10. John Lansing Jr.
In 1829, John Lansing Jr., former chief justice of the New York State Supreme Court, popped out to mail a letter and was never seen again. Lansing had had a glittering legal career. He was a member of the Congress of the Confederation in 1785 and was part of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Lansing was said to have suffered from a stammer, which hindered his political career, but he still managed to become the chancellor of New York in 1801. In 1800, Lansing presided over People v. Weeks, the first formally documented murder trial in American history.
On the night of his disappearance, December 12, 1829, John Lansing left his hotel in Manhattan to mail a letter via boat. It was the last anyone saw of him. A number of theories were proposed at the time of the disappearance: that he had tripped and fallen off the dock, that he was mugged and killed, and his body was hidden somewhere, or that he was murdered by political enemies. The last theory gained some weight when the grandson of the publisher Thurlow Weed maintained that his grandfather had evidence that Lansing was murdered by powerful political enemies, though he refused to name them.
It is unlikely that we will ever know the truth, and Lansing’s body has never been found. If it were to be found, there is an empty tomb in his hometown of Albany, New York, with Lansing’s name on it, just waiting for him to come home.