[Murder:] A Brief History of the Town of Stoneham, Mass. From Its First Settlement to the Present Time: With an Account of the Murder of Jacob Gould, on the Evening of Nov. 25, 1819.
“Possibly the murderers are all dead…”
History and a tale of mostly getting away with murder. Stoneham, Massachusetts was settled c.1645 and incorporated in 1725 after its separation from the Town of Charlestown. This scarce history focuses on the settlers (including a few Black servants—Simon and Cato), ministers, buildings, and roads. It concludes with the tragic story of “The Stoneham Murder” of Jacob Gould, described as “one of the most brutal murders, any where on record.”
A scion of one of the oldest families of Stoneham, bachelor Jacob Gould was known to keep his wealth at home in gold and silver specie. A convict from Stoneham, held in the prison at Charlestown and aware of this hoard, shared this knowledge with a soon-to-be-released prisoner named Daniels. Daniels and two others surprised Gould at home, stabbing him multiple times in the attack. Jacob’s siblings, David and Polly, were seized and bound and all three were compelled to retrieve their money in the house which they shared. After the robbers left, David was able to raise the alarm in Stoneham, but Jacob died in the night and the murderers escaped. A $1,000 reward was offered to catch the assailants.
Wounded in the scuffle, Daniels escaped to Newport, Rhode Island, but immediately fell under suspicion. He was returned to Massachusetts and committed to trial. After witnesses came forward, describing Daniels’ pre-meditated plan to steal the money, he hanged himself in his cell. Reasonable doubt let one accomplice escape justice; no one was convicted. Stoneham’s town historian weakly concludes this tragic tale by observing that “Possibly the murderers are all dead.”
Scarce to commerce with a Goodpeed catalogue offering only a later 1870 edition. Albeit a hybrid of town history and a murder narrative, neither this title nor anything related to the murder appears in McDade.
Description: [Murder:] A Brief History of the Town of Stoneham, Mass. From Its First Settlement to the Present Time: With an Account of the Murder of Jacob Gould, on the Evening of Nov. 25, 1819.
Boston: Printed at S.R. Hart’s, 1843. 36pp. First edition. 12mo. Original plain wrappers with chipping; spine reinforced and title page with expert tissue mends, resewn.