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! chris.dowgin@salemtunneltour.com


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, Amazon.com, and your favorite local independent book seller.
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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, Amazon.com, and your favorite local independent bookseller.
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H.P. Lovecraft and Salem MA

HP Lovecraft and Salem MA

March 1931 H.P. Lovecraft of Providence Rhode Island will write At the Mountains of Madness. A story that is set inside the interior of Antarctica. One of the characters Frank H. Pabodie will be based on George Peabody’s family. It also mentions the Miskatonic Institute which is based on a Salem institute.

H.P. Lovecraft would travel to Salem, MA in 1923 and 1929. Salem and various surrounding towns will appear in his works. These trips to towns in Essex county would become the basis for the fictional towns in his narratives.

Arkham was from Salem to Ipswich. Innsmouth would be Gloucester and Ipswich. Kingsport would be the city of Marblehead. Many of the locations and buildings in these towns he used as settings for his town still exist. In Salem the Crowninshield-Bentley House would be the setting for the Thing on the Doorstep. People we have mentioned in my narrative, the Crowninshields and Derbys, would be characters in the story. The first story Arkham appears in is The Picture in the House.

The Thing on the Doorstep was set behind the Hawthorne Hotel when the doorstep faced the Common. A female cousin is talking to her male cousin of her possession by their ancestors, Derbys and Crowninshields, as she is shrinking into a dwarf. At the end of the narrative the thing on the doorstep goes running into the Common. The house is now next to the house Joseph White was murdered in.

Other locations include the Old Burying Point, Essex Institute, and Danvers State Hospital. The Old Burying Point appears in Pickman’s Model. Pickman was another smuggling family inside Salem. The Essex Institute, now part of the Peabody Essex Institute, becomes the Miskatonic Institute. It appears in At the Mountain of Madness, Shadow Out of Time, Dunwich Horror, Dreams in the Witch House, and Herbert West- Reanimator. The last story deals with a typhoid outbreak. The Essex Institute hosted the Salem Lyceum lectures in which John Quincy Adams spoke on politics, James Russell Lowell read parts of Dante’s Inferno, Longfellow would try out new pieces at, and Alexander Graham Bell would have his first public demonstration of the phone. Nathaniel Hawthorne was their secretary.

Arkham Sanitarium is Danver’s State Hospital. Danver’s State Hospital and it appears in Pickman’s Model and Shadow over Innsmouth. The real sanitarium was inspired by Thomas Story Kirkbride. He was the founder of the precursor to the American Psychiatric Association. Many hospitals would be based on his Kirkbride Plan, including Dr. Thomas Miller’s St. Elizabeth in Washington D.C. Kirkbride developed his requirements based on a philosophy of moral Treatment. The typical floor plan, with long rambling wings arranged en echelon (staggered, so each connected wing received sunlight and fresh air), was meant to promote privacy and comfort for patients. The building form itself was meant to have a curative effect, “a special apparatus for the care of lunacy, [whose grounds should be] highly improved and tastefully ornamented.” The idea of institutionalization was thus central to Kirkbride’s plan for effectively treating patients with mental illnesses.

The asylums tended to be large, imposing, Victorian-era institutional buildings within extensive surrounding grounds, which often included farmland, sometimes worked by patients as part of physical exercise and therapy.

Danvers State Hospital was built in 1878. Following Kirkbride’s direction it was a shining star, even though the first prefrontal lobotomy had happened here. By the time when the psychiatric field turned toward over predominance of pharmaceutical treatment it became hell on Earth. When I moved to Salem in 1992 the institute closed a day after my birthday on January 24th. For the most part they just opened their doors and let the patients walk out. Many would find their way to Salem where the Crombie Street Shelter was. Built behind Stephen White’ Barton Square Church.

These gentlemen provided lots of local color to Salem. There was Kevin and Ken always around. Then there was Dreadbeard. One was a millionaire who got weekly stipends. You would see him with a new laptop or digital camera at times. Many times he would sell them after and hour for $5 to a local merchant. Once he showed me pictures on his digital SLR camera of the view from an airplane of St. Thomas where he decided to be homeless for the winter.

