Illustrator of the Week: John Tenniel

Down the Rabbit Hole…

Jon Tenniel

He was the lead illustrator of Punch, creating over 3,000 caricatures. Then on top of that he is the original and still the most respected illustrator of Alice in Wonderland. Having others illustrating the book is like someone trying to out do Gene Wilder in Willie Wonka… Take a look!


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A Nasty Divorce. West Vs. West

West Vs. West Divorce with America's first Millinaire Family Nathaniel West was a master mariner who was in the employment of Elizabeth Derby’s father. Elizabeth fell in love with a social inferior. At 21 she eloped in the spring of 1783. Her father was unhappy, but eventually learned to love him more than Elizabeth will. He gave Nathaniel West more responsibility in this mercantile interests and made him one of his heirs. She blamed him when her father died in 1799 that she didn’t inherit the family mansion. She and Nathaniel did inherit a farm in Danvers called Oak Hill, which she set about renovating and expanding.

Their marital quarrels grew fiercer and more frequent. Her brothers also fought with him over family business issues. In 1800, Nathaniel West had a public fist to cuffs with Elias Hasket Derby Jr. and his sister Elizabeth on the docks of Salem. The year after Elias Hasket Derby Sr. died West inherited Derby Wharf, dispossessing his children of the property. In 1803 the couple separated. Divorce was rare in those days. Between 1692 and 1774 only 82 Massachusetts couples – one a year — were granted annulment, divorce or separation. Elizabeth waited for a change in the law that allowed for the wife to retain more property in cases of adultery.

The feud between the Derbys and Nathaniel West reached a nadir when Elizabeth brought prostitutes’ into court, wrote Bentley: “…after every quarrel with all her relatives she waged open war against her husband & this day, aided by the unfeeling perseverance of her malignant Br[other] Gen. E.H. D[erby] who has a private quarrel to avenge, she displayed in open court, to prove the incontinence of Capt. W[est], all the sweepings of the Brothels of Boston, & all the vile wretches of Salem, Marblehead, Cape Ann.” She submitted a statement by a woman claiming Nathaniel West fathered her two children. She procured a letter stating West made financial arrangements the child, but denied his name to. Nathaniel West produced evidence his wife offered local women money to claim he fathered their children. The court was unmoved. Since the judges dined with Elizabeth West’s brother after the evidence was presented, Bentley correctly assumed they would rule against the husband.

She was no saint either Rev. Bentley says of her, “Elizabeth was a Crowninshield and well known for vanity which she exposed to constant & deserved ridicule. E. possessed the rigid temper of her father, with all the weakness of her mother.” So sometimes there are two sides why someone seeks a friendlier bed.

After the divorce, not only did they get separated, so did their house. Many parts of which ended up being added to various homes throughout the surrounding towns. A parlor she designed for the farm house is now on exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. After both her death and that of one of their daughters, West inherited a third of the estate and promptly removed his inheritance to Salem, creating a “spite house” of sorts. He erected (or assembled) in 1821 a mansion on Chestnut Street from that third. Then he added additional rooms to create a new (late) Federal mansion.

Mrs. West had wanted the Captain to have nothing to do with Oak Hill, but after living in his boarding house where the Salem Inn now stands on Summer Street in Salem he got the best of her in death. Now he haunts his old boarding house. My friends’ dog hates going past his portrait in his parlor of the Salem Inn. He digs his feet in before the painting and when dragged past he runs up the stairs and away. If you go to his parlor, have a drink of port and toast him. There is always a decanter waiting for you.

By the way, that wharf West fought the Derby’s on, I assume he won the battle or at least the wharf in the end. He will leave Derby Wharf in his will to the Salem Marine Society. The will was contested, but in the end the Society profited $12,500 from it.

bottomFor more tales like this about how Salem MA has shaped American History read Sub Rosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin available at Barnes & Nobel,, and your favorite local independent book seller.
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Orne’s Point and the Brick Kiln for the Tunnels

Orne's Point Salem MATimothy Orne the First was a ship owner who gave George Crowninshield and Richard Derby their start in his counting house. Their children Elias Hasket and Mary Crowninshield would be later married and be the first millionaire couple in the country. On Orne’s Point Timothy had a tavern that had long been connected to tunnels in town. If you walk the marsh on the property you will noticed a “Y” appear out of it. This is the high ground after the marsh sunk around the tunnel that splits to the two properties on the point.

Now his grandson Timothy Orne III left behind a widow Elizabeth Seawall Pynchon Orne. Out of desperation she began selling off parts of the large Orne estate. Beginning with a larger than usual sale of land, $1,800, to John Sherry had given her a little influx. Also John Buffum was running the ancient tavern on the site. In 1804, however, her means to support the estate had changed; the Widow Orne embarked on the brickyard business.

It has been 3 years since the Salem Common Improvement Fund subscribers began their extension of the tunnels through town. John Fullerton I believe was supplying the bricks initially. The widow Orne subsequently purchased a shop situated in Marlborough Street (Federal Street) on land of William Hunt and had the building moved to Orne’s Point in January of 1804. She also bought oxen and several shovels. She then contracted with Pickering Dodge for her first order of 300,000 bricks. Several other brick sales, some of them quite large, soon followed. Timothy Pickering, a cousin, orders 200,000. Now it only takes somewhere in between 2,000 and 4,000 bricks to build a home, so these purchases give away their real intent. Her daughter Margaret married Joseph Perkins, light house keeper on Baker’s Island, harbor pilot, and he was a Salem Common Improvement Subscriber.

Her son-in-law, Colonel Thomas Cushing IV became involved in the brickyard. Cushing’s father was John Hancock’s best friend and Lieutenant Governor. Thomas Cushing III might of brought Hancock to Salem to run the Provincial Government on Short, Essex, and Washington Streets in front of Daniel Lowe’s building. Col. Thomas Cushing IV was related to John Perkins Cushing through Thomas Cushing II born in 1663. His house is now the Barking Cat on Essex Street.

