature / Web Pages, Medical Personnel, Murder, Music, Noise, Old Age, Parties, Religion, Trains, Women, Words, Berkshire County (MA)

Posted by stew - Sat, Feb 21, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 13, 1875
A man murdered in Coleraine

A man murdered in Coleraine - He is killed and robbed by two young ruffians - It is now 8 years since Simeon Peck killed Miss Cheney at Griswoldville, and Coleraine is again the scene of a tragedy, which in all its details has never had a parallel in the criminal annals of the County. The victim of this terrible crime is Joseph R. Farnsworth [i.e. Joseph Riley Farnsworth], known among his townsmen as "Riley", a quiet, inoffensive man, who dwelt with his wife and two children on his mother’s farm, on what is known as "Catamount Hill", some 2 miles and a half from Shelburne Falls.

The circumstances of the affair are these: On Tues. last Farnsworth, who served in the late war, went to Greenfield to be examined by a surgeon, as required, before making out an application for pension. He went back to Shelburne Falls on the train, and at the office of H.M. Puffer Esq., had his pension paper made out. When this business was finished, he started for home, getting a chance to ride with Levi Davenport, a neighbor.

They rode together until they came to the fork of two roads which led to the mountain. Farnsworth took the road up the ravine on the easterly side, while Davenport went the other way to his home. It had by this time begun to grow dark, and Farnsworth pushed along alone through a wood and came to a place where the road separates, a path leading up to Jack Woodard’s on the one hand and to his mother’s place on the other.

At this point someone steps suddenly from the cover of bushes by the roadside and, without a word of warning, strikes him a blow upon the forehead with a stick which prostrates him upon the ground. The blow is followed up with others or with kicks, until the man’s head is covered with ghastly wounds. He is then robbed of the few dollars which he had in his pocket book.

Farnsworth was not long wholly unconscious. Within half an hour he must have rallied sufficient strength to get upon his feet, and staggering and frequently falling, he made his way home, some one hundred rods distant, and which he reached by half past 7. He was able to tell his mother and a neighbor present a part of what had happened, and Dr. Canedy of Shelburne Falls was immediately sent for.

He arrived in the evening, but found the man so badly wounded there was little that could be done for him. Farnsworth could not tell who struck him, and becoming unconscious, he lingered until about 10 o’clock Wed. morning, when he died.

The news of the affair had by this time spread over the town, and efforts made to ascertain who were the perpetrators of the crime. Suspicion soon rested upon two young men who live in the vicinity, and who had not been seen since the murder. These were Daniel Dwight, a son of Josiah J. Dwight, and Herbert Davenport, a son of widow Roxana Davenport, and a nephew of the murdered man.

The former is 19 years of age and the latter 18, and both had borne a hard name among the people of the town. Going to the scene of the assault, a heavy print of a shoe was found, where the desperado stood when he gave the murderous blow, and a few feet in front was found the pool of blood which flowed from the wounds of his victim, and a bloody trail was made by Farnsworth as he rested and stumbled home.

Not far from his place a hickory stub was found where the stick, about an inch in diameter, had been cut; and in another direction the stick itself was discovered, which corresponded with the stub, and which had been thrown away after the assault. The stick, which is in the possession of one of the officers, was evidently cut by a left handed person. Dwight is known to be left handed.

It seems that the two boys had been to Farnsworth’s house the afternoon that he was away, borrowed fifty cents from his wife, all the money that she had - they agreeing to pay her back before the time of the county fair, when she wanted to spend it. They also took away a cheap watch which belonged to Farnsworth.

Before going to Greenfield Farnsworth had made known his errand to the neighbors, and the boys probably thought that he was going to bring home his pension money and so made their plans to waylay and rob him. But the money Farnsworth had on his person could not have exceeded 2 or 3 dollars. There had been ill feeling between the boys and Farnsworth before. He had not got along happily with his wife, being frequently jealous, it is thought by some, without cause, and the fellows had taken her part.