Danvers State Hospital was left abandoned for years. Many would venture through the various tunnels on the property which were so scary that Hells Angels have been know to run out of it. If it is not haunted, it definitely is eerie with the scrawling of troubled minds on the walls. The tunnels connected the wings to a donkey engine rail to move carts of laundry and food.

My friend John Archer was one of thee main supporters of an effort to preserve the buildings from contractors in 2005. The center Kirkbride building was saved along with 4 apartment complexes, that would mysteriously burn down where they wanted a new parking lot. John Archer was able to salvage much of the interior and a cupola to be used in the construction of a new wing to his mansion. It has been written up in the New York Times Magazine and other periodicals. John was so kind to extend the use of his mansion for a group 40th birthday party for me and my friends catered by the great Boston catering company Brandi Foods.

Danvers State Hospital will appear in the film Session 9 and will inspire Batman authors to use it as Arkham Asylum in their DC universe. Lovecraft actively admired and supported authors who would develop stories based on his lexicon of mythology.

Other locations used in Lovecraft stories would include the Witch House and the Derby House. The Derby House is where Elias Hasket Derby Jr. grew up who extended the tunnels in 1801 in town. The Witch House was the residence of Roger Williams. Williams was a minister in the First Church in Salem before the Witch Trials. He was removed from town for his beliefs that Native Americans should be fairly compensated for their property and he believed in separation of church and state. In fact it was Thomas Jefferson’s studies on the trials which inspired him to include separation of church and state in the First Amendment. Williams would go on and become the founder of Rhode Island and the Baptist Church.

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, Amazon.com, and your favorite local independent book seller.
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Strange Alcoholic Tales from Salem MA

lydiaRev. Theobold Mathew, or Father Mathew (1790-1856), was an Irish temperance reformer who founded a mission in Cork, Ireland. The Father Mathew Total Abstinence Society, mostly Irish, was founded to inspire males to abjure from alcohol. He was a big proponent of social activities, including picnics, dances and sporting events. Within nine months, no less than 150,000 people had enrolled and took his abstinence pledge. His movement was also successful in Liverpool, Manchester, and London before it spread to America.

Despite ill health, “the apostle of temperance” Father Mathew lead a successful campaign across the United States. For two years he made his way across America, visiting Salem in Sept. of 1849 and President Taylor in the White House February of 1850.

After his visit the Total Abstinence Society became prosperous and would buy the Gideon Tucker Mansion in 1875 on Essex Street. One of the many homes connected to the tunnels in Salem. They erected a statue in his honor in 1887. They placed it in front of the Phoenix Hall near a poisoned well and a distillery. The distillery ran from Charter to Derby Street on the old grounds of Stephen White’s wharf. Somebody did not believe it was an apt place for the statue.

In 1916, the statue was moved from Central and Charter Streets to its present location, the corner of Derby Street and Hawthorne Boulevard (also known as Bertram Park.) Then in 1920 Prohibition started.
In 1922, Lydia’s Pinkham’s daughter Aroline Pinkham Chase Gove founded the Lydia E. Pinkham Memorial Clinic to provide health services to young mothers and their children; right across from the Father Mathew Statue. April of that same year, the Boston Globe reported on the sudden rise of “baby-carriage bootleggers” and described women as “champion booze hiders.” Woman tucked bottles under blankets, under mattresses, and on children. “The most popular refuge picked by the woman for contraband booze is the pocket hidden beneath her skirt,” they reported. “A properly tailored dress will secrete a number of bottles about the person without the hazard of clinking glass or gurgling nozzles.” The most common producer of these drinks were Lydia Pinkham.

Lydia Pinkham produced remedies to end womanly complaints. Most were 18% alcohol; others reached as high as 40 proof. Life Magazine had said, “Two or three bottles taken at once will make any woman forget her complaints, and her Christian name.”

