Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Infamous Smuttynose Axe Murders

If you've joined us on a tour of Smuttynose, or read some portions of our website, you've probably heard us mention the Smuttynose axe murders.  We don't really get into the story because we'd rather talk about beer, though we do sometimes mention the Anita Shreve novel, The Weight of Water and the film of the same name, which uses the murders as a narrative device.

Shreve wasn't the first person to write about the axe murders, which took place on March 6, 1873.  The poet Celia Thaxton recounted the tale in her essay, A Memorable Murder, which was originally published in The Atlantic Monthly, in May, 1875.  Thaxter grew up on the Isles of Shoals, where her father was a lighthouse keeper.  After marrying and moving to the mainland, Thaxter later returned to the Shoals and was living on them when the murders took place.  Though I didn't include it in this blog post (it's a bit long to paste or embed), you can read Thaxter's piece here.

I do want to include the The New York Times synopsis of the events, which is obviously much shorter.  Please note the correct spelling of "Smuttynose," as found on anything we've made.

There is a fair amount of information about the axe murders around the web, should you be inclined to learn more.  You can also visit the Isles of Shoals on one of the many charters that depart from Rye Harbor.  I went out last summer on the Uncle Oscar and they were fantastic.

Thanks for making yours a Smutty,


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