In 1821, the Annisquam woods was the scene of a murder.
Gorham Parsons, while chopping wood, struck and instantly killed a boy of 10 years, named Eben Davis, the act being done with a hatchet. The boy had given offense by singing a song. After committing the deed Parsons took the boy on his back and carried him to the village.
Parsons was arrested and tried for murder but set up the defense that the hatchet flew, striking the boy, killing him accidentally. Although the character of the wound rendered this story highly improbable, yet from the fact that Parsons had taken the boy from the woods, he was given the benefit of the doubt and acquitted.
Years afterwards while on a fishing voyage he confessed the deed to some of the crew, declaring that he had carried the boy on his back long enough. Watching for his chance, he attached a millstone to his neck and jumped overboard.