They have been heard to threaten him on her account. Dwight, who was married and lived with his wife in a house on his father’s farm, took away with him two suits of clothes, but young Davenport is not known to have carried away only such clothes as he happened to have on, and left behind a little money and a bank book.

Wed. aft. upwards of 50 men were out scouring the woods of Coleraine, Whitingham and Heath, under Officers Henry A. Howard of Coleraine and Deputy Sheriff [?] S. Frost of Shelburne Falls, and the search by some of the party was kept up all night, but was fruitless. Dwight and Davenport are both familiar with the woods for miles around, having hunted and roamed over them together.

http://www.franklins...hotossmcleodpond.php

It was thought that perhaps the fugitives had gone in the direction of North Adams, and an officer was sent there Thurs. morning, while the general search was partly abandoned. Though the young ruffians may evade their pursuers for a while, it is hardly possible to make a successful escape. Their photographs and descriptions will be sent broadcast. The Selectmen have offered a reward of $500 for their recovery, and mean to bring them to justice.

As there is no coroner in the vicinity, S.D. Bardwell Esq. of Shelburne Falls, as a Justice of the Peace, summoned a jury to view the remains. The jury consists of Hezekiah Smith, C.W. Shattuck, A.A. Smith, Thomas D. Purrington, H.C. Millington and Russell J. Smith. They visited the scene of the murder Wed. aft., and will meet again today, when probably a verdict in accordance with the facts we have related will be rendered.

Farnsworth’s funeral took place Thurs. morning and was largely attended by the people of the town. Rev. Mr. Cole, the Methodist clergyman of Coleraine, conducted the services. Farnsworth leaves a boy of 9 and a girl of 7. His age was about 35, and his mother, with whom he lived, is about 75. The family, though poor and ignorant, were considered of average respectability. The mother of the Davenport boy has always opposed his keeping company with Dwight, who is generally supposed to have been the leader in the matter, but the two were together a great deal, and had become hardened and desperate.

A note received by J.B. Clark, one of the Selectmen of the town on Sat., stated that there was no trace then of the murderers, but that the watch supposed to have been stolen by one of the boys, was found, and was in his possession.

Latest - Intelligence from Shelburne Falls yesterday, states that Dwight was caught about half past 10 Sat. eve. Half a dozen men were laying in wait for him around his house, and he came home at that time and fell into their clutches. The whereabouts of Davenport is not known. Dwight was put into the lock-up at Shelburne Falls yesterday morning.

[A followup to this murder can be found on p. 371 of Google Books "Publications of the American Statistical Association", 1892 - 1893. There is also mention of the sentence on p. 5 of Google Books "Public Documents of Massachusetts", 1876].
 

Subjects: Animals / Reptiles, Children, Coleraine [now Colrain] (MA), Crime, Criminals, Economics, Family, Farmers & Farming / Flowers, Government, Greenfield (MA), History, Households, Law and Lawyers, Literature / Web Pages, Lost and Found, Massachusetts, Medical Personnel, Missing Persons, Mourning Customs, Murder, Names, Photographs, Police, Poor, Prisons

Posted by stew - Mon, Feb 9, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 6, 1875
6 executions at once



6 executions at once - 6 murderers, all young in years but old in crime, were hung on one gallows at Fort Smith, Arkansas Fri. These are their names: James H. Moore, Daniel H. Evans, John Whittington, white; Edward Campbell, colored; Samuel W. Favey, one quarter Cherokee, and Smoker Moonkiller, full blood Cherokee. Eight were originally sentenced, but one was killed while trying to escape, and the sentence of another was commuted to imprisonment for life.

[Photos of the 6 men and descriptions of their crimes can be found at http://www.nps.gov/f.../execution090375.htm The photo above is their executioner].
 

