White, Capt. Joseph

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Capt. Joseph White was found murdered in his house (the Gardner-Pingree house at 128 Essex St.) on April 7, 1830. Richard Crowninshield, and Frank and Joe Knapp were jailed for the crime. Their motive was to inherit some of White's large estate, as he was childless.

Richard Crowninshield hung himself in jail to escape prosecution.

Senator Daniel Webster was brought in by the prosecution to prove Frank Knapp the accomplice, guilty.

After a second trial, Frank was convicted. Frank was hanged in September, Joe Knapp, who confessed, was convicted in November and executed right after Christmas. George Crowninshield, Richard's younger brother, who had been implicated in the murder was let go from lack of evidence.

Three people had died in this "dark and bloody tragedy." What made it unique was that the persons involved all came from upstanding families. Another outcome was through the success of Daniel Webster's case. Legal precedent had been established, broadening the definition of presence at a crime.

See Also

  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - White, Joseph (murder)
  • "Sensational murder returns to spotlight; 175 years later, stabbing of Capt. Joseph White in Salem remembered" Salem News, Nov. 5, 2005, p. A14