William Parker House and How to Raise Money For a Famous Game Company

Monopoly Built by Smuggling

Parker Brothers' House Salem MA

William B. Parker House

33 Pleasant Street

William B. Parker built his home kitty corner of Parker Court in 1851. Parker Court has a tunnel running from Winter street to the Isaac Smith House on the corner of Pleasant and Bridge Streets. William Parker also owned large tracts of land on March Street and lots composing of Beacon (East Watson Street then) and Barton Streets. He will own the Hawkes House for a short period too. The E.W. Abbot House which will be described next was once his property as well which is connected to the tunnels.

William Parker was the father of the Parker Brothers, George and Charles, who started the toy company in the Franklin Building. William had owned ships with Joseph Jr. White, John Andrews, and Benjamin Felt. He also was brought into a libel case in 1830 accusing Col. Upham as a Federalist smuggler during the Embargo Act (Report of Timothy Upham vs. Hill and Barton of New Hampshire Patriot and State Gazette). Hill and Barton also accused Upham of being a corrupt Collector of Customs in Portsmouth. The whole time Upham declared himself as much a Democratic-Republican as Crowninshield was. Remember the tunnels under George Crowninshield Sr. house which became the Customs House in Salem…

When I first searched this basement in the first version of this book the deceased owner’s son had the basement filled with large furniture after his mother’s death. Then I returned during his estate sale and the basement was cleared out. Then I found the tunnel entrance had led under the granite stairs in the front of the house. This sealed entrance also had the usual raised cold sill. Later I heard a utility worker who was in front of the house he had seen the original iron door that sealed the tunnel. So it makes you wonder where the fortune started from that set up the Parker Brothers toy company?

Clue Monopoly Parker Brothers Smuggling Tunnel Salem Ma

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Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City!
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Cook-Kimball House on Pleasant Street: Tunnels and Bomb Shelters in Salem MA

Bomb Shelter

Cook-Kimball House Salem MA with Tunnels

Cook-Kimball House

14 Pickman Street

Built circa. 1807-1808 for Robert Cook Jr. who was a local painter. His father Robert Cook married Elizabeth Liscomb. He was a fisherman & mariner. They had 6 children; Elizabeth, Robert Jr., Benjamin, John Morong, and Martha. He married Hannah Gowan in 1800. Robert Cook Junior’s son John Morang Cook was also a painter. Robert Cook Jr. has the wooden house to the right also built in 1813. Samuel Field McIntire builds both of them. The first home remained in the hands of Robert’s heirs till 1839 when Captain James S. Kimball bought it.

In the basement they converted a section of the tunnel into a bomb shelter and the tunnel leaving the original structure under the addition is now flooded. Also the Mack Industrial School for Girls and the David Lord House next door are made out of brick. This brick would be needed to fork the tunnel up Collins Street to Barton Street where the tunnels continue through the backyards on the old Captain William B. Parker lots.

Cook Kimball House Tunnel 2

Cook Kimball House Tunnel 3

Cook Kimball House Tunnel 5

Cook Kimball House Tunnel 6

Cook Kimball House Tunnel 7

Cook Kimball House Tunnel 8

Cook Kimball House Tunnel 34

Cook Kimball House Tunnel Fish Bowl 2

Cook Kimball House Tunnel Fish Bowl

Cook Kimball House Tunnel

 

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Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City!
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Superior Court Associate Justice Joseph Story in Salem MA

Salem Judge Defends the Second Bank of the United States

 Joseph Story House Salem MA

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.

Joseph Story Statue

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.

Joseph White Murder Salem MA

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.

Judge Isaac Parker Salem MA

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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The Salem Commons and the Tunnels of the City

Secrets of the Commons

Old Map of Salem Common

The Commons had a creek that ran into the ocean. It started where the basketball court is and ran parallel to Washington Square East and turned and ran down what is now Forrester Street towards the Ocean. Land on the north side of Forrester was also land held in common to the town. The creek had five ponds in total attached to it. There was Flag pond that formed after heavy rains to the southeast; then opposite Southwick’s School House was Southwick Pond; opposite Captain Mason’s was Mason’s Pond; then to the east of that was Cheever’s Pond across from Cheever’s tannery; and one near the school house by Forrester Street was Lang’s Pond. Also it had included several hills and hillocks. This area was used to graze unfenced livestock, gather berries, cut flags and hoops. Ducks, horses, cattle, geese, hens, and stray pigs ran free in the Commons. It had several names including “pen”, “Town Swamp”, “Training Field”, “Washington Square”, and “Salem Common”.Previous to 1714 there were disputes between cottagers and commoners who had rights to the swamp. The Rev. John Higginson had a house on thenorth of the Commons and Col. Nathaniel Higginson had a house where the Hawthorne Hotel is now. In 1714 the Commons was voted to be forever a training field for the use of Salem’s militia in front of Higginson’s house.

