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Brilliant lawyer commits murder | Turning Back the Pages

•100 years ago - Dec., 1913•

Brilliant lawyer commits murder

With fiendish brutality, Edward F. Hitchcock, 62, a Kingsbury farmer, on the night of Dec. 4, 1913, murdered his brother-in-law Henry Norton, 52, who lived with him in the little hamlet five miles north of Hudson Falls. Hitchcock attacked his victim while he was asleep in his room and crushed his head with a seven-pound sledge-hammer.

The crime was discovered by the murderer’s son, Adolphus Hitchcock upon his return from church at 11 a.m. He notified authorities and his parent was arrested and lodged in the Washington County Jail in Hudson Falls.

No motive for the man’s horrible crime is known and he is believed to be insane by the fact that he was confined in the Matteawan asylum several years ago after he had threatened to kill several persons.

When Adolphus Hitchcock, 21, returned home from church, he found his father at the barn harnessing a horse with the apparent intention of going away. His actions were peculiar and the young man sought the reason. Near the wagon he discovered a sledge hammer which was covered with blood near a satchel packed with his father’s belongings. With considerable difficulty he induced his parent to enter the house and go to bed.

Calling to his uncle and receiving no reply, he went to Norton’s bedroom and found the dead body in the bed, the clothing of which was saturated with blood, while the head was crushed and hammered almost to a pulp. The son notified the Justice of the Peace and police went to the farm and took the murderer to jail.

Hitchcock was formerly a brilliant lawyer in New York but succumbed to drink and was committed. For many years he had eked out a living at farming in Kingsbury. His wife ran a boarding house about three miles from his home. Henry Norton, whose sister had married Hitchcock, was a widower and had been living with his brother-in-law for some time. He leaves a son and a daughter.

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