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Full text of "The great international confederacy of thieves, burglars and incendiaries on the Canadian frontier [microform] : from the sworn statements of reputable witnesses and materials collected by several trusty detectives"

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JIIE GREAT INTERNATIONAL CONFEDERACY 




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THE 



GREAT INTERNATIONAI CONFEDERACY 



OF 



THIEVES, 





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ON THE 



CANADA FRONTIER. 



FROM THE SWORN STATEMENTS OP REPUTABLE WIT- 
NESSES AND MATERIALS COLLECTED BY SEVERAL 
TRUSTY DETECTIVES. 



BY L'ARMITAGE. 



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CHAPTER T. 

Network of Criminal Agencies on the Canada Frontier.— Faoilitiea of ^Escape over 
the Border. — Extensive Ramiflcationa «f the Qang. — Their Alliance with th« 
Police, in several Cities.— Ex-Chief Oarruthers and Ex-Deteotive MoGlogan 
illegally smuggle a man of tho Canada Border for money ; they are Convicted 
for the ofFenoe, fined $200 each, and are retained in their places. — Detective 
Armstronft, his History and Exploits. — He goes to Canada and is introduced, 
through Dick Murphy, of Toronto, and Nevins Jones, of Esquesing, to ' Tom 
Taylor,* Parker, and other Burglars.- He loams all about the Hamilton Rob- 
beries, and buys some Stolen Goods. — The Robberies at Gates' Store.— Arrest 
of < Tom Taylor' and Mrs. Parker, at Parker's house, [Hamilton, by the 
Sheriff's Officers.— Parker Fires on tho Officers and Escapes.— A large quantity 
of Booty and Burglar's Apparatus found — Jeffrey's house visited, and Mary 
Edwards Arrested. — Jeffrey, Murphy and Nevins Jones also Captured. — Taylor 
tried and sent to tho Penitentiary.— Parker and McGlogan meet.— The latter 
fires on the former. 

A vast network of criminal agencies overspreads Canada 
and a large part of the United States. It is a necessity of 
their calling that thieves, burglars, pickpockets and incen- 
diaries, who burn buildings to cover up their crimes or 
create an opportunity of a scramble for booty, should fre- 
quently pass over the frontier line, from one country into 
the other. They seldom commit a crime in either country 
for which the law provides for their extradition for trial 
in the other. For none of the crimes enumerated, except 
arson and burglary in a dwelling house, can their extradi- 
tion be demanded when they once get safe across the 
lines; for though robbery is included in the Ashburton 
treaty of extradition, its legal interpretation is robbery with 
violence. This impossibility of rendition is equally true 
whether the crime was committed in Canada or the States. 
The result may easily be imagined. When a brace of pick- 
pockets have " worked" on the Grand Trunk or the Great 
Western railway trains, and at the principal stations, as 
long as it is safe — till public attention to the crime has 
caused special agencies to be set to work to discover the 
perpetrators — they step over to Buffalo, or some other 
frontier town, where they can remain in perfect security. 



In the same way they shift from the other side, into Canada 
for security, when it is no longer safe for their to remain in 
the States. There are but few cases in which a boundary 
between two countries offers equal facilities for covering 
crime with such complete impunity. On both sides the same 
language is spoken ; and though thieves have a vast num- 
ber of phrases of their own, they do not constitute a distinct 
language, and they are not the same in different languages. 
Much of the vocabulary of the English speaking thieves 
consists of a corruption and combination of words belonging 
to that language, and especially the slang part of it. The 
facility which a common language affords the thieves on 
the two sides of the border is of immense use to them. The 
immunity which they can obtain by simply crossing the 
frontier is a great crime-breeder and crime-preserver. 
"When the facts are fully stated, it will be for the statesman to 
consider whether it would not be a mutual advantage to the 
two countries to have the list of crimes for which extradition 
is provided extended so as to bring many of the operations 
of these criminals within it. As things go now, the asso- 
ciated international gang of thieves, pickpockets and bur- 
glars, unlese they break into dwelling houses or add arson to 
their other crimes, after plying their vocation on one side 
of the line have nothing to do but to move to the other for 
safety. When special work has to be done, any requisite 
number on one side of the line can be detailed to do it, and 
then go back into perfect security. Thus at the annual 
Agricultural Exhibitions of Canada, at races, reviews and 
whenever and wherever crowds are collected, a swarm of 
these criminals pass over the boundary line, do their work 
and return in a few days. 

This gang counts among its numbers residents in Toronto, 
Hamilton, London, Montreal, Sarnia, Port Huron, Detroit, 
Buffalo, New York and several other places. It has or 
recently had allies in the police of Hamilton, Toronto, 
Montreal, Detroit and other places. 



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It ispartof their system to obtain allies in the police, when- 
ever that is practicable, and to divide with these officers the 
booty they obtain. Six months ago, this statement would 
have been received with a general feeling of incredulity ; 
but the exposures which have lately taken place in Hamil-' 
ton, Toronto and Montreal have fully prepared the public 
mind to receive it. Those members of the police force with 
whom criminals found favor soon became extensively known 
among the confederated gang ; and the first thing a burglar 
or pickpocket does when he goes to « work" in a place that 
is new to him is to make the acquaintance of those mem- 
bers of the police in whom he is to find friends. These 
gentry naturally find it desirable to make frequent changes 
of residence ; for when a given number of the gang have 
become known, they are replaced by others. This necessity 
is much less urgent wherever the thieves have friends 
among the police ; and the experience of the best detec- 
tives is that thip is the case in every large town or city. In 
New York and Detroit, the old police became thoroughly 
corrupted. When the police of New York were placed 
under the control of the state, a new chief was appointed ; 
and he at once set to work to find out the unreliable mem- 
bers of his force. One of the stratagems he resorted to was to 
disguise himself, put some money into his pocket and 
feigning being drunk, throw himself in the way of some of 
his men to be picked up. He was repeatedly robbed by 
the men. This went on till dismissal following dismissal, 
the guilty parties began to compare notes, and they commu- 
nicated to other members of the force the suspicions they 
entertained. But in spite of every vigilance, the State police 
has become nearly as corrupt as that which it replaced, a 
few y^ars ago. In Detroit the strongest intimacy was dis- 
covered to exist between criminals of every degree and the 
Police ; and to such a pass did things come that neither life 
nor property was safe. In Hamilton, a member nf the 



6 



police force has recently been charged witli "sotting" 

houses— that is watching them— for thievOs, while others 

are alleged to have assisted to do the very opposite of what 

their duty prescribed. In Toronto three or four members 

of the force were in league with the gang; and a foriner 

detective was in the habit of harboring favorite criminals 

at his house. In Montreal, Taylor— now in the penitentiary 

for robbing a store in Hamilton, last winter— had his 

friends among the police, at least one of whom has been hit 

upon the investigation into the conduct of the police in that 

city. Into the general character of the Montreal police, this 

investigation has given much insight. It was customary 

for them to levy black mail on houses of ill repute ; several 

witnesses swore to having subscribed money to secure them 

from the annoyance of the police, and one stated that $350 

had been subscribed for this purpose. Instances were also 

mentioned of thefts being committed by policemen, and of 

policemen letting prisoners free for money. Two members 

of the committee of investigation, Mr. Labelle and Mr. 

Archambault, were accused of having proposed or committed 

frauds, as members of the Council, in connection with the 

police ; and there has been no proper investigation into 

these charges. 

Members of the Hamilton police force, including ex-chief 
Carruthers, have long since been known to be guilty of illegal 
acts. The first case that was made a subject of judicial 
enquiry was the kidnapping of Snow, by Carruthers and 
McGlogan, in Toronto, on the 12th October, 1858. Snow 
had been charged with having committed in the States an 
offence which did not come under the extradition treaty. A 
reward was offered for his arrest, and he changed his quar- 
ters to Canada. Carruthers and McGlogan saw there was 
a chance to make money, and they resolved to make it. 
They went to Toronto, and called upon Constable Webster, 
and told him that a person who was living with Snow had 



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committed an offence in Huinilton, and th^y wanted Iiim to 
go with ilioni to make tlie arrcHt. Tlio three (h'ovo to the 
then somewhat famous lager Itecr HaU)on of Louis Kurtz, 
Adelaide Street. McGlogan wer^ 1" to lind Dr. Shucli to 
enquire of liim wliere Snow was ; and when the Doctor 
came out, Constable Webster in his innocence, ])clioving 
the story lie had been told, asked if Snow had removed or 
whether there were any one living with him. ^^huch said 
Snow was then in Kiirt/'s snloon, and he did not tliink any 
stranger was stopping with him. When the fact could no 
longer be concealed that it was Snow whom thoy intended 
to arrest, Carrutltcis apologized for the lie McGlogan had 
told in saying that it was some one else. Webster did not 
know what to make of it ; but McGlogan and Carruthers 
threw him off his guard by inventing additional lies. They 
said Snow had committed a penitentiary offence in Hamil- 
ton, and that they had a warrant for his arrest ; the truth 
being that he>ad committed no offence there, and that 
they had no warrant for his arrest. They told Webster not 
to interfere in the arrest, as they would make it themselves. 
They went into the house, on Richmond Street, Webster re- 
maining on the opposite side of the street. McGlogan 
seized Snow by the collar, when the victim demanded " who 
are you ?" " I am an officer," was the reply. " Sbow me 
" your warrant, if you are an officer and have one ; then I 
" will go with you ; if not I will cry murder." But McGlo 
gan had no warrant to show, Snow then cried murder, in 
which he was joined by his wife. Webster, attracted by 
those cries, went over to the house, when he found McGlo- 
gan and Snow struggling together, at the foot of the stairs. 
Webster told Snow who he was, and the victim offered no 
further resistance. Snow, McGlogan and Webster then got 
into the cab, and Carruthers on the seat with the driver. 
Webster told the cabman to drive to the City Hall ; but he 
either did not hear or had his instructions to go west beyond 



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Bathurst Street. Here the cab halted ; the door was opened, 
ard Chief Oarruthers then told Webster they were going to 
taka Snow to Port Credit ; and he added in rei% to a ques- 
tion that his papers were all right ; the fpct being that ha had 
no legal warrant, and that they were smuggling Snow away 
to the Credit, because they dare not run the risk of be'ng 
exposed ?t the Toronto station. As Carvuthers and McGlo- 
gan were going to make money by thin act of audacious 
kidnapping, they thought it right to give a trifle of hush- 
money to Webster. The latter refused, he says, to take 
what appeared to be a bank note ; but Carruthers, in the 
parting grip, adroitly left it in his sleeve. . It turned out, by 
the light of the nearest lamp, to be a five dollar bill. 

The kidnappers arrived at Port Credit, with their victim, 
a little after daylight. When they arrived at the Suspeusion 
Bridge, they telegraphed for one McTaggart, an American 
police detective, with whom they had previously commu- 
nicated theii- doings by telegraph, and to whom they deli- 
vered their victim. These facts were provta in the court of 
assize at Toronto, on the 15th January, 1859 ; when after 
an elaborate defence by the late Mr. Eccles, and the jury 
had been out about an liour, Carruthers and McGlogan 
pleaded guilty, amid great sensation. One of the jurors had 
come out of the room to ask some questions, when Mr. 
Justice McLean told him that " any persons with common 
''■ understanding and a desire to do right, could have no diffi- 
♦' culty in arriving at a determination." An obstinate jury- 
man rtTas standing out for the prisoners. 

At that time, one of the Hamilton papers, the 2\nies, 
very properly called on the police commissioners to dismiss 
Carruthers and McGlogan ; but the demand was unheeded. 
'' Carruthers and McGlogan," it said, "must be dismissed. 
" They stand convicted on their own confession of the most 
"dangerous use of the authority with which the;y are invested 

"for the protection of thft nn-.TnrinTiiK TTnrlor /^rtlrvr ^^ f^>x^|». 



9 

'I office, they have most culpably violated the law, and it is 
"evident that we cannot have an efficient police force in 
" Hamilton as long as the men at the head of it are neglecting 
" their duty in order to kidnap of^enderb against the laws of 
" the United States." These words, in the light of the recent 
disclosures, have a prophetic sound. But neither Car- 
ruthers nor McGlogan was dismissed. Ihey got off with 
a fine of $200 each, and were retained in their positions. 

That these two worthies continued their old tricks, in 
various forms, there is no room to doubt. Here is a story 
told of McGloj^an, of an occurrence that took place within 
the past eighteen months. The office of Spring brewery, 
the property of Mr. Grant of Hamilton, was robbed of a 
cash box, and a man named Shannon, a well known pick- 
pocket, was arrested on good grounds of suspicion. While 
in charge of McGlogan, he managed to escape. McGlogan 
was suspected of purposely permitting the escape and was 
suspended; but the affair was involved in mystery, till 
Shannon wrote to Mr. Grant, tellingj him that McGlogan 
took him into a room in a tavern and offered to release him 
for money Shannon then offered a certain sum ; but it 
was not sufficient to satisfy the cupidity of this trusty detec- 
tive, ard a bargain was finally struck at $235 for Shannon's 
release, McGlogan allowing him only |5out of the $143 he 
had left of what he had stolen to take him over to the other 
side. Shannon did not choose to run the risk of coming 
back to give this evidence ; and as there was no legal proof 
against McGlogan, who had been bound over to appear at 
the Recorder's Court, he was reinstated. But if there was no 
legal evidence against him, there was gross neglect of duty 
in allowing Shannon to e'^cape ; and McGlogan ought 
not to have been reinstated. Shannon, it seems, has fre- 
quently told this story in the States, with all the piquancy 
it can gain from the repetition of the conversation between 
him and McGlogan. When Shannon was asked for money, 



10 

he pretended to have only a certain sum ; McGlogan dis- 
credited the story, and demanded more ; and when he had 
got the $125, he told Shannon to go and make the best of 
his time. 

The facilities which a corrupt police afford to pickpockets, 
robbers and burglars, are so great that it was necessary to 
give some details of the protection they are sworn to have 
thrown around this great international confederation of cri- 
minals. The reasons why Hamilton should have been 
made the headquarters of the association of criminals are now 
understood. If some extraneous aid had not been obtained 
in the work of detection, there would have been no hope of 
any discovery of the crimes being made. In Mr. J. S. 
Armstrong, an expert detective, who assumed the name of 
Barber, the instrument necessary to unlock this mystery of 
t*fe crime was found. There is a natural curiosity to know who 

Armstrong is, with his wonderful talent of worming him- 
self into the conndence of thieves ; and we shall proceed to 
gratify it, 

Armstrong's father lived at Newcastle-upon-Tyne 
before he emigrated to America ; and his son, the future 
detective, was born in the State of New York. He went 
to live in the Township of London, Canada West, in 1830, 
and remained there about twenty years ; living'withhis father 
till he was married and then going to far jaing — the occupa- 
tion he had previously followed — on his own account. After 
leaving Canada, he wf nt to Port Huron, whore he was in 
the pork and grocery business. But being out of health, 
he removed to Lexington, Michigan, where he became Under- 
Sheriff of Canalack Co., Michigan, residing at Lexington ; 
here he did all the business of the office and h. d charge of 
the jail. He applied to O'Maby, then acting justice, to 
have a gang of counterfeiters arrested, but O'Maby refused. 
It turned out that this official was connected with the gang, 
as well as several other prominent citizens. O'Maby's con- 



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11 

n6ction with them afterwards becoming notorious, he found 
it necessary to abscond. The implements for the manufac- 
ture of counterfeit money were found in his possession, and 
several of his accomplices were convicted and sent to the 
States prison. Armstrong then removed to Detroit, where 
after a while, he was induced by Mr. Jacob M. Howard, 
then Attorney General of the State of Michigan, to enter 
the detective force of the state government of Michigan. 
There had for some time been a gang of counterfeiters and 
burglars carrying on their operations there. Armstrong 
arrested over thirty-three of the gang for uttering forged 
paper and counterfeit gold and silver. Seven or eight of 
them were caught in the>ct of distributing it. Mr. J. P. 
Whiting, with B.j[)08se of men made the arrest, nearly all of 
whom were convicted— all that were tried— one or two 
getting out on bail absconded. Mr. Jacob M. Howard con. 
ducted the prosecution. Armstrong took from one of them, 
John Stewart, no less than $8,840 in ten dollar bills on the 
City Bank of Montreal. Many persons in Canada will recol- 
lect the circumstanceofthese counterfeits being in circula- 
tion, causing a run on the City Bank of Montreal, about the 
end of the year 1852. Several of the Detroit police were 
deeply implicated with these criminals; and some of them 
absconded to escape trial. In fact it has been Armstrong's 
iuvai^iab^e experience, in his long and perilous career °as 
detective, that some of the police have everywhere been 
connected with the criminals, whose operations, he has 
brougt to light. For from six to seven years Armstrong acted 
as a detective at Detroit, and in other parts of the State of 
Michigan. 

