New Hampshire Epitaph: Killed With An Axe By An Insane Brother

Tombstone of Gilman Spaulding, found in the Central Cemetery of New Ipswich, NH.  Photograph by Judy, originally posted on Find-A-Grave.  Used here with her written permission.

Tombstone of Gilman Spaulding, found in the Central Cemetery of New Ipswich, NH. Photograph by Judy Hohenadel, originally posted on Find-A-Grave. Used here with her written permission.

An epitaph on a stone located in Central Cemetery in New Ipswich, New Hampshire is succinctly understated:

“Mr. Gilman
Spaulding
was kill’d with an ax
by an insane Brother,
Sept. 19, 1842
AEt. 38.”

I was recently contacted about this by an email of John M. Poltrack. I became as curious as he was, and was determined to learn more. In September of 1842 several newspapers noted the event, all with the same oddly worded story.

Sketch of Axe--The New York Public Library Digital Collection, Arents Cigarette Card, Gallaher.

Sketch of Axe–The New York Public Library Digital Collection, Arents Cigarette Card, Gallaher.

Saturday, September 24, 1842 Bellows Falls Gazette (Bellows Falls VT) Vol 4, Issue 201, Page 2.  There is a rumor afloat of a most mournful and shocking affair having occurred in Windham VT on Sunday last.  It appears that a partially insane person by the name of Spaulding, of New Ipswich in this State, left his home a short time ago and went to Windham. Last week his brother went there after him for the purpose of bringing him back. On Sunday morning he was standing in a shed with him seemingly peaceable and quiet, when he received on his head a wound inflicted with an axe by the insane man, which caused his death in a few hours.  The insane brother has been lodged in Newfane jail to await his trial.–N.H. Sentinel.

Photograph: Brattleboro Insane Asylum, Brattleboro Vermont; The New York  Public Library Digital Collections; Robert N. Dennis collection of steroscopic views

Brattleboro Insane Asylum, Brattleboro Vermont; The New York Public Library Digital Collections; Robert N. Dennis collection of steroscopic views

The History of New Ispwich, New Hampshire contains a genealogical section, including that of the local Spaulding Family.  It identifies the two mentioned in the newspaper article as Gilman Spaulding killed by his brother Charles.

It appears from burial evidence that Charles Spaulding was committed to the Vermont Asylum for the Insane in Brattleboro, Vermont, for he is officially listed as a person buried there.  To date I have been unable to find the exact date of death for Charles, however the New Ipswich genealogy says it occurred after 1847.

Neither the murdered man, nor his sibling killer were married, and had no offspring.  Gilman Spaulding died intestate.  The New Hampshire probate records attest that his estate was administered by his brother-in-law, Phineas Carpenter, who was married to his sister Sophronia.  The probate court papers indicates that other than this sister (who deferred being administrator), there are no others entitled, or qualified to act as administrator, besides Phineas. Gilman Spaulding’s estate, after expenses amount to $843.69 [note that his funeral expenses were $9.54]

===PARTIAL GENEALOGY OF Gilman and Charles Spaulding===

Stephen-6 Spaulding (Thomas-5, Thomas-4, Henry-3, Andrew-2, Edward-1) [Follow this link for the family tree] born 1766, d. Feb 27, 1826; m. 19 February 1799 in Stoddard NH to Lucy Farnsworth , daughter of Harbour & Lucy (Hale/Heald) Farnsworth. She was b 22 January 1780 in Groton MA and d. 27 January 1852.  He succeeded to his father’s farm (XI: 3, S.R.). He is buried in Central Cemetery, New Ipswich NH beside his wife, with his son Gilman nearby.
Children of Stephen & Lucy (Farnsworth) Spaulding:
1. Isaac Spaulding, b. abt 1798 NH, died after 1865 probably Saratoga Springs NY; was a cabinet maker, piano maker, and inventor at Saratoga [Saratoga Springs] NY. He married 1st) Sarah P. Milligan, dau of James & Jane (Prosser) Milligan.  She b. 1802 in Wilton NY and d. 14 Oct 1847.  He married 2nd, between 1848 and 1855 to Lillis/Lillie G. —. She was b. abt 1812 in Tompkins Co. NY, and died after 1865.
2. John Spaulding, b abt 1800, d. Feb 8, 1807
3. Lucy Spaulding, b. abt 1802, d. Apr 4, 1817
4. Gilman Spaulding, b. abt 1804; d. Sept. 19 1842; unm. He was killed by his insane brother Charles.
5. Charles Spaulding, b. abt 1806; d. in insane asylum after 1847, unm; buried at the Brattleboro Insane Asylum Cemetery, Brattleboro, Vermont.
6. Sophronia Spaulding, b abt 1808, d. She d. 1 July 1886 in Belvidere VT; m. Dec 3, 1839, Phineas Carpenter of Belvidere VT, son of Phineas & Cynthia (Hodgkins) Carpenter.  Their children (1) Sarah Jane Carpenter, b. 22 Aug 1840 in Belvider VT and d. 1867 in Belvider VT; (2) Henry Carpenter, b. 9 Dec 1841, died 1866; (3) Frederick Carpenter, b. 9 July 1843 in Belvidere NY, killed during the Civil War.
7. John Spaulding, b. 1810 d. March 11, 1811
8. Henry Spaulding, b. 1812, d. July 1814
9. Almira Spaulding, b. June 19, 1816, d. Aug 14, 1887 in New Ipswich NH; m. Jan 19, 1847 Joel B. Hildreth. He was b. abt 1818 in VT and died 25 Sep 1889 in New Ipswich NH. In 1870 living in New Ipswich NH with children: Lucy J. Hildreth (b abt 1849), Mary A. Hildreth (b abt 1854), and George C. Hildreth (m. 1895 to Mary Aker-Deyell).
10. Ruth Spaulding, b. abt 1818, d. about 1834

***ADDITIONAL READING***

Vermont Dead Line: Brattleboro Retreat Cemetery (blog)

Brattleboro History: Brattleboro Retreat Cemetery

 

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2 Responses to New Hampshire Epitaph: Killed With An Axe By An Insane Brother

  1. Pingback: Cemetery Saturday : Tragic epitaphs at Village Cemetery in New Ipswich, NH | Poltrack Pix

  2. The Vermont Phoenix for September 23, 1842 recorded this affair of a Sunday morning—

    Melancholy Occurrence.— Mr. Charles Spaulding of New Ipswich, N. H. who has been insane for the last few years, wandered from his home a short time since and came to Windham in this State. On the 20th inst. he was found by his brother, who was about to take him home. In the mean time the insane man slyly took an axe unnoticed by his brother, knocked him down, and then struck him several times with the axe, which wounded him so that he survived but a short time. The insane man was immediately taken and placed in the jail in this County. He now appears to be wholly unconcerned, says he is glad that he killed him and intends to kill another brother and a sister.

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