Thursday, November 10, 2005

Cause of Death: Acute Henpecking

From Henry Smith Chapman's History of Winchester, Massachusetts (Winchester, Mass., 1936), pp. 41-42:

There ought somewhere to be recorded the sad story of Tufts Richardson, a descendant of Ezekiel, who met his end by drowning himself in the Aberjona on November 16, 1826. Hardly six months before, the young man had taken unto himself a wife with whom, however, he seems to have lived unhappily. We have it on the authority of his kinsman, Nathaniel A. Richardson, who was a small boy when the suicide occurred, that its cause was this: Tufts' wife Mary had baked a number of loaves of brown bread, some of which turned sour before they were eaten. The young wife told her husband he must eat them up before any more loaves were baked. He refused; she insisted. In the end rather than eat the sour bread the harassed husband went out and threw himself into the river—perhaps the only case where a man carried his criticism of his bride's cooking to so desperate a length.

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