December 4, 1731

     The Clemence House sits on the back corner of Town Road, a squat, ugly building first constructed when Josiah Clemence settled down in 1691.

     There is a foul air to the home, one that makes some people ill merely by standing in its doorway, and some far more delicate souls refuse to even set foot onto a single portion of the land it contaminates.

     Rumors, passed on from one generation of Cross resident to the next, speak of horrific acts carried out in the upper room, and of foul meals cooked in the hearth. Parents and children whisper the same stories: of indentured servants and Abenaki Indians vanishing in Josiah’s house; of sobs and screams that erupt from the earth whenever a shovel is thrust into it.

     Josiah Clemence was a tall, slim man, a hawk-nosed individual who would be cast as a cartoon villain in today’s society.

     But there was nothing cartoonish about the violence he visited upon others.

     He whipped a man to death in his yard for the theft of an apple, and strangled a young Abenaki woman for refusing to wed him.

     On December 4th, 1731, it is said that Josiah fell down in his own home and broke his neck, a sight witnessed by a trio of men from the Honorable William Shirley, King’s Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

     Josiah’s body, however, was not found in his house, but rather it was outside in the pig sty.

     Only one resident of the town knows the truth of Josiah’s death, and Duncan Blood refuses to share the exact details. When pressed for information, and only when he’s had a drink or two too much, he’ll simply state, “I fed him to his pigs, but even they wouldn’t eat him.”

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Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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