Did Peddler’s Murder in 1820s Spark Supernatural Events?

DATELINE:  New Book on Historical Murder

 millmurderkindlecover

Murder at Mill Circle is a shocking tale of a haunted neighborhood.

Crime, passion, murder, and literary celebrities like Henry David Thoreau, provide a backdrop to the deaths and cursed lives of residents in a small New England neighborhood during early 19th century and the mineral spring at the epicenter of trouble. 

This is a book that could not be written twenty years ago, nor even ten years ago. The proliferation of family histories online from sites like Ancestry.com and Find-a-Grave have allowed researchers the luxury of looking at sources across the country instantly.

Instead of traveling to murky library dungeons, all the work can be painstakingly completed in the comfort of one’s home office.

Granted, there is difficulty in solving a 200-year old murder when the name of the victim is unknown, the date of the killing is not established, and the witnesses are all dead. Fortunately, the murder occurred across the street from our charming home. Our former, dead neighbors left their names on census forms and deeds. We found them easily enough.

If there is anything shocking in old records, it is discovering who died when. The juxtaposition of names is often revealing. So, too, is learning who hightailed it out of town around the time of the murder in the 1820s.

You may find it interesting to learn that Mill Circle was kind of a Peyton Place, not far from New Hampshire’s border—and had a bit of Harper Valley thrown in.

Peddlers were the 19th century social media. When one of them gave you a bad review, the gossip could do in your hotel, tavern, or mineral spring instantly. The peddlers were not unionized, but they did socialize at every wayside inn they found along New England roads.

We admit we were surprised at what we found as we moved toward offering a theory on who-done-it. We have put together the history of Mill Circle’s residents, houses, mineral spring, and social network. It provided us with a likely theory of who was murdered, why, and by whom.

Now available on amazon.com in paperback and in e-book format for smart readers.

 

Biography and history.

Another in a series of books about Mill Circle at Winchendon Springs by Dr. William Russo, resident.

A Grand Barn Opens Its Doors for a Day!

DATELINE: Mill Circle’s Treat

 Great Barn

For the first time in many years, the Great Barn of Mill Circle was opened to the public.

And, crowds came out for a “barn sale,” of many items collected over the past four decades by the previous two owners.

old homestead  Barn Sale!inside

Of all the curios, we were able to purchase a replica signage of the Old Homestead Tavern that graced Mill Circle from 1820 to 1827 when the stage depot and inn that catered to peddlers went into folklore as a haunted house. The original draw was a mineral spring called immodestly, “The Virtuous Spring.”

The house is long gone, but its companion barn still stands, impressive. Many visitors were extremely curious about its age and history. We were able to tell a few that we had written the barn’s history a few years ago. The book is available to those interested on Amazon under the modest title The Great Barn of Mill Circle.

A new book is forthcoming that details the barn’s role in the infamous murder of a peddler on the Fourth of July in 1826. It is called, not surprisingly, Murder at Mill Circle.

Those who came on this lovely June day were able to buy antiques, bric-a-brac and assorted junk, as suited their tastes, but they were not able to do a full tour of the barn. Its back section was shut. Its tack room closed to viewers who could not see inside. The stairs up to the loft and stable-boy’s apartment was blocked. A view directly up to the cupola was closed to audiences.

And yet, the visitors were awestruck by the architecture and solid construction that has weathered two centuries as the focal point of Mill Circle.

We think a murder victim was hidden in the cellar in 1826—and though his bones have escaped detection, we think the early graveyard of the neighborhood is in the rear. We’d need ground-penetrating radar to be sure if it is a cemetery of a few long-forgotten residents—and one murdered peddler.

And we want to share our extraordinary experience today with you.