Show Notes – Murdered by His Wife with Deborah Navas

Murdered by his Wife with Deborah Navas on Fileldstone CommonFollowing are some items that were mentioned during the 25 October 2012 Fieldstone Common interview with Deborah Navas, author of Murdered by His Wife: An absorbing tale of crime and punishment in eighteenth-century Massachusetts.

The podcast of the interview is now available.

You can learn more about Deborah Navas and Murdered by His Wife from her author website.

Murdered by His Wife was published by the University of Massachusetts Press and copies are available for sale through and other booksellers.

I first learned about the Bathsheba Spooner story from a feature “Brookfield Woman Put to Death” on the Mass Moments website which provides a moment in Massachusetts history each day. You can sign up to receive the Mass Moments via email every day.  They also have a Facebook page.

You can read a summary of Bathsheba Spooner’s life and trial on Wikipedia.

During the interview, Deborah Navas mentioned wall drawings of the trial that were created at the time of the trial. You can read more about them at the West Boylston, Massachusetts historical society website.

The American Antiquarian Society published an article in 1889 by Samuel Swett Green entitled “The Case of Bathsheba Spooner.”  The article is available online via the Open Collections Program at Harvard University.  You can access this same article via

Revolutionary War historian J.L. Bell wrote a blog post about Bathsheba Spooner which contains links to more details about many of the players (such as Bathsheba’s father, Timothy Ruggles and prosecutor Robert Treat Paine).

Deborah Navas is working on a fictional account of the story in the form of a novel likely to be titled Bathsheba Spooner which should be released in 2013.

The University of Massachusetts Press, the publisher of Murdered by His Wife, donated one copy of the book that was given as a door prize during the live show. A big thank you to the the University of Massachusetts Press for  their generosity!

Copyright 2012-2013 Marian Pierre-Louis

Murdered by His Wife Now Available as a Podcast

Fieldstone Common podcast 10-25-12
by Derrickkwa

The most recent episode of Fieldstone Common featuring author Deborah Navas speaking about her book Murdered by His Wife is now available as a podcast.

The podcast can be played through the computer using your default media player (click play below) or downloaded to iTunes (also below).

Listen to internet radio with Fieldstone Common on Blog Talk Radio
Copyright 2012-2013 Marian Pierre-Louis

Victim or Villain – Can We Sympathize with Bathsheba Spooner?

Murdered by His Wife by Deborah Navas
Murdered by His Wife
by Deborah Navas

Today on Fieldstone Common we will be talking about a true tale of 18th century mayhem and murder. But it’s not a simple, clear cut tale. The story is complex and the backdrop of the American Revolution adds extenuating circumstances.

I want to hear from 
Fieldstone Common listeners!

Should Bathsheba Spooner have been spared?

Was she a cold and calculating murderer?

Did her husband deserve to die?

Should we feel sympathy for the men she convinced to commit the murder?

Is this a tale of the role of women in society or about one woman’s privilege and economic status?

Did the passionate ties to loyalist or patriotic sentiment seal the fate of Bathsheba?

Listen live at 1pm EST or to the replay in the archive afterward and let us know what you think!

Copyright 2012-2013 Marian Pierre-Louis

Murdered by His Wife with Deborah Navas

LIVE: THURSDAY, 25 OCTOBER 2012 at 1:00pm EST

Listen in to Fieldstone Common this week as host Marian Pierre-Louis talks to Deborah Navas, author of Murdered by His Wife.

In March 1778, Joshua Spooner, a wealthy gentleman farmer in Brookfield, Massachusetts, was beaten to death and his body stuffed down a well. Four people were hanged for the crime: two British soldiers, a young Continental soldier, and Spooner’s wife, Bathsheba, who was charged with instigating the murder. She was thirty-two years old and five months pregnant when executed. Newspapers described the case as “the most extraordinary crime ever perpetrated in New England.”

Murdered by His Wife provides a vivid reconstruction of this dramatic but little-known episode. Beautiful, intelligent, high-spirited, and witty, Bathsheba was the mother of three young children and in her own words felt “an utter aversion” for her husband, who was known to be an abusive drunk.

The plots, the crime, the trial, and the aftermath are presented against a backdrop of revolutionary turmoil in Massachusetts. As the daughter of the state’s most prominent and despised Loyalist, Bathsheba bore the brunt of the political, cultural, and gender prejudices of her day. When she sought a stay of execution to deliver her baby, the Massachusetts Council rejected her petition and she was promptly hanged before a crowd of 5,000 spectators.

An independent scholar, Deborah Navas worked as a magazine editor for twenty years. She is author of a short story collection, Things We Lost, Gave Away, Bought High and Sold Low, and won the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award and the New Hampshire Writers Project Emerging Writer Award.

Copyright 2012-2013 Marian Pierre-Louis