1876 Mur­der Shocks Lo­cal Com­mu­ni­ties

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM - Mer­rick Belk­nap Spe­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion

Sum­merMer­rick Belk­nap writes: “I first be­came in­ter­ested in this case af­ter be­com­ing ac­quainted with Joseph Ma­heux of Stanstead. ‘Joe’ was a well­known lo­cal his­to­rian and did much to pre­serve Stanstead’s his­tory. He

first brought the story to my at­ten­tion over fifty years ago and we dis­cussed it many times in the in­ter­ven­ing years. It was his in­ten­tion to write a story about the case , but ‘the fickle fin­ger of fate…..’ I would like to ded­i­cate this con­tri­bu­tion to the mem­ory of Joe Ma­heux, a fine per­son,

ad­mired and re­spected by all who had the priv­i­lege of know­ing him”. was fad­ing into Fall when E.C. Hay­den left his job at the St. Leon Spring Ho­tel in late Au­gust, 1876. His des­ti­na­tion was Stanstead, then Derby Line. As events un­folded, they would shock these lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties as noth­ing has be­fore or since.

Ed­win Hay­den, well known in the area, was a na­tive of Mont­pe­lier, Ver­mont and had mar­ried Gertrude Spald­ing, daugh­ter of Levi Spald­ing of Derby Line. Four years pre­vi­ously. The mar­riage took place in Bos­ton, where he was then re­sid­ing. He ob­tained through this mar­riage the bulk of her es­tate, amount­ing to $40,000, which he soon squan­dered in un­prof­itable businesses and fast liv­ing. The cou­ple moved to Stanstead in 1874, where he leased the Rus­sell House (the Stud­dert Ho­tel), but, as a re­sult of poor man­age­ment, was forced to sur­ren­der the house within a year.

Dur­ing the pe­riod of their res­i­dence in Stanstead, it came to be known that he treated his wife with sever­ity and, even, bru­tal­ity. At about the time they left the ho­tel, she went to Bos­ton to visit a brother and sis­ter and then re­turned to Derby Line a few days later to visit an­other sis­ter, Mrs. Charles Brigham, and lo­cal friends. In the mean­time, Hay­den had been at St. Leon Spring, Que­bec, work­ing as a clerk in the newly opened board­ing house. Learn­ing that his wife was at Derby Line, he re­turned to Stanstead with the avowed in­tent of killing her if she re­fused to live with him. He met her on the street and ac­com­pa­nied her to Mrs. Brigham’s room at the Derby Line Ho­tel, where he tried to per­suade her to re­sume liv­ing with him. He swore that if she did not, he would kill her the next day. Be­ing ac­cus­tomed to his bul­ly­ing in or­der to ob­tain money, she did not at­tach suf­fi­cient im­por­tance to his threat as the se­quel demon­strates.

Gertrude Spald­ing, daugh­ter of Levi Spald­ing

of Derby Line, and wife of Ed­win C. Hay­den

Ed­win C. Hay­den, The hus­band of Gertrude Spald­ing.

Levi Spald­ing, 1805 – 1871, fa­ther of Gertrude Spald­ing of Derby Line.

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