West Boylston, Massachusetts

Our mission is to preserve the story of West Boylston. The Historical Society invites you to explore our history with us.

Wall Drawings at the bigelow tavern
from the
Bathsheba Spooner Murder Case

One of the Society's treasures is the series of drawings on the attic walls of the Bigelow Tavern showing the 1778 execution of the notorious Bathsheba Spooner.  Bathsheba Spooner was convicted of plotting the murder of her husband Joshua Spooner, a prosperous farmer who went missing on March 1, 1778.  She was hanged in Worcester, along with her three hit men on July 2, 1778.

At the end of the last century, while the building at 65 Worcester Street was being examined in an attempt to determine the its age, several large chalk drawings were found on the attic walls.  The drawings showed a woman and some men in detail.  Smaller pictures of a public hanging were on an opposite wall.  Public hangings were rare in Worcester - and none but the Spooner case involved a woman.  We seem to have discovered a contemporary depiction of the hanging of the most notorious criminal of the time.

It has always been difficult to show these pictures to the public, as the attic is not easily accessible.  Now the Society has near-life size reproductions which can be displayed on the first floor of the Bigelow Tavern.  Stop by and see for yourself!








Want to know more?

In the midst of the Revolutionary War, a well-known - but possibly not well-liked - prosperous farmer is murdered.  This unusual occurrence and a story involving British and American soldiers, a beautiful but un-happy wife and celebrity lawyers gripped Worcester County in 1778.  Read more about the events and the drawings in the Bigelow Tavern in A Dreadful Scene by Frank A. Brown.  Click here...

Hours of operation

The Historical Society is open every Thursday from 9:30 AM to 12:00 noon.