First Documented Murder-Suicide
William Beadle was born in England about 1730. While historians are unsure when Beadle and his wife came to the New World, it is known that they moved to Wethersfield, Connecticut in 1773. It is also believed that before William and his wife moved, they had two children. A boy who was born around 1771 and a girl, who would have been born the following year. It is also recorded that two more daughters were born after the family moved to Wethersfield.
The William Beadle story is one of those, it is not always what it seems stories. Once the family settled in Wethersfield, William opened a mercantile and became a highly successful merchant. In fact, it is believed that he was one of the most successful in his colony. Other Colonists believed that the family lived an ideal life. However, once the American Revolutionary War started, the worth of the continental dollar began decreasing. But this did not stop patriotic William Beadle from continuing to accept the money. Unfortunately, this also led to Beadle’s downfall. The more the continental money depreciated, the less money Beadle’s mercantile made.
With the loss income of his store, Beadle fell far from being one of the wealthiest merchants around. Eventually, this loss bothered him so much he nearly stopped talking to his wife and their four children. It is also noted that during the last year of his life, he always brought an ax to bed with him. Furthermore, he started caring his carving knife and sleeping next to the knife. Eventually, his eating and sleeping patterns decreased.
Near the end of his life, Beadle wrote a letter asking if it was his time to die. However, no one could have predicted what William Beadle would do that fateful morning. One morning in December of 1783, William Beadle killed his wife and their four children. After he murdered his entire family, Beadle slit his own throat, taking his own life. The William Beadle murder and suicide is the first document case of such in the history of the United States of America.