After the affair of the counterfeiters, a trio of burglars- 
Ellis, Fairfax and Spaulding— went from Ohio to Detroit. 
They were all armed with revolvers, bowie knives and slung 
shots, and on each bowie knife the word " Revenue" waa 
cut in the steel. Smith Ellis was the chief°of the 



It 

ruffianly trio. They committed several burglaries in Detroit 
and other places ; Armstrong had notice of their coming to 
Detroit, and laid his plans to arrest them. Seven of the 
city police went with Armstrong to arrest them ; but on 
arriving at the house where they were, they all refused to 
go in. Armstrong entered alone ; but the burglars escaped 
through the back door. He tracked them, however, and 
they were all arrested next morning, about fourteen miles 
from Detroit. They were all convicted and sent to State's 
prison. Ellis was reported to have committed no less than 
fourteen murders. After their conviction an attempt was 
made, by means of a forged petition, to get them released. 
It purported to be signed by several principal persons of 
the place. Governor Bingham was near yielding ; but he 
was so pressed to decide that night that he began to suspect 
something wrong, and next morning he discovered that the 
petitions were forged. Ellis was afterwards pardoned, upon 
false representations ; and the Governor finding that he 
had been deceived, refused during his term to pardon any 
more prisoners. 

The next important arrest which Armstrong made was of 
Ferguson and Bennet, two noted burglars and counterfei- 
ters, in Lima, Indiana. Bennet kept the Exchauge hotel 
then. Armstrong afterwards went back to Indiana, and 
arrested a band of thieves, burglars and counterfeiters. 
They were distributed over a large part of the State. To 
such a pass had this gang carried matters— the boldness 
and immunity of their depredations having deprived both 
life and property of its safeguards and protection — that the 
respectable citizens formed themselves into a vigilance com- 
mittee—the first instance of the kind in the States— fo selt- 
protection. The lite of Armstrong and several others had 
been threatened. Angus McDougall, formerly of Wallace- 
burg, Canada West, was tried by a vigilance committee 
and hanged, without other process, about two miles from 



18 

Lima. They allowed his wife to see him in the morning ; 
when he had been executed, they put his body into a pine' 
coffin and gave her $20 to bury him. Armstrong was 
not present ; he had tried to get there to stop the irregular 
proceedings, but arrived too late. The gang was known to 
comprise over a hundred persons ; horse thieving was one 
of the offences extensively engaged in by them. McDougall 
was connected with one Eainhart, in Canada, a brother-in- 
law of Nevins Jones, through whom Armstrong, last winter 
got admittance to the Hamilton gang of burglars and incen-' 
diaries. Armstrong personally arrested one Flemings, a 
tavern keeper, near ].ma, a leader of the gang, whose house 
was a refuge for the associated scoundrels. Seveval wealthy 
Jarraersw^ho were engaged in the manufacture of false money 
—dies and presses were found in the possession of one of them 
by name Eandolph— left their property and absconded. 
When this gang had been broken, a totally different state of 
society prevailed. The state of constant terror in which the 
honest and respectable part of the community had hitherto 
lived was exchanged for one of calm serenity. We next 
follow Armstrong to the state of Kew York. He there 
broke up a gang of coiners of false gold and silver, whose 
headquarters were at Hornellsville. They were a most expert 
set of coiners, their productions being reputed the most 
perfect of the kind that ever went into Albany, About nine 
of them were convicted and sentenced to rine years in the 
State Prison. Armstrong afterwards broke up another 
gang of counterfeiters, thieves, burglars and incendaries, 
some of whom were residents of Potter County, Pennsyl- 
vania, and others of Albany, Troy and Buffalo. 

Armstrong next arrested c >e Dr. Edwards, for robbery 
aud murder, at Detroit. Edwards had first administered a 
dose of poison to a young man, the son of a respectable 
farmer, und then robbed him and thrown the body into the 
)i these crimes he was convicted. The ' ^roughs," of 



river. 



u 

Detroit, several Deputy Sheriffs and some of the police 
tried to save Edwards, by trying to break down Armstrong's 
evidence, but in this they completely failed. Armstrong 
afterwards arrested a gang of thieves, burglars and coun- 
terfeiters in Oakland County, Michigan. Among them 
were two physicians, Dr. Burdock and Dr. Bostwick. 
Here again several leading men of the place — farmers, 
doctors and others previously supposed to be respectable — 
were found to be implicated, and were arrested. 

No man could pass through the perils which these dis- 
coveries involved without having his life constantl)^ in 
danger. Armstrong had to do with desperate men by 
whom the life of any enemy was held cheap. The dis- 
covery of his real character would at any time have proved 
fatal, when he was in the power of the villians with 
whose deeds of guilt he was becoming acquainted for the 
purpose of disclosing them, that justice might be done and 
the public protected. Several times, he narrowly escaped 
with his life. He was attacked by 16 or 18 of the Hornells- 
ville gang, in that place. They used their knives freely, 
cutting and bruising him so severely that he was laid up in 
Buffalo some six weeks. At another time, after leaving 
Indiana for Deti'oit, strychnine was administered to him in 
a drink, from the effect of which he lost the use of his feet 
for some time, and the palsy which took possession of his 
hands was never entirely cured. A third time he was 
struck with a slung shot, at Battle Creek, by which he was 
ruptured, and nearly lost his life, having been confined to 
his bed lor several weeks. The fourth time his life was 
attempted, at Thornton, Michigan. He had a number of 
prisoners in charge ; and in a glass of lemonade the land- 
lord of the hotel where they were, administered a potion of 
corrosive sublimate to him. When he discovered what had 
been done, and felt himself helpless, he handed his revolver 
to the driver and told him to shoot the first prisoner that 



15 



i 



attempted to escape or the first man who should aid any of 
them to do so. Not a prisoner escaped— he never lost one 
at any time— and several of them were convicted, through 
Armstrong. So seriously had he been injured that he was not 
able to appear as a witness, having been confined by illness 
resulting from the poisoning for a period ot nineteen dreary 
months. 

When he partially recovered, he removed for safety to 
Canada, his life being in danger in the States, and besides 
he was tired of the perilous occupation of a detective. After 
remaining with a relative in London Township a year, he 
went to Berlin, 0. W., in 1861. Here he acted as agent of 
the Middlesex Insurance Company, as well as of the Hart- 
ford and -^tna. This business took him much through the 
country to obtain policies ; and in 1862 he made the ac- 
quaintance of Nevins Jones, an old member of the once 
notorious Markham gang of horse thieves and general rob- 
bers, near Georgetown. Armstrong knew the character of 
Jones by report ; and the old habits of the detective came 
back in all their force upon him. He was soon enabled to 
find out that Jones had a large circle of acquaintances 
among thieves and counterfeiters. Among others, Jones 
mentioned Dick Murphy, of Toronto, and McCraney, of 
Oakville. Armstrong conveyed this information to Mr. 
Childs, of Niagara Falls, by whom he had been employed 
as an insurance agent. Childs at once saw its importance. 
He thought the cause of the epidemic of incendiary fires 
might by this means be searched out ; and though Arm- 
strong was anxious not to resume the occupatioa of a detec- 
tive, Childs would not take a refusal. Armstrong consented 
with reluctance to face once more the perils of a calling that 
had so nigh proved fatal, and on the 24:th December, 1864 
he resumed the occupation of detective. He made trequent 
visits to Jones ; stopped at his house over night, met him at 
Thompson's tavern, in Georgetown, and in every way 



16 



apsiduously cultivated his acquaintance. He gave him to 
understand that he wanted to buy cheap goods generally, 
which Jones readily understood to be stolen goods. Dick Mur- 
phy, Jones said, was a heavy dealer, especially in watches ; 
and so to Murphy Jones introduced Armstrong, under the 
name of Barber, as a recruit in the band. The three met 
at the market, in Toronto, in the fore part of January last, 
and Jones described Armstrong as *' a right sort of fellow," 
whom Murphy might not be afraid to tell any secrets of the 
craft. Murphy said he could get goods ; and named a 
party in town from whom he had recently got a chest of 
tea. On the 2l8t of January, Murphy met Armstrong in 
Hamilton, the headquarters of the gang in Canada, and intro- 
duced him to ''Captain Taylor." Taylor produced some 
goods, and said he could get any quantity. He explained the 
process of acquisition by pulling a little brass key out of 
his pocket, and saying " that is the little devil that will do 
"the work." On the Sunday following, Taylor went back 
with a long face. He had met a failure, broken the key in 
the door, and the story would get into the papera next day. 
Besides Murphy, Armstrong had taken with him to Hamil- 
ton Nevins Jones and Mrs. Potter. The latter, represented 
as a clairvoyant, had been engaged by Armstrong to ac- 
company Jones west of Hamilton, where she was to watch 
his dealings with some counterfeiters. The whole party put 
up at the International hotel, Armstrong paying the bill. 
But like many other distinguished persons, they dined out 
occasionally. They honored Parker, a local leader of the 
gang, in this way. Parker showed them some goods, of 
which his wife, a sister of Taylor, fixed the price ; and 
Armstrong purchased to the extent of #20, besides a watch. 
Jones had pressed for the purchase, saying he wanted the 
goods for some of his hands-— he has a saw mill and a farm. 
Armstrong introduced Mrs. Potter as a thief; and key 



•filirirt' 



J5 



17 

business topics of conversation. They were invited to drmk 
plentifully ; as Parker had " fixed" a cellar where cham- 
pagne was to be had at first cost. Jones also drove Arm- 
strong a distance from the city of twelve miles and intro- 
duced him to an old thief of his acquaintance. Jeftrey said 
one of the head men was sick, and unable to work. So both 
Parker and Taylor represented the necessity of delaying for 
a while the attempt to get goods. Armstrong, Jones and 
Mrs.l Potter returned to Georgetown ; Mrs. Potter being 
left at Jones' to watch his movements, in the detective's 
absence. 

On the 31 St of January, Armstrong returned to Toronto, 
when, he swears, Murphy told him he could furnish all the 
goods he wanted, as he had three or four first rate fellows, 
who were going, next day, up to Hamilton. Armstrong 
went with him, and they stopped again at the International. 
Next morning. Murphy took him to Jeffi^y's house, where 
they were met at the door by Mary Edwards, the house- 
keeper, who was sometimes called by a certain kind of 
right, Mrs. Jeffrey. Jefirey was not in. They were soon re- 
inforced by Parker, and when the three returned to Jeffrey's, 
were informed, in reply to a question put by Parker, that 
Jeffrey would be back next day. Murphy asked Parker if 
all was right ; and the reply was that goods would be got as 
soon as Jeffrey returned. Armstrong, with the air of a busi- 
ness man, in danger of being balked of a promised bargain, 
said he had spent a good deal of money in the business and 
did not want to be fooled. In the evening Jeffrey returned, 
and Armstrong was introduced to him by Parker, as the 
right sort of man to purchase goods. Jeffrey was very 
communicative, and spoke freely of the robberies he had 
committed ; how he had left a wholesale merchant in Ha- 
milton not worth a cent ; how he had been nearly caught 
on one occasion, and mentioned a place near Watertown that 
he intended to rob, and another Toronto where, instead 



18 

. of the large haul expected, he got only a few dollars in 
silver. He went deeply into the mystery of burglaries ; 
the taking of impressions of key holes, etc. In this latter 
work he said he had been assisted by an Alderman. When 
Murphy had heard all this, he went from generalities to par- 
ticulars. When, he desired to know, would Jeffrey be pre- 
pared to commit a robbery ? Jeffrey had had the tonsils of 
his throat cut, and had been warned by his medical adviser 
not to go out at night till he was better. He consulted the 
almanac and said they would not be able to " work" till 
about the 22nd (February). 

The thieves were emboldened by their alliance with the 
police ; of which a full account will be given in the proper 
place. 

The store of Gates and Co., was the one robbed on the 
night ot the 2lst Feburary. It was not intended as a great 
robbery, but only as *' a feeler." Two nights after, the second 
and great robbery was committed. And now sufficient 
evidence had been obtained to warrant the arrest of the 
burglars. Armstrong arranged with the Sheriffs' officers 
that they should make a descent on Parker's house, at four 
o'clock on the morning of the 24th February. A number 
of persons in the secret, went near Parker's house, at that 
time to witness the operation : they remained over an hour 
and nobody camo, and they went away, but some ot them 
returned to^witness the arrest. The arrest, for some reason was 
delayed till six o'clock, and it is quite probable that some 
of the parties who had been engaged in the robbery, had 
been at Parker's at four o'clock and gone before six. Only 
Parker, bis wife and Taylor, her brother, were found. 
Parker's house was in Merrick Street. Milne the Sheriffs' 
bailiff took a number of assistants with him, and stationing 
them about the premises to prevent the escape of the parties 
they were in search of, demanded admittance. The 
(back) door not being opened it was soon forced, they met 



1» 

ImAoy in the hall, but it was not yet h'ght enough to see who 
he was. He was asked if he was Parker, to which he replied 
" yes." But the answer was not true, for it was Taylor 
He was at once secured. Parker was in the back room, 
on the ground floor ; once ho opened the door and looked 
into the hall ; Milne advanced towai-d it, when it was at 
onco closed, Parker swearing he would shoot the first man 
that entered, but Milno, who was armed with a revolver as 
well as Parker, was resolute and broke open the door. 
While this was being done Parker escaped through the 
window. Milne then hastened to the back door, and Par- 
ker, who was now in the yard, turned round and fired at him, 
the bullet lodging in the door sill. Milne returned the fire 
and Parker fired two other shots at the men in the yard 
without injuring any of them. After the last shot, Parker 
junaped over a small side gate that had not been guarded 
as it should have been, and then over a shed and through 
some livery stables into James Street, where, in the dark 
of the morning, his pursuers lost sight of him. Mrs. 
Parker and her brother were the only persons arrested. A 
large quantity of goods of the most miscellaneous description 
were found in the house : silks, ribbons, cottons, shirts, 
merinoes-— every kind of dry goods ; in quantity about two 
sleigh loads. A plentiful supply of bui^lars* apparatus was 
also found : a dark lantern, skeleton keys, chisels, &c. 

A visit was also made to Jeffrey's house, but he was too 
ill to be moved at the time. Mary Edwards, who lived with 
him as his wife, was captured, and he followed soon after 
to the jail. Furphy and Kevins Jones were also afterwards 
arrested, and are now awaiting their trial, in jail at Ham- 
ilton. Taylor was tried at Hamilton for his part in the 
burglary, found guilty, and sentenced to seven years in the 
Penitentiary. 

McGlogan, the Hamilton detective, received information 

QT VfThckVCk Povlrtii* TiTQe liirJiT* 



5 anajf. 



XT^ £^11 

O-LC XUllUWtiU. 



auu ar' 



riyod juBt in time to see him get off a train, went np towards 
him, and being well known to the thief, Parker started off 
towards the woods, and escaped. McGlogau pretends that 
he threatened to fire at Parker, and that Parker did actually 
fire at him, but however this may be, Parker escaped. He 
has since been seen hanging about Buffalo. 



j I 



•1 



irds 
off 
hat 
ally 
He 



CHAPTER IT. 

