Lydia <I>Lothrop</I> Beadle

Lydia Lothrop Beadle

Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Death 11 Dec 1782 (aged 32)
Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Burial Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Plot Ancient burying ground (C-13-f)
Memorial ID 16480550 View Source
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Here lie Interred Mrs. Lydia BEADLE, Aged 32 Years,
Ansel Lothrop, Elizabeth, Lydia & Mary BEADLE, her children; the eldest aged 11 and the youngest 6 years, who, on the morning of the 11th of Dec'r, 1782, Fell by the hands of William BEADLE, an infatuated Man, who closed the horrid sacrifice of his Wife and Children with his own distruction.

~Pale, round their grassy bomb bedew'd with tears.
Flit the thin forms of sorrows, and of tears:
Soft sighs responsive swell to plaintive chords.
And Indignations half unsheath their swords.~

~Inscription written by Hon. John Davis of Boston~

Plot-Ancient Burial Ground C-13F


The murder of Lydia and her children was one of the first of it's kind in America. William Beadle was born in London, England and immigrated to America. He ran a number of successful businesses in various towns before moving to Weathersfield, CT, and becoming a successful merchant there. During the American Revolution he fell on hard times. Still he managed to keep up appearances while plotting to kill his family for three years. Beadle was a proud man, and was determined to avoid "mortification" of poverty. He felt that it was inconceivable that a man who had "once lived well, meant well and done well" should experience "poverty" and submit to be "laughed at". He considered himself "above the common Mould" Beadle felt that every man had a right to take his own life and that of his children. He had doubts about taking the life of his wife because she was not like his offspring. He felt the family would not survive without him and would have a better life. He considered himself to be a good father. Although he was not in poverty at the time (he had a maid at the time), he went through with the murders. He killed Lydia first and then the children. I will not describe what really happened here. After killing his family, he shot himself, a gun in each ear. The people of the town were so filled with anger, they took Beadle's body through the window of his house, placed it on a sled, without a coffin, and with his horse dragged it to the riverside and buried it between high and low water mark. That is why the administrator of Beadle's estate (Isaac Lothrop) only paid for 5 coffins and burials. The people of Wethersfield were reluctant to occupy the house and shop of William Beadle. For months before the murders Lydia had dreams in which she saw her children lying dead from violence. William took this to mean that the dreams were a signal from heaven that his plotting was correct. William left many writings that gave his thoughts leading up to the murders. That is why much is known about his thinking and rationale about the murders.

Update: While during some research I discovered that Lydia is a distant cousin of mine. She was born 12 Jul 1750 in Barnstable, Plymouth Co., MA. Her surname is Lothrop, and we have common ancestors, Rev. John Lathrop and Hannah House and Rev. Peter Bulkeley from another family line. Lydia was a direct descendant of John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley of Mayflower fame. She was their 4th great-granddaughter. Lydia's parents, and the children's grandparents were Ansel Lathrop and Mary Thomas. Lydia married Thomas Beadle in the First Congregational Church in Fairfield, CT on 15 Apr 1770. She was blessed with four children, but little did she know what was in store after her wedding day. Lydia's son Ansel was born 2 Feb, 1771 In Fairfield CT. That's all I know about the children's birthday's so far.

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