Subjects: African-Americans / Blacks, Astronomy, Crime, Criminals, Executions and Executioners, Murder, Names, Native Americans, Prisons, Racism, Robbers and Outlaws, Smoking and Tobacco

Posted by stew - Sat, Feb 7, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 6, 1875
A domestic tragedy in Pennsylvania

The village of Silver Springs, Pa. has its domestic tragedy. Jerome Wilcox and his wife, neither of whom were better than they should be before or after marriage, after a year of wrangling separated a few months ago. The woman at once took up with another man, and was out walking with him late the other night, when Wilcox, who had learned of their intimacy, met them in the road, and drawing a knife stabbed his wife 5 or 6 times, inflicting probably fatal wounds, and then going a little further cut his own throat from ear to ear. The other fellow, at first sight of the knife, took to his heels, leaving the woman to the mercy of her enraged husband.
 

Subjects: Courtship, Crime, Criminals, Marriage and Elopement, Murder, Roads, Suicide, War / Weaponry, Women

Posted by stew - Sat, Feb 7, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 6, 1875
A fearful tragedy

In the northern part of Ulster County, on a southern spur of the Catskills, is the village of Pine Hill, where Abram Symonds lived. His only human companion was a daughter, whom he kept aloof from young society, and made of her a veritable recluse. Symonds liked to exhibit his autocratic power over his household, but it is not known that he was ever cruel. The relations of the father and daughter were also, so far as outward appearances went, most cordial and pleasant.

The girl seemed to bow to the will of her parent without a murmur. On Fri. night Nathan Peet, son-in-law of Symonds, called at the house, and seeing no one about, not even the dog, began to search about the premises. Entering the kitchen he saw Miss Symonds lying on the floor dead, and an ax lay on a table in the room, covered with blood.

She had been stricken down from behind. After a short search Symonds was traced to the woods near by, where his body was found lying across a log with his throat cut from ear to ear. Lying near the feet of his dead master was the old shepherd dog, his jugular vein was also severed.

From the trail of blood that could be seen heading to the log from a spot about 20 ft. away, it was evident that the dog's throat had been cut there, and that he had dragged himself to the feet of his old master to die.

[Jeez, this stuff is bloody and horrible! But then again, so darn interesting...].
 

Subjects: Animals / Reptiles, Crime, Criminals, Family, Households, Murder, Suicide, Trees

Posted by stew - Fri, Feb 6, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 6, 1875
News of the week

William Pangburn [also seen as William Pangborn] the man who chopped off his wife’s head in July last, has been sentenced at Bangor Me. to 10 years in State Prison. His extreme old age, 83 years, explains the apparent leniency of the sentence.
 

Subjects: Crime, Criminals, Murder, Prisons, Wife Abuse, Women

Posted by stew - Fri, Feb 6, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 30, 1875
What savages think of twins

In Africa according to Dr. Robert Brown ("Races of Mankind") the birth of twins is commonly regarded as an evil omen. No one, except the twins themselves and their nearest relatives, is allowed to enter the hut in which they first saw light. The children are not to play with other children, and even the utensils of the hut are not permitted to be used by any one else.

The mother is not allowed to talk to any one not belonging to her own family. If the children both live till the end of the 6th year, it is supposed that Nature has accommodated herself to their existence, and they are thenceforth admitted to association with their fellows. Nor is this abomination of twin births restricted to Africa.

In the island of Bali, near Java, a woman who is so unfortunate as to bear twins is obliged, along with her husband, to live for a month at the sea shore or among the tombs, until she is purified. The Khasias of Hindostan consider that to have twins assimilates the mother to the lower animals, and one of them is frequently put to death.

An exactly similar belief prevails among some of the native tribes of Vancouver Island. Among the Ainos, one of the twins is always killed, and in Arebo in Guinea, both the twins and the mother are put to death (Popular Science Monthly).
 

