The Gardner-Pingree House
©Arthur Graye 2016
This is the house that inspired the board game Clue.
(Excerpt from thedistractedwanderer.com)
“You see, the Gardner-Pingree House is actually the Gardner-West-White-Pingree House as the house was sold in 1811 to Nathaniel West when John Gardner had some financial difficulties. Three years later, West sold the house to Captain Joseph White, a wealthy, retired merchant. Captain White lived in the house with a manservant and his niece, Mrs, Beckford, who worked as his housekeeper and who had a daughter that lived in Wenham, Massachusetts and was married to Joseph J. Knapp, Jr.
One day Joseph learned that the 82-year old Captain had made out a will leaving $15,000 to Mrs. Beckford and it was then that he got the idea that if his great-uncle-by-marriage were to die without a will, that his mother-in-law would then inherit half of Captain White's sizable fortune instead - an amount that was nearly $200,000 - and by default some of that fortune would then come to him. Being an ambitious and impatient man, Joseph conspired with his brother John, another ambitious and impatient man, to hire a local criminal by the name of Richard Crowninshield to hurry his great-uncle along to his grave, On the night of April 6th, 1830, Captain White was brutally murdered when Crowninshield entered the house through a window that had been left open by Joseph earlier in the day, went to the bedroom where Captain White was sleeping, and fractured the Captain's skull with a club as well as stabbing him thirteen times with a long dagger.
The murder shocked the town of Salem and even inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne to write about it in Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe which appeared in Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales, a collection of short stories. The court case that followed is actually a rather interesting one as the Knapps were prosecuted by the great Daniel Webster, one of the most successful lawyers of the era, who was primarily a defense lawyer but also known to serve as a prosecutor from time to time. Webster's courtroom skills and persuasive oration eventually set legal precedent and the two brothers were found guilty and hanged for their role in the crime. Their hired-man Crowninshield had already committed suicide early on when he realized he had no hope of getting away with the murder.”