Friday, February 4, 2011

The Christie Warden Murder

A photograph of a man lying on a cot.On July 17, 1890, Andrew Warden, a farmer in the Hanover area, took on a hired hand who called himself Frank Almy.  Almy was actually a convicted felon named George Abbott who had escaped from prison in Winsdor, VT, three years before.  He began courting Christina, known as Christie, one of the Warden's daughters and exchanged several gifts with her.

In April the following spring, Almy was fired by the Wardens due to lack of work to be done on the farm.  He left the area for Boston, but returned in June obsessed with the idea of seeing Christie again.  He hid himself inside the Warden's barn and made several attempts to see her during the next month.  Finally, on July 17, 1891, he encountered Christie, her sister Fanny, her mother, and a friend walking home from a Grange meeting.  He pulled Christie from the group at gunpoint and dragged her off the road, where he shot her and then escaped.

After searching for a month, Almy was discovered hiding in the Warden's barn.  He was severely wounded and finally captured after a standoff of several hours and then taken to the Hanover Inn, where a crowd of 1500 demanded to see "the monster."  The photo above shows Almy lying on a cot during this event.  The photograph below is of the crowd outside the barn during his capture.

An outside photograph of a large crowd.

Almy was convicted of murder and hanged on May 16, 1893.

There are several sources of information about the murder.  Ask for the vertical and photo files labeled "Warden, Christie."  Newspaper clippings of the events can be found in a scrapbook compiled by Harold Gibson: DC Hist LD 1438.8 .G5  There is also a small collection of manuscript material: MS 761

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kept at Room Temperature...

An apparently empty plastic bag with a paper label declaring it to hold snow from the world's largest snowman.The 100th anniversary of Winter Carnival, the impending major winter storm, and the building of the snow sculpture on the Green has us thinking about snow. We toyed with an entry on the Blizzard of 1888, but learned it wasn't so bad here in Hanover compared to the rest of the country (just 25 inches of snow and light winds). We also thought of Wilson Bentley, a Jericho, Vt, farmer who set out to prove that no two snowflakes are alike, but then we learned he had no Dartmouth connection. Then it came to us, one of our favorite non-items in the collection: a bit of snow from the world's largest snowman from 1987.

For Winter Carnival in 1987, Dartmouth students decided to break the Guinness world record for largest snowman. After the snowman was confirmed to be the largest ever, bits of it were packaged up and sold as souvenirs. We have one, but the artifact has lost some of its luster over the years. "Kept at room temperature," as our catalog record so helpfully notes, and stored in a non-airtight container, our bit melted and evaporated years ago. What is left is the container, an air-filled bag with only a few stray water molecules left of the once grand snowman.

Come see it--or see what it was, by asking for Realia 151.