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Murder & Mayhem in Essex County

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The idea of a criminal record originated in the early seventeenth century when the magistrates of the Massachusetts Bay Colony began recording dates, places, victims and criminals. Despite, or perhaps because of, the strict code of the Puritans, some early settlers earned quite the rap sheet that landed them either in the stocks or at the end of a noose. With biting wit an The idea of a criminal record originated in the early seventeenth century when the magistrates of the Massachusetts Bay Colony began recording dates, places, victims and criminals. Despite, or perhaps because of, the strict code of the Puritans, some early settlers earned quite the rap sheet that landed them either in the stocks or at the end of a noose. With biting wit and an eye for the macabre, local author Robert Wilhelm traces the first documented cases of murder and mayhem in Essex County, Massachusetts. Discover the story of Hannah Duston's revenge on her Abenaki Indian captors, why the witchcraft hysteria hung over Salem and Andover and how Rachel Wall made her living as a pirate. Decide for yourself whether the accused are guilty or if history lends itself to something else entirely.


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The idea of a criminal record originated in the early seventeenth century when the magistrates of the Massachusetts Bay Colony began recording dates, places, victims and criminals. Despite, or perhaps because of, the strict code of the Puritans, some early settlers earned quite the rap sheet that landed them either in the stocks or at the end of a noose. With biting wit an The idea of a criminal record originated in the early seventeenth century when the magistrates of the Massachusetts Bay Colony began recording dates, places, victims and criminals. Despite, or perhaps because of, the strict code of the Puritans, some early settlers earned quite the rap sheet that landed them either in the stocks or at the end of a noose. With biting wit and an eye for the macabre, local author Robert Wilhelm traces the first documented cases of murder and mayhem in Essex County, Massachusetts. Discover the story of Hannah Duston's revenge on her Abenaki Indian captors, why the witchcraft hysteria hung over Salem and Andover and how Rachel Wall made her living as a pirate. Decide for yourself whether the accused are guilty or if history lends itself to something else entirely.

44 review for Murder & Mayhem in Essex County

  1. 5 out of 5

    AndreaH

    This little book packs a mighty wallop, looking at notable crime in Essex County, Massachusetts, proving the Puritans who helped found this country in the 1600s weren't that pure. A woman poisons her son's wife because she didn't like her. There's the Salem Witch Trials (you'll learn something, don't worry). Meet Hannah Duston (Dustin, Dustan)who killed a raiding party of Indians while they slept to make it back to Haverhill, from which she was kidnapped in 1697. Duston is the first woman honored i This little book packs a mighty wallop, looking at notable crime in Essex County, Massachusetts, proving the Puritans who helped found this country in the 1600s weren't that pure. A woman poisons her son's wife because she didn't like her. There's the Salem Witch Trials (you'll learn something, don't worry). Meet Hannah Duston (Dustin, Dustan)who killed a raiding party of Indians while they slept to make it back to Haverhill, from which she was kidnapped in 1697. Duston is the first woman honored in the United States with a statue. A Salem merchant is killed by his son-in-law before he can change his will. For my Cape Ann pals, there's a chapter on the pirates of Cape Ann, one of whom was a woman and the last woman executed in the state in 1879. It moves on to a Rockport murder and a sad tale of how love gone wrong marred the grand opening of Essex Town Hall. This book just goes to show the more things change, the more they stay the same.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brenna Sydel

    A short and interesting little read about true crimes in Essex County way back when Wilhelm presents things fairly cut and dry with similar wit and humor. It's very simple and unadorned and in that regard it is enjoyable. An interesting and fun read with only slight amounts of horror. Fun! Easy! Quick! Good for when you have a few minutes to spare and want to get a dose of crime. A short and interesting little read about true crimes in Essex County way back when Wilhelm presents things fairly cut and dry with similar wit and humor. It's very simple and unadorned and in that regard it is enjoyable. An interesting and fun read with only slight amounts of horror. Fun! Easy! Quick! Good for when you have a few minutes to spare and want to get a dose of crime.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Vaver

    The audience for Murder and Mayhem in Essex County is by no means limited to those who live in and around Essex County. Some of the stories involve people, places, and events that are familiar to almost anyone, such as the Salem witch trials (although Wilhelm also explores the many other cases of witchcraft that occurred in the area). Those stories that involve people who are less well known are intriguing in their own right, so anyone interested in early American crime will thoroughly enjoy rea The audience for Murder and Mayhem in Essex County is by no means limited to those who live in and around Essex County. Some of the stories involve people, places, and events that are familiar to almost anyone, such as the Salem witch trials (although Wilhelm also explores the many other cases of witchcraft that occurred in the area). Those stories that involve people who are less well known are intriguing in their own right, so anyone interested in early American crime will thoroughly enjoy reading this book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Obert

    In his book “Murder & Mayhem in Essex Country”, Robert Wilhelm gives us fourteen short stories on the macabre, but interesting history of northeastern Massachusetts. I have lived in Essex County for my whole life and I knew very few of these stories. I recommend this book to any student of history and those of us captivated by the evil that men (and women) do.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Julie L

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kari Sable

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Richardson

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chantal E. R. H.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robert Wilhelm

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Metz

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jules

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anne J.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mary Claire

  14. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

  15. 5 out of 5

    Meaghan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eban

  18. 4 out of 5

    Karen Jeaninne Eames St. Hilaire

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

  20. 4 out of 5

    Âßßy Måçe

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lorri Wilson

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  23. 5 out of 5

    Frances Champagne

  24. 5 out of 5

    France-Andrée

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Saraceno

  26. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marie Beckman

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cristina

  29. 4 out of 5

    Denise Ortakales

  30. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Hamilton

  31. 5 out of 5

    Marcia

  32. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  33. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Morrison

  34. 4 out of 5

    Conor McCabe

  35. 5 out of 5

    Bronwyn

  36. 5 out of 5

    Paolo Macri

  37. 4 out of 5

    Tiffiny

  38. 5 out of 5

    Donna

  39. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

  40. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  41. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  42. 4 out of 5

    Tom Smith

  43. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  44. 5 out of 5

    Elise

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