Dfliectivfl Armstronff sutipootod of havinK betrayed the Gaog, is arretted by 
Oarrnthers and MoGlogan, on the pretence that he wan bona fide one of the 
Gang.— Mary Edwards and Mrs. Parker brought up as witnesses againnt him- — 
Heis roloasodon hail, and It soon gets whispered that he is'u Government 
Detoo^ive. — Ex-Chief Carruthers and Alderman Patterson iinplioated with the 
Gaiig. — Investigation into thr> charge against them. — Recorder Start's decision. 
lip reoumiaeods the dismissal of Carruthers and MoOlogan. — Alderman Patterson 
receives money under false and fraudulent pretonoes. — Patterson absconds, and 
is pursued over the Suspension Bridge. — Jeffrey writes a letter making eriminal 
charges against Police Magistrate Cahiil. — Cahill admits that he is in the habit of 
remitting parts of fines, though he has no legal warrant for it.— Charges against 
Poiioeman Ford.— The charges againsi. Sergeant Major McDowell. — Review of 
tlie eyidonoo in the case. 

When Taylor, Mrs. Parker and Mary Edwards had been 
arrested, it was evident that there was treachery somewhere. 
Who had let out the secrets of the gang, and sent the 

SheriflP's officer — the Police not being worthy of trust— on 
the track of the burglars ? The old members had doubtless 
proved their trustworthiness — had known themselves pos- 
sessed of the proverbial thieves' honor — and it was evident 
that the traitor must be a new recruit. Strange to say, that 
Chief Carruthers pounced upon Armstrong, and arrested 
him as an accomplice of the gang. But it is pretty plain 
that the Hamilton police was desirous to have nothing to 
do with Barber, as Armstrong called himself among the 
thieves ; and they seem to have been only too anxious that 
he might turn out u real thief and escape, tor which McGlo- 
gan took care to give him ample opportunity. He let it be 
known on the Saturday night that Barber was to be arrested ; 
but the arrest was deferred till Monday morning. He went 
to the trouble of calling Kichardson out of his bed, on 
Saturday night, to confide this intention to him ; and 

Richardson, thinking Armstrong ought to know all about it, 
L^^A u; — TLr.«r3i,w-,^ i — axa ^^t. x^*. — a tx.^ £-.*. *_ 



«2 

reach Armstrong's ears, but it does not appear that he laid 
any injunction of eecrecy on Richardson. The arrest i7&s 
effected by Chief Carruthers and McGlogan— two members 
of the force who have "ince been di.^missed for improper 
conduct^and when it was being made, Or.rruthers remarked 
that Barber looked more like a detective than a thief. Bar- 
ber was found occupying a suite of rooms at the International 
Hotel ; two bedrooms opening into a common sitting room, 
one of them occupied by himself and the other by Mrs. 
Potter, a woman who to the business of a clairvoyant had 
added that of assistant detective. After Armstrong had 
been arrested, imdfer the name of Barber, it is singular t*ipt 
Mary Edwards— the woman kept by the thief Jeffrey, at 
whose house Chief Carruthers was a regular visitor— should 
have been brought up to swear against him, and the matter 
was not mended when Mrs. Parker was ushered in to sup- 
port her. Barber was released on bail by Judge Logic, and 
the mystery was soon half solved by its becoming whispered 
that he was a government detective. This suspicion arose 
from the entries made in his note books, which the Hamilton 
Police seized. 

Barber alias Armstrong had been careful not to divulge 
his real character, at the examination, as he had not made 
all the arrests that were intended. 

The story that the Chief of the Hamilton police were in 
league with the burglars was told at different times by several 
of the gang, Taylor and Mary Edwards, separately and at 
different times, told it to Armstrong; Jeffrey repeated it, 
saying that he paid Carruthers and Patterson ten per cent 
on the proceeds of his robberies to protect him, and that the 
chief watched for him while he entered a building. Parker 
and Mrs. Parker both spoke to Armstrong of the arrange- 
ment with Carruthers to protect the burglars. Nor was 
it to Armstrong only that this statement was made. 
Parker told Jit to Taylor, a bold resolute burglar, who did 



d8 

not require any such assurance of security tc tempt him 
into a calling which he had followed all his ,life. Five of 
the gang told Armstrong that Chief Carruthers and Alder- 
man Patterson were their allies, friends, co-partners and 
protectors, and while Parker repeated the same thing to 
Taylor, Jeffrey, when visited by the grand jury in his cell 
in prison entered into the following conversation. 

Mr. Edgar, one of the Grand Jury. — "Well, Jeffrey, how are you 
getting along here ?" 

Jeffrey — " Oh, first-rate ; but there are some others who ought to be 
here along with me." 

Mr. Epgar— " To whom do you refer ?" 
Jeffrey—" To Alderman Patterson and the Chief of Police." 
Another of the Jurors—" Why, you do not consider them guilty ?" 
Jeffrey—" Well, if I am guilty, they are guilty too I " 
A Juror — " Then you acknowledge your guilt?" 
Jeffrey — " Oh, no one is going to own up his guilt ; but they are 
guilty if lam." 

Jeffrey has since denied this statement ; but his denial is 
worthless, in opposition to the sworn statements of grand 
jurors. Five members of the gang told the same story. 
Carruthers admitted a sort of intimacy with Jeffrey, but he 
sought to give it not only an innocent but a necessary offi- 
cial character. Jeffrey, he alleged, was in the habit of giving 
him information about robberies; and two instances are 
given in corroboration of this statement. ^N"© doubt this 
occurred, but how came Jeffrey to know so much about 
thieves ? He was no detective ; when he found the opera- 
tions of his own gang interfered with by the intrusions of 
interlopers, he used to set the poUce on his rivals. Car- 
ruthers was heard on oath in his own behalf, unfortunately 
perhaps for himself; for he pretended to a degree of 
ignorance of Jeffrey's pursuits, which, if true, was little 
creditable to the Chiel of police ; but which was opposed <-o 
probability, and to the statements of some of the men in th^ 
force. While the police were getting information from 



24 

Jeffrey, OaiTutliera says, tliey did not know that he was 
keeping ^a gambling dcii. Constable West swears that as 
long as seven or eight years ago, the Chief, himself and 
"others went to Jeffrey's house " to sieze every thing and 
"break up the concern as a gambling house." This shows 
that Carruthers had long known the habits of Jeffrey, and 
he could hardly have been ignorant of a fact so notorious as 
that this man still continned to keep a gambling house. 
Bible, a member of his own force, swears : " we all" [that 
is the whole police force] " knew that Jeffrey's was a notor- 
ious gambling house, and that ho was a notorious gambler." 
He gives this as a reason why the police visited the house, 
at the time of the Provincial Fair ; at which time only, 
Carruthers pretends, the trne character of the house 
was discovered, and even after that, he admits he did not 
tell his men to keep any particular watch on this gambling 
den. When Mary Edwards was arrested she said that 
Patterson and Carruthers had been there on the night of 
the 23rd of February, 1865, that they knew her and Jeffrey 
well, and would go bail^for them. Carruthers denies that 
he was there on that occasion, and yet it is dfficult to see 
what object the woman could have in making this state- 
ment if it were not true. On this point, the evidence of 
Mary Edwards is corroborated by that of Taylor. He 
swears thai he saw both Carruthers and Patterson there on 
the night of the 23rd of February. It is easy to see on 
which side the weight of the evidence lies. Taylor has 
heard Jeffrey say that he has often given presents to the 
Chief ot police, so he swears. 

As Carruthers was charged with watching buildings till 
the burglars entered them, it was important to prove that 
he could not have done so on the night of the 23rd February, 
when the second great robbery of Gates' store oc- 
curred. But the attempt completely broke down. Con- 
Btabie west and Ferris between iliem made out that Car- 



u 



ruthera was in the police office that night till between one 
and two o'clock in the morning ; but "Wm. Carruthers, 
the son, swears that his father came home that night 
earlier than usual, and Mrs. Carruthers that he came 
home early and did not go out again. What are we to 
understand by the term ** early," used by the wife and 
"earlier than usual," used by the son? "We find from the 
evidence of Mary Carruthers, a daughter, and Mrs. Jane 
Carruthers, that the Chief went home on the night of the 
21st February at from 20 to 30 minutes past twelve ; and that 
the reason he was so late was that he had been detained by 
business at the office. We thus arrive at the fact that 
lialf past twelve was a late hour for Carruthers to bo out ; 
and if he was home earlier than usual, as his son swears, on 
tlie night of the 23rd February he could not have remained 
in the Police office till between one and two, as West and 
Ferris allege. The aUU failed completely ; and the attempt 
to establish it only makes matters worse. 

The Recorder of Hamilton, Mr. Start, could not see in 
this evidence any proof of the connection of Alderman 
Patterson or Chief Constable Carruthers with the thieves ; 
and he virtually acquitted the Chief on that charge. At 
the same time, he admits that there was an acquaintance or 
an intimacy between Carruthers and Jefi'rey which had been 
' * fraught with disad vantages to the city." He saw in the cir- 
cumstances connected with the arrest of Jeffrey reasons lor a 
" want of confidence in the judgment, if not in the honesty" 
of both Carruthers and McGlogan ; that on many occasions 
they had been guilty of carelessness and indifference ; that 
the delay of McGlogan in executing the warrant against 
Parker was quite inexcusable, and that, coupled with his 
contradictions as to where ho was on a particular night it was 
a strong ground of suspicion ; and that the Chief was equally 
to blame for having failed to report the matter or complain 
of McGlogan's conduct. On these grounds Carruthers and 



36 



McGlogan were dismissed ; and it is evident, on comparing 
the evidence with the findings of the Kecorder, that the view 
he took was much more favorable to these members of the 
Hamilton police than the evidence would have warranted, 
Patterson's case, he summed up by saying that this func- 
tionary had " grossly used or abused his position as alder- 
** man and magistrate of the city; it being proven that, on 
*' one occasion, he took and received from one Burke and 
*' agreed in consideration to sit on the bench and to shield and 
" protect him from a charge of crimping, which was then 
" being preferred against him, the said Burke, and did on 
" another occasion take and receive the sum of $5 from Mr. 
"Egener, an innkeeper of Hamilton, promising in considera- 
" tion thereof that said Egener might safely abstain from 
'* taking out his license for two or three months, and subse- 
" quently represented for the like consideration that he need 
" not obtain any license to remove his business in a tavern 
'* from one part of the city to another, thereby obtaining such 
*' money under lalse and fraudulent pretences, holding out 
** his position as Alderman to obtain the same." Patterson, 
the Chief of Police and McGlogan were dismissed from 
the force. Alderman Patterson resigned his seat in the 
Council; and subsequently absconded to the States. Pat- 
terson learned that a warrant had been issued for his arrest for 
robbery ; and he started by rail for the Suspension Bridge. 
TheMayor, Mr. McGill, of Hamilton, happened to be on 
the same train ; and he telegraphed to the bridge to have 
Patterson arrested, when the train should stop. But Pat- 
terson bolted the moment the train halted, and ran, closely 
pursued by the officers of justice, across the bridge, gaining 
the American sidejin advance of his pursuers. The case 
is not one in which a demand for his surrender can be 
made under the extradition treaty. 

With a connected historv of the casp. hfifnre it- th« r^nhli,- 
will be able to form its own opinions on the correctness of 



nparing 
he view 
I of the 
rranted, 
is fimc- 
8 alder' 
that, on 
rke and 
ield and 
''as then 

did on 
om Mr. 
osidera- 
in from 
I subse- 
be need 

tavern 
ng such 
ing out 
tterson, 
1 from 

in the 
Pat- 
rest for 
Bridge. 

be on 
;o have 
It Pat- 
closely 
gaining 
e case 
;an be 



I 

less of 



27 

the jSndings of Eecorder Start. It certainly takes the most 
lenient view of the case of Carruthei-s that it would bear. 

Jeffrey wrote a letter, from the Hamilton Jail, dated 
June 30, 1865, in which he made several accusations 
against different officials. He alleged that Police Magis- 
trate Cahill called him into his oflSce, when he was going up 
King Street and offered to hush up a charge of crimping 
against him for $50, that he (Jeffrey) offered $10, which 
was refused with a statement that the case would be 
tried. Cahill has publicly denied as " wholly untrue," the 
charge that he demanded $50 from Jeffrey in the crimping 
case. He adds that he postponed the enquiry to give Jeff- 
rey an opportunity to procure witnesses ; and that Jeffrey 
called at his office and offered him $10 for the trouble he 
had taken in adjourning the case ; upon which Mr. Cahill says 
he ordered him out of the office. Another charge made by 
Jeffrey is admitted by Cahill ; and the practice — that of 
remitting a large part of fines imposed for offences — 
defended. Jeffrey mentions one case of a fine of $20 
being reduced to $10 ; another of $20 being reduced 
to $10; a third of $100 reduced to $30; a fourth of 
$50 to $10 ; a fifth of $70 to $25 ; a sixth of $100 to $50 
or $25 ; a seventh of $20 to $10. M>-. Cahill defends this 
practice on grounds which, we believe, are not true in 
tact, and are indefensible in principle. " As to the second 
charge," he says, " that of remitting parts of the fines men- 
tioned, it has been usual here, and in other cities, not to 
enforce a balance of a fine when the party is unable to pay 
the whole ; it being considered better to take a part than to 
put the city to the expense of supporting the prisoners in 
jail. The fines were all imposed for criminal acts, and it is 
a strange doctrine that it is better to compound the fines and 
take one-lialf or one-third the amount levied, rather than 
throw on the public the cost of maintaining the prisoners in 
jail. At this rate, we might cease to imprison altogether, 



28 

ill case8 for which fines are held a sufficient atonement, pro- 
vided ever to make a part of the amount be paid. Mr. 
Cahill does not tell us that any stated per centage shall be 
required, and if he may compound a fine by receiving 
thirty-three per cent, jf the amount, he may equally do so 
on receiving any other or less per centage. A fine in 
criminal cases is usually treated as the equivalent of a 
certain term of imprisonment ; and it can be in fact an 
equivalent punishment only in case it is paid. The plea 
that a remission of a large part of the fine saves the expense 
of keeping prisoners in jail would, if admitted, carry us to 
the length of abolishing jails altogether. The ground of ex- 
penses cannot be admitted as a legitimate reason for 
remitting a large part of fines. This expense is what we 
part with out of property in order to protect the remainder. 
We do not know, and Mr. Cahill does not tell us, in what 
other cities besides Hamilton this practice exists ; but we 
know that he has no legal power to remit fines. And 
the prevalence of a dangerous practice, in the adminstration 
of justice, would not justify it. Mr. Cahill's explanation 
must be held to be unsatisfactory ; and as Jeffrey has told 
some truth, all the charges he has made ought to be en- 
quired into. 

It appears that these fines were remitted at the urgent 
request of members of the City Council, one of whom. 
Alderman Patterson acted as fine broker, and took money 
to procure the remission of fines. Whether any or how 
many others did is yet among the undisclosed secrets of this 
affair. Mr. McKinnon, a member of the Hamilton City 
Council, takes umbrage at the statement of Mr. Cahill that 
no member of that body ever urged him more strongly than 
he (McKinnon) to remit fines ; and he denying that he did 
more than ask if the Police Magistrate could not fine one 
Moffatt less than $50, lets fall suspicions about unclaimed 
goods. " And one," ho says, " can believe that of all the 



29 



goods which fell into the hands of the Police authorities for 
years gone by, the whole have been claimed except two old 
dresses," as Carruthers had stated. Then follow questions 
about what became of the material connected with break- 
ing up of a number of faro banks, each of which is valued 
at $200. Six of these banks had been seized within ten 
years, and the question is asked what became of the proceeds 
Here again light is evidently wanting. 

