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"The mental characteristics of Allan Pinkerton were 
judgment as to facts, knowledge of men, the ability to 
concentrate his faculties on one subject, and the persist- 
ent power of will. A mysterious problem of crime, 
against which his life was devoted, presented to his 
thought, was solved almost in an instant, and seemingly 
by his intuitions. With half-closed eyes he saw the scene 
in which the wrong was done, read every movement of 
the criminals, and reached invariably the correct conclu- 
sion as to their conduct and guilt." 

A new uniform edition, cloth bound, Illustrated. 
Price per vol. $1.00. 

G.W. Dillingham Co., Publishers 









G. W, Dillingham Co.* Publishers. 




































T N mesc^nnng this volume to the public, 1 have btU 

<w -vords of preface to offer. 

Those sketches pertaining to my own caree as a de- 
tective have been taken at random from the thousands 
of incidents which have occurred during my detective 
experience, and are simply a sample of the numberles; 
circumstances daily occurring, that, like swift shuttles, 
have woven back and forth, over and under, through anc 
through, my large business the golden threads of humor 
and the sable threads of pathos and sorrow. 

Of the criminal reminiscences gathered together, 1 
claim no particular merit of originality for, 01 of them. 
They are merely memories of the past, in a criminal 
sense of occurrences ripe with thrilling interest in their 
time, and still full of fascination and attractiveness , and 
of men, brilliant*, talented men, who have lived their 
unworthy lives of magnificent crime, occupying great 
stations and high eminences, as these are measured, 

vlii PREFACE. 

among the strange and mysterious class to v'iDni we give 
the generic term of criminals. 

In my estimation, although my thousands of readers 
may differ with me, all these interesting sketches and 
reminiscences speak their own lesson of caution and 
warning ; and, doing so, have their honest place in the 
world by the side of all those aids lending to make bettei 
men and women of us all. 





ON the romantic Fox River called the Pish-ta-ka 
in the original Potawatamie language and about 
thirty-eight miles northwest of the city of Chicago, is 
located the beautiful village of Dundee. It ha* probably 
at this writing a population of three thousand inhabitants, 
and is one of the brightest and most prosperous towns of 

The town was originally settled by a few sturdy people, 
the hardy Scotch, as its name would indicate, as also thai 
of the splendid little city of Elgin, but five miles distant 
and who occupied to some extent the outlying farms ; so 
that the place and community, while never accomplishing 
anything remarkable in a business way, has had a steady, 
quiet growth, has lived its ute uninterruptedly and peace- 
fully, and possesses the pleasantest evidences of steady 

prosperity and constant, quiet happiness, 


If this would be easily observed by the visitor, its beau- 
tiful location would attract still greater attention. 

Before you, looking up-stream, you would see at you* 
feet the rapid river which has juft W| ed the great dam 
from which the mills and manufactories are fed, and, above 
this, stretching and winding away into the distance like a 
ribbon of burnished silver, it would still be seen, gliding 
along peacefully with a fair, smooth bosom, wimpling 
fretfully over stony shallows, or playing at hide-and-seek 
among the verdure-covered islands, until the last thread- 
like trail of it is lost in the gorges beyond. To the right, 
just beyond the little basin which holds its part of the vil- 
lage, rise huge hills from which here and there issue forth 
beautiful springs, while now and then a fine roadway, 
hewn out between, leads to the Indian Mounds and the 
splendid farms beyond. To the left, over the opposite 
portion of the village, the eye ranges over a succession 
of elevations dotted with handsome residences and em- 
bowered b> gardens, with the hills and the uplands 
beyond, as well as the highway, or "river road," thread- 
ing along in and out of sight among the tree-covered 
bluffs ; while, facing about, you will see the liver moving 
| eacefully along, until lost in the valleys and their forests 

The town rests there on the banks of this beautiful 
stream, and between the guardian hills upon either side, 
like twin nests where there is always song and gladness. 

In the time of which I write, however, all this was 
different ; that is, the town was different. The river ra 


down iik; a silvery ribbon from among the islands just 
the same ; the splendid hills were all there crowned with 
fine forests as they are now ; but the town itself did not 
contain probably over three hundred inhabitants all told, 
the business portion only consisting of a few country 
stores, a post office, a blacksmith-shop or two, a mill, and 
two small taverns able to accommodate a few travelers 
at a time, but chiefly depending for their support upon 
the custom of the farmers who straggled into the village 
on rainy days, " election time," or any other of the hun- 
dred ard one occasions which mark out events in the 
lives of back-country people. 

There was then one rough bridge across the river, 
built of oaken beams and rude planks in a cheap, com- 
mon fashion ; and at either end of this were clustered, 
each side of the street, all the stores and shops of the 
place, save one. 

That shop was my own ; for there I both lived and 
labored, the " Only and Original Cooper of Dundee." 

This shop was the farthest of any from the business 
center of the village, and stood just back of, and facing, 
the main highway upon the crest of a fine hill, about 
three hundred yards distant from the bridge. It was my 
home and my shop. 

I had straggled out here a few years before, and by in- 
dustry and saving had gradually worked into a comforta- 
ble business at my cooper's trade, and now employed 
eight men. I felt proud of my success because I owed 
no man, had a cheery little home, and, for the early days 


when it was pretty hard to get a'ong at all, I was making 
a comfortable living. 

My cooper-shop and house were one building a /ong, 
one-story frame building with a pleasant garden about, 
some fine old trees near, and always stacks of staves arj 
hoop-poles quite handy. At one end we lived, in a fru- 
gal, but always cheery way, and at the other was the 
shop, where, as nearly all my hands were German, cnul 
be heard the livelong day the whistled waltz, or the 
lightly-sung ballad, now in solo, now in chorus, but al- 
ways in true time with the hammering of the adz and the 
echoing thuds of the " driver " upon the hoops as they 
were driven to their places. 

This was my quiet, but altogether happy, mode of life 
in the beautiful village of Dundee, in the summer of 
1847, at which time my story really begins ; but, to give 
the reader a better understanding of it, I will have tc 
further explain the existing condition of things at that 

There was but little money in the West, which was then 
sparsely settled. There being really no markets, and the 
communication with eastern cities very limited, the pro- 
ducer could get but little for his crops or wares. I have 
known farmers in these times " hauling," as it was called, 
wheat into Chicago for a distance of nearly one hundred 
miles, from two to five streams having to be forded, and 
the wheat having to be carried across, every bag of it ; 
upon the farmer's back, and he not then able to get but 
three shillings per bushel for his grain, being compelled 


to take half payment for it in " truck," as store goods 
were then called. 

There was plenty of dickering, but no money Neces- 
sity compelled an interchange of products. My barrel* 
would be sold to the farmers or merchants for produce, 
and this I would be compelled to send in to Chicago, to 
h, turn secure as best I could a few dollars perhaps, and 
anything and everything I could use, or again trade away. 

Not only did this great drawback on business exist, but 
what money we had was of a very inferior character. If 
one sold a load of produce and was fortunate enough to 
secuce the entire pay for it in money, before he got home 
the bank might have failed and the paper he held have 
become utterly worthless. All of these things in time 
brought about a most imperative need for good money 
and plenty of it, which had been met some years before 
where my story begins, by several capitalists of Aberdeen, 
Scotland, placing in the hands of George Smith, Esq., also 
an Aberdonian, sufficient funds to found a bank in the 
Great West. 

Milwaukee, then a city of equal importance with 
Chicago, was chosen as the point, and the Wisconsin 
Legislature, in 1839, granted a charter to the institution, 
which was known as The Wisconsin Marine and Fire In- 
surance Company, which, in its charter, also secured 
banking privileges. 

But a few years had elapsed before the bills of this in 
etitution gained a very wide circulation throughout the 
Northwest. Branch agencies were established at Chicago 


and various points in the West, as also an agency for the 
redemption of the bills at Buffalo ; and at the time of 
which I write, Chicago, having taken lapid strides to the 
front, had in reality become the central office, although 
the Wisconsin organization and ivlilwaukee headquarter 
were still retained. 

Many reasons obtained to cause these bills which 
were of the denominations of one, two, three, five, and 
ten to be eagerly sought for. The company were known 
to have large and always available capital at command ; 
its bills were always redeemable in specie ; and with the 
personal character of George Smith, who stood at the 
head of the concern, there was created an almost un- 
equaied public confidence in it and its management. In 
fact, the bills soon became known far and wide as " George 
Smith's money," and " as good as the wheat," the farmers 
would say. 

Smith himself was a Scotchman of very decided and 
even erratic character; and the old settlers of Chicago 
and the West have many an interesting incident to relate 
of his financial career. One, serving for many, to give 
an idea of the peculiarities of the man, and showing how 
he gained a gieat reputation in those times and that sec- 
tion, is as follows : 

The almost immediate popularity of " George Smith's 
money " caused considerable envious feeling ; and the offi- 
cers of several other western banking institutions soughl 
as far as possible by various means to prevent the e& 
qroachnient upon their business. 


At one time a small bank near the central part of 
Illinois, in order to assist in the depreciation of this \ ar 
ticular money, began the policy of refusing to receive the 
Wisconsin Marine and Fire Insurance Company's bills ai 
par, which for a time caused in certain sections considei 
able uneasiness among the holders of those bills. 

The quiet Scotchman in Chicago said never a word to 
this for some time, but at once began gathering together 
every bill of this bank he could secure. This was con- 
tinued for several weeks, when he suddenly set out alone 
and unattended for Central Illinois, being roughly dressed 
and very unpretentious in appearance. 

Reaching the place and staggering into the bank, he 
awkwardly presented one hundred dollars in the Fire and 
Marine bills, requesting exchange on Buffalo for a like 

The cashier eyed him a moment and then remarked 
sneeringly : 

"We don't take that stuff at par." 

" Ah ! ye dinna tak it, then ? " 

" No," replied the cashier ; " ' George Smith's money ' 
is depreciating rapidly." 

"Then it's gaun down fast, is it?" responded Smith, 

4k Oh, yes 3 won't be worth fifty cents on a dollar in six 
months ! " 

"It'll be worth nae mair than fifty cents ? An' may 
yours "be worth a huner' cents on a dollar, not? " 

*' Certainly, sir, always. If you should happen to have 


ten thousand dollars' worth about you at the presen*. time/ 
replied the cashier, as he gave the stranger another supei 
cilious look, " you could get the gold for it in less thar 
ton seconds." 

" Then," said the travel-stained banker, with a verj 
ugly look in his face, as he crashed down a great package 
upon the counter containing twenty-five thousand dollars 
in the bills of the opposition bank, " Mister George 
Smith presents his Dest respects tae ye, and would be 
obleeged tae ye if ye wad gie him the specie for this ! " 

This shrewd stroke of business policy had its legitimate 
effect. The bank in question could not instantly redeem 
so large a sum, and opposition of an unfair character in 
that and other directions, through the notoriety given this 
practical humiliation, was effectually ended. 

In countless other ways this early Western financial 
established credit and compelled respect, until, as I 
have said, " George Smith's money" was as good as the 
gold throughout the entire western country, and this fact, 
in time, caused it to be taken in hand by eastern counter- 

This brings me again to the main part of my story. 

Just afternoon of a hot July day in the year mentioned, 
a gentleman named H. E. Hunt, then keeping a small 
general store in, and now a wealthy merchant at Dundee,, 
sent word to my shop that he wished to see me imme- 
diately at his place. 

I was busy at my work, bareheaded, barefooted, and 
having no other clothing on my body than a pair of blu 


denim overalls and a coarse hickory shirt, my then almost 
invariable costume ; but I started down the street at 
once, and had hardly reached Hunt's store before the 
proprietor and myself were joined by a Mr. I. C. Bos- 
worth, then another storekeeper of the village and now a 
retired capitalist of Elgin, Illinois, the place previously 
referred to. 

" Come in here, Allan," said Mr. Hunt in a rather 
mysterious manner, leading the way to the rear of the 
store, while Bosworth and myself followed; "we want 
you to do a little job in the detective line." 

" Detective line ! " I replied, laughing ; " why, my line 
is the cooper business. What do I know about that sort 
of thing?" 

" Never mind now," said Mr. Bosworth, seriously, " we 
know you can do what you want done. You helped 
break up the * coney men ' and horse-thieves on * Bogus 
Island,' and we are sure you can do work of this sort if 
you only will do it." 

Now the reference to breaking up the gang of " coney ' 
men and horse-thieves on "Bogus Island," calls for an 

I was actually too poor to purchase outright a wheel- 
barrow-load of hoop-poles, or staves, and was conse- 
quently compelled to cut my own hoop-poles and split my 
own staves. In the pursuit of this work I had found a ^it 
tie island in the Fox River, a few miles above Dundee, 
and but a few rods above the little post-town of Algon 
quin, where poles were both plentiful and of the best qua! 


ity , and one day while busy there I had stumbled .ipoc 
some smouldering embers and other traces indicating that 
*he little island had been made quite common use of 
There was no picnicking in those days people had more 
serious matters to attend to and it required no great 
keenness to conclude that no honest men were in the 
habit of occupying the place. As the country was then 
infested with coin-counterfeiters and desperate horse- 
thieves, from the information I gave, the sheriff of that 
county (Kane) was able to trace the outlaws to this isl- 
and, where subsequently I led the officers who captured 
the entire gang, consisting of men and women, securing 
their implements and a large amount of bogus coin ; while, 
in honor of the event, the island ever since has been 
known as " Bogus Island." 

Upon this faint record Messrs. Hunt and Bosworth 
based my claim to detective skill, and insisted on my 
winning new laurels, or at least attempting to do so. 

"But what is it you wish done ? " I asked, very much 
preferring to return to the shop, where my men and their 
work needed my attention. 

Mr. Hunt then explained that they were certain that 
there was then a counterfeiter in the village. They both 
felt sure he was one, although they had no other evidence 
sa/e that the party in question had been making inquiries 
as to the whereabouts of " Old man Crane." 

Old man Crane was a person who from general reputa 
tion I knew well. He lived at Libertyville, in the adjoin- 
ing county of Lake, not rrore than thirty-five miles dif 


taut, bore a hard character generally,, and it was sus- 
pected that he was engaged in distributing for eastern 
counterfeiters their worthless money, Nearly even 
blackleg that came into the community invariably in 
qpired for " Old man Crane," and this fact alone cau.-.exJ 
{he villagers to give him a wide berth. Besides this fact, 
but recently counterfeits on the ten-dollar bill of the Wis- 
consin Marine and Fire Insurance Company's bank had 
made their appearance, and were so well executed as to 
cause serious trouble to farmers and country dealers. 
Pretty positive proof had come to light that Crane had 
had a hand in the business ; and the fact thai a respecta- 
ble appearing man, a stranger well mounted and alto- 
gether mysterious, and also well supplied with money,, 
had suddenly shown himself in the village, to begin- 
quietly but searchingly making inquiries for "Old man; 
Crane," seemed to the minds of my fiiends to be the: 
best of evidence that th* stranger was none other than \ 
the veritable counterfeiter who was supplying such old' 
reprobates as Crane with the spurious ten-dollar bills on 
George Smith's bank. 

"But this was curious business for me s I thought, as pro- 
testing against leaving my work for a will-'o-the-wisp 
piece of business, which, even should it happen to prove 
successful, would pay me nothing, I said : " Now, see 
here, what do /know about counterfeiting? " 

" Oh, we know you know enough about it ! " they botk 
ttrged anxiously. 

" Why," said I ; laughing at the absurdity of :he idea o^ 


turning detective, " I never saw a ten-dollai bill in mj 
life ! " 

And neitner had I. There I stood, a young, strong, 
agile, hard-working cooper, not exactly green, perhaps, 
for I consider no man verdant who does well whatever he 
may have in hand, barefooted, bareheaded, dressed, or 
rather, almost undressed, in my hickory and denims, dar- 
ing enough and ready for any reckless emergency which 
might transpire in the living of an honest life, but decid- 
edly averse to doing something entirely out of my line, 
and which in all human probability I would make an utter 
failure of. I had not been but four years in America 
.altogether. I had had a hard time of it for the time I 
had been here. I had heard of all these things I have 
mentioned concerning banks and money, but I had posi 
tively never seen a ten-dollar bill ! 

A great detective I would make under such circum- 
stances, I thought. % 

" Come now, Allan," urged Mr. Hunt, " no time is to be 
wasted. The man is down there now at Eaton Walker's 
harness-shop, getting something done about his saddle." 

'*tit what am I to do ? " I asked. 

" Do ? Well ! do the best you can ! " 

I suddenly resolved to do just that and no lessj 
although I must confess that, at that time, I had not the 
remotest idea how to set about the matter. 

So I began by strolling leisurely about the street for a 
few minutes, and then, villager -like, sauntered into the 
saddlery shop. 


Eaton Walker, a jolly, whole-souled, good-hearted 
fellow, was perched upon his bench, sewing away, ant! 
when t entered merely looked up from his waxed end and 
nodded, but made no remark, as my being in his plac* 
was a very common occurrence. 

There was the usual quota of town stragglers loafing' 
about the shop, and looking with sleepy eyes and open- 
mouthed at the little which was going on about the place. 

I passed, as I entered the shop, a splendid horse 
hitched outside. It was a fine, large roan, well Duilt fof 
traveling ; and in my then frame of mind I imagined 
from a casual glance that it was a horse especially 
selected for its lasting qualities, should an emergency 
require them to be put to a test. The owner of the 
animal, the person who had caused so much nervousness. 
on the part of Messrs. Hunt and Bosworth, was a man. 
nearly six feet in height, weighed fully two hundred 
pounds, was at least sixty-five years of age, and was very 
erect and commanding in his appearance. I noticed all 
this at a careless glance, as also that his hair was dark, 
though slightly tinged with gray, and his features very 
prominent. His nose was very large, his mouth unusu- 
ally so, and he had a pair of the keenest, coldest small 
gray eyes I have ever seen, while he wore a large, plain 
gold ring on one of the fingers of his left han.I 

I made no remark to him or to any per ;<>n ibum me 
place, and merely assumed for the time-be'hig 10 De a vil- 
lage loafer myself. But I noticed, without showing the 
(act, that the man occasionally gave me a keen and 


searching glance. When the work had been complete \ 
by Walker, I stepped outside and made a pretense of 
being interested, as any country gawky might, in the 
preparations for the man's departure ; and was patting 
the horse's neck and withers as the stranger came out 
with the saddle and began adjusting it, when I carehssly 
a.?nsted him in a free-and-easy country way. 

There were, of course, a number of people standing 
about and a good- deal of senseless chatting going on, 
which the stranger wholly refrained from joining in ; but 
while we were both at work at the saddle, he said, without 
addressing me, but in a way which I knew was meant for 
my ears : " Stranger, do you know where old man Crane 
lives ? " 

I took my cue from the manner in which this was said, 
and followed it to the best of my ability. I was now as 
certain as either of my friends that the man was a black- 
leg of a dangerous order, whatever his special line of 
roguery might be. We were both busy at the saddle on 
the side of the horse where there were the fewer loungers, 
and being close together, I replied in the same tone of 
voice : 

41 Cross the river to the east, take the main road up 
through the woods until you come to Jesse Miller's farm- 
house. Then he will tell you ; but if you don't want to 
.ask " and I put considerable meaning into this " hold 
he road to the northeast and inquire the direction tc 
TJbertyville. When you get there you will easily find the 
old roan, and he is as good as cheese ! " 


He then said in the same cautious voice as before 

" Young man, I like your style, and I want tu 

m better. Join me over the river Ir* somt ravine. 1 
to talk to you." 

*' A.?l right," I rejoined, "but you better let me go 
ahead. I'll have to go up to the shop first and put on 
my boots and hat. I'll be as quick as 1 can, and will 
start on first. Then you follow on, but not too closety. 
I'll be up in some of the gorges, so we can talk entirely 
by ourselves. But I'll tell you the truth, stranger," said 
I, rather indifferently, " upon my word, I don't care very 
much about going, because I've already lost too much 
time at the shop to-day." 

He had by this time finished saddling his horse, but he 
continued adjusting and readjusting things so as to gain 
time to say what he wished ; and to my intimation that I 
cared very little about leaving my work, he responded : 

" Don't fail to join me. Til make it worth something 
to you / " He then added flatteringly : " You're as good 
a man as I've met lately." 

I then moved forward to fasten the reins, and he edged 
along towards me, asking carelessly : " Do you know 
John Smith, of Elgin ? " 

" I know all the Elgin John Smiths," I replied. " Do 
you mean the gunsmith ? " 

" Yes," he answered tersely. 

" Well. I know John," I continued ; u that is, he has re 
paired my rifle and shotgun several times ; but he might 
Bo* remember me I never had much talk with him." 


" lie's a square man," replied the stranger. "/'/ his 
uncle. 1 came up from Elgin this morning. Smith 
didn't know just where Crane lived. He told me that 
he traded here and that the boys were over here a good 
deal, so that I would be likely to find somebody here 
who could readily direct me to his place." 

" Well," I said rather curtly, "we've talked too mucl 
already. It won't do. I'll join you over the river soon." 

With this I carelessly walked away towards my shop, 
and at some little distance turned to see the stranger now 
engaging Eaton Walker in conversation with an evident 
purpose of gaining time. 

" Well," I thought, as I hastened on, " there's no 
doubt now. This man is certainly a counterfeiter. John 
Smith is always loaded down with it. He gets it from old 
Crane ; and this man at Walker's is the chief of the gang 
traveling through the West to supply these precious rascals, 
But then," it suddenly occurred to me, ** what business of 
mine is all this ? Good gracious ! I've got a lot of bar- 
rels to make, my men need attention, and everything is 
going to the old Harry while 1 am playing detective !" 

But having got this far my will had been touched, and i 
r^nVed to carry the matter through, whatever might be 
the result. While putting on my hat and boots hastily, 
Hunt and Bosworth came in, and I quickly related what I 
had learned. 

Looking down the hill, we could see the stranger slowlj 
moving across the bridge, and as I was starting in the 
tame direction my friends both ui> ed ; 


" Now, Pinkerton, capture him sure ! " 

"Oh, yes," I replied, " but how am I to get at all 

4< Why, just get his stock, or some of it, and then well 
have him arrested." 

"Oh, yes," said I, "but, by thunder! it takes money 
to buy money ! I've got none ! " 

" Well, well, that's so," remarked Mr. Hunt ; " we'll go 
right down to the store. You drop in there after us, and 
we'll give you fifty dollars." 

All this was speedily done, and I soon found myself 
over the bridge, past the horseman, and well up the hill 
upon the highway. 

It was a well-traveled thoroughfare, in fact, the road 
leading from all that section of the country into Chi- 
cago ; but it was in the midst of harvest-time, and every- 
body was busy upon the farms. Not a soul was to be 
seen upon the road, save the stranger and myself, and 
almost a Sabbath silence seemed to rest over the entire 
locality. The voices of the birds which filled the woods 
in every direction were hushed into a noon-day chirping, 
and hardly a sound was to be heard save the murmuring 
of the rills issuing from the sides of the hills and from 
every nook in the gorges and glens. 

I confess that a sense of insignificance stole over me, 
originating doubtless from the reflection caused by this 
silence and almost painful quiet ; arxl * could not but 
realize my unfitness for the work before me. There J 
was, hardly more than a plodding country cooler, having 


had but little experience save that given me by a life of 
toil in Scotland and my trip to this country, and no 
experience of things in this country save that secured 
through a few years of the hardest kind of hard work. 
For a moment I felt wholly unable to cope with this 
keen man of the world, but as I was gaming the top of 
the hill I glanced back over my shoulder, and noticing 
that the horseman was following my instructions to the 
letter, I reasoned that, from some cause, I had gained an 
influence over this stranger, or he thought he had se- 
cured such a one over me, as would enable me, by being 
cautious and discreet, to obtain a sufficiently close inti- 
macy with him to cause the disclosure of his plans and 
possibly ultimately result in his capture. 

I had now reached the top of the hill, and taking a 
position which would permit of my being seen by no 
person save the horseman, I waited until he had ap- 
proached near enough for me to do so, when I signaled 
him to follow, and then struck into the woods over a 
narrow trail about two hundred yards to a beautiful 
little opening on the banks of a purling brook, leaping 
down the descent towards the river from a limpid spring 
a few feet above the spot I had chosen for the interview. 

But a few moments elapsed before the stranger, dash- 
ing in over the trail in fine style, leaped from his horse 
with a good deal of dexterity for a man of his age, and 
carelessly flinging the bridle-rein over the lirnb of a smaT 
sapling, passed me with a smile of recognition, proceeded 
to the spring, where he took a long, deep di aught, and 


then returning to where I was seated upon the ve-vetj 
greensward, threw himself carelessly down upon the 
ground beside me. 

There we two lay the stranger with his keen, sharp 
eyes, and his altogether careless, but always attentive 
manner, closely regarding me and looking me over fro.Ji 
toe to tip ; while I assumed an equal carelessness, but 
was all intent on his every movement. I saw the han 
dies of two finely-mounted pistols protruding from innei 
coat-pockets, and I did not know what might happen 
I was wholly unarmed, but I was young, wiry, powerful 
and though I had nothing for self-protection save my 
two big fists and my two stout arms, I was daring enough 
to tackle a man or beast in self-defense at a moment's 

After a moment's silence, he said : 

" Well, stranger, I'm a man of business from the word 
' go.' What's your name and how long have you been 
about here ? " 

" My name's Pinkerton. I've been here three or foul 
fears, coopering some, and harvesting some ; but coop 
ering's my trade. You'd have seen my shop if you 
had come up the hill. I manage to keep seven 01 
eight men going all the time. But times are fearfully 
hard. There's no money to be had ; and the fact is," 
said I, looking at him knowingly, " I would like to get 
hold of something better adapted .c getting more 
ready cash out of especially if it was a good scheme 
so good thit there was no danger in it. But what'* 


your name and \vhere did you come from? ' I asked 

He scarcely heeded this, and, Yankee-like, replied by 
asking where /came from before locating in Illinois. 

" From Scotland," I replied, " from Glasgow. I 
worked my way through Canada and finally found my- 
self here with just a quarter in my pocket. What little 
I've got has been through hard work since. But, my 
friend," said I smiling, " the talk is all on one side. I 
isked^0# something about yourself." 

" Well," he said, still looking at me as though he would 
read me through and through, " they call me ' Old man 
Craig.' My name is Craig John Craig, and I live 
down in Vermont, near Fairneld ; got a fine farm there. 
Smith, down here at Elgin, is a nephew of mine ; and old 
Crane, over at Libertyville, and myself, have done a 
good deal of business together." 

" Oh, yes," said I nodding, " I understand." 

" But, you see," resumed the counterfeiter, " this part 
of the country is all new to me. I've been to Crane's 
house before, but that was when I came up the lakes to 
Little Fort,* and when I got through with my visit there I 
always went into Chicago on the * lake road.' " 

"And of course you both stopped at the Sauganash," 
I said meaningly. 

