Welcome to tales of Nineteenth-Century Salem. A time in which Salem was the richest city and the most influential in shaping our young country. In our posts you will learn how Salem has shaped American history from the profits she made by the smuggling that happened in her tunnels by the most wealthy and powerful in their day; sometimes for the good, but more often not. So join us every Monday for new tales!
Isaac Parker: The Judge in the Murder that Influenced the Game Clue
I was the Chief Justice of Massachusetts and one of the original High Federalists. I died 3 days after I said I never felt better and never missed a day on the bench. I was to preside over the murder case that inspired the American version of Clue by Parker Brothers. The murder happened 3 months earlier in 1830 and 3 days after Daniel Webster supposedly came to Salem to prosecute the case. Previously, I was the judge accusing him of being a traitor in the 1812 War. The Parker Brothers were the grandson of my cousin William Parker.
To read more about how Salem shaped American history read Sub Rosa by Chris Dowgin published by Salem House Press.
I am William Parker. I am a Smugglers in Salem and the Parker Brothers’ grandfather. My cousin’s mysterious death before he presided over the famous Joseph White murder of 1830 led my grandson to purchase Cluedo and rename it Clue. The mysterious death of Chief Justice Isaac Parker the night before he was to be in court spurred my grandson’s purchase of the game. For more info read Sub Rosa to find out how Salem shaped America and your lives!
Available at Remember Salem, Jolie Tea, Wicked Good Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.Salem House Press
His grand cousins, the Parker Brothers, would purchase the game Cluedo and rename it Clue because of his mysterious death. The most famous Victorian American Murder was of the privateer Joseph White in 1830. Chief Justice Isaac Parker would die 3 days after saying he never felt better and never missed a day on the bench. It was 3 months since Joseph White was murdered and Parker died the night before the trial. Three days later Daniel Webster came to Salem to be the prosecutor in the murder. Parker was despised by Webster for a hang jury verdict on a libel case resulting from accusations of Webster being a traitor during the Hartford Convention.
Isaac’s cousin William Parker lived off the Salem Common and so did Joseph White who was the victim. William was the Parker Brother’s grandfather and smuggler in Salem. White’s nephew Stephen committed the crime and had others hanged for the murder, under his uncle Joseph’s orders who was dying already.
To find out more book a tour on the Salem Smugglers’ Tour of the historic Salem Common today! Also read the books Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City and Sub Rosa by Chris Dowgin your tour guide.
More Than Witches!!!
It all starts with salmonella and a good game of Clue
Around August 12th, 1849 in Meadville, Pennsylvania on a northern tour of the country President Zachary Taylor would suffer from typhoid for 3 days and recover. In April 1850 he would dine with William H. Prescott who he tried to convince to write a history of the Mexican-War. Out of spite Prescott would write the Conquest of Mexico…about Cortez and his friends instead.
I wonder about Prescott. He had dined with Polk before he died. Polk had been sick afterward, but survived. Prescott would be a great spy. He had access to John Quincy Adams, James Polk, Arthur Wellington, Prince Albert, and Zachary Taylor. Prince Albert would die of typhoid as well. Two years after Prescott’s death though. Taylor would become sick 3 months after meeting Prescott, I believe typhoid incubates for a week or two? Can it lay dormant longer? Zachary Taylor would be the second of the only two Whig candidates who were elected president, and the second to die early in their term of Typhoid. The first was William Harrison who died within a month of his inauguration, and under 2 months of his son’s death.
Now Stephen White was the power behind Daniel Webster who was 1 of 3 of the most powerful senators in the country. Webster was the prosecutor in the Joseph White murder, the uncle of Stephen. Stephen got away with the murder and then engineered the assassination of William Harrison with Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. The Joseph White murder is the basis of the Parker Brother’s choice to purchase the American rights to the English game Cluedo and rename it Clue. What spur this? A grand uncle of the Parker Brothers was the judge in the murder case who dies the night before the trial started.