Jeffrey next turns upon the police of Hamilton. Policeman 
Ford, he says, arrested one Fitzgerald at the station for rob- 
bing, and set him at liberty next morning for $4. Also 
that he demanded $26 and received $5 from one Kerr for 
having torborne to arrest him for enlisting men for the 
American army. An investigation took place, on the 3rd 
July, into this charge, before the Police Commissioners ; 
when Kerr's evidence fully bore out the statement of Jeffrey. 
But the Police Magistrate, eliciting from Kerr an acknow- 
ledgment that he had twice enlisted in the American army, 
twice taken the oath and as often committed perjury by 
deserting, refused to believe him. The commissioners de- 
cided that the charges against Ford — there were some 
others — were not proved, and Ford was acquitted. 

There has been shown or admitted to be quite enough 
truth in Jeffrey's statement to justify a full and independent 
enquiry into all the charges he has made. 

Before the end of the first week in March, the story that 
Barber was a detective, and that his real name was Arm- 
strong, got into the papers. This was told with some detail of 
circumstances, as that he had received advances of money 
from Insurance Companies to enable him to carry on his 
operations. This tact must have been obtained from a 
perusal by some official of Armstrong's note-book. This 
story found its way into one of the Toronto papers as early 
as March 6 : and it was inevitable that, from that moment, 
Armstrong should be suspected by the associated members 



f 



80 

of the gang in that city. Any less astute a detective than 
Armstrong could not have hoped to do any thing further 
with Murphy and his associates after this ; but he went on 
after there were reasons why suspicion should attach to him. 
McDowell, Sergeant-major in the Toronto police force, 
who was afterwards accused of complicity with Murphy, had 
every opportunity of hearing from the papers, as early as 
March 6, that Armstrong was a detective. Besides the 
circumstance of the Sheriff's officers having been employed 
to make the arrests, at Parker's house, showed that there 
was somebody at work besides the Hamilton police, and 
besides that there must have been some reason for not 
trusting them. This could not but have struck McDowell. 
But we find that, about the end of that month or the be- 
ginning of April, he had apparently not quite resolved the 
question on which his suspicions had been aroused. Ho 
went to Captain Prince Chief of 'the Toronto police force, 
and asked him to write to the government to ascertain 
whether Armstrong was a detective. The Chief had pre- 
viously been informed, by Mr. 0'Brien,Insurance Agent,that 
McDowell was suspected of being mixed up with Murphy. 
Captain Prince appeared to fall in with McDowell's views, 
and promised to make the enquiry. He accordingly wrote 
to Mr. McMicken, Stipendary Magistrate, at the same 
time giving him a hint that it was necessary to serve the 
ends of justice, that McDowell should be thrown off his 
guard. Mr. McMicken replied that he did not know much 
about Armstrong, that what little he did learn was not to 
his advantage, and leaving it to be inferred, rather than 
saying so, that he was no government detective. This 
answer threw Murphy off his guard. His confidence in 
Armstrong was restored ; and he was more communicative 
than ever. Up to the Sdth of May Murphy had, or appear- 
ed to have, confidence in Armstrong. But Mr. McMicken's 
letter did not altogether allay McDowell's suspicions ; and 



81 



judging by Armstrong's statement, it is pretty plain that 
the suspecting and suspected Sergeant-major had been 
pushing his enquiries in other directions. " On the l3th 
April," Armstrong swears, " I met Murphy at the market 
" (Toronto) and he said Sergeant Major McDowell had told 
'• him that he heard from the Chief of police of Hamilton and 
*' McGlogan, that I was a government detective, and that he 
" (Murphy) was to notify the boys to be careful of me." 
McGlogan, on the contrary, swears that he never told 
McDowell who Armstrong was ; but we look in vain 
through the sworn statement of Carruthers for any such 
disclaimer. Carruthers must have been in a position to 
give this information from the moment Armstrong's note- 
book had fallen into his hands. This was on the 3rd March. 
That this note-book was at once scanned and the result that 
Armstrong was a detective drawn from it we have the 
means of knowing. Two days after, March 5th, the Hamil- 
ton correspondent of the Toronto Olobe wrote " It is a fact 
" that certain entries are found in his (Armstrong's) pocket- 
*' books relating to money received by him from Mr. W. H. 
" Childp and other well known agents." Hence the conjec- 
ture that he was a detective officer. Murphy now, by his 
" -^ account, tried to turn the tables on Armstrong. How 
io phy bar' suspected Armstrong to be a detective 

thei ' . neans of knowing positively ; but it is reasonable 

to suppose that he would not be long in learning of a fact that 
had been published in the newspapers. Nineteen days after 
the announcement in the Toronto pii^"»ers that Armstrong 
was a government detective, according to McDowell (letter 
to the Leader and the Gldbe^ June 1, 1865,) Murphy told 
him (on or about the 25th March) that Armstrong had 
offered him (Murphy) $15 000 of counterfeit money at fifteen 
cents on the dollar. Murphy said he would take the whole 
—at least so he swears — and if so he probably wanted to 
get an offer of it from Armstrong^ that he might use it in 



case anything might go wrong. Armstrong had shown 
him two new bank bills, both of them good, as specimens 
of what he could do in conterfeiting. Murphy took over 
$50 from Armstrong, on an engagement to go to 
Montreal with six men to commit a robbery. 
Murphy^s story indicates that, from the moment he suspect- 
ed Armstrong to be a detective, he determined to be on the 
safe side, and that after communicating with those members 
of the police force, in the two cities with whom he had a 
suspicious acquaintance, he was advised to get Armstrong 
into his own trap if possible, and acted accordingly. 
But this is not consistent with other facts sworn to as noto- 
rious. The robbery to be committedin Montreal by Murphy's 
gang, ^was ot a silk store, which had been already entered 
and " weeded out" to the amount of $2000. The lock had 
been "fitted" and all that had to be done was to turn the 
manufactured key once more. This was to be a great rob- 
bery, and was to be covered up by the burning of the 
premises. Of the men selected by Murphy for this work 
one had served a term in a State prison, and was more likely] 
to go into real than sham robberies. On the 24th of May 
Murphy told Armstrong that he had learned from McDow- 
ell that Armstrong was a detective, and that he was to tell 
the boys to beware of him. Murphy gave this reason, 
Armstrong swears, for not going to Montreal. It was now evi- 
dent that no more discoveries could be made through 
Murphy, and his arrest was determined upon. Murphy 
was therefore arrested on the night of the 25th May, at his 
house on the Kingston Koad, near Toronto, and next day 
Sergeant-major McDowell attempted to repeat what Chief 
Carruthers of the Hamilton police had previously done under 
similar circumstances — to get Armstrong arrested. With this 
view he took to Captain Prince, Chief of the Toronto police, 
two men, one of them a brother-in-law to Murphy— and in- 
troduced them as among the most respectable men in the city, 



saying that they could prove that Annstrong had engaged 
them to go to Montreal to commit a burglary. But of course 
this attempt did not succeed. Finding his name connected 
by witnesses on the investigation into the charges against 
th6 Hamilton Police, with Murphy, McDowell published a 
letter in the Toronto papers, in which he tried to put his 
superior officer in the wrong for refusing to cause the arrest 
of a government detective, whose crime was that he had 
used the necessary means to break up the worst gang ot 
burglars and incendaries that ever infested the frontier. He 
was promptly suspended and an investigation into his 
conduct ordered. 

Many points of the evidence in investigation have been 
anticipated. We have come down to the arrest of Murphy. 
When Armstrong went into the house Policeman Clark who 
was engaged in the arrest swears, Murphy said "get out, you 

<' d d sucker ; one of the city police has told me all 

" about you." The expression "sucker" was much remarked 
upon when this evidence was given ; it seems to be tanta- 
mount to saying "you have been sucking information out of 
" us for the purpose of using it for our injury, as this arrest 
" proves," what are we to underetand by the expression that 
a city policeman had told Murphy all about Armstrong ? 
According to Armstrong's evidence he told him that he was 
a detective ; a fact which, as we have seen, McDowell had 
long surmised, and there were many reasons for his 
suspicion : the statement of the Hamilton correspondent of 
the Olobe ; the fact of the arrests being made by the 
Sheriff's officers, and Armstrong showing what purported to 
be counterfeit bank bills, a common practice of American 
detectives. Against the direct statement of what Armstrong 
was told by Murphy, with such corroboration from circum- 
stances as have been noticed, what is there to be placed in 
the way of rebuttal? There is the denial of Murphy, who is 
anxious not to implicate himself; and it amounts to really 
o 



84 

no more than a circumstantial plea of not guilty, since he'ift 
to be put on trial for the part he is said to have taken in 
connection with the Hamilton robberies. Clark's evidence 
agrees with that of Armstrong; Murphy's evidence must be 
set aside as worthless ; and McGarry, the third person en- 
gaged in the arrest, seems to have acted very strangely, 
though it is proper to say he has hitherto borne a good 
reputation. The warrant for the arrest of Murphy con- 
tained also the name of Nevins Jones. McGarry who read 
tho warrant was repeatedly told to omit the second name ; 
but both Armstrong and Clark swear that he did neverthe- 
less read it. This he denies, and he is supported in his 
denial by Murphy. But these two interested witnesses are 
not entitled to belief against the sworn statements of Clark 
and Arm^ trong. And this rule will hold good in case of 
any other conflict between these witnesses. 

There were several other charges against McDowell ; 
and it is evident that his name was used with a strange 
familiarity by the confederated thieves; McDowell was 
engaged in the arrest of Mrs. Shaw, of Toronto, in Decem- 
ber, 1862, and Armstrong swears that Murphy told him 
that Jones would have been able to get a large quantity of 
goods from her, if the officers had not given her three hours 
notice of the intended arrest ; the goods being burnt in the in- 
terval. Kevins Jones, a very costive witness, also swears 
that he had a convereation with Murphy about stolen 
goods being burnt, and that their destruction had been oc- 
casioned by a notice of two or three hours being given of 
an intended arrest. Murphy denies that he ever mentioned 
Mrs. Shaw's name to Armstrong ; and George Shaw, a son 
of Mrs. Shaw, swears that no goods were or could, without 
his knowledge, have been burnt in his mother's house. 
Mrs. Shaw being ill was not brought to the stand ; nor did 
McDowell bring ex-detective Crowe, though he must have 
been better qualified to speak to the facts than any one 



85 

else. "When Mrs. Shaw was tried for stealing a fur from 
Mrs. Salt, it was chiefly owing to the evidence of 
McDowell that she was acquitted. Mrs. Shaw explained 
why she had a quantity of silks and other goods in her 
possession, at the time of her arrest, by alleging that she had 
received them from a Mrs. Wilson to sell. McDowell on 
the trial, swore that he had every reason to believe that 
there was such a person as Mrs. "Wilson, and that he had 
received information to that effect within a few days and 
that he hoped to be able to find her ; that she had been in 
the City since the 12th July ; yet both Mr. Doyle, who 
acted as counsel for Mrs. Salt, and Mr. McNab, County 
Attorney, swear that he told them on the morning of Mrs. 
Shaw's trial, that there were no traces of Mrs. "Wilsons 
Mr. Cameron, McDowell's counsel, states during the in- 
vestigation, that the idea was that Mrs. Wilson was no 
other than Mrs. Parker, one of the most expert shoplifters 
in the country. How had she become acquainted with 
Mrs. Shaw? And how did McDowell know that she had 
been in the City since the 12th July. 

Another charge was that McDowell having once arrested 
Tom Taylor, " about a watch," let him go for a bribe of 
$20, which he demanded as the condition of the prisoner's 
release. Taylor made this statement to Armstrong ; the best 
defences in this case, ought to be Taylor's evidence ; but 
McDowell did not put him into the box. Wliy not ? 

Again McDowell — this is admitted — arrested a man of 
the name of Weir on a charge of rape, and put down the 
case in the book as "drunk and disorderly," which led to 
Weir's discharge. The most natural way to allay the sus- 
picion to which this case gives rise ought to be to obtain 
Weir's evidence. Why was this not done ? 

Ex-detective Colgan swore that, about four years ago, he 
arrested two persons, at the ticket office of the Crystal Palace 
grounds, at the time of the Provincial Fair, in Toronto. He 



36 

canglit one of them with his hand in the pocket of Mr. 
Thomas Davis, and he found the papers on the person of the 
second. McDowell, in company with the late detective 
Arnold, went to him before he took the prisoners to the 
station, and asked them to try to get them off ; for which 
service, if he succeeded, the three were to get $100. " He 
" told me," Colgan's evidence runs, " he would speak to the 
** Police Magistrate, and as he did not know them, he (McDo- 
" well) would get them off". The case came before the Police 
" Magistrate and the prisoners were discharged." McDowell, 
on the same day, told Colgan that Arnold had mad6 it all 
right ; and it was arranged that the three should meet at 
McDowell's house that night. They met accordingly, had 
some oysters and something to drink, when McDowell took 
out $100 in Canada bills, and divided it into three shares, 
two of $30 each and one $40 ; keeping the largest himself, 
and Arnold taking one of the others ; as to the disposal of the 
third Colgan refused to speak, though he admits that it was 
offered to him. Colgan mentioned two other cases: but 
these may be omitted, as they have been in a great measure 
explained. An attempt not wholly unsuccessful was made to 
show that Colgan harbored spite against McDowell. But the 
attempt to attribute an improper bias to Colgan's evidence 
was not at all successful. Sergeant major Cummins swore 
that he had heard Colgan say he would rid the force of 
McDowell; that he would be on the watch for him. McGarry 
swore he had heard him say he would be revenged on 
McDowell, but he was to seek this revenge in a legitimate 
way, " if lie (McDowell) ever did any thing ^ while he was in 
" the force, he (Colgan) would let the Commisdoners know.^^ 
That is simply he would denounce instead of concealing any 
wrong act he might discover McDowell to be guilty of. And 
he intended, as Sergeant-major Cummins stated, to be on 
the look out for any improper act of which McDowell might 
be guilty. This he called by the name of revenge, but it 



I, 



1 



37 

certainly would not be unjust, though the motive of the act 
might be indefensible. Detective Mack swears that he had 
heard Colgon say that he never would be content till he had 
got McDowell out of the force, but he said nothing about 
the course he was going to pursue to attain that end. We 
have heard from the other witnesses that Colgan only in- 
tended to take advantage of any wrong of which McDowell 
might be guilty to enable him to get McDowell dismissed. 
Those who know him best would be incHned to estimate at 
very little value the evi-^ence of Mack, when his friend 
McDowell is concerned. Colgan's reputation is not the best, 
but we cannot admit that his evidence has been successfully 
impeached. 

His statement raises a very important question. How 
came Arnold and McDowell to know that the prisoners 
would give $100 to secure their release ? They were in the 
hands of Colgan, and could hardly have told them so then. 
Was therea prior agrement between them and these members 
of thee force that they should be allowed to " work" at the 
Exhibition on shares? This question cannot of course be 
answered, but it arises naturally from the circumstances 
sworn to. 

What are we to understand by that part of Colgan's 
evidence where he says McDowell told him that he would 
speak to the Police Magistrate, and procure the release of 
the prisoners— Stone and Burgess— who had picked Mr 
Davis' pocket, at the ticket office ? The deposition made' 
made by Colgan on that occasion, September 29, 1862, was 
just in, on the investigation into the charges against Mc 
Dowell ; and on reading it one is puzzeled to understand 
why the prisoners were released. Colgan swore : " I got 
' up close behind Burgess, when I noticed his feeling round 
" a gentleman, and soon a<ter I saw papers in his hand 

" which Iseizfid. ant\ fniinrl iliov woi-rt +1,^ ,^v^ x ^mi ' 

, ^.,^j ^y ^^^, ^^^ jjropci i/y ui xnomas 

"Davis of the city, who was there, and identified them as 



38 

" his property." In the face of this evidence, the prisoners 
was released. Yet it was very clear he had been seen 
* feeling about" Davis ; he was caught with some of Davis 
papers in his hand ; they were identfied on the spot ; and 
yet in the face of this evidence the prisioner was released. 
"What did McDowell say to the Police Magistrate, when 
he ypoke to him. And it had any effect on his decision ? — 
" Speaking of the Police Magistrate" — who does it mean. 