He was married to Elizabeth Orne’s daughter, Catherine Seawall Pynchon, in 1802. Thomas Cushing and Elizabeth Orne continued to cooperate the brickyard. While managing the sale, supply and distribution of the bricks, had been Elizabeth Orne and Thomas Cushing’s jobs, the actual clay digging and brick molding was subcontracted to Elihu Eggleston. Beginning in 1806, the year of Thomas Cushing’s death, Elizabeth Orne leased the entire operation to Elihu Eggleston for $500.00 per year, and apparently distanced herself from day to day operations.

The remainder of Elizabeth Orne’s life, from 1806-1821, she returned to the domestic realm. Catherine Cushing remarries, this time to Elisha Mack and the couple moves into Elizabeth’s home. Mack’s sister donates Mack Park to the city and establishes the Mack Industrial School for Girls. Its building is connected to the tunnels in town.

Now if you walk down Orne Street to the point you will pass the public playground and look down at your feat. You will notice the road is so badly humped from the ground settling around the brick arched tunnel below. As you continue you will see that marsh I talked about and notice the “Y” in the field. At this point the road becomes private. When I walked down the road one night I found a lama. The lama looked like he wanted to be pet.

I walked back to the playground and started to play. That is when I heard the guard rooster. I didn’t think much of it at the time. So in due course I stopped playing on the swings and stuff and walked back toward the graveyard.

Before I could get to Lee and Orne Street a pickup drove slowly past looking at me. I was looking for a beach head that night that had stories of a witch head buried in it. So I went down the next road, but to no avail. So I headed back up and then saw the police cruiser. I assume looking for me. I was ratted out by the guard rooster.

I have since been in the basement of their money management business in Jacob Rust’s store on Essex Street and seen six sealed tunnel entrances in their basement. Thanks to the great philanthropist John Boris who introduced me. They received Orne’s point through Rebecca Orne, the daughter of Timothy II and Rebecca Orne, who married Joseph S. Cabot. I believe their son was Joseph S. Cabot the fourth mayor of the City of Salem.

City Hall resides on Joseph’s property. His basement and tunnels still are attached to the current building. Recently the town filmed the tunnels and placed a time capsule in them. Cabot was president of the Asiatic Bank founded by Stephen White and the Salem Savings Bank founded by Edward Augustus Holyoke. Two of the smugglers in town. He was head of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society that owned the Northeast section of the cemetery on Lee Street. He was also the Massachusetts State Bank Commissioner. Many people know Orne’s Point as Cabot Farm today.

Now to connect Jacob Rust’s store to the Greenlawn Cemetery. When you watch Lords Of Salem notice Rob Zombie’s wife’s apartment on Essex Street in the old doctor’s office by the Library. Next door to the left was Jacob Rust’s house. Many houses and stores were connected together through leases in Salem. Connected by leases above board and tunnels below. Also Rob Zombie’s wife will walk in the cemetery at the end of the movie.

Another funny thing about the Jacob Rust House on Essex and Hamilton Streets, it is in a quiet zone. This quiet zone starts after the Salem Athenaeum library and ends before the Salem Public Library. Neither library is within the quiet zone…
The other Orne property of any mention is the old Bowman Bakery which now houses the Barking Cat on Essex Street before the YMCA.

bottomFor more tales like this about how Salem MA has shaped American History read Sub Rosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin available at Barnes & Nobel,, and your favorite local independent book seller.
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How the Revolutionary War Almost Started in Salem MA

Leslie's Retreat and the Old North Bridge in Salem, MA

In 1774 Col. David Mason of Salem purchased 19 French cannons mounted to carriages. They were hidden at Captain Foster’s shop in North Salem.

Military Governor Thomas Gage in Boston heard rumors about the canons in Salem. Gage was already distressed that Captain John Felt had taken charge of the Salem militia, and the town had hosted the Massachusetts Provincial Congress led by John Hancock. They met in a building that once stood in front of the Daniel Lowe building on the corner of Washington and Essex Street.

The members of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council was elected by the king now and not a provincial assembly, so in response the Massachusetts Provincial Congress was erected. They would become the state’s official body outside of Boston. After leaving Salem they would set up in Concord.
On February 26 Gage sent Lieut. Col. Alexander Leslie with the 64th regiment by ship to Marblehead with instructions to march to Salem with 240 troops and seize the cannons and munitions of war. Col. Leslie was known by his fellow officers as “a genteel little man who lives well and drinks good claret.”

He quietly landed with his troops at Homan’s Cove on Marblehead Neck while everyone was at mass. As soon as the ships landed a guard ran to the door of the church and sounded the alarm on his drum. They left Marblehead for Salem and encountered problems entering town when the southern bridge had boards pulled up. Upon fixing the bridge they entered the town square with bayonets fixed playing martial music.

Local Tories explained to the Colonel where to find the canons near the North Bridge. David Masons ran from his house on the east side of what is now the hill in Mack Park to the North Church yelling “the regulars are coming!”

The congregation left the church for the old North Bridge. Mason rode his horse to check on the canons and his wife and daughter went about hiding the arsenal. Captain Timothy Pickering led the Salem Militia to the bridge. Pickering, whose manual An Easy Plan for a Militia would later be used as the Continental Army drill book. Citizens from the south of town rushed the drawbridge and raised it.

Leslie ordered it to be dropped once more. In response he was barraged with insults. In an effort to calm the situation the Rev. Thomas Barnard, an x- Tory, tried to get them to let down the bridge, but Captain Foster, the blacksmith scolded him, “We don’t know you in this business. When Felt orders it’twill be time enough.”

Leslie was damned if he was not going to cross that bridge. On the other side several was on top of the upraised leaf “like so many hens at roost.” The Colonel stamped and swore and insisted that he had orders to cross it, and he would if it cost him his whole troop.

The alarm sounded and as many as 10,000 Minutemen came from surrounding towns. A cavalry rode in from Danvers, but they reached the Salem distillery and decided it needed protection. Much like at Lexington the battle started in front of the tavern.

Captain Felt was standing next to Colonel Leslie and heard him say to fire on the people. Felt responded, “Fire? You had better be dead than fire! You have no right to fire without further orders. If you do fire, you will all be dead men!” The order was not repeated and the war will have to wait two more months.

