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!

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