Salem Judge Defends the Second Bank of the United States
Joseph Story House
26 Winter Street
This house was built in 1811 for Joseph Story. His sisters married the White brothers. The year in which Elias Hasket Derby Jr. begins his plan to build a new series of tunnels in town, Joseph Story in 1801 was admitted to the bar in Salem. At the time he was the only Jeffersonian Democratic- Republican in Essex County to be admitted. He would rise to be the head of the bar in Essex County. Because of his alignment with Jefferson the firm George Crowninshield & Sons Co. had retained him. In 1805 he was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives alongside his brother-in-law Stephen White. This year his wife Mary F.L. Oliver and his father would die. Joseph Story made a power move when in April 1807 Congressman Jacob Crowninshield spat up blood while speaking in Congress and soon died. Story was the Crowninshield family lawyer. Benjamin Crowninshield was tapped to replace his brother but Story took his seat in 1808 with the help of the White brothers and his new marriage to Judge William Wetmore’s daughter Sarah Waldo Wetmore. She would give him 7 children. Story now felt that his power in Washington and the White’s power in Salem could dethrone the Crowninshields that he had worked for. Story lobbied for Jefferson’s downfall after the Embargo Act and became the Federalist favorite Democratic-Republican. He only sat in Congress for a year. Now power in Salem was truly now in the hands of the White family and Story’s. They would start the Friday Evening Club which brought together 10 members who were friends and family to discuss affairs of banks, insurance companies, and the local Democratic-Republican Party. In 1811 Story became the Speaker in the Massachusetts House of Representative.
In 1811 Joseph Story, who was head of the Essex Bar in Massachusetts, was appointed to the Supreme Court at 32. He is still the youngest to ever be appointed. His main course in the Supreme Court was to protect the property rights of the minority of the rich man in the country. He was a hero of Alexander Hamilton’s and John Marshall’s conservative Republicanism. In his life he wrote many books concerning his opinion on the Constitution. It has been said that Joseph Story was more influential on how we perceive the Constitution today than even Judge Marshal. After the War of 1812 Stephen White and Judge Story pushed forward for Salem to install new sidewalk curbs, plant trees, pave roads, and create schools. In 1819 he led the pursuit to denounce the slave trade. In 1841 he presided over the case of the escaped slaves who mutinied on the Amistad. He also was a Whig in the 1820’ and 1830’s. He fought against Jacksonian Democrats as a conservative Republican. He was a staunch supporter of the Second Bank of the United States in which he was a director of in Philadelphia and Boston. This was the main reason he would be against Jackson who would veto the charter of the Second Bank of the United States in 1836. In many cases in the Supreme Court Story would rule in favor of the bank. His associate in the Supreme Court Daniel Webster was also a director of the Boston Branch of the Second Bank of the United States. Daniel Webster was also tied to Stephen White though the marriage of his brother-in-law to Stephen White’s daughter and his son’s marriage to the other daughter. Stephen White was the man behind the curtain who controlled Story and Webster and their role in the election of William Harrison and his future murder. In 1829 Story moved to Cambridge to become Harvard’s first Dane Professor of Law.
In 1830 the uncle of his brother-in-laws was murdered. He would accuse his brother-in-law Stephen White of murder. Two blackmail letters came to Salem, the first accusing Stephen White which Story believed. The second only appeared afterward.
Captain Joseph White who was on his death bed for months before the murder was bludgeoned and then stabbed 13 times. The blow by the club killed him. The first autopsy attested to this. Then someone came back to stab him with two different daggers for a total of 13 stab wounds to make the murder more ghastly and shocking. None of which produced any blood splatters or stains on the walls or sheets for Captain White would of been dead for some time by then. Joseph White had heavily invested in the Second Bank of the United States in which Stephen White now inherited.
After the mysterious death of the high Federalist Isaac Parker who had said 3 days before he died that he never missed a day at the bench in all of his years and he never felt better, Daniel Webster propositioned Story to be the head of Massachusetts Superior Court to hear the murder. Since the murder was a capital offense the Superior Court Justice was to hear the case. Daniel Webster was hoping this would become Story. Story refused to give up his position in Washington.
In 1845 Joseph Story dies in Cambridge.
I have not been in these tunnels of yet. Since I have seen that both of the White brother’s house and Stephen White’s other brother-in-law Stephen Foster were connected I would conclude their brother-in-law and partner’s home would be connected as well. But, I have one friend who grew up in this home and several others who had played with him tell me how they ran through the tunnel that leads from this house.
Also Story’s neighbor Richard Gardener’s (17 Winter Street on the corner of Pickman Street) brother John had built the home that Captain White was murdered in. The Gardener brothers were Commons Improvement subscribers too..
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