Herbert H. (Herbert Hiram) Hayden.

The Rev. Herbert H. Hayden; an autobiography. The Mary Stannard murder; tried on circumstantial evidence .. online

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Online LibraryHerbert H. (Herbert Hiram) HaydenThe Rev. Herbert H. Hayden; an autobiography. The Mary Stannard murder; tried on circumstantial evidence .. → online text (page 1 of 12)
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Rev. Herbert H. Hayden


Mary Stannard Murder








Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1880, by

in the OfSce of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.






Rev. Herbert H. Hayden (Portrait), 4

Introduction, ........... 5

Mr. and Mrs. Hayden and their Children (Portrait), ..... 16

Autobiography, ........... 17

First Goes to Rockland, .......... 25

The Stannard Family, .......... 30

Remarkable Incidents, .......... 35

Where Mar)' E. Stannard's Body was Found (Illustration), ... 40

Mr. Hayden in the Trial, ......... 41

The Spring (Illustration), ......... 52

Mr. Hayden's Rockland Residence in Summer (Illustration), ... 62

Mr. Hayden's Rockland Residence in Winter (Illustration), ... 72

Mr, Hayden's Story Continued, ........ 78

Mary E. Stannard (Portrait), ........ 82

The Knives in the Case (Illustration), ....... 95

Mr. Hayden's Testimony Closed, . . . . . . . . 106

Mary E. Stannard's Rockland Home (Illustration), ..... loq

Mrs. Hayden (Portrait), 118

Mrs. Hayden's Testimony, . . . . . . . . .119

Mr. Stevens's Residence (Illustration), . . . . . . . 125

The Counsel (Portraits), .......... 136

The Arguments, ........... 137

[From a photograph taken Dec, 1879.]


THE trial of the Rev. Herbert H. Hayden, of Madison, Conn.,
on a charge of murdering Mary Stannard, was begun in New
Haven on the 7th of October, 1879, and was not concluded till near
the middle of January, and, considering the time occupied, the
character of the evidence and other circumstances, it was one of the
most memorable trials in the court annals of this country. Public
interest in it became absorbed from the start ; and the wide-spread
knowledge of it and watchful curiosity to learn every phase of it
have been strikingly illustrated in the overwhelming correspondence
that the publishers of this book have received from one end of the
country to the other, making inquiries concerning the sale and price
of the work.

Readers will find in the testimony of Mr. and Mrs. Hayden, and
in the abstracts of the arguments of counsel, a record of the
leading events in the trial, together with the essential features of
testimony which formed the scheme of the prosecution and the
defensive elements on the other side. It has not been considered
necessary to follow in detail the whole mass of evidence, material or
speculative, which occupied the attention of the State throughout,
because very much was introduced manifestly in support of theories
which were finally not pressed. A sufficiently comprehensive idea
of the leading facts and material elements of the trial is given to
satisfy all readers — even those who have not pursued with care the
current record of the proceedings.

Mr. Hayden himself, from the start, maintained a calm faith in


the final result of the trial. He was never demonstrative, but
always self-assured and confident. As an example of this, the
following partial report of a conversation had with him in the New
Haven jail while the trial was in progress, and before the defence
had been heard, is given :

Mr. Hayden was asked if he should testify in his own behalf,
and he replied : " I certainly expect to."

Question — "You testified, I believe, at the hearing before Justice
Wilcox at South Madison in September, 1878 ?"

Answer — "I did."

Question—" Will your testimony be given substantially as it was
then ?"

Answer — " Of course it will. W'hat was true then is true now."

Question — " If you do not care to go over the grounds of that
testimony here, may I ask you what your feeling is with reference to
the result of the present trial ? "

Answer — " I have perfect confidence in the intelligence and
fairness of the twelve men who are to pass upon the case, and have
no fears as to the result."

Question — " Of course you must feel in your situation consider-
able anxiety, or at least occasionally some degree of nervousness or
impatience over the position you are in ?"

Answer — " Certainly. The deprivation of a man's liberty is,
under any and all circumstances, oppressive, and I have felt keenly
the embarrassment of my position at times ; but there has never
been a moment when I have had any fear of my final vindication."