Subjects: African-Americans / Blacks, Animals / Reptiles, Birth Control, Births, Cemeteries, Children, Crime, Curiosities and Wonders, Cutlery, Family, Households, Light, Literature / Web Pages, Luck, Murder, Native Americans, Rivers / Lakes / Oceans, Science, Women, Superstition, Canada, Geography

Posted by stew - Sun, Jan 18, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 30, 1875
News of the week

The attempt of Patrick H. Masterson upon his own life and that of his divorced wife at New Haven, Ct. on Sun. was one of the most atrocious affairs in the history of the city. It was all done on a public street, and Masterson was obliged to chase the woman before he could get her within reach of his knife. He supposed that he had finished her the first time he stabbed her, but seeing her start up after he had stabbed himself, he started for her again, cursing her as he ran, the blood meanwhile pouring from his neck. The fact that he was knocked down evidently alone prevented him from killing the woman. He had previously tried to kill George Kirtland, father of the woman.
 

Subjects: Connecticut, Crime, Divorce, Murder, Roads, Suicide, Women

Posted by stew - Sun, Jan 18, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 30, 1875
News of the week

Col. Wheeler, a wealthy cattle dealer of Texas, was recently killed by a party of cattle thieves who had run off some 500 of his cattle.
 

Subjects: Animals / Reptiles, Crime, Criminals, Murder, Rich People, Robbers and Outlaws

Posted by stew - Mon, Jan 12, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 23, 1875
News of the week



The wife of Capt. Phill Bessenger of Reading, PA, accompanied by her 3 children, two boys and a girl, aged respectively 9, 6, and 3 years, left her home Tues. aft., and walking up the tow path of the Union canal to near Grings Mill, 3 miles north of the city, and deliberately walked in and drowned herself and children. The bodies were discovered.
 

Subjects: Accident Victims, Business Enterprises, Canals, Children, Crime, Criminals, Family, Murder, Rivers / Lakes / Oceans, Suicide, Women

Posted by stew - Thu, Jan 8, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 16, 1875
Black King of Niam Niam



In an account of his adventures in the Upper Nile, Col. Long of the Egyptian Army, says that the black king of Niam Niam decapitated 30 of his subjects in honor of the visitor, who also accepted a girl as a royal gift. Through an interpreter she said "I want very much to go with you, but it must be on condition that you will not eat me". The colonel said he wouldn’t eat her on any consideration.

[This little gem appears to be taken from a book entitled "Centennial skyrockets: a series of flights, fancies and facts" by Rev. Titus Joslin. Wikipedia has an explanatory page about the Azande: "This name is probably of Dinka origin, and means great eaters in that language (as well as being an onomatopoeia), supposedly referring to cannibalistic propensities. This name for the Azande was in use by other tribes in Sudan, and later adopted by westerners. Naturally, today the name Niam-Niam is considered pejorative"].
 

Subjects: African-Americans / Blacks, Crime, Criminals, Executions and Executioners, Explorers, Heritage Activities, History, Literature / Web Pages, Murder, Names, Racism, Religion, Rivers / Lakes / Oceans, Royalty, War / Weaponry, Women, Words, Arabs

Posted by stew - Tue, Jan 6, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 16, 1875
Hawley



Rev. A.F. Ashley and family, of Illinois, are spending a few weeks in this place. He has preached in both parishes with acceptance. Mrs. A. was a native of this town, and a daughter of the late Otis Longley, who emigrated to Lawrence, Kansas, where he was inhumanly murdered in his own dooryard, by Quantrel's [i.e. Quantrill's] raiding band.

[See Wikipedia for more about William Quantrill].
 

Subjects: Amusements, Crime, Criminals, Emigration and Immigration, Family, Murder, Religion, Robbers and Outlaws, Vacations, War / Weaponry, Hawley (MA)

Posted by stew - Sat, Jan 3, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 16, 1875
News of the week

Raleigh, North Carolina has had a sensation in the capture of James Smith, the murderer of his mistress, Hepsey Austin, and a friend of Scott Partin, a notorious murderer, who is still at large. The crime of the later was one of peculiar atrocity. He took his wife and child, 10 months old, to a forest, where having killed them, he attempted to conceal his villainy by chopping them into small pieces and burning them; but finding this too slow, he thrust them into a morass, and in order to prevent the discovery of the crime by the flying of vultures to the spot, he drove a neighbor's cow to the place and killed her for the vultures to feed upon.
 