She was the first woman to put her face on a product. The only other woman’s face that was as popular was Queen Victoria and many didn’t know the difference. Her ad campaigns read, “A fearful tragedy-Clergyman of Stratford, Conn. Killed by his own wife-Insanity brought on by 16 years of female complaints the cause-Lydia Pinkham Vegetable Compound-The sure cure to these complaints.” Advertising copy urged women to write to Mrs. Pinkham. They did, and they received answers. They continued to write and receive answers for decades after Pinkham’s own death.

Life is strange and city hall is stranger. Somebody on the license board had a sense of humor. They allowed the building that commemorated the woman who got women hammered during prohibition to be built next to the statue of the Irish Priest who tried to get men to remain sober….
For more stories like this about how Salem has shaped American History read Sub Rosa. Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and your favorite local independent book seller.

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Strange Ties to the Clue Murder in Salem, Another Ghastly Murder, and Zachary Taylor’s attempted Assassination

Webster Prkman Murder SketchAround August 12th, 1849 in Meadville, Pennsylvania on a northern tour of the country 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 with a severe stomach complaint, but survived. Prescott was sick before leaving Boston to meet Taylor. 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 and die.  I believe typhoid incubates for a week or two? Can it lay dormant longer? Well at least it was a valiant attempt by Prescott. His father was involved with the Essex Junto, Northern Confederacy, the Hartford Convention, an secession from America during the War of 1812. One of the fabulous smugglers who ventured through the tunnels of Salem, MA.

Now as Prescott was leaving Boston for Washington 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 after he murdered Chief Justice Parker. Since he heard the case for Selman and Chase he could not hear the case for Knapps. He was also married to a Knapp. So it proved a horrible choice for Webster to make.

Also the suspect was John White Webster. 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.

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 incinerator in the school.

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 Bartholomew 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.

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..


For More tales like this from Salem, MA read Sub Rosa and learn how Salem shaped American History. The book is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and your local Book Seller.
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Salem History is Electrifying!!!!!

Packard Electrics Salem MAIn 1835 the first public demonstration of the electric motor as a means of providing motive power for transportation was made by Thomas Davenport, of Brandon, Vermont. In 1847 Moses Farmer of Salem built a two-passenger electric train and in 1851 Charles Grafton Page invented a 16-mph electric train. These two inventor’s from Salem would go on to do so much.

In 1847, Farmer constructed “an electromagnetic locomotive, and with forty-eight pint cup cells of Grove nitric acid battery drew a little car carrying two passengers on a track a foot and a half wide”. He would travel throughout the country exhibiting this train during his lectures allowing children to ride it. Elihu Thomson, GE founder, would have a small train on his estate in Swampscott, MA. I wonder if he bought Farmer’s train for his kids to ride.

In 1851, Charles Grafton Page demonstrated a electric motor car capable of 16 MPH. It ran on the B & O Railroad track leaving Washington for Baltimore. It suffered many setbacks on the journey and proved not to be a commercial success.

Charles Grafton Page was born to Captain Jeremiah “Jere” Lee Page and Lucy Lang Page on January 25, 1812 in Salem, having eight siblings, four of each gender, he was the only one of five sons to pursue a career into mature adulthood. One of his brothers died in infancy. Brother George died from typhoid at age sixteen, brother Jerry perished on a sea expedition to the Caribbean at age twenty-five, and Henry, afflicted by poliomyelitis, was not able to support himself. In writing to Charles during his final voyage, Jerry expressed the family’s hope for his success: “You are the only classical Page in our book.” Page married Priscilla Sewall Webster in 1844.

Page was an accomplished singer and ventriloquist. One way he used his ventriloquist abilities was to prove that the famous Fox Sisters were frauds. Electricity was being bundled together with other pseudosciences like spiritualism. By confronting hoaxes he believed that electricity could be seen removed from the category and become more respected.

