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Brookfield, Massachusetts

Spooner Well

Monument on the spot where in 1778, Bathsheba Spooner had her husband Joshua killed and dumped down his own well 

In 1778 in the town of Brookfield, MA, a woman named Bathsheba Spooner hired a trio of soldiers to kill her husband. Various motivations for the crime have been bandied about, all of which are the usual reasons why a wife might murder her husband.

The men, two of whom were British soldiers and the third a continental soldier, beat Joshua Spooner to death and then dumped him down his own well. However, it was a sloppy operation, and all the conspirators were soon caught. The trial took place in nearby Worcester, MA. The conspirators were all hanged, despite the fact that Bathsheba claimed to be pregnant. After a pre-mortem examination by midwives, she was deemed to be not with child; however, a post-mortem reveled that she was, in fact, five months pregnant.

At some point, the actual murder scene was marked for posterity. It can be found on East Main Street, outside the center of the town of Brookfield. It’s a few feet off the side of the road adjacent to a field. The marker is a simple, white, rectangular slab bearing the text: “Spooner Well—Joshua Spooner murdered and thrown down this well March 1, 1778, by three Revolutionary soldiers at the urging of his wife Bathsheba. All four were executed at Worcester, July 2, 1778.”

Joshua Spooner’s actual grave can also be found in Brookfield, off West Main Street in Brookfield Cemetery, not too far from Spooner Well. The grave is in the northwestern part, against the stone wall that parallels the street. His epitaph also tells the tale of his murder.

Adapted with Permission from: The New England Grimpendium by J.W. Ocker

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