An attempt was made to impeach the character of Arm- 
strong; but it failed. It was alleged that he had once 
passed counterfeit money ; but Mr. Green on whom it was 
said to have been passed was brought forward and explained 
the matter. Another person asked Armstrong to change a 
$10 bill ; Armstrong took it for the purpose, but on finding 
he had not small change enough he handed it to Mr. Gieen, 
saying perhaps he could change it. The bill proved to be a 
bad one. This is all Armstrong had to do with it. Arm- 
strong put in a number of sworn certificates, mostly from 
prominent persons who knew him well and certify to his 
credibility and trustworthyness. Judge Douglass of the 
Supreme Court of Michigan ; Henry Morrow, who was six 
years judge of the Recorder's Court of Detroit; Mr. J. M. 
Howard, Senator of the LTnited States for Michigan ; Mr. 
Oliver M. Hydge, who was Mayor of Detroit in 1856 and 
1857; Mr. Whiting, CFnited States Inspector at Detroit; 
Cyrus Myles, Mayor of Port Huron ; Dr. Parker of the 
sama place ; Mr. Niles, late M. P. P. for Middlesex ; Mr. 
D. Macdonald, one of the Secretaries of the Mutual Agricul- 
tural Assurance Association of Canada ; and several others 
speak in the highest terms of Armstrong's reputation and 
his character for veracity. On the other side, three wit- 
nessee swore that Armstrong's reputation for veracity was 
bad ; and fourteen certificates were put in to the same 

rvTTOrtf nn v Moll AT»n f^'f^ tV\r\ C^.n-nnAn Tr\oiiynr\(>Ck A' r»or»fa 

^jj.Wf» oxi-i • Ji-rciixl, VixU vx ii.i.\, -—.'tilicivlcu ^ti -111 rtl il. vj Xx&v-xiVKj, 

went to Detroit to enquire into the characters of the wit- 



39 

nesses against Armstrong, and he found that their state- 
ments were not entitled to credit. It is well that the public 
should understand the reasons they have for hating the 
detective. One of them, Sicotte, was convicted of rape, 
and only avoided the States' prison by escaping before sen- 
tence was passed. Several others of them had been reported 
by Armstrong in 1856-7, as connected with an extensive 
gang of counterfeiters, at Detroit, over thirty of whom were 
sent to States' prison through Armstrong's exertions. Bill 
Champ, fire Marshall, Stephen H. Purdy, Police Justice, 
both of Detroit, were so reported; so was Duncan McKeilar, 
tavern keeper of Port Huron, and his house described as 
the rendezvous of thieves and counterfeiters. Ladrobt, De- 
puty Sheriff of Detroit, allowed one O'Mady, one of the 
counterfeiters, to escape from custody ; and Thomas Finn 
was convicted of the States prison offence of having assaulted 
Archibald Greer with a view of releasing a prisoner who 
was under arrest for a serious crime. Wm. P. Yerks an- 
other of the certifiers, was actively engaged in trying to get 
the counterfeiters free, though nothing criminal was brought 
home to hini. 

The decision of the Police Commissioners, Mr. Boomer 
and Mr. Medcalf, in the case of McDowell, frees him on 
one point, and leaves him to be proceeded against crimin- 
ally on the charge made by Colgan, that he took money 
from thieves to protect them and divided it with one or two 
other members of the force. It is in these words : " The 
charge against Sergeant-major McDowell, of complicity 
with Mm-phy, we do not consider sustained by the evidence. 
With respect to the charge made by the late Detective 
Colgan, the County Attornev will, we have no doubt, deal 
with that or any other cr" ninal charge made against Mc- 
Dowell during the investigation." 



i< 



CAPTAIN TOW" TAYLOR. 




i» 



CHAPTER III. 



" Captain Tom.'*— His History and Character.— Extensive Acquaintances among 
Thieves.—" Squaring" a Policeman — Operations in Canada.— Thieves' "work" 
—The Hamilton Headquarters .~A " Bobby's" " Piece." — How Pockets are 
Picked.— "Till-diving'* in a "Big Push.**— « Stalls."— A Novel Challenge 
and Contest — Taylor the Champion "Knuck." — How Provincial Exhibitions 
are " Worked."- A Neat Thing in Silk — " Cross-Coves" in Luck.— Taylor 
finally arrested. — His prewnt Abiding Place. 

In the foregoing narrative I have dealt only witli the 
operations of the gang therein shewn to have been combined 
together against the peace and welfare of society. I pur- 
pose now to give brief sketches of its personnel — to show 
the character of its principal members — so that, while the 
ingenuity with which crime is sometimes carried on may 
be exhibited, the lives of the criminals themselves, chequered 
as they are, but still affording much that is instructive, may 
be understood and appreciated. There is something in the 
study of the criminal character to attract the enquiring mind- 
It has its lights as well as its hideous shades, and though in 
the main selfish and brutal it is not without a tinge of sad- 
ness — reflections of former innocence are not forbidden to 
tho robber — that surrounds it with a melancholy interest. 
The halo of romance casts a kind of lustre even upon the 
villainous cut-throat of modern civilization, as it did upon the 
accomplished and murderous bandit of a remoter period. 

The leading spirit of the gang in Upper Canada was un- 
doubtedly " Tom " Taylor, although Parker for a time was 
looked upon as its iniquitous head. The latter, however, 
although his desperate escape at Hamilton showed him to 
be audacious and reckless to an extreme, lacks many qualifi- 
cations necessarv to constitute a chief amoner criminals, and 
these Taylor possesses in an eminent degree. He has great 



u 

physical powers-no mean attribute amongst this class-is 
ingenious and fertile in resources, and withal bears ap- 
parently such an open and honest mien that suspicion 
unaided would be loath to settle upon him as a dangerous 
c-iminal. This appearance of innocence is given by an ab- 
sence of the "flash" style which many of the "swell-mob" 
affect when in a prosperous condition, and by a wdl-studied 
and successful affectation of the airs and manners of a 
country "yokel." 

Taylor is an Irishman by birth ; and his proper name— 
which he has discarded for years-is, I believe, Pat Brennan 
He has given it to bo understood that he once served on 
board a man-of-war and was discharged at Halifax, but 
this is a fiction invented without purpose as far as can be 
discovered. The thieving propensity was developed in 
him at a very early age, and from childhood in fact he has 
lived in an atmosphere of crime and debauch. He has 
roamed over a large part of the continent, and has lived at 
various places in the United States and Canada for a dozen 
years past. He has honored Quebec, Montreal, Hamilton 
and Toronto with his presence, making occasional trips to 
the States to diversify his employment and give him a 
passing glimpse of life among the "fast" men and women 
of the chief cities of the republic. He is well acquainted 
with burglars, thieves and pickpockets throughout both 
countries, and is ever at home with all of them. 

Wherever he imagined he could succeed Taylor's first 
effort was to get as many policemen as possible ^' squared." 
This IS thieves' parlance and means in plain English bribed. 
Unfortunately lor the proper administration of justice Tay- 
lor's success in this line was considerable. He had a most 
msmuating way with a *' peeler," and often before the latter 
took time to reflect upon Ms conduct he found himself 
many dollars the richer from Taylor's generosity, and under 
- . _!ji wnivii. gave mm lull immunity, as far 

as that policeman was concerned, to practice his evil calling. 



46 

About four years ago a number of alarming robberies 
were comm ited in Montreal. Stores wore broken into and 
large quantities of valuable goods stolen. Taylor was one 
of the party that effected these crimes, and he reaped a 
profitable harvest from his operations. He was associated 
with several other hardened criminals, whose meeting-place 
was a saloon kept at that time by one Alexander Gallagher, 
who was as <* hard" as his customers, and has since found a 
proper resting-place in one of the State Prisons of the 
neighboring country. The offences of this gang were 
winked at by the Montreal detectives, who had been duly 
" squared" by Taylor's adroitness, receiving a good share of 
the plunder and taking it, of course, in cash, not in kind. 
Finally, Montreal got too hot to hold the gang, rotwithstand- 
ing their protecting friends in blue, and they were obliged 
to leave. 

Thieves often have "pals" or particular associates who 
aid them in their enterprises and divide the spoils. Three 
years ago Taylor had an Englishman as his "pal," a man 
known as " Cockney Bill," an accomplished *' cracksman" 
of the old London school, whicH turns out some of the most 
finished scoundrels in Christendom. " Cockney Bill" and 
Taylor " worked" together for a year in Toronto, Montreal 
and other cities, and their labors were not without success? 
for the proceeds of their robberies — heavily discounted as 
they were by the " fences," or receivers of stolen property 
— were sufficient to support them in idleness and debauch 
for over a year, when the " pals" separated. Thieves dignify 
their crime by the name of labor. "When they are contem- 
plating or carrying out a robbery of any kind they are 
amongst themselves politely said to be "working." 

After the Montreal robberies — in which Taylor now 
says three of the Toronto police whom, with one exception he 
will not name-=-Wcre impiicritcd vvith tiic thieves, his rea- 



46 

son for this reticence is that he may, when he gets out 
want his old chumi to work with Frofessionality— that is 
tlie word he uses again. Taylor went to Hamilton, wliere 
perhaps he had previously visited, and made it his principal 
headquarters. From this place he made incursions into the 
States and to other Canadian cities, but always returned to 
Hamilton as to his home, and spent there what he had 
dishonestly made elsewhere. It was in this way he formed 
acquaintances among the Hamilton police, a small and 
needy force, and was successful in "squaring" some of 
them, among the rest— as recent events have shown— the 
heads of the force, with "Johnny" Patterson, the Aldern.an 
who is now urgently " waiited"by the authorities. ' 

On one of these excursions Taylor got " nabbed" at 
Baltimore for picking a lady's pocket, but his happy faculty 
of making things pleasant with a policeman did not desert 
him. He slyly gave the officer his " piece"— that is a 
bribe— and the complacent " star" conveniently looked the 
other way while Taylor walked off and quickly left Baltimore 
behind him. This little bit of official venality was afterwards 
discovered in a manner WQrth relating. One of Taylor's 
friends had got into trouble at Baltimore and Taylor thought 
it his duty to aid him in getting out of it. Accordingly be 
wrote a letter to the imprisoned " bloke" in which he ad 
vised him that « tly-cop" so-and-so, naming the policeman 
in question, had been duly and properly " squared" and 
that « if you ' see' him you will not be cop't dead to rights'^ 
-the equivalent for which slang is, that ifthe prisoner gave 
the policeman money means would be devised for eettino. 
him out of limbo. This letter, on being sent to the prison ei^ 
was read by his jailors and transmitted to the Chief of Police 
of Baltimore, who took action against the purchased police- 
man and endeavoured through the Buffalo Dolice to procure 
Taylor to testify against the officer. ^Captain Tom 
however, kept quiet and took care to aav noMnir,^ f,,..i--' 
to prejudice the case of his friend in blue. 






4n 

Besides being an adept at house-breaking, Taylor is a very 
clever pickpocket, and it was this branch of his business that 
he chiefly carried on during his flying visits to the TJnited 
States. There was less risk about it, and it did not, like 
burglary, require much time to plan and effect. Picking 
a pocket or « till diving," as the thieves elegantly term it, 
is sometimes an easy and often a very neat and dexterous 
achievement. In a " big push," that is a great crowd, the 
operation is quite simple of accomplishment. The pressure 
of the crowd is favourable to the " cly faking" fraternity, 
who " graft in" in the coolest manner, while the innocent 
victims are deeply concerned about their corns and elbows. 
Most pick-pockets who attend these crowds — either at a 
meeting, a funeral, a procession, a wedding or a street fight 
— and who are known as " knucks," are accompanied by 
another called a "stall" and sometimes by a second «* gon- 
noff*" who acts as a receiver. It is the business of the 
" stall" to stand beside or in front of the intended victim, 
so as to form a cover for the pickpocket. The *• stall" 
will push against the person to be robbed, and at the 
critical moment so divert his attention that the thief 
behind can extract his ««skin" (purse,> or "thimble" 
(watch) without attracting attention. Amongst the 
devices of the " stall" is one often resorted to with success. 
The " flat" who is in a " push" may be 'cute enough to keep 
his hand over his pocket-book or watch, knowing thieves 'to 
be around, and it is an object with the " stall" to get him to 
remove his hand so that the pickpocket can perform his 
work, for which a moment generally suflSces. Other expe- 
dients failing, the " stall" gently tickles the ear of the victim 
with the point of his finger, a straw or a piece of paper. 
The "flat" takes his hand away from his pocket, slaps it 
upon his ear, which he forthwith energetically rubs, and in 
the meantime the thief, having the desired opportunity, re- 
lieves him of his valuables. To discover whether a person 
is worth the trouble of "going through" or robbing, the 



.onsiti.e arc the digits of tl.eso gentry tS^ Z^ ^'^f'o^ely 
Bi'o generally sulHcient to tell them wL H , "'^ '"''' 

Ho then makes a si™ to Z i ^ '""='''-'' conW"". 

i.>an inconcei:;:,;iC ^j; J°^^^^^^ -* 

it requires a little more attL«n„ , ^"y'"""' '"''«"'' 
inetaneethopockctof ho SmraS ""' "'"" '"' 

dive into than usual. i„ :T:::T"':::ftT 

ducod. This is a piece of wire bent fl.tnn„ """ /f ""ro- 
inserted into the poeket isTontlv Im,? ' T''''^'' ''<'■'''? 
l.ri.e hooked at the end of rJhXX.tffi ""'"'"' 
engage the '.flat" that he will no .• f' ' '° '"^ 
by which he is robbed. Th^'le oL '^nn'o^rC"" 

IlensUstandTa'aiCe^ffar " ll "^ ^""- 
the pnrso or watch so ZTif ''"""•>' ^"""'"^^ 

detected he has no hU on 1'* "'" ''^'"''' P'^^^P^oket i« 

very short confinemt^l he IrtTa*: 'r""t ^"'"- ^ 
So expert are these people TnlT """ then suffer, 
plunder that it is oflei'^pS from ^'7^ ^'"^ '""''^ 
skirts of a large crowd in „ ffwlIndsTf™ ."5 "" °"'- 
the "flat." At night and wlfl f "**'' *''''^" fr»™ 

dense, "knucks" S'n g' ^^e 1^"'. " J'"""''*'''^ 
abettor, so easily are pLIedtn 1 7 T "*" "'• «"'«•• 
the thi f feel oi hTsS 7 '""' '° '=°"^''«'>' ^oes 

among the deteeti: of e tf Z'llT'T '''''^''' 
line. He was on board a cro:ld 'sirortr " "f 
Kingston in 1863, where the ProvincTaT Exh r. '^ '" 
then being held. Othem of the same Mn ^^'"'""°" ^^«« 



4» 

do no "businoss" on the ])oat, ])ut as it neared Kingston an 
altercation sprang np amongst them as to which was the 
quickest and shai-pest " knnck" of the number. " The doc- 
tor'» said to Taylor that Billy Baker, who was on board, and 
who has the reputation of being the cleverest pickpocket in 
the United States, could " go through more men" in a given 
time than Taylor. The latter quietly rejoined that he 
thought otherwise, and Baker thereupon challenged Taylor 
to the novel trial of skill, the crowd on the steamer affording 
a fine field for their enlightened labors. The challenge was 
accepted, it being agreed that "skins" only should be 
counted, and that he who exhibited the greatest number of 
pocket-books when the boat landed should be entitled to the 
nefarious championship. So to " work" they went, " stalls" 
were dispensed with, the croivd being largely composed of 
" greeneys," and there was presently such a howling outcry 
on board the steamer, when the victims dicovered their loss, 
that the thieves split with laughter. The piteous cries of 
poor wights who had lost their little stores, so carefully 
husbanded for this pleasure jaunt, the indignant shouts of 
others who had lost watches as well as money, the mean- 
ings of women whose pockets and persons had been rified 
of purses and jewelry— all had no effect upon these 
wretches except to make tbem laugh the merrier as the 
rascally competition proceeded. Taylor and Baker 
elbowed their way through the crowded boat, looking as 
unsophisticated as any backwoodsman on board, and 
*^ worked" with marvellous ease and success. They con- 
tinued at it busily till the wharf was reached, when 
they quickly disappeared and made for the appointed 
rendezvous, where upon examination it {was found that 
Taylor had 44 pocket books, while Baker could produce 
only 42. " Captain Tom" was hailed as the " champion 
knuck"by all the enthusiastic "cross-coves" who were 
present. 



