7:30 pm (Berwick Academy)
For over 140 years the moonlight ax murder of two Norwegian women on the rocky Isles of Shoals has haunted New England. Popular historian and lecturer J. Dennis Robinson cuts through the hoaxes, lies, rumors, and fiction surrounding the infamous trial and execution of handsome 28-year old Louis Wagner, who claimed he was innocent. You will hear about the role of South Berwick's George Yeaton, the prosecutor, who lived on Academy Street; the murderer's arraignment on Main Street; and the vibrant history of life on the Seacoast in the 1870s.
If you read the bestselling novel Weight of Water or saw the Hollywood film version -- that's not what happened. Robinson, a longtime summer steward of Smuttynose Island lays out the facts. "My first goal," Robinson says of his new historical true crime book, "is to obliterate the lingering conspiracy theory that accuses the only surviving victim, Maren Hontvet, of the murders. That theory is offensive and unfounded. My second goal is to demonstrate that Wagner was a lying sociopath."
Robinson is the author of a dozen history books on topics ranging from Strawberry Banke Museum and Wentworth by the Sea Hotel to privateering, archaeology, child labor, and Jesse James. He writes weekly history features for the Portsmouth Herald and is a frequent lecturer for the NH Humanities Council. He lives and works within view of Maine from his Portsmouth home on the swirling Piscataqua River. Copies of "Mystery on the Isles of Shoals" will be available for sale.
The program will be held on Thursday, February 25, starting at 7:30 pm at Berwick Academy's Jeppesen Science Center on Academy Street. The public is invited, and volunteers will serve refreshments. Donations are welcome.
For additional information about our programs and the Counting House check our website www.oldberwick.org or call (207) 384-0000.