Now as Prescott was leaving Boston for Washington to dine with Taylor the famous Webster-Parkman trial was happening. Lemuel Shaw was the State Superior Court Justice on the case. He was the man Webster appointed to the position of Chief Justice after he possibly murdered Chief Justice Parker. Parker previously presided over a hung jury libel case Webster brought against someone who claimed he was a traitor during the Hartford Convention. Since Shaw heard the case for Selman and Chase who were acquitted in the White murder previously he could not hear the murder case against the Knapps. He was also married to a Knapp. So it proved a horrible choice for Webster to make. Also the Knapp’s attorney was the same defense attorney from the libel case.
Now the suspect in the John Parkman murder was John White Webster. Daniel Webster was asked to prosecute the case. Did Daniel Webster refuse the case because to many memories of the Captain Joseph White murder case in Salem? The suspect had White and Webster in his name. The judge, Lemuel Shaw, was his first choice for the White murder, after the Parker murder that was.
Parker. Parkman? It does sound eerily familiar. Was Webster hearing the tell tail heart? Especially if he was sending his youthful friend to poison a president. Prescott’s father was another traitor during the Hartford Convention with Daniel Webster. This would be the first assassination after the mysterious death of Stephen White after an accidental poisoning, second if you include Polk who had left office already. Stephen White was behind the assassination of Harrison with Webster and Clay.
Now Prescott had just spent time with Parkman’s son at the time of the murder. Also Prescott’s aunt was married to John White Webster. Parkman and John White Webster were teachers at Harvard.
Parkman helped create the McLean Asylum which is now in Belmont, MA. He would also testify at the Abraham Prescott murder which tried using sleepwalker as a defense in the murder. He was testifying that insanity can be genetically passed along, since Abraham Prescott close family were all nuts. It was Daniel Webster’s friend Rufus Choate who first successfully used sleepwalking as a defense in American history in 1846. Choate convinced a jury that the accused, Albert Tirrell, did not cut the throat of his lover, or, if he did so, he did it while sleepwalking, under the ‘ insanity of sleep’.
John White Webster had murdered Parkman and dismantled his corpse and tried burning him in the Harvard’s incinerator.
Trivia. Lemuel Shaw’s daughter Elizabeth marries Herman Melville. He presided over Cobb Vs Cobb in which Brigham Young was having affair with Augusta Adams and Henry Adams wins a divorce. Brigham Young will be at Nathaniel Felt’s house in Salem when he hears news of Joseph Smith’s death. Felt was married to John Quincy Adam’s cousin. Shaw was married to Elizabeth Knapp who was the daughter of Josiah Knapp. George Parkman’s sister married Robert Gould Shaw, grandfather of 54th regiment Robert Gould Shaw (the general Matthew Broderick played in Glory). Also Nathaniel Russell Sturgis was married to Susannah Parkman. Maybe they all bought to much opium from Sturgis.
Sturgis was in the employment of Thomas Perkins’ opium empire which made his Forbes nephews a fortune andthe drug empire was later sold to the Russells, the family who founded the Skull & Bones.
McLean Asylum later would house Ray Charles, James Taylor, and John Nash. Ray Charles and James Taylor would be addicts of a form of opium…
I bet you had no clue…
For more information on tunnels in Salem and how the city shaped American history read Sub Rosa and Salem Secret Underground: The HIstory of the Tunnels in the City. Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and anywhere books are sold! Also eBooks available at www.salemhousepress.com. Also take the Salem Smugglers’ Tour when in Salem MA to learn this all first hand from the author.
