The Old Love Triangle - Jailhouse Common Pocket Park

Five Walks Through Montpelier VT: Tour #3 - The Elm Street Mini Loop

The Old Love Triangle - Jailhouse Common Pocket Park

Montpelier, Vermont 05602, United States

Created By: Kiltumper Close Press


Laura Cutler was born in 1851 on a farm in East Montpelier, which is a few miles outside of town. Whether she had other suitors in her early 20s is unknown, but we do know that sometime in the 1870s her father took on a hired hand named James Sherman Caswell, and “Sherm”, as he was called, fell in love with her. With his heart set on marrying Laura he started wooing, and since he was a handsome Civil War veteran with a pension, Laura was not opposed.

Her father, Willard, was a different story. Sherm was known for wandering off into town to take a drink or two…or ten, and he was known for being a mean drunk, so although she was well into her 30s, on a farm in the middle of nowhere with no other particular prospects on the horizon, Willard Cutler – God love him – thought his daughter could do better, and he put his foot down. No marriage.
Then, Willard died. You might think we’re heading for a happy ending now, right? Well, hold on. While her father’s estate was getting sorted out, Laura took on extra help to run the farm. Another hired hand named George Gould arrived on the scene, and by the end of the summer she’d decided to marry him instead. Poor Sherm was kicked to the curb and asked to clear out while the newlyweds were on their honeymoon. He didn’t, though. Instead, he got himself a bottle and sat drinking in his room, which did not improve his mood.

When the couple returned from the honeymoon, Sherm poked his head and a very big shotgun out from a second story window and shot George Gould dead. It was such a powerful charge of ammunition that the newspapers report it swiped the mustache right off George’s face. Laura fled to a neighbor’s while Sherm, immediately filled with remorse, turned himself in to a neighbor, who hitched up his horse and wagon and calmly drove him in to Montpelier for booking.

The trial was quite a spectacle, but the real show-stopper came after it was over. On the same day that Sherman Caswell received his life sentence, he got married. To Laura. Throughout the trial, the widow of the man he’d murdered visited him faithfully in jail, and held his hand through the bars of the cell while the vows were recited. A few years later, apparently feeling there wasn’t much future in the relationship, Laura sued for divorce. She remained on her farm for the rest of her life, while Sherm was eventually pardoned through the efforts of a group of Civil War veterans. He spent his remaining days in the Union House Hotel in Montpelier.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Five Walks Through Montpelier VT: Tour #3 - The Elm Street Mini Loop


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