Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Thorndike Slayer

When you research a book, for instance lets say
Return to Smuttynose Island, a standalone tale
of 2 Norwegian Women that got butchered with
an axe, one dark night in 1873; you are bound
to come across side stories along the way. This
is exactly what happened with my soon to be
released book on Axe murders of Maine. I found
out that when they hung Wagner on the Gallows,
he did not walk the road alone. He was
accompanied there and into eternity, with
a man from the small town of Thorndike.
Who 3 months after the fateful night on
Smuttynose, took an axe to his own brother,
sister-in-law and baby girl. This next article
is a teaser to the standalone chapter included
in the book which details the first articles,
the trial, and finally the execution alongside
Maine's biggest villain, Louis Wagner.



June 19, 1873

More About the Thorndike Slaughter.

The farm of the Gordon's lies on the road between Nelson Harmon's Corner and Thorndike Station distant less than half mile from each. It is pleasantly located with two-story house, a nice barn and convenient out buildings connecting the two. In this once happy home desolation reigns, and three lie cold in death, their mutilated bodies to be consigned to one common grave today at 10 o'clock. Crowds of people continue to visit the scene of the murder, and the funeral will be largely attended from adjoining towns, and the people of Thorndike will turn out en masse.

Almon Gordon was 26 years old, his wife 23. and the child killed outright was 17 months old, a fair-haired, curly-headed incarnate could strike--especially with such a bludgeon as an axe. The oldest a boy 5 years old lay in a crib in the same bedroom with its parents--the other child being in bed with them, and this received a blow from the edge of the axe, across the forehead cutting a deep gash clear across the forehead cutting a deep gash clear above the eyes mid way to roots of the hair, and from this cut, fractures of the skull extend transversely. Doubtless the murderer struck a glancing blow at this innocent as he lay in the sweet sleep of childhood, and seeing the bloody gash made supposed he had accomplished its destruction. The child was alive yesterday.

Almon Gordon has a bruise made by poll of the axe on his forehead near the hair, and a deep cut in top of the head made by the blade, where in his horrid earnestness for destruction, the wretch turned the instrument after stunning his victim and drove the blade into the brain, several minor bruises are also found upon his head, which shows the determination of the fiend who operated here.

Mrs. Gordon received a blow from the poll of the axe in the center of the forehead, which crashed in upon the brain, the whole poll of the heavy axe tearing through the skull.

The little child which was in the same bed had several bruises upon it, and is the most disfigured by fire of any of the bodies, being the last one rescued from the burning beds. It appears that the beds and bodies were sprinkled with kerosene oil previous to setting on fire.

The young man who worked on the farm, and who slept above, was by name, Ward, not Hunt as stated in my letter yesterday. There was also sleeping above a girl, a connection of the family, of some 8 or 10 years of age. The other child of the family aged 3 was sleeping with her. Ward, hearing strange noises below went down, and went to the bed-room door where the groaning issued, and where the bodies lay murdered. The axe lay partly over the threshold, but in dim light of the night he could make out nothing definitely; he saw nothing of John, who has since been arrested, and being aware of something dreadful, hardly knowing what, he took from the house like a frightened deer. When he had got some twenty rods John called to him to come back; luckily, perhaps, for him he kept on, and perhaps thus escaped being another victim. Seeing that alarm was about to be given, John called up the two girls, and sent them to the neighbors in haste to arouse them, as the house was on fire, he said.

It is supposed he was after kerosene or something else when Ward made the discovery of something wrong. The theory would seem to be good, that seeing alarm was raising he would send the girls, carry out furniture, and appear to be doing all possible to save things, thereby to avert suspicion. That if Ward had not awakened, the whole household would have been victims of one grand butchery.

Almon has lived at home some six years carrying on the farm with his father's help, and having no interest in it beyond a percentage of the crops. This spring he became dissatisfied and went down to Brigadier's Island to work, remaining there but a short time, leaving his family with his parents on the farm. The father then made a trade with John, when Almon left, to carry on the farm. John was expecting to be married soon. When Almon came back, a few weeks after going away, the father made a trade with him, giving him a deed of half the farm, upon conditions to be fulfilled by Almon. John, who is considered a dangerous fellow by the neighbors, was informed of the new order of things, and that he had better get a chance to work out the remainder of the season. He brooded over this, and his disappointment and desire for revenge, it is supposes has culminated in this unheard of crime. John is 28 years old. He had been stopping about home since Almon came back, not doing much, but loafing his time away down at the R. R. Station, and about the vicinity. He is now safely lodged in Belfast Jail. There is no shadow of doubt in the minds of the neighbors but that John committed the horrid deed.

A text book example of a monster. I believe in monsters. Anyone who can butcher women and children with an axe is a monster.
The Thorndike Slayer John T. Gordon is slipping into
the past, along with Maine's Most Famous Villian
Louis Wagner. My attempts to get their stories out there,
so that the victims might be remembered by the towns
and people that walk those historical streets, met with
little interest or acknowledgment. If you listen closely
you might hear the swing of an axe, or the muffled
cry of an innocent and then no more.

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