Built in 1804-1805 for John Gardener Jr. by Samuel McIntire. Jeremiah Page provided bricks, David Robbins was the mason, Joseph Fogg the lumber, Epes Cogswell was housewright, and William Luscoomb III painter. Gardner had owned 6 ships. All but 2 had different captains and co-owners. He never captained any of his ships. The only economic venture he went on twice with anyone was with his relative Simon Gardener who had owned two ships with him and captained both. Next door was the site of the Captain Joseph Gardener home where the Plummer Hall now stands that houses the Essex Institute. The Captain was killed by Narragansets in 1675 at the Great Swamp Fight. At the Captain’s death his wife Anne inherited her father’s Emmanuel Downing’s house which is west of Plummer Hall and married Gov. Simon Bradstreet and lived there. This house was torn down in 1750 and Francis Peabody built his mansion. This book was written across the street from where the first American poet wrote her books, Anne Bradstreet.
In 1811 John Gardner Jr. ran into financial problems and sold the house to Nathaniel West. Nathaniel West was a captain who owned many ships with Nehemiah Andrews, Crowninshields, Derbys, Benjamin Pickman, and Francis Boardman. Nathaniel West bought the John Turner mansion, next to the Peter Palfrey House to the right, opposite Central Street in 1833 and opened it as a tavern called “The Mansion house” in time for President Andrew Jackson’s visit. Later it would be called the “West Block”. Nathaniel West sold the Gardner-Pingree House three years later to Captain Joseph White. He was murdered in this house.
It’s raining, it’s pouring.
The old man is snoring.
He went to bed bumped his head,
and he couldn’t get up in the morning.”
Captain Joseph White who bought the “Come Along Patty” from Elias Haskett Derby with the Cabot brothers and renamed it the “Revenge” became the first privateer from Salem. He was in the slave trade. He had questionable feelings towards a young niece who lived with him. He hated the man whom she would marry and made a fortune which he was not going to give her any. In the winter of 1829-1830 Captain Joseph White was feeling ill and had his lawyer Joseph Waters draft him a new will. In 1830 someone snuck through the tunnel and murdered him. Not just once, but possibly on 3 separate occasions.
This murder would inspire Edgar Allen Poe’s to write the Tell Tale Heart. It is reminiscent of Agatha Christies’s Murder on the Oriental Express. The intrigue of the murder and the sudden death of Judge Parker might of led Parker Brothers to buy the U.S. rights to the 1949 Cluedo/Clue game because it reminded them of the strange tale that happened in this Salem house and the possible murder of their uncle the high Federalist Isaac Parker who was to hear the case! I wonder if it was a literature fan who moved the Crowninshield-Bentley House to the right from its old home in the Hawthorne Hotel’s parking lot. That house was in H.P. Lovecraft’s story The Thing on the Doorstep. Also Rev. Bentley wrote his memoirs of Salem in the Crowninshield- Bentley House.
Captain Joseph White was not kind to his relations that had worked for him in his house. He only showed a special form of kindness to his young attractive grand niece. The announcement of her engagement to a captain that was just released from Joseph Jr. & Stephen White Co.’s employment just sent him into a furor. At 82 he has been abandoned by his grand niece for 3 years and is ill during a hard winter. His favorite nephew, Joseph “Jr.” White, has been dead for some years but his brother is still at the old captain’s side. Was Stephen jealous of the attention his uncle gave to his female cousin or the attention she deprived him? Did Stephen foster some hatred towards his uncle for favoring his dead brother over him? Did the old Captain plan a mercy killing that would gain him “Revenge” against two x-business partners who aggrieved him?
In 1827 Jospeh Knapp Jr., who’s father was a partner of Joseph White who lost his favorite ship the Revenge to the pirate Phillips, marries Mary Beckford who was having an affair with the wealthy grand uncle in hopes of producing an heir. This is the same year Stephen White loses his own wife. At the end of the Embargo Act Richard Crowninshield insulted Joseph White publicly after Napoleon captured 3 ships from Salem in Naples. Richard Crowninshield will loose his heir Richard Crowninshield Jr. by a rigged suicide while waiting arraignment for Captain White’s murder and so Joseph Knapp will loose his two sons through the prosecution of Stephen White’s daughter’s father-in-law. All in the name of “Revenge”.
