Note: This is a graphic account of the murder and may be disturbing to some people.
From The Republican Farmer, Bridgeport, Connecticut, Tuesday, March 26, 1844:
The Middletown Sentinel of the 20th inst. gives a report of the trial of Lucien Hall, W. H. Bell, and Bethuel Roberts for the murder of Mrs. Lavinia Bacon, wife of Mr. Ebenezer Bacon, of Westfield, in Sept. last. The trial commenced before the Superior Court at Middletown, on Tuesday, the 12th–Williams, Chief Justice, and Storrs, Justice, presiding. The Jury having been sworn, Mr. Tyler opened the case, and some 40 odd witnesses were examined. On Saturday morning, Mr. Hall, being overwhelmed with a sense of his condition, changed his plea of not guilty to guilty, and declared himself the sole murderer. He declared that Bell and Roberts had no part or lot in the fatal transaction; told where the money stolen at the time was deposited, and it was found in the identical places he mentioned, and brought into court. The innocence of Bell and Roberts being clearly shown, they were acquitted by the Jury, when Judge Williams, in an appropriate address to Hall, sentenced him to be hung on Thursday, the 20th of June next.
About the middle of the week, before the murder of Mrs. Lavinia Bacon, I first resolved to go to Eben’r. Bacon’s to commit a theft. I knew he was a man of property, and would probably have money; but I did not know of his having any particular sum at the time. I knew that Mr. Bacon’s family were in the habit of going to meeting, and on the evening of Saturday, the 23d of September last, I resolved to go to Mr. Bacon’s the next day, if it was pleasant. No person ever spoke to me about it, nor did I speak to any one. On Sunday morning, the 24th Sept., I got up and milked and did other chores. Oakham Peck, my wife’s brother stayed with me the night before. In the morning, after breakfast, he asked me if I would take a walk up part of the way with him. He was going to Kensington. I think I told him I thought of going another way. Before this conversation, I had killed a fowl in the door yard, by cutting off its head. I think I had on no coat. I then had on my old clothes.–After Mr. Peck had left, I began to get ready to go away. My wife wanted to know where I was going. I refused to tell her; she remonstrated with me against going, and wanted I should go to church with her.
I went away about 9 o’clock. I had on a green coat, satinet pants, worsted vest and bombazine stock, the same that were exhibited in Court as having blood upon them. [Hall here tells the route he took through the lots and woods, to escape observation, until he reached the premises of Mr. Bacon, which he thinks was about 11 o’clk.]
I stopped two or three minutes at the barn in sight of the house. I saw no smoke coming from the chimney, and the door of the ell part of the house was shut, which made me suppose the family had gone to meeting. I then went into the west yard, opposite the ell part of the house, and got into a window of the ell part, which was up. Then I went east into the kitchen, and from there into the S. W. room. There was no person in either room and I heard no one in the house. I saw the desk in the front room from the kitchen, the door being open between. I then went to the desk. It was unlocked. I had opened the desk, and was getting the money when Mrs. Bacon came in. I did not hear her till she came in at the door. She came in at the kitchen door, the same one I did.–I do not know where she had been. She came up towards me. She had nothing in her hand. She first spoke, and I think she said, “Is this you, Mr. Hall?” I think I said, “I will kill you,” and I caught up a chair. She said, “you’re not going to kill me are you?” and she took up a chair to defend herself. She screamed loud two or three times. I think she said, “Don’t kill me.” She retreated towards the kitchen door. I struck with the chair I held, and either knocked the rocking chair out of her hands or she let it fall. She then turned to run into the kitchen. I should think I then hit her with the chair on the back of the head, and that knocked her down. She got part way up, and I knocked her down again. The blow was on the side of the head. I think she did not get up again, but continued to groan. I should think she rolled over on her back. The spot of blood nearest the door must be where she first fell. The next blow I gave, was on her forehead. I should think this blow split the bottom of the chair. I then took another chair and struck her a number of times on her head–it might be three or four. I thought I still saw signs of life, and I went into the buttery and got the butcher knife that was found on the floor. I did this to make sure she was dead. I came back and stabbed her several times in the breast and stomach. I thought she breathed her last after the first stab. I then went back to the desk and finished getting the money.
It was during the struggle that I cut my hand. It was with my own knife which I had open when I came into the house. I had been using it to cut and whittle the cane. My knife, I recollect, fell on the floor, and I picked it up before I went away, thinking it might be found and betray me.
After the murder, and before I went back to the desk, I went to the front door to see if any body was coming.
When I first went into the house, I laid the cane on a chair in the kitchen, near the door leading into the room, and I forgot to take it when I went away. I had gone some ways before I remembered the cane, and then I was afraid to go back after it.–I went back to Meriden as fast as I could. I took off my coat and carried it on my arm, a part of the way. I stopped at Fall Brook, and washed some of the blood off my coat and pantaloons. I did not wash my bosom; there was no blood on it.
I returned by the same route I came, till I was opposite Mr. Baldwin’s and then went through the lots north of the road to the woods east of Mr. Thrall’s barn.
I should think I got back to the barn 10 or 15 minutes past one.
I hid the money in the barn, all except six dollars, which I hid in the garret of Mr. Thrall’s house. I went to church in the afternoon. I stopped at the Congregational church, because it was the nearest, and I was afraid I should be too late at the other church.
I never told my wife of this transaction, or gave her the slightest reason to suspect any thing about it; but I have always declared myself innocent to her, nor did I ever communicate it to any person till yesterday, when I first mentioned it to my counsel.
No person participated in the crime, except myself. Bell and Roberts are perfectly innocent. I did not see either of them that day. My acquaintance with Bell was very slight, and I had not spoken to Roberts, as I recollect, but once in eight years.
I have nothing more to say, except that I never intended to do any thing more than to get some money when I first went to the house of Mr. Bacon; and that the only motive I had to do the murder was to escape detection, because I knew that I was recognized by Mrs. Bacon.
I have been induced to make this confession, at the suggestion of my counsel, that it was my duty, if guilty, to exculpate the innocent men who were accused with me; and because this is the only atonement I have in my power to make to them and to Mr. Bacon and his family, for all they have suffered on my account.
Middletown, March 15th, 1844.
This confession of Lucien Hall was made in our presence, and having been reduced to writing, was signed by him on the day and year above named.
CHAS. C. TYLER, States Attorney.
E. A. BULKELEY, ELIHU SPENCE, Council for the prisoner, Hall.
Lucien Hall was duly hanged on June 20th, 1844.
There are two E. Bacon’s on this 1874 map of Middletown, indicated by the blue arrows. Ebenezer Bacon remarried after his wife Lavinia’s murder, and lived until 1881.