COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 3 of 4)

(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) After all that time on the Internet, and with eight pages of notes what did I learn and what do I really know? Let me break it down.

What I'm sure of (or at least reasonably sure of):

~ Coldbrook Springs no longer exists as a town and is now part of watershed land for the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC).
~ Baldwinville is part of Templeton.
~ Frank and Lizzie's wedding date
~ Ethel Marion's birth date
~ Chester Irving's birth date
~ Lena Blanche's birth date
~ The children's death date
~ The children's burial place - Riverside Cemetery, Barre, MA
~ Name spellings are flexible (e.g. Naramore/Narramore, Lena/Lina).
~ Lucius Naramore's real estate was worth $8,000 and his personal estate was worth $5,000 in 1870, and his real estate was worth $4,000 and personal estate was worth $2,500 in 1860 (U.S. Census).

What I think I know, but I need to verify (or get more details):

~ Frank's birth date and birthplace
~ Frank's death date is after 1930, and he is probably buried in either Worcester or Winchester, NH.
~ Lizzie's birth date and birthplace
~ Birth dates and birthplaces for Charles Edward, Walter Craig, and daughter Elizabeth
~ Lizzie gave birth to seven children, six of whom were still living when the 1900 census was taken.
~ Josiah Craig's approximate birth date and wedding date
~ Craig family descendants still live in St. Andrew's, New Brunswick.
~ Lizzie worked in a boarding house in Baldwinville, MA.
~ Frank's father Lucius was married twice, and Minerva Warren was his second wife.
~ Frank's family in Winchester, NH were farmers and in the lumber business.
~ Lizzie was committed to the insane hospital in Worcester (There were two facilities, but I believe she was committed to what is now Worcester State Hospital.).
~ Templeton, MA paid for the funerals of the children.

Good to know, here say, or gossip, but might be worth following up on:

~ Lizzie worked as a domestic in Baldwinville, MA, Manchester, NH, and Eastport, ME.
~ Lizzie worked as a dressmaker.
~ Governor Curtis Guild, Jr. visited Lizzie at the insane hospital before pardoning her.
~ Lizzie had Frank arrested.
~ Frank was arrested for assaulting another man and fined $10.

Interesting to know:

~ Lizzie had to leave her family home in New Brunswick at an early age. Why?
~ Lizzie worked as a dressmaker until her eyes gave out.
~ Frank had not seen his half-brother for 13 years up until the time of the murders. Again, why?
~ Frank earned $12 a week, but was out of work for two months the winter before the murders.
~ The murders happened in March after a cold winter with little food for the family.
~ According to one newspaper report Lizzie was described as a large, handsome woman.
~ Frank and Lizzie's daughter Elizabeth was called Bessie.

In general, my standard operating procedure is believe nothing and verify everything. Over the years I've found errors in death certificates, marriage records, burial records, and census records. I try to double check everything or find multiple sources when I can. Also, as you can tell, I am interested in the details of people's lives beyond names and dates. What makes people tick? What were their day to day lives like? So where do I go from here?

The first thing I would do is go to the Worcester Public Library to verify what I already have with the Ancestry Library Edition and the NEHGS database. I would check the print version of the Worcester City Directories for information for Frank Naramore to track where he was living before and after 1930. The directories also (sometimes) provide death dates and removal dates and locations. If I find Frank's death date I could check the local paper for obituaries to discover additional information and his burial place. I could check the Worcester City Hall Clerk's Office for a death certificate. I'd review the microfilm for local newspaper articles about the crime. I'd check the border crossing lists between the United States and Canada to see if I could discover if Lizzie returned to New Brunswick after she was released from the insane hospital. Are hospital records available? My guess is no, but it couldn't hurt to check. Other potential sources of information include records for the towns of Templeton and Barre, MA and Winchester, NH. A library or historical society in St. Andrews, New Brunswick might have some information as well. Court records might be available and accessible. That just a start...

I discovered a lot of information. What I didn't discover is what happened to Lizzie Naramore after 1906 or 1907. I believe she worked for meager earnings in the Boston area and returned once to visit the graves of her children. One of the newspaper articles I read suggested she may have moved to a larger city such as Boston or New York to escape notoriety by disappearing into the crowd. She may have changed her name or returned to Canada.

The mystery continues...

Update 9/6/10: To see a transcription of Frank Naramore's obituary see my blog post Amanuensis Monday: Frank L. Naramore Obituary.

See Also:

COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 1 of 4)
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 2 of 4)
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 4 of 4)


chris said...

I stumbled upon the grave of the Naramore children while out running this morning. I had never heard of this tragedy. Have you been? I saw all the toys and other gifts all on and around the grave stone. It's quite a site.

Due to some financial challenges I was recently contemplating giving up my volunteer work at a homeless shelter. After seeing the grave and reading about the children, I decided to continue to help children who are in very challenging circumstances.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Chris - I have been to the marker and you are right, it is quite something. I really admire your work at the homeless shelter, and I'm glad my posts about the Naramores helped you to learn a little more about them. I also admire your dedication to keep working with the people at the shelter. Thank you so much for your comment. It's truly inspiring.