Headline of a story in the June 9, 1885 Lewiston Weekly Journal

An immense crowd blockaded the short length of Chestnut Street between Park and Lisbon streets at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday. Around the low windows of a dressmaker’s shop on whose flapping awning over the door was the sign, ‘Mrs. Judkins, Dressmaker,” jostled and pushed and elbowed a crowd that was every moment increasing. Two officers guarded the door. Three more officers lingered on the outskirts and made a part of the crowd.

Somebody asked the cause of the commotion.

The reply was: “John Spaulding has shot his wife with a revolver. She may live and she may not.”

Through the window could be plainly seen on the figured carpet of the floor of the little shop a large pool of bright red blood. Specks of it stained the stray pieces of cloth around the sewing machine. A bright gingham dress, partly finished, lay by the low rocking chair near the window.

“That is where Mrs. Spaulding, who was shot, always sat,” said a bystander. The police admitted nobody. An aged woman rapped loudly on the window. “The lady who keeps this is my son’s wife and I must get in to write about the particulars,” said she.

The door was opened from the inside and admitted the lady and a Journal reporter.


The parties in the affair are John R. Spaulding and his wife Edith M. Spaulding. Mrs. Spaulding lay upon a sofa in a small, dark back room of the shop. With her were Mrs. Judkins, Drs. Matte and Finn and police officer Verrette. The wound showed plainly on the right temple. Two red spots an inch apart, the real slightly above the front as if the ball slanted upwards. These two spots marked the places where the ball had entered the forehead and had passed out.

Mrs. Spaulding was conscious. In reply to a question, she said that she felt better and that her head ached. A bleeding thumb which had been dressed by the physicians was also the result of the shot from her husband’s revolver. She had held her hands before her face to ward off attack from him and the bullet hole in her thumb shows where the bullet struck her and glanced the ball away from her temple.

The physicians in attendance pronounced the wound not serious. The ball which was from a .22-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver (one of the smallest kind made) passed in the right temple a couple of inches above the eye and passed out as described above. The bullet has not yet been found.

Mrs. Spaulding talked but little. She began to weep upon regaining consciousness. She thinks that if the police had not close at hand that both she and Mrs. Judkins would have been killed.

Mrs. Spaulding is a very pleasant-looking lady. She is slightly built with a refined face, black hair and eyes, with features somewhat thin. She is apparently about thirty years of age.

At 1:45 p.m., a hack conveyed her to her home on Ash Street and the crowed followed the hack.


Mrs. Judkins tells how the affair happened and some of the events preceding it as follows:

About four weeks ago, Mrs. Spaulding, who has been married a dozen years or so to her husband, left him on account of brutal treatment. He beat her and ill-treated her. Ever since, she has had a dread of him. He has followed her and annoyed her often but has never before offered her violence. Once of twice, Mrs. Judkins has accompanied Mrs. Spaulding home because of her fear of her husband.

“I’m afraid that he will kill me some time” has been a frequent remark of hers.

The fact that Spaulding’s cousin, formerly of Lewiston, attempted to murder his wife less than a year ago at Newport and then killed himself added, our informant thinks, to Mrs. Spaulding’s fear of violence from her husband.

“It was just a little while after one o’clock when Spaulding came in here,” said Mrs. Judkins. “Mrs. Spaulding sat by the window sewing. Spaulding was as cool as if he had come to his dinner. He had been drinking, though, I should say.

He walked in the door and faced us. Then he walked right up to his wife and said in a regular, fiendish, gloating way, “Now, madame, I’ve got you.”


The way he said it made me afraid. Then he reached to his hip pocket and pulled out a revolver and pointed it in his wife’s face, and told her to come with him. I started up at once, ran toward him, and grabbed his arm. Then Mrs. Spaulding started up. We grappled with him as best we could, but he knocked me down, pointed the revolver at my back and said that he would shoot. Then Mrs. Spaulding sprang to help me and I arose my feet and ran to the door to look for help. I saw three police officers — Officers Verrette, Rollins and Legendre — coming up the street and I shouted at the top of my voice, “Come quick, for God’s sake!”

They came and I turned back into the shop. Mrs. Spaulding was scuffling with her husband. She had her hands before her face. After the officers entered the door, he fired at her. She fell forward with a groan with her face down, right before the machine. The officers grappled with Spaulding. One of the officers struck him to the floor with his club and took him away. She did not speak. She has hardly spoken since. She is as nice a woman as ever lived.

The officers tell about the same story.

Officers Legendre, Rollins and Verrette were coming from dinner at about one o’clock or few moments later. They were startled by a woman’s voice shouting “Come quick, for God’s sake!” They saw, on entering the shop, two women and a man struggling. The two women seemed to be trying to put the man out of the room. The officers recognized Spaulding and asked him what he was doing. He did not answer them. The next moment, Spaulding, who was standing facing toward the window at about ten feet from his wife, fired a revolver full at her face. The weapon was so near Officer Verrette that the powder, he says, flashed in his face. Mrs. Spaulding fell face down almost where she stood, the blood from the wound flowing out upon the carpet and staining it. Spauling sprang, but was seized by an officer. Officer Legendre’s club struck him over the forehead and felled him, stunned, to the ground. He was then taken to the police station where is now confined.

The lady was lifted up unconscious. She said nothing when shot.

Spaulding, the assailant, is a man of middle age. He is slight of frame and will weigh probably not over 125 pounds. He has worked in Pingree’s sawmill for John Harper the past 12 years. He has been out on a spree for a week. He has been dissipated, at times, for several years.


He has nothing to say about the affair at the police station. He told the City Marshall that he wanted to kill himself and that he would have done it if they hadn’t taken his revolver away from him.

The physicians say they apprehend no danger from the wound as the ball passed simply beneath the skin glancing along the bone.

Jealousy is supposed to be the cause of the assault.

Spaulding was arraigned in the police court and ordered to pay in $2,000 bonds Wednesday. He could not get bail and was committed.

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