Question — " In the progress of the trial there have been some
striking points, such as the abandonment of various theories, mani-
festly considered of some importance by the attorneys for the
State, which have certainly turned public opinion strongly upon
your side, and you must have watched them with considerable
interest ?"

Answer — " I have probably felt less interest in them, than the


public has, because from their very inception I knew there was no
foundation for them. I feel, however, that these various matters
which the State has from time to' time adhered to and then aban-
doned are all greatly to my advantage."

It was while in jail that Mr. Hayden, upon the advice of friends,
conceived the idea of writing his Autobiography, with reference to
the publication of a book concerning the trial, out of the sale of
which he might derive something toward liquidating the heavy obli-
gations incurred in his defence, besides getting means of support
for his family — himself, wife and three children. His life has
been a hard struggle, as all will admit who read the story of his
exertions to educate himself and do a good work in the world ; and
the noble devotion of his wife in assisting him to accomplish his
well-directed efforts, shows what that struggle was, and how much
of self-sacrifice there was in his life and what burdens he and his
devoted wife jointly bore. He had but just become established in a
field where he was able, by constant labor, to provide a comfortable
living for his family — and only just able. The work he had to do
was surprisingly great. Only those who have had the trials of a
country clergyman's place in a small parish can realize how much
work must be done to keep soul and body together.

In the midst of these trials and struggles he was taken on the
terrible charge of murder. He was kept in jail for nearly fourteen
months before his trial began. With no means of support, except
such as kind friends might furnish, his family was dependent ; but
there were Christian homes ready to receive the suffering wife and
children, and this provision for their comfort and care was a great
relief to the imprisoned husband. But there were expenses to be
borne of great magnitude — greater than was at first anticipated, by
reason of the prolonged length of the trial — and to aid in the can-
cellation of these is a motive which strongly governs Mr. Hayden in
the effort he now makes to derive an income and replenish his
empty purse.


Mr. Amos Cummings, a well-known journalist, who attended the
trial, prepared the following, which was published in the New York
Sun. It is given here for its general interest, and to show how an
impartial writer viewed the scenes and incidents of the trial :

The prosecution have examined one hundred and six witnesses,
and the defense seventy. In this array of witnesses Mrs. Hayden
stands the central figure. Her beauty, modest demeanor and posi-
tive language place her on the highest pedestal. Clad in a close-
fitting black dress that showed the symmetry of her form to
perfection, she stood like a statue with uplifted hands while the oath
was administered. For two days she retained remarkable self-
possession, and broke into tears only when Mr. Waller subjected
her to the terrible ordeal that drew upon him the indignation of
those whose sympathies are possibly untempered by the best of
judgment. The appearance of Susan Hawley, the half sister of the
murdered girl, presented a marked contrast to that of Mrs. Hayden.
Poor Susan's toilet was not in the best of taste. Her complexion
was sallow, and her small, gray eyes lacked the magnetism of the
expressive brown orbs of the clergyman's wife. One was a cultiva-
ted woman, and the other an untutored country girl. Susan burst
into tears under the pressure of a courteous but persistent cross-
examination ; Mrs. Hayden wept because Mr. Waller's pointed
interrogatories touched her to the soul. One wept from annoyance,
the other from pain. Susan was vacillating and hesitating, and at
times refused to answer annoying questions ; Mrs. Hayden answered
all questions promptly, fluently and grammatically. Susan Hawley
appeared on the stand five days, and Mrs. Hayden three.

Among the witnesses were twelve distinguished professors.
Eight were from Yale College. These eight were headed by Pro-
fessor Edward S. Dana, who occupied the witness stand five days.
Scientific blood coursed through his veins from the hour of his
birth. His mother is a Silliman, and his father a distinguished
savan. By right of birth alone he might lay claim to a seat in the


