The Man Who Shot J.P. Morgan ...
and Committed Other Nefarious Acts
by Susan Page Davis
Surprise Giveaway below
On July 2, 1915, Erich Muenter carried a package into the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. A former professor of German at Harvard University and several other colleges, Muenter was angry with Congress and American financiers who were aiding Great Britain in its fight against Germany.
|The U.S. Capitol circa 1915|
The chamber doors were locked, but Muenter was able to get into the Senate Reception Room. He placed the package, containing three sticks of dynamite, under the Senate’s telephone switchboard. He set the timer for a few minutes to midnight, then hurried to Union Station, where he bought a train ticket to New York.
No one was injured in the blast, as it was late on the Friday night of a holiday weekend. A guard feared the whole dome would collapse, but the damage was largely confined to the Reception Room.
|John Pierpont Morgan|
Some accounts say Morgan himself, though wounded, overpowered Muenter. Others reported that his servants tackled the intruder and the butler hit him over the head. Later it was claimed that Muenter planned to take Mrs. Morgan and other family members hostage until Morgan agreed to stop financing munitions for Britain. He denied being a German sympathizer and said he opposed war in general.
|It's said Morgan hated photographers|
and is shown here taking out his wrath on one.
|Photo of Erich Muenter after|
Muenter attempted suicide in the Mineola Jail. His guard was told to be ready to rush into the cell if he tried it again. For this reason, the guard later claimed, he had left the cell door ajar so that he could reach the prisoner quickly if need be. When the guard was called elsewhere, Muenter left his cell and jumped to his death.
The mysteries surrounding Erich Muenter were never fully solved. For instance, only 134 of the 200 sticks of dynamite he purchased were accounted for, and it was never shown whether he had accomplices in getting the dynamite onto any ships. For some time, “experts” were unsure whether Muenter and Holt were the same man, though acquaintances of Holt identified Muenter as Holt, and both were known to have similar scars. Handwriting experts did not agree on whether or not their writing was similar.
There is much more to this story, and I found it intriguing. I first ran across it while researching my book The Crimson Cipher, set in 1915, prior to the United States’s entry into World War I. Many acts of terrorism were carried out in this country, but we rarely hear about them anymore.
If you would like to enter the drawing for a copy (print or e-book) of The Crimson Cipher, leave a comment below. This story of a young woman employed as a civilian cryptographer for the navy mentions several other attempts to stop America from entering the war or helping the Allies.
Susan Page Davis is the author of more than forty published novels. A history major, she’s always interested in the unusual happenings of the past. She’s a two-time winner
of the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award, and also a winner of the Carol Award and the Will Rogers Medallion, and a finalist in the WILLA Awards and the More Than Magic Contest. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com .