Tales of My Home
Stories about the Lower Merrimack Valley region of Massachusetts
In 1878, the sleepy town of Methuen, population three thousand, had a scandal. The Town Clerk and Treasurer, Charles Whittier, absconded with all the town's funds, over $12,000. He was a veteran of the Civil War, and had been a businessman in Chicago before being burned out in the great Chicago fire. A year before his crime was discovered, he transferred his home into his wife's name. She was deemed to be innocent of the whole affair. After fleeing town toward Canada, he confessed the crime in a letter to his wife, saying he could not remain, being a disgrace to his family.
Here is the article in the Boston Evening Herald reporting his theft. (A high resolution pdf is available below if you want to read it).
A month and a half later, Whittier returned to Methuen and was arrested in his wife's home. The follow-on article in the Boston Evening Post said "He appears to have broken down mentally and presents a pitiable appearance."
Leave a Reply.