Alliance Will Host Night of Mystery and History


Freedom — July 31, 2003 — A fire at an Ossipee Lake cottage… the body of a woman… a sensational murder trial… reports of a ghost… these are the elements of a night of mystery and history as Ossipee Lake Alliance and Green Mountain Conservation Group continue the “Tales of Ossipee Lake” series at 8 PM on Saturday August 9th at Calumet Conference Center in Freedom.

The trial of Frederick Small for the murder of his wife at their Ossipee Lake home in 1916 was a sensational news story that kept New Englanders in suspense for months. Small, an Ossipee insurance salesman, was in Boston on a business trip when his home burned to the ground killing his wife Florence. Initially thought to be a tragic accident, Florence’s death was ruled a homicide after authorities conducted a forensic investigation that was highly sophisticated for the time.

Years later a new home was built on the foundation of the burned cottage and reports circulated that the house was haunted. Among those who felt a presence in the house were relatives of author Janice Petrie, who decided to write a book about the long-forgotten murder case with assistance from Ossipee historian Barry Hill. Petrie’s “Perfection To A Fault” was published by Seatales Press in 2000.

At their August 9th presentation, Hill and Petrie will describe what life was like on the lake in 1916 and discuss the trial and the reports of the ghost. Their presentation will be illustrated by slides of Ossipee and Freedom in the early years of the 20th century and will end with a videotaped report on the ghost that was produced for Boston’s “Chronicle” television program.

Several autographed copies of Petrie’s book will be given away at the event and others will be available for sale with a portion of the purchase price to be donated to the Ossipee and Freedom Historical Societies. There is no charge to attend the event, which is part of Freedom Old Home Week.

“Tales of Ossipee Lake” is a series of public presentations on the human and natural history of Ossipee Lake and is part of the Ossipee Lake Protection Program, a partnership of Ossipee Lake Alliance and Green Mountain Conservation Group with principal funding from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services. For information on the August 9th program phone GMCG at 539-1859 or log on to the Ossipee Lake Alliance website at

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