Col. Leslie told Felt “I am determined to pass over this bridge before I return to Boston, if I remain here until next Autumn.” Capt. Felt answered, “Nobody would care for that.” Leslie replied, “By God I will not be defeated.” Felt coolly replied, “You must acknowledge that you have been already baffled.”

There was gondolas on the west side of the bridge and the town inhabitants feared Leslie would use them so they set to them with axes as regulars tried to stop them.

Felt, Barnard and Mason negotiating with Col. Leslie, who was at length persuaded into a compromise instead of standing there for a few more hours. The conversation went:

“So, you came all this way just to cross a bridge?”
“Well yes, and to get the guns.”
“We’ve hidden them where you can’t find them”
“Well how can I tell the Governor that I found no guns if he learns that
I never even got across the bloody bridge?”
“You want to tell the Governor that you crossed the bridge but discovered no guns?”
“Considering the circumstances, me thinks that will suffice.”

So the bridge was lowered and they crossed for 50 yards, about faced, and marched back across. On the way by a young nurse yelled out a window, “Go home and tell your master he has sent you on a fool’s errand, and broken the peace of our Sabbath.” a soldier raised his musket at her and she continued, “What? Do you think we were born in the woods to be frightened by owls? Fire if you have the courage, but I doubt it.”

On their way back to Marblehead their band played The World Turned Upside Down the song heard years later when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. The song that was played at the beginning of the struggle wold be the last they played.

On April 18th everyone will remember the Battle of the North Bridge, with the shot heard around the world, but Salem’s stand at the North Bridge is mostly forgotten. Timothy Pickering? He would become aide de camp for Washington, the Secretary of State for him and Adams, write the Alien & Sedition Acts, and spend the rest of his life trying to give New England back to the British…


For more tales like this about how Salem MA has shaped American History read Sub Rosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin available at Barnes & Nobel,, and your favorite local independent book seller.
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Charles Bulfinch and the Tunnels in Salem, Boston, and Washington D.C.


Charles Bulfinch served from 1791 to 1795 on Boston’s board of selectmen for free… He stepped down when there was a glut of tunnels/houses to be built. Then he returns in 1799. From 1799 to 1817, he was the chairman of Boston’s board of selectmen improving the city’s streets, drains, and lighting. In 1800 opium smuggler Russell Sturgis was on the board with him. Through this connection he would meet Thomas H. Perkins and build the Perkins School for the Blind, Mass General Hospital, and the Beacon Hill Monument that Perkins financed.

“Boston was the child of my Father and he did pretty much what he wanted with it,” his son said. Bulfinch designed the Boston Common, remodelling Faneuil Hall (1805), and built India Wharf. Bulfinch had built the Federal Street Theatre where Edgar Allan Poe’s mother and Grandmother performed in.
It can be said he built Beacon Hill. Built Colonnade Row between West and Mason on the Common which have been taken down. Bulfinch built 3 houses for Essex Junto member Harrison Otis Gray in Boston. Then 87 Mt. Vernon Street for Stephen Higginson Jr. Plus 13,15, 17 Chestnut Street for Mrs. Swan. Also Bulfinch was friends with Hon. Stephen Longfellow, the poet’s father, which might confirm the existence of tunnels leading from the Longfellow House in Cambridge, MA.

He also became the Police Superintendent 1794. Imagine the man who was most responsible for the conveyance of all the smuggling in Boston and Salem through his tunnels, a Police Superintendent? He had to take the job because he was suffering from being on the brink of bankruptcy. He had a small respite two years later, but he continued to have financial troubles. He was building the State House in 1796 at the time he received only $1,400 for designing and overseeing its construction. In 1811 he went to debtor’s prison. He spent time in the jail he built himself. He also risked bankruptcy in 1815 filling in the flats to extend Charles Street to West Boston Bridge.

When you are digging tunnels, you need property to hide the dirt in. If that property is on a marsh or a river even better. I assume he overextended himself in between payments for the buildings he was erecting or the tunnel digging was proceeding slower than expected.

He also designed the Massachusetts State Prison (1803); Boylston Market (1810); University Hall for Harvard University (1813–1814); the Meeting House in Lancaster, Massachusetts (1815–17); and the Bulfinch Building home of the Ether Dome at Massachusetts General Hospital (1818), its completion overseen by Alexander Parris, who was working in Bulfinch’s office at the time the architect was summoned to Washington.

Charles Bulfinch from 1818-1830 was architect of DC with a salary of $2,500 plus expenses. He met President James Monroe in the Summer of 1817 and spent two weeks travelling with him in Massachusetts. Bulfinch brought him to Salem to show him the tunnels in Salem at Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Crowninshield’s, Senator Nathaniel Silsbee’s House, Superior Court Justice Joseph Story’s, and Stephen White’s homes. Benjamin Crowninshield, Nathaniel Silsbee, and Joseph Story were directors of the Boston Branch of The Second Bank of the United States in the building built by Bulfinch. Stephen White was a major investor in the bank. After this visit Monroe had hired Bulfinch to rebuild Washington after the siege of the capitol during the 1812 War.

In Salem he built Old Town Hall, The Essex Bank Building known as the Boy’s Club, and Looby Asylum. Then many others follow his design of connecting tunnels through exterior chimneys that prevent flashing problems and create a draw system through their flues for the tunnels in town. It was another writer Ralph Waldo Emerson’s maternal grandmother’s brother Jonathan Waldo who engineered the design of the tunnels in Salem to have a brick arch supporting them along their course.

As the Architect of D.C., Bulfinch completed the Capitol’s wings and central portion, designed the western approach and portico, and constructed the Capitol’s original low wooden dome to his own design (replaced by the present cast-iron dome completed in the mid-1860s). In 1829 Bulfinch completed the construction of the Capitol, 36 years after its cornerstone was laid. During his interval in Washington, Bulfinch also drew plans for the State House in Augusta, Maine (1829–1832), a Unitarian Church and prison in Washington, D.C.. In 1796 he built the State House in Connecticut for the Blue Light Federalists.