During the Civil War in 1863, Union soldiers broke into his laboratory and destroyed his equipment, inventions and laboratory notebooks. Also a fire in the Smithsonian Institution destroyed many of his other inventions in 1865. One was a powerful electrical magnet that could lift a thousand pounds. He worked in the patent office in D.C. for several years. Now he is mostly forgotten, but he had once been important in the development of the telegraph. I wonder if he was the model for how the government would sequester Tesla’s life work from us today.

The Electrics… In 1890 thanks to William Morrison, a chemist who lived in Des Moines, Iowa batteries were created to run electric cars efficiently for the time. His six-passenger vehicle capable of a top speed of 14 miles per hour helped spark interest in electric vehicles. It was not until 1895 that Americans began to devote attention to electric vehicles, after A.L. Ryker introduced the first electric tricycles to the America, by that point, Europeans had been making use of electric tricycles, bicycles, and cars for almost 15 years.

Farmer, Page, and even Dixon working with Frances Peabody were making trains, but Louis B. Packard was making electric cars. In Salem we had one of the early electrical car companies. Packard Electrics made the Four Wheel Packard Electric in 1896 and the Three Wheel Packard Electric in 1898. Both electrics were built by Lucius B. Packard at his shop on the corner of Liberty and Derby Streets at the foot of the Olde Burial Point seawall. Previously to him it was a sea mechanic shop and launch. The Salem Wax Museum now stands on that location. He was a wheelwright and a cabinet maker who tinkered in everything. The three wheeler was destroyed in the Great Salem Fire of 1914, the year of his death. Also David M. Little would build his steam truck around 1900 in his boat yard on a wharf off Derby Street. It could reach a speed of 35 miles per hour.

Now steam was more popular than electric all the way up to 1900, but electrics came in at a close second with gas powered vehicles the least popular. In 1900 in the United States, 4,192 cars were produced: 1,681 steam cars, 1,575 electric, and only 936 gasoline cars.

The smoke, the noise, and the muscle needed to start a gas powered car originally took it out of the market for most. Electric runabouts were great for city dwellers. Especially women who did not have he strength to turn the hand crank in the front of the car. Most people could not leave the city with them because of the battery life, plus they could only reach 30 miles an hour so rural travel was hard for them. Plus the roads were pretty rough outside of the cities…

Very few rural Americans had electricity at that time. To overcome this problem an exchangeable battery service was first proposed as early as 1896. Hartford Electric Light Company through the GeVeCo battery service were the first to offer this service to electric trucks. The owner purchased the vehicle from General Vehicle Company (GeVeCo, a subsidiary of the General Electric Company) without a battery and the electricity was purchased from Hartford Electric Light Company through an exchangeable battery plan. The owner paid a monthly service fee and a variable per-mile charge. Both vehicles and batteries were modified to facilitate a fast battery exchange. From 1910 to 1924 their vehicles traveled more than 6 million miles.

Thomas Edison and Elihu Thomson tried their hands at making electrics and steamers in the next town south, Lynn. Professor Herman Lemp, who worked for the General Electric Co. convinced them that there was a market for the electrics. They created many cars, but they never got around to mass marketing any. They ended up as company vehicles, even though many claimed they were the best of their times.
It started in 1897, Elihu Thomson and Elwin W. Rice believed that manufacturing automobiles was advantageous to their corporation. The actual construction of their first car began in March and it was on the streets of Lynn on the Third of July. Their first car could carry eight persons with a 3 horse powered motor at a speed at 14-18 mph with a radius of 20 miles.

