The Murder that Inspired the Game Clue and Edgar Allan Poe

Welcome to the Salem Tunnel Report. Every Monday we will post new and old tunnel finds along with those who built them. In our posts you will learn how Salem has shaped American history from the profits of the smuggling that happened in these tunnels; sometimes for the good, but more often not.

Gardner Pingree House
128 Essex Street

Built in 1804-1805 for John Gardner 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 Gardner who had owned two ships with him and captained both.

Next door was the site of the Captain Joseph Gardner 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 was 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. Could he have received a bribe from Russell Sturgis as well? 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 was heavily invested in The Second National Bank of the United States. He had questionable feelings towards a young niece who lived with him. He hated the man whom she would marry and made a fortune of $3 million dollars before 1830, 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.

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! 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 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 niece for 3 years and is ill during a hard winter. His favorite nephew 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 blame the Knapps and Crowninshields of murder to remedy the capture of a ship he once owned and a public insult? Remember Joseph J. Knapp Jr. was born the same year his father had lost the captain’s baby the ship Revenge.

We will not know, but we do know who ever snuck into to kill the old man knew of the tunnels. 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.

Many secrets in Salem!

For more read info Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City and its sequel Sub Rosa by Chris Dowgin published by Salem House Press. Available at Barnes & Noble, Remember Salem, The Witch House, Jolie Tea, and Amazon.com.

Old Bet the Stoned Elephant

Something from the Devil?

Stoned Elephant departing boat at NYC

Jacob Crowninshield a representative in Congress from Salem purchased the first elephant to be shipped to America. On the journey there was a threat that the elephant would drink all of the water, so they gave all the beer to her and sailors got the water. By the time she got to NYC she was pink from being drunk so long; hence we have the term pink elephants.

The Stoned Elephant toured America and would drink a beer for a nickel and a keg for a dime. Later she was rescued by Hachaliah Bailey of Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus and renamed Old Bet who became his star attraction. Then when traveling in Maine many years later, a farmer thought she was something from the devil and shot her.

Jacob came to a sticky end too; he would spit up blood on the Congress floor and die five days afterward. After a bloody campaign Joseph Story who was the Crowninshield personal lawyer would beat out Benjamin Crowninshield for the Congress seat who was on his brother-in-law Stephen White’s payroll. Story would later move on to become the Superior Court Justice who has shaped our interpretation the most of the Constitution and White would go on to become the man behind the assassination of President William Harrison.

To hear more stories like this on the best Salem walking tour book tickets for the Salem Smugglers’ Tour of the historic Salem Common today! Also read Salem Secret Underground and Sub Rosa by Chris Dowgin.

www.salemtunneltour.com
More Than Witches!!!

Tecumseh’s Curse?

What is Tecumseh’s Curse? Find out more by reading this post and be amazed!

Background

Log-Cabin

It all started with the election of William Harrison against Martin Van Buren. The election was the first to use propaganda, slogans, and songs. Two slogans have made it into everyday speech. ‘Keep that ball rolling’ was one of them. Harrison supporters made a large leather and tin ball plastered with slogans they would roll from city to city saying… Another is Booze. Edmund G. Booz had made a whiskey bottle shaped like a log cabin that Harrison supporters handed out. At 67 Harrison was the oldest president ever to be elected until Reagan who was 71. It was said of him, “Give him a barrel of hard cider, and … a pension of two thousand [dollars] a year … and … he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin.” So the Whig’s spun it to their side and commissioned E.G. Booze to make the bottles.

“Tippee Canoe and Tyler Too,” was the campaign slogan. Harrison was riding on the fame of the battle at Tippee Canoe where the Indian leader who was called the Prophet was killed. The Prophet, Tenskwatawa, was the brother of Tecumseh. It was Richard Mentor Johnson who was running against Harrison as Van Buren’s Vice President, before he was dropped form the ticket, who many believed was the man who killed Tecumseh. Johnson’s common law wife was Julia Chinn, a slave which he was brought up with. She died 7 years before the election, but the country was not ready for one who was proud of his interracial wife. James Knox Polk would also be dropped from the Van Buren ticket. In the end Van Buren ran with no Vice President. Even though many thought Johnson killed Tecumseh, “Rumpsey Dumpsey, Rumpsey Dumpsey, Colonel Johnson killed Tecumseh”, Harrison would be the first to befall Tecumseh’s Curse.

William Harrison started the election as an Anti-Masonic Party candidate with Daniel Webster. The Anti-Mason Party was absorbed in the campaign by the Whigs and Webster was supplanted by Tyler. Webster was Salem’s candidate with the support of Stephen White who had a personal grudge against Jackson for not renewing the charter on the Second Bank of the United States. White ran Associate Superior Court Justice Joseph White and Webster by the purse strings through a series of political marriages. Story and Webster were directors in the bank. The Anti-Masonic Party was anti-Jackson and the Whigs were even more anti-Jackson who absorbed the party.  Henry Clay founded the party based on English supporters of the Bank of England for the sole purpose of restoring a new national bank after Jackson destroyed the last one.

The Curse

Appletons'_Tecumseh

Tecumseh in his native tongue meant shooting star. Then in 1811 during the War of 1812 a great comet was seen which rose Tecumseh to stardom literally. He was to bring the largest confederacy of natives together that had a training camp at Tippee Canoe. After a defeat they were forced to make ties with the British. During this time Tecumseh led the battle of Detroit by fooling the Americans that he had a force 3 times the size they did by circling the same troops on the fort. At the Battle of the Thames he would be killed, it is believed for they never confirmed his remains or the person who would have killed him.

