Written by Nick Gosling
Thursday, February 01, 2007
BUCKSPORT--For a few years, from 1898 to the very
early 20th century, Miles Lane was the most infamous lane in New England.
The site of a grisly murder of
a Bucksport woman, newspapers from near and away, including the Boston Globe, told the saga of the arrest, trial and acquittal
of the man many believe was Sarah Ware’s murderer.
Nowadays, few people outside this part of Maine know the name
Bucksport librarian ****** ******* is trying to change that by presenting only the facts, gleaned from his
months of thorough research.
****** invites the public to act as judge and jury and sift through his thick binder full
of testimonies, evidence and timelines of the Ware murder case, then give him a verdict: Was William T. Treworgy guilty or
The story goes that on Sept. 17, 1898, Sarah Ware was walking home from a friend’s house when she disappeared.
She wasn’t reported missing until the next week.
Search parties had little luck finding her until Oct. 2, when
they “smelled her before they saw her” near Miles Lane, said ******.
An almost entirely decapitated and
very decomposed Ware was found in a pasture near her home — about where the High School parking lot is now.
local doctors and the county coroner did an autopsy on Ware’s body and determined the cause of death was a fractured
skull caused by a blow to the head — death by violence, they agreed upon.
Detectives came in from all over to
help with the case, said *******.
On Nov. 27, Treworgy, a stovemaker and tinmaker in town,
was implicated in the murder of Sarah Ware. The next day, the town abandoned the investigations for a week because of a lack
of funds. Eventually, $500 was pooled together from community members and detectives continued their search for Ware’s
Not until spring of the following year was Treworgy arrested based on the testimony of a local boy, Joseph
Fogg Jr., who said he had helped the tinmaker move a body the day of Ware’s death.
For three years, the case
was kicked to higher and higher courts until, in July of 1902, it went to the Hancock County Supreme Court in Ellsworth. A
good portion of the research ******* has done involves Treworgy’s Supreme Court trial.
By July of 1902, many
of the people involved in the case, including deputies and a coroner, had died, been fired or quit and Fogg had retracted
and reretracted his testimony, said *******.
The evidence in the murder case, including a hammer covered in blood with
Treworgy’s initials on it that had been found in the tinmaker’s wagon, had also disappeared. The shape of the
hammer’s head had matched the wound in Ware’s head.
Much of the case involved suspicious circumstances,
said *******, who thinks many people in town secretly wanted Treworgy cleared of the crime.
******* doesn’t make
any conclusions in the pages of his own research. He stays focused on the facts, the information he read in old newspapers
and town records.
But that doesn’t mean he can’t have his own opinion about who killed Ware.
think he did it,” said *******, referring to Treworgy. “He was one of those guys that knew a lot of other people’s
business. If he was [convicted] he was going to take someone down with him.”
******* spent eight months compiling
coroners’ reports, witness testimonies and other information on the murder, walking the route that Ware was supposedly
last seen on and visiting the grave of the woman, who was 52 years old when she was murdered.
******* said he
hopes to have his 240-page binder on Ware published, though he’s having problems finding a book publisher who doesn’t
think the Ware murder is too local for print.
“If you mention [Ware] in Bucksport, everybody knows. If you mention
[Ware] in Augusta, half the people would know,” he said. “The further you get away from Bucksport, the less people
have heard of it.”
But that hasn’t stopped the Travel Channel from running an episode on the Ware murder
or other writers, who employ more fiction than fact, said *******, from having books about the Ware murder printed.
the last century, the Ware case has gained a bit of mythology, said *******. One theory he’s heard is that Sarah Ware
was the witch Col. Jonathan Buck, founder of Bucksport, killed. But Buck and Ware lived about 100 years apart. (A good deal
of lore surrounds the Buck Tomb.)
Other theories that emerged around the time of Ware’s murder, include her committing
suicide by drinking poison and a cow stepping on her in the field. Or there’s the theory that a gang of young men accosted
Ware on her way home.
“Today they would have got, on DNA alone, who did it,” said
*******. “Even after the two weeks of her laying out in the elements.”
Unfortunately, the time has passed
for DNA testing and though Sarah Ware’s murderer may never be revealed, ****** ******* is making sure people know all
the facts, and nothing but the facts, about it.
****** *******’s Web site can be viewed at http://home.myfairpoint.net/espooner .