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.
The Man Behind the Curtain…
Stephen White was head of the Massachusetts Whig Party who ran John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster for failed Presidential campaigns. Adams spoke at the opening at the East India Marine Hall that White had built. White was one of the major shareholders of the 666 shares of what is now East Boston he had developed. He also was an advisor to the Governor and on the Penitentiary Board. White headed the Committee Against Thieves and Robbers. He was business partners with Thomas H. Perkins who founded the Forbes empire. He became the head of the Second Corp of Cadets after Elias Hasket Derby Jr. left town. Him and his brother-in-law Joseph Story added new curbs and brick sidewalks to Salem. He was also the father of Daniel Webster’s son’s wife and Webster’s brother-in-law’s wife. White was Webster’s banker who pulled his strings. Webster was the Great Expander on the Constitution and Joseph Story interpreted the Constitution to its current understanding. These are the tunnels under his home off the Common.
What is nefarious?
Stephen White was behind the election of William Harrison along with Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. Clay and Webster were two of the most powerful senators in the country during their life leading up to the Civil War. The three of them planned Harrison’s assassination by typhoid poisoning when Harrison proved to be unreliable even after the unexpected death of his son before his inauguration.
The East India Marine Hall has 4 sub basements which hides parts of the PEM’s collection and other secret private collections. The hall is also attached to the tunnels in town. The most famous home attached to the tunnels is the Hodges House which was owned by the founders of the museum.
Why would anyone offer 666 shares in anything?
White was head of the Penitentiary Board and head of the Committee Against Thieves and Robbers and he was smuggling goods through town without paying duties and planned the murder of a president. His business partner Thomas Perkins was the only slave trader besides his uncle. They both were opium dealers, but White made a lot of money by clubbing baby seals. Perkins controlled the largest opium empire in the world, controlled part of the Bank of England through Baring Brothers Bank which his nephews owned. Both of them took bribes from Barings to create The Second Bank of the united States to hand our treasury to the British. They both became directors in the bank. White was at odds with President Jackson who visited his house who didn’t renew the charter of the bank early. Soon after leaving White’s house, Jackson would soon survive an assassin’s bullet and future president James Knox Polk, who supported Jackson as Speaker of the House, survived the first Typhoid poisoning. Polk would die from Typhoid later, 3 months after leaving the White House.
White became the head of the Second Corp of Cadets. The Cadets actually were responsible under Elias Hasket Derby Jr. for expanding the tunnels in town. White took them over after Derby moved to Londonderry NH. White and Superior Court Justice Joseph Story added brick sidewalks throughout town to hide the purchase of bricks needed to further extend the tunnels in town.
White controlled Daniel Webster and Joseph Story to protect The Second Bank of the United States which he was a major investor in and the other two were directors of. Webster and Story protected the bank against all in the Supreme Court. Daniel Webster, White hired to hang innocent men in the murder of his uncle he had paid for under his dying uncle’s wishes to get revenge on some business partners’ sons. This murder will be the basis for the Parker Brothers game Clue. The Parker Brothers had a relation who was suppose to be the judge in the murder, who dies the night before he can preside on the case.
Stephen White dies probably a few month after Harrison due to complications from poisoning; why, Daniel Webster had a bigger bank pulling his purse strings. Baring Brothers was paying more than White could ever. Webster and Clay would go on and assassinate Polk 3 months after he leaves office and the only other Whig President, Zachary Taylor, 16 months into office without White.
For more read 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.