Maine Bicentennial


Peter Edes



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The account of Maine's first case of domestic violence mass murder as reported by outspoken printer and newspaper man, Peter Edes. On July 8, 1806, Betsy (Clifford) Purrinton and her children Polly, age 19; Benjamin, age 12; Anna, age 10; Nathaniel, age 8; Nathan, age 6; and Louisa, age 18 months, were murdered by James Purrinton during an alleged fit of religious fervor before he committed suicide. Fifteen-year-old Martha Purrinton was severely wounded during the attack but survived for three weeks, testifying as a witness against her father. She died July 30. The eldest Purrinton son, James, age 17, survived his wounds.

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Publication Date



Peter Edes


Augusta, Maine


Murder, Crime, Domestic Violence


United States History


Pamp 1284

Horrid Massacre !! : Sketches of the Life of Captain James Purrinton, who on the Night of the Eighth of July, 1806, Murdered his Wife, Six Children, and Himself : with a Particular Account of that Shocking Catastrophe : to Which are Subjoined, Remarks on the Fatal Tendency of Erroneous Principles, and Motives for Receiving and Obeying the Pure and Salutary Precepts of the Gospel



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