During his tenure he connected the major buildings in the capitol by an elaborate tunnel design that runs at least 3 levels deep. I was able to venture between the Adams and Jefferson wings of the Library of Congress through the 3 levels of tunnels that attach them. They are open to the public, but the book shelves are not. I wanted to take a picture of my books on their shelves. I found out your not allowed and they will have someone go and fetch the book for you. In the end I do have a Library of Congress Card. Also you now enter the capitol Building as a tourist through the tunnel in front of it. Senators tend to use the tunnels to avoid the public. Bulfinch left the job eventually because it could not support his family.

Charles Bulfinch’s sister Elizabeth marries into the Coolidge family. Her husband traces back to the 1630 Watertown resident John Coolidge. President Calvin Coolidge also traces back to him. Elizabeth Bulfinch Coolidge married Joseph Coolidge II. Their son Joseph Coolidge III in 1824 attended the reunion of Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette at Monticello. He might of journeyed with Lafayette from Salem to Virginia. There he met Jefferson’s granddaughter Ellen Wayles Randolph, whom he married the following year. Their son was Thomas Jefferson Coolidge. He was one of Perkins’ opium dealers in Russell & Co. Thomas Jefferson Coolidge Jr. would be part owner of United Fruit who had a small genocide in Guatemala. So Charles’ sister married a bad banana…

Charles’ children would do better. One son Thomas wrote Bulfinch’s Mythology. It was a posthumous 1881 compilation of his three previous works: The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes (1855), The Age of Chivalry, or Legends of King Arthur (1858), Legends of Charlemagne, or Romance of the Middle Ages (1863). Its a classic work of mythology, the standard and still in print 160 years later. Edward Everett Hale compiled his previous works to make the Mythology. It includes various stories from the Matter of Rome, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France, respectively. Bulfinch wrote in his preface: “Our work is not for the learned, nor for the theologian, nor for the philosopher, but for the reader of English literature, of either sex, who wishes to comprehend the allusions so frequently made by public speakers, lecturers, essayists, and poets, and those which occur in polite conversation.” It was dedicated to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who was a friend of the family.
His other son George Greenleaf Bulfinch’s son is Francis Vaughn Bulfinch the architect. Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge built the original Italian Villa at Castle Hill in Ipswich MA for Richard T. Crane Jr. who was a member of the Jekyll Island Club who met in private to plan the Federal Reserve. He also was a bootlegger who built his home on the ocean. The Italian Villa was torn down because he promised his wife if she still hated it after ten years they would build a new one. It was torn down after ten years for the current house.

I used to work in the home every weekend for a catering company owned by a dignitary and high Buddhist monk from the territory of Sikkim in India. May you always be well Sonam.

Here is a little secret, if you want to tour the current mansion which has been in Witches of Eastwick and Ghosts of Girlfriend’s Past for free and get great parking; just tell the guard you forgot your vest over the weekend from working the last party and he will let you drive up to the mansion and park. The grounds were designed by the Olmsted Brothers. Their father was the landscape designer of the Columbian Expedition in Chicago where Moses Farmer would die after lighting the city.
In 1844 Charles Bulfinch would die. I wonder if he is still building tunnels or wormholes between worlds on the other side?
For more tales like this about how Salem MA has shaped American History read Sub Rosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin available at Barnes & Nobel,, and your favorite local independent book seller.
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Salem Jail and the Second Witchcraft Hysteria

Salem JailIn 1811 the Old Witch Gaol was set to be closed as they started construction on the new jail up the road on St. Peter Street. 1811 was the Second Witchcraft Hysteria. I assume they were expecting a bigger turn out this time.

A woman had come from Boston and stayed with a friend on Northey Street, up from Joseph Story’s new mansion on Winter Street. She claimed she was being harassed remotely by a woman in Boston and she was having fits. A thousand people gathered in front of the house that day.

Rev. Bentley explains, “3/03/1811 The fanaticism of this town has had a new aggravation. A Girl named Bancroft came from Boston to a house in Northey street, Wind mill point, & had terrible convulsion fits, was tormented, had outcries, & complained of a woman in Boston who bewitched her, was troubled only in the night & prophesied the death of the woman, besides endless circumstances which report had aggravated into all the extraordinary things of 1692. The public mind long disturbed by fanaticism took the alarm like tinder. The house was crowded day & night by priests & people. A thousand were assembled this evening & the subject was debated among the multitude just as it would have been in 1692 & as extravagant fears betrayed. A firm policy is our salvation. Mr. Lambert shews us the extacies of the Negroe in Charleston & the boundless eccentricities of the Camp Meeting. Not a traveler passes the country but he has his remarks to make upon the fanaticism, folly & prevalence of little sects in our County. Mr. Kendal says he went from the Stafford Springs to Wilmington, & after giving an exact picture of the house & assembly he gives a sermon or sketch in the true style of the better sort of Anabaptists when not in camp & extacy. It might be judged an illnatured ridicule did not the preaching on the Common, the exhortations of women & children, the singing in the street, the tales of changes, & the irregularities of their Assemblies, furnish, even in Salem, all the means to verify these accounts & to confirm this dismal description of our fanaticism. The overseer of the poor ordered her to the work house or leave town. She moved on to Maine. One thought they seen an invisible specter torment her. She was from the poor neighborhoods of Boston.”

In 1811 as General Derby is selling off his mansion and leaving town, John Gardner is facing bankruptcy, The First Bank of the United States is loosing its charter, the Whites and Story are moving into grand mansions along with Thomas H. Perkins as they start laying the foundation for the new prison. One that will never be the residence for our Salem locals who got away with murder, protected the bank that sold America away, or helped over 80% of the youth in China to become dependent on opium. My friend was friends with one of the Sheriff’s in town and he came about a good stack of intake document from the nineteenth century. Many of the people who resided in the prison then were arrested for being drunkards. The real criminals went on instead and shaped our nations history.

