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Colonial Cases

Maine

Otsego Herald, 13 July 1815

Further particulars of the Murder of Mrs. Adams, of Maine.

   On Friday, the 12th of May, Mrs. Adams, wife of Moses Adams, Esq. of Ellsworth, Sheriff of Hancock county, was murdered in a most shocking manner.  It seems, that dinner being over, all the children, the youngest about five years old, and also the family girl, went to school, as was usual, and that the young man of the house went to taker a horse home - thus leaving the house to Mr. and Mrs. Adams alone.  The house is several rods back from the main road, and is about a mile southerly from that of Mr. Langdon, who keeps the Post Office.  Some time afterwards Mr. Adams, with an usual gait, passed several persons, on his way from his own house to the post-office, where he arrived 15 minutes before 3 o'clock P.M.  On being invited, he took a moderate quantum of spirits and water from the waiter under the looking glass, and was observed to look uncommonly hard at himself in the glass.  As the mail was not expected by the post-master till 4 o'clock he left Langdon's, went into a store at some distance, apparently joined the company in conversation and told an anecdote. The mail having at length arrived, he called at the office for hi papers and letters, and went into another rook to peruse them.  In a few minutes a messenger arrived at the door, with the dreadful tidings that Mrs. Adams was murdered in an awful manner - first found by her own little son, on his return from school.  Soon Mr. Adams came in and enquired what was the alarm, and on being informed, said, come go with me and see.  He and others went together and together reached the house; they found 1 of the 2 outside doors, viz, the south or end one, bolted, and entered at the front door.  In the kitchen, near where the youngster left Mrs. Adams sitting and sewing, they found her covered with blood.  Most, or all of her wounds seemed to have been inflicted on her before she fell from the chair.  She was probably first attacked with a boot jack, (of black birch) with which she must have been smitten a great number of times, her skull was broken, and part of her hair driven into her head; two of her fingers were also broken - her arms bruised in a most shocking manner - and the boot jack was split into seven pieces.  She was also struck three or four blows with the edge of an axe - once partly on her shoulder - once on her side, and once or twice on her neck, which nearly severed her head from her body. - Such was the amiable, the pious Mrs. Adams, so lately almost the perfection of woman - by few envied, by all beloved.  As is the natural supposition, each one stood astounded!  Mr. Adams requested those present to lay he on the bed - to which one said, he thought better let her be as they found her, till an inquest was called, but Mr. Adams said, she is my wife, and must be taken up, and took her around her shoulders, and with some assistance laid her on a bed, and stooped  down apparently to kiss the woman, lovely even in death, after which it was noticed, that he had blood on his neck cloth and on his small clothes.   The neck cloth he afterwards shifted, and which [large ink blot] cannot be found.  He turned [..] desk [...] , said it had been rifled of his [pocket book], and of 100 dollars in specie  [...] [extremities] of the corpse when the ...

Published by Centre for Comparative Law, History and Governance at Macquarie Law School