"Certainly we stopped there," replied Craig nus 

* The city of Waukegan, in Lake County, Illinois, TOS call*) 
" kittle Fort " by the early settlers. 


" I knoiL that Foster's a man that can be depended 
on," I remarked with considerable meaning upon the 
word " know." 

" He's a square man, Foster is," rejoined the counter- 
feiter ; " and, Pinkerton, I believe you're the right sort 
of a man too. I sold Foster a. big pile the last time I 
was in Chicago." And then quick as thought he said, 
looking me in the eyes : " Did you ever ' deal* any ? " 

"Yes, Mr. Craig," I replied, "but only when I could 
get a first-class article. I frequently 'work off' the 
stuff in paying my men Saturday nights, when traveling 
through the country, and on the merchants here in Dun- 
dee, who have all confidence in me. But I wouldn't 
touch anything like it for the State of Illinois, unless it 
was as good in appearance as the genuine article. Havj 
you something really good, now ? " I concluded indiffei - 

" I've got a ' bang up ' article," said the stranger, 

"But I don't know what you'>e got," I persisted 
" I thought you were going over to o'd Crane's ? " 

" Well, s} I was, Pinkerton ; but I believe you're a 
good, square man, and I don't know but I had as soon 
sail to you as him." 

u I think you had better see Crane," said I indiffe* 
ently. "He's probably expecting you, and as it's afte* 
noon now, it would be a good idea for you to make th 
best time you can there." 

"How far is it?" he 


" Oh, thirty-five miles or thereabouts, and JLS you' ft 
got a good horse, you can make it by dark or before." 

He rose as if undecided what to do, and without mak- 
ing any fuither remark at the time, took his horse to the 
spring and watered it. 

He then returned, and again throwing himself down 
beside me, remarked carelessly : 

" But I haven't yet showed you what I've got. Here 
ore the * beauties ; ' " and he whipped out two ten-dollar 
bills, counterfeits on the Wisconsin Marine and Fire In- 
surance Company's money. 

I looked at them very, very wisely. As I have already 
said, I had never seen a ten-dollar bill in my life ; but I 
examined them as critically as though I had assisted in 
making the genuine bills, and after a little expressed my- 
self as very much pleased with them. 

They were indeed " beauties," as the old rascal had 
said, and in all my subsequent detective experience I 
have hardly seen their equal in point of execution and 
general appearance. There was not a flaw in them. To 
show how nearly perfect they had been made, it is only 
necessary to state that it was subsequently learned that 
several thousand dollars in these spurious bills had been 
received unhesitatingly at the bank and its different 
agencies, and actually paid out and received the second 
time, without detection. 

"Come now Pinkerton, I'll tell you what I'll do," 
continued Craig earnestly ; " if you'll take enough of thii 
I'll give you the entire field out here, The fact 1*9 


Crane's getting old ; he isn't as active as he used to be \ 
he's careless also, and, besides all this, he's too well 

"Well," said I thoughtfully, "how much would I harj 

take ? " 

" Only five hundred or a thousand," he replied airily. 

" On what terms ? " I asked. 

" Twenty-five per cent, cash." 

'* I cannot possibly do it now," I replied, as though 
there was no use of any further conference. " I haven't 
anywhere near the amount necessary with me. I want to 
do it like thunder, but when a man can't do a thing he 
can t, and that's all there is about it." 

"Not so fast, my man ; not so fast," answered the 
old rogue reassuringly. " Now, you say these lubber- 
heads of merchants down at the village trust you ? " 

" Yes, for anything." 

"Then can't you make a raise from them somehow? 
You'll never get such another chance io do business with 
a square man in your life ; and you can make more money 
with this in one year than any one of them can in ten. 
Now, what can you do, Pinfeerton ? " 

I assumed to be studying the ma'ter over very deeply, 
but, in reality, I had already deoded to do as the man 
wished ; for I knevr that Messrs. Hunt and Bosworth , 
would be only too glad to have the matter followed up 
so closely. Finally I said : *' I'll 'lo it, Craig ; but it won't 
answer for you to be seen hanging ^bout here. Whe c 
shall we meet, and when?" 


" Easy enough," said he, grasping my hand warmly 
" I won't go over to old Crane's at all. If he wants any 
of the stuff after this, he'll have to come to you. I only 
let Smith have about one hundred dollars in the bills, and 
that out of mere friendship, you know. When he wants 
more, I'll make him come to you too. Now, I'll go 
right back down there, and you can meet me at Smith's 
this evening." 

" Oh, no ; no you don't, Craig ! " I answered with an 
appearance of deep cunning. " I'm willing to take the 
whole business into my hands, but I don't propose to 
have every Tom, Dick and Harry understand all about 
the business from the beginning. I'll find rny own cus- 
tomers," I concluded, with a protesting shake of my head 

" Well, that is best. You're right and I'm wrong. 
Where'll we meet ? " he asked. 

" I've a capital place," I replied. " Do you know where 
the unfinished Baptist Church and University are, down 
at Elgin?" 

" Let me see," he said, smiling. " I ought to know. 
I'm a splendid Baptist when I'm in Vermont one of the 
deacons, as sure as you live ! Are they up on the hill ? ?f 

'Yes, the same," I answered. "It's a lonesome 
enough place to not be likely to meet anybody there ; 
and we can arrange everything in the basement." 

" All right," he acceded, laughing heartily, " and the 
next time I write my wife, damn me if I don't tell hei 
that I dedicated the new Baptist Church ** lin. Illi- 
nois I ' 


I ioir.ed in ihis Jittie merriment at the expense oi the 
Elgin Baptist Church ; and then Craig, who had begur 
to feel very cheerful and friendly, ^ tnt into quite a 
lengthy account of himself and his mode of operations. 

As before stated, he said that he was located in Fait- 
field, Vermont. This location was chosen from the ready 
facility it offered for getting into Canada, should danger 
at any time present itself. He owned a large and fine 
place, and was legitimately engaged in fanning, was 
wealthy, and had been a counterfeiter for many years, 
keeping two first-class engravers constantly employed, an-j 
he warmly invited me to visit him, should I ever happen 
that way, although it was morally certain at that time, to 
him as well as myself, that it would be a very long 
time before I began traveling for pleasure, and C re- 
ceived ail this for what it was worth, but fervently prom- 
ised him a call while mentally observing : " Ah ! my man. 
if everything works right, maybe that the call will come 
sooner than you are expecting it ! " 

What chiefly interested me, however, was what he told 
me concerning his mode of operations. 

He said that he never carried any quantity of counter- 
feit money upon his person. This twenty dollars which 
he had shown me was the largest sum he ever had about 
him. This was simply and only a sample for use, as it 
nad been with me. Should he be arrested not one piece 
of paper which would not bear the most rigid inspection, 
although he had always upon his person about two thou- 
$and Collars in genuine money, chiefly in eastern 


bills. No person, understanding the condition of things 
at that time, could be persuaded to condemn a stranger 
in a new country and unfamiliar with its money, for hav- 
ing twenty dollars of spurious money in so large a sum a* 
two thousand dollars. 

I asked him why he did not pad his saddle with the 
bills and carry them with him, in this manner, for conve- 
nience. I made this inquiry, more than anything else, to 
draw from Craig his manner of supplying parties, and I 
was successful, for he immediately replied : 

"No, that wouldn't do. To begin with, the horse 
would sweat the pad and badly discolor the bills, and, in 
the next place, somebody might be as curious as yourself, 
and rip open the saddle. Oh, no, no ; I've got a better 
scheme than that. I've got a fellow, named Yelverson, as 
true as steel and as shrewd as a man can be made. He 
follows me like a shadow, but you will never see him. 
He is never seen by any living person with whom I have 
business. I simply show my samples and make the 
trade. 1 receive the money agreed upon from the buyer, 
and then tell him that I think he will fmd the speci- 
fied sum in my money in a certain place at a designated 

" He goes there, and never fails to find the bills. But 
Yelverson is not seen in the transaction, and, in the 
meantime, I have hidden my samples, as well as the 
money received by me, which might be marked, so that 
if there should be any treachery, nothing could be proven 
against me. I have a good deal of Canada trade, and if 


is all effected in this manner. Old John Craig is nevei 
caught napping, young man ! " 

The last remark was evidently made by the counter 
feiter to give me to understand that though he had given 
me, or pretended to give me, very freely, his valuable con 
fidence, that he was not a man to be trifled with in any 
particular, and I fully believed this of the man already. 

I was satisfied that he had a good deal of the honor 
which is so frequently referred to as existing between 
thieves. There is no doubt but that this man always 
kept his word. In that sense he was honorable. This 
kind of honor was a necessity to his nefarious business, 
however, and I fail to perceive, as many sentimentalists 
do, where the criminal deserves the credit for being hon 
orable when that peculiar quality is only used for the 
worst purposes, and is as much required by the criminal 
as the bread he eats. 

It was now fully half-past one o'clock, and I suggested 
to the counterfeiter that we conclude our interview, as 
some stragglers might happen that way. 

"You will be on hand, Pinkerton?" asked Craig as he 
rose from the grass. 

"There's my hand on it," said I quietly. 

"And you'll bring enough money to take five hun- 

"I'm certain I can raise that much," I replied. "But 
see here. Don't you come down through the village 
again. It will cause talk, and couple you with myself ID 
the village gossip in a way that won't do for rne at all." 


He agreed with me in this, and I then directed him to 
take what was called the "upper road," past General Mc- 
Clure's old place, and having got this well fixed in his 
mind, agreed to meet him at the designated place i 
Elgin, at about four o'clock, bade him good-by and took 
my departure. 

I hastened towards the village, and saw on my way, 
just as I was descending the brow of the hill, my coun- 
terfeiter friend well along the upper road, halting his 
horse to wave me a good-luck, or good-by, as it might 
be taken, to which I merely nodded a reply, and then 
made all possible speed to Mr. Hunt's store, where I 
quickly reported the result of my interview to Messrs. 
Hunt and Bosworth. 

They were very gleeful over my success in working 
into the confidence of the counterfeiter, but both were 
rather apprehensive that the money was in the man's 
saddle, that Yelverson was a myth, and that possibly we 
had lost an opportunity of securing either. But I felt 
pretty certain that Craig would be on hand at Elgin 
according to appointment, and securing the required 
amount of money, one hundred and twenty-five dollars, 
and a bite of lunch, I set out on foot for Elgin. The 
place was only about five miles from Dundee, and fire 
miles for me then was as nothing ; so that, a few minutes 
before four, I was within the deserted structure. 

I looked into every conceivable corner and cranny, but 
could discover the cour terfeiter nowhere. 

I passed outside and looked in every direction, bill 


still he was not to be seen. Tired and worried about 
the whole matter, I retired within the basement, and had 
been sitting upon one of the loose timbers there but a 
few minutes, brooding over the loss of my day's work, 
and disgusted with the whole business, when Craig sud- 
denly entered and smilingly greeted me. 

" Why, helloa, Pinkerton, you're ahead of time." 

" I told you I would be here," I replied. 

" Well, did you bring the money with you ? " 

" Certainly I did. Here it is," said I, counting out 
one hundred and twenty-five dollars as carelessly as 
though accustomed to handling comfortable sums of 

He looked it over more carefully than suited me ex- 
actly. The act seemed to hold a faint trace of suspicion, 
but he found it to be in eastern bills and correct in 
every particular. 

" Coopering must be pretty profitable work ? " he re- 
marked with a light laugh. 

" Oh, fair, fair," I answered, indifferently. " Does 
pretty well when one can do some other quiet business 
along with it." 

" Oh, I see," he said pleasantly, " Now, Pinkerton, 
jou go outside for a few minutes, and keep a sharp look- 
out, lest somebody may be watching. Remain outside 
four or five minutes, and if you see no one by that time, 
come back." 

I went out as directed, but I could not but feel that I 
had placed myself in the man's power completely, as fa? 


as giving him a fair opportunity to abscond with my 
friends' money was concerned, and though a new hard at 
this kind of bellows, I determined to be as keen as he 
was shrewd. So, instead of leaving the building alto- 
gether, for the time mentioned, I started off for a little 
distance, and, quickly returning up through a small ra- 
vine, took a position near an open window, just in time 
to observe my Baptist friend from Vermont placing some- 
thing beneath a wide, flat building-stone in one corner 
of that portion of the basement where we had been 

This much seen, I got away from the place as speedily 
as I could, and at once sought a small eminence near the 
building, and made a great pretense of keeping a close 
watch on the locality. 

While thus occupied, I observed, out of the corner of 
my eye, that Craig had appeared at one of the entrances 
and was closely watching my movements. Apparently 
satisfied at last, he gave a low whistle, attracting my atten- 
tion, of course, when he then motioned me to join him. 

As I entered I told him that I had looked everywhere, 
but was unable to see any person about. 

"That's all right," he replied pleasantly, and then look- 
ing at me in a quizzical sort of a way, asked : 

"Pinkerton, what would you think if I told you that 
Yelverson had been here during your absence outside, and 
left the five hundred in my bills? " 

Well, I don't know," 1 answered; "I'd almost think 
you'd got old Nick working along with you I" 


"Perhaps I have, perhaps I have," he returned quietly 
" Look under that stone over yonder." 

I went to the place indicated, and, lifting the stone which 
from the outside I had seen him busied with, I picked up 
a neatly-made package. 

" I think you will find what you bought inside it," re 
marked Craig. 

I opened the package, and found that it contained 
fifty ten-dollar bills. They were the counterfeits, but, 
as I have already stated, were most handsomely exe- 

I make this open confession to my readers : 

For a moment the greatest temptation of my life swept 
over me. A thousand thoughts of sudden wealth and a 
life free from the grinding labor which I had always known, 
came rushing into my mind. Here in my hands were five 
hundred dollars, or what professed to be, every one of 
them as good as gold, if I only chose to use it. The pur- 
chasing power of five hundred dollars then, the use which 
could be made of it, the large gain which would accrue 
from its judicious investment, were one a>jd all ten times 
what they are now. What would it not purchase ? Why, 
to my mind then it was a great fortune ! 

All this and more pressed upon me with such weight 
the first and last time in my whole life that with this 
struggle in my memory, while I have always been unshaken 
in my determination to ntfcver lose sight of a criminal when 
it once becomes my duty to pursue him, I can never think 
of one undergoing the first great temptation to crimo 


whether he has resisted or fallen, without a touch of genu 
ine human sympathy. 

I am satisfied that this showed in my face somewhat, 
but was taken by him to indicate cupidity and eageinesa 
at the prospect of large profits as his " wholesale agent " 
in that section, and soon after probably stood me in good 

We sat down upon one of the timbers and chatted 
pleasantly for a time, during which he informed me that 
Yelverson had at once returned to Smith's, where his 
horse was stabled, and ere then was on his road toward 
Chicago, where he, Craig, should rejoin him on the next 
day, after passing the night at his nephew's. 

My thought was to get the two together and nab therr 
both, if it were in my power. I saw that I had no possible 
opportunity to do this in Elgin, for, according to Craig's 
statement, Yelverson was well on the road to Chicago 
out of all danger of pursuit ; and even should I cause 
.Craig's arrest, from what I already knew of his character 
and habits, his conviction on my unsupported evidence 
would prove difficult. 

Accordingly, while sitting there and chatting away with 
Craig, all these things were playing back and forth like 
a swift shuttle through my mind, with the following 
result . 

" Look here, Craig," said I, " if you wouldn't be in 
too big a hurry about getting back home, I'll tell you 
what I'll do. I believe I could make arrangements to 
buy you out altogether." 


"Well, now, that's a good idea, Pinkerton," returned 
the counterfeiter thoughtfully, but evidently pleased at 
the proposition. 

"How much have you got ? " I asked. 

*' i haven't any, " he answered with a sly look* 
44 Yelverson has about four thousand dollars in the stuff, 
1 believe." 

* All right, " I replied. " Craig or Yelverson, it's all 
the same so I get it. Now I've been thinking that I 
could take a trip out to Naperville, in Du Page County, 
and St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, Aurora, and Oswego, 
in this county, and work off the greater part of what 
I've got, and while at Oswego see Lawyer Boyd, who, I 
am certain, will take a share with me." 

" How long will this take you ? " inquired Craig. 

" 1 can't tell," said I ; " not more than three or four 
days at the outside, I think." 

<! Well, try and see what you can do. I would like to 
sell my horse and my entire outfit too, and go back by 
the lakes, if I can." 

"All right, Craig," said I. " I'm pretty sure that I can 
buy everything. I'll try hard, and think that if I can see 
Bill Boyd, at Oswego, there'll be no doubt about our 
being able together to take everything you have." 

" Good-by, then," said the counterfeiter, shaking my 
hand warmly. " I'll spend the night with Smith, go into 
Chicago to-morrow, and wait there at the "Sauganash" 
for you four or five days. But, mind you, be discreet ! " 

With this we parted, Craig going over the hills into 


r.he wooJs behind the town, to make some slight detoui 
before lejoining the gunsmith, and I, with my five hun- 
dred dollars in counterfeit bills on the Wisconsin Marine 
and Fire Insurance Company's Bank, starting on foot 
for home, where I arrived just as the sun was setting 
behind the grand hills of Dundee, upon what I then felt 
was the most exciting and eventful day of my life. 

Messrs. Hunt and Bosworth were on the qui vive of 
expectation, and listened to my recital with the greatest 
interest ; but they both seemed apprehensive that the 
counterfeiter would not keep faith with me, and had 
probably set out from Elgin for some distant point as 
soon as I had started for home, and would leave us all in 
the lurch with five hundred dollars in counterfeit money 
on our hands for all our trouble and officiousness. 

I confess that, being new to the business, I had some- 
thing of a like fear, or distrust ; but still, in revolving the 
matter in my mind, I could not but always come back to 
the first impression I had gained of my Vermont friend, 
to the effect that, criminal though he was, he was a man 
who, when he had passed his word, would be certain to 
keep it. 

With a view of allaying the anxiety of my friends, and 
also satisfying my own curiosity concerning the matter, I 
promised that carry the next morning I would take some 
measures to learn definitely the whereabouts of the coun- 
terfeiter. And so, tired, partly discouraged, and fully sat- 
isfied in my own mind that I was not born to become a 
detective, I went home, and sought my bed with a feeling 



that the little cooper-shop, my good wife, and our plain 
homely ways, were, after all, the best things on earth 
and, altogether, better than any other sort of life or at- 
tainments possible for man to secure. 

Prompt to my promise, I was up betimes the next 
morning ; and, after a hasty breakfast, secured a horse, 
and was soon rapidly cantering off in the direction of 
Elgin, where I arrived by the time the villagers of the 
little town were stirring about their several avocations. 
I proceeded directly to the house of John Smith, the 

Before I had reached the same, my spirits were meas- 
urably raised to observe, sitting there upon the rough 
porch shaded with roses and honeysuckles, the veritable 
gentleman from Vermont who had given us all so much 

He was smoking his pipe and enjoying the morning as 
composedly as any man well could, and, as I approached, 
looked up with a pleasant smile of greeting. 

He advanced quickly to the gate, and grasped my 
hand heartily, saying quietly : 

" Helloa, Pinkerton, what's up ? " 

" Only myself," I answered jokingly. 

" Have you got started out on your trip this early ? " 
he inquired. 

" Yes, I believe if anything* s worth doing, it's worth 
doing quickly and thoroughly. I'm on my way down 
the river to take in the towns I mentioned yester- 
day. I'll see Boyd to- mcrro\v, get back as quick AS 


can, and meet you as agreed at the * Sauganash, in 

" You'll do, you'll do," said Craig encouragingly. 

" I just thought I'd call on my way, shake hands wirh 
you, and show you I was at work carrying out my pait 
of the agreement." 

" Glad you stopped ; glad you stopped. Make as 
good time as possible, for I want to get through here 
and get back east. The church interests always languish 
while I am away," he added laughing. 

And so, with a cheery good-by, we again parted. 

I rode away ostensibly for St. Charles, but, after getting 
some little distance from Elgin, took a detour, and, riding 
through the little post-town of Undina, reached Dundee 
some time before noon. 

The information secured through this little ruse satis- 
fied both myself and my Dundee friends that dependence 
could be placed upon meeting Craig in Chicago. This 
was what I most desired ; for, alone in the country, and 
not knowing what secret companions he might have near 
him ready to spring to his aid at the lifting of his finger, 
made an attempt at his capture, with my then inex- 
perience, simply foolish and something not to be thought 

Three intervening days were passed in frequent con- 
sultations with Messrs. Hunt and Bosworth, very little 
attention to my casks and barrels, and a good dea. 
of nervous plotting and planning on my own part ; ana 
daybreak on the fourth owning j 


the last glimpse of the little village of Dundee, nestling 
like a bird by the gleaming river, and was speeding my 
horse at a brisk pace over the winding highway toward 

I arrived in that then thiiving, but little city, during the 
early forenoon, and my first move was to procure war- 
rants for the arrest of both Craig and Yelverson, as I had 
high hopes of now being able, by a little good management, 
to get the two men together ; and I easily secured the ser- 
vices of two officers, one of whom t directed to follow and 
watch the movements of Craig, which would undoubtedly, 
if there was any such person as Yelverson, bring the two 
men together. My idea was to then wait until they had 
separated and were so situated that immediate communi- 
cation would be impossible, and thus capture Yelverson ; 
while, after this had been effected, myself and the second 
officer would attend to Craig. But, as fine as all this 
looked in a plan, it was doomed, as the reader will ob- 
serve, to prove merely a plan. 

After all these arrangements were perfected, I went to 
the Sauganash Hotel. The officers were merely consta* 
bles, and one was stationed outside the house, to follow 
Craig wherever he might go, or whoever might come in 
contact with him, should he be observed *o meet any 
person with whom he might appear to ha\c confidential 
relations; while the other officer was located inside the 
hotel, to cause Craig's arrest whenever the proper time 

J wanted tp faring things about so that I coujd capturf 


the men with the money upon them, or in the very act 
of passing it; but circumstances and my own youth antf 
inexperience were against me. 

I had been seated in the office of the hotel but a 
few minutes when Craig entered, smoking a cigar. He 
saw me instantly, but several minutes elapsed before he 
saw fit to approach me, and I observed by his manner 
that he did not wish me to recognize him. He sauntered 
about for a time, apparently like one upon whose hands 
time hung heavily, and, finally securing a newspaper, 
dropped into a seat beside me. 

Some minutes even elapsed before he in any manner 
recognized my presence, and then he said, with his atti- 
tude such that no one could imagine him otherwise than 
deeply engaged with his paper : 

" Have you got the money ? " 

" Yes," I replied, quite as laconically. 

" Well, I've an even four thousand now. The horse is 
sold; so you pay me one thousand dollars, and in the 
course of an hour I will see that you have the package." 

"Craig," I said, "Lawyer Boyd, from Oswego, is here 
with me, and you know these lawyers are sticklers for 
form. Now, he don't want to pay the money until we see 
the bills." 

" Why, he has seen what you had, hasn't he You 
know that old John Craig's word is as good as his money, 
and that's as good as gold ! " he replied with some 
warmth, and evidently nettled. 

" If it was wholly my own affair, Craig, you know ii 


would be different. You know I would trust you with 
ten times this sum^" I replied reassuringly ; " but I've 
placed myself in this damned lawyer's power in order to 
keep my word like a man with you, and he insists like an 
idiot on having the thing done only in one way." 

" Well, I'll think the matter over, and see you here a 
half-hour or so later," returned Craig. 

We then adjourned to the bar, and partook of sundry 
drinks ; but I observed, without showing that I did so, 
that Craig was very careful in this respect. We soon 
parted, and I must confess that I began to have a pre- 
sentiment that matters were beginning to look a little 
misty. I could not imagine what the outcome would be ; 
but that Craig had become suspicious of something, was 

I could not of course then know, without exposing 
myself, what was done, or how Craig actcJ, but I after- 
ward learned that he seemed perplexed and doubtful 
about what he should do. He started out rapidly in the 
direction of the lake, suddenly halted, returned, started 
again, halted again, and then walked aimlessly in vaiious 
ilirections, occasionally giving a quick look back over his 
shoulder as if to determine whether he was being fol- 

Whatever he might have thought about this, at last he 
returned to the hotel with the air of a man who had de- 
termined upon something, and entered the office. 

Not making any move as though he desired to see me, 
I soon moved toward him, and nnaUy said ; 


" Well, Craig, are you going to let me nave the 
money ? " 

He looked at me a moment with a puzzled air of sur 
prise, the assurance of which I have never since seen 
equaled, and replied quietly : 

" What money?" 

I looked at him in blank amazement, a..d finally said \ 
ti The money you promised me.' 

With a stolidity that would have made a Grant or a 
Wellington, he rejoined : 

" I haven't the honor of your acquaintance, sir, and 
therefore cannot imagine to what you allude." 

If the Sauganash Hotel had fallen upon me, I could 
not have been more surprised, or, for the moment, over- 

But this lasted but for a moment I saw that my fine 
plan had fallen to the ground like a nojse of straw. 
Yelverson had not been located ; probably no counterfeit 
money could be found upon Craig ; and there was only 
my own almost unsupported evidence as to the entire 
transaction, as the reader has been given it ; but I also 
saw that there was only one thing to do, and that was to 
make Mr. Craig my prisoner. 1 therefore said : 

"All right, John Craig ; you have played your game 
well, but there are always at least two at a really inter- 
esting game, and I shall have to take you into custody 
on the charge of counterfeiting." 

I gave the signal to the officer, and Craig was at once 
arrested : but he fairly turned the tables upon Tie thep 


by his assumed dignity and gentlemanly bearing. Quite 
a crowd gathered about, and considerable sympathy was 
expressed for the stately, gray-haired man who was being 
borne into captivity by the green-looking countryman 
cooper from Dundee. 

Not a dollar in counterfeit money was found upon 
Craig, as I had feared. He was taken to Geneva, ic 
Kane County, lodged in jail, and, after the preliminary 
examination, admitted to bail in a large sum. While 
awaiting the arrival of friends to furnish the required 
bonds, he was remanded ; and it was soon noticed by the 
frequenters of the place that Craig and the sheriff, whose 
apartments were in the jail building, had become very 
intimate. He was shown every courtesy and favor possi- 
ble under the circumstances, and the result was that the 
community was suddenly startled to learn that the now 
famous counterfeiter had mysteriously escaped leaving, 
it was said, the sheriff of Kane Coui. :y considerably richer 
in this world's goods from the unfortunate occurrence. 

This was the outcome of the matter ; but though this 
great criminal, through the perfidy of an official, had es- 
caped punishment, the affair was worth everything to the 
Wisconsin Fire and Marine Insurance Company in par- 
ticular, and the entire West in general it having the 
effect for a number of years to drive counterfeiters 
entirely from our midst. 

But I cannot resist relating, in connection with the 
termination of trie case, another incident characteristic of 
George Smith. 