50 

The thieves were very active at this exhibition, and did 
a thriving business both in the town and at the fair grounds 
where the Provincial Penitentiary almost cast its shade over 
them. But it Had little terror for them. Like gamblers 
these rascals trust a great deal to luck, and they will rob 
and steal under circumstances that alone would make an 
honest man pale with fear. Even under the gallows pick- 
pockets are known to ply their calling. There was a fair 
division of labour between Taylor and the New Yorker, Billy 
Baker. The former took booths and other places at 
the fair and " went through" every man he came across 
who had a wallet in his pocket. Baker attended to the 
" go aways,"—the persons who left the city in the evening 
by rail or steamer, and who in the bustle and confusion of 
departure offered tempting opportunites to the expert 
"gun." "The doctor" performed the office of " stall" for 
eithor as occasion served. 

Before the « cross-coves" left Kingston they effected 
a neat little operation upon a silk draper by which they 
came into possesion of a considerable quantity of silk. The 
goods were quietly conveyed to Toronto and thence to 
Jeffrey's house in Hamilton by the "doctor," who, it may 
here be stated, has since gone to the States and got into 
some misunderstanding with the police. The latter took 
an unfair advantage of him and he finds himself now de- 
prived of his liberty, a great injustice in his estimation. 
Some short time after the silk was stored at Jeffrey's it was 
feared by the thieves that the Toronto police were going to 
search for it at the house, and one night after midnight it 
was removed to Dundas. It was subsequently taken to 
Buffalo and disposed of there to a receiver of the Jewish 
persuasion. A " cove" named John Berry was concerned in 
this robbery, and with Taylor stopped at the Montreal house 
in Toronto after it was accomplished. There Berry was 
arrested, but as there was no legal proof of his guilt he had to 



SI 

be di^chirged. He and Taylor then returned to Hamilton, 
where no doubt they had each their " whack out of the 
pile " and spent it gloriously. 

From this period Taylor resided in Hamilton till he was 
arrested through the instrumentality of Detective Arm- 
strong. He made occasional visits to Toronto and other 
places, wherever he could do a little business in his peculiar 
line, and continued this life of crime till his career was 
arrested by the shrewd enquiries of Armstrong. He is now 
safely confined within the stone walls of the Penitentiary 
at Kingston, and a greater scoundrel they do not enclose. 
He is a most daring and determined thief, and would stop at 
nothing to effect a bold stroke of robbery or to cover up all 
traces of his crime. Society is well purged of him, and if 
only for getting rid of him alone Armstrong is entitled to 
the thanks of the community. 

Taylor is now upwards of forty years of age. He has 
dark eyes and dark complexion, with a powerful thick set 
frame capable of much endurance. He has a very subdued 
appearance, but an experienced observer would discover 
in his furtive glances as he walked along, grounds for suspect- 
ing him to be something other than the honest man he as- 
sumes to be. 



i4)S 



I 



CHAPTER IV. 

of Mrs. Shaw.— A Visit to thn Sf^itM o«^ «.„ b 5 W"e.~Acquaintance 

Modest PropLl to a Chief% pfe^^^ Escape.-A 

^ohherje.JvaT^^r'B\^p^JJt -^'"^ '' ^«« received.-The Gates 

ParL-er alias Joe Briggs, a leading spirit of the gan'r iust 
broken up, is a brother-in-law of " Captain Tom's," having 
mamed his sister, who is as idroit at shoplifting as her 
husband is at picking a pocket. In personal appearance 
larker IS small and insignificant, but though he lacks 
strength he has plenty of spirit, and when driven into a 
tight corner would not hesitate at any desperate plan to get 
out 0. It. He has a dark, swarthy complexion, with a keen, 
piercing eye, whicii rolls uneasily when he suspects danger 
m the form of an honest policeman, to be lurking near. 

In 18C1 Parker arrived in Toronto from JSTew York 
armed with letters of introduction from the " head gonnoff'' 
of mw York city, a man who possesses great influence over 
the fraternity in all parts of the Northern States and Canada 
He was accompanied by his wife, and was welcomed by a 
Jew "fence" who at that time kept a jewelry store on Kin- 
btreet East, under cover of which he had many quie^t 
transactions in stolen goods of various kinds. Parker's first 
move in Toronto was to establish relations with one of the 
city detectives, who from the numerous "pieces" with which 
his palm had been tickled by the " coves" came justly to be 
regarded by them as a " square cop" who would not ''blow" 
upon them or otherwise do them harm, A satisfactory 
understanding arrived at between them, the nature oV 



r'J 



53 

which it is not necessary more minutely to detail, Parker 
lost no time in entering upon his peculiar business. He 
could afford, however, to " work" at his leisure, the detective 
being so thorouglily in the pay of the gentry that he was 
unable to make an arrest of any recognized member of the 
'' cly-faking" gang. It was only independent operators of 
no account that he could venture to interfere with, and 
this he had to do occasionally to keep up appearances. 

Picking pockeis being Parker' a forte rather than bur- 
glary, it was to this branch of the profession he turned his 
attention. He cngao:ed the services of a " Reformatory" 
boy who had been sent out of England with others as a use- 
ful and valuable class of emigrants, and the two commenced 
to "work" the trains corning into the city. Passengers by 
the Grand Trunk Railway from the East at night were the 
favorite game of tlio promising pair. The manner in which 
they pursued it is worth noticing. On the evening appoint- 
ed for a " haul" Parker would proceed to the Union Station 
a short time before the expected arrival of the train, and 
the boy at the same time would proceed to the Don 
Station, about a mile and a half to the east. When the 
train reached the latter point the boy would get on board 
and eagerly scan the passengers, " spotting" those who were 
likely to have the most money or valuables in their posses- 
sion. He was thus prepared without loss of time to point 
out the most profitable looking victims to Parker, when the 
train reached the Union Station, and that worthy was 
enabled at once to determine the matter by appropriating, 
the contents of the unsuspecting traveller's pockets. He 
would stand at the door of tlie car— one hand holding a 
handkerchief to his tace, the other plying nimbly in and 
out of the pockets of the persons who crowded out to. 
reach the platform. He has been known to operate in this 
manner while four policemen were in the vicinity looking' 
for the pickpocket whose doings had been reported to the 



54 

authorities. They failed to detect him, either through the 
treachery of the " square cop" or their own want of 
sagacity. On one occasion Parker, who then passed 
by the name of Briggs, was pointed out to his detective, 
Jerry Arnold by name, as likely to be the pickpocket. 
He scouted the idea, remarking— " It's impossible. I'm too 
well posted as to the look of thieves to mistake hi.m for 
one." ^ And thus Briggs plied his trade with impunity. 
Sometimes the "gquare-cop" would meet him after the work 
was done, and quietly say to him, " Come and see me." 
A mysterious passage from the " knuck" to the detective 
would quietly and quickly follow, and the latter would then 
walk away with the satisfied air of a man who had dis- 
charged a debt of hospitality. His satisfaction arose, 
however, from another feeling. '< Come and see me" is a 
phrase that does not mean, when addressed to thieves, a 
kindly invitation to a visit, but amounts to a plain in- 
timation that he who employs it wants a 
share of the proceeds of some robbery ho has 
seen effected, as the price of his silence. The 
words "come and see me, " accompanied with an out- 
stretched hand have, generally a magical effect on a thief. 
He at once draws forth the plunder and divides it, or in 
some other way satisfies the person who is so urgent in his 
demand to be seen. The phrase is much in vogue too 
amongst blacklegs,— the fellows who throw dice on a 
^*| sweat-board" at the fair or races, the thimble rigger, the 
Hhree card monte" man, et hoc genus omne. When a " green 
one" is to be taken in and done by means of a sweat-board, 
which is simply an excuse for robbery, he is usually seduced 
to his fate by the marvellous success of some knowing one w'^o 
is playing with desperate eagerness with the blackleg, and to 
whom he is apparently an entire stranger. This individual 
invariably wins, and he finally walks off with a lot of 
money. The countryman, seeing this " luck," is tempted 



66 

to try himself, and he invariable loses. It is impossible 
to win except when the blackleg pleases, and he pleases 
to allow it very seldom when a " greenhorn" is concerned. 
The first individual whose success was a bait for the unso- 
phisticated is known as a " capper." He belongs to the same 
fraternity as the blackleg, who meets him after the days' 
work is done and invites him to " come and see" him. The 
" capper" '* sees" him by returning a portion of the money 
he has won, retaining the balance as payment for his 
professional services. 

Briggs was obliged to abandon his operations upon the 
trains by the outcry that was at length created by them. 
They had been exceedingly profitable while they lasted, and 
he could afford to spend a period of elegant leisure. In the 
meantime his wife had not been idle. Several cases of shop- 
lifting occurred about that period in which she had a hand ; 
and if some merchants in Toronto missed goods in an un- 
accountable manner, they may safely set down the loss to her 
presence in the city. It was while carrying on this work 
that she became acquainted with Mrs. Shaw. Mrs. 
Briggs, as we have seen, is the woman referred to as 
Mrs. Wilson, whom Sergeant major McDowell, at the trial 
of Mrs. Shaw, w?is sanguine of securing, but of whom the 
public has heard nothing since. 

After spending a few weeks of dignified ease, Parker, ac- 
companied by his excellent and faithful spouse, went 'to 
the States, where he " worked" trains at one place and 
another with considerable success. This is described by 
thieves as a light and agreeable occupation, which often 
turns out remarkably profitable. How it can be carried 
on so extensively without conductors or other railway 
oflicials detecting it more frequently than they do is some- 
what of a mystery. 

In the followino- vear, 1862, Parker honored Toronto 
with another visit. He put up at a hotel on King Street, 



56 
and his wife actually stayed at the house of the detec,iv„ 
who had been ■' squared" a year before. The husbtd I 
once eommonced operations at the trains a^ain bT 

J;t;apfd\T„:re'i f ;Hs:rrs "r/ "'-• 

one's pocket at the station when Constab e McBtn tb' 
does special duty there, singled hi. out asfe^Im 
offender and made towards him to arrest him. PaXr 7 
^mng h.s object, took to flight, and running alt tie 
Esplanade turned up towards tlie Parliament T'f- 
where soldiers are now garrisoned On IcMnfT' 
grounds he darted into them, hotly pursued by tt L 
rnan Some soldiers seeing ,he ^.[30^, u^ ^tf tt 
8 and and McBrien tookhim into custody. Upon earchin 
him, however, nothing co,Ud be found He had TrI? 
away the stolen pocket-book, and there being no ovidn^e^: 
convict h mi he was liberated by the magistrate AfLr fh 1 
■ was more careful in his operations, andCeltt S 
have h,s w,fe waiting for him at the station w th a wS 
coat, which, after picking a pocket or twT ^ ,! 

exchange for his dark one "and tZs escape de^^t 

picKpocJiets, and while nearly half-a rln^nr, , t 
were on the alert to " nab" him. policemen 

It was towards the end of this vonr fi^nf m ot 
arrested on a charge of shopSir "^nd ^7;? 

trst;i;re!:nr ^-- --^-'-^ra: Shirs 

ofVs^Sn-USr^ar^^'^ ''' '--^^'- 

Having escaped the meshes of the law, Parker made « 

foray mto the States, halting at Buffalo to ascertain he 

chances of "working" there with success and p ofi In 

accordance with his practice his ti,.t object was t . ga b tl^ 

favor of some one connected with the police foi'c e, a d 



57 

summoniDg move thaa customary impudence he addressed 
himself at once to headquarters. Meeting the Chief of 
Police he modestly asked him if he would not be allowed 
to " work" in Buffalo on payment of a consideration. The 
wily officer seemed to favor the proposition, and enquired 
of the scamp what he would be prepared to pay for the pri- 
vilege. Parker, highly pleased at the turn the negociations 
were taking, said he was prepared to deal in the most 
liberal spirit, and for the pleasure of being winked at by so 
honest and worthy a gentlemen as the Chief, he would bo 
willing to " fork out" at the rate of $60 or $70 a week, 
taking his chances of doing a remunerative business while 
he remained in the city. If this would not satisfy the ex- 
pectations of the gentleman whose protection was asked, 
Parker said he would undertake to pay him tifny per cent. 
of the net profits of every operation, giving his word of 
honor as a gentleman that a fair division should be reo-u- 
larly made. The Chief, Mr. Darcey, whose object in 
listening to these overtures was to obtain information about 
others if he could, said the offer was a pretty fair one, and 
he would consider it. Parker was too shrewd, however to 
criminate any one in his conversations with the Chief, and 
failing to get anything out of him Darcey had him and his 
wife arrested and sent to the house of correction as vagrants. 
After serving a short time in this useful institution Parker, 
much chagrined at his humiliating failure in Biiffiilo, pro- 
ceeded to Cleveland, where he "worked" on the railway 
trains for some time, and picked up enough to maintain him 
and his virtuous spouse in a life of idleness. Driven out 
at length by the watchfulness of the police, he returned to 
Hamilton and renewed his acquaintance with Jeffrey 
and the other members of the band who gathered there. 
Besides engaging in the burglarious offences previously re- 
counted, he {attended concerts, theatres and other places 
where crowds congregate, and many a victim who at these 



¥ t 



58 

gatherings was surprised to find that he had lost a watch or 
other valuable, will now have a shrewd suspicion as to the 
manner m which he was despoiled. Parker also made it a 
pomt to be present at every volunteer review that took 
place throughout the country, and at these he and his asso- 
ciates often made ^Mieavy hauls." One was hold last 
summer at DrummondviUe, near the Falls of Niagara, at 
which the thieves did a large business, although there was 
a strong detective force upon the ground. 

The prevalent opinion that Parker is a bold and desperate 
villain, and that as such he was the leader par ex- 
cellenoe of the gano^, is founded upon the incidents of his 
escape from Karrnlton after the disclosures of detective 
Armstrong. This, however, was but a single act of desper- 
ation, to which he was driven when he found hinself in a 
tight place, and is not characteristic ot the man. The facts 
of :his escape are as follows :-A warrant having been issued 
for the search of Parker', house, after the robbery of Messrs. 
(^afccs & Co s storb, it wt s entrusted to Mr. Milne, one of 
the Sheriif's officer's of Hamilton, to execute. Milne tak- 
mg ^ posse of assistants went to Parker's house, on M^errick 
Street, about 6 o'clock on the morning of the 24th of Feb- 
ruary. It was arranged by Armstrong, who at that time 
was known only to a few to be a detective, and who was 
believed by the burglars to bo one of themselves, that the 
visit should be made at four o'clock when it was 
expected that nearly all the gang would be in the house 
dividing the spoils taken at Gates & Go's. For some 
reason, however, Milne was two hours late, and it is sup- 
posed that in tJie interval some of the parties left the house. 
At any rate when Milne arrived there only Parker his 
wife and the children, with Tom Taylor, were in the house. 
Milne having stationed his men around the building so 
as to prevent escape, demanded admittance. This 
bemg refused the officers went to work' to force the door, 



/"atch or 
8 to the 
ade it a 
lat took 
lis asso- 
3ld last 
?ara, at 
ere was 

Jsperate 
yar ex- 
i of his 
Jtective 
desper- 
If in a 
e facts 
L issued 
Messrs. 
one of 
le tak- 
Cerrick 
f Feb- 
t time 
10 was 
lat the 
t was 
house 
some 
s sup- 
house. 
3r, his 
house, 
ing so 
This 
door, 



59 

and while this was going on Parker called out that he 
would blow ont the brains of the iirst man who entered. 
Nothing daunted by this threat the constables forced the 
door, Parker then having locked himself into a room on the 
ground-floor in the back part of the house adjoining the 
passage, the door to which the constables were breaking in. 
Out of the window of this room Milne saw some one put his 
hand with a revolver and fire along the wall towards the 
door. Milne had provided himself with a revolver — indeed 
all the officers had armed themselves for the expedition — and 
drawing it he fired towards tbe window. The man in the 
room fired once more, from or through the window, and 
then boldly jumped through it into the yard, firing again 
as he reached the ground. He revealed himself to the 
officers as Parker, but giving them little time to gaze at 
him he made for a fence in the rear of the premises. In 
running to this several shots were exchanged between him 
and the officers, but none took effect, and Parker reached in 
safety a small gate in the fence, through or over which he 
went at abound, and springing lightly over a shed in the 
next premises made his escape through some livery stables, 
while the astonished officers were enquiring of each other 
whether any one was hurt. This was the last seen of Par- 
ker, who forthwith fled the city and is believed to be in one 
of the "Western States. Those who remained in the house 
were easily secured, namely, Tom Taylor and his sister, Mrs. 
Parker. An examination of the premises showed that in- 
genious preparations had been made for the concealment of 
stolen goods, of which a considerable quantity was discover- 
ed. There were about 250 pairs of gloves, besides pieces of 
cotton, flannel, silk and ribbons — the whole sufficient in 
quantity and value to start a good country store. The 
character of the inmates of the house was indicated by the 
discnvfirv of bnro-lars' tools. fiVfilpifon kftvs. fnses fnr blowing; 
open locks, dark lanterns and other articles of a like 
character. 