House of Lords of Yale College. On the witness stand he dis-
played the bearing and breeding of a scientific aristocrat. This was
apparently done unconsciously, and was probably due to a combina-
tion of conscious knowledge and youthful zeal. An unfortunate
slip of the tongue at the beginning of his long cross-examination
often returned to plague him. In answer to a question concerning
the microscopic measurements of arsenical octahedrons, under the
spur of a deft suggestion by his inquisitor, he said there was some-
thing about it that "no ordinary mortal could understand." This
expression was flung into the faces of other professors called by the
prosecution. It served as a sort of a scarlet banner to excite a gilt-
horned savan when all other means failed. Prof. Dana's answers
were clothed in a redundancy of adjectives. He never used a word
of one syllable when one of five would answer the purpose. His
explanations were mostly composed of Latin and Greek derivatives
strung on a scarcely distinguishable Anglo-Saxon thread. Robin
Hood's barn was brought into frequent play, and the route was
occasionally so sinuous that the professors lost their way, returned
to the original starting point, and took up the trail anew. Despite
these facilities of inexpression, Prof. Dana's testimony was of the
utmost interest and importance. He is probably the first man in
this country who has described the manufacture of arsenic.

Profs. Wm. Henry Brewer, of Yale, and Theodore G. Wormley,
of Philadelphia, were more felicitous in their explanations than Mr.
Dana. They are veterans in the ranks of science. Abstruse scien-
tific points were made so plain that a boot-black could understand
them. The lawyers caught them in no traps. Every pit-fall was
avoided, and the professors came out of the fog of cross-examination
with clear throats and sound lungs. Not so, however, with Prof.
Moses C. White. A more conscientious witness never stood before
a jury. He was" so conscientious that if asked if he had seen a
certain object, he would qualify his answer by saying that his eyes
saw it.


"Will you swear that your eyes saw it ? " his tormentor would

"I will swear that they saw it to the best of my knowledge and
belief, " the professor would cautiously respond.

"Will you swear that there is not the shadow of a jjossibility that
your eyes may have been mistaken ? "

" I will swear, to the best of my knowledge and belief, that I do
not think they were mistaken," the professor would reply.

" Will you swear, to the best of your knowledge and belief, that
there is not a shadow of a possibility that they may have been
mistaken ? Come, sir ; ye-s or no," persisted his interlocutor.

"I cannot give a positive answer," the professor would say.

Then the lawyers would kick up a dust, causing the jury to
either lose sight of the professor entirely, or to cati;h no more than a
glimpse of his meaning.

Worst of all, Prof. White, after a superficial examination of
a stone found near the body of Mary Stannard, had expressed the
opinion at the preliminary examination in Madison that it was
stained with blood. He had counted and measured some of the
corpuscles. After his examination, and before his appearance at the
trial in New Haven, he discovered that the stain was a moss or
lichen known as algae. Mr. Watrous, of counsel for defense, forced
him to make a public acknowledgment of his mistake. Nor did he
rest satisfied with this acknowledgment. Prof. White was called by
the prosecution six different times to testify to matters of scientific
import. First, it w-as concerning the arsenic ; next, the condition of
Mary Stannard's stomach ; then the gash in the throat ; anon, the
blood, pumpkin and pear stains on the various knives thrown into
the case ; after that the ovarian outgrowth ; and, finally, concerning
evidences of maternity. In each case the algai, jumping back, was
set in motion, to the confusion of the prosecution and the demorali-
zation of the rigidly conscientious professor. He feebly parried
the thrusts. At times Mr. Waller would run to his defence with an


argumentative claymore, but he was invariably driven to cover and
the effect of the professor's testimony deadened.

Dr. Joshua B. Treadwell, of Boston, was one of the most remark-
able of the expert witnesses. He was a sharp-featured man, with
piercing black eyes and a tendency to baldness. He wore a soft,
wide-awake hat, with a black band twice the width of its rim. He
was positive in his assertions, and aggressive toward all who did not
agree with him. Mr. Watrous annoyed him as a yellow-jacket
would annoy a mettlesome colt. The Boston expert would snort
and cavort until his foot was caught in his breeching, when he
would kick himself loose and start off at full speed, with all the
lawyers after him, the defence trying to keep him going and the
prosecution to lariat him. At one time he became so involved that
he was unable to do a sum in simple division. In one of his
tantrums he kicked Prof. Joseph J. Woodward, of Washington, who
gladly accepted an invitation from the defence to come to New
Haven and kick back. Woodward was a marvel. He talked as
though fed with words from a steam engine. The lawyers were
frequently unable to stop his tongue, and at times he himself seemed
unable to stop it. The hobby of both these experts was blood
corpuscles. The Boston man was certain that he could restore the
dried corpuscles, and then determine whether they were the cor-
puscles of human or animal blood, and the Washington man was
equally positive that he could not. To thoroughly appreciate the
merits of the dispute, the reader should take into account the
amount of blood discovered. Take all the corpuscles said to have
been found on the Hayden knife and shirt, and they would make a
drop of blood 4,999,999 times smaller than this, degree mark (°).