Subjects: Animals / Reptiles, Birds, Crime, Criminals, Family, Farmers & Farming / Flowers, Fires, Murder, Police, Trees, Women

Posted by stew - Sat, Jan 3, 2009

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 16, 1875
News of the week



The big flour miles of Lerdio Brothers at Callao, Peru were burned July 26, and two Chinamen who were chained to a wall in one of the buildings for attempting to break their labor contracts were roasted alive.
 

Subjects: Accident Victims, Business Enterprises, Crime, Family, Fires, Food, Labor Unions, Organizing, Latin America, Murder, Racism, Strikes and Lockouts

Posted by stew - Mon, Dec 29, 2008

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 9, 1875
A mystery cleared up

Discovery of the mutilated remains of a missing man - The people of the quiet farming village of Petersham were greatly excited Sat., by the discovery that a most horrible murder had been committed in their midst by a farmer named Frost, a recent settler in the neighborhood, the victim being his own brother-in-law, named Frank Towne. The particulars of the bloody affair are as follows:

About 3 years ago the man Frost settled on a farm in the south part of the village, his family consisting of himself, wife, 4 children and the above named Towne, who was employed as hired man. This Towne, after laboring about a year, went off, it being generally understood that he had been unable to collect of Frost the amount of $300 due him for work. Last spring Towne reappeared, and made arrangements with Frost to hire the farm and work it himself. He restocked it, adding considerably to its value. Under the new arrangement matters went on until the 4th of July last, upon which morning both men went to the barn to milk the cows.

Returning alone shortly thereafter, Frost said Towne had gone on the hill to salt the cattle. As days passed and Towne did not appear the surprise of the neighbors was aroused, but Frost allayed temporarily all suspicion by saying that Towne had gone to Worcester where he, Frost, was to meet him to settle with him. Several incidents, however, together with Towne’s non-appearance, and the bad terms which were known to exist between the two men, led to suspicion and finally to quiet examinations and inquiries.

Frost in the meantime conducted himself in a rather strange manner not calculated to allay the suspicion of his neighbors. He was often mysteriously employed at the barn nights, never giving satisfactory accounts of the nature of his work there. This state of affairs continued up to last Friday when Frost was seen mysteriously engaged in digging a cornfield. A colored man seeing him thus at work went up to the place the next night, Sat., and found a fresh mound of earth and a piece of sack sticking out of it. Remembering the reports concerning Frost, and suspecting at once he had clue to the mystery, he gave alarm and in a short time 30 or 40 neighbors were assembled in the cornfield.

Examination was made, the sack dragged out and in it was discovered the ghastly, worm-eaten remains of a human body, or part of it, consisting of the trunk and upper part of the legs. The horrified searchers made further examination and found, several feet distant, the head of the unfortunate man, badly worm-eaten, and having behind one ear the marks of a terrible wound. The mystery was unraveled. The remains were at once identified as those of Frank Towne, and no doubt existed in any mind as to the identity of the murderer.

Sheriff Bothwell [most probably Sylvander Bothwell] of Barre was notified. On his arrival search was at once began for Frost who had disappeared. His wife was, or pretended to be, ignorant of his whereabouts, but after diligent search the murderer was discovered early Sun. morning, concealed in rubbish in the garret of his house. He took his arrest coolly, refusing to give any account of himself, and insisting that Towne had gone from Worcester to Washington. He was taken to Barre and safely confined.

Putting circumstances together the evidence seems clear that the fateful deed was committed on that July morning in the barn, when a quarrel is supposed to have taken place between the two, Frost finally knocking down Towne with a single blow from a sledge hammer, the wound at the back of the head showing it came from such an instrument. Frost’s frequent night labors in the barn is now accounted for by the supposition that he was then engaged in cutting up and burying his victim.