The Salem Jail had many illustrious/infamous convicts. Bobby Hebb who had the hit Sunny in 1966 that led to a successful tour with the Beatles spent a few years inside after shooting his wife which survived. She was one of Laurie Cabot’s first student witches. They might of met in the West India Good Shop when it was owned by my friend Charles Wellington who gave me those intake documents. He would get customers looking for readings in his shop and he would call Laurie Cabot to come by. Bobby Hebb and him would drink together in the building upstairs where he lived.
Albert Desalvo resided in the prison for a short period. Although he never was convicted of the murder and rape of 11 women, most know him as the Boston Strangler. Later he would be killed in Walpole. My friend worked on a commission for Dukakis in the 80’s doing outreach in the prison mentioned that at that time area police had assassin squads to kill those people they could never gather enough evidence to convict. One of these squads he had said killed the real strangler.
Also tales of people in Witness Protection, people caught by the FBI, and any other high profile convicts would be kept on the top floor in secret. At one time the floor below would house the women prisoners. They were forced to move to another women’s prison after they bared their breast once too often at the men below during Sunday services. On this floor was also the eye loop for the hangman’s rope and the trapdoor which would drop the condemned into the dining area below. In the basement behind the boiler was the tunnel leaving the building with shackles on the walls. My friend who was a bit of a scamp as child could go through the tunnel from his house to the prison, but was stopped by an iron door from keeping from entering the property from below.
There were stories that Bobby Hebb and others could escape for the weekend and come back on Monday. Sherif Cahill called the jail porous when he became warden. Two tried escaping through some lose slates on the roof, but when they realized how steep the roof was…they called for help.
The conditions were so rough inside the warden tended to cut most prisoners stays in half. There was no plumbing in the cell and prisoners got to empty their bucket once a week. Sometimes they emptied them on their jailers. My friend also explained that the only difference at times between the inmates and the guards was one escaped long enough through military duty to not become a criminal when their friend from the neighbourhood did not. The jail would be open without plumbing in the cells to 1991 for regular population and then be used as holding cells for the county court till 1993. It was closed after 850 prisoners sued the state and won a shared settlement for $1,395,000.
In 1811 Joseph Story would rise to the bench of Superior Court and will be in complicity of the murder of Joseph White when in belief and proof his brother-in-law committed the murder. Also he would be in complicity to the assassination of one president if not three. He would side with The Second Bank of the United States against all comers as they sold control of our treasury to England. He remained all of his life behind the bench, but if you had a little drink too much you landed inside the Salem Jail.


For more tales like this about how Salem MA has shaped American History read Sub Rosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin available at Barnes & Nobel,, and your favorite local independent book seller.
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The Murder that Inspired the Game Clue and Revenge!!!

Joseph White Murder Salem MACaptain Joseph White was a loyal British subject at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, till the British raided one of his ships. Then he bought the Come Along Paddy from Elias Hasket Derby Sr. which he renamed the Revenge and became the first privateer from Salem. He became so successful with prizes in that war he abstained from privateering during the War of 1812 when many captains from Salem resumed once more.

He would sell that ship to Joseph Knapp Sr. who had owned several ships with him and his two nephews. Through this contact Joseph Knapp Jr. would sail one of Stephen White’s ships in 1827. Knapp’s fortunes would turn after the father would lose the Revenge to a pirate. But, real hatred did not form in Joseph White’s heart till his son Joseph Knapp Jr. marries his grandniece who he was trying to have an heir with.

His other business partner was Richard Crowninshield Sr. Joseph White had already turned Joseph Story away from the Crowninshields who used to employ his legal services. In April of 1808 he would replace Jacob Crowninshield in the U.S. House of Representatives after Jacob spits up blood on the House floor and dies 5 days later. Captain White, William Harrison, and Jacob Crowninshield will die suddenly in April throughout the years. A nephew in 1883 would also die in April after intestinal problems.
Now Richard had owned ships with Captain White as well. After the Embargo Act was lifted three ships sail from Salem to Naples. All three were confiscated by Admiral Marat in Napoleon’s Navy. Probably in the Sun Tavern where most of these smugglers drank, in which is now the offices of the PEM, Richard Crowninshield Sr. could be heard praising Jefferson and Madison and their embargo and lambasted their foolishness for sending the ships. One was Crowninshield’s and one of the others were White’s. This was a public insult from the man who married the worst gossip in town. There is the number 3 again, 3 ships confiscated…

Also Richard Crowninshield Sr. had been attacked by Judge Joseph Story in 1819. In Sturgis vs. Crowninshield Story nailed Richard Crowninshield Sr. who’s business had failed in NYC and followed NY bankruptcy law which allowed him to pay back only a portion of his debt when his original contract prohibited it. In the case it sided for Josiah Sturgis and Federal law proved to trump over state bankruptcy laws. Story was once the Crowninshield family lawyer…

For the man named his ship…Revenge. This name displays his internal workings and character. With his death coming on any day he would ask his nephew to perform a mercy killing with a lead pipe. The blow was quite kindly and would not be ghastly enough for the papers, so Stephen White went back after the old man’s heart had stayed and stabbed him 17 times for a better headline. Why 17 times, it would seem a little overkill? Maybe there was a lot of resentment for him being second still to his dead brother?
To make the murder even more ghastly he would enlist the help of a distant cousin of the Knapps to create public opinion against the brothers. Samuel Lorenzo Knapp would go on with the bad press to turn all against the Knapps. Later he would write a biography on Daniel Webster which would be recalled by Stephen White when Webster ran for president erasing all of Webster’s history with this murder to be republished anew.

Now when all is said and done, the childless widower Captain Joseph White, the slave trader who bragged to Bentley he had, “no reluctance in selling any part of the human race,” got his Revenge on his business partners heirs. Richard Dick Crowninshield Jr. would die for his father’s slight against Captain White in a tavern after the loss of his ship and Joseph Knapp Jr. would be the last to hang for his father loosing the captain’s favourite ship, the Revenge. Worst of all Joseph Knapp Jr. was to live long enough to see his friend and brother hang for he married the murdered man’s grand niece and lover removing the last chance he had to have a son named Joseph White Jr.
For more tales like this about how Salem MA has shaped American History read Sub Rosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin available at Barnes & Nobel,, and your favorite local independent book seller.
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The #2 Pencil and Salem MA

dixon2In 1827, Joseph Dixon moved to Salem and opened a factory on North Street to build his high temperature crucibles. His wife Hannah Martin was the daughter of the carpenter who helped him make the pencil. At the same time, still concentrating on graphite and its uses, he invented lubricants and a stove polish which addressed the rust problem that plagued the cast iron stoves most people owned.