$0 tfOW I 

With all his business success, like Dickens' " Barkis. 
he became considerably "mean," and finally obtained the 
sobriquet, among his friends and acquaintances, of old 
" Na ! " on account of the abruptness and even ugliness 
arith which he would snap out his Scotch " na ! " or no, 
to certain applicants for banking or other favors. 

As soon as I had got Craig safely in jail, Messrs. Hunt 
ind Bosworth, who had expended nearly one hundred 
and fifty dollars in the matter, saw that they had nothing 
left for their pains save the counterfeit five hundred dol- 
lars, and that even was deposited in the hands of the 
Kane County Court clerk ; so it devolved upon me to 
go into Chicago, see George Smith, and get from him, 
if possible, so much money as had been expended, and a 
few dollars for my own services. 

So I took my trip, after a vexatious delay was ad- 
mitted to the presence of the mighty banker, and tersely 
stated my errand. 

He heard me all through, and then remarked savagely : 
" Have ye nae mair to say ? " 
"Not anything," I replied civilly. 
" Then I've just this tae speak : ye was not author 
ized tae do the wark, and ye have nae right t' a cent 
I'll pay this, I'll pay this ; but mind ye, roo," and he 
shook his finger at me in no pleasant way, " if ye ever do 
wark for me agin that ye have nae authorization for, ye'll 
get ne'er a penny, ne'er a penny ! " 

In fact, it was hard work for the close-fisted Scotchman 
to be decently just in the matter, and I am certain th 


incident has been of servic; to me during these latei 
years in causing prudence in all such undertakings. 

The country being new, and great sensations scarce, 
the affair was in everybody's mouth, and I suddenly 
found myself called upon, from every quarter, to under- 
take matters requiring detective skill, until I was soon 
actually forced to relinquish the honorable, though not 
over-profitable, occupation of a cooper, for that of a pro- 
fessional detective, with the result and a career of which 
the public are fully acquainted ; all of which I owe to 
" Old John Craig" and this my first detective case. 



THE subject of this sketch, who is still living and 
occupying a felon's cell through the efforts of my 
detectives, has been one of the most brilliant of profes 
sional criminals. 

I am unable to give my readers any idea of the circum- 
stances leading to his becoming what he has been, whicb 
to me, of all criminals and especially those of the better 
class, as studies of human experience and the yielding to 
human temptations, always prove intensely interesting. 

Canter is supposed to be of American parentage, and, 
as nearly as I am able to learn, was born in some little 

52 JA CtC C A.V TEX. 

village of Central New York. He is, at this writing, forty 
five years of age, is five feet seven inches in height, of 
slight, spare frame, has a dark complexion, dark hair and 
black beard} usually worn after what is termed the " Burn- 
side " fashion, and altogether is possessed of a remarkably 
distingue appearance. He is probably one of the oldest 
counterfeiters and forgers in the United States, and has 
served nearly twenty-five years of his life in various pris- 
ons, principally at Sing Sing, where he has been incarcer- 
ated during three terms, one of which was for fourteen 

I wonder if any of my readers ever endeavored to im- 
press their minds with the actual duration and effect of 
such a period and kind of existence. 

Whatever Jack Canter might have been before his first 
prison experience, when he passed out from the walls of 
Sing Sing he was a confirmed criminal, and never since 
has seemed to have an aspiration for any other course of 

He has been arrested by the Secret Service authorities, 
under Colonel Whitley, numberless times, on the charge 
of counterfeiting ; but whenever apprehended he invariably 
had one or more engraved plates, generally valueless, 
which he would turn over to the Government authorities 
on the condition that he secured his liberty, which was 
too frequently accorded him. 

His acquirements, for one who had passed so many 
years in a prison, were really, of a brilliant nature, and 
certainly show him to have had an exceedingly thorough 


education in his youth, or to have been one of those sin- 
gularly constituted persons that can instantly acquire and 
always retain whatever they get their minds upon. 

He is a great linguist, a very perfect and correct one, 
having the French, German, Spanish, Italian, and many 
other languages at thorough command. He is a splendid 
phonographer and an expert penman ; is a well-informed 
chemist, and graduated with high honors as a physician , 
is, or has been, one of the most exact and artistic line- 
engravers in America, and line-engraving requires the 
highest nicety and proficiency in the art ; and is a man 
of so general good attainments and fine ability that he has 
very frequently given the press scientific articles of rare 
vigor and merit. When one considers how great the pos- 
sibilities of such an able man are, and then see to what 
base uses these accomplishments are put, it causes a gen- 
uine pang of regret in the heart of every well-wisher of 

Canter was always received at Sing Sing as a distin 
guished .guest, and granted favors to an unlimited extent, 

Concerning his service there, it is related that he was 
made book-keeper of the prison, and, through his expert 
use of the pen and extensive knowledge of chemicals, 
drove a thriving trade with convicts who were fortunate 
enough to have wealthy friends. His system of " raising 
the wind" was to hunt up t"ie antecedents of notorious 
professional criminals there incarcerated, and boldly offer 
to reduce their term of service for a ? attain stipulated 
sum of money. 


For instance : a convict had received a e.i years' sen- 
tence. Canter would ascertain how much xeady cash the 
prisoner's friends could or would advance for a reduction 
of the term for one or two years or from one to five year?, 
and then, after securing the money which rumor alleges 
was generously divided among certain prison officers he, 
by an '. with the aid of certain chemicals, would alter the 
prison records, so that paying parties would be able to 
secure a discharge on a greatly reduced term. 

Through these favors and irregularities, which the 
prison officials must have been cognizant of, Canter car- 
ried a " high hand " at Sing Sing. He supported several 
" fast " women ; went out and in the prison as he liked ; 
drove the fastest team in the place ; and it is alleged, on 
the best of authority, was frequently seen at New York, 
where he mingled with his friends at leisure. 

In other words, while he was at Sing Sing he was 
"boss" of the prison ; and he either carried so high a 
hand on his own account, or had so many of the most 
influential officials there mixed up in his counterfeiting 
affairs, that he had everything his own way 

But his star of success waned when he fell undei the 
influence of honest detectives, as represented by my 

He was arrested by my officers, in 1874, f r his connec- 
tion with the gigantic forgeries committed in September 
of that year ; and those influences he had been enabled to 
make use of whenever he so wished were wholly \vi til- 
drawn when I had secured his committal to the F astern 


Penitential y of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, for one 01 
the shrewdest forgeries he had ever been known 1C 

In February, 1873, an insurance company was formed 
in Philadelphia, under the name of the "Central Fire 
Insurance Company," of which VV D. Halfman, a gentle- 
man said to have been worth nearly a million dollars, was 
elected president, and W. F. Halfman, a convenient rela- 
tive, as treasurer. The secretary and directors were 
John Nicholson Elbert, W. J. Moodie, C. A. Duy, P. 
Thurlow, W. H. Elberly, and others. 

It was represented by this company to the Insurance 
Commissioner of the State of Pennsylvania that they had 
a capital of two hundred thousand dollars, invested in 
various railroad and other securities, and that their 
*tock had been subscribed for as follows : 

P. Thurlow, 900 shares, representing. . . . .$45,000 

C. A. Duy, 200 " " 10,000 

W. H. Halfman, 100 " " 5,000 

W. D. Halfman, 800 " " 40,000 

W. J Moodie, 200 " " 10,000 

Moodie, Gross & Co., 40 4t " 2,000 

W. D. Halfman, 1,560 (in trust) cc 78,000 

All of the above officers and stockholders were well 
known citizens of Philadelphia, reputable business men 
and capitalists of moderate resources, and, as fai as 
could be publicly known, were able to purchase and own 
the stock, as listed for inspection by the Insurance Com 


The company opened oujt in fine style, had elegant 
offices, and were supposed to be doing a very prosperous 
business ; but, in time, J. M. Foster, one of the Insurance 
Commissioners of the State, becoming suspicious that 
the concern was not all that it purported to be, caused an 
overhauling of its business. 

This examination developed the fact that all of the 
assets of the company consisted of forged railroad stocks 
as follows : 

500 shares Phila. & Reading R. R. Stock. 

500 " Lehigh Valley. . 

500 " Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Stock. 

300 " Central Railroad of New Jersey * 

100 " Pennsylvania Central 

4,000 " Lebanon Paper Company " 

130 " West end Railroad of Phila. " 

All of which the company claimed to own absolutely. 

Investigation developed the fact that all of these stocky 
so far. as their assumed value was concerned, were for 
geries. They had originally been issued for one or two 
shares, and afterward, by a chemical process, their num 
bers had been erased, and they were each then made to 
represent three hundred or five hundred shares, as occa- 
sion required. 

This alarming condition of things leaked out, and the 
Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company, in order to 
protect its stockholders, secured my services to thor- 
oughly ventilate the matter. After considerable triable. 


I caused the ariest of one J. II. Elbert, from whom 1 
secured a confession to the effect that he had employed 
a man named Charles Ripley, of New York, to make the 
alterations on the certificates. He had been introduced 
to this Ripley at a hotel in Jersey City, by a person 
named Louis W. French (afterward convicted in New 
Jersey for the frauds committed by the " Palisade Insur- 
ance Company " of Hoboken, N. J.). 

Elbert had paid Ripley twenty-five thousand dollars for 
making the alterations. The former also stated that he 
addressed letters to Ripley at a saloon. No. 303 Bridge 
Street, Brooklyn. Inquiries by my most careful opera 
tives at this place developed the fact that the letters 
addressed to Charles Ripley, at that number, had been 
delivered to a man known by the name of Charles 
Ostend. Upon securing this much, I placed men. so 
that every person arriving at or leaving this place, if not 
then known, could be followed and their identity estab- 
lished. The result of this was that I had shortly effected 
the arrest of Ostend, whom I immediately recognized as 
the notorious Jack Canter. 

He was at once removed to Philadelphia, where he and 
VV. D. Halfman, the president of the bogus company, 
were tried, and on January 2, 1875, Canter was sen- 
tenced to nine years and six months' solitary confine- 
ment in the Eastern Penitentiary, at Cherry Hill, Phila- 
delphia, and Halfman to seven years and six months'' 
imprisonment at hard labor. 

At the time of my arrest of Canter, he had been 


out of Sing Sing only about two years. A curious illus- 
tration of the negligence of the police surveillance if 
shown in the fact that, when I captured the felow, he 
had been living within one block of the Firjt Precinct 
Brooklyn police-station; and, on searching the room, 
there were found a very fine nickle-platod press for coun- 
terfeiting purposes, a full set of the fii est quality of en- 
graver's tools, and a fine plate for use in counterfeiting 
two cent bank-check stamps a perfect imitation of th< 

There were also found in his room several poenw 
which this strange man had written while a convict ut 
Sing Sing. Many of these possessed rare merit, net 
showing, perhaps, the fine polish of eminen* writers, biu 
still indicating the great degree of natura 1 ability ar-' 
poetic genius which were certainly his. 

Probably the most pretentious of these poems w*< 
one called the " Tale of a Cell," which I have reason v 
believe is a partial history of the man himself, and a., 
impulsive, passionate outpouring of his own bitte. rriso- 

Some portions of the poem are only mediocre, nau 
grammatical and metric errors exist; but there arc fr* 
quently seen the indications of real genius, while occr 
sionally there occur passages worthy of the best authors 
The following is the poem complete ; 

CANTEh 59 


Ah, n:e ! how many years have flown, 

My wearied mem'ry scarce can tell, 
Since, piece by piece, and stone by stone, 

They wrought me in this dismal cell. 
Through storm and calm, and sun and ram. 

Six thousand years since I had birth, 
On yonder hillside I have lain, 

Soft in thy bosom, Mother Earth 1 

But rude men sought my resting-place, 

And with a sudden, fearful shock, 
They tore me from thy strong embrace, 

The wreck of a once mighty rock. 
They formed me in this living grave, 

A thing abhorred, a loathsome den ; 
Here am I now, man's wretched slave, 

To guard and grind his fellow-men, 

I recollect the time as well 

As if it were but yesterday, 
When I was but a new-made cell. 

My naked walls were cold and gray, 
For then I had not been o'er-reached 

By sad and never-ceasing care ; 
Long years of misery have bleached 

My sombre sides like whitened hair. 

'Twas summer time, and hill and dell 
And plain with loveliness were strow% 

When my first inmate came to dwell 
Compar ion of my silence lone. 


The earth was redolent with life 
Of all that's beautiful and fair, 

With birds and flowers and foliage ripe 
That sang or bloomed and budded thext 

The setting sun's departing ray 

Just pierced the darkness lone and drear,, 
When strange men came from far away 

And brought the trembling captive here. 
He was a stripling still, and one 

Who ne'er had tasted grief till then ; 
Poor child ! he had but just begun 

To live his three-score years and ten. 

Upon the threshold of the door 

He shrank as if from touch of death ; 
His heart beat faster than before, 

And hot and hurried was his breath. 
I saw him shudder and grow pale 

When clanged the door poor cap'ive bird 
He sighed, and then a low, sad wail 

Of 'speechless agony was heard. 

He leaned upon his prison-bars 

And gazed until the sun went down, 
While one by one the twinkling stars 

Glowed bright in night's imperial 
But the broad sky was shut from view ; 

A glance upon the rippling wave 
And one small strip of heaven's blue, 

Were all his narrow window gave. 


Yet there one little star appeared 

On which he gazed until it wore 
The semblance of a face endeared 

By ties that he could know no moie" 
The ties of mother and of son ; 

No stronger ties on earth are riven ; 
Perhaps it was this same dear one 

That beckoned her lost child to heave a. 

A recollection sad, but sweet, 

Stole o'er his senses like a thief, 
While he, unconscious of the cheat, 

Forgot his shame, forgot his grief. 
His thoughts were far away from here, 

'Mid scenes where once he used to roam 
With friends and kindred fond and dear, 

Within his childhood's happy home. 

There were his sisters young and fair, 

And there his brothers stout and tall, 
And there his aged sire, and there 

His mother, dearest of them all. 
Again he lived his childish hours, 

So gay, so good, and yet so brief, 
So strewn with pleasure's blooming floweri, 

He scarcely saw the thorn of grief. 

Where'er he moved, whate'er he saw 
His mother's form was ever there ; 

With her, in reverential awe, 
He knelt at morn and evening praver. 


With her, each holy Sabbath day, 

He listened to God's sacred word } 
Twas she who taught his lips to pray, 
And his young heart's devotion stirred. 

And when he stretched his weary form 

Upon the couch he used to share, 
That little bed, so soft and warm, 

Was made by that fond mother's care. 
He saw her wasted, wan and pale, 

But with that faith that never dies, 
Admitted, through Death's shadowy vale, 

To life eternal in the skies. 

Before the last of life had fled, 

As he stood weeping by her side, 
" I'm going home, my child I " she said, 

And bade him meet her there, and died. 
He saw her borne to her last bed, 

By fellow-travelers to the grave, 
The sweet " City of the Dead, ' 

Where mourning yew and cypress wave. 

And ere he well could comprehend 

A mother's love, a mother's worth, 
He saw her coffined form descend 

"Dust unto dust," and "earth to earth,* 
He saw his home deserted, bare, 

Bereft of all that made it dear ; 
His kindred gone ; no thing was there 

Of <U1 he used to love, revere. 


And then he wandered forth, apart 

From all that blessed him when a child 
Untutored in the world's black heart, 

Temptation his young heart beguiled. 
The crime, arrest, confinement, shame, 

The trial, sentence, felon's cell, 
Passed through his mind like withering flame ; 

'Twas conscience first crime's fiercest hell 

Dim grew the little star's bright beam, 

A dark cloud o'er the heavens crept ; 
The captive started 'twas no dream ; 

And then he turned aside and wept. 
'Twas his first crime, and guilt and fear 

Had pressed him deeply, darkly down ; 
No penitential grief could cheer 

No teais his crying conscience drown. 

Though night advanced and darkness stole 

With midnight blackness o'er the skies, 
No hope had soothed his troubled soul, 

No sleep had closed his weeping eyesfc 
A sudden thought his bosom thrilled, 

A hope by memory long delayed, 
His grief subdued, his passion stilled, 

And on the ground he kndi and prayed. 

And ere he could that prayex repeat, 
" Or echo answer from the hill," 

"A stHl, small voice," divinely sweet, 
Said : ' Peace! thou troubled soul, 


He slept the tranquil sleep of thoce 

Who feel no guilt and fear no hell- 
The weary sinner's sweet repose, 
When danger's past, and all is welL 

He woke when morning's purple beams 

Along the hill-tops richly glowed ; 
And, as he rose from his sweet dreams, 

And gazed around his grim abode, 
O'er his fair face there came a shade, 

And in his eyes a strange light burned. 
He looked bewildered, lost, afraid, 

Till, one by one, his thoughts returned, 

Bringing his terrors back again 
In all their darkest hues arrayed ; 

But faith and hope sustained him thec 
Again he wept, again he prayed, 

And then, unseen by mortal eye, 

In that bright morn serene and stil;, 

With heart and hand uplifted high, 
He vowed to do his Maker's will. 

And when they took him forth that day 

Among his brotherhood in sin, 
To toil with them he went his way, 

Cheerful without and calm within ; 
And night, returning, brought no change- 

He knew the justice of his lot, 
And to its mandate, harsh and strange, 

He meekly bowed and murmured not 


Thus day by day, each morn and night, 

Sad, but resigned, he went and camej 
Still me urning o'er his wretched plight, 

He buried hopes and early shame. 
Thus months, like ages, passed away ; 

A change came o'er the convict lad : 
Sometimes his heart was almost gay, 

And sometimes very, very sad. 

And often by the night-lamp's flame 
I saw his youthful features wear 

A vengeful look that ill became 
The face of one so young and fair. 

T knew not what it was that made 
His heart grow colder day by day ; 

t knew not why his hope decayed, 
Nor why at length he ceased to pray. 

But, sometimes in his absent moods, 

With flashing eye and actions strange, 
He muttered long, like one who broods 

O'er bitter wrongs and sweet revenge. 
At length he came not back again 

One winter's evening black and chill 
I watched and listened all in vain 

The doors were closed, and all was still. 

The morning went and came again, 

And went and came for five long weeks, 

Ere he returned sick and in pain, 
With sunken eye and sallow cheeks, 


His haggard face and matted hair 

With dungeon and with damp iefilect- 

The hate, the anguish, and despair 
Seen in his glances fierce and wild ; 

The muttered curses deep and long, 

That bubbled up at every breath 
And told a tale of ruthless wrong, 

Of smothered ire, revenge, and death. 
Again he knelt, but not in prayer, 

And called on God, but not for grac t 
But with blasphemous oaths, to swear 

Undying vengeance on his race. 

Calmly he laid him down, as lies 

The weary tiger in his den ; 
Calmly in sleep he closed his eyes, 

O'er his fell purpose brooding then. 
But, even while he slumbered there, 

His injured spirit scorned repose, 
And other scenes, in form of air, 

Around the restless sleeper rose. 

That night the mystery which draped 

The convict's fearful fate was broke^ 
And, in his feverish sleep, escaped 

From lips that all unconscious spoke. 
I saw the secret of his heart 

Bv slow and sure degrees unfold, 
As, night by night, and part by part s 

His sad and cruel tale was told. 


Tbe slave of men* who bought and sold 

Their brother fellows for a price ; 
Whose creed is gain, whose god is gold, 

Whose virtue is another's vice ; 
Who live by crime, and rave and storm 

At those who hate their hellish lust. 
Curse God, religion, and reform, 

And all that makes men good and just j 

Who seemed to think him born to be 

The slave of a contractor's will, 
To doff the cap and bend the knee 

To keeper's manner, viler still. 
In vain he sought by gentle tones, 

Respectful speech and humble air, 
To please the pompous, senseless drones 

Employed to drive him to despair. 

In vain he toiled with all his might 

Hi grinding masters to appease ; 
In vain he wrought from morn till night, 

Heart-sick and wasted by disease. 
He could not sate their thirst for gain, 

And when exhausted nature's store 
Of strength and health began to wane, 

They never ceased to cry for more ; 

But dragged him forth, I know not where, 
To scenes from which the thoughts recok. 

Till death should free, or strong despair 
Should lend him energy to toil ; 

* Contractor!, 



Or torture's keen sst, fiercest pain* 
Should grind his very soul away, 

To swell a grasping miser' s gains 
Or swell a tyrant jailor's sway. 

He spoke of dungeons where no light 

Can ever pierce the noisome gloom, 
Whose icy chill, and long, long night 

Outlive the horrors of the tomb ; 
Where time appears so loth to leave, 

Each moment seems an age of care, 
And noon and night, and morn and eve, 

Are all alike to dwellers there ; 

Where the lone wretch in terror quaked 

While madness darkened o'er his brain. 
And naught the deathless stillness waked 

Save the dull clank of his own chain, 
As, blindly, fearfully, he groped 

In solitude complete, profound ; 
Or, half- unconscious, sat and moped 

Upon the cold and slimy ground. 

He spoke with agonizing cries 

Of tortures pen can ne'er depict, 
That none but demons could devise, 

And none but hell's foul fiends inflict ; 
Now writhing as in mortal pangs, 

Now gasping hurriedly for breath, 
Now trembling like the wretch that hangs 

Suspended o'er the brink of death. 


Defiant now, and now dismayed, 

Now struggling with an unseen foe, 
He smiled and frowned, and cursed and prayed, 

In accents piteous and low. 
So day by day, and week by week, 

His bed the grave-cold granite stones, 
While hunger gnawed his pallid cheeic 

And almost bared his aching bones. 

Debarred the sweet, reviving air, 

The shining sun and azure sky, 
The pale, pale victim, in despair, 

Outlived the death he longed to die. 
Thus, often, when the night unrolled 

Its sable screen o'er land and sea, 
The all-unconscious dreamer told 

Tlis cruel wrongs to God and me. 

And while he muttered in his sleep 

His tale of sorrow and distress, 
1 knew he suffered pains too deep 

For pen or pencil to express. 
1 knew it by the sunken eye, 

Distorted face and blood-stained lip, 
The sweat, the tear, the groans, the crj 

Convulsive grasp and death -like grip. 

I knew it by the heart's hard beat ; 

I knew it by the bursting brain ; 
I knew it by the fever heat 

That burned and blazed in every 


I knew it by the fearful lines 
That mortal woe and anguish 

I knew it by the thousand signs 
Of great and measureless despair. 

How changed since they brought him 

A timid, trembling, weeping boy 
No foes to hate, and none to fear, 

No friends to grieve, and none to joy ! 
Respectful, willing, meek, benign, 

He toiled as for a royal crown 
Rejoiced by an approving sign, 

Disheartened by an angry frown. 

As pliant as the potter's clay, 

They might have moulded him at will 
For honored happiness, had they 

The wish, the justice, or the skill ; 
But those who should have taught his min<i j 

By precept and example loud, 
Were stone-blind leaders of the blind, 

Base, overbearing, lawless, proud ; 

Exacting, cruel, harsh, and grim, 

In Christ no hope, in heaven no share, 
They went not in, and hindered him 

Who gladly would have entered there , 
With no kind, Christian friend to steer 

His drifting bark to ports above, 
No eye to pity, tongue to cheer, 

Or loving, kindred heart to lore. 

CAtfTER. 71 

Condemned to herd with those who sought 

His purer nature to defile, 
Whose every word, and deed, and thought. 

Was vile, the vilest of the vile ; 
To them, the vicious and depraved, 

In his extremity he turned ; 
With them he sought the cheer he craved, 

The sympathy for which he yearned. 

They welcomed him to darker shame, 

A baser life, a deeper fall ; 
And the once child-like youth became 

The vilest, sternest of them all 
Rebellious, scornful, fierce, profane, 

Vindictive, stubborn, void of fear : 
Well might I marvel and exclaim, 

How changed since first they brought him 

Time went as time has always went 

In pleasure swift, in sorrow slow ; 
And soon, unfettered and unspent, 

He would be free to come and go. 
Enraptured thought ! ah, wonld it be? 

He scarcely dared believe it so. 
But time rolled on, and he was free ; 

Was he then truly happy ? No ! 

No ! life had nothing left for him ; 

No joy to lend, no boon to give j 
He could not sink, he could not swim, 

But struggling, dying, doomed to In* I 


Yes, live, though life's bright sun hs*l set; 

He cared not how, he thought not why; 
He knew that he must live, and yet 

Forget, alas' I that he must die. 

I saw him, when, in after times, 

With nothing left of sin to learn, 
He came again, for darker crimes, 

A bearded ruffian, hard and stern. 
He mocked at those who brought him back 

And laughed to scorn their idle threats. 
What torture from his frame could rack 

The sum of his unmeasured debts ? 

He laughed to think how many times 

He sinned unpunished and uncaught ; 
What nameless and unnumbered crimes 

That red right hand of his had wrought. 
He laughed when he remembered how 

His wrongs were soothed in human wcxs. 
And he but one lone captive now 

To his ten thousand thousand foes 

He cursed- the faithless hopes that first 

His too confiding heart beguiled j 
He cursed his innocence, he cursed 

The dreams that mocked him when a child 
He cursed his lonely prison den, 

And death, hell, and the grave defied ; 
He cursed himself and fellow-men ; 

He cursed his Maker, God and died. 


The world will never know the wrong 

That drives its erring children back 
To deeper crime and those who throng 

Destruction's broad and beaten track, 
'Twill never know the trusts betrayed, 

The worth its wolfish tools devour ; 
'Twill never know the prices paid 

To sate the cruel pride of power I 

SING SING, Oct. 31, 1870. 



IT would be a surprise to the general public if the rec- 
ords of all my offices could be thrown open for in- 
spection, so that it might be observed what a wide rangt 
has been covered by investigations which I have been 
called upon to undertake the mysteries to unravel, or 
crimes to prevent or unearth. It must not be supposed 
that the services of my agencies are wholly devoted to 
criminal matters. Some of the most important legal con- 
tests of the times have been decided in accordance with 
the irresistible array of evidence which a small army of 
my men have quietly, keenly, and patiently secured; 
while the operation of immense business interests, like 
banking, insurance, and railway matters, have often been 
interrupted by seemingly inextricable confusion and cow 


plexity, which threatened great loss, until my service I 
were asked ; and by my thorough and complete system, 
through which almost general and instant communication 
and information can be secured, I have been enabled to 
bring order out of chaos, and prevent what might have 
otherwise resulted in commercial ruin to my patrons. 
As the individual detective's notice must be brought to 
everything great and small upon any investigation he may 
be conducting, so is it true that the principal of a large 
system of detective agencies must be so situated that he 
may consider and receive every possible variety of busi- 
ness always excepting that which is disreputable and 
then have means at his command to carry each case, 
may it be great or insignificant, to a successful issue. 