Arthur Stanley was a foreman of General Electric in charge of the experimental cars. He built his own steam car in 1906. By early summer he was driving it along Revere Beach Boulevard at speeds up to 70 mph. The car’s odometer in time would read 160,000 miles. Also in Lynn, Clarence Simmonds who was an employee at the Lynn Gas and Electric Company built a 2 cylinder vertical engine, using naphtha as fuel for the burner and featured a porcupine type boiler. It took only 5 minutes to get the proper amount of steam to reach top speed of 10 mph. He gained permission from the city to drive his car at certain times to and from work only. He was friends with the Stanley Twins. The Stanley twins from Newton, Ma. Twins Francis E. Stanley (1849–1918) and Freelan O. Stanley (1849–1940) founded the company after selling their photographic dry plate business to Eastman Kodak. They created the Stanley Steamers we are all familiar with. Eastman Kodak would have a plant in Peabody. Ma for several years.
Back in Salem in 1902, Lock Regulator Company built a four passenger steam runabout that was named the “Puritan”. In Danvers Ralph Hood created the Electromagnetic Steamer manufactured by the Simplex Motor Vehicle Company. The company was incorporated in 1900, but made its first car in 1899. Then Otto Hood created a hybrid car in Peabody. His company the Vaughn Machine Co. changed its name to Corwin Mfg. Co. in 1903. They also had American rights to the coal powered 35 horse powered Coulthard truck. It had a carrying capacity of 6 tons and was capable of hauling a trailer with a 5 ton load.
By 1912, the gasoline car cost only $650, while an electric roadster sold for $1,750. That same year, Charles Kettering introduced the electric starter, eliminating the need for the hand crank and giving rise to more gasoline-powered vehicle sales. So even women would be won over. Most of what drove the prices down for the gas powered car was Henry Ford’s assembly line.

Now we have touched on Moses Farmer, Elihu Thomson, and Thomas Edison, but we have not mentioned Nikola Tesla yet. Before War World I Tesla had worked with John Hays Hammond Jr. of Magnolia section of Gloucester, MA.

Roger Conant had lived in Gloucester before moving the Old Planters to Salem, Ma in 1626. It is about a half hour from Salem on the coast. Many movies like the Russians are Coming and The Perfect Storm were filmed there. Edward Hoper, Winslow Homer, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler would spend summers there painting. Now in front of the old smugglers East Church, The Salem Witch Museum, off the Common stands a statue of him in Roman fashion. Roman’s never learned to make free standing sculpture without props to hold them up. He is not a witch, but if you look at him at the right angle the placement of his hand when viewed from the old church makes him look like he is engaged in a lewd behavior. Or at the very least, relieving himself. The moral to the story, never rush an artist…

Hammond and Tesla had worked on robotics, remote guidance, and torpedoes. Most of these inventions Tesla invented but allowed Hammond to pursue them as commercial ventures for the Navy. Hammond proposed they create the Tesla-Hammond Wireless Development Co. Beyond creating a better torpedo, Hammond shared his dreams of free electricity. A project J.P. Morgan pulled the plug on when he was creating the Wardenclyffe Tower. In the end like many others, including Edison, Hammond just took advantage of Tesla and stole his inventions.

Also John Hays Hammond Sr. worked with the Guggenheims to acquire silver mines in Mexico and the Utah Copper Company. J.P. Morgan was trying to invest in this concern as well. Tesla free electricity would put a serious dent in their $100 million dollar profit a year laying out wire on telephone poles. So it seems both Hammonds might of worked against him.

John Hays Hammond Jr.’s wife was a spiritualist who conducted many seances in his castle. Hammond also an occultist experimented with ESP with Eileen Garnett. Hammond placed Garrett in a Faraday cage, a cage designed to keep out electromagnetic waves, to determine whether ESP used electromagnetic frequencies as a carrier wave. Tesla determined ESP waves were not carried by electromagnetic waves, since she communicated with others a half mile away.

Hammond Castle still has a Tesla coil which produces lightning in a room which can even simulate rain. Tesla never visited the castle, for he met Hammond in his father’s estate. In 1965 many of the documents Tesla and Hammond created would be confiscated as top secret from the castle. Many rumors still exist about Tesla’s personal document were confiscated upon his death in his room at the New Yorker Hotel in Manhattan as well.