Continuing his work with graphite, he invented a hand-cranked machine to mass produce pencils. To make the pencils you had to process the graphite with clay to make the leads and then cut and groove cedar wood for the holder. His machine could produce hundreds of pencils daily. He got his black lead, graphite, from the Lead Mills on the Salem Marblehead line.

George Peabody, who later became a banker, would sell his pencils through local cities and towns. While his stove polish, lubricants, and crucibles were successful, the pencils were not big sellers.
Dixon also had a variety of other inventions. He worked with another inventor, Isaac Babbitt, to develop babbitt metal that was used in machinery where friction usually destroyed the metal. This metal is still used in automobile engines. It is also written that Dixon assisted Fulton with his steam engine. He also produced a galvanic battery (Was it used on Richard Crowninshield Jr.?) and even designed a method for tunneling under water. Something that could be useful to Salem smugglers…
He also made advances in photography creating the prototypes for the single lens reflex camera. He developed new chemical processes for colour lithography and used those to invent currency for the U.S. government that was difficult to counterfeit. He also invented gold and silver melting crucibles for the U.S. Mint for making coins.

It was not till the Civil War did officers see the advantage of the pencil being more portable than ink an quill for quick dispatches. It was not till after his death did his company make a fortune on the pencil making it a household item. The standard #2 Dixon Ticonderoga pencil, the pencil of choice to fill those ovals in with…
For more tales like this about how Salem MA has shaped American History read Sub Rosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin available at Barnes & Nobel,, and your favorite local independent book seller.
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A Mystery! Can you solve it, I could not…