In the pursuit of these cases there is frequently both 
tragedy and pathos ; they are always full of deep and fasci- 
nating interest to myself and my operatives, and quite fre- 
quently they bring to the surface all phases of ridiculous 
humor, which I frequently enjoy to the greatest possible 

In the summer of 1857 there was located, along the 
ihore of Lake Michigan, within the limits of the city of 
Chicago, a high, narrow, sandy strip of land, then occu- 
pied as a cemetery, known as the " Old Catholic Burymg- 
Ground," or the " Old French Cemetery," from the fact 
that within it reposed the remains of hundreds who had 
died in the Catholic faith, as well as large numbers of the 
early French settlers and their half-breed progeny. 

Quaint inscriptions and devices were there seen ? and 


everywhere upon the great cenotaph or monument, 01 
upon the most modest of graves, the cross, in every man- 
ner of design, somber with black paint or bright with 
fanciful colors, or still white in chiseled marble, could tx 

The old cemetery has since been removed ; and where 
once stood, in silence and mournfulness, the city of the 
dead, now are seen splendid mansions of the rich, with 
magnificent gardens and conservatories, or, in that por 
tion which has been absorbed by Chicago's beautiful Lin- 
coln Park, handsome drives, fine fountains, exquisite lawn 
or copse ; and over all the old-time somberness has 
come an air of opulence, beauty, and healthful diversion. 
Scarcely could a greater change anywhere be noted than 
from the former solemnity and desolation to the present 
elegance and artistic winsomeness. 

In the time of which I write Chicago was much 
younger than now. Twenty years have made the then 
little city the present great metropolis. All the great en- 
terprises which now distinguish the city were then in their 
infancy. Particularly were all institutions of learning 
having a hard struggle to creep along ; and the medical 
schools, then just started, were put to every possible shift 
for the funds necessary to an existence ; and there being 
often no legal provision for securing "subjects" foi dis- 
section, the few students pursuing their course of .itudy 
were compelled to secure these essential aids to theii 
work by grave-robbery, that greatest and rrost horribk 
Desecration imaginable. 


The old French cemetery being situated less than 
mile and a half from the river which then as now wis 
called neaily the geographical center of the city thj 
temptation to steal newly-buried bodies from so conve 
nient a locality proved irresistible, and the city was soon 
startled by a succession of grave-robberies which excited 
general indignation and alarm. Coupled with this indig 
nity to the dead and the friends of the dead, some mali- 
cious persons had entered the cemetery and wantonly 
desecrated graves from which subjects had not been 

Some held that this had been caused through religious 
ill-feeling, others that it was the result of pure mischief or. 
the part of such persons as had been concerned in othei 
impudent and graceless grave-robberies ; but the result 
of it all was that so much public wrangling and excite- 
riient occurred that a committee of prominent gentlemen, 
including some of the city officials, called upon me, and 
desired me to take such measures as would cause a cessa- 
tion of the outrages, and bring to punishment whoever 
might be found to have been the perpetrators of the 

While such was the result of the operation, it is omy 
my purpose here to relate a single incident of the many 
interesting ones which transpired, and one which, while 
it illustrates the ridiculous length of absurdity to which 
an inherent superstition and a hearty fear will lead theii 
possessor, I can never recall without almost uncontrollable 


My plan of operations was as follows ? 

I detailed eight men from my force, under the charge 
of Timothy Webster, one of the most faithful men ever 
in my service who, it will be remembered, was executed 
at Richmond as a Federal spy during the late civil war. 
These were so stationed that every entrance to the ceme- 
tery should be guarded, as well as all the new-made 
graves thoroughly watched. As no word could be spoken 
lest it might frighten away any culprit before he could be 
captured, I found it absolutely necessary to devise some 
simple, though silent and effective means of communica- 
tion. To effect this I decided upon using several sets 
of heavy chalk-lines, such as are generally used by carpen- 
ters in laying out work. The ends of each line were at- 
tached to small stakes driven in the ground about three 
feet apart. The operatives' station was between these 
stakes ; and, in order that every man should be forced to 
not only remain at his post, but remain continually awake 
and vigilant, I required the line to be gently pulled three 
times, beginning with a certain post, and extending rapidly, 
according to a pre-arranged plan, and the same signal 
repeated after a lapse of about one minute, in reverse 
order. This was the general signal that eve-y thing was 
as it should be, and nothing new had transpired. This 
was repeated every fifteen minutes, so that by no possi 
bility could any dereliction of duty pass undetected. 

Aside from this, the system of signals compr'sed means 
of communicating the presence of any outside party, at 
whatever point the intruder should make his appearance,. 


and such other necessary information as would lead to a 
silent, swift, and certain capture of any person who might, 
for any cause whatever, enter the cemetery, 

I had detailed men for this work whom I fe?t I could 
rely upon. Simple as it may seem to one who has neve: 
had such an experience, remaining all night in a grave 
yard, with every nerve and faculty on the constant qu 
vive of expectation, is not such pleasant work as it may be 
supposed ; and though the novelty of the affair, coupled 
with all mannei of outlandish jokes upon the situation, 

kept up an interest which lasted a few nights, I began to 

notice signs among a few of my men indicating that the 

solemnity and dread of the situation were taking the place 
of its original romance. 

Coupled with this, there were among these eight, as 
there always are among any like body of men the world 
over, a few who, like myself, began to notice these indi- 
cations of weakness on the part of the more susceptible 
among them. These braver fellows immediately com- 
menced, with solemn tones and long faces, to relate hob- 
goblin tales of ghosts and materialized spirits which came 
from their silent resting-places for unearthly strolls among 
them. Although I put a stop to this as much as possi- 
ble, what had already been done had had its desired 
effect, and a few of the watchers showed well-defined 
evidences of genuine fear, and to such an extent that 4 
was finally compelled to relieve some men, and All theii 
places with others. 

Among the cemetery detail was one young fellow 


named O'Grady, a genuine son of the Emerald Isle, who 
had come to me almost direct from Ireland, and who, 
though he had been in my service but a few months, had 
shown native traits such as gave promise of improve- 
ment and advancement. He was the very life and soul 
of the detective rooms, and the wonderful tales he re- 
aied of himself, his ready wit, his true bravery in all 
places wherever he had been previously used, and his 
quick generosity toward his fellows, had given him an 
exalted place among them. 

I saw that O'Grady was weakening. 

He tried hard not to show it. He endeavored to look 
bright and spirited, but it was all up-hill work. He 
began to get thin on this grave-yard duty. It was very 
reflective work. From eight to ten hours utterly alone, 
and surrounded by everything which could fill one's mind 
with fear and dread, had its effect. His natural supersti- 
tion suddenly developed into an abnormal and unnatural 
dread, which to the ignorant fellow seemed to become 
almost overwhelming. Had he not been such a hero in 
his own eyes, I am certain that I could not but have 
relented ; but, under the circumstances, I confess that I 
neartily enjoyed his forlorn appearance as he dejectedly 
left the Agency to take up his all-night's vigil, which un- 
doubtedly soon became a genuine terror to him. 

Having carried the matter so far, the spirit of innocent 
mischief and practical joking, which has always been 
strong within me, as many of my personal friends lon| 
go discovered, prompted we till further, 


I determined to play ghost for one night, show O'Grady 
a genuine goblin, and put his often-told tales of personal 
bravery to a practical test. 

Accordingly, giving out at the Agency that I should be 
absent at a neighboring town for the night, before snn- 
down I secured a private conveyance which took me to 
a point along the lake shore, about a mile beyond the old 
Catholic Cemetery ; and then, before the time for the detail 
to go on duty came, disguised all that was necessary to 
prevent recognition by any chance stroller, I hastily re- 
turned to the cemetery through the heavy copse of scrub- 
oak and willow that then lined the shore at that point, 
and, entering the place unobserved just as the twilight 
began to gather heavily, secreted myself within a heavy 
clump of arbor vita ornamenting a family, lot, not over 
twenty feet from the point where I had previously learned 
that O'Grady was stationed each night. 

I had no time to spare, for I had thus hardly be- 
come one of the cemetery watchers before, one by one, 
and all in stealth, the men began coming in from every 
direction, but so secretly and carefully that they might 
have been mistaken, by one not informed of their pur- 
pose, for ghosts or grave-robbers themselves, while Tim- 
othy Webster noiselessly sped from point to point, 
stretching the line which held the men silently to their 

I could have touched the fellow as he passed me. ID 
fact, ar. almost irresistible desire seized me to plav Puck, 
sped by, am} trip him among the damp, dark weeds 


Pretty soon O'Grady came to his station, groaning ano 

As soon as the dark came down upon the old cemetery 
I left my hiding-place and got in line with the tell-tale 

O'Grady was busy saying his prayers, and of course did 
not hear me rustling about in the long grass. 

My first impulse was to grab a cross from some old- 
time grave, and toss it, over the stones, in upon him ; 
but by great effort I suppressed this, and soon found my- 
self sitting in a hollow between two mounds, with my 
hand upon the lirie. 

"One, two, three !" jerk, jerk, jerk, went the line: 
the first signal was being given. 

My hand touched the line as lightly and yet as know- 
ingly as the telegraph operator's fingers touch his well- 
known instrument ; but I made no sign of my presence. 

O'Grady answered the signal loyally ; but scarcely was 
his duty done in this respect before he began a sort of a 
low, crooning wail, half like a mother's lullaby, half like a 
"keen" at a wake. 

" Why did I lave ye, ye green ould sod ? Why did I 
iave ye, ye dear old bogs ? Why did I lave ye, ye blue- 
eyed swateheart ? Feule I am that I came to the divil's 
ould boy, Phinkerton ! Feule I am that I sit here by the 
blissed crosses av the dead, waitin' for the ghouls to rob I 
Och, murther ! happy I'll be if the whole blissed place ia 
tuk away ! " 

" One, twp, three !" jerk, jerk, jerk, came the signJ 


again, while O'Grady answered it, as I could feel, with an 
impatient response. 

After this, for a time, the brave Irish guardsman 
weaved back and forth upon the grave where he was sit- 
ting ; when suddenly, to my horror, he lighted his pipe 
and began smoking. 

I knew the man had become desperate in his loneliness, 
and had arrived at a point of feeling where he was u* 
terly regardless of the success of the operation ; and if I 
had felt sure of this when he recklessly lighted his du 
dheen, I could not but realize it to my sorrow when, in 
the glow of his roaring pipe, I could see that he followed 
his solace of tobacco by a more substantial quieter of 
superstition and fear from a black bottle, which the bold 
O'Grady had conveniently set, after each passage to his 
r jps, upon the base of the monument above the grave 
where he was sitting. 

I was indignant, and yet interested. I felt like drag- 
ging the brave O'Grady from his comfortable quarters to 
give him a good drubbing for his utter carelessness of 
the interests of the operation, and I am certain that in 
my then state of mind 1 would have done so if my 
desire to nearly scare the life out of him had not been 

Outside of the fussing and wailing of the O'Grady, 
there were no other but unpleasant surroundings i:i the 
old Catholic Cemetery. No v and then the ghostly hoot 
of the owl sounded weirdly from the surrounding tree- 
tops. From the low copses beyond came the mournfuJ 


cry of the whip-poor-will. And down along the silvery 
beach of the shore, which gleamed and darkened as the 
new moon appeared, or was obscured for a time behind 
the darkening clouds, floated up and over the dreary place 
the sad and ghostly beating of the waves upon the beach. 

It was a lonesome place, and it began to occur to me 
that I would not care to pass many nights in such a man- 
ner myself; but, under the circumstances, I saw that Mr 
O'Grady had fixed himself about as comfortably as it 
well could be done. Every time the signal was given, 
Mr. O'Grady would respond, when he would immediately 
recollect that his good bottle stood idle beside him. 
After a little he seemed to become so lonesome anC 
dejected that he began a sort of conversation, in a lov 
tone, with himself, in which he compelled the bottle. 
ly proxy, to join, all after the following fashion : 

(t An' it's a big feule ye are, O'Grady. If it were not 
for meself that's thakin' pity on yez, ye'd be dead en- 

"Ah, faith!" Mr. O'Grady would reply, with a sigh, 
" fchrue for ye, thrue for ye ! If I ever get out of this 
divel's own schrape, ould Phinkerton '11 never get me in 
the loikes again ! " 

'* So ye say ! so ye say, O'Grady; but yer always and 
foriver resolvin', and ye come to nothin' in tae ind i " 

" Don't be worryin' and accusin' me, me dear boy. 
This schrape wid the graves will be me last. By the rock 
of Cashel! phat's that?" 

This last exclamation from Mr. O'Grady, A'hich was ii 


a tone of great alarm, was caused by my displacing a 
small foot-stone, which fell from the elevation of the 
graded mound with a sharp crash upon the graveled 
walk below. 

I had got my sheet well adjusted, and had intended mov- 
ing upon the scared Irishman atone rush; but his terribly 
frightened manner and the unfortunate falling of the foot- 
stone caused me to change my plan and decide to bring 
on the climax in a gradual accumulation of horrors. Sc 
I gave a well-defined moan, and watched for the results. 

Mr. O'Grady listened for a moment, as if hoping that 
he had been deceived; but I could see in the faint light, 
to which my eyes had become accustomed, that he was 
trembling violently. He applied his bottle to his lips, 
and its mouth rattled against his teeth as he did so. 

Another prolonged and blood-curdling moan came 
from the cluster of arbor vita. This caused Mr. O'Grady 
to industriously begin crossing himself, and at the same 
time mutter some prayers as rapidly as his half-drunken 
lips could dole them out. 

I saw that this should not be too far prolonged, for the 
poor coward might give the danger signal, which would 
at once bring a half-dozen stalwart fellows upon us ; and 
so, while in his abject fear he was pleading with all the 
saints in the calendar for protection, I suddenly rose in 
my ghostly attire and in a moment was upon him, waving 
my arms and gesticulating very savagely for any sort of 
ghost that was ever manufactured, vut never ttering a 


" Holy mother of Moses !" yelled O'Grady, springing 
wildly into the air, and turning a complete back somer- 
sault over the base of an uncompleted monument while 
I sprang after him. 

" Murther ! Help ! Murther ! " howled O'Grady, re- 
covering, and bounding like a deer over four graves at a 
leap ; while I could see, as I flew after him, that my oper- 
atives were hastening to the rescue. 

I could not help but know that grave consequences 
might follow my unusual action ; but a wild, boyish, and 
uncontrollable desire to pursue the flying O'Grady sud- 
denly possessed me, and for the time overcame all other 

And so away we went together ! 

Mounds, headstones, clumps of evergreens, newly-dug 
graves, wheelbarrows, and grave-diggers' litters were 
cleared as though we two were fox-hounds at a chase. 
Some sort of instinct for safety seemed to direct the wild 
O'Grady toward the western boundary of the cemetery ; 
and away he went, howling and yelling at every jump, 
but increasing his speed at each terrified glimpse of the 
relentless ghost behind him. 

Over the fence he went at a bound, cursing and pray 
ing at every gasp. I was younger then a score of years, 
hardy and agile, and I now saw a two-fold reason for 
keeping pretty well upon the heels f O'Grady. My 
operatives were in full pursuit, and " Halt, halt, halt ! " 
was heard on every side ; and so, making a running 
jump of it, although my ghostly toggery impeded me 


somewhat, I managed to get over the fence with quite at 
much grace and agility as the wild Irishman in advance, 
It was well that I did so, for at that moment I could see 
the flash of several pistols lighting the sky behind, and 
instantly after heard the whispering of several bullets 
within dangerous proximity to my person. Over the 
fence scrambled my men in hot pursuit, but swift on the 
wings of terror and fear sped the horrified O'Grady ; and> 
never for an instant relinquishing what were certainly un- 
usual exertions on my own part, I sped on wildly after him. 
We soon outdistanced my operatives so much that I 
could see, as I ran, that they were compelled to give up 
the chise and return defeated; but the witless O'Grady 
and his vengeful ghost still swept on and on. That part 
of the city, then containing but a few scattering resi- 
dences, was soon passed, and O'Grady and the ghost 
continued the trial of speed out across the open prairie, 
still to the northwest. This was traversed in the most 
^markable time ever made, O'Grady still yelling and 
cursing and praying, but the ghost, ever silent and relent- 
less, not far behind ; when suddenly we came to the north 
branch cf the Chicago River, then hardly more than a 
creek, into which, with a wild cry of despair, the Irishman 
plunged, swimming and scrambling to the other side just 
as I had reached the shore, where I gave another spurt 
to his speed by an unearthly yell, whici seemed to send 
the man on still faster, if it could be possible ; and the 
last I heard of O'Grady he was tearing and bounding 
through the hazel brush like a mad bull beyond. 


So far as I know, O'Grad) is still running. 

He has never been heard of by me or any of my many 
employees. Though I adver.ised for him repeatedly, no 
answer ever came ; and if any one of my readers, whose 
eyes may chance to fall upon this sketch, can prove tha; 
he is the veritable O'Grady, he can have the small 
amount of salary still standing to his credit on my books, 
which has so far been wholly unclaimed. 

After a hearty laugh on the shore of the North Branch, 
I cast my ghostly attire upon the prairie, and, utterly 
tired and exhausted, plodded back, through the darkness, 
to the city, taking lodgings at an out-of-the way hotel for 
the balance of the night, and was ready for business as 
usual at my office in the morning. 

Never were there seven more perplexed men than 
those who reported the mystery of the night previous at 
the Old Catholic Cemetery. 

O'Grady was gone that was certain. His cries for 
help had been heard. His wild flight, pursued by a veri- 
table giiost, which could be vouched for by those who 
had attempted its capture, was related. There, at the 
mound of the uncompleted monument, were found a 
nearly empty whisky-bottle and a still smoldering pipe. 
But this was all that was known by the honest fellows, of 
will be known, until this sketc'. is given to he public, of 
the Ghost of the Old Catholic Cemetery, 



f~* RIMINALS not only are very ingenious in theil 
^ / schemes against the general public, but they fre- 
quently show considerable skill and a certain grade of 
quiet humor in well-laid plans against each other. 

An instance of the kind happened in this wise : 

In 1875, Scott and Dunlap the famous bank robbers 
who robbed the Northampton National Bank of nearly a 
million dollars, and who are now behind the bars of the 
penitentiary of that State, through the efforts of my 
Agencies had laid their plans to rob a certain up-town 
New York city bank. 

George Miles, alias Bliss, alias White, the notorious 
Max Shinburne's old partner, and his party were con- 
cocting a like operation for relieving a down-town bank 
of its capital. 

Now it was found by the Miles party that both banki 
were to be robbed in like manner, by that very popular 
method of "bank-bursting," which consists of renting a 
room or rooms above those occupied by a bank, and 
then, if possible, tunneling through into its vaults or 
into the bank offices, and then breaking into the vaults 
in the regular manner, 

Miles saw that, if the Scott-Dunlap gang should hap 


pen to first complete their job, the publicity given the 
method employed would set every bank officer in New 
York investigating the possibility of a like misfortune, 
and thus defeat his own purpose. He accordingly took 
two of his men, who were wholly unknown to the other 
party, provided them with complete police uniforms and 
clubs, and, at a suitable time after nightfall, stationed 
them in hiding behind the up-town bank, and when the 
members of the Scott-Dimlap party approached the build- 
ing " to pipe it off," or take observations, tfcey were of 
course recognized by Miles' policemen, who drove them 

The Scott-Dunlap party were now in utter consterna- 
tion. They felt certain that their scheme had been dis- 
covered, or at least that the officers of the bank had 
had their suspicions in some manner awakened, and cer- 
tainly to that extent which would make their project im- 

To put the matter to further test, on the succeeding 
night other of their men were instructed to " pipe off" 
the place still more cautiously. But these too were dis- 
covered by Miles' vigilant but bogus police, given chase 
to, and unmercifully clubbed. 

This delayed matters with Scott and Dunlap until 
Miles and his party, the chief members of which con- 
sisted of George Miles, " Pete " Curly, and " Sam " Per 
ris, alias * Wooster Sam," got everything ready for theii 
attack on the down-town Dank, which was located within 
one block of the First District police-station a: id within 


the same distance of my New York office, at No. 66 EJ 
change Place. 

In the meantime, it is thought, the Scott-DunUp 
party had learned of the down-town scheme, and cause J 
information to be given, and before the Miles party had 
got fairly at work they were pounced upon by the police. 

A lively fight ensued, and, although considerable shoot- 
ing was done, the entire party of burglars escaped, so 
that two great bank burglaries, where very probably hun- 
dreds of thousands of dollars in cash and bonds would 
have been secured, were prevented through nothing more 
ar less than what was hoped to be a very excellent trick 
by one notorious set of rogues upon another. 



was born, near Sandusky, Ohio, in the yeai 
A 1838, an adventurous lad named Walter Eastman 
Sheridan. His people were plain but intelligent farmers, 
and, while not possessed of an over-supply of means, .had 
considerable pride in the boy, ga\e him a liberal educa- 
tion, and destined him, as fond parents sually. do, foi 
some very bright career in life. 

He remained at home until about fourteen years of 
ige, wherj its restraints became too i 1 some, an J full of 


An adventurous spirit, and feeling able to take caie ot 
himself in the world, he d!d what thousands of boys did 
before him with various results he "ran away" from 
home to seek his fortunes in the then brilliant and fasci- 
nating city of St. Louis. 

Here he secured employment ; but, being without ft 
home and its healthful influences, soon fell into bad com- 
pany. He was a bright, pleasant-faced fellow ; but as he 
was " too independent " to return to his friends or accept 
their advice, little tricks were soon resorted to, and the 
boy readily saw that it was an easy matter to win the con- 
fidence of those with whom he came in contact, and be- 
fore he had become eighteen years of age he was an 
adept in the art of living genteelly from forced public 
contributions of a varied character. 

His first crime, or rather the first crime for which he 
was tried, was for horse-stealing at St. Louis, in 1858. 
He was convicted, and, while awaiting sentence, broke 
jail and escaped to Chicago. 

Being a dashing, rosy-cheeked fellow of elegant ad- 
dress, after he had been in that city for a time, he b> 
came the pupil of Joe Moran, a noted confidence man 
and hotel thief, the couple doing a neat and thrifty busi- 
ness from the beginning. 

Sheridan proved so pat about everything he did, and 
exhibited such aptness and delicate judgment in every- 
thing he undertook, that the pair continued in partner- 
ship nearly three years, woiking the hotels of Chicago 
$i)d neighboring cities t but \v\ \\\$ <?ajly part of 


were arrested in the act of robbing the guests' rooms at 
the old Adams House in that city. They were both con- 
victed, and given three years each at the Illinois Peniten- 
tiary, then located at Alton. 

The two men, after serving this term, retained to 
Chicago together, Moran soon dying of some disease 
brought on by prison exposure, while Sheridan resumed 
the same class of operation with the then notorious men 
of the same ilk, Emmett Lytle, Matt Duffy, and John 

But Sheridan, being a young man of good mind, some- 
what cultivated tastes, and large ambition, notwithstand- 
ing his reprehensible calling, soon tired of the low asso- 
ciations necessary to this standard of villainy, broke with 
hie old companions, and took a step higher in the profes- 
sion, becoming the " brains " and leader of " bank- 
sneaks," consisting of the notorious Joe Butts, Tom Par 
rell, alias " Pretty Tom," and others, and for some time 
the party did a very successful business, the elegant and 
refined Sheridan acting as " stall." 

As many of my readers may not be very familiar vri'.K 
criminals and their modes of pr< cedure, I will explain 
what a " stall " is in connection with the neat work t\ 
"bank-sneak gangs." 

To begin with, the " gang " is the party generally con 
sisting of about three to five persons working together 
As a rule, these persons are gentlemen of elegant leisure t 
secure large plunder, and have plenty of time to devote- to 
acquainted with the workings of a bank, famU 


lar with the faces and habits of its officers, ~s also of 
many of the heavier depositors; and when reidy foi 
work have quite as much knowledge of the inter! 01 
arrangements of the bank as many of its employees. 
Though there are numberless modes of accomplishing the 
same thing, the following instances will serve as illustra- 
tive of them all. 

A gentleman who has business stamped in every line of 
his face and article of his clothing, steps into a bank about 
noon, when the officers and several of the clerks are gen- 
erally at lunch, and either presents a forged letter of in- 
troduction or in some other manner compels the respect 
ful attention of the cashier, or teller, as the case may be. 

He will very probably produce a figuring-block or tab- 
let upon which are various memoranda and figures, and, 
while asking questions very rapidly and interrupting them 
quite as abruptly, conveys to the teller, who has already 
become somewhat distracted, the information that he, as 
the trustee for something or somebody, has, we will say 
twenty thousand dollars in five-twenty bonds to invest in 
different securities, and desires five thousand dollars in 
gold, five thousand dollars in seven -forties, five thousand 
doilars in ten-twenties, and five thousand dollars in some 
lailroad stock or other. 

7'nis affords the cashier, or teller, a series of delicate, 
if not difficult, calculations, anj all this time the business- 
like " trustee " who is none other than the " stall " is 
annoying him with questions, suggestions, and probably 
other orders as to the character of the investment desired. 

94 SttERlDAtf, Tti PORG&R. 

so that the teller's whole attention is absolutely requLcd 
to follow the customer's whims and his own calculations. 

This is exactly what has been striven for by the " stall," 
and his eminence in his profession is in just the proportion 
to his ability to accomplish this, whatever be the means 
he may employ in doing it. 

But before this "stall" begins playing the "trustee/* 
01 other game, three of his companions, or pals, called 
"pipers," are on the look out for the approach of any of 
the bank officers or employees, and are ready to sound a 
signal at the approach of the slightest cause for alarm ; 
and sometimes other " stalls " are stationed in the bank 
wherever necessary ; while, at a given signal, the " sneak," 
who is generally a nimble little fellow, slips behind the 
partition through some open door, or sometimes through 
open windows, and thence into the bank-vault, where he 
secures his plunder, which is usually large, because th: 
thieves have taken time to make the operation a success. 

After the " sneak " is well away, the " stalls " draw off, 
so as not to excite suspicion, and the "trustee, 1 ' after 
thankfully receiving the teller's calculations and agreeing 
to return with the bonds to effect the desired exchange 
before the close of banking hours, takes his departure. 
The entire job is done in ten or fifteen minutes, and fre 
quently the loss is not discovered for days. 

Another game of the " bank-sneak gang," but one whicn 
requires far more nerve, assurance, and personal bravery 
though far less tact and skill, is to become cognizant of 
parties making heavy, deposits at a late hour, when every 


thing is rushing about the bank and the check desks are 

In this instance, the sneak, with a bogus bank book in 
his hand, and with a business-like air aboiu .iim, taps some. 
gentleman with a flush deposit in Vis hand lightly on the 
shoulder, and politely calls his attention to the fact thai 
he has dropped some money. Looking upon the floor, 
the latter sees a genuine ten-dollar bill (which the sneak 
has dexterously dropped there, of course), anu bends over 
to pick it up, leaving his book and deposit upon the 

In an instant the polite gentleman has the money left 
upon the desk and is upon the street, while the robbed 
arid astounded depositor recovers himself and gives chase ; 
he is apparently accidentally, but very effectually, impeded 
by other gentlc'men (all pals of the sneak), who run into 
him and beg his pardon in the most natural manner pos- 
sible, giving the party who had invested merely a ten- 
dollar bill and a little politeness, and who may have 
secured several thousand dollars ample time to escape. 

