Today we start a new story, Battle at Cedar Bridge Tavern. Henry, everyone’s favorite immortal, finds himself as General William Howe at the last battle of the Revolutionary War in the New Jersey Pine Barrens trying to steal back the Ark of the Covenant. So read on to find out how Henry became the British general who led the war, how he lost the Ark, how he got it back, and what Benjamin Franklin has to do with the Jersey Devil?
The first Mason Lodge, Hiram Lodge No. 1, in Connecticut was chartered under the Provincial St. John’s Lodge in Boston. It resided in the same city as Yale, New Haven. Influential to its charter was Israel Putnam. Putnam was from Salem and sided against his relatives in the hanging of Rebecca Nurse during the Witchcraft Trials. He went on to serve during the French and Indian War and was at Bunker Hill and the Crossing of the Delaware. He was one of the founding Masons in Connecticut. Another who would help start the first lodge was Col. Nathan Whiting.
Nathan was the grandfather of Nathan C. Whiting who was the founder of the town I grew up in NJ. Col. Nathan Whiting also served during the French and Indian War and was instrumental during the battle of Louisbourg along with Sir William Pepperrell.
Pepperrell’s portrait hangs in the Peabody Essex Museum. He is the spitting image of my friend Jim Armstrong. The portrait hangs next to Richard Saltonstall, who is the spitting image of his brother Neil Armstrong. Not the astronaut… Then again I am not sure if Col. Whiting’s wife Mary Hayes Saltonstall was related to Richard Saltonstall…
Col. Nathan Whiting’s uncle Thomas Clap who was president of Yale University brought him up after his parents death. Nathan attended Yale and served in the state senate.
Others instrumental in the founding of the Hiram Lodge No. 1 was Pierpont Edwards, a relative of Aaron Burr. He also attended Yale with Benedict Arnold. Also David Wooster and Elihu Lyman were founding fathers who attended Yale.
Nathan C. Whiting the grandson founded a sawmill in the Pine Barrens of NJ and had a train station across from his house. The stop was called Whiting’s. So that is how my town in NJ got its name.
So what is down there? Within the pages of the book Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City I tell you. The book is filled with pictures of the tunnels in the city. On the Salem Smugglers’ Tour I take you where the photos were taken and show you them on my tablet while going over the history of the people who built them.
So are any of these smugglers important today, or even then? Well lets take a look…
So these men were the politicians who shaped our country. Pickering was Washington’s general and Secretary of State who helped ratify the Constitution. Joseph Story shaped the Constitution with Daniel Webster. Both were in Stephen White’s pocket defending the Second Bank of the United States and their attempts to create what we call the Federal Reserve today. George Peabody founded the Rockefeller Foundation, sold the majority of shares in our national bank to foreign investors, collapsed our economy several times, founded what became JP Morgan bank, and bailed out the local museum which was renamed after him. He owned the Eastern Railroad that built the Gothic railroad station in town.
Who else? Elias Hasket Derby was America’s first millionaire and the tenth richest man in American history to this day. Beyond Gates and Buffet put together. He built a tunnel from his wharf, to his home, and to his cousin’s Hodges house who founded the Peabody Essex Museum. His son Eias Hasket Derby Jr. who extended the tunnels so 159 politicians and businessmen could avoid paying Jefferson’s duties. Thomas Perkins who’s opium empire spurred on the wealth of the Forbes, Russells, and Sturgis families. In fact the Russells purchase his land in New Haven and erect the Skull & Bones crypt on it. Russell will create the fraternity with Alphonso Taft who is President Taft’s grandfather.
How do I know these tunnels exist? Because I have been in them!
Can I get you in…no! One day though so keep checking back, but for now there is so much more about this tour than witches. Stuff that still effects you today! Plus the tour is filled with vintage photos of town from the 1800’s, old car crashes, comedy, ghost stories and a famous murder!!!
Also you will learn how Stephen White who had the East India Marine Hall in the Peabody Essex built got away with murdering his uncle with the involvement of Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story and Secretary of State Daniel Webster. A murder that empowered them to murder presidents Harrison and Taylor to secure the Third Bank of the United States so George Peabody could sell more of our country away to the Rothschilds.
Here are some of the cool tunnels in Salem you will see in the book and on the tablet on the tour.
So book a tour today at www.salemtunneltour.com and head over to Barnes & Noble to buy Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City. If you buy the book on the tour you will save $5 and will have it signed and doodled in by the author for no extra cost! What a deal!!
This was the residence of Col. Francis Peabody built in 1818 on portion of Governor Simon Bradstreet’s estate. Originally this home was built by Captain Joseph Peabody for his son Joseph Augustus. The Peabody’s house was the front section of the armory which has since been demolished and a park has been erected in its place. In 1890 the Stephen Abbot Associates of Cadets purchased the house and added the drill shed which is 86 feet long by 9 feet wide. The Second Corps of Cadets first commander was Stephen Abbott in 1786. This corps would train several officers for the military. The portion of the armory in Peabody’s house had a fine banquet hall which entertained Prince Arthur of England upon the death of London banker George Peabody in 1870. George Peabody formed the banking firm of George Peabody and Company which would later merge with Junius Spencer Morgan (J.P. Morgan’s father) to form Peabody, Morgan, and Company. Morgan Greenfell (now part of Deutsche Bank), J.P. Morgan and Chase, and Morgan Stanley. J.P. Morgan and Chase and Morgan Stanley would be part of the 2008 bailout along with Alexander Hamilton’s Bank of New York. During Peabody’s life he engineered 3 Great Panics with Nathaniel Rothschild. In 2014 J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley where fined for engineering the 2008 financial crisis. Peabody would create several museums and institutes including the Peabody Academy of Science which is now the Peabody Essex Museum. The Armory of the Salem Light Infantry was in the Franklin Building (site of the Hawthorne Hotel). The Peabody house was razed in 1908. Some of the original woodwork survives in the Mason Lodge on Washington Street.
