Green pointed his gun at the centre of the teenager’s head.
Edward Green was a 32-year-old postmaster with a drink habit and heavy debts when he staged America’s first armed bank robbery. He had contemplated burning down the post office but changed his mind, fearful that innocent people would burn to death so instead he set fire to the building on the other side, hoping it would spread to the post office.
A few months later, on 15 December 1863, Green popped next door to his local bank to get change. At noon he returned to the bank to exchange a badly torn dollar note for a new one. There was only one bank clerk on duty, the president’s 17-year-old son Frank E. Converse. Immediately formulating a plan as to how he could end his money worries, Green returned home, picked up his six-shooter gun and went back to the bank where he found Frank still on his own. Green lifted his gun and pointed it at the centre of the teenager’s head, whereupon he fired at point-blank range, killing Frank outright. Green went to the bank’s safe and helped himself to $5,000.
Noon Tuesday 15 December 1863
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 7 February 1864 and, when the police questioned him, Green broke down and confessed what he had done. He told them the rest of the money was hidden in an old boot and in the attic of the Volunteer Fire-Engine House. The press described Green as “rather short in stature”. On 13 April 1866 at Middlesex County Jail, Edward Green, America’s first armed bank robber, became America’s first armed bank robber to be hanged.