Saturday, January 27, 2007

An Ignominious Burial in Brunswick

From the History of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell, Maine:
Some time, probably between 1752 and 1770, one Ann Conner committed suicide by hanging herself from a pine-tree. The magistrate ordered (old Roman law) that she be buried where four roads met, and a stake be driven through her body. It was done on the Harpswell road a little way south of the college. It is said that, although it was in force at that time, this was probably the only instance when the law was put into execution in this country. [Source]
In legal terms, this was called an "ignominious burial." Later in the same book, we learn of a possible motive for Ann's rash action:
[1764.] This year an individual who desired baptism for his two children was obliged to make a public confession of his criminal intimacy with Ann Conner, who subsequently committed suicide. [Source]

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