I could fill pages with instances of this kind, but will 
only mention a few of the heavier robberies of late years, 
whi;h were all committed in this manner, all of which are 
probably still fresh in the public mind. They are : 

The noted Lord bond robbery, where a million and a 
half dollars were taken ; the Royal Insurance Company 
robbery, over a half-million dollars being taken Camber- 
ing & Pine, New York brokers,, r >bbed of t/o hundred 
thousand dollars ; Litchmere Bank, East Cambridge, 

$6 StiERIbAtf, THE 

Mass., seventy-five thousand ; the recent robbery oi 
Jarnes H. Young, of New York, by the " Little Horace " 
Hovan party, of five hundred thousand ; the Canal Bank, 
of New Orleans, in 1872, sixty-five thousand ; paymaster's 
office of the Grand Trunk Railway, Montreal, twenty- 
five thousand ; Adams Express Company's office, at Cin- 
cinnati, ten thousand ; First National Bank, of Council 
Bluffs, Iowa, twenty thousand ; and so on, ad infinitum. 

Sheridan and his party worked this line of business 
robbing banks at Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. 
Louis, and other large cities until 1865, when he sepa- 
rated from these fellows, seeking more high-toned com- 
panions, and was taken on by George Williams, alias 
" English George," a widely-known thief and bank-robber. 
Williams had had his eye upon the young criminal for 
some time, and, admiring his shrewdness, audacity, and 
tact, took him into his Eastern, operations, where he did 
such good work that in 1867 he was known to be worth 
fully seventy-five thousand dollarn. 

A little later he participated in the robbing of the 
Maryland Fire Insurance Company, of Baltimore, acting 
OS " stall " when his party crowded the office and secured 
apward of seventy-five thousand dollars in money an.' 
negotiable bonds. 

Not one cent of this money was recovered, nor were 
any of the robbers captured. 

One of the neatest robberies Sheridan ever engaged 
in was that of United States Judge Blatchforl, at &n 
apple-stand in New York city. 


The Judge was sauntering along the street, and feeling 
like partaking of some fruit, he stopped at a little apple- 
stand, at the corner of Nassau ar.;i Liberty Streets, and in 
a fatherly manner purchased a few apples of the old 
apple-woman there. Sheridan accosted him, and so inter- 
ested him for a moment that, when he turned to take up 
the wallet, which he had carelessly laid upon the s^and, 
he found that it was gone. A suspicion flashed across 
his mind that the handsome stranger had had something to 
do with its disappearance ; but he too was gone. The wal- 
let contained seventy-five thousand dollars' worth of bonds, 
id but a small portion of the plunder was recovered. 

One of his first exploits, after becoming a professional, 
was at Springfield, Illinois, where he was not so fortunate. 
After the Baltimore robbery, he had come West with 
Charles Hicks, a Baltimore sneak-thief, and Philip Pier- 
son, alias " Baltimore Philly," and their initiatory move 
was upon the First National Bank, at Springfield. 

Sheridan called at the bank, and as usual proposed 
some complicated business, lucrative to the bank, which 
completely engaged the cashier's attention ; while Hicks 
" piped," and Pierson sneaked into the bank, securing 
packages containing thirty-two thousand dollars, passing 
the money over to Hicks. 

As Hicks was leisurely leaving the bank the president 
entered, and observing the huge package peeping out 
from under his summer overcoat, which was not large 
enough to cover them, grabbed him, and demanded wherr 
be got so much money. He replied that he had just 


drawn it out. But the president suggested that they had 
better step into his apartment until he could see about it 
The cashier at once saw what had been nearly accom 
plished, and on some pretext handed a card into the 
president's apartment without exciting Sheridan's notice, 
instructing the president to send two men to the front of 
the bank to detain the person conversing with him, 
which was done, and which resulted in Sheridan's cap- 
ture, though Pierson escaped. 

Sheridan and Hicks of course claimed that they had 
never seen each other before, but they were put in differ- 
ent cells and given separate trials. Hicks pleaded guilty, 
and was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment in the Illi- 
nois penitentiary at Joliet; but Sheridan played the high 
moral dodge, gave bail to the amount of seven thousand 
dollars, which sum he deposited and subsequently for- 
feited, when the District Attorney set this sum aside tow- 
ards securing his apprehension, and immediately em- 
ployed me to use all the means at my command to effect 
his recapture. 

I soon ascertained that Sheridan was communicating 
with Hicks at Joliet, through the latter's brother, who vis 
ited him with unusual frequency ; and I therefore detailed 
my son, William A. Pinkerton, with ctn assistant, to follow 
out this clue and see what it was worth. 

In keeping unremitting watch over this Hicks, my son 
one evening found himself in the piotty city of Hudson, 
Michigan, having arrived there on the same train with 

SffERIDAN, THE FO&4E&. <& 

The latter at once proceeded to the best hotel in the 
city, still followed by William, who was not long in learn- 
ing to his surprise that Sheridan owned the hotel, which- 
was being conducted by his brother-in-law, as also a fine 
fruit-farm in the vicinity of St. Joe, and large tracts of 
pine and farming lands scattered throughout the State. 

Hicks directed the hotel clerk to call him at seven 
o'clock the next morning, and my son accordingly was 
put down on the call-book for six. 

As great care was necessary to be exercised, lest Sheri- 
dan or his friends might learn that he was being so closely 
followed, William could make only sparing inquiries ; but 
he did succeed in learning enough to convince him that 
he was not then at Hudson, and, on awakening bright and 
early in the morning, he decided on making an attempt 
to accomplish something which might be of the greatest 
possible assistance in the future. 

Although Sheridan had already become famous as a 
criminal, no picture of him had ever fallen into the hands 
of the authorities. The public may not be aware of how 
much service a good picture of a criminal is to the detec- 
tive. It will do good duty in a hundred places at one 
time. Accordingly William ascertained the location of 
the landlord's family rooms, and, while the occupants were 
at breakfast, committed a small and under the circum- 
stances quite excusable burglary, resulting in securing a 
capital photograph of Sheridan, which has for several 
years adorned the rogues' galleries at my different agen- 
cies. This picture undoubtedly effected the eventual 


recent capture of this great criminal, as it was the only 
picture extant, and was placed in the hands of my almost 
numberless correspondents both in this country ind in 

On this particular occasion spoken of, however, it was 
of no great importance save to familiarize its possessor 
with the handsome features of Sheridan, who returned to 
Hudson the same day. 

William wisely concluded that it would be foolish to 
attempt his arrest in the midst of so many friends, who, if 
they could not effect his forcible escape, would undoubt- 
edly use every possible effort to secure his legal rescue 
upon some trivial technicality ; and consequently followed 
him for several days, finally capturing him at Sandusky, 

As it was, my son had a difficult time in getting the 
criminal to Chicago, as the splendidly-appearing fellow 
strongly protested to the passengers that he was being 
kidnapped, and appealed for aid and rescue in the most 
impassioned manner possible. Finding this of no avail, 
although it came pretty nearly being successful, he then 
shrewdly pretended complete acquiescence, and when 
for a moment left alone with the operative who had im 
mediate charge of him, offered that person ten thousand 
dollars in cash merely for the opportunity of being per 
mitted to jump through the window of the car saloon, 
although well ironed, so that both men were necessarily 
watched every mile of the remaining distance. 

Even after he had been bro jight to my Chicago Agency 


preparatory to being forwarded to Spring fiell, a little in- 
stance occurred illustrative of the daring character of the 

For convenience he had been given a seat temporarily 
in my private office -he being perfectly secure there, 
and it being necessary for my son to step outside the 
door for a moment. Scarcely had he done so, when 
Sheridan espied my snuff-box, and, instantly grasping it, 
placed himself in a position to fling its contents into 
William's eyes as he re-entered, with the intention of 
bounding by him in the confusion which would follow and 
attempting to escape which, however, would have been 
utterly impossible, owing to constant safeguards in use at 
my offices to cover similar cases. 

But his intention was just as determined, notwithstand- 
ing all this, of which he of course was not aware. 

My son re-entered the room slowly feeling that there 
might be danger, and knowing his man with the grirn 
muzzle of a splendid English "Trautcr" revolver in 
front of him ; and Sheridan, seeing that his captor was as 
wary as he was daring and inventive, resumed his seat 
with the manner of a French courtier, took a pinch of 
snuff, as he replaced my box, and with airy politeness 

"Billy, that snuff of your father's is a d d fine 
article ! " 

"Foi the eyes?" asked William quietly. 

" EyeL or nose," he retorted. '. " But I'm very sc:ty to 
say that the noes have it this time 1 ' 


I succeeded in having the man safely conveyed Ui 
Springfield ; but Sheridan made his money count in an- 
other way than upon my detectives. He had the case 
fought on every legal technicality which could be brought 
forward, secured a postponement of trial for nearly a 
year, and finally a change of venue to the city of Decatur, 
where, after retaining the very best lawyers in the State of 
Illinois, and what was quite as useful a portion of the 
jury, he was eventually acquitted, expending altogether 
for this manner of acquiring liberty the snug little 
sum of twenty thousand dollars, as he subsequently ad- 

After this affair, Sheridan, who was inordinately ambi 
tious to become noted as one of the most successful 
thieves in America, went East, and organized a party of 
"bank-bursters," or bank-robbers, consisting of Frank 
McCoy, alias " Big Frank," James Brady, James Hope, 
Ike Marsh, and others, the crowd becoming a terror to 
the East, until so closely hunted there that its members 
were compelled to disband ; when he assisted at a robbery 
of a Cleveland bank, where forty thousand dollars wcic 
taken. This was followed by a raid upon the Mechanics' 
(Hawley's) Bank, of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where Sher- 
idan and ".Little George" Corson appropriated thirty- 
thousand dollars' worth of negotiable bonds. 

Hi* next exploit of note, and one which struck a very 
lender chord in the hearts of several citizens of Louis- 
ville, Kentucky, \v..s his planning of and participation in 
fts I 4(ls gity TobaQCQ BanK rQl?kery at th^t city in 


irhen upward of three hundred thousand dollars were 

The robbers rented an office immediately over thr 
vault of the bank, and carried on a legitimate businesi 
therein for some months before the robbery occurred. 
My readers will remember the circumstances of the great 
Ocean Bank robbery, in New York, where Max Shin- 
burn's party robbed that bank by renting an insurance 
office immediately below the president's apartments, and 
then sawed through the floor into the bank and blew open 
the safe. The same kind of tactics were used here, only 
the robbers went into the* bank from above instead of 
from beneath, and tumbled into the vault direct, instead 
of blowing open the vault door. 

The gang were divided into regular reliefs, and while 
one party were digging away through the night, the other 
were posted in a front room over the St. Charles res- 
taurant immediately opposite, from which point a fine but 
strong silk cord was stretched to the robbers' windows. 
Attached to the end of this cord, next the windows ovei 
the bank, was a pendant bullet, so that the confederates 
located over the St. Charles restaurant whose business it 
was to watch for any signs of approaching danger couM 
signal the same on their immediate discovery. In this 
manner the thieves had an abundance of time and lei- 
sure, and finally effected an entrance to the vault early in 
the night, when they carried away almost everything of 
value the vault contained. 

|t was Sheridan's generalship and even bravery \i one 


has the right to apply that term to a person of this char 
acter atterly devoid of fear, that caused the i etiremenl 
of this large amount of capital from Louisville circula 
tion ; and these instances, showing his wonderful genius 
for schemes requiring skill, patience, and personal cour- 
age, could be multiplied almost beyond number ; but 
those I have already given will serve to illustrate his 
marked ability, and also the almost exceptional instance 
of a criminal beginning among the lowest of associates, and 
by the tact, skill, and frugality which would have made 
him a millionaire in respectable life, gradually climbing 
higher and higher in his grade of crimes with his com- 
panions as stepping-stones, until he arrives at the very 
pinnacle of his criminal calling, and has acquired in that 
profession everything which men ordinarily seek for re- 
spect, admiration, and hosts of friends, as well as great 
wealth; for Sheridan was worth in 1874 fully a quarter 
of a million of dollars, while during these later years of his 
crimes he maintained most respectable social and busi- 
ness relations. 

All of this eminently fitted the man *>r becoming, as 
he really was, the author of the gigantic Bank of England 
forgeries, although the very caution, ability, and skill 
which first made the scheme possible eventually led to 
the work being done by other parties ; and it is safe to 
say that if Sheridan had had the management of the af- 
fair throughout it would have proved a success instead of 
a failure. 

The members of the original party subscribing to this 


Bank of England scheme were Sheridan, George Wilkes. 
Andrew J. Roberts, and Frank Gleason, while McDon 
nell and Bidwell, now serving life sentences for the 
crime, were to conduct the English branch of the opera 
tiori. Sheridan discovered that the two last-named men 
were lacking in discretion, as afterward proved true, and 
ne consequently withdrew from the scheme altogether. 
He then organized a party consisting of Roberts, Glea- 
son, Spence Peftis, and Gottlieb Engels for a series of 
the most gigantic forgeries ever known in America, and 
finally issued bonds, to the extent of five million dollar. 
on the following institutions and corporations : New 
York Central, Chicago and Northwestern, New Jersey 
Central, Union Pacific, and California and Oregon Rail- 
roads, the Erie Water Loan Bonds, the Western Union 
Telegraph Company, and other similar great corpora- 
tions. The floating of these forged bonds ruined scores 
of Wall Street brokers as well as private investers. 
Their execution was almost absolutely faultless, and an 
instance is given where some of these forged bonds of 
the Buffalo and Erie road were taken to the president of 
the company for examination, having been offered sua 
piciously low, when he not only pronounced them genu- 
ine, but purchased thirty thousand dollars' Worth for an in 

At least half fhe amount issued was disposed of. 

Sneridan now assumed a new character. He became 
Ralston, nephew of the once great San Francisco bankei 
who committed suicide after his financial downfall. Wit)' 


this name and plenty of money he became a member o! 
the New York Produce Exchange, and at No. 60 Broad- 
way carried on a successful business as agent for the 
Belgian Stone Company, dealing largely in all manner of 
fancy marbles. 

On the eventual discovery of the forgeries, Sheridan 
quietly gathered his assets together, and sped to Belgium 
that fashionable retreat for Americans having too little 
honesty and too much brains. 

It is not known just how large an amount Sheridan 
succeeded in disposing of, but it must have equaled all 
that of the other large operators. " Steve " Raymond 
sold ninety thousand dollars' worth, and Charles Williams, 
alias Perrin, one hundred and ten thousand, while the 
American public was mulcted fully two millions in excess 
of the amount secured from our English cousins in the 
Bank of England forgeries. 

When I sent my son, William A. PinkcrtflP, to Europe 
to capture and return Raymond, which he gseomplished, 
he met Sheridan in Brussels, where Le was fell living like 
a prince, with the avowed determination of liew returning 
to America- But he did return here ; and that mistake 
eventually led to my capturing him. He CCillu not live 
without the excitement of scheming, speculating, crimi- 
nal adventure, and what was to him the geCQtne pleasure 
of transacting business on a large scale. 

He slipped back to America, and, under the name of 
Walter A. Stewart, suddenly appeared at Denver, where 
lie established probably the largest and most expensive 


hot-house in America, did an immense business in SUP- 
S' tying that market with vegetables and rare plants, was 
elected a director of the German National Bank of thai 
city, and soon established a bank of his own aj: Rosita, n 
the Colorado mining districts. Here his spirit of specu- 
lation took possession of him again, and he began the 
wildest kind of gambling in mining stocks, which re- 
sulted in his losing every dollar he possessed on earth. 

About this time I again got upon Sheridan's trail, and, 
following him from point to point, learned that he con- 
templated a trip to the East, to discover his old compan- 
ions and inaugurate some new and brilliant scheme of 
robbery. In trusting matters at New York to my .son, 
Robert A. Pinkerton, Superintendent of my New York 
office, I gradually caused the lines to be drawn in about 
him ; and on the nighl of March 23, 1876, at eleven 
o'clock, as Sheridan, alias Ralston, alias Stewart, was 
landing in New York city from the Pennsylvania ferryboat, 
at the foot of Desbrosses Street, my son Robert slipped his 
arm through that of the criminal's, and quietly said : 

" Sheridan, I want you to come to the Church Street 
police-station with me. I have a bench warrant for youi 

He made no resistance, but seemed to give up all 
hope and courage at once. 

As he was without money, the legal fight made for his 
lib~i<.y was not so bitter as had been anticipated, and in 
consideration of this, and the sympathy created on ac- 
count of his rapidly failing health, and though he cam? 


into New York with eighty-two indictments hanging over 
his head, his trial and conviction only resulted in a fen* 
tence for five years in the penitentiary ; which, under thr 
circumstances, will serve all the ends of justice, as un- 
doubtedly before the expiration of that term he will pass 
from an infamous life to an infamous grave in the little 
cemetery just above Sing Sing. 



HOW apt and true are many of the sayings put into 
the mouths of the marvelous characters created 
by Charles Dickens ! 

Notice how much is contained in the eloquent passage 
spoken by " Obenreizer " to " Vandale " in the Christ- 
mas story of " No Thoroughfare," where the former, 
when the moral conviction of his great guilt sinks down 
upon him like a fall, remarks : " What did I always 
observe when I was on the mountains ? We call them 
vast, but the world is so little. So little is the world that 
one cannot keep a\vay from persons. There are so few 
persons in the world, that they continually cross and 
recross. So very little is the world that one cannot get 
rid of a person ! " 

Neither can dishonest men get rid of the consequences 
of their guilt : and sometimes it seems inexplicable to in 


thkt men possessed of good intelligence, surrounde.l by 
pleasant associations, which could be held to the sun- 
niest level that life affords, and with the countless exam- 
ples before them of fatal errors and their most fatal 
results, *vrll so far forget themselves as to enter a criminal 
career vi:h the vain hope that some pressing necessity 
can ^e relieved and their honor remain unsullied and 

But the terrible greed that often overwhelms men to 
suddenly become possessed of vast wealth, or even a 
moderate competence, without patiently striving for and 
earning it, has, and ever will, create criminals, who must 
be hunted down and punished. 

The instance which I am about to relate shows the 
frustration of one of the most deliberate conspiracies to 
commit a gigantic robbery of and swmu!e upon a great 
business corporation that has ever come under my notice, 
and illustrates forcibly the truth of the statement that 
th^ world is very small, in the sense that, when modern 
detective methods and appliances are thoroughly em- 
ployed, it is not big enough to permit the criminal to 
escape, however certain he may be that his schemes aie 
perfect, or whatever way he may turn when the despera- 
rion of failure stares him in the face. 

Some time in 1866, one James C. Engley was at the 
head of what was known as the Neptune Express Com- 
pany, at Providence, Rhode Island. At the time the 
Merchants' Union Express Company was organized and 
started, a preposition was made by the latter to buy up 


the former, which was accepted, and the Neptune be 
came absorbed in the Merchants' Union. 

In the arrangements for the transfer of business Eng 
ley insisted upon the stipulation that he should be the 
Providence agent. This was objected to, but finally it 
was agreed that he could have the position as nominal 

Among the articles transferred was the office safe , 
but before the transfer was wholly consummated, Engley, 
having conceived a plan for swindling the new company 
on a gigantic scale, had duplicate keys made which fitted 
most admirably, enabling him to open and shut the safe 
quite as easily as with the original keys. These duplicate 
keys he reserved for use when the proper time should 

Engley moved in the best social circles of Providence, 
notwithstanding attacks had been made on his character, 
on account of several questionable transactions of his dur- 
ing the war. He had been charged with defrauding a 
regiment of colored volunteers out of their bounties ; but 
an examination of the case by the Rhode Island Legisla- 
ture resulted in his favor, which was said to have been 
owing to the complicity of some high officials with Engley 
in the alleged irregular transactions. 

Having acquired a large amount of money, he purchased 
a controlling share of the stock of he Neptune Express 
Company, already mentioned, and continued apparently 
to enjoy the confidence of the best men in Providence, 
occasionally passing his note with them foi considerable 


amounts, but n*/er meeting his engagements except 
brilliant promises for the future. 

At length his financial condition became so precarious 
that he was compelled to do something to sustain himself; 
and it was at this juncture in his affairs that he determined 
to reveal his plan to some one upon whose ability and 
secrecy he could rely with unshaken confidence. He 
visited Boston, and there met an old acquaintance, named 
C. A. Dean, to whom he related his plan for becoming 
suddenly wealthy at the expense of others. 

Mr. Dean happened to be a man of Engle/s ilk, and 
fell in with the plan rapturously, lauding Engley and his 
genius most unsparingly. 

At Engley's subsequent suggestion, the arrangement 
first settled on was altered, and I only give my readers 
the plan finally decided upon. 

Engley said he had keys with which he could open the 
safe in the office of the Merchants' Union Express Com 
pany at Providence whenever he so liked ; that whei 
the Neptune was sold out to the Merchants' he had con 
ceived the idea of making a little fortune at some future 
date, for which purpose he had insisted on remaining 
agent for the new company ; that he had carried his point ; 
that he was not held responsible for the contents of the 
safe ; and that, therefore, any depredation he might com 
mit by taking funds from it would cause others to be sus- 
pected, and was besides fully protected by his powerful 
social relations; that his idea was to have three hundied 
thousand dollars ser^ *-r*n New York to Providence bj 


the Merchants' Union Company ; that the said amount 
should disappear in Providence by his hand ; that the 
company, being responsible, would of course refund the 
whole amount to the sender j that the money so refunded 
should be divided into three equal s 1 ires between him- 
self (Engley), Dean, and whatever third party they shouVl 
take into the conspiracy in order to raise the sum to be 
sent ; that the amount should be made up at some bank 
of good standing before being forwarded, so that there 
should exist the most undoubted evidence of its hav- 
ing been shipped ; that he, in his capacity as agent at 
Providence, would receive and receipt for it ; that he 
could subsequently make affidavit, if necessary, that he 
had so received it and receipted for it , that at night, 
while an evening party should be in full blast at his house, 
he would slip out for a few moments unobserved by the 
guests, and return again, so that every guest might, if 
called upon, prove an alibi in his favor ; that in the in- 
terval of his absence from the party at his house, he should 
enter the office of the Express Company, abstract from 
the safe the three hundred thousand dollar package, and 
retire unnoticed and unsuspected by any one. 

Such was the plan, its only other details being as to who 
might be suspected. The tradesman who kept the store 
adjoining the Express Office, which was only separated by 
a very shaky wooden partition, a fruit-seller, who occupied 
a basement adjacent to the office ; Mr. Charles R. Dennis, 
responsible and acting agent for the Merchants' Union 
*',xuress Company and the cashier these were the par 


des whose reputations were to be . uined for the benefn 
of Mr. Engley and his co-conspiratoi s, should his plans 
work as smoothly as he calculated. 

The next step in this nice little game was to find some 
party who was the possessor of three hundied thousand 
dollars, or who could secure the possession of so large a 
sum of money temporarily, and who would permit himself 
find his money to be used in this manner even for the pos- 
sible great benefit to accrue from the same. This, of 
course, caused another canvass ajid search. Speculators 
m New York and Boston, known to both parties, were 
named, and the probabilities of their being willing to enter 
into any such feasible plan as they had plotted were dis 

A Mr. C. W. Fitch, of New York, was finally selected 
as a possible party to the enterprise. He is a respect 
able man, so far as I know, but was understood by these 
fellows to be " available." He is a man of means and a 
genuine speculator, but, as subsequently transpired, was 
not in the habit of speculating in just this kind of a way. 
. But a letter was written to him by Dean, who had con- 
veniently assumed the alias of Drew, and whom I will 
hereafter call by that name. Mr. Fitch was informed by 
Mr. Drew that the latter had some business proposition 
of great importance to communicate to him, and was also 
requested on the strength of this to make an appointment 
for an interview. 

Mr. Fitch, who was naturally open for ary chance to 
increase his fortune, replied, inviting Mr. Drew to jro 


ceed to Ne\r York. Drew went there, and a preliminary 
talk occurred, during which Mr. Fitch had some trouble 
to understand just what the Boston gentleman's plan was > 
as he only spoke of it in general terms, apparently to test 
Mr. Fitch's fitness for the particular work before the 
party. This meeting not proving altogether satisfactory, 
an appointment was made for another to be held in Bos- 

Mr. Fitch went to Boston, and met Drew at the Parker 
House, where, being a gentleman of an inquiring turn of 
mind, he soon discovered that a certain Mr. Engley occu- 
pied a room, to which apartment his friend Mr. Drew 
seemed to have a peculiar fondness for frequently retiring ; 
and, on further finding that Engley's name corresponded 
on the hotel register with that of an Engley he knew con- 
siderable about, he felt rather chary of coming to anything 
definite in a scheme which promised extra perilous results 

On returning to New York, he therefore laid the matter 
before a legal friend, informing him of Engley's connection 
with the scheme, which he already suspected to be one 
of robbery of the express company, from certain sup- 
posed operations which had been submitted to him for 
his consideration. The lawyer properly advised him to 
go on and ascertain all he could of the plan, as though he 
were acting in good faith, and, if he discovered that the 
matter looked to the injury of the express company, it 
would then be his immediate duty to communicate aft the 
particulars of the matter to the officers of the company in 
New York. 


Mr. Fitch readily agreed to this, and again met the con- 
Bpirators in Boston, when they unfolded the whole plan 
to him. He apparently accorded his hearty support to 
it, and returned to New York ostensibly for the purpose 
of preparing himself for his part of the enterprise ; but 
instead of doing this, he immediately communicated the 
entire facts obtained to Mr. J. D. Andrews, then agent of 
the company in New York. 

Mr. Andrews at once submitted all the information to 
me, at my New York offices, and I at once arranged 
a counter-plan, which, though Engley had repeatedly 
boasted that he had " thought his scheme over and 
over, and found that there was not a flaw in it," I felt 
certain would eventually rather astonish the two embryo 

Several subsequent meetings were held by Drew, Eng- 
ley, and Fitch. 

On one of these occasions, in order to test the ability 
of Engley to carry out his design, should he remain un- 
molested, I directed Mr. Fitch to inquire of him how hf 
intended to account for the shipment of so large a sum as 
three hundred thousand dollars to Providence. 

" Why, I have arranged for that already. I tell you we 
can't be beaten. You know we need a hotel at Provi- 
dence, a big hotel one worth at least half a million. 
Well, it has, some way, got into the papers," continued 
Engley, with a knowing wink, " that we are going to have 
one. So the minds of our Providence people are amplj 
prepared for the reception of ^eve million dollars 


through the banks, through the express company, or anj 
other way it can get there ! " 

Another circumstance also occurred, which proved be 
yond doubt Engley's intentions to become both a robber 
and a swindler. 

