Later that morning Michael got up in the barn and went to the house. He tried the front door, but it was locked. He heard no movement inside. He went to Mrs. Collins's place and told her that the house, usually bustling in the morning, was silent, and that the curtains were drawn. "Go back and milk the cows," Mrs. Collins said, "and try to get into the house."
Near noon, Michael let himself in through the shed. He saw the carnage by the stove.
Less than eight years had passed since the most infamous ax murders in U.S. history: the hacking to death of Lizzie Borden's parents in Fall River, Mass., 63 miles southeast of North Brookfield. The Bergen murder-suicide would not achieve such long-lasting notoriety, but the story, involving one of the most famous ballplayers of the day, was strung in black in the headlines of newspapers nationwide among the latest dispatches from the Boer War.
The horror of what took place on Snowball farm not only plunged the little town of North Brookfield into mourning but also fetched sleighs with bells ringing from around the countryside. Hundreds of people, some of them riding in a horse-drawn taxi from town, gathered around the Bergen house and peered ghoulishly through the windows as doctors, policemen, the coroner and the undertaker moved around the bodies, trying to piece together what had happened.
The next day, in a steady rain, the bodies were taken in three hearses to St. Joseph's Church in North Brookfield, where 800 mourners gathered inside to hear the service. At least that many stood outside. Only two baseball men—an East Brookfield neighbor, 37-year-old Connie Mack of the Milwaukee team, and Sliding Billy Hamilton, Bergen's roommate on the road—attended the funeral.
"What a state his mind must have been in!" cried Jesse Burkett when he heard the news. Horrified members of the Boston team were quoted endlessly in the papers—including all those who, taking Soden's advice, had shunned Bergen. They had avoided him in life and had not attended the funeral after his death. A number of them pleaded that they had mistakenly thought the service was on Sunday. Selee did send flowers.
The burial was in a single broad grave in St. Joseph's Cemetery. Bergen's good friend T.H. Murnane, the writer and former ballplayer who had visited him at the farm six months earlier and found him standing and smiling with his two children in the barn doorway, sent 28 white flowers with a background of ferns and a note that said, "May these flowers speak a word of charity for Martin Bergen, who has done this insane deed."
The flowers were lying on Bergen's casket as the funeral train wound up the hill to the cemetery.