Your Turn: A Murder Mystery For You to Solve

When you go through history names pop up, you never knew before, connected to more familiar personages. You open a closet, find a lost love, a turn that would of changed someone’s life, a what if, a close call. It still is the meek who make the world go round. Thousand nameless hero’s shaped the character’s we learn in history. Then sometimes you dig up a few corpses. Now read the narrative below, this is one of finds I have no answers for yet. I will tell you the sequences of events and then inform you what was going on in history at the time. Then I will leave it up to you to find an answer to the riddle…
John Murray Forbes. Well he is not the concern, but the connection that brings us into the mystery below. Forbes will buy the Michigan Central Railroad from George Potter. Potter’s wife, Eliza Thayer French, was from Quincy next to Milton where the Forbes hail from. Carl Jung the famous psychologist will travel America in 1924-1925. The tour would be sponsored by George French Potter. Potter would come to learn of Carl Jung through Guy Fowler McCormick Jr. of the International Harvester wealth. His mother, Edith Rockefeller McCormick, was an early supporter of Jung after seeking his help to treat her depression. Guy’s future wife, 20 years his senior and a divorcee, Fifi would be one of Jung’s patients during her first marriage. So follow the connections below.
A George French Potter sells Michigan Central Railroad in 1846 to John Perkins Cushing, William Sturgis, John Murray Forbes, Josiah Quincy Jr., John Bryant, and Thomas H. Perkins. A younger George French Potter’s mother Eliza Thayer French was from Quincy next to Milton where Cushing and Forbes hail from. Potter was a Yale graduate that enters banking. George French Potter and Guy Fowler McCormick Jr. were friend’s of Carl Jung and supported his 1924-1925 tour through America. On February 25th 1925 George French Potter will shoot himself in the head during Jung’s tour. His brother Henry Camp Potter Jr. had shot himself in 1909. Also the same day as George French Potter shoots himself Joseph Medill McCormick, a cousin of Guy’s, will commit suicide by an overdose of pills. He was also from Yale and was one of Carl Jung’s patients when he suffered from depression running the Chicago Tribune. Marshall Field III, editor of another Chicago paper, would found the Committee for the Study of Suicide with Dr. Zilboorg in 1935 after two of his brothers and his father commit suicide.
Two years later very quietly the Federal Reserve on February 25, 1927 becomes an eternal institution by a vote by the 69th Congress.
Now that is how I stumbled upon this mystery. I was looking for research on the day Congress granted an eternal charter to the Federal Reserve. There is score of essays about the debates of not renewing The Second Bank of the United States and the Bank War. Same for not renewing The First Bank of the Untied States. But nothing about the Federal Reserve’s renewal, The Third Bank of the United States. The date February 25th brings me to this mystery. I found a newspaper article about George Potter’s suicide on February 25th…
On Halloween in 1925 the banker Milton E. Ailes director of Riggs Bank dies. After the sudden death of Milton E. Ailes, Robert V. Fleming becomes Riggs’ president at the age of 35. Fleming was head of National City Bank which controlled Riggs Bank. So the mystery ties into descendants of George Peabody’s partner’s sons bank. It also ties into Thomas H. Perkins and his opium brood. It stems from Yale University and Skull & Bones. Percy Rockefeller and William McCormick Blair were bonesmen. Percy will be connected below.
Edith Rockefeller McCormick was one of Jung’s early patients and sponsors. Edith, a believer in reincarnation, thought she was King Tuts first wife. King Tut’s discovery had recently been in the news all over the world. Guy Fowler McCormick Jr., Edith’s son, would become John Davison Rockefeller’s favorite grandson. He marries “Fifi” Anne Urquhart Potter Stillman. Fifi was the daughter of James Brown Potter, coffee merchant and partner in Brown Brothers & Co. Her divorce from James A. Stillman in 1921 was the divorce of the decade and her husband lost his father’s National City Bank in the process to Frank Vanderlip. Vanderlip would then be in position to attend the Jekyll Island’s meeting as the bank’s representative in the discussions to make the Federal Reserve.
In the divorce James A. Stillman said Fifi fathered their youngest child by an Indian guide. She claimed he fathered two illegitimate children with chorus girl Florence H. Leeds. The court refused the divorce in 1923 saying that he had misbehaved. In 1924 she started the affair with Guy Fowler McCormick Jr., her son’s roommate in Yale. By October 1924 James and Fifi were civil to each other for their daughter Anne’s marriage to Henry Pomeroy Davison Jr.
Henry Pomeroy Davison Jr. was a director at Time Magazine, Yale Graduate, and member of Skull and Bones. He becomes chairman of Morgan Guaranty Trust. His father was senior partner at J.P. Morgan & Co. and was present at Jekyll Island before the creation of the Federal Reserve. Davison and Benjamin Strong Jr. helped J.P. Morgan during the 1907 Panic decide which banks would survive. Strong would become the first president of the Federal Reserve on December 23, 1913. He also served as chairman for the American Red Cross. The federal deposits for the American Red Cross would be held by Riggs Bank. John Davison Rockefeller would be a major supporter of the Red Cross. Remember Riggs was George Peabody’s partner in Georgetown and Baltimore and his son would be Lincoln’s and Daniel Webster’s banker.
Fifi then filed for divorce in 1925 but withdrew the contest after receiving a $500,000 necklace 6 weeks later. They then spend five years in Europe and Fifi tries to find herself under the care of Carl Jung. Afterward she renewed the divorce in 1930 which went through on June 4th 1931 and married Harold “Guy” Fowler McCormick Jr. on the same day. Guy was 32 and Fifi was 52. Two of McCormick’s father’s siblings would suffer Schizophrenia. During his affair his parents divorce. The affair between Harold Fowler McCormick Sr. and Edith Rockefeller McCormick and Harold’s new Polish opera star wife would be a love triangle that inspired part of Citizen Kane. These families would of gave great delight to Jung’s previous mentor Sigmund Freud.
Stanley McCormick, Guy’s uncle, was treated by Dr. William Alanson White of St. Elizabeth Hospital. Also Stanley’s older sister was treated for Schizophrenia since she was 19. St. Elizabeth will be the new location for Homeland Security and was the mental asylum where John Warnock Hinckley Jr. was just released from on September 10th 2016.
St. Elizabeth was also an institute designed by Kirkbride who designed Danvers State Hospital from Batman fame, Arkham Asylum. It was supported by Dr. Thomas Miller who was President William Harrison’s doctor who helped in his assassination. Neil Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush’s son had dinner with Scott Hinckley, John’s brother, the night after John tried assassinating Ronald Reagan in March 30th 1981. Harrison first suffered Tecumseh’s Curse on March 26th 1841 to die April 4th 1841. Reagan was the last to suffer Tecumseh’s Curse on March 30th 1981. The hospital opened 2 years after Zachary Taylor would be assassinated during his successor Millard Fillmore term in president in August 1852.
Back to Stillman. Later James A. Stillman will return as a director of the National City Bank. He had helped J.P. Morgan avert the 1907 Panic when the two of them along with a few other bankers decided what banks to loan money too, and which ones they would let fail. Vanderlip, who had replaced Stillman, was one of the committee on Jekyll Island that forms the Federal Reserve. Milton E. Ailes who succeeds Vanderlip as Assistant Secretary to the Treasury and president of National City Bank dies on Halloween in 1925.
Sarah Elizabeth Stillman, mother of James A. Stillman dies February 7th 1925. Stillman’s brother’s wife Mary E. Stillman dies that year too. Fifi flees the country to have psychological help in Europe in 1925. Remember on February 25th 1925 George F. Potter will shoot himself in the head during Jung’s tour. Also that day Joseph Medill McCormick will commit suicide.
Joseph Medill McCormick was part owner of the Chicago Tribune that his grandfather Joseph Medill started. He was William Sanderson McCormick’s grandson. Cyrus Hall McCormick Sr. who founded International Harvester was William’s brother. Joseph Medill McCormick’s father was a diplomat under Lincoln and McKinley who were both assassinated. Joseph and Harold “Guy” Fowler McCormick Jr. were first cousins. Joseph Medill just lost his second term in Senate when he kills himself.
James Stillman Rockefeller marries Nancy Campbell Sherlock Carnegie in April 15th 1925. There were a lot of strange things going on that year.
Stillman, McCormick, and Rockefeller make medieval royal inbreeding look tame. Sarah Elizabeth “Elsie” Stillman marries William Goodsell Rockefeller. He is the son of William Rockefeller who was a senior executive of Standard Oil with his brother John Davison Rockefeller Sr.. His other son Percy marries Isabel Goodrich Stillman. Fifi’s mother was married to Percy A. Rockefeller and she marries John Davison Rockefeller’s favorite grandson. I think Jung had his hands full with this group. I hear the theme song to the Adams Family playing in my head now…
James Stillman Rockefeller’s and Nancy Campbell Sherlock Carnegie Rockefeller’s daughter was Nancy Sherlock Carnegie Rockefeller. Nancy Sherlock Carnegie Rockefeller marries Barclay McFadden. Their grandchild is Barclay McFadden III who was friend of James McDonald who was on Citi’s Board and CEO of Rockefeller & Co. who committed suicide in New Bedford, MA in his car on September 15th 2004.
What was going on that year? A special session of the Senate was called by President Elect John Calvin Coolidge Jr. of Massachusetts on February 14, 1925. I can’t find out on what yet. He would read his inauguration on March 4th. Revised International Opium Convention was signed February 19th 1925. Then on February 25th 1927 the Federal Reserve Act is amended very quietly to receive an eternal charter that can only be revoked by criminal action by Congress.
It is interesting two of my themes, opium and the national bank collide that month.
Sometimes you do not know what twists and turns history will take you down, or how they will fit till later…
So that is the mystery for you. Filled with insanity, suicides, political marriages, the Federal Reserve, famous psychologists, scandalous divorces, affairs, Oh MY! Now was it suicide with these gentlemen, or was it murder. You go research it and tell me what you find!


For more tales like this about how Salem MA has shaped American History read Sub Rosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin available at Barnes & Nobel,, and your favorite local independent book seller.
Ask for it by name!

How Black Beard’s Skull came to Salem

blackbeard There is a famous skull in the basement of the old Armory in Salem. A skull belonging to the most famous pirate, Edward Teach. Blackbeard…

His story and how it links to Salem starts with a tale of a group of pirates and the founding of one of the nation’s oldest colleges.

