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Miser Gone Wild

This is an obscure story from an old Boston Almanac that took place in North Brookfield, Massachusetts. An alleged Miser, or more colloquially a penny-pincher or person that covets money, was determined to collect small sums of money from people that owed him, or kill them if they didn't pay up. At the end of the whole affair, he would kill himself and somehow burn his body and all of his earthly possessions. Presumably, murder would be the ultimate revenge for not being repaid money owed to him.

In April, 1841, a man sold most of his possessions, amassed all his cash and silver coin, and placed them in a trunk at a house in Brookfield. He then stacked a large pile of lumber in an adjacent field for which to burn all of his possessions, and then to kill himself on the same spot. The presumed Miser then went on a mission to collect from a few people that owed him money, and subsequently leave this world with all of his money. He was unsuccessful at murder, but succeeded at the secondary goal. The following was published in the Boston Almanac:

"A very curious of attempt at murder and suicide occurred at North Brookfield in in this State, Whipple [B.], who is described as being a miser in his disposition, appears to have cherished feelings of revenge against a few individuals who owed him small sums of money, and [was] determined to carry them out.

He obtained a load of wood and deposited it in a pasture in Brookfield, and left a trunk containing all his clothes and other property at a house near the spot. Having converted a few other articles into money, he took a wagon and went to North Brookfield, where he attempted to collect the sums due him, and [if] he failed [at collecting the money], to shoot the debtor with a pistol. In one instance he was prevented. In another he wounded, though not seriously, his object, and seeing him fall, took to his wagon and drove to the place where the wood was piled.

Having placed the trunk upon the pile he set this on fire, and placing himself so as to fall upon it, blew his brains out with a pistol, and was found dead the next morning much burnt. It appears to have been his object to destroy himself and his property to the last cent. Several ounces of melted silver were found in the ashes, and 70 or 80 dollars in bills and two watches in his pockets. There was no evidence that he was not perfectly sane throughout the whole, excepting the impression to be derived from the terror of the whole transaction."




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