One says the F.B.I. had called in Dr. John Trump of M.I.T., Donald Trump’s uncle, to go through his papers and read them. Many people thought Tesla might have been working on a death ray that might fall into the wrong hands. Professor Trump examined Tesla’s papers and equipment and told the F.B.I. not to worry: Tesla’s “thoughts and efforts during at least the past 15 years were primarily of a speculative, philosophical, and somewhat promotional character,” but “did not include new, sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.”

Now there is rumors that Tesla had provided power to the Naumkeag Steam Cotton Co. in Salem. I have not found the original source that I was informed about this from, but Moses Farmer, and Thomas Edison would join him to light up the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893 in Chicago. He was in Gloucester with John Hays Hammond Jr. from 1912-1913. The plant would be electrified in 1916 after it was razed in the Great Salem Fire of 1914. He had enough connections to this region and its people to make it a possibility.

OK (Old Kinder Hook), I brought up Moses Farmer a few times already, but who was he? Moses Farmer was son of Col. John Farmer. In 1846 he constructed a small electromagnetic locomotive, also a small railroad track, and exhibited it in various towns and cities with accompanying lectures, and demonstrating how the principle could be used with torpedoes and sub-marine blasting. In the expositions he gave rides to small children on his train. Could Thomson have bought it for his children in Swampscott? I know I asked that already…In 1848 he moves to Salem from Eliot, Maine.

He built a platinum filament incandescent light in 1859. At the age of 39 in 1869 while living in Salem, Massachusetts, he lit the parlor of his home at 11 Pearl St. with incandescent lamps and the Farmer Dynamo, the first house in the world to be lit by electricity. It was powered by his batteries in the basement. My friends Don Goldman and his son Andy Goldman now live in the house. Andy has created these illuminated balls that he has crowds in Boston play with during their first night celebrations.

They are called Have a Ball. Originally part of a Newton’s Cradle he took them apart to be used for Boston’s first night celebration a few years back. They were suspended in the air and you were encourage to hit them so they would light up the night. Finally they were used as tether balls at burning man. Could Andy have been inspired by the house?

Moses Farmer’s early light bulb was bought by Edison. Farmer and his partner William Wallace invented the early dynamo which powered a system of arc lights he exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia. The threat Farmer was creating a better mouse trap forced Edison to work on an improved incandescent light. Edison used the Wallace-Farmer 8 horsepower, 6.0 kW, dynamo to power his early electric light demonstrations.

Farmer would die at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Most of his legacy was left for the betterment of society. He and his wife were spiritualists, they felt that their talents were God-given. A belief he shared with Tesla which failed to give him great commercial success. His daughter Sarah Jane Farmer at his estate in Eliot, Maine would found a Baha’i retreat where the Russo-Japanese War came to an end on August 31st 1905 with the Portsmouth Treaty signed in Kittery, Maine at the Portsmouth Navy Yard on September 5th.

Funny thing about the Navy, their bases are never in the towns they are named after. Portsmouth Navy Yard is not in Portsmouth NH, but Kittery, Maine. Lakehurst Naval and Engineering is in Manchester and not Lakehurst NJ. Plus Lakehurst is a half hour drive from the ocean…
Revenue Agents…

Now south of Salem are the two towns of Swampscott and Lynn. Thomson-Houston Electric Co. was a manufacturing company that was one of the precursors of the General Electric Co. which was housed in Lynn.

Elihu Thomson who had that kids train lived in Swampscott. He also created the electrical meters on the outside of your house. In 1883 Thomson-Houston Electric Co. was formed when many Lynn shoe company investors led by Charles A. Coffin bought out Elihu Thomson and Edwin Houston’s American Electric Co. from their New Britain, Connecticut investors. Then they moved their company to Western Avenue in Lynn. Lynn would not only be known as “Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin”, but as the shoe capital of the world until the 1980’s. In 1889 Thomson-Houston Electric Co. deployed power plants in the South, including two in Atlanta, Georgia to run their electric lighting.

