Frederick L. Small
Mr. Small was convicted of killing his wife in New
Hampshire. Mr. Small and his wife Florence Aileen Curry Small took out a
joint life insurance policy of $20,000 USD on
March 16, 1916
from the John Hancock Company of Boston. The policy was written that the
other spouse would collect if the other spouse died. Mr. Small was 49
and Mrs. Small was 37 years old. one premium of $1,107.60 was paid
before the incident
Her body was found in the ruins of her burnt Lake
Ossipee two story cottage on
September 28, 1916.
Mr. Small had been at the cottage that evening, but was traveling back
to Boston when the body was found. Mrs. Small's skull was crushed and
also had a cord wrapped around her neck. She was also shot. There was
also evidence Mrs. Small was chloroformed. The body would have been
destroyed by the fire except for the fact that the fire had compromised
the floor of the cottage. The body was found floating in the flooded
At first the alibi of being in Boston was a good one,
until investigators discovered an alarm clock, spark plug, fire screen,
clock spring and some hairpins to make a timed arson device. Mr. Small
was known to be a tinkerer who enjoyed mechanical projects.
Mr. Small offered a $1,000 reward for information
leading to the murderer after he was taken into custody.
Mr. Small was employed as a stock broker in Boston.
He was married three times.
In 1909 Small sued Arthur Soden who was the president/part
owner of the baseball team, Boston Beaneaters of the National League.
for $500,000 USD. He claimed that Soden had alienated the affections of
Smalls' second wife
At the time the damage amount of the lawsuit was the
largest amount in United States History. The equivalent of almost 12 million
today's US dollars. Soden was ordered to pay Small a judgment of
Aftermath of the crime
The State of New Hampshire executed him by
Mrs. Small is currently buried in the Grant Hill
Cemetery in Center Ossipee. Through the efforts of the Ossipee
Historical Society and citizens of Ossipee, Florence Small was given
proper ceremony on the 91st anniversary of her death and her site is now
identified with a marker.
Petrie, Janice S. C., PERFECTION TO A FAULT: A
SMALL MURDER IN OSSIPEE, NEW HAMPSHIRE, 1916, Seatales Publishing
Company, Topsfield, MA, (2000), 152pp, good, wraps (softcover)
signed by the author, ISBN 0970551002 When Florence Small's
smoldering body rose to the surface of the basement water, local
folks immediately suspected her husband, Frederick Small, of the