The Kentucky Standard Dec 15 1900 Vol 1 Number 1
Ancient Mill
Scene of Bloody Tragedy
In Early Times.
Situated In Nelson County.
Murder And Suicide - Stone Yet Dis-
colored With the Blood of Victims.

An old water mill in the last stages of decay, situated on the waters of a swiftly running stream in this county, is an object of interest, not only on account of its great age and picturesque location, but for the horrible story connected with it. This ancient mill is the oldest structure of its kind south of the Ohio river. It was built immediately after the close of the Revolutionary war, as records in the County Clerk's office here will show, by one Silas Marsden, a native of Virginia, who had served with distinction as a soldier in the American army.

Not far from the old mill, on a sloping hill side, is the crumbling foundation of Marsden's residence. A little further away, in a dense growth of cedars and underbrush, are the remains of an old family burying ground. Three rude slabs of limestone rock, standing in a row, with almost undecipherable inscription [unable to read creased words here] of Silas Marsden, the original miller, his wife Rute, and their adopted son, Henry Winthrop.

For a number of years the old mill did all the grinding for a large scope of territory, and Marsden was rapidly becoming a wealthy man. But one day the demon of jealousy entered his heart, and the old mill became the witness of one of the most terrible tragedies ever enacted in this state.

Just beyond the threshold of the mill is a towering oak tree, overshadowing a broad, almost smooth stone of vast proportions. This stone bears upon its surface many dark discolorations which after heavy rains grow to a bright crimson. These discolorations may be the result of atmospheric conditions but it is proverbial among the people who live in the surrounding neighborhood that they are bloodstains. Be that as it may, it is very clearly established even at this late day, that a bloody murder was committed beneath the oak tree, the victims falling and dying upon the rock.

Living with the Marsdens was a young man, Henry Winthrop, whom they had adopted when he was a small child. This boy grew up to be dissipated and reckless and gave his adopted parents much trouble. Mrs. Marsden loved the boy dearly, and for her sake Marsden had been very lenient with the erring youth, who was scarcely out of his teens, at all times assisting him out of his difficulties and endeavoring in every way to reclaim him. Notwithstanding [text missing] Pompey, one of Marsden's most trusted slaves, informed his master that he had witnessed a meeting between Mrs. Marsden and a young man, near the old mill, during the husband's absence in Bardstown the night before. Marsden was naturally of a suspicious, jealous nature, and this information nearly crazed him and the detirmined to keep a close watch upon his wife.

By some strange fatality that very day he found in a grape arbor in his garden, a note, in which the writer implored Mrs. Marsden to meet him that night near the old mill. " Harold" was the name signed to the missive. After Marsden had in a measure recovered from the shock given him upon reading the note, he formulated a plan of action. Seeking his young wife he told her he had been summoned away on urgent business to be gone indefinitely, and hastily took his departure.

That night the half crazed man stationed himself near the mill and impatiently awaited developments. The minutes sped by, and he was about to cease his vigil, when a man and a woman came out of the darkness and paused upon the massive rock.

By the pale light of the new moon, Marsden recognized the woman as his wife; but the face of her companion was in a shadow and could not be distinguished. The couple were conversing in low tones, and it seemed lovingly. For a few moments they lingered, when the man stretched out his arms and drew the woman to him and imprinted a kiss upon her lips.

At this juncture, Marsden, with a cry of mingled rage and despair, leaped from his concealment and fired several shots in succession at the couple. Both fell dying upon the rock. No sooner were the shots fired and the man saw his dreadful work when remorse seized upon him [ ](and) he hastened to the side of [ ] (the) prostrate woman and lifted [creased text unable to be read] -ful eyes she murmured the one word "Henry" and died in his arms. A terrible light dawned upon the unhappy murderer, and with a hoarse cry of agony, he rushed to the dead man, and bending low, looked closely at the upturned rigid face. " My God!" he gasped. "it is Henry Winthrop, my outlawed prot‚g‚. I thought he was far away. Oh, why was I so blind?" With this he arose to his feet and fled like a hunted animal, into the depths of the forest.

Several years went by, and all trace of Marsden being lost, the old mill passed into other hands, and, despite its gloomy history, continued to do the grinding for a large portion of the county.

One morning the miller, on going to work, discovered upon the rock where Mrs. Marsden and Henry Winthrop met their deaths the body of a man. Investigation proved it to be that of Silas Marsden, and a livid puncture in the temple, together with a discharged pistol grasped in the stiffened fingers, told the story of how he came to his death. After wandering for years the unhappy murderer had returned to be scene of his awful crime, and by his own hand ended his useless life.

After this second tragedy almost upon its threshold, the old mill fell into disrepute and for a long space of time its erstwhile busy wheel was idle. Just prior to the civil war, parties from Ohio took charge of the property, repairing it and endeavoring to gain for it its lost prestige; but their efforts were vain. The place was regarded as being cursed and no one would patronize it, people preferring to go miles out of their way rather than take their grain to the Marsden mill. The Northerners, thoroughly disgusted, gave up the property and returned home.

Since then the old structure has been slowly decaying, and now only the ruins remain. The old oak tree, scarified by the pioneers' horses that were hitched to it in the early days, and the broad white stone, with its grewsome discolorations, have alone escaped the blighting touch of time and remain today silent witnesses of the most atrocious murder ever committed within the boundaries of the State.

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