One day Engley, while transacting some business in 
the express office, thoughtlessly laid his pocketbook 
down upon the desk. As he turned away to some other 
part of the office, Mr. Dennis, the responsible agent, 
noticed that a small paper package slipped down the in- 
clined surface of the desk away from the pocketbook, 
Mr. Dennis, who did not, for some reason, have the high 
est possible confidence in his superior, opened the pack- 
age quickly, ascertained that it contained a set of safe- 
keys the perfect duplicate of his own, and, applying them 
to the safe, found that they also worked quite as well as 

With commendable presence of mind he took a file and 
reduced such portions of both keys as would destroy 
them from operating on the combination of the safe. 

After this very sensible precaution was done, he re- 
turned the keys to their place in the paper package, and 
laid the latter on the desk beside the pocketbook. He 
had hardly accomplished this when Engley returned, 
picked up the pocketbook and piece of paper, not sus- 
pecting that either had been molested, pu f them ir hi 
pocket, and went out. 

When this was first reported to me, it flashed into my 
mind that perhaps this was a clever ruse on Engley's part 


to ascertain definitely whether he was suspected ; but 
from other moves made by the man, and the conviction 
that this might prove too daring a risk for a man of his 
calibre, I satisfied myself that he was serenely awaiting 
the realization of his fond hopes. 

Eveiy thing being ready, the package of three hundred 
thousand dollars was made up at the company's offices 
in New York, under my direction, but it did not contain 
that large sum of money. It was marked " $300,000," 
but really contained only three thousand five hundred 
and ninety-four dollars, so arranged with five hundred 
dollar bills at top and bottom as to deceive a nervous, 
hasty, and adventurous observer. I arranged matters so 
as to have the package arrive in Providence on Thurs- 
day evening, December 19 ; but one of the heaviest snow- 
storms of the year suddenly set in, and delayed all the 
trains, so that the package and other goods did not 
reach that place until Friday evening, and the reception 
at Engley's residence, which could not be postponed, and 
which proved a very fashionable affair, could not be very 
well used as planned, for alibi purposes. 

I very well knew the high stancing of the man we had 
to deal with, and consequently realized the impossibility 
of showing him in his true light in Providence unless 
what was about to occur was participated in to some ex- 
tent and actually witnessed by some of the best people 
of the place ; and I accordingly secured the co-operation 
of a few of the most reputable business men of Pi evi- 
dence, who were detailed to quietly watch Engley at th* 


time of the arrival of the package as well as his subse- 
quent movements, and also to occupy the store-room ad- 
joining the express office, through the partition of which 
all movements of Engley might be observed. 

The package had arrived at about eight o'clock. Mr. 
Dennis suggested, in the hearing of Engley and one or two 
respectable gentlemen, that, as a package so valuable 
was in their safe, it would be well to have a watch placed 
upon it ; but Engley nervously pooh-poohed the sugges- 
tion, saying that the safe was a solid institution, had ever 
defied burglars, and could never be opened. Dennis 
seemed to fall in with the idea that the safe could be 
trusted, and at nine o'clock closed the office and went 

It was a bitterly cold night, and my operatives on duty 
had a slight taste of the actual hardships which are often 
meted out to the honestly faithful and persistent detec- 
tive ; while the gentlemen stationed at different points 
throughout the city, and particularly those in the store 
next to the express office, on account of the rigor of the 
night, came near deserting their posts. Nothing bill 
inordinate curiosity held them. 

At about ten o'clock a phantom-like object left Eng 
ley's residence, and could have been observed moving 
cautiously toward the express office, followed at a little 
distance by a very faithful attendant, who never permit- 
ted the distance between them to grow less or become 
greater. There were also several unobserved observers, 
silent watchers of the night, who never made a ageless 


movement, but every one of whom did what they had been 
detailed to do mechanically and noiselessly. 

The leading figure, passing down the now deserted 
treets, was none other than Engley, who had left ' the 
best society of Providence " for a few minutes, to take a 
quiet stroll on one of the coldest nights of the winter of 
1867 and 1868. 

Arriving in front of the express office, fee stopped, 
quickly and searchingly looked up and down the street, 
and then peered long and anxiously within. The usual 
lights were burning, and the window-blinds were suffi- 
ciently low to permit everything inside to be seen. 

In a moment more Engley walked past, suddenlj 
turned a corner, came back, crossed over in the snow, 
went up an alley ; after being out of sight for a while, ap- 
peared at an unexpected point, turned another corner, 
dodged a policeman who was just emerging from the 
cheery glow of a saloon, and at length returned swiftly to 
the express office. It was a singular fact, too, that the 
party before referred to would have reminded one, who 
rould have observed all, of " Mary's little lamb," at least 
in one particular, for everywhere that Engley went that 
man was sure to go. He had a happy faculty of almost 
understanding what Engley' s next cutting of corners, 
dodging up alleys or doubling his route, would be, and 
seemed to be on hand, but always invisible to Eng- 
ley, wherever that gentleman's peculiar movcmerts led 

Engley entered the office, locked the door behind 


and, in another instant, had raised the window-blindi so 
that no person could look into the place from the street. 
The parties in the adjoining room were all agog now, and 
a half-dozen pairs of eyes were applied to a half-dozen 
devices in the thin partition. 

After thoroughly searching the place, as if to ascertain 
that no person could be hidden in the office, Engley took 
the keys from a vest-pocket, stepped quickly to the safe, 
and applied them. The lock refused to respond. Again 
he tried, and again failed. With an oath he stepped to a 
gas-jet, and carefully examined the keys. In his haste, 
excitement, and nervousness he could see nothing wrong 
about them. 

Again he tried the safe. No, it could not be opened. 
The work of Mr. Dennis upon them a month previous 
had been effectual. 

" My God ! it can't be got ! " he muttered ; stood 
looking at the safe a moment, as if half tempted to try 
some desperate method of breaking the great iron recep- 
tacle open, and then swiftly left the place. 

He had scarcely finished locking the door, when a heavy 
hand was laid upon his shoulder, and the voice of the 
mysterious follower of the robber sternly said : 

" Engley, you're my prisoner ! " 

A moment more and the door of the store had opened. 
and a crowd of the best business men of Providence had 
lurrounded the officer and his prisoner ; and Engley, 
looking into the faces of his old friends, only said, with a 
kind of mow i 


" Gentlemen, I'm ruined ! Be as merciful as you can 
to me ! " 

Dean, alias Drew, was arrested the next day in Boston, 
and though the two men never received the just deserts 
for their infamous attempt at robbery and their more in* 
famous and heartless scheme to ruin for life the charac 
ters of honest men in order to shield their guilt, had not 
its consummation been prevented, they were given such 
penitentiary sentences as undoubtedly impressed, irrevo- 
cably, upon their minds the principle laid down by Dick- 
ens, that, " So little is the world that one cannot get rid 
of persons," and, I would add, especially if those persons 
happen to be honest detectives. 



burn, alias Mark Baker, alias Zimmerman, with 
half a hundred other aliases, is a very brilliant and ex- 
ceptional instance of a professional criminal having won 
considerable fame from a series of masterly bank and 
bond robberies, marvelous prison escapes, and the like, 
in America, and then crowning all by a final escape, 
sound and safely, to Belgium, where he has since lived 
an active, and, as far as can be learned, an honorable 
business life, being favored with luxury and the pleasant- 

est of life's surroundings, 


He is now about forty years of age, and, whethei bom 
in America or elsewhere, is a German Jew, and has a 
fluent command of the English, German, French, Span- 
ish, and Italian languages. One account has it that he 
was born in Europe, and received his superb education 
there, leaving his native country on account of some wild, 
boyish escapade, and coming to America when he was 
about eighteen years of age, proceeding to St. Louis, 
where he became very proficient in the locksmith's trade \ 
but finding this a slow way to secure the elegancies of 
life, turning the knowledge thus gained to criminal pur - 
suits, and after being arrested, and while awaiting triai, 
effecting the liberation of himself and seventeen other 

Again, some of his old associates in crime state that he 
was born of German parents, near Germantown, Pennsyl- 
vania, and was spoiled by a rich mother, who lavished 
her wealth upon his education and accomplishments ; 
and that, after graduating from college as a highly 
finished scholar and gentleman, he was placed in a large 
mercantile establishment, and, after securing a thorougn 
knowledge of business there, was given a position in a 
bank, where he familiarized himself with monetary affairs, 
but where he grew so extravagant in his habits and disso 
lute in his mode of life that at last he became hopelessly 
in debt, when he duplicated the keys of the bank vaults 
and for a long time pursued a system of "weeding" the 
packages of notes in the vaults, and making its loss cor- 
respond by false entries, in the ledgers. This was cow.' 

MAX SfffNBURflr. 123 

turned for nearly a year increasing in amour, t until the 
annual settlement, wi;ii tae loss was discovered. So 
artfully had the thin z-yin done, that both tellers were 
arrested on suspicion, as the alterations in the books 
were exact imitations of their handwriting ; but as they 
lived honest and respectable lives, nothing could be 
ascertained derogatory to their characters, and the 
charges were subsequently withdrawn. At length suspi- 
cion was thrown upon young Shinburn by his reckless 
life generally, and, while no absolute proof of his guilt 
could be gathered, he was eventually discharged in dis- 

These same old companions also relate that the stigma 
of his crime rested heavily upon Shinburn, and, after a 
night's carouse, he suddenly resolved to become a profes- 
sional criminal. Hardly had the idea seized possession 
of his mind, than he proceeded to carry it into execution. 
Securing what money he could command, he attired him- 
self magnificently, and departed on the Camden and 
Ajnboy road for Bcston. 

His adventures here were attended, as they always 
seemed to be, with fine success. Registering himself as 
Walker Watterson at the Revere House, he soon, by his 
engaging conversation, elegant manners, and liberal ex- 
penditure of money, rendered himself the favorite of all 
the gentlemen of the house. After a good standing had 
been secured, he laid siege tc the heart of a prepossess- 
ing daughter of a cultivated Boston banker, and in this 
tfay became intimate at the banker's house, the bank 


itself, and with many of the bank officers and cleiks df 
course all this time keeping a keen eye out foi the main 
chance, and gradually acquiring possession of all informa- 
tion in reference to the character of the locks and the 
location of the vaults; and early one morning, when ic 
turning from a fashionable party, amidst a terrific storm, 
he forced an entrance to the building. He then retired 
from the place, changed his clothing, and returning, 
passed inside of the bank, and immediately began opera- 
tions upon the vaults. Here was occasioned his first 
great trial, as the locks at first baffled his attempts ; but 
after a half-hour of patient work he had the satisfaction 
of seeing the entire contents of the vaults at his com- 
mand. But instead of taking a large sum of money, 
which would immediately raise a hue and cry, he only 
took several thousands of the money, closed and locked 
the vault-door, and then, after taking a wax impression of 
the locks, decamped from the place, arriving at his hotel 
afr and sound before the milkmen had made their 
fiiorning calls. 

However much truth there may be in all this, the ad- 
venture is wholly characteristic of the man. He was a 
zealous student of everything that might fit him for a 
most complete, safe, and perfect success in his nefarious 
calling ; and wherever and at whatever time he secured 
his mechanical knowledge, it is certain that he was most 
splendidly skilled in all that pertained to the locksmith's 
trade and intricate work in iron and steel. He was a 
constant reader of the Scientific American, and devoted 


much time and money in keeping posted on the intrica 
cies of every new patent or novelty that in any way per. 
tained to appliances for bank proteotion. 

His keenness in this regard is illustrated by the fact 
that at one time there was not. a Lillie lock in existence 
of which he could not secure the combination and which 
he could not pick. His genius was also as inventive as 
it was inquiring. 

He purchased a Lillie safe simply for the purpose of 
" operating " on the lock. Every part and portion was 
studied with an assiduity and zeal truly remarkable. He 
shut himself up with it until he was the complete master 
of it. But though he had acquired as much knowledge 
of it as its inventor, there was one thing still to be over- 
come. He could never be certain of the combination. 
Here his inventive skill was exhibited in a brilliant man- 
ner indeed. He actually constructed a delicate piece of 
mechanism by which he could secure the combination of 
any Lillie safe, providing he could only get access to the 
outside of it. 

This was when the dials of the Lillie lock were secured 
by screws on the outside, and could be taken off. 

It was usually no trouble for him to secure entrance to 
a bank, for he could manufacture a key to its doors with- 
out the least trouble. When this much was gained he 
had a sure thing on a Lillie safe or any vault guarded bj 
that kind of a lock. His apparatus was a delicate affair, 
A handsomely finished ratchet, which, when placed undei 
the dial, would make no mark or indication if moved ia 


one direction, but when the dial was stopped ind ac 
attempt made to move it in an opposite direction, it made 
a little puncture in a sheet of paper or other light sub- 
stance which would retain it, and which was properly 
placed to receive such puncture. 

Shinburn would enter a bank at night, insert this under 
the dial of the lock, and the next night on his return he 
would have discovered the first feature of the combina- 
tion. Then he would set his register for the reverse mo- 
tion, which he would secure the second night, and so on 
until he had just as perfect a knowledge of the combina- 
tion of the safe or vault as any officer of the bank. 

In this way he robbed the New Windsor Bank, of Mary- 
land. Some of his confederates proved traitorous subse- 
quently, and he was arrested by John Young, then chief 
of detectives of New York city, since deceased, who, or. 
securing a portion of the stolen money, permitted Shin- 
burn to go free ; and following this Young resigned. 

He also in this manner committed a robbery at Nor- 
walk, Connecticut, where he obtained nearly two hun- 
dred thousand dollars, as also the robbery of a bank at 
Binghampton, Vermont ; while a large number of the same 
class of depredations were done by him which never cam* 
to light. 

After his Boston adventures, already related, Shinburn 
arranged a regular system of bank depredations through- 
out New England, which should apply in its operations to 
all banks of importance. In pursuance of this scheme 
be made regular tours of that section of the country, foi 


Che purpose of securing information in reference to the 
location of these banks and the means necessary to enter 
them successfully. Having secured this indispensable 
knowledge, he prepared the keys and implements requi 
site to carry his plans into execution. Then the raid 
began and continued for several years, in which he was 
from first to last t undetected, and was at length arrested 
only through the treachery of some of his false friends, 
after he had stolen and recklessly spent hundreds of 
thousands of dollars in the most extravagant manner. 

His adventures during this period were as remarkable 
as his criminal successes. During the summer of '64 he 
had secured a very handsome sum from several banks in 
the section of country referred to, and he determined 
to pass a gay season at some of the fashionable watering- 
places. Procuring a magnificent outfit, he proceeded 
from New York to Saratoga, and, registering a romantic 
alias on the books of the Union Hotel, soon became one 
of the leaders of the fashion in that summer hot-bed of 
dissipation and frivolity. 

His appearance was particularly agreeable : well-propor- 
tioned and finely cut, expressive features, his form attired 
in the latest style of clothing, with a magnificent solitaire 
diamond glittering in his shirt-front, small hands and feet; 
with altogether a distingue air, he presented every exter- 
nal appearance of a gentleman. His intellectual ability, 
of a high order, was rendered more conspicuous by his 
Huent command of the foreign languages, already referred 
to. With these combined qualifications and a plentiful 

i*8 MAX 

supply of greenbacks, which he expended most Uvishb . 
ne speedily made his way into the very best society, and 
was everywhere courted as a desirable acquaintance 
Flirting with handsome young ladies and playing the heart- 
less Lothario, betting at the race-course, mornings at the 
springs and night divided 'between faro and the hops, he 
led a life of reckless extravagance, vile. deceit, and crim pleasure. 

During the time he favored the Grand Union with his 
presence, he courted and was under promise of marriage 
to the daughter of a prominent western politician, which 
of course was never consummated. After paying visits 
to Newport and Long Branch, he passed through the 
summer, and devoted the winter to his regular practice 
of bank " weeding " with varying success, until, embold- 
ened by his hitherto good luck, he determined, in concert 
with several noted bank-thieves, among whom was his 
criminal partner, George White, alias George Bliss, to 
rob the Concord (New Hampshire) Bank, which was most 
brilliantly executed, and from which they succeeded in 
securing over two hundred thousand dollars. With the 
plunder the thieves separated with their shares, when one 
of thz gang was captured, and disclosed the names of the 
depredators, chief among whom was that of Max Shin- 
burn. Upon this information the hunt commr need, and 
Shinburn was captured, tried, convicted, and sentenced 
to the Concord state prison for ten years. 

His arrest was effected while he was holding one of hii 
orgies of pleasure at Saratoga ; and a most profoum 1 sen 


atton was caused there at the sudden retirement of the 
gorgeous leader of fashion ; but the social waters soon 
quieted, to be disturbed by the next ripple, while Shin- 
burn went behind the great gray walls of the prison. 

But he was too much of a genius in his line of life to 
sit down meekly and waste his time brooding over his 
misfortunes. While others of the common sort might 
give themselves up to the despair of a life in the living 
tomb of a prison, his being in such a place at all was 
only preliminary to getting out of it. His first move was 
to make friends with everybody ; and as he always man 
aged to keep a good supply of money on hand, this was 
not difficult to accomplish. Being a wonderful burglar, 
he was treated with distinction, and of course everybody 
knew him. His keepers came to think that Shinburn was 
one of the cleverest fellows in the place. He was an 
exemplary prisoner, and, as he always had a cheery smile 
for his fellows and an occasional substantial "tip" for 
the officer, he soon had everything his own way, and had 
acquired a degree of familiarity with his keepers that 
made the bold and daring act he had so long planned, 

One night he called the keeper to his cell, and entered 
into conversation with him over some trivial matters 
which were made very agreeable and entertaining on 
Shinburn's part, for some little time, when suddenly he 
asked the keeper to step inside for some purpose which 
the shrewd fellow made seem an important one. The 
unsuspecting guardian did as he was requested, when. 


quicker than lightning, Shinburn overpowered the keeper 
took his revolver from him, threatening, if any alarm was 
given, he would blow his brains out, took his keys fioni 
him, locked the unfortunate keeper in his own cell, an .' 
coolly let himself out of the prison and regained l.U 

Great astonishment and alarm was created at the time 
in New Hampshire at this daring and bold escape, and a 
large reward was offered for the recapture of the reckless 
criminal; but for twelve months he eluded" the most 
vigilant search, until one evening a private citizen, travel- 
ing on the cars from Binghampton, recognized Shinburn 
amongst the passengers the citizen having been in court 
at the time of his trial and conviction. 

With commendable presence of mind, the gentleman, 
well knowing the desperate and dangerous character of 
the man, immediately went into another car and inquired 
if any sheriff's men or other officers of justice were on the 

It so fortunately happened that four deputy-sheriffs, 
who were returning from the State prison, to which place 
they had conveyed some convicts, were on the train, and 
they returned to the car in which Shinburne was quietly 
sitting, and with drawn revolvers pounced upon him and 
made him their prisoner. 

He was conveyed to his Did quarters, and an extra 
watch and guard set over him ; but he soon disarmed sus- 
picion, and a want of caution supervened, which, as the 
seque* shows, resulted in a second escape. Shinburn, 


with the potatoes that were served with his food, took an 
impiession of the cell-lock, and from his iron spoons 
made a key to fit it. Think of the patience, persever- 
ance, and real ability requisite to such a purpose. After 
a painfully long time he found himself provided wuii the 
meanb to reach the corridor ; and after all was still for 
the night he would leave his cell and proceed to the outer 
barred gate, where, with a delicate steel saw that had 
been conveyed to him by an accomplice, by being im- 
bedded in the fore-piece of a light silk cap, he would saw 
the massive iron bars until they would just hold, but 
would be broken off by any sudden contact of a heavy 
object. The slight trace of this work would be com- 
pletely removed by filling the interstices made by the 
lender saw with portions of a potato mixed with soot. 

It was the rule of the prison to march the prisoners 
around the yard every day ; and Shinburn, having by 
perseverance so cut the bars that they would give way 
upon a quick pressure, on one of these occasions, when 
the prisoners were taking their daily circuit, the daring 
fellow made a sudden rush at the then apparently secure 
bars, which yielded as if by magic, and Shinburn went 
through them like a flash of light, and while the keepers 
were struck dumb by what appeared a miracle, the bold 
thief sprang into a wagon in waiting for him, and was 
again at liberty. He immediately changed his clothing, 
and with his companions set out for Plymouth. They 
were hotly pursued by the prison watch and a large posse 
of citizens, who came up with the fugitives in a dense 


piece of woods. Here they were ordered to halt; bu' 
their only answer was a well-directed volley from then 
revolvers : and finding that the desperate men were de 
termined to surrender only after a conflict, in which mat!? 
of the pursuing party would undoubtedly meet theii 
death, the latter retired, and Shinburn was free to again 
pursue his brilliant career, to eventually be recaptured 
and again make his escape in a manner which for a time 
turned the laugh upon me, as he had so often upon 
others, and which I will not neglect to record, at the 
risk of a joke upon myself, with the reflection that he is 
about the only criminal that ever escaped me in my 
nearly a third of a century's active and exciting detect- 
ive's career. 

On the night of July 9, 1868, the office of the Lehigh 
Coal and Navigation Company, at White Haven, Penn 
sylvania, was entered, the vault and safe opened by means 
of false keys, and fifty-six thousand dollars, in bank bills 
currency, and bonds, stolen. 

The entrance to the building had also been effected by 
means of false keys ; and while no clue to the robbers re- 
mained, it was evident the job had been carefully planned, 
and that professionals were concerned in it. 

The case was put in my hands ; and from certain evi- 
dences of the style of work which are as marked in noted 
criminals as are the brands on goods of different manu- 
facture, I at once concluded that whoever had suggested 
the robbery, it was Max Shinburn's master-mind that had 
planned it and brought it to a successful execution. 


In pursuance of these convictions, I soon had i un ..own 
the entire party, among which was the redoubtable Shin- 
burn. It then came to light that the robbery had been 
suggested by one Starks, then proprietor of the White 
Haven Hotel, in White Haven, who had let two other 
parties, named Spencer, alias Griffin, and one Sinclair, 
into the scheme ; but none of them being accomplished 
criminals, Shinburn's services had been secured. 

The robbery had been planned as early as March pre- 
vious, and the scheme was to enter the place while it con- 
tained a large amount of currency for the monthly pay- 
ment of the company's hands. On arrival at White 
Haven, and receiving such information as the conspira- 
tors there were able to furnish, Shinburn daringly en- 
tered the agent's house at night, and then, in the bed- 
chamber, took from the pockets of the sleeping man all 
the keys of the safe, vault, and compartments, of which he 
took impressions in wax, and. having returned the keys 
"jid removed all signs of his visit, departed. When Shin- 
burn had manufactured such keys as he desired, he re- 
turned to the place, and at night entered the coal cora 
pany's office, opening the various doors and the vault. 
One key was found imperfect ; but this defect was subse- 
quently remedied. The thieves now only awaited the ar- 
rival of the money to do their work ; but although they 
were ready for operations in April, it was not until July 
Jiat ciicumstances favored them. 

On July 5th Griffin hired a team in Dunmore, repre 
senting that he would be absent for a number of day* 

*34 MAX SfflNBURN. ' 

and leaving a deposit for the value of the turn-out. A 
short distance out of town he met Sinclair and Shinbum, 
to whom he surrendered possession of the t?Jim, returning 
tc town himself and going into retiracy. Sinclair then 
drove to a rendezvous in the woods, near Wilkesbarre, 
where they remained until the 9th, when, after dark, they 
drove to White Haven, arriving there at midnight. Shin- 
burn entered the office, opened the safe, abstracted the 
money, and within twenty minutes they were dashing 
away toward Scranton, fifty-six thousand dollars richer for 
their nocturnal visit. 

I had already captured all the lesser game, and had just 
succeeded in laying my hands upon Shinburn, after an 
exciting chase, when my clients urgently advised that 
Shinburn should be held in custody by my officers until 
he had been relieved of the lion's share of the plunder 
which it was known he had carried off. Though strongly 
objecting to this course as it is a thorough principle with 
me to immediately turn prisoners over to the regularly con 
stituted authorities I at last reluctantly yielded. This 
deviation from my rule in such cases cost me my prisoner, 
for Shinburn's matchless cunning, which always seemed 
to be equal to any test, came to his rescue again, and he 
here made one of the most remarkable escapes for which 
he has become so notorious. 

Knowing the slippery character of the man, I had 
every precaution taken to prevent the execution of any 
of his brilliant schemes. I shut him up in a *oom at a 
Wilkesbarre hotel, and put my most trustworthy men in 


charge of him, handcuffing them together, so that there 
could be, as was thought, no possibility of escape. Ir 
this way they passed the time, eating, drinking, and sleep- 
ing together, seemingly as inseparable, on account of the 
handcuffs, as the Siamese twins, while the men were 
relieved often enough to keep them wakeful and vigilant. 
At night extra precautions were taken, and the guard and 
prisoner were compelled to sleep together. 

But all this did not avail ; for Shinburn, one night, after 
countless trials which would have unnerved and dis- 
mayed any less wonderful a man, using his left hand^ 
picked the lock of the handcuff with the shank of his 
breast-pin, stole softly, silently, and breathlessly from 'he 
side of the sleeping officer, and fled. All pursuit /ria 
useless. He in some manner shipped as a sailj/, and 
finally reached Belgium, from which country he Cf aid not 
be taken by an American officer. 

But Shinburn could not resist the temptation of re- 
turning to a field where his abilities made him so success- 
ful ; and it is quite probable that he came back to 
America with the fixed determination of securing enough 
plunder to give him a competence for the remainder of 
his life. He worked c nearly six months with the 
greatest secrecy and good fortune, finally crowning all by 
his masterly planning and execution of the famous Ocean 
Bank robbery, at New York, in June, 1869, in which 
over a quarter of a million dollars in securities and cur- 
rency was taken. 

This robbery was done in the following manner : Pa* 


ties in the scheme rented a portion of the basement 
under the bank, at the corner of Fulton and Greenwich 
Streets, for the ostensible purpose of opening a branch 
office of the Chicago Life Insurance Company, but an- 
nounced to Mr. Okell, the lessee of the entire basement, 
that they would not be ready for business for some weeks, 
as they would have to comply with the insurance laws of 
New York, which required a deposit from foreign insur-v 
ance agencies. 