In 1772 an almshouse was built on the northeast corner on Washington Square South. Also there were a powder house, engine house, and a tavern owned by Beadle. This street was home to the Phillips School House and the Southwick School House.

Winter Street Tunnel Hole Salem MA

On Washington Square East there was the Captain Francis Boardman house built in 1782. The land was owned by John Hodges. Next was the house of Joseph Vincent with his rope walk in the rear running to the Cove and next north of that a two story house owned and occupied by Thomas Briggs. Then an old building which had been occupied by Benjamin Brown as a bake house. Briggs street was not then opened. It was first a Court extending about two thirds the length of the street. Briggs’s Rope Walk commenced at the place now occupied by Hon. Nathaniel Silsbee’s house (Knights of Columbus) and extended to the Cove. Andrew street was not opened till after the Common was leveled. The field extending from north of Briggs’s Rope Walk (to the north of the house which was owned by William B. Vincent which was built in 1799) was owned by Col. William Browne who bought it from Capt. Joseph Gardner who was slain in the battle with the Narragansets in 1675. Col. William Browne will have all of his property in Salem confiscated after fleeing to Canada during the Revolutionary War, including what would become Derby Square. Elias Hasket Derby’s wife was a relation so she inherited most of his property. Vincent’s grandson Jonathan A. Vincent carried on the tanning and currying business there until it was sold in 1791 to another William Browne and his son who continued the tannery until they opened Andrew Street and sold it off as house lots. The Full-Spychalski Funeral Home stands where Dr. Hardy Phippen house was and earlier to that it was Benjamin Ives tan yard and bark house. This site was also the ropewalk owned by Joseph Vincent which stretch to Collins Cove as well. In 1785 a school was built on the commons. In 1788 the Beverly Bridge was opened and Pleasant Street was extended from the commons to meet Bridge Street. Also after the opening of the bridge Winter Street and Bath Street (Forrester Street) was created. Hay scales were erected on Winter Street in 1789 in front of a pond next to Robert Upton’s house half way up the road. On Washington Square North was the Samuel Cheever house who had a tannery in the rear. Then there was James Wright’s bakery. On the corner of Oliver was Mr. Austin’s brass founder shop. After that was Jeremiah Shepard’s grocery store, behind that runs an alley to Rev. John Higginson’s mansion. Next was Jonathan Mason’s shop (the mason William Roberts lived in this home after it was moved to Federal Street) followed by Frederick Coom’s Bakery, The Collins house, Tutle’s Rope Walk, Henry Williams on Williams Street, Thaddeus Gwinn ropewalk, Nehemiah Adams cabinet maker, and the East Church (Witch Museum). On Hawthorne Blvd. was a school house and the Gardner-Pingree Mansion.

Salem Cadets

Other facts of the Commons. In 1769 custom agents Thomas Row and Robert Wood were tarred and feather on a Liberty Tree for informing on the Salem privateers to the Crown. Salem never liked paying duties… Then in 1801 Elias Hasket Derby Jr. commanded the Second Corp. of Cadets to fill in the ponds and grade the Commons. The Commons was leveled by the Spring of 1802. Derby had raised a subscription of $2,500 to do so and planted rows of poplars and surrounded it with a whitewashed oak fence. The poplars came from the nursery owned by Joseph Franks on what is now Winter Street.