Stephen White rounds up the Committee of Vigilance which had no police or detective involved in its formation, but 27 scoundrels who were offered a $2,700 reward in the capture of the murderers. April 27th the Knapp brothers have their carriage attacked heading back to Cherry Farm. In 1827 Joseph Knapp Jr. looses his mother, marries Joseph White’s grand niece and lover, and Stephen White looses his wife. It has been 3 years since when the old man is murdered. Three months after the murder the high Federalist Isaac Parker who sits as the head of the MA Superior Court dies after saying three days prior he was never in better health and he has never missed a day on the bench in his whole career. Daniel Webster then offers the Superior Court position to Stephen White’s brother-in-law Joseph Story who turns down the offer to remain on the Supreme Court bench in D.C. The man he does offer it to next takes the position, but can’t hear the case since he acquitted two men in the murder previously. Daniel Webster opposition in the case is an attorney who had won a case against him for libel in the past. With all of this funny business the Knapp brothers will be tried twice for the same crime and hanged.
This cabal that was formed with the Joseph White murder goes on and protects the murder victim’s investments in the Second Bank of the United States. Daniel Webster and Joseph Story will become directors in the Second Bank of the United States. Story will defend the bank in the Supreme Court. Democrat Joseph Story would turn on Andrew Jackson in 1836 after he does not renew the charter for the Second Bank of the United States. Afterward there will be an assassination attempt against Jackson because of the bank. Daniel Webster will help Stephen White, head of the Ma National Republican Party that transforms into the Whig Party, elect William Harrison president after Webster fails to be elected. They chose Harrison explicitly so they could control him and create the Third Bank of the United States. Daniel Webster writes Harrison an inaugural address to only be rebuked as he writes the longest one in American history. Harrison expels Webster’s cohort Henry Clay from the White House and refuses to create the Third Bank of the United States. Embolden by the murder they got away in Salem; Story, White, and Webster assassinate Harrison by typhoid poisoning one month into office. Mysteriously Stephen White dies 3 days later. Harrison’s successor Tyler will also refuse to establish the bank.
Later Daniel Webster , after the deaths of Stephen White and Joseph Story, on the verge of the Civil War will assassinate President Taylor 16 months into office by Typhoid once more. President Polk who also was against the Third Bank of the United States would die 3 months after leaving office and 13 months before Taylor of typhoid. These three men would add to the ranks of political assassination which would include Alexander the Great. It becomes public that foreign investors hire Daniel Webster to leave his wealthy law practice to become Secretary of State for his successor Millard Fillmore in hopes of the creation of the Third Bank of the United States or the Fiscal Bank which in time becomes the Federal Reserve under Wilson. These investors could of been owners of shares in the Second Bank of the United States after Jackson did not renew the charter. One reason Jackson removed the federal finances from the bank because 70% of the shares in the bank were owned by English bankers who bought a majority of them from George Peabody, the namesake of Peabody MA. Today most of the shares in the Federal Reserve are held by foreign investors.
The trees in front of this house and the home being named Gardenor-Pingree was inspired by Louisa Dupont-Crowninshield. For the love of her husband and his relationship to the murdered Richard Crowninshield Jr., who was implicated in the murder of Joseph White, she donated to the Peabody Essex Museum large funds to erase the memory of the murder that happened here. A museum that was bailed out by George Peabody who was selling shares in the Second Bank of the United States.
The tunnels connect the White/Story compound to the old man’s mansion. The old man bankrolled Joseph Jr. & Stephen White Co. and the construction of his nephews houses with the tunnels attached to them. I have been in the White brothers homes and seen the sealed up entrances to the tunnels and I have friends who have played in the tunnels attached to Judge Story’s House. I have been in the tunnels under the old Sacon Jewelry Building. It leads me to strongly believe that this house with exterior chimneys, the tunnel marked on an old city engineers map leaving the Armory, it was built by Samuel McIntire, plus manhole covers reading “Sewer”, “Drain”, and “S” which mark converted tunnels for public utilities in front of the property lead me to believe this house is connected to the tunnels in town.
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!