February 27, 2015

Murder in Wrentham

For over 25 years a grave stone in a graveyard behind an Italian restaurant in Wrentham MA haunted me.  On the gravestone were the words "Died from wounds received at the hands of her husband".  I wondered what happened that made the parents so angry as to put for all eternity these words on the stone of their beloved daughter.  She was only 21.  Today I discovered what happened.  The article of the times places blame on Caroline.  I want to note, the blame belongs in the hands of her husband and no other.  No matter what she might have done, she didn't deserve to die.  Census of 1860 George was in prison in Charlestown.

"Died Sept. 13, 1857 
from wounds received at
the hands of her husband”
From the Dedham Gazette on October 3, 1857:
"Caroline was killed by a shotgun blast to the chest in her mother’s home on West Street, on September 13, 1857, by her husband George who believed her to be unfaithful with a peddler by the name of Barrows.

George was a farm laborer, who worked on the farm of John A. Craig, Esg. a former Wrentham Selectman, who lived at 566 West Street.

He had previously separated from his wife after heated arguments but they were later re-united.

Caroline had know George from their schooldays. She had also known a somewhat older man, a peddler by the name of Barrows. At 20 years of age with with short curling hair, Caroline was considered beautiful, but had a bad reputation.

On the day of the murder George Lewis and the peddler Barrows had an argument and George went home in a rage, confronted his wife and struck her several times in the eye and face. She managed to escape with a horse and wagon and went to her mother’s home. George got a shotgun and followed her on his other horse. When George found his wife in the house he fired at her and missed, but the second shot hit her in the chest and knocked her to the floor. He then used the gun as a club and struck her in the head killing her outright.

When it was over he went to the farm of his employer and reported what he had done.

George R. Lewis was reportedly a mild and inoffensive man and had always Bourne a good character even though his mother had been divorced and married a black.

The sympathy of the people of Wrentham were with him at the time of the trial. He pled guilty to manslaughter.”