The Millen Brothers/Abraham Faber case is the second most frequently used search term that leads people to this blog (the Sacco and Vanzetti case being #1).
The Millen brothers Murton and Irving, along with pal Abraham Faber robbed the Needham Trust Company in February, 1934 in dramatic fashion, complete with sub-machine gun fire and a daring getaway through town with hostage bank employees standing on the getaway car’s running boards and hanging on for dear life. The gang murdered two Needham policemen, Francis Haddock and Forbes McLeod and escaped with $14,000 in cash.
A new book on this sad chapter in Norfolk County history was released last week, and it is the definitive work on a topic that continues to fascinate locals some 80 years on. Tommy Gun Winter, written by Nathan Gorenstein and published by ForeEdge is a must read.
Gorenstein, who is related to the Millen brothers (he is the great-grandson of William Millen, brother of the Millens’ father Joseph), has written a carefully researched and extremely readable account of the events leading to the robbery, the crime itself, the trial, and the aftermath. The central character in this drama is Murton Millen, who masterminded the short but destructive crime spree of the “gang” and was the actual shooter. Gorenstein explores the psychological and family troubles of Murton which had a profound effect on his life. The other players in the tragedy are fully revealed as well; Murton’s wife Norma, brother Irving, and friend Abe Faber each had troubles of their own, and Gorenstein expertly shows how these troubles drew them to the charismatic personality and destructive power of Murton Millen.
For a quick summary of the crime, read my previous two-part post, “75 years ago- an execution in Charlestown.” For the ultimate and only guide you’ll need to understand the events of 80 years ago in these parts, read Tommy Gun Winter.
ALSO: Author Nathan Gorenstein will be speaking at the Dedham Historical Society on April 19th, and the Framingham Barnes and Noble on April 20th!