Every family has some skeletons in their closet. When it comes to Benjamin Smith -- the donor of the historic Meredith Public Library building -- he may have had a little more than he reckoned. After some inquiry into his Mudgett relatives (His mother being Mary Mudgett Smith), it was discovered that: "Benjamin M. Smith is a third cousin once removed to Herman W. Mudgett (better known as H. H. Holmes). The nearest common relative is John Mudgett (b. 17 Dec 1700 in MA) and Susannah Scribner (b. c 1746 in Brentwood)." We thank Ray Scriber for this information.
H.H. Holmes is best known as a notorious serial killer, originally from
Gilmanton, NH, who did most of his nefarious deeds during the Chicago's World Fair in 1893. He is sometimes known as America's First Serial Killer and his crimes were recently detailed in the wildly successful book Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (and soon to be a film staring Leonardo DiCaprio).
It just goes to show the incredibly varied individuals that make up a
family tree - both good and bad.
For more information, visit these links:
The Official page for the Erik Larson book Devil in the White City
Variety: Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese Reunite for 'Devil in the White City'
A Documentary Film on Holmes, entitled: America's First Serial Killer
A Little Bit about the History of Meredith Public Library and Benjamin Smith
An Earlier Blog Post About Benjamin Smith's Donation to his Parent's Legacy
We've already gotten a few candidates as to who our "Mystery Man" may be and it's time to size them up.
Our list thus far is as follows:
1. Bainbridge Wadleigh: A US Senator from New Hampshire who lived from 1831-1891. He was born in Bradford, NH and a Lilian Wadleigh worked at the Meredith Public Library for a time.
2. H.H. Holmes (aka Herman Webster Mudgett): A notorious serial killer born in Gilmanton, NH. Best known for his crimes in Chicago during the World's Fair as written about in Erik Larson's book The Devil in the White City (with an upcoming movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the infamous man himself!).
3. Daniel Burnham: Architect associated with the World's Fair of 1893 in Chicago. The same World's Fair where H.H. Holmes wreaked his havoc.
Could any of these personages be our man? They all certainly have the mustache for it. What do you think? We need your detective skills! Feel free to submit more photos, information, anecdotes, etc for comparison of any of these "suspects" in our mystery. Don't think it's any of these men: feel free to tell us who you think it is!
The Librarians and Library Aides of the Meredith Public library: Erin, Chris, Matthew, Karen, John, Cherie, Joyce, Kay, and Linda. Please check out our Staff page for more information.