After this much was done, every little item of informa- 
tion concerning the bank was gradually secured, until a 
favorable time had arrived, when the burglars began 
work after the closing of business on Saturday evening, 
and probably within twenty-four hours had secured all 
that they wanted, departing with the utmost leisure, and 
leaving not the slightest clue behind them. They had 
made most accurate calculations, and had sawed a large 
hole through the ceiling of the basement and the bank 
floor, enabling them to come up through within the pri- 
vate office of the president of the bank. Having thus 
gained access to the bank floor, they hung black glace 
and oiled silk over the windows and doors, and went to 
work. In some mysterious manner the combination to 
Ihe locks of the main vault was known which showed 
Shinbum's genius again; and when the vault was en- 
tered, the small safes and compartments were easily 
opened with a massive jack-screw and other well-known 
burglars' appliances. Thirty thousand dollars in gold was 
left that evidently being too heavy for transportation-' 


but altogether upward of a quarter of a million in money 
and securities was captured. The adventurous fellows 
left behind them probably the finest " kii *' of tools evei 
got together. It must have cost at least three thousam' 
dollars, and comprised a jack-screw capable of raising 
the side of the bank building, six large and powerful 
* jimmies," an assortment of finely-tempered steel 
sedges and copper-headed sledge-hammers, also patent 
drills, braces and bits, augers, compasses, saws, small 
hand- saws, brad-awls, two large pruning-knives, putty- 
knife, powder-flasks, patent fuse, a cleverly contrived 
and constructed funnel with an India-rubber tube at- 
tached for inserting powder into holes drilled in the doors 
of the safes, a pair of handcuffs, coils of rope, dark- 
lanterns, rubber shoes, overalls, and a large quantity of 
oiled silk used for deadening the sounds of the blows 
from the heavy sledge-hammers, and a large number of 
cold-chisels, screw-drivers, gimlets, and other small tools 
too numerous to mention in detail. The "kit" com- 
prised over two hundred pieces, and was the largest and 
finest ever seen. 

Immediately after this magnificent capture, Shinburn, 
who probably secured a large portion of it, at once 
escaped to Europe, and settled in Belgium. It is 
thought that he must have saved from two to three hun- 
dred thousand dollars. With a portion of this he pur- 
chased a title from some wretchedly impecunious Belgian, 
and is now living in luxury ar.d ease from the proceeds 
9( his villainies in America, 


Altogether, Maxi-ailian Shinburn may be coni'dered 
one of the most re tiarkably successful criminals of the 


present century, nd is almost the single instance on 
record where su^h a character has escaped a violen 1 
death, a convict's career, and cursed end, or a final drag- 
ging out of a miserable existence in wretched poverty 
and disgrace, which may yet be his end, as the old adage, 
that "a fool and his money are soon parted," is no less 
'rue than tnat "a thief and his plunder soon separate." 
;rhen the old daring, the old temptations, and the great 
shadow of old crimes prove the irresistible power that 
propel to the certain fate of the professional criminal. 



I HAVE at present in my employ, and have had for a 
great number of years, at the head of one of the de- 
partments of my business, a now elderly man, who is a 
genuine character. His fidelity and ability in my service 
have given him the right to my utmost confidence and 
respect ; but he possesses traits of character that have 
created t at different times, for myself, my officers, and 
large number of employees, almost infinite merriment. 

He is known far and wide, as well <is among my peo 
pie, as Mr. Bluffer, which scbriquet ^vas bestowed upop 


him some years since, by being deputized at Chicago tc 
make the arrest of a notorious criminal who was ;it that 
time claiming a large share of public attention, and who 
had come under my surveillance for capturing. 

Although then past the prime of life, and already grat 
and grizzled, he was determined in whatever he undei- 
took ; and though that kind of work was outside of hid 
department, he accomplished his mission successfully, 
and with such vigor and spirit, that, when the prisoner 
was brought to my office, he laughingly remarked that his 
captor was a " cranky old bluffer, and no mistake ! '' 
and in honor of the exploit he came to be called " MJ 

The most striking characteristics of Mr. Bluffer, which 
gave everything he said or did a marked individuality, 
were a disposition to speak out plainly about anything 
and everything that came under his attention and but 
little escaped it and then, if there was anything which 
he fancied wrong about the matter, he would set it right, 
if the very dead had to be raised in doing it. This, 
coupled with an abruptness and occasional ferocity which 
often provoked the most disastrous results to himself, 
caused him to be in hot water most of the time, alwayi 
gave his tormentors the keenest enjoyment, and fre- 
quently resulted in his being handled without gloves. 

Some time since I had occasion 40 send Mr. Bluffei 
from New York to Albany on a rathei important mission, 
and on his return he met with .an F.dventure in which h? 
came out victorious but which, at the vame time, nearlj 

140 MR. BLUFFER ltft> THE MOtfTE-MEtf. 

upset the old gentleman from the terrible " canary " w.iich 
his indignation and rage threw him into. 

The train left Albany at half-past eight in the morning, 
and, after an hour's delightful companionship with an an- 
cient and odorous pipe, which Bluffer keenly enjoys and 
which is his inseparable companion, he. returned to the 
ladies' from the smoking car, and with a copy of Mark 
Twain's " Tom Sawyer " seated himself comfortably in a 
seat with a friend for the remainder of the trip. 

He had not been long thus engaged when his attention 
was attracted from his book to an individual " made up " 
for a Texan homespun suit, sombrero hat, cowhide 
boots, etc. who began a rambling conversation, in a high 
falsetto voice, with one or two of his neighbors. 

The gist of his remarks was that in the North wonderful 
sights were to be seen by the unsophisticated Southerner, 
and lucky is the man who gets back to his country home 
without being robbed and in a sober condition from the 
great metropolis of the West, Chicago, which great city he 
had just left. 

The peculiar voice, the well-imitated Southern dialect, 
and his tout ensemble, had amused the passengers for some 
ten or fifteen minutes, when he suddenly bent forward 
and shouted in the ear of a gentleman who was quietly 
reading a paper in front of him : 

" Say, stranger, that ar" Chicago's a buster anyhow, 
ain't it?" 

" Did you address your question to me, sir ? " said thf 
gentleman rather testily. 


" Ya-as, 'n no bad meanin' with it either. How do you 
like Chicago ? " 

" I'm a resident of Chicago and it's good enough foi 
me ! " This with an expression of contemjt for the ques- 

"Wall, all I've got ter say is just this," resumed the 
Texan, not at all disconcerted, " Chicago is the gaul- 
durndest town I ever struck. They tell me New Yoik is 
about half as big as Chicago, and I'm going to see the 
show thar too. These cities is big sights fur us cattle- 
raisers. Was you ever in Texas, stranger ? " 

" No, and have no desire to go there either." 

" Then you do live in Chicago, eh ? Ar' you travelin 

" I am going to New York on business, simply," aL r 
swered the Chicago business man, evidently very much 

" "Wall, now, you Chicago fellers are right smart. Some 
of the boys played it on me a couple of days ago ; but I'm 
agpin',to,:get even on 'em, gauldurned if I don't. .I'U 
tell, you, how it was." 

At this point the passengers' attention, ladies and all, 
had been attracted by the eccentric appearance and lan 
guage of r the "Texan," and all .were listening. 
... "You see," continued the:, Texan, "I was walkin' 
along the street, when a feller asked me if I wanted to 
buy .a gold watch. <; Wall, I reckon not,' says I. 'I 
can't stand the press.,' ' I r know^ wnere you can get a 
good watch for a dollar,' says he. 'You do. ? ' says I. 


Tin your man. 'Come along with me,' says he. And 
stranger, we just measured mud right smart, you can bet 
' Here you are,' says he ; and we walked into a nice 
looking doorway, and went up-stairs into a room whar a 
gang of lads was chuckin' dice. 4 Step right up and bea; 
twenty-five, and you can git one of these elegant gold 
watches,' a feller says to me as was standin* behind a ba? 
like \ * it's only a dollar a throw.' I got up and 1 
thro wed, but I didn't beat twenty-five. ' You're in bad 
iiick not to beat twenty-five,' says a young feller to me ; 
' I jist won a watch, and I beat thirty-six ! ' * Hold on 
thar,' says I to the man behind the bar ; 'I'll try that 
agin.' But I slipped up on it, stranger, and I'll be gaul- 
durned if I didn't try it twenty-five times. I couldn't 
fetch it once, and it cost me twenty-five dollars for my 
fun. But, by and by, I smelled a right smart-sized mice 
and I says : * Gentlemen, I've had enough ! ' and gaul- 
durn me if I didn't get eout o' that right quick I 
reckon 1 " 

" Why didn't you complain to the police ? " kindly in- 
quired a gentleman who was sitting behind him. This 
individual had been chatting with an elderly lady about 
the decadence of steamboat travel on the Hudson, anj 
praising the good cheer of tae olden times, when there 
were such life and gayety " on the river." He \vas a pom- 
pous-looking person, and had let slip several remarks so 
worded that a stranger would easily understand that he 
was a member of some Legislature, and appeared to 
have plenty of money in his we'l-filled pocketbook, judg- 


ing from its appearance when he displayed it as he gave 
his ticket to the conductor. 

" Complain to the police ? Why I didn't ws nt my friends 
to know I'd been such a gauldurned sucker. My friends 
read the papers they do, stranger. And tht n I expected 
to get beat anyhow, somehow afore I got eout of Chicago, 
and so I jist said nothin' to nobody." 

The roar of laughter had scarcely subsided, when Mr. 
Bluffer, whose ears had been pricked up for a time, and 
whose suspicious disposition had shown him that the car 
contained a first-class " monte " crowd, whispered to his 
companion : " I say, friend, that fellow ought to be an 
actor. He plays that very well." 

" What do you mean ? " was the reply. 

" Hold on let's wait ; he's got another yarn ; " and just 
then the Texan, apparently flattered by the attention he 
was receiving, resumed his yarns about Chicago. 

" But the worst beat I got was in losing five hundred 
dollars in the slickest way you ever seed." 

"How was that?" said the Chicago merchant, at 
length becoming interested, aiK unbending from his 
former dignity. 

" Why, a feller come up to me and showed me three 
cards. He says : * I'll bet you ten dollars you can't tell 
me which one is the "old woman,'" and he mixed 'em all 
up an' laid 'em all down on a little board he had in front 
of him. 'No, you don't play that on me,' I says; *I 
jist got bit on one game.' * Here, /can tell you,' says a 
young feller what was lookin' on ; and he did tell him. 


1 Do you want to try it again ? ' says he. ' Well, I don'l 
mind,' says the young feller. ' I'll bet you fifty dollars, 
all I've got with me,' and I'll be gauldurned if he didn't 
win. ' Here,' I says, * I'll go you on that thing.' You 
see, I had been a watchin', and I knew the card jist as 
well as the feller that won. * How much ? ' says the fel- 
ler with the cards. 'Two hundred dollars,' I says. ' All 
right,' says he, ' I'll bet you.' I put my finger on the old 
woman, but he turned up the card, and it wasn't her not 
much : it was the Jack, and I got beat. Now you jist 
calkerlate my eyes stuck out. I couldn't see how I made 
such a mistake, and I offered him to go just once more 
for three hundred. He took it ; but, stranger well, 
don't you ever try that game that's all. You'd get beat ! " 

And the Texan leaned back with a sigh. 

" Then you lost ?" asked the senator. 

" Yes, you bet I lost. The feller offered to bet me 
just once more, to give me a chance to git even, but 1 
told him I was tired and wanted to go home ! " 

Another roar of laughter followed this sto'ry and the 
Texan resumed : 

" But I tell yer what I did do. I give that Ghicagei 
skunk ten dollars for them three keerds, and I'm goin 1 to 
take 'em down to Texas and clean all the cow-boys out 
of their stamps. I kin do it, sure. Why, I've got 'enr 
right here," said he; "I'll show 'em to you," and he 
went down into an inner vest-pocket, produced -a recP 
banda/ia handkerchief, which he carefully unfolded, and' 
showed three playing-cards the knave; queenj and king. ! 


" There's the jokers," he said triumphantly, displaying 
them awkwardly to the Chicago merchant. 

All this time Mr. Bluffer had been bristling -p. Here 
were some villains aboard a coach full of respectable peo- 
ple many of whom probably had large sums of money 
with them who were now playing the prelude to the little 
drama of robbery. It was a shame, Mr. Bluffer thought ; 
and, like a valiant knight, he determined to distinguish 
himself. He confided to his friend what was really going 
on under the appearance of rural simplicity, and expressed 
a purpose of denouncing the parties there and then ; 
but he was finally persuaded to let the matter rest until 
there was really some danger of a swindle being perpe- 

"Why," said the solid Chicago business man to the 
Texan, " that's the game they call * three-card monte.' 
It's a shame," he continued, addressing a gentleman whose 
curiosity had drawn him near, " that such rascality cannot 
be prevented. The manner in which these poor, ignorant 
countrymen will allow themselves to be swindled is piti- 
able in the extreme. Something should be done to stop 
it. The penalties upon those convicted should be more 
severe than they are." 

" That's true," remarked the senator warmly. "We 
are thinking of introducing a bill at the coming session of 
the I egislature at Albany making it an offence punishr 
ible with imprisonment ten years in the penitentiary!, 
Gambling must be stopped ! " 

By this time Mr. Bluffer was in a very fever of v?rtu- 


ous indignation, and low mutterings from time to tinu 
escaped him, and were given in very strong language. 
He'd be dashed if he'd see such goings on. Very decided 
adjectives affirmed that others might permit such damna< 
ble work, but old Bluffer, true to his pugnacious disposi- 
tion, would be blanked if he would allow it. In fact, he 
began to attract considerable attention in his part of the 
car ; but his friend, who had some curiosity to see how the 
matter would end, coupled with some apprehensions that 
the deputy's violent temper might precipitate trouble 
should he interfere in his brusque manner, quieted him 
down somewhat for the time being. 

The Chicago business man had noticed this ; and after 
eying Mr. Bluffer for a moment, he beckoned him to fol- 
low him to the extreme end of the car, where, although 
the former evidently endeavored with a most winning 
argument to calm my old employee down, from the indig- 
nant snortings, the savage shaking of his head, and the 
demonstrative manner of his entire person, it could be 
seen that it was an entirely one-sided argument. 

While this by-play was going on, the Texan and his 
confederate, the senator, were losing no time. The for 
mer proceeded to show his amused and interested listen- 
ers just how he had been beaten. He shuffled the cards 
in a bungling manner, eliciting a remark from the senator 
to the effect that he must do better than that or he would 
never get even on the Chicago sharks by beating his friends 
in Texas on that game, because any man could tell which 
card was the " old woman." 


" Wall, now, stranger, I doubt it. I kinder think you 
can't turn her over ! " 

" Oh, yes ; any one can tell," responded the senatoi 

" Look a-here : I'll just bet yer a ten-dollar note yejr 
can't, stranger ! " 

" Done ! Here it is ! " And the senator picked up the 
right card, which was apparent to every bystander, from 
the clumsy manner in which the cards had been shuffled. 

" Wall, you did beat me, didn't you ? " ejaculated the 
Texan, with a look of stupid simplicity and unaccountable 
astonishment. I reckon I'll have to practice this thing a 
little afore I can hide it ; but I'll be gaul-danged ef I 
don't git even ! " 

Down at the end of the car, where the virtuously indig- 
nant Mr. Bluffer and the Chicago business man were 
having their one-sided argument, the former was shaking 
his head furiously, and exclaiming : 

"No, sir never ! That's all very fine ; but I can't see 
it 1 I wouldn't be found dead with any of your money on 
me 1 If I was to carry it about me in Chicago, I'd be 
arrested for handling counterfeit money. You've got 
hold of the wrong man for a bribery ! " and the like ; and 
then Mr. Bluffer, snorting and puffing, returned to his 
friend, muttering and fussing, and showing many symp- 
toms of a near explosion. 

In the meantime the senator had been solicited to bet 
once more, and had done so to oblige the Texan ; and 
again won this time fifty dollars, 


Among the spectators stood a young man, with a 
Jewish cast of countenance, whose hand h;|d been going 
in and out of his pocket for some time, as though he were 
anxious to try his luck. The fire of excitement was in his 
eyes, and his cheeks were flushed a gambler in inclina- 
tion, young as he was, and evidently unsophisticated. 

"I'll bet you ten dollars I can show you that card," 
said he ; and he was laying down a ten-dollar bill on the 
improvised table, consisting of an overcoat upon the 
Texan's knee, on which he was showing how the " little 
game " was played, when suddenly Mr. Bluffer, in a burs f 
of indignation, seized the young man's arm. 

"No, you don't ! " he exclaimed, pushing him away ; 
" no, you don't ! Don't be a fool, young man ! " he con- 
tinued, while the bystanders looked surprised, and an ugly 
light scintillated from the Texan's eyes as he looked up at 
tne intruder. 

" Let him bet. I'll take my chances. Let him bet, f 
said the Texan. 

"You'll take your chances, will you?" burst forth old 
Bluffer ferociously. " A nice chance that would be fo 
him, wouldn't it?" 

The young man paused for a moment bewildered* 
while the Chicago business man, smiling pleasantly and 
leassuringly, beckoned him to bet ; and the senator urged 
him to try his luck : why, he could beat him certainly, just 
as easy as he had done. The young Hebrew was reach- 
ing his hand down, when a sign from Bluffer and hii 
friend restrained him again. 


" You're a nice gang, ain't you?" blurted out Bluffei 
Dotty, eying the Chicago merchant with a look of con. 
tempt as his fists began to double up. " I want you to 
get out of this car as quick as ever you can go ! " ind he 
made a step in the direction of the latter, while that 
sleek individual assumed an indignant attitude and turned 
very red in the face. 

" What do you mean, sir ? " he exclaimed, bridling up. 
" Do you know to whom you are speaking ? I demand 
to know what you mean by insulting me in this manner." 

The passengers stared from one to another in astonish 
ment, and the ladies began to look frightened. 

"I am a respectable merchant from Chicago, sir, and 
I demand an apology instantly, sir, or you must answer 
for this insult!" 

"That's all very fine! that's all very fine!" snorted 
Mr. Bluffer, weaving back and forth from a very excess 
of contempt and rage. " Oh, you do it very well very 
well. You ought to be an actor ! A respectable mer- 
chant from Chicago, eh? Wry, ladies and gentlemen, 
these scamps are an organized gang of three-card-monte 
gamblers, who have come here to rob : yes, rob and be 
damned to you ! " he added savagely, as " Texas " 
jumped up, muttering threats and curses, and placing the 
cards in his pocket " And what are you going to do 
about it ? Yes, ladies and gentleman," said old Bluffer, 
in a high tragedy voice, " and this fellow here " (pointing 
to the " business man ") " does -he genteel business. 
That one over there " (referring to the senator) "is pal 


No. 2, and always wins to encourage the victims, in ordei 
that that scoundrel" (pointing to the Texan) "may 
fkece them. Why, that Chicago business man!" and 
here the brave old Bluffer shook his trembling finger vei) 
close to the nose of that individual " not five minutes 
ago offcied me twenty-five dollars to keep my mouth 
shut and say nothing It's all pretty well played, but I 
object to their presence here, and, damn me, but they'll 
go out of the car, or I will ! " 

At this the "business man," boiling with rage, sud- 
denly put his hand into a convenient valise, drew forth a 
revolver, which he cocked. This was followed by shrieks 
from the ladies, while an ominous and painful silence en- 
sued among the bystanders, who shrank out of the way, 
The ugly eyes of the baffled Texan gleamed, the " sena- 
tor," in a ridiculous attempt at dignity, and with wholly 
the look of a sneak, appeared not to know just how to 
act, while the hand of the " business man " trembled and 
his face paled, as he said hoarsely : " Take back what 
you said, or I'll blow daylight through you !'" 

" Corne away, or you'll be hurt ! " whispered Mr 
Bluffer's friend. 

" Not much ! " blurted out the old fellow defiantly, 
"He daren't shoot! He's too big a coward!" and he 
looked the gambler in the face, while he bantered him tq 

" Give it to him ^shoot ! " yelled the Texan. " NVhj 
don't you shoot ? " he howled wildly, " Give the * pop v 
tome; I'll bore him 1" 


" Oh, yes ! that's all very fine ! why don't you give it 
to him ? He'll shoot oh, yes ! shoot nothing ! " snarled 
old Blurffer defiantly, while the taunted party looked nei 
vously around. 

" Stop the train and call the conductor ! " shouted one 
frightened individual ; while Mr. Bluffer's friend stole 
around behind the " Chicago business man," ready to 
snatch the revolver on the first sign of genuine danger. 

Mr. Bluffer seemed to get braver and braver. His 
blood was up ! He was ready for battle. His pugna- 
cious spirit, coupled with a knowledge that the scoun- 
drelly gang were weakening, made him bolder than a lion, 
and he fairly danced up and dowxi in front of the gam- 

" Look at the trunk of the gentleman from Chicago ! " 
giving the satchel a nimble kick, which sent it spinning, 
and disclosing an empty interior ; " nothing in it but a 
pack of cards!" Don't you acknowledge?" yelled 
Bluffer, advancing, " or shall we call in all the passen- 

"Yes, the game is up. I own up," replied the 
Chicago business man in a low voice of baffled rage, 
at the same time putting his revolver in his pocket and 
picking up the empty valise to follow the " senator," 
who still attempted to appear dignified, to the door ; 
while the Texan, concluding things were beginning to 
look warm, as he observed the now determined f tees of 
nearly all the passengers, followed after. 

"All right, my fine o!4 snooker ! well fix you T 


shouted the Texan to Mr. Bluffer, as the former re 

The train was now nearing the suburbs, and it had 
got bruited about that the demonstrative old fellow was 
one of my men " one of Pinkerton's superintendents," 
had, in fact, reached the ears of the retreating gamblers ; 
and they stopped at the door to give their persistent 
enemy a parting shot. 

Of all the vile language ever used, the Texan, the 
" business man " and the " senator " now indulged in. 
They raked the sturdy old Bluffer fore and aft. Outside 
of all the fine names their tongues could fling forth, they 
sneered at him, jibed him, bullied him, called him a jani- 
tor, hurled at rum taunts of being Pinkerton's coal-heaver, 
Pinkerton's floor scrubber, Pinkerton's hostler, and alto- 
gether so hurt the old fellow's "pride in his position and 
badgered him on his personal appearance and infirmities, 
that, had not the ancient Bluffer been restrained, he 
would have thrown himself upon the three, in all the 
might and power of his boundless indignation and rage, 
and probably got a good, sound drubbing, if not worse. 

As it was, he followed them, with trembling form, 
shrieking tones, and shaking fists, to the last that he was 
able, and earned another great victory, in his own esti 
mation, in behalf of decency and justice. 

The gamblers were hustled off the train at the first 
stop made, breathing dire threats of revenge ; while my 
triumphant and faithful employee, amid the hearty con 
gratulations of the passengers, solaced himself, until the 


Union depot was reached, by mighty and vigorous puff 
ings at his ancient and odorous pipe ; and when the 
passengers disembarked for their various destirations 
might still have been seen puffing and muttering away 
Sut wearing the dignity of a conquering hero. 



THE " smart boy " of the period is sometime s very 
smart indeed. There seems to be a period in the 
life of every boy when he naturally becomes this ' smart 
boy of the period," and takes to tricks of a brilliant char- 
acter as naturally as a young miss takes to beaux. Phila- 
delphia had one of these smart boys recently, and he 
showed, under the pressing necessity of the occasion, an 
ingenuity and shrewdness which would have much more 
become the Philadelphia city detective whom he out- 

A Brook Street grocer lost fifty dollars from his till, and 
a lad named Falvey was suspected of the theft. His 
father very comrnendably took him to the police-station, 
and put him in charge of an officer pending an investiga- 
tion of the matter. After young Falvey was placed in a 
coll, Detective Swan, of the city force, was ordered to 
enter and " break him down," which is the detective par 

lance for securing a confession from a supposed criminal 


The boy did finally confess to the theft with loud prd 4 
"estations of grief and repentance, and finally told the 
officer a regular "Tom Sawyer" story of having hidden 
It in a certain coal-yard along the docks, and promised to 
go with the detective and show him where he had secreted 
the bills. 

The two sallied forth in quest of the treasure, the de- 
tective triumphant in his reflections of his ability to get 
at such things speedily, and the boy humble and demure 
as the picture of the typical good boy in the Sunday-school 
books. At last they reached the docks and the par- 
ticular coal-yard where the stolen money had been hid- 

Now these docks, or yards, are all provided with great 
numbers of elevated "smites" used in discharging coal. 
To one of these the guileful youth led the satisfied detec- 
tive, where they found a hole just large enough for one 
person to crawl into. He said the money was hidden in 
this hole ; and the officer, not suspecting the youth was 
playing any game upon him to escape, directed him to 
" go along in." : 

The boy did go in ; but that same boy came out at the 
large instead of the small end of the horn and that end, 
it is certain, was not in the immediate vicinity of the de- 

The detective soon began to think that it required a 
Jong time for the boy to get out of so small a place. He 
; accordingly put his head into the dark orifice and shouted 


There was no response but the sepulchral ec.ho of his 
own voice, and besides, it seemed to him that he had 
drawn a bucketful of cinders into his lungs, while his en- 
tire features were eclipsed with the richest possible qual- 
ity of coal-smut. 

Again he hallooed, and threatened to shoot into the hole 
should the boy not make his appearance immediately at 
the expiration of one minute. The detective held his 
watch and cursed his luck ; but this threat was of no 
avail. Finally he did shoot into the dark hole, and trem- 
bled a little at the risk he was taking ; but it brought no 
boy and no sound to indicate his whereabouts. 

While standing there cogitating what should be the 
next move, he suddenly heard the sound of some heavy 
object dropping below. He directly inferred that the 
keen youngster had outwitted him, and had jumped into 
the bins below ; and he accordingly made all haste to fel- 
low, making quite a daring swinging leap over the side of 
the " shute," landing in the bottom of a huge bin, an I 
where he would rather have given a ten-dollar bill than to 
have been. 

He found to his chagrin that he and the deceitful youth 
had gone to very different places. The detective was in 
the bottom of a coal-bin, and nobody within hearing to 
help him out. 

In this miserable position the detective remained sev 
eral hours, with the sun blaz'ng down upon him. He 
wou'd yell for assistance for a time, and then he would 
this amusement by cursing, and it is thought that 


some of the choicest swearing ever done in tne Quakei 
City was executed on this momentous occasion. 

At last some laborers came that way, and pulled up the 
unfortunate officer with a rope, setting hin. at liberty ; but 
he was wholly unrecognizable, and returned to headquai 
ters without his boy or money, to receive the derisive 
shouts of his companions, and to be known among them 
to this day as the " coal-heaver detective." 



I THINK I can best relate the romantic history of 
this remarkable . criminal by extracts from his con 
fession to me, in the summer of 1876, shortly after his 
release from prison, and when it was hoped his profes- 
sions of reform would prove all they then promised : 

" I was born in Cynthiana Township, rear Paris, Kentucky, on the 
old Topper plantation, in 1828. My father was a gentleman in 
whom courtesy and courtliness were inborn graces. My earliest recol- 
lections are of this man, his wife, my mother (a brilliant French la ly 
he had married in Europe), flowers, happy negroes, and countless lady 
and gentleman visitors. This picture passed away when I became 
five years of age and my mother died. Her death brought darl 
days to me, and the removal of our family to Brooklyn, where, aftef 
a few years, my father married a wealthy lady of that city, who wai 
well, what stepmothers usually are. She was not my mother, and 


besides, there were two crops of children, and the,/ canac vciy well 
be mixed like two grades of wheat in a Chicago elevator. 

