Murder Essex Cover

In a Puritan court, the character of the accused was as important as the physical evidence.

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.


Murder and Mayhem in Essex County

by Robert Wilhelm
  • Her Final Journey: Newbury, 1636
  • Crime and Punishment: Wenham/Ipswich, 1637
  • Goodwives and Singlewomen: Essex County, 1638–1725
  • The Devil in Essex County: 1692
  • The Vengeance of Hannah Duston: Haverhill, 1697
  • John Adams for the Defense: Boxford, 1769
  • Pirates of Essex County: 1657–1789
  • Pomp: Andover, 1795
  • Vengeful Fire: Newburyport, 1820
  • “A Most Extraordinary Case”: Salem, 1830
  • Circumstantial Evidence: Rockport, 1877, and Lynnfield, 1897
  • Driven by Delusion: Lawrence, 1885
  • The Beautiful Carrie Andrews: Essex, 1894
  • Breakheart Hill: Saugus, 1900

Murder and Mayhem in Essex County

by Robert Wilhelm


History Press