The Sawyer family worked as woodcutters, traveling wherever their work took them, but never straying far from Cross for more than six months to a year at a time.
Because they traveled to remote portions of New England, the Sawyer men often left the women and children home. The women would take in sewing work or do occasional work in the fields during a particularly heavy harvest season.
In 1915, when the men were in Worcester County, Gillian Sawyer began to ‘show.’ It seemed that her husband had gotten her with child shortly before he left with his brothers and father. Six months later, the Sawyer men returned, and just in time. On September 1st, 1915, Silas Thomas Sawyer was born.
Silas was a happy, bright, and attentive child, forever following his grandfather and father around the home. When the men would leave for their work, the child would be inconsolable for days afterward, his smiles few and far between until the men returned.
In October of 1919, the Sawyer men returned, their pockets fat with money from their work. The women had also done well. There were more than enough funds to keep the family comfortably well into the spring when work would pick up again.
On December 6th, 1919, the headless corpses of the Sawyer family lay stretched out in the snow of the front yard. Their heads were mounted on poles behind them.
Yet two of the dead men were strangers. Men never seen in Cross before, and who were without identification.
And there was one member of the Sawyer clan missing: Silas.
The police found small shoe prints in the snow, and a zig-zagging trail behind them, which the police believed was made by the head of an ax.
The tracks led into the forest, and no trace of the boy has been discovered.
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