Coffin organized the finances and marketing; Elwin W. Rice managed the manufacturing; Thomson ran the Model Room which was an industrial research lab. The company was worth $10 million in sales and had 4,000 employees by 1892. Thomson-Houston Electric Co. later merged with the Edison General Electric Co. of Schenectady, New York to form the General Electric Co. in 1892, with plants in Lynn and Schenectady, both of which remain to this day as the two original GE factories. In 1889 Drexel, Morgan & Co. had outmaneuvered Thomas Edison. Drexel, Morgan & Co., a company founded by J.P. Morgan and Anthony J. Drexel, financed Edison’s research and helped merge Edison’s varied companies under one corporation to form Edison General Electric Company which was incorporated on April 24, 1889.

Also in Salem was Frank Poor, a rich man who always remained Poor. Sylvania traces its roots back to 1901, when young entrepreneur Frank Poor became a partner in a small company in Middleton, MA, that renewed burned-out light bulbs. The company would buy an old bulb for a few cents, cut off the glass tip, replace the filament, and reseal the bulb. He would buy out the company and rename it the Bay State Lamp Company and hired his brothers Edward and Walter. In 1909 the Poor brothers started the Hygrade Incandescent Lamp Company to sell new light bulbs. In 1916, Hygrade opened a new plant and headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts, which could turn out 16,000 bulbs a day. Hygrade merges with Sylvania who made radio tubes when Philco Radio decides to sell radios with tubes pre-installed. Edward Poor would be the CEO of Sylvania Hygrade. The company helped create the Cobol computer language.

Later the company will merge with GTE and Osram and move their factories to Danvers, MA. I used to live in the carriage house of Frank Poor’s mansion in Danvers on the corner of routes 62 and 35. It was my second residence inside the state of Massachusetts. Years later, I moved back into the servants quarter where his mistress lived…

Frank Poor heads a committee of the Salem Chamber of Commerce and the Salem Rotary to sell shares in a hotel to accommodate his business clients traveling to Salem. On July 23rd 1925 the Hawthorne Hotel opens. The Museum of Fine Art in Boston releases to them their statue of Nathaniel Hawthorne to be placed in front of the hotel that year. The property was bought from the Salem Marine Society which gained the property from Thomas H. Perkins.

After the Franklin Building, where the Parker Brothers had their toy store, suffered 6 fires it was left abandoned for years. Poor approached the society to purchase it in 1923. The society said they would sell it under the condition they could have their clubhouse on top of the building. A cabin from the Taria Topan, an East India trade vessel, stands on the rooftop of the Hawthorne where the Salem Marine Society still meets. My friend John Reardon, of the Pig’s Eye, is their quartermaster. The Pig’s Eye still has a trapdoor in which they might of shanghaied sailors when the street was the most notorious red light district in the country in the nineteenth century.

In the clubhouse there is a portrait of Confederate sympathizer Lt. Maury. Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury was the first superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. His research led to significant improvements in navigation and was made an honorary member of the Salem Marine Society with much pomp and circumstance.

Then Maury took a post with Confederates using his experience with the transatlantic cable, that Peabody paid for, and electricity flowing through underwater wires, perfected an electric torpedo which raised havoc with Union shipping. The torpedoes, which are similar to present-day contact mines, were said by the Secretary of the Navy in 1865 “to have cost the Union more vessels than all other causes combined.” So they hung his portrait backwards on the wall ever since. A few years ago the family of Maury petitioned the society to turn the portrait back. The most they were willing to do is hang a simple color computer print out next to it…

Salem was important at the beginning of electricity in this country, with electric trains, electric cars, light bulbs, power plants, inventors, and confluences of ideas. Till this day, Salem is still abuzz of activity…

For more stories like this and how Salem shaped American history read Sub Rosa which is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and your local Independent Book Seller!

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The History of the Founder of Whiting NJ and the First Mason Lodge in Connecticut

whiting-saw-millThe 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.