After reading Stephen Martin’s literary effort, Orville’s Revenge, I feel compelled to reply as I am one of the few remaining relatives who was actually around at the time. Having grown up in an era where speaking out was undignified, I still now find these words difficult to express. For the record, I am sick and tired of hearing my Uncle bad-mouthed and belittled by people who never knew him. In plain truth, my Uncle Orville was both a hard worker and an intensely private man. Reserved and quietly generous, he was also a bit of a prankster.
As a retired Judge, I find it interesting that Mr. Martin never interviewed anyone from Newbury before he wrote his book, it appears he just took his information from old newspapers and court tran-scripts, cherry picking the parts that fit into his suicide theory. His quote from Joe Heaney’s Burlington Free Press story failed to include the fact that Orville’s mother left school in the eighth grade. Martin states that Orville’s parents could not read or write. This is absolutely false. Martin continues, stating that my Uncle came from the wrong side of the tracks, and that he was a man who held a grudge, as well as a dark side, among other faults. Martin insists that Orville gave his hired man a “terrible beating,” yet barely mentions the drunken fall onto the wheelbarrow and milk can. Martin goes on to dis-credit and totally dismiss Dr. Harold Harrison’s findings as junk science, even though he matched dozens of paint chips and fibers from the car’s trunk onto Orville’s clothes. No silage found? Carpenter had several months to clean out the car before it was impounded.
Our family may never know the truth. More than likely the perpetrators did something incredibly thoughtless and it went terribly wrong. They didn’t know Orville had asthma, and they tried to cover up an accidental homicide. The assertion that Orville Gibson committed suicide is pure bunk. The fact that Drs. Ford and Spelman felt that it could be suicide does not prove that it was. Martin states that there’s no proof of a murder. In my humble opinion I believe there’s no proof of a suicide. I cannot speak to Mr. Martin’s motives or agenda, but as he has said, “we get our heads wrapped around an idea.” I respectfully believe that’s exactly what he did when he penned his conjecture-ridden book; and in doing so, what has he accomplished? He has simply continued to disparage a good man’s life, a life that was cut so cruelly short.