Truth Wins Out
In 1859, Sam Slick made the first public note of an odd situation that had begun in 1821 in the village of Montgomery, England, which lasted about 100 years. In 1821, a man named John Newton was accused by two men, named Parker and Pearce, of attempting a highway robbery. On their word alone, Newton was found guilty and sentenced to death. Newton had only moved to the town two years previously and had few friends, but he was a diligent bailiff at the Oakfield manor house and had saved the owners from losing the estate to debt. He had also apparently attracted the attentions of the daughter of the household, though they were not publicly a couple. When asked if he had any reason why he should not be found guilty, Newton replied to the effect that he knew there was nothing he could say or do that would convince the court of his innocence or the falseness of the testimonies against him, so he would most certainly die. However, as proof of his innocence, Newton earnestly prayed to Heaven that for the length of at least one generation no grass should grow upon his grave.
Newton was indeed found guilty and was executed and buried in the Montgomery churchyard. The grave remained free of grass. When another author, S. Baring-Gould, visited the grave in 1903, he found it was still devoid of grass. As for the men who accused Newton, Parker’s ancestors had once owned Oakfield, and he hoped to gain it with Newton out of the way; Pearce had his eye on the daughter of the family and also wanted Newton out of the way. Parker became a dissolute drunkard, eventually dying in a blasting accident at a limeworks, and Pearce, realizing the woman would never have him, became despondent and wasted away.
The saddest part of a story like this is that no one actually wins. Only truth is gained for the family of those falsely convicted.
Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's still too wet on the patio.