Timothy Pickering and the Hartford Convention

He was Once Secretary of State for Two Presidents….

Engraving of Timothy Pickering

The Hartford Convention. The first time secession was planned was way before the Civil War and it was led by Salem’s Essex Junto. Timothy Pickering who had served Washington and Adams as Secretary of State led this group at Hartford during the War of 1812. Massachusetts already pulled financial and military aid from the war when the Junto went to the convention. By the time they left to gather in Hartford Connecticut, the peace treat was signed in Ghent across the ocean. By the time they got to Washington D.C. with their resolutions Jackson and Lafitte just defeated Wellington’s army in New Orleans. By the time they returned to Salem everyone knew the war was over.

For more info read Sub Rosa to find out how Salem shaped America and your lives! Available at Remember Salem, Jolie Tea, Wicked Good Books, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com.

Salem House Press
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Orne’s Point, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Uncle, and the Tunnels Under the Greenlawn Cemetery Chapel

The Greenlawn Cemetery in the North Fields of Salem, MA was once owned buy Nathaniel Hawthorne’s uncle Manning. Manning was one of 158 subscribers who paid for the beautification of the local common which was a disguise for an elaborate plan to connect most of the town to a network of deceit. A series of smuggling tunnels ran under the city and some of them went through Manning’s old tree nursery which is now the cemetery.

This picturesque cemetery has recently been a location in the Rob Zombie’s film Lords of Salem. The film crew received access to the chapel and graveyard, but they did not gain access to the tunnels below and the crypts…

Then this tunnel is blocked off by a modern set of stairs (cellar stairs not being historically accurate to a building of this age usually were converted tunnel entrances.) that once led to the Cabot Farm. The Cabot Farm was first owned by 3 generations of men named Timothy Orne. The last of the three gentlemen dies young and leaves behind a widow who remains penniless until she starts selling bricks in 1804. The brickyard was run by her son-in-law Thomas Cushing who builds a house on Orne’s Point. He would also own the building in which becomes the Bowman’s Bakery on Essex Street.  Cushing would die in 1806 leaving the operation to Elihu Eggleston who had been making the bricks for them for several years. The widow Cushing had to only collect the money.

 

 

One of the widow Cushing’s first orders was to Pickering Dodge. He had purchased 300,000 bricks. Now lets look at the numbers. Here is an estimate from one site on the web:

If it is assumed that the entire exterior of a 2,400-square-foot house is brick, then it would take about 5,226 bricks in a single layer to cover 2,400 square feet of space.

Mr. Dodge’s order was roughly 60 times what would be needed for one home. Dodge’s home at 29 Chestnut Street might be a large home, but not that large. He was the nephew of Timothy Pickering who was one of Washington’s generals and Secretary of State. Timothy Pickering was the infamous writer of the Alien & Sedition Acts.  Mrs. Cushing was said to have had several large orders like Mr. Dodge’s in the years to come.

Where were all of those bricks going? Could someone have propositioned the desperate widow who was selling off property after her husband died to furnish bricks for the clandestine tunnels in town? The Orne’s were a merchant family with property on the river. A convenient location for smugglers. You can see the tunnels split like a Y in a field on Orne’s Point. Also Orne Street is badly humped from the erosion around the tunnels below it. Here are the pictures of the tunnels running under the old hot house next to the chapel.

The North Fields were also said to be a hotbed of abolitionist spirit. Many homes could of been connected in this area to help runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad.  Here are a few more pictures.

Green_HouseFor more information make sure you read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin. Also look out for its sequel Sub Rosa coming out this summer! How the men who built the tunnels in the city conspired to have two presidents killed, crash the nations economy, reinterpret the Constitution, and started the drug war in the nineteenth century.