So what is with his curse? William Harrison, was the oldest president elected at the time, was the first to die from the curse and the current oldest president ever elected was Ronald Reagan who was the last. Harrison died a month in office and Reagan survived 2 terms after a failed assassination. So let’s start closer to the present with the history of the curse.

John Warnock Hinckley Jr. was released on September 10th 2016 from St. Elizabeth in Washington D.C. Garfield’s assassin, Charles Julius Guiteau, and Andrew Jackson’s attempted assassin Richard Lawrence were interned here as well. Lawrence tried killing Jackson in support of the Second National Bank of the United States. Garfield was a supporter of the Gold Standard and investigated the Black Friday Gold Panic Scandal, could someone delude Guiteau to serve their purposes? St. Elizabeth was founded by Dr. Miller who was present at William Harrison’s death of typhoid. For most of its history it has served as the mental asylum for military officers. Augustus Owsley Stanley III was also placed in St. Elizabeth who was The Beatles and Ken Kesey LSD dealer. The hospital will in the near future become the new headquarters for Homeland Defense which came about after September 11th. Hinckley would have been the last assassin to be involved in the curse, but he failed.

The full list of presidents who befell Tecumseh’s Curse:

William Harrison  Poisoned March 26th                                             died April 4th 1841

Zachary Taylor Poisoned July 4th                                                         died July 9th 1850

Abraham Lincoln Shot Good Friday April 14th                                 died April 15th 1865 ?

James A. Garfield shot July 2nd                                                            died September 19th 1881

William McKinley shot September 6th                                               died September 14th 1901

Warren G. Harding Poisoned, Suicide, or Heart Attack                 died August 2nd 1923

Franklin D. Roosevelt Cerebral Hemorrhage March 29th              died April 12th 1945

John F. Kennedy November 26th                                                         Shot dead

Ronald Reagan Shot March 30th 1981                                                Survived

Reagan brought the curse to an end. At the time Russia was sending submarines to invade Poland in response to their Solidarity Movement. Was Reagan thinking of supporting the Poles? The Greatest American Hero just premiered with the main character Ralph Hinckley, later renamed Ralph Hanley. Around the assassination attempt Neil Bush of Standard Oil and Winston Partners ate dinner with Scott Hinckley of Vanderbilt Oil in Denver and brother to the would be assassin. The Hinckleys and Bushs grew up together in Texas.

Another look at the list:

Five were shot.

Four killed by Doctors.

Four were dying in April.

Three were hospitalized in March.

Three possibly poisoned.

Two hospitalized in July.

Two died in September.

Now it all started with Stephen White, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay’s plan of assassinating their political candidate William Harrison for his refusal of creating a new national bank. After Stephen White’s death in the same year of Harrison, Clay and Webster would go on and kill Zachary Taylor making the second to befall Tecumseh’s Curse. They will also murder James Knox Polk 3 months after he leaves office and 13 month before Taylor’s assassination. So technically Polk does not count in the curse. Polk was murdered for supporting Jackson as Speaker of the House in his removal of the Second Bank of the United States and making an Independent Treasury while he served as president.

Along the way William Harrison lost a child 2 weeks before he became president; Webster, and Clay who did not trust each other would lose several family members mysteriously; Clay and Webster would both die in 1852 without seeing the Third Bank of the United States created.  So many had died and the bank would not be created till 1913.

Was Anyone Else Suspicious?

Has anyone in our century questioned Harrison, Polk, or Taylor’s death? Clara Rising, a former University of Florida professor was studying the life of Zachary Taylor. Upon doing so she began questioning his death. Upon further study she had enough questions and historical evidence to contact Taylor’s closest living relative, John McIlhenny, to ask for his remains to be exhumed.

This would not be the first president to be exhumed. The coffin of Abraham Lincoln, another who suffered Tecumseh’s Curse, was opened 4 times. Most recently on Sept. 26, 1901 to confirm that it contained his remains. Robert Todd Lincoln would be at his father’s death and also present at Garfield’s assassination. Abraham Lincoln was shot on Good Friday…That is a totally different story about his and Booth’s survival…

Zachary Taylor was exhumed on January 17th 1991 with officials, a new flag for his coffin, and 20 onlookers. Some present were other relatives of the dead president. Louise LeBourgeois who was observing was his great-great-great-great-granddaughter.

Rising was not the first to bring his death into debate. In 1978, Hamilton Smith based his assassination theory on the timing of drugs, the lack of confirmed cholera or Typhoid outbreaks, and other material. Also after Lincoln’s death it was widely mentioned he was assassinated just like Taylor.

So that is the skippy on Tecumseh’s Curse…

Sub Rosa Book Cover

To find out more read Sub Rosa and learn more about this and other amazing ways how Salem MA shaped American History up to the present. Advance Readers copies for sale on Amazon.com, Remember Salem, and Jolie Tea.

The Murder That Led to the Murder of Two Presidents

Revenge!

Joseph_White_House_Essex_St

Gardner Pingree House

128 Essex Street

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.

Downing House Governor Bradstreet Mansion Salem MA where nn Bradstreet wrote her poetry

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.

Knapp Brothers with George Crowninshield
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.

William Henry Harrison

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.

President Taylor Murdered?

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.

Clue
The purchase of the English game Cluedo by William Parker’s sons would be inspired by the murder of Isaac Parker.

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!