Now Lionel Wafer, John Hinson, and Edward Davis spent five years pillaging and exploring the west coast of South America. A 5-year spree on the high seas of piracy. The trio seized ships, ransomed captives and sacked towns. They left a trail of terror that stretched from Chile to Panama.

By 1687 they sailed on the flagship of a fleet that could muster 1,000 men and strike deep inland. As wealthy men they finally turned back through the Straits of Magellan and sailed north, intent on retirement. Letting someone else to become the dreaded Pirate Roberts… They booked passage from the West Indies to Philadelphia and at the Chesapeake Bay they were arrested near Old Point Comfort on June 22, 1688, with three chests filled with treasure.

They tried to pretend to be traders until their slave ratted them out. Then they tried to claim amnesty under a 1687 proclamation issued by the recently deposed King James II, only to be denied by Gov. Francis Howard, who wrote back to the new government of King William III asking for its decision.

In time they were released and instructed to return to England to receive their pardon. But their treasure was left in legal limbo. Until they met Rev. Blair in London. Through his piety and need for endowments for a new college, they found a legal loophole that freed their loot and gave the crown cover for its decision.

Blair petitioned the King, “I do humbly certify that the Petitioners have devoted and secured towards the carrying on the pious design of a free School and College in Virginia, the Summe of three hundred pounds, providing that the order is given for restoring to them their money.”
Still, two years passed before Blair returned to Virginia with his charter. There he quickly found a use for a sum that today would be worth between $900 thousand to $9 million. The three pirates got to keep the other ¾ of the treasure. So the College of William and Mary was founded by pirate treasure and their Fraternity Phi Beta Kappa spurred the creation of Skull & Bones in 1832 because of a disagreement.

For a time Phi Beta Kappa had in its house the skull of Edward Teach.
Blackbeard seeking repose settled in Bath Town, where he accepted a royal pardon in July 1718 from Governor Eden. Eden gave Teach permission to sail to St. Thomas to seek a commission as a privateer (a useful way of removing bored and troublesome pirates from the small settlement). Eden even gave him official title to the remaining sloop he had taken. Blackbeard renamed her the Adventure.

By the end of August, he was back on the seas and the Governor of Pennsylvania issued a warrant for his arrest. While at sea Blackbeard took two French ships leaving the Caribbean. He told Eden that he had found the ships deserted at sea. A Vice-Admiralty Court was quickly convened and the ship was judged as a derelict at sea, and of its cargo of 20 hogsheads of sugar were awarded to the Customs Official and 60 to Eden; Blackbeard and his crew were given what remained in the vessel’s hold.

Blackbeard gathered with another pirate at Ocracoke Inlet in North Carolina. Governor of Virginia Alexander Spotswood issued a proclamation on July 10th, requiring all former pirates to make themselves known to the authorities, to give up their arms, and not to travel in groups larger than three. As head of a Crown colony, Spotswood viewed the proprietary colony of North Carolina with contempt; he had little faith in the ability of the Carolinians to control the pirates.
He was soon marauding again when he attracted the attention of Spotswood. Spotswood arranged for a party of soldiers and sailors to try to capture the pirate, which they did on November 22, 1718.

Spotswood gave Lieutenant Robert Maynard of HMS Pearl a command of two different commandeered sloops, to approach and kill Blackbeard with a reward from the Assembly of Virginia, over and above any that might be received from the Crown.

Maynard’s two ships ran aground and were blown apart by Blackbeard. Then Blackbeard boarded his ship. Maynard hid the living with himself in the hull to spring up at Blackbeard as he was walking through the corpses from his broadsides. Maynard sprung up with his crew from below and engaged Blackbeard directly and another slashed his throat from behind. In the end, Blackbeard’s head hung from the bowsprit.

The whereabouts of his skull have been shrouded in mystery for generations,. Reported by several sources to have been rescued from the scaffold by his pirate brethren and plated with silver and stamped with a motto – “Death to Spotswood”. Some say it was used at Williamsburg’s Raleigh Tavern as a strange drinking vessel. Alexandria’s Gadsby’s Tavern had claimed possession for a while too. Then the College of William and Mary had held the silver plated cranium plate fitted with a handle within a fraternity. Could the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity used it over the years in their drinking parties?

A New England collector nearly 50 years ago, acquired it. Upon his death, his widow would donate it to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. They did loan it out to the town of Nahant for a little while at their town library, but have since reclaimed it and it sits in the basement of the Old Armory next to Romanov crown jewels and one of Paul Revere’s church bell’s made for the smuggler’s in town who met at the East Church.

My friend who fell asleep during history class is the reason the bell is in the basement. Now Paul Revere was a horrible bell maker, that is why they all have cracked like the Liberty Bell. This was the only one that did not crack. Till my friend got hammered with a hammer one Halloween season. It cost him $2,000 and 6 months in jail for them to put the plastic recreation in front of the Visitor Center.

Romanov Crown Jewels? If you had a tunnel connected to your museum in all of its previous locations in town for the last 300 years or so, what would you smuggle in…The Crane family in Ipswich had a family member in the Russian ministry during the time the Czar’s family were murdered could explain their presence here.

Salem had its share of pirates. The Derbys, Crowninshields, and Whites to name a few. Well, they prefer to be called privateers…

One last story of pirates and Salem. Isaac Chauncy Wyman was the last lawyer to try a case of piracy. He worked with U.S. Attorney General Benjamin F. Hallett who was the Democratic National Party chairman. Oakes Smith went to prison for engaging in the slave trade but escaped. Wyman acted as a detective and went on the hunt for him, but never found him. The Wyman’s owned a mill where Colonel Francis Peabody would have his black lead mill that supplied graphite for Joseph Dixon’s pencils.

Now Yale over the years will be associated with famous skulls. They supposedly have the skulls of Martin Van Buren, Geronimo, and Pancho Villa.

For more tales like this about how Salem MA has shaped American History read Sub Rosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin available at Barnes & Nobel,, and your favorite local independent bookseller.
Ask for it by name!

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