60 



CHAPTER V. 

'^''"heir'^'H;:;;^fWr'' '» 1»« •^T^JI^ ^^ Hamilton.-rnterior of a « gamblin. 

11 B career as a horse thief and counteZter L" jSny "^^^^^^ ^Z'J- 

1 wigging. '-Weeding out.»-Incendiari8m.-Futur8 dovolopmenta 

The noted individual, James Jeffrey, has been a resident of 
Hamilton for several years past. A roue and a gambler he 
was a fit subject of crime, and he did not long make Hamilton 
us home till he lent himself willingly to the schemes of those 
by whom he was surrounded. The keeper of a house of 
pubhc resort, it became the headquarters of the vile and 
the debased, and thither all who lived upon their wits and 
preyed upon others made their way as soon as they reached 
the city. Jeffrey received them with open arms, and 
haying the reputation of being a jolly " sport" was <' hail- 
fellow-well-met" with the whole of them. As well as bein<. 
the favorite home of the fast fraternity, Jeffrey occasionally 
lured the unwary to his domicile and getting them 
there did not scruple about " taking them in." The toils 
were cleverly set, and many a victim fell into them and 
afterwards rued it. 

After the anest of Jeffrey a visit was made to "his resi- 
dence by the Tolice Magistrate and several gentlemen 
interested in the robberies that have been committed, 
together with a sufficient number of constables to enforce 
respect for their orders. Descriptions of what was seen by 
these gentlemen have appeared in the public press, and to 



re cop,'* 



these I am mainly indebted for tlie particnlarB which follow* 
The residonco of Mr. Jeffrey ia situated on the north side 
of Market street, between McNab and Park streets, and is 
a frame building two stories in height. The first floor was 
consecrated to domestic uses and plainly furnished. The 
most noticeable feature, an observer remarks, was Mr. 
Jeffrey s penchant for bibles and other religious works, the 
collection embracing several elegant volumes. The second 
floor was devoted to other and less pious purposes, being no 
less than what is known as a " gambling hell" of the very 
worst character. The examination shewed the existence of 
ingenious appliances to enable the sharpers who frequented 
the house to swindle the victims whom they enticed to the 
house. In the garret over the room devoted to " the tiger' 
a system of wires was discovered, leading in various direc- 
tions, and places arranged where blacklegs could be concealed 
who, by means of small orifices in the ceiling could quickly 
and easily survey the cards held by the players below. 
The wires enabled them, by understood signals, to communi- 
cate to their brother blacklegs who were in the secret the 
cards held by their opponents, who could thus be fleeced of 
their money at the discretion of the sharpers, "^he signals 
were conveyed by movements of the paper on the walls of 
the ffamblinff-room and were made without noise and in 
such a manner as to attract only the attention of the party 
or parties who watched the particular spot on the wall^ 
The pattern of the paper had doubtless been caretully se- 
lected to favor the working of the villanous apparatus. 
The ceiling was papered the same as the walls, and the 
gmall holes through which the confederates of the gamblers 
watched the game were made in a figure of the pattern, 
where they would escape the closest scrutiny from those 
below. The apparatus was tested by the visitors and was 
found to work readily at the will of the operator. It had no 
doubt been frequently employed to despoil untortunate vie- 



time of money which perhaps was the savings of a life or 
purloined from some employer who little guessed the prac- 
tices of those whom he trusted. In the gambling-room was 
a variety of articles and singular contrivances used by gen* 
tlemen who pursue this vocation. There was a faro table — 
the veritable " tiger" in " bucking" which many a wight 
has smarted severely — with its green cover and cards pro- 
perly arranged for the betting man. There was the little 
ball and cups apparatus, a most efficient toy for cutting 
one's eye-teeth ; loaded dice and " advantage" boxes for 
shaking up the little jokers ; marked cards of many varieties 
to swindle the uninitiated who touched them, and some de- 
vices employed by enterprising gentlemen who indulge in 
the " confidence game" — such, for instance as a British six- 
pence which, by being relieved of a thin shell, could be 
converted into an American dime, and again reduced to a 
smaller piece by a similar process, much to the astonishment 
of the individual who, trusting to his optics, is induced to 
stake his money on the fact of the piece being a veritable 
" Yorker." In short, as a reporter humorously puts it, *• Mr. 
'* Jeffrey's cabinet included all the requisites for exhibiting 
" to unsophisticated humanity the entire elephant, from the 
*' tip of his attenuated proboscis to the final kink of his sym- 
•' metrical tail." A closet below contained boxes of carpenter 
and other tools, keys, burglars' tools, and " twigs," the use 
of which I will describe hereafter. A very fine vice was 
also fixed up, concerning which one of Jeffrey's children 
innocently remarked—*' Papa used it for filing keys with." 
Mr. Jeffrey's study revealed a large file of newspaper 
extracts, having reference to robberies, and circulars offer- 
ing rewards for the prepetrators of great robberies in the 
United States and Canada. This discovery was peculiarly 
significant. The private papers of the gentleman were quite 
extensive, showing that he had extensive ** business" con- 
nections- D.S was indeed the fact- as ws have seen. Mr. 



I 



' C3 

Jeffrey's lares and ponatea looked favorably upon art, of 
which ho seems to have been a votary, after a manner. 
His collection of pahitings and prints was largo if not very 
choice. The subjects were of that delicate character known 
as " sporting pictures," hardly adapted for a public arts 
exhibition. Ilis album of cartes de visile presented many 
a dubious phiz, the possessor ot which might bo capable of 
'* cracking a crib" or relieving one of a " dummy" or 
" thimble" in scientific style. To recount further the vir. 
tues of this excellent gentleman, it must be added that he 
was a true sport, and the kennels in his back yard were 
well stocked with a noble pack of rat and fighting dogs, 
including black and tan, and a pug bull of most un amiable 
mien. On the premises were large quantities of cigars, 
fragments of cloth, a lar^,e bundle of silk cravats, and a 
variety of articles not usually necessar}'- in the domestic 
economy of a well-regulated family. Mr. Jefi'rey kept a 
chronological record of the Jeffrey " dynasty" which was 
printed, framed and hung up in several rooms. The patri- 
arch of the house was James Jeffrey, born August 20, 1791. 
Then follows a list of six or eight names, bringing the record 
down to April 2, 1823, when the present James Jeffrey 
awoke to life and entered upon his career of usefulness. 
He ia now safely ensconced in the jail at Hamilton, and it 
is to be hoped will get his just deserts. He is of sanguine 
temperament, and exhibits a phrenological development not 
particularly adapted for a missionary or a professor of moral 

ethics. 

The interesting creature, Mary Edwards, is the unwedded 
partner of Jeffrey's joys and sorrows. She has linked her lot 
with his for sixteen years past, and is now perhaps thirty-five 
years of age. She retains some traces of former good looks, and 
displays a " style" that would bo appreciated by many of 
a peculiar class. It is said that Mary did not intend to re- 

iUUiXii, lUU^Ul Willi UOii.icV ti-lci-LX liiisa >jUi.ijLiij\,i , xjivj llivrXu^ l»-wij 



64 

by a long course of debauch, many of hm ™o„7 
and thereby made the fair Ma,^ rather Ll^^i f "i^ 
announced in a friendly way to 1 1^^^ t^ "1 ^^ 
quite made up her mind that she would lei a h!f 
than Jeffrey, and if she came across him ^f ,."■ °""" 
to him fast." Perhaps thllZl^l^T.7''^ 
since fallen may causeLr affection, S Z btfc )' .T 
old channel, for lovely woman alway chn" tolh t, ' 
man. The detective Armstrong on odp 1 • '*" 

approaches to Mies Mary which.'al lugh si:~dr'' 
It, were not unkindly received. He des Sd to h^ "" 
more intimately acquainted with Jeffrevtll- T" 
order to accomplish his object ^solf sou^J?""' ""'^ '" 
himself in her favor. Enterino. 11 ^ . ^ «g™'>8te 

his most engaging smiles. "Oh, first-ratr" J^ T 
with a smile and a lighttoss of the head i^nded to bf '""'^ 
chantmg, and the convei^ation dropped ^thlL . 
standing, that it would not be diriicuhat T^J "■" 

for both these hearts to beat as 1 ^ Itve maV '""'. 
Armstrong's was one of the most intereS^; Sdes ln\is 
career as a detective at Hamilton, and the Jv^!l. u 
was compelled by other eventa to' « sLw hifhand' hi; 

The individual who hf^ara ih^ r.^ n -^ 

Murphy is ^ « T i ? ^f "^^ /^® "^mo of Richard 

}/'' Z ''huliy butcher boy" who h.. 

resided m Toronto for many years ff? • . ^ 

thirty-fiye years of no-P ^.Ta-^ •' ^ '^ ""^^ ^^^^^ 
J' VL years ot age, 13 medium sized and Ji^htlv bniif 

and a man of considerable intelbVeuce H.l. r • .' 

modestinhis demeanor, but hasTr;^..^.!^^^^^^^^^ 



> 






> 



65 

should rather be said a sly— air about him that would cause 
to distrust in the mind of the close obserrer. He possesses 
a large share of the *' cunning of the serpent," and it 
enabled him to cover up his misdeeds so as to decieve 
nearly everybody who knew him, and it was not till the 
startling discoveries made by Armstrong were given to the 
public that many acquainted with Murphy knew his real 
character and that of the men with whom he darkly 
associated. 

Some fourteen years ago Murphy, then little more than a 
lad, left his father, who carried on business as a butcher in 
Toronto, and went to Rochester, in the state of New York, 
where he hired himself out as a " butcher boy." His habita 
at this time we* e quiet, and he gamed the good opinion of 
his employer, who considered him as rather a model youth. 
His stay in Rochester was not very long, foi seized with the 
desire to roam which possesses many boys of his age he 
pushed on to New York, where it is believed those seeds of 
vice and crime were sown which have since sprung up to 
such injurious growth within him. A butcher boy seems 
proverbially to be a precocious youth, thoroughly up in 
the slang of the day and quite independent of parental or 
any other control. New York butcher boys are the fore- 
most of their class, and little is known worth knowing in 
the way of wickedness that they are not acquainted with. 
Thrown amongst them Murphy was not long in acquiring 
their habits— their worst habits— and from this period his 
knowledge of thieves and the lowest stratum of society ihay 
be dated. After this experience in New York he removed 
to the west, and then he returned to Canada and worked 
with his father in the St. Lawrence Market, Toronto. 
Whether he had shaken off the evil effects of his New 
York life or not is not known, but if he had not he was 
shrewd enough to keep them well concealed under the 
guise of a quiet and unassuming exterior. He attended 

B 



^6 

church i-egularly, was a strict member of a tempei*fthce so* 
ciety, and by the practice or apparent practice of these 
virtues was recognized as a steady, industrious and promis- 
ing young man. As such he paid court to and married the 
daughter of a respectable family living in the west end of 
the city, and shortly afterwards was enabled to start in busi- 
ness for himself. He lived in an apparently respectable 
manner for some years, and his affairs prospered. During 
this period the house in which he carried on business was 
destroyed by fire, under circumstances which caused some 
suspicion, but Murphy's character was regarded as good and 
the suspicion finally dropped. After a time his wife was 
seized with illness and died, and before any great interval 
he married again, the second wife being now alive. 

Passing some portion of his life after the fire which 
destroyed his premises on Queen Street, we find him be- 
coming very intimate with Arnold the detective, which 
undor ordinary circumstances one would not regard as 
an indication of evil on his part. It must be remembered, 
however, that Arnold was a "square cop," or at any rate 
was believed by thieves to be such, and in this aspect the in- 
timacy of the two men is somewhat suggestive. It was at 
this time Murphy, who is passionately fond of money, first 
became a " fence" by buying small articles from thieves, with 
whom he came in contact in a very quiet and concealed 
manner. This business was profitable, and as his gains in- 
creased he gradually extended his operations, so that from 
a dealer in small articles he came to be an extensive pur- 
chaser of stolen goods. These he sold in various parts, and 
BO skillfully did he dispose of them that no suspicion of his 
operations was excited. 

About two years ago Murphy went to Chicago and en- ' 
gaged in the large killing-house at that time carried on by 
the United States Government. Whether he was driven 
there by fear of discovery in Toronto, or hy some desire to 



6Y 

return to the paths of honesty, is not clear; but whatever 
the motive, he did not find the work agreeable or very 
profitable, and he shortly abandoned it. He then went to 
BuflEalo and other cities in the States, but remaining long in 
none he returned at the end of six months to Toronto, 
where he obtained a stall in St. Lawrence Market and car- 
ried on business as butcher. From this time up to his 
arrest this was his ostensible employment, but the most 
profitable labor in which he was engaged was in putting 
thieves on the right track to make large "hauls" and then buy- 
ing the proceeds of their robberies at prices which afforded 
him a very liberal margin ot profit. He was too cunning to 
engage in robbery himself, but this was even the more 
iniquitous part ot encouraging and abetting it. His calling 
as a butcher afforr^ed an admirable cloak for the disposal of 
stolen goods all over the country. As a buyer of sheep and 
cattle he would leave town at any time without causing 
suspicion among those acquainted with him, and his excur- 
sions were frequent and sometimes protracted. As if 
pursued by fear, however, he usually so arranged his hours 
of departure and arrival that they fell either at night or early 
in the morning, when his movements would attract little 
observation and when darkness favored the unobserved 
handling of the luggage with which he was often burthened. 
In this manner, it is believed, he made away with large 
quantities of purloined goods, and he has frequently been 
seen travelling to or from the railway station at hours when 
it is difficult to conceive that lawful business would call him 

Murphy and Arnold were personally acquainted with 
most of the pick-pockets and burglars who at different times 
visited the city ; and in trips the former has made to New 
York since his apprenticeship there, he has had ample op- 
portunities of extending his knowledge amongst this class. 
These he availed himseil of, and whenever a "knack" or a 



68 



** crackBman" arrived in Toronto he was ready either to buy 
goods from him or in conjunction with Arnold levy contri- 
butions upon him as the price of their silence. " Come and 
"see me" was a phrase not foreign to their vocabulary, and 
up to the period of Arnold's death the partnership between 
them continued. It is strongly suspected that they shared in 
the proceeds of a forgery that was cleverly effected upon a 
butcher in the market, and in which one Burdett alias H. B. 
Arnold a person well known among the " cross-coves" in New 
York, figured in a rather prominent manner. Although 
the poHce were unable to fasten this offence upon any one 
whom they were able to proceed against in Canada, the 
private information I have received points distinctly to 
these parties as the offenders. 