Fifteen doctors appeared among the witnesses. They were of
all grades and shapes, from the burly, red-faced country doctor, who
travels the high\\%y laden with calomel and Dover's powders, to the
ornate, Avhite-handed city physician, who talks learnedly of hypo-
dermic injections and hydrate of chloral. The profession, however,


maintained its old-time reputation — none of the doctors agreed.
Dr. White swore that he found an outgrowth on the left ovary ; Dr.
Jewett was positive that it was on the right ; a third doctor made an
examination and saw no outgrowth ; and old Dr. Matthewson
seemed to be in doubt as to the existence of either an outgrowth or
an ovary. The lines were equally drawn as to the effect of such an
outgrowth. All the doctors for the defence were of the opinion that
it could produce no symptoms of maternity, and those called by the
prosecution were 'equally as positive that it would produce such
symptoms. There was the same trouble over the stomach. About
a quarter of the physicians seemed to think that arsenic, whether
taken into a dead or live stomach, would produce symptoms of
inflammation ; others thought not ; others opined that it might do so
if taken into a live stomach, but not if taken into a dead one, and
vice versa. All the doctors looked wise. Young practitioners hardly
out of their medical swaddling clothes were among them, and their
efforts to look as wise as their seniors were instructive and

The diagrams drawn by the doctors were not the least
interesting feature of the medical testimony. A score of oesopha-
guses, pericardiums and similar organs were penciled and laid before
the jury. They were wonderfully and fearfully made. Any
common man might have mistaken them for drawings of Edison's
electric light ; but the jury examined them with great patience, and
seemed to get an inkling of their meaning.

Four Methodist Episcopal clergymen were among the witnesses.
All were contradicted in important particulars by members of their
own churches. Mr. Hayden was the most prominent of these
ministers. He answered all questions promptly, qualifying many
critical replies with reservations. His cross-examination was severe
and persistent, but he never lost his temper. Hi* face would flush
under insinuative questions, and his eyes flash, but his replies were
soft and plaintive. At certain points Mr. Hayden leaned forward


in the box, apparently to give emphasis to particular portions of his
testimony. This done, he resumed his usual easy position, with his
legs crossed and his right arm swung over the back of his chair.
Once he persisted in making an explanation of an apparent contra-
diction of his testimony in the preliminary examination at Madison.
Again, he refused to give an answer that he thought would place him
in a false position, but, at the request of his counsel, he finally
answered the inquiry in the trust that Mr. Jones would set him
right on the re-direct examination. He was on the stand three
whole days and a part of the fourth day. The Rev. Richard S.
Eldridge, who contradicted both Mr. and Mrs. Hayden on a mate-
rial point of evidence, is pale and intellectual. He has soft black
eyes and a soft manner. His wife, whose testimony confirmed his
recollections, was lady-like and attractive. The Rev. Joseph
Wilbur Gibbs, the pastor of the Rockland Methodist Episcopal
church in Rockland, also contradicted Mrs. Hayden and members
of his church on important issues. He is large-boned, rough and
ready in manner, and equally at home behind the plow or the
pulpit. His testimony seemed to excite the indignation of both
Mr. and Mrs. Hayden. Mr. Eldridge's testimony apparently pained
them, and they intimated that they thought he was honestly mistaken.
So much for the ethical testimony.

