- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 6, 2008

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - Two men are accused of burning down the birthplace of the woman made famous by the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

John Rousseau and Michael Dreslinski, who also face charges in a series of fires in central and western Massachusetts, have been held without bail since August.

They are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in connection with the Aug. 12 fire that destroyed a vacant house in Sterling, where town officials say Mary Elizabeth Sawyer was born in 1806.

Sarah Josepha Hale reportedly published a poem in 1830 about Sawyer, as a child, bringing her lamb to school with her. Other accounts, however, claim the original writer was a young man who was inspired by the incident.

Mr. Rousseau and Mr. Dreslinski were arrested in August on arson charges in a vacant warehouse fire that destroyed part of a paper mill. The men pleaded not guilty at their earlier arraignment in the mill fire. They were arrested after an investigation that involved police tracking the men through a Global Positioning System device installed in Mr. Dreslinski’s truck under an unrelated court order.

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