Since his arrest Murphy has been very careful to deny 
any knowledge of the p-incipal members of the Hamilton 
gang, and he has had opportunities of making this statement 
under the sanctity of an oath. In one of his depositions he 
stated that he was never intimate with Parker and first be- 
came acquainted with him at the Police Court in Toronto, 
when that individual was charged with picking pockets at the 
railway station. I am possessed of other information which 
contradicts tliis statement and which in my opinion is far more 
trustworthy. By this information lam assured that before 
Parker was interfered with at all by the police of Toronto, 
Murphy was acquainted with him and knew tlie nature of 
his " work" in that city. He and Arnold held meetings 
vrith the pick-pocket, and were in the house where he 
stayed, discussing with him the safety or otherwise 0£ 
" working" the cars as they approached the city. It wag 
decided by them that Parker would be tolerably secure in 
this ** work," because Arnold would be at the station to 
divert suspicion from and protect him, and both of them en. 
joyed the spoils reaped on that occasion. T/iase are facta 



/! 



With regard to his acquaintance with Taylor, Murphy 
says he knew him only as a silk pedlar. The truth is, how- 
ever, that Taylor never peddled silk in his life except 
perhaps it was some he had stolen, and that Murphy wm 
intimately acquainted with him and knew exactly what his 
character was. Such close intimacy was there between them 
indeed that Murphy occasionally "stalled" while " Captain 
"Tom" picked pockets. They frequently consulted together 
in a certain house in Toronto as to the best plan for 
carrying on the war against honesty and society. 

The same may be said with regard to the relation between 
Murphy and Jeffrey — they were as " thick as thieves," 
Mary Edwards to the contrary notwithstanding. Murphy 
was a frequent visitor to Jeffrey's house in Hamilton, and 
Jeffrey occasionally visited Murphy in Toronto. 

To believe the statements of Murphy which he has had 
an opportunity of making, one would look upon him 
as the innocent victim of the rascality of others, butaccording 
to Armstrong's evidence he is equally as bad as the worst ot 
thorn. *It is true that he had not the courage himself to rob, 
80 far as I have been able to ascertain, but he aided those 
who did to prepare and carry oat their plans, and after- 
wards to dispose of the proceeds of their crimes. In this 
nefarious work he appears to have been prompted solely by 
the love of gain. He was not a gambler or a spendthrift, 
nor did he as a general thing frequent places where young 
men often waste their means, but dishonest courses resorted 
to by him in order to satisfy his avarice. He masked skill- 
fully as long as lie could, and when detection came he rea- 
lized fully the effects of wh<it he had done. The old adag^ 
says, "long runs the fox, but he's caught at last," and 
Murphy now occupies the position of the most unfortunate 
Reynard whose brush ever adorned a victorious huntsmMi. 
Armstrong may plume himself upon having brought an 
accomplished scainp to merited grief. 



70 



I 



I \ 



Kevins Jones is ono of those men who become thieves 
and receivers of stolen goods vithout the poor plea of pover- 
ty to urge in their behalf. He is a Canadian by birth, and 
first saw the light some where in central Canada. He was 
connected with the notorious *' Markham Gang" of horse 
thieves ; but there was not evidence against him sufficiently 
strong to convict him. This gang comprised among its 
members many who, like Jones, ought to have been re- 
spectable farmers, old and young, of ample means. When 
this gang had been blown upon, Jones appears to have 
resolved to ex})eriment upon the proverb which asserts 
honesty to be the best policy. He gave it a pretty good trial, 
but in the end he showed that he had no faith in the pro- 
verb. It was about the year 184:8, when he went to live 
in Esquesing, where he hay since continued to remain, 
though at one time — ^ten or eleven years ago — he had a 
branch of his business — chair and bedstead manufactory 
—established at Eockey Saugeen, in the county of Grey. 
There was a time when, at the Esquesing head quarters, 
he employed some thirty men in honest industry. To his 
business ho added the manufacture of fanning mills. These 
he used to take to sell through the country, a great ^dis- 
tance, but after a while he began to be suspected of a return 
to his evil practices, in a new form. The popular notion 
was that his travelling wagon had a double box, in the 
secret half of which there was always a ready supply of false 
coin, and it was noticed that after one of his pilgrimages 
through the country, there would be a plentiful crop ot bad 
dollars. And the old habit of horse stealing seems in time 
to have come back to him with irresistible force. Five or 
six years ago, there were eleven indictments against him 
for this offence. An accompliro named Chisholm turned 
Queen's evidence ; but in the absence of corroborative 
testimony the jury could never agree in believing him ; a d 
as Chisholm was the main reliance of the pro'secution in 



all 



n 

cases, Jones was not proceeded against on the other indict- 
ments. It is needlef fl to say that Jones has been under a cloud 
eversince. His horse thieving operations are supposed to have 
been carried oniu connection with one Betiiwick, a whole- 
sale dealer in that line, from the State of Ohio. Bethwick 
goes through Canada and organizes a number of thefts of 
horses, which his allies put into practice, about the same 
night, in several different counties. A simultaneous dis- 
appearance of horses in several different parts of Canada 
announces the result of Bethwick's operations. The avowed 
business of Jones for some years past has been that of a 
farmer and owner of a saw mill. 

Jones has long had connections of the worst stamp. A 
few years ago, a hrother-in-law of his named Rainhart went 
into the house of an old man named Barnes, generally 
known from his military connection as Major Barnes, in the 
township of E^quesing, pointed a pistol to his head, and 
under the threat of immediate death made him deliver over 
his valuables. For this crime he was arrested and lodged in 
jail at Milton : there Hainhart was frequently visited by 
Mi*s. Jones,. who went as she gave it out, to pray with him 
This female prison missionary took the seemingly repentant 
robber a large cake one day ; and soon after, he broke jail 
and escaped. Ti.e implements by which he cut his way. 
out of prison had been conveyed to him by his pious 
mother-in-law in the big cike. Mc Dougall, as we 
have heard — who was afterwards hanged by a vigilance 
committee — in Tennesse — was present and assisted at this 
robbery ; but he escaped without beiniij arrested. The fact 
establishes Jones connection with an extensive gang of the 
worst class of thieves and counterfeiters 

The flight ot ex- Alderman " Johnny" Patterson may be 
taken as a practical confession of the truth of the charge that 
he was in league with the band. The career of this man 
points a moral which ought to be held up to every young 



72 

man who exhibits the shghtest departure from the paths of 
honor and honesty. The only son of a father who died 
wealthy he became the possessor of ample means, to which 
a large addition would be made upon the death of his 
mother. Although his associates were not of the most un- 
questionable character, he still had qualities which, together 
With his money, served to create a favorable opinion in the 
minds of the community amid which he resided. This 
ieelmg was the means of giving him an honorable position 
m the admmistration of the affairs of the city, and had he 
been governed by the dictates of honor he might have 
gamed higher distinctions at the hands of his feUow-towns- 
men. But a disposition naturally evil caused him to consort 
with thieves, blacklegs and pimps-the lowest creatures in 
thescaleof humanity-and these associations finally brought 
upon him ruin and disgrace, as they ever will upon whoever 
forms them. When Armstrong commenced his investi- 
gations Patterson occupied a position of pubHc confidence 
and was looked upon as one who, although a " little wild" 
was yet an estimable fellow in some respects: before thev 
were closed, he was a fugitive from justice, skulking in a 
toreign land from the punishment of offences committed in 
luB own. Patterson's object in consorting with disreputable 
characters-apart from the desire for popularity which en- 
grosses many office-holders and makes aldermen as a general 
thing "hail-fellow" with every blackguard w^ ^ has any in- 
fluence over a vote-was apparently to make money, for al- 
though hepossessed what many would regard as an abundance 
was penurious and constantly thirsted for more. This de- 
^e became so imcontrollable at last that, when honest means 
tailed, he did not hesitate to adopt dishonest ones. His 
companionship with men who spend their criminal earnings 
m idle debauch did not make him Hberal in his outlay, but 
on the contrary he appeared to grow meaner in money mat- 
tew as his ability to spend increased. The i 






loia 



f 



\ 



78 

at Hamilton before the court of investigation, that when at 
the Kingston Provincial Exhibition in 1863, Patterson and 
others being the guests of the city, they drove to the Peni- 
tentiary in a cab. After returning Patterson collected a 
few shillings from each of the party, representing that the 
cabman had compelled him to pay the fare of the party. It was 
afterwards discovered that the cabman had been engaged and 
paid by the city authorities of Kingston. This swindling 
transaction was certified to by the oath of one of the victims. 
Patterson is now domiciled at the International Hotel, 
Niagara Falls, from whence he gazes longingly across the 
great cataract at the land from which he fled in disgrace. 

A detective named Jerry Arnold has been referred to as 
having been bought by this gang of thieves and incendiaries. 
This fact, about which there can hardly be a reasonable 
doubt, has been elicited in the course of the investigations 
that have lately taken place, although until now it has not 
been publicly stated. Before enteriag the Toronto police 
Arnold was employed as constable at Bowman ville, in 
Upper Canada, having originally come to Canada from 
London, England. He was thoroughly conversant with the 
slang of thieves, and could carry on a conversation with 
them scarcely a word of which would be understood by any 
uninitiated member. He was, from the nature of his posi- 
tion as a detective, thrown a good deal into their company, 
but instead of resisting their advances as one who honestly 
wanted to discharge his duty would have done, he gradually 
allowed himself to be carried away by the temptations they 
held out to him. He "first endured, then pitied, then em- 
braced" the rascals whom he was set to watch, and thus 
became their most pliant and serviceable tool. For the6o 
services he received considerable sums of money, nearly 
every thief who " worked" in Toronto paying him tribute 
in some shape. He was not careful of the means thus 



74 



that when he died lie was in poor, almost destitute, circum- 
stance. Hb was a strong, able-bodied and active man, and 
with his intelligence, if he had been honest, he would have 
made a most efficient officer. As it was, ho was held in 
high repute by the thieves, w'.. ■ ^uu.l opinion no faithful 
policeman would care to possecs. 

Mention has been made of one H. 13. Arnold aUaa 
Burdett, of New York. There is a reason to believe that 
he was identified with the criminal gang whoso operations 
have been described. He visited CanaUa some few years 
ago, and was in Toronto when a heavy robbery was commit- 
ted in Yorkville, a suberb of that city. In this affair Arnold 
is believed to have been concerned. Ilewas also implicated 
in the forgery already spoken of, and left the city to avoid 
arrest. Ho was accompanied by a man named Clifford, who 
like Arnold is well known in New York. The Catter, as 
has been stated is an influential member of the confraternity 
of thieves and receivers, and is regarded by them as in some 
sort their head. He assists them when in difficulty, pro- 
cures counsel for them and witnesses to swear to' any thing 
that may be desired, and in retarn reaps large profits from 
their criminal enterprises. Letters have been discovered 
which show that this man has extensive connections in 
Canada, being in fact the agent through whom stolen goods 
are frequently disposed of, and from whom occasionally aid 
is obtained to carry ont speoial undertakings, such as bur- 
glaries, counterfeiting and acts of incendiarism. One letter 
has been discovered to Arnold, written by a policeman 
in Canada, who said that he had advanced money to a 
"knuck" wlio had fallen into difficulty, and he desired 
Arnold, as chief of the gang with which this " knuck" was 
connected to return it to him. The reply shows that double 
the amount claimed was sent to the policeman — the extra 
sum being no doubt, a reward for his timely services to a 
3ko"in distress. 



(( 



/ 



I 



75 

In all the border cities thieves are actively aided by per- 
sons whom I have called " fences," and who are known to 
the fraternity by that name. Some of them occupy good 
positions in society, and are little suspected by the honest 
people amongst whom they associate. The names of many 
might be g ven, but justice demands silence until such time 
as irrefragable evidence of their guilt can bo obtained. 
Several, alarmed by the developments at Toronto and Ham- 
ilton, have taken flight from those cities, but will probably 
return when they consider the storm has blown over. 

The term " tw p;" has been used in this narrative as some- 
thing requiring further explanation. A " twig" is a small 
piece of whalebone which often serves burglars a very use- 
ful pnrpjse. After they have reconnoitred a store, bank or 
other place which they contemplate robbing, they insert 
the " twig," the ends bent together, between the door and 
door-post just alter it has been closed for the day and when 
everybody has left it. When the burglars return at mid- 
night to break in they can readly ascertain whether any one 
connected with the place has entered or not during the in- 
terval. If the door had been opened tl>o '^twig" would of 
course, have flown out, warning them to take greater pre- 
caution in their manner of entering the building. The 
" twig" being in its place would show that c verything in the 
place remained as it was after the inspection of it by those 
who " spot" for the thieves. 

"Weeding on ," another phrase that has been referred to, 
means the powers by which burglars gradually reduce a 
stock of goods without the owner's attention being partic- 
ularly called to his loss. Some burglars are very expert in 
selecting valuable goods from a stock in such a manner as 
not to disarrange other goods or give any indication of the 
presence of thieves. Stores can thus be repeatedly visited 
and robbed of their contents, whi''^ the unfortunate pro- 
prietor IS pUxsiing uIS uralUs tO ECCOU 









7« 

between his receipts and the value of the ^oodt he seemi to 
liuvo disposed of. The cafie has been mentioned of a mer- 
chant in Hamilton whose store was gradually " weeded 
out" till he had to avail himself of the bankruptcy act. He 
knew there had been dishonest somewhere, but he had no 
idea that it was burglars who had contributed to his ruin. 

It was one of the practices of the gang to bum down 
buildings to avoid detection ; and it is believed that 
London, Canada West, has suffered peculiarly in this way. 
" A few months ago," says a local paper, the ^ree Press, 
*' London was known as the city of fires. A London mer- 
** chant would be asked, when from home, with a certainty 
"that was annoying, 'have you had any more fires 
"lately?' and a sharp glance of the eye, if not a knowing 
" wink' would convey what was passing in the enquirer's 
^ mind. In some cases, Montreal houses declined to do 
" business, so strong had the impression become against the 
" city. Insurance offices were anxious to withdraw their 
" operations to more promising fields, and a perceptible cloud 
** of disgrace hung around." "When the stores of Buckley, 
Manning and Beaty were burned, inquests were held, and 
dark suspicions were muttered. It is now known that this 
fire was the work of the gang of burglars and incendiaries. 
Armstrong had learned that a fire was to takj place in Lon- 
don that night, and he telegraphed, by way of warning, to 
the manager of one of the principal insurance companies 
there ; but the agent to whom the despatch was sent was 
out of town, going eastward to Toronto, and he did 
not get it in time to set the necessary watch. But 
for this clue being obtained it is all but certain that 
innocent persons would have continued to suffer from un- 
just suspicions. But Armstrong's telegram put suspicion 
on another track. " If one fire in London has been planned 
" and executed by this infamous gang," says the local paper 
above quoted " who shall say how many of l^m were not 



I 



77 

" due to the same cause ? The fire at the crystal block, burn 
" ing it all down and adjacent buildingB ; the fire at Meiers, 
" M'DonoughA Rents, spreading to the premises beyond; the 
" fire comencing at Buckley's : may not all these bo trace- 
" able to the operations of the same gang, whose ramifications 
" extend over the Provinces and the States who are a sworn 
" brotherhood of devils protected by passwords, known to 
" each other by signs, and have accomplices in every grade 
" of society, in every place of any note, and find harbourers 
" of their persons and of the products of their plunder even 
" among the apparently unsophibticated tillers of the soil ?" 
There are future developments to be made in this mystery 
of crime, even more startling than any that have yet been 
made ; when, it is safe to predict, men who now or recently 
occupied official positions, and of whose guilt the public is 
still in doubt, will be found to have committed crimes for 
which the law provides no milder punishment than that of 
confinement in the penitentiary. The great international 
confederation of thieves, burglars and incendiaries has been 
broken in upon, but it is doubtful whether a tythe of its 
crimes have yet been dragged to light.