The hard-fisted Rocklanders were the meat, bone and sinew of
the case. Many were unsophisticated, but hard-headed. Such
stood the perils of a cross-examination without flinching. Others
Avere nonchalantly self-confident. These retired from the stand
with lowered crests. Some promptly answered questions that they
did not understand ; others responded before questions were fully
put, and a few refused to make a direct answer to any question.
There were some startling contradictions indicative of perjury. Old
Ben Stevens towered above all the Rockland witnesses. Apparently
standing on the brink of the grave, with hollow cheek and sunken
eye, he used strong and idiomatic language in repelling insinuative


inquiries, and at times hovered on the border of profanity. His
remark that he would not converse with two old neighbors over the
murder, "because he did not want to expose " himself, created a
profound impression, which was not entirely removed by his subse-
quent assertion that its purport was misconstrued. His bearing
was defiant, in marked contrast to the timid manner of the father
of the murdered girl, who burst into tears while describing his
search in the wood and his discovery of the body.

The trial has been nearly devoid of humorous scenes. One,
however, can never be forgotten by those wlio saw it. It is that of
the statuesque deaf woman, who sat five hours with a japanned
trumpet to her ear. Jones and Waller stood over her shouting in
the trumpet and gesticulating until the veins on their foreheads were
distended and their temples throbbed. The old lady, however,
heard no more than she wanted to hear, and answered all queries in
a mild voice and an immobile manner. All the cross-examination
failed to shake her statement that, when she saw a pair of breeches
moving, she was .satisfied that there was a man inside of them.


IN the year 1850, in Taunton, Mass., while the nation was
celebrating the anniversary of its first President, I first saw the

At the time of my birth my father's family consisted of himself,
wife, and two children, both boys. Since then a daughter has been
added. Death never has entered the household, and the family
circle in this respect remains unbroken.

My parents were hard-working people — my father being a
shoemaker by trade. When I was one and a half years old my
father secured the position of toll-gatherer of what was then called
the Berkley Draw-Bridge, a responsible but not a lucrative
position. When I was four years of age my father moved to
Dighton, Mass., where he opened a country store and drove a
flourishing trade for many years.

The town of Dighton is beautifully situated on the left bank of
the Taunton river, about ten miles from its mouth. At the time
of which I speak there was carried on a flourishing commercial
trade; so that, at times, there was shipping from all parts of the
coast. There was also a large woollen mill, a rolling mill, and a
tack factory, all of which were in full operation and brought into
the place more or less of a foreign population. In this place I
spent all of my boyhood days ; attending the village school, working
in the store and tack factory, and occasionally sailing along the
Middle and New England coast.


Among the earliest of my recollections is an event which indeli-
bly impressed itself upon my memory, and the result of which I
shall carry to the grave. When I was four years old it was decided
that I should attend the district school. So one bright summer's
morning, with my new primer under my arm, I arrived at the school-
house in time to join the children at play. While we were playino-,
and before the teacher had come, by some means I managed to fall.
Now, it's an easy thing to fall; and but little injury follows, if you
fall in the right place and in the right way. But never was I so
fortunate as to fill these two conditions. At this time I fell,
striking my face upon the sharp edge of a desk, driving my teeth
through my under lip, and cutting my tongue so that it held by a
mere shred.

School was over, for me, that day. The doctor was called, and
after stitching my tongue and blaming me for my carelessness, I was
left to reflect for the first time upon the perils which attend the
human race. This event, at the very beginning of my school life,
was not encouraging and might have seemed ominous of evil; but,
like a certain Roman Consul, disregarding all omens (when he
threw the sacred geese into the sea), I pressed on; but, like the
Consul, pressed on to defeat !

There are certain incidents in boyhood life, small in themselves,
that go a long way in making up the man. They mould and
fashion the habits of thought and action after long years have
passed away. When I was ten years of age an incident happened to
me which I dare say never occurred to any other boy in the land.
It was sm.all in and of itself, but its influence was such that it
remains to this day, and I can never forget the other actor in this
little drama. The incident is unlike those which John B. Gough
narrates as occurring in his life— namely, the pulling off of the old
man's wig; or, in later years, the passing of the spittoon in the
Advent meeting for the purpose of taking a collection for ascen-
sion robes; though mine, like his, occurred within sacred walls.


I had been in the habit of accompanying my parents to one of

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Online LibraryHerbert H. (Herbert Hiram) HaydenThe Rev. Herbert H. Hayden; an autobiography. The Mary Stannard murder; tried on circumstantial evidence .. → online text (page 1 of 12)