Ruth Blay

7:30 pm (Berwick Academy)
Author Carolyn Marvin will discuss this true story of the 1768 hanging of a Portsmouth schoolteacher, the dramatic details of Ruth's life and the cruel injustice of colonial Portsmouth's moral code.

On a cold December morning in 1768, thirty-one-year-old Ruth Blay approached the gallows erected for her execution. Standing on the high ground in the northwest corner of what is now Portsmouth's old South Cemetery, she would have had a clear view across the pasture to the harbor and open sea. The eighteenth-century hanging of a schoolteacher for concealing the birth of a child out of wedlock has appeared in local legend over the last few centuries, but the full account of Ruth's story has never been told.

Drawing on over two years of investigative research, author Carolyn Marvin brings to light the dramatic details of Ruth's life and the cruel injustice of colonial Portsmouth's moral code. As Marvin uncovers the real flesh-and-blood woman who suffered the ultimate punishment, her readers come to understand Ruth as an individual and a woman of her time. In her search to reveal the truth, Marvin explored the social, political, cultural and legal climate of provincial New Hampshire & New England. This lecture will be held Thursday evening, October 27, starting at 7:30 pm.

Sponsored by the Old Berwick Historical Society, the program will be held at Berwick Academy's Jeppesen Science Center on Academy Street, and the public is invited. Refreshments will be served by volunteers.

Carolyn Marvin currently works as research librarian at the Portsmouth Athenaeum and has previous experience in both public and school libraries. She has a degree in American Studies from George Washington University and is a certified media specialist.

More information on the Counting House Museum and all the Old Berwick Historical Society's programs is available at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by calling
(207) 384-0000.

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