On July 9, 1806, Augusta resident Capt. James Purrington murdered his wife Elizabeth (“Betsey”) and six of his Eight children and then took his own life.  The next day a large public funeral was held, during which the bodies of the slain family members were laid to rest in what was apparently an unmarked grave in the then Burnt Hill (now Mt. Vernon) cemetery. Capt. Purrington was buried along with the murder weapons (an axe and a razor) in the highway at the southeast corner of the cemetery.

Recently, the Augusta Historic Preservation Commission located the site of the family grave and placed a marker at the location, completing the work of honoring the victims of this horrid act of family violence.


Family Members



Elizabeth Clifford Purrington, (?–1806)

Polly Purrington, (17871806)

Martha Purrington, (17911806)

Benjamin Purrington, (17941806)

Anna Purrington, (17961806)

Nathaniel Purrington, (17981806)

Nathan Purrington, (18001806)

Louisa Purrington, (18041806)