SHOT ANOTHER, THEN HIMSELF
Murder and Suicide at Wood Island Yesterday.
Repeating Rifle the Weapon.
Howard Hobbs killed Frederick W. Milliken.
Bullet in his own Brain.
Liquor Mainly Responsible For The Tragedy.

There's just something poetic about the news in the 1800s, even if it is about some horrible tragedy. That excerpt is from the Biddeford Daily Journal on June 2, 1896.

Wood Island is located off the coast of Biddeford. On this fateful day a young man by the name of Howard Hobbs had allegedly been spending time drinking in Old Orchard Beach with his friend William Moses. (Let's be honest, who hasn't?)

Upon returning to the island, Frederick Milliken, who lived on the island, was a Game Warden and Hobbs' landlord, asked to speak with him. Hobbs went home and grabbed his rifle before going to Milliken's house. Upon arrival, Milliken asked if the gun was loaded.

Hobbs insisted it wasn't.

It was then that Milliken demanded he check himself and started towards Hobbs. Then Hobbs shot him. Still alive the suddenly sober Hobbs and Moses brought him into his home where he died 45 minutes later.

Upon learning of Milliken's passing Hobbs turned to Mrs. Milliken and told her he was going to go home and end his own life.

Moments later a shot was heard on the island.

The motive behind the shooting appears largely a drunken accident. The only issue between the two being late rent and threats of eviction.

According to the New England Legends Podcast, reports have been made of strange sounds in the old lightkeepers quarters as well as apparitions in the area where Hobbs and Milliken used to live.

Could it be their ghosts? Who knows?

One thing's for sure, pretty lighthouses and islands off the coast of Maine aren't always picturesque and peaceful. Sometimes they house secrets and utter tragedy.

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