The bills was:
ESTIMATE OF THE COMMITTEE
1,5000 feet of lumber for railing and posts at $10 per hundred is
$156.00
Labor on the above one man 60 days at 9s
$90.00
Ditto one man for digging post holes Ac 60 days at 6s
$60.00
Poplar trees 10 feet apart at 1s apiece
$100.00
Expenses for Drink
$20.00
1 lb of paint will paint 3 square yard twice over 3s 1733 square ft.
577 lb White Lead is equal to 5 ewt at $13 per ewt
$65.00
10 Galls boiled Oil at 8s per GaM
$14.00
20 days work for painting at 6s par day
$20.00
For Leveling say
$1,000.00
For Gravel Walk say
$1,000.00
Stone Gutter
$100.00
Total:$2,625.00

They received a loan from Benjamin A. Gray that 159 subscribers to the Commons improvement* paid back. Some gave twice when funds fell short. The biggest contributors were William Gray, Elias Hasket Derby Jr., George Crowninshield & Sons Co., and Joseph Peabody. Now out of this list we have two subscribers who were block and pump makers, two who owned hardware stores, two were auctioneers to fence the goods, a carpenter who opens up a coffee shop in Boston afterwards, several people working for the Customs Agency (Bartholomew Putnam Surveyor of Port, Henry Tibbets Inspector of Customs, C. Cleveland Deputy Collector, Elijah Haskell Inspector of Customs, James Cheever Officer in the Customs House, Benjamin Crowninshield Collector of Marblehead, Penn Townsend Revenue Agent, Henry Prince’s son captained a Revenue Cutter, Joseph Hiller Customs Collector), 3 presidents of insurance companies, 4 store owners, 5 distillers smuggling molasses again, 4 tavern keeps, 4 politicians, 2 judges, 3 dry good store owners, 2 hardware store owners, 2 ropewalk owners, 4 grocers, 4 in local government, 2 butchers, 2 die at sea, 1 murdered, 2 Clerks of Courts, several Masons, several merchants and captains, several relatives of Hodges, Derby, Peabody, and Crowninshield.So you have a group of captains and merchants who need to smuggle goods pass a series of bribed Customs employees and politicians. Then convince a group of merchants to construct new homes to attach to the tunnels on the Commons to move money and goods through. These tunnels will need to be pumped out of water so carpenters, muscle provided by the several militias, and masons could create them utilizing hardware and rope from other subscribers. These tunnels will smuggle goods into several stores to sell dry goods and food, molasses to the distillers to make spirits, flour and spices to the bakers, liquor for the taverns to sell, auctioneers to sell your big ticket items, and banks to hide your money away tax free. In 1802 the selectmen changed its name to Washington Square. 1803 a bath house was placed on Bath Street (Forrester Street). In 1817 the popular trees gave place to elms and a new wooden fence was put in.

Car Accident on the Salem Common

In 1850 the iron fence was installed at the cost of $7,000 by Messrs. Denio, Cheney and Co. of Boston. After these improvements in 1801 Derby started getting his accomplices to build 2 brick Federal Style mansions set apart from each other the distance between the Derby House on Essex Street and the Hodges House on Orange Street. The industrial and agricultural appearance of the Commons became opulent. These house were to be used to run the tunnels through town to the jail, courts, each others homes, banks, and the businesses downtown. There is even rumors that the tunnels lead under the Commons. There is a square iron cover over a cement shaft in front of the Knights of Columbus and a round manhole cover in front of the 1926 Gazebo. Who knows…

Commons_Trapdoor_2

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Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City!
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Daniel’s House Tunnels in Salem MA

Daniel's House Salem MA

Daniel’s House

1 Daniel’s Street

Stephen Daniel’s a shipwright built this house in 1667. In
1756 his great-grandson Samuel Silsbee, carpenter, added on
to the house. In the 1800’s the house was divided between
the Russells, Hodges, and Reeds. The tunnel is in the back
left corner and the front right corner. The back right corner
you can see a change in the brick and a modern door is put in
leading to the side of the house on Essex Street. In front of the
portal leading out of the basement is a hole in the floor with
the characteristic sewer pipe leading up through it. The tunnel
entrance on the right is now a stone staircase leading into the
other side of the house.

Stairs in Daniel's House in Salem MA
Stairs on a house this age are not historical and are usually converted tunnel entrances.
Daniels House Sealed Tunnel in Salem MA
You can see the new cinder block sealing up the tunnel entrance to the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get the book everyone digs before its sequel comes out!

Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City!
Available at Barnes & Noble, Remember Salem, and Wicked Good Books in Salem on Essex Street. Also on Amazon.com!