Becoming alarmed at the suspicion of the neighbors he is supposed to have removed part of the body to the cornfield. He refuses to tell where the rest of the body is concealed. In the cellar of the house a pocket book belonging to Towne was found, and within it a note against Frost for the amount of $300. Closer examination in the barn disclosed clots of dried blood, tufts of hair, and other unmistakable evidences that the dread crime had been committed there. (Athol Transcript).

[Whew! This one was tough to identify. But I finally found an article about it in the Aug. 6, 1875 New York Times online index, under the title "Shocking murder at Petersham Mass." The murdered man is named Frederick P. Towne, and the murderer S.J. Frost or Samuel J. Frost. Frost was the last man executed in Worcester in May of 1876].


 

Subjects: African-Americans / Blacks, Animals / Reptiles, Athol (MA), Barber / Hair, Beverages, Crime, Criminals, Economics, Executions and Executioners, Family, Farmers & Farming / Flowers, Garbage, Households, Insects, Literature / Web Pages, Lost and Found, Massachusetts, Missing Persons, Murder, Obituaries, Police, Prisons, Work

Posted by stew - Sun, Dec 21, 2008

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 9, 1875
News of the week

A man named Hurst killed his wife at White Cloud, Kan. last week. They had been married only about 6 months and had separated. On Thurs. aft. he went to the house where his wife was staying, called her out to the fence, put his arms about her, kissed her affectionately and then cut her throat with a large pruning knife. He was arrested, and the officers had great difficulty in preventing the populace from lynching him. He is now in jail at Troy, and pretends to be crazy. http://www.legendsof.../OZ-WhiteCloud2.html
 

Subjects: Crime, Criminals, Households, Insanity, Marriage and Elopement, Murder, Prisons, Wife Abuse, Women, Vigilance Committees

Posted by stew - Sun, Dec 21, 2008

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 9, 1875
News of the week

New developments in the Nathan murder case have been made by a New York ex policeman; he implicates Washington Nathan in the crime.

[See the New York Times article "Washington Nathan Dead", July 27, 1892].
 

Subjects: Crime, Criminals, Family, Murder, Police, Robbers and Outlaws

Posted by stew - Sun, Dec 21, 2008

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 2, 1875
Wife abuse

There was another illustration in the court of general sessions recently of the way a woman will lie to save her husband, no matter how badly he abuses her. Thomas Sprott was placed on trial, charged with trying to kill his wife by throwing her out of a third story window on to a pavement; two of the neighbors testified to seeing him pushing her out, and striking her hands when she laid hold of the window sashes till she had to let go, though fortunately an awning broke her fall; and all this within 4 days after she had given birth to a child, and at the hands of a man who had been arrested for beating her only a few days before her confinement.

Yet, when put on the stand, Mrs. Sprott swore that her husband never threw her out of the window - she must have fallen out in delirium - and was uniformly kind and loving. The jury, however, found him guilty without leaving their seats, and he was sentenced to 10 years at hard labor in State Prison.

[See the New York Times Online index article entitled "A brutal husband punished" in the July 20,1875 issue].
 

Subjects: Births, Children, Courts, Crime, Criminals, Furniture, Glass / Windows, Insanity, Murder, Police, Prisons, Wife Abuse, Women, Words

Posted by stew - Sun, Dec 21, 2008

Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 2, 1875
Edwin W. Major

Edwin W. Major of Wilton N.H. will be tried for the alleged poisoning of his wife last winter, at Nashua in Sept. The remains of Ellen Lovejoy, sister of his wife, who is also thought to have been poisoned by Majors 5 years ago, have been exhumed and the stomach sent to Boston for analysis.

[It was strychnine. Read the whole story at Internet Archive's "Wharton and Stille's Medical Jurisprudence].
 

Subjects: Boston (MA), Cemeteries, Crime, Criminals, Family, Law and Lawyers, Literature / Web Pages, Medical Personnel, Murder, New Hampshire, Poisoning, Science


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