Lover’s Leap is the name given to a rocky promontory overlooking Fall Creek’s Hemlock Gorge, just downstream of the mill sites in Forest Home. It is said to be the site where Montgomery (“Gom”) Cornell jumped to his death after killing Addie (“Lucy”) Criddle late in the evening of June 26, or early in the morning of June 27, 1861.
Here is the story, as pieced together from contemporary newspaper accounts.
Lucy was the 16-year-old daughter of Free Hollow cabinet maker William Criddle. Gom was the 19-year-old son of Elijah B. Cornell, and nephew of Ezra Cornell. Gom lived with his family at the intersection of what is now Judd Falls Road and Rte 366–the Judd Farm (now called Dilman Hill). Lucy and Gom had been “visiting” for over a year, and were said to be devoted to each other. Mr. Cornell had never met Lucy. Still, he disapproved of the relationship, and had told his son to break it off. Upon going to bed that night, Lucy told her sister Emma that she was going out again, after their mother was asleep, to meet Gom, and that he was going to kill her, then himself. About 4:00 A.M., Lucy’s body was discovered in Mr. Cornell’s buggy. She had been shot with both barrels of a double-barreled pistol.
A warrant was issued for the arrest of the alleged murderer, and some twenty or thirty men went in pursuit. Gom’s hat and coat were soon discovered at this spot, and his body was found in the creek below. The presumption was that he had planned to use one pistol barrel for each of them, but when both discharged at once, he instead jumped into the creek to drown himself. The tragedy was termed a double suicide.
The examining physician stated that Lucy was not pregnant, and that there was no sign of sexual intercourse. Mr. Criddle asked that the two bodies by buried side by side, but Mr. Cornell refused.