Edward Green was the 32 year old postmaster of Malden, Massachusetts. He is commonly believed to have committed the first (non-war related) armed bank robbery in American history. Green had a bad drinking habit and was heavily in debt, when on December 15, 1863, he robbed the local bank. At noon he entered the bank to get change and discovered that there was only one clerk on duty, the bank president’s 17 year old son Frank Converse. Immediately formulating a plan as to how he could end his money worries. Green returned home, grabbed his gun and went back to the bank, where he still found Converse alone. He lifted his pistol and pointed it at the teenagers head and fired at point blank range, killing Converse outright. Green then went to the bank vault and helped himself to $5000 in cash.
The case went unsolved for some time and no one suspected the postmaster next door. But then in January 1864 town folk noticed that Green had begun to pay off his debts and they wondered where the money had come from. He was arrested on February 7, 1864, and when questioned by police broke down and confessed to the robbery and murder. On April 13, 1866, he was executed at Middlesex County Jail. America’s first armed bank robber also became America’s first armed bank robber to be hanged.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Murder & Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California 1849-1949, it can be purchased from Amazon or Barnes & Noble through the following links –
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