In 1908 the Company H, Eight Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia would build a new castle like armory to share with the Second Corps of Cadets. Company H was the Salem Light Infantry which was housed in the Franklin Building. The Salem Light Infantry was founded in 1805. FDR stopped here during a campaign tour to attend a ball. After WWII the armory was headquarters for the First Battalion, 102d Field Artillery. They remained here up till 1982 when a series of fires on Halloween burnt down the Cadet House on the front of the Armory. The arsonist burned the top floors of Mason Lodge on Washington Street, Saint Anne’s Church on Jefferson Ave. an one of the out buildings at the Lasalette monastery(Turner Hill) in Ipswich.He was trying to burn religion to the ground, for in the armory was where the Witch Balls were held. He was an equal opportunity atheist. The Battalion moved to Lynn.
Steve Dibble was once the city engineer. He had mentioned that there was marked off a tunnel to the armory on an old sewer map that was used to move black powder from the sea by the seawall by the old Burial Point. When I got to the engineer’s office to confirm this, that map was the only one missing. Who knows if they just ripped it out of the book or it was missing for years. You still can peer into this tunnel at the end of the oriental walkway across the street. Inside you will find the crossroads in the tunnel that head to the armory and the tunnels under the 3D Time Machine in the old Sacon jewelry building.
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!
One of the most famous architects in Salem was Charles Bulfinch. In Salem he built the new building for the Essex Bank, the town asylum, and Old Town Hall.
Old Town Hall was built on the foundation of Elias Hasket Derby’s mansion. This was the last mansion he lived in before he died. The first was the little brick house on Derby Street his father had built for him when he married the daughter of the enemy in town. The second was what is now named the Hawkes House. Derby never finished this one, instead he opted to use it as secret warehouse for all of his booty his fleet yanked from the Brits at sea. The remaining house we have not mentioned yet was razed to build the Essex Lodge in 1918. All of his mansions were connected to the tunnels. When they built the Mason Lodge the new owners kept the foundation untouched and left the tunnels unfettered. The last mansion was sold to the town by relatives of Elias Hasket Derby Jr., who engineered the most daring expansion to the tunnels to date, to build the new town house and market.
Now Bulfinch was called to be the man on the job to build the new town house and market. Bulfinch perfected the art of crafting buildings with secret entrances to the tunnels he had designed. In Salem this was a necessity for the majority of the wealthy who depended on this system to circumvent the custom agents. Granted the custom agents were smugglers too, but they did collect from the honest unconnected merchants. Bulfinch would build the State House in Boston as well, but his biggest project would call on him to be the one who finishes building the nation’s capitol. He became the Architect of the Capitol. Bulfinch was the original Warren Bellamy in Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol. He held the position from 1818 to 1829. He was appointed by James Monroe.
In July of 1817 James Monroe had seen many of the homes that were connected to the tunnels. He visited the homes of Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Crowninshield , Superior Court Justice Joseph Story, Senator Nathaniel Silsbee, and Old Town Hall built by Bulfinch. Monroe might of been so impressed by the network of tunnels that he hired Bulfinch to do the same for Washington D.C.
Bulfinch dug his way to the top by going through the bottom building homes for the wealthy and ended up working for the government building their capitols and maintaining theirs secrets.
As we know in Salem, politics and corruption made our seaport the richest in the nation. This advancement did not come legally. Otherwise there would be no need to dig 3 miles of tunnels. This was the foundation of our government. George Washington slept in the Joshua Ward House and might of walked to his birthday party through a tunnel to the Mechanic Hall. He might of even praised the Salem local businessmen for their ingenuity for avoiding paying duties or taxes to the British.
Now John Quincy Adams also walked through these tunnels for years before he was president. Did he do anything while sworn in to stop these gentlemen from paying their share of the infrastructure they relied on more than anyone else? Did they pay one cent for the roads that were built to move their cargo into the interior of the nation?
What about James Monroe when he toured Salem? His Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Crowninshield put him up in his house and traveled through the tunnels to be entertained in the homes of Senator Nathaniel Silsbee and the founder’s of J.P. Morgan & Chase, George Peabody, home. No!
Then on the local level, all the mayors were part of the smuggling including Silsbee’s son. The head of Customs, Joseph Hiller, was part of it too along with the weigher and gauger and the captain in charge of the revenue cutter. Benjamin Crowninshield was also the Customs Agent for Marblehead.
On the state level Joseph Story and Stephen White were in the state congress along with many of the other smugglers in town. The members of the Salem Commons Improvement Fund were entrenched in all levels of government.
So I ask, if our world ended would it be a bad thing?
The universe hates vacuums. Once our world ends, another would just take its place. If corruption, greed, and secrecy was so integral to our world; would you want to remain living in it if a better world was offered to you? No, so lets stop. Let them thrive and strive as we leave to somewhere better. The good news is, you do not have to leave your town to do it. Its a state of mind. The old world tips their hand with every dollar they spend to convince you to act in such a way that profits them. If we were not so powerful, they would not spend a dime to influence how we thought. They would just force us to do it. In that statement lies the true strength in the people. So let the world fall.