" My father was wealthy for those times, worth probnblj two 
hundred thousand dollars ; and having no home in reality, I was not 
long in spoiling. My father was socially a favorite, and, as he took 
me almost everywhere with him, by the time I was fourteen years of 
age I was. a regular pet of the lawyers, politicians, and literary men 
of Lis circle. 

" Naturally precocious, and with no restraining home influences, 1 
went to the devil at a rapid pace. My. father was very desirous that 
I should have a fine education ; and after I had gone through the 
Brooklyn public schools, I was prepared for college by tutors, and 
intended graduating from Yale, when a little incident occurred which 
changed the whole tenor of my life, and led to the circumstances that 
forced me into being what I have been. 

"' My father gave me four thousand dollars, and directed me to 
proceed to the Wyoming Valley, to invest the same in coal, provided 
it could be secured at certain rates. I got as far as Philadelphia, 
went on a spree there, and finally went to New Orleans, where I 
spent every dollar before my father discovered my whereabouts. 

*' It almost broke his heart, as I was the man's pride. He never 
reprimanded me ; but I could see that it bowed him down, and, thougt 
he was always tender and considerate, had built a wall between us. 

" I pursued my studies about a year after this, and then, getting 
hold* of a few hundred- dollars, went to Buffalo, not exactly as a run- 
away, but with a coldness that made that separation from my father 
* final one. I had some good letters of introduction, and several 
Buffalo business men knew of my family's wealth and standing, and, 
as I never had any bad habits, I made friends there rapidly. 

" I shortly made the acquaintance of a firm natied Rathburn, 
Pettis & Co., the senior member of which was convicted of forging 
grain receipts, and was sentenced to ten years at Auburn, but was 
pardoned out several years refore the expiration of his term, and 


subsequently toon up all the paper which had takea him 
dying a few years since worth fully a hundred thousand dollars. 

** Rathbura seemed greatly interested in me, and, through the firm'i 
influence, I became steward of the old ' Superior,' a steamer then 
plying between Buffalo and Chicago, ran two trips as such, and was 
then promoted to the assistant clerkship, which position I retained 
until the close of navigation. In the meantime I had become one 
of Rathburn's family, and they seemed to love me as a son. They 
lived on what was then known as Dousman Street, an aristocratic 
locality, with people like Dean Richmond for neighbors. Rath- 
burn's family were very extravagant, which ruined him. He had often 
remarked on my wonderful penmanship not that it was so beautiful, 
but on account of its being so varied and done with such fluency. 

** One winter evening it was Sunday evening, and a dreary one 
he came to me in their parlor, where his two beautiful daughters and 
myself were sitting reading, and said : ' My son ' he always called 
me ' my son ' ' step into the library a moment ; I want to speak 
with you.' I saw there was something wrong, but followed him in ; 
and" he motioned me to a seat in front of his secretary, where there 
were writing materials, evidently just laid there. He walked the 
floor for a little time, and then came to where I was sitting, and be- 
gan, in a rattling, gasping sort of a way, complimenting my hand- 
wrifinq, praising my good qualities, bemoaning his family's extrava- 
gance, and requesting me to see if I could write certain names attached 
to different papers as well as they were written upon them all in a 
piteous, half-crazed manner, which scared me. He explained that no 
harm could come of it ; that he could more than meet all of his obli- 
gations if given but a chance to turn ; and concluded by remind ; ng 
me that I would permit his ruin if I did not or could not do as he 
wished by the next morning. 

**I got all worked up about it, and told him that I could not 
mrite my own name that night, but that I would go right to bed, 
have a good sleep, get up early in the morning, and if he would thef 


how me what he wanted I would try and do it for him. Thif 

made the man so happy and bright, that I went to ted happy too, 
and got up at six o'clock, and went into the library, where I found 
everything ready. I worked steadily for an houi under his direc- 
tions, and at the end of that time he was half wild with delight the 
possessor of thirty thousand dollars' worth of grain receipts, that wer 
good as genuine, to realize upon. He grasped me by the hand, and, 
with tears of joy and gratitude streaming down his face, said, hyster- 
ically, that I had saved him, and that a two thousand dollar span and 
carriage he owned should be my reward. 

"I did not then realize the enormity of my crime, and I beliera 
that, had I not known that man, and unconsciously fallen before that 
terrible temptation, I never would have been what I have; but that 
turn-out, the man's gratitude and manifest kindnesses, his wife's re- 
doubled attention, his two daughters' extreme affection, everything 
that will whirl the head of a foolish boy and give him the first devil 
.sh taste of power, crazed me, ruined me J 

" The first grain receipts thrown upon the markets were of course 
retired as fast as they became due and substituted by new ones, but 
the overplus became so great after a few months that the inevitable 
had to come. Rathburn was arrested, tried ex- President Fillmore 
being his counsel convicted, and sentenced to Auburn for ten years, 
there being a general and powerful feeling that the whole thing waj 
a conspiracy of his partners for his ruin. When the lightning struck, 
his wife came to me with a thousand dollars and begged me, in heav- 
en's name, to fly the country ; which, after disposing of my turn-out, 
I did. But not until I had put the Atlantic Ocean between me aiuj 
the United States did I realize that I was a fugitive in a strange 
land, and a man without a country. 

" But once in Europe, and the necessity for some scheme for money 
goading me on, tne terribly unfortunate power I held, coupled with 
a good education, quick wits, and a be ,.nJiess self-reliance, made m| 
nlwcquent career as a criminal a natural sequence. 


" My next operation was in purchasing four bills of exchange foi 

eight pounds each the smallest bills then purchasable in England 
from a Liverpool bank upon a Paris house; and I " raised" them, 
rsalizing twelve thousand dollars out of the operation. Being of a 
literary turn of mind and a good scholar, I then went to Heidelberg, 
Germany, with a view of entering the university there and becoming 
a thorough German scholar; but after a little time got restless, and 
returned to London, where I secured an attorney, who settled the 
Paris matter and took up the paper for me, accomplishing the whole 
for less than two thousand dollars. 

" I was only a few months in Europe, when I returned U 
America; and after wandering about for a little time though 
always studying banking and commercial rules and customs with 
the zeal of an honest capitalist, I went to Philadelphia, and pur- 
chased, at a bank there, five certificates of deposit one for five 
thousand dollars and the other four for fifty dollars each. With 
these in my pocket, and about six thousand dollars in ready money 
besides, I sailed from Baltimore to Charleston, S. C., and repre- 
sented myself as a wealthy Englishman traveling for his health 
and seeking profitable American investments, made acquaintance 
at the banks, where I was informed of terms of discount for cashing 
my five thousand dollar certificate claiming to be in no great haste, 
and giving them plenty of time to ascertain by mail that my certifi- 
cate of deposit was no myth. Then I raised the four fifty dollai 
certificates to five thousand dollar certificates, leisurely called 
around at the four different banks, and got them cashed, transferred 
the genuine to a wealthy friend, securing the cash for the same, and, 
lang before my Charleston friends could secure advices from Phila- 
delphia, I was well on my way to Cuba, with an additional fund of 
twenty thousand dollars. I made it an invariable rule to " settle ' 
these little matters up clean as 1 went along, and doing so in thii 
instance only cost me four thousand dollars. 

44 1 could do nothing in my line in Cuba. There are no enterpri* 


tag business men there. They want to know all about & man 

They insist on knowing that a man has been honest, as well as that 
he seems so, and has money. I soon left that country ; and, whilr 
crossing to New Orleans, developed a scheme to relieve that city ol 
about fifty thousand dollars, which failed. A foolish momentary 
fondness for a brilliant New Orleans adventuress caused this plan 
to fail, as I felt satisfied that she had learned too much of mv 
methods, and would levy on me heavily for silence, or expose me 
outright. I left Cuba with some little Spanish paper, which I in- 
tended to expand sufficiently to enable me to purchase about sixty 
thousand dollars' worth of cotton, make a bona-fide purchase of that 
amount with the inflated paper, ship it to Liverpool, and draw 
against the shipment for fifty thousand dollars, and then draw out of 
the cotton trade. 

"I went to Cleveland from New Orleans, and at Berea I married. 
I had about twenty-five thousand dollars, and I began husbanding 
it as carefully as though I had earned every cent of it by hard Ubor. 
From Ohio I went to Rochester, New York, and there opened a 
large Yankee notion and furnishing-goods store, and started ped- 
dling wagons into the country. I did well ; sold out well ; and 
went to Albion, New York, and there engaged in the stove business, 
inaugurating, I believe, the system of stove-peddling, which after- 
ward became general throughout the State, in which business I had 
twelve wagons engaged. 

" Everything I touched seemed to turn as if by magic into money. 
About 1850 I came back into Ohio, and purchased several mills ; 
and in 1852 removed to Iowa, where, as I had taken fully one hun- 
dred thousand dollars, I soon became one of the leading capitalists 
of the State, and in five years had come to be worth fully half a 
million. I was considered worth a million, and ranked financially 
next to Cook & Seargant, the well-known Davenport bankers. ID 
fact, I was one of the very few solid men of Iowa, and my paper was 
is good as the gold at any bank in the State. I felt guilty and rest 


less all this, and could find no pleasure save in incessant worit 
I built an eighty thousand dollar residence, and one of my enter, 
prises was building, with old Anton Marat, the City Hote! of St. 
Louis, once a fine house, with the extensive sale-stables attached ; 
and in Iowa I was in every enterprise that I could learn of. I made 
an immense amount of money in a very short time ; but my finan 
cial ruin came frorr indorsing the paper of everybody who would 
ask it. 

tl Everything was swept away in the crash of '57, save four thou- 
sand dollars, which I had deposited with Budd & Baldwin, bankers, 
at Clinton. With this I left the State, and went to Chicago, where 
for a time I bought wheat on the street for a firm named Radcliffe & 
Walker ; but at that time everybody was poor, scared, and running 
away ; and the old fascination of the criminal's life coming over me, 
I left Chicago with five hundred dollars of what remained of this four 
thousand dollars, in one dollar bills, and the balance in gold, and 
went to Fremont, Ohio. Making a great show of this, I delib- 
erately determined on swindling somebody, and soon found that a 
spendthrift Frenchman, one Falquet, who had made the wife of 
the Sandusky. Ohio, postmaster his mistress, was going to the 
dogs financially, and who I at once saw was the proper party, for 
a victim. The result was, I went to New York, and purchased, for 
one hundred dollars, ten thousand dollars' worth of the then ab- 
solutely worthless Pennsylvania Coal Company's bonds. My next 
step was to get about two hundred copies of Thompson's Stock Re- 
porter, one hundred of two years previous, and one hundred then cur- 
rent, transfer the covers, and slip them into their olaces where thcj 
were taken. Pennsylvania Coal Company's bonds suddenly went up 
from nothing to above par, and with twenty thousand dollars' worth 
of them and three hundred dollars in gold, I became the bona-fidc pur- 
chaser of Falquet's business, making a cool twenty thousand, and 
ending him and his mistress on to New York in a most happy frame 
pf mind. Of course I was arrested for fraud, but no fraud coul(| bf 


ihown ; and, after honorably conducting the business for some time, 
F sold out, and became a desperately dangerous forger. 

" In 1862 I made arrangements with the chiefs of police of a 
dozen large cities, by which 1 was to receive protection for a certain 
percentage of my plunder. They were not only to act as a * fence ' 
tor the money or bonds I might secure, but act as 'go-bet weens * fitur 
the purpose of effecting settlements with parties whom I had swiiiu- 
dled. If I was too closely pressed, I wa& to bs aanested on> soiree 1 
trivial charge and protected in jail, or given 2n' opportunity to get 
straw bail and escape. Under this protection, which for several 
years was absolute, my first operation was in Wisconsin, the next in 
Minnesota, next in Iowa, then in Illinois, next in Ohio, then in 
Pennsylvania, then in Indiana, next in New York, then in Rhode 
Island, next in Nova Scotia, then in Canada, and then in Vermont, 
which caused my incarceration at Rutland, in February, '69, for a 
term of ten years ; but, through the commutation for good behavior, 
I was discharged the fourth of February, 1876. From 1857 to the 
time of my final arrest I probably * raised ' a million dollars in 
checks and drafts, and made half that amount more from altering 
court records, forging wuls, changing numbers on stolen bonds so 
they could be put upon the market, and in the thousands of ways in 
which my dangerous- art could be used. 

* My daring during my second career of forgery was so great, 
f nd I relied so thoroughly upon the perfect execution of my work 
Atid'my complete knowledge of the French language, that I was 
whirled into a scheme for relieving, at one stroke, Emperor Maxi- 
milian of nearly two millions in gold stored in the treasury vaults 
of the Mexican capital. Preparatory to this, I went to England, 
provided myself with a large number of bills of exchange on differ- 
ent French banks, and, after proceeding to Paris, rented quiet lodg- 
ings, where I inflated these bills until they represented fabulous 
sums. After this work was completed, I set about forgUg letter^ 
Accrediting myself s a secret agent from the French government U 


the Mexican emperor and poor Carlotta. These forged papeis gavi 
exhaustive political and private reasons why official advices should not 
be burdened with my coming as a secret agent, and also told in writ- 
ing, too familiar to be mistaken, why this secret embassador (myself) 
should be implicitly trusted, and even obeyed, should the condition 
of things in Mexico, on the agenrts arrival, warrant flight. 

" As in the case with the Frenchman, Falquet, at Fremont, Ohio, 
my scheme was to induce the self-crazed emperor to do something 
from which he dare not turn back. I would take my chances on the 
rest. On arriving at Brownsville, the three men who were to have 
assisted me in this bold and desperate scheme, learning of the alarm- 
ing condition of things at the city of Mexico, refused to go any fur 
ther, and I pursued my journey of adventure alone. Arriving at the 
capital, I at once gained an interview with the emperor, who seemed 
in a listless, palsied condition, as if already practically dead, and only 
sensible of a lingering, undesired existence, and who, while acknowl- 
edging the genuineness of my credentials and the necessity for imme- 
diate flight, desired five days in which to take counsel and give a de- 
cision, though actually ordering a count of the coin and bullion in 
the treasury vaults. I at once saw that I could not secure the re- 
moval of this vast weight not knowing or daring to trust a soul in 
that wild country, where every hand held a dagger, and knew how to 
drive it home too and felt that it was useless to waste my beautiful 
English paper where I might not be able to get away with the pro- 
ceeds of it ; and although I held several subsequent interviews with 
the fated emperor, I saw that my own death was only a question of 
time if I remained there, and the third day after my arrival in the 
city of Mexico I left the place for Salt Lake, via Santa Fe. Two 
days after completing the five days at the expiration of which 
Maximilian was to have given me his decision a bullet had put 
the Austrian dupe beyond the need of raised bills of exchange." 

There is no question but that ? in his time, Piper wa* 


one of the most skilled of forgers in any country. It ia 
said of him that he spent the best part cf eight years of 
his worthless life in the study of chemistry under the best 
professors, and at an expense, including the cost of ex- 
periments, of what any ordinarily honest man would 
consider a large fortune. His great skill secured for him 
among his class the title of the " invincible ;" and it is 
undoubtedly a fact tfcat there was no bank-note, draft, 
bill of exchange, certificate, or other monetary paper or 
legal instrument which he could not so alter, to suit 
himself or the parties employing him to do the work, as 
to absolutely defy detection. 

In personal appearance he bore a striking resemblance 
to Professor Swing, the noted Chicago divine, and was 
one of the smoothest-tongued rascals it has ever been my 
business to know. He seemed to have a singular faculty 
of compelling everybody who came in contact with him 
to like him and even admire him, though they might be 
perfectly aware of his character ; while the man's nature 
was a singular mixture of unstinted and reckless gener- 
Dsity, kind-heartedness, brilliancy, cruel recklessness, and 
heartless criminal daring. 

On his liberation from the Vermont penitentiary, m 
1876, he professed a complete roforrn. I believe his pro- 
fessions were genuine. I believe he really meant to live 
the life of an honest man. Neither am I ashamed to 
confess that I put my hand *n my pocket and helped him, 
on condition that he vould be one in everything he did. 
But it was too hard work for him.. His luxurious habits, 


the ease with which he could secure money dishonest!/, 
the fascination of the adventure and daring of his old 
career, all overwhelmed him, and he " broke over," and 
sold all the little manhood left in him for the excitement 
and" fleeting pleasures of the adventurer's life ; and, after 
a short series of successes, he became ill, when of course 
the friends of his class forsook him, and he died in miser- 
able poverty and disgrace the fate of nearly every pro- 
fessional criminal that ever existed on September 4, 
1877, at the Robertson House, in the city of Joliet, Illi- 
nois, within a few miles of the penitentiary he had a hun- 
dred times cheated of deserved convict's service. 



THE good people of the city of Boston were greatly 
exercised, at a certain period during the war, over 
the doings of one Sir Henry Mercer, Bart., who came 
to the surface, made a ripple of excitement, and then 
passed from sight and thought, giving place to the next 
sensation, as will be the way of the world until the end 
of time. 

The particular interest centering in Sir Henry Mercer 
lay in the ease with which he secured his rank, the re- 
markably good time he had while he held the title, an^l 
the general luxurious way in which he enjoyed the pre- 


rogatives of rank and wealth including of course sev- 
eral first-class scandals while he was supposed to be theii 
rightful possessor. 

Great men frequently spring from humble surround 
ings, and Mercer was no exception to this desirable way 
of getting on in the world, which used him rather shab 
bily at the start, for at the breaking out of the war him. 
self and wife were found making a very ques.ionable 
living in a very questionable way in a then very doubtful 
locality on Sudbury Street, Boston. In fact, Mrs. Mercer 
enjoyed the .reputation of being one of those accommo- 
dating business ladies who can conduct a cigar-store so 
as to make it more profitable than the best of men, 
although the actual sale of cigars would not have sup- 
ported so modest a salesman as Silas Wegg, before he 
met old Noddy Boffin, and , became avaricious, for she 
had a way of making appointments for parties, both 
ladies and gentlemen, who imagined they had not their 
affinities. Added to this business basis was the employ- 
ment of two slinking fellows, who were called " private 
detectives," and who employed their time taking notes on 
callers and parties in general who met here, following 
them, learning all that was possible concerning tnem, 
and then, after a little time, taking occasion to call on 
fchem at their offices, if they had any, remind them of 
their " little indiscretion," and secure whatever might be 
got, which usually was and usually is in proportion to 
the cowardice of the victim. 

This was the bnsinp r MV C Mercer, while her hus- 

1 68 A tiOcVs BAkONE T AtfD J*js P'ic r/A/s. 

band had rather precarious employment as a city " hum 
mer" for the drygoods house of Laught & Co. and wai 
in every way qualified for adventure, possessing a fine 
appearance, a large amount of self-assurance, and had 
several languages at his tongue's end, so that after a 
time he was not only able to bring a large amount of 
business to his employers, but considerable custom to the 
Sudbury Street cigar-store, where he had no trouble in 
inducing country merchants to go wild in their laudable 
endeavors to study the zoological department of society 
usually described by that generic phrase, "seeing the 

While matters were progressing in this manner with the 
Mercers, Laught & Co., in their haste to become rich, in 
1864 began shipping largely to Nassau, for Florida, goods 
that would suit the Southern market. They did not run 
the blockade, but they forwarded the material that was to 
run it. The shrewd Mercer shortly discovered this se- 
cret, and he was not long in using it to advantage ; and 
while acting as agent for the firm, he informed the gov- 
ernment of the acts of his employers, and finally obtained 
the double position of drummer and government detective. 

His first disclosures led to the arrest of Laught, who 
was lodged in jail. While lying there, by some treachei- 
ous arrangement Mercer so imposed on his employei 
that he obtained a power-of-attorney to collect all the 
debts of Laught & Co. at Nassau ; and there, as well as 
in Boston, after this brilliant move, he was recognized ai 
a partner in the firm. 


On his arrival at Nassau, Mercer, who now blossomed 
out as a genuine English Sir Henry Mercer, a partner in 
the firm of Laught & Co., was received by Mr. Heni) 
Adler, the great blockade-runner and agent for the Con- 
federate States, with the most distinguished marks of es- 
teem. After he had concluded his business, and just 
before leaving for Boston, Mr. Adler introduced him to a 
very attractive young widow, a Northern lady, who had 
lost her husband, a Southerner, running the blockade. 
He was of course introduced as a live baronet, and the 
widow naturally felt proud of such noble society ; the re- 
sult of which was that on the voyage from Nassau to Bos- 
ton Sir Henry wooed and won her, which wooing and 
winning was continued after the couple had arrived in 
Boston, notwithstanding the trifling obstacle remaining in 
the way behind the cigar stand on Sudbury Street. 

When this shadow presented itself, Sir Henry urged that 
a little matter like that was hardly to be considered. All 
English noblemen were accustomed to such incumbrances. 
A trifling annuity would take the cigar-stand party back 
to England ; and it is a fact worthy of record that she did 
go there, whatever the inducement offered. 

It appears that the widow was worth nearly half a mil. 
lion dollars in her own right ; and as this was too tempt- 
ing a capture to permit escaping, Sir Henry pressed his 
suit with greater vigor than ever, and the day for the pro- 
posed marriage was finally set, while the happy baronet 
succeeded in quartering himself at the widow's elegant 




The lady's friends made a bitter fight against the man, 
but she seemed completely infatuated, and not until the 
most powerful efforts were made would she consent to 
even seem to doubt him by a visit to his " bankers," which 
was proposed as a test of the man's being all he professed. 
When the baronet heard of this proposition, he acceded 
to it in the blandest terms, giving his lovely bride-to-be a 
letter, over which was beautifully printed an embossed 
coat-of-arms in bronze and gilt, to his " bankers " in New 



Armed with this reassuring document, the lady pro- 
ceeded to New York, to find Sir Henry unknown there ; 
and, thoroughly alarmed, swiftly returned to Boston, only 
to find that the bogus baronet had left on the very next 
train, taking with him twelve thousand dollars of hei 
money, together with all the silver plate, and that he had 
started for England, via Quebec, in which city he was 
arrested. But the fair widow, afraid of the scandal and 
exposure it would bring about, let the scamp go with her 
money, plate, and honor ; and Sir Henry Mercer, as a 
sensation, soon passed from public attention, and eventu- 
ally from sight, but came back again, like a had penny, in 
a way which, through my efforts, shut the dors of a prison 
upon him. 

Just four years later, Mr. J. M. Ballard, then division 
superintendent of one of the express companies running 
in and out of Chicago, called upon me at my chief office 
in that city, and in a very excited manner told me that 
only an hour or two previous he had become convinced 


that an embezzlement, amounting to two or three thou 
sand dollars, had occurred on their route between Chicago 
and a large city further west. 

With what slight information I could secure, I immedi- 
ately detailed several of my best operatives, and within a 
short time had secured a happy result to my work, which 
brought out the following facts : 

About six weeks before, J. R. Wilson, a pleasant-faced, 
boyish fellow of about twenty, and a messenger of 
the express company between Chicago and the city 
referred to, one of the most important express routes in 
the country, was introduced by another messenger to 
one W. S. G. Mercer, proprietor of a Randolph Street 
saloon and restaurant. Mercer cultivated Wilson's ac- 
quaintance assiduously so much so, in fact, that the 
two were firm friends within a week or two, and, when 
Wilson was in Chicago, were constantly in each other's 

About two weeks previous to the call upon me by Mr. 
Ballard, Mercer, who was none ojier than the bogus Sir 
Henry, and who had degenerated from a live baronet to 
a Chicago saloon-keeper, gambler, and ward politician- 
about as low as it is possible for one to get took * trip 
to the western city with his young friend, and the twc 
had a very gay time of it, during which the crafty Mercer 
praised Wilson's good qualities, fine appearance, jtnd 
splendid business abilities, cunningly coming around to 
delicate insinuations that the boy was having too hard a 
of it for one of his good parts, and finally, with der 


ilish ingenuity, hinting at the ease with which a good haul 
could be made from the company. 

This subject was hinted at over wine and cigars, at the 
theater and at places where the very devil in men is most 
easily awakened, until, before leaving on their return, 
the two had agreed upon a plan by which Wilson should 
secure all that was possible, without awakening suspicion, 
on two " runs," or trips to Chicago, when the money 
should be divided and the two should fly to Canada, and 
from there proceed to Europe on a tour of pleasure. 

According to arrangements, on Monday morning, 
March 30, 1868, Wilson returned from his trip, and, while 
getting his money-box and books into the express wagon, 
a business-like looking gentleman stepped up to the cai 
and inquired : 

" Is there a valise for me, from J. A. Walters ? " 

" Yes," replied Wilson. " You can get it over to the 
office in a few minutes." 

" Can't you let me have it now ? Here's the receipt." 

" All right, then. Fifty cents charges." 

The stranger signed the messenger's book, paid him 
fifty cents, and walked away. 

That valise contained three thousand dollars taken by 
Wilson, and the party who carried it away so noncha- 
lantly was the ex-Sir Henry. 

It was on the next day that Mr. Ballard called, and arf 
that I could learn then was that inquiries had been made 
for amounts by business men which had not come to hand, 
for a total sum so large that its non-arrival alarmed 


him ; so that my men were on hand at once to follow and 
observe every movement of each messenger that might by 
any possibility have been the guilty party. 

Consequent upon this arrangement, I discovered that 
on Wednesday morning, as the train bearing Wilson on 
his " out-trip " was about leaving, a certain gentleman 
brought a well-filled valise to the express car, gave it to 
the messenger, who consigned it on his way-bill to " J. A. 
Walters," a mythical personage of course, and on paying 
the charges, and taking a receipt in a most business- 
like manner, walked off whistling ; but not alone, for 
wherever the man, whom I soon found to be Mercer, 
went, there was an invisible though remorseless attendant 
beside him. 

A certain Chicago gentleman also took a trip on the 
same train with Wilson, who at every station where the 
train halted saw that the messenger did not leave it, and 
after he had arrived at his destination, that he never 
made an unobserved move. 

The reports of the two operatives, condensed, were . 
" Wilson : restless ; excited ; has something ^n his mind 
worrying him. Sports a brand-new suit of clothes, a hand 
some gold watch, and a diamond pin," 

** Mercer : neglecting business ; pretty full of liquor ; 
constantly borrowing money right and left." 

This settled the matter in my mind. 

Wilson, closely watched by my operative, left on his re- 
turn Thursday night, arriving in Chicigo Friday morning. 

After the rush of the departing passengers was a littjj 


over, Mercer, who had been waiting between some can 
in front of the train so as not to attract attention, walked 
rapidly down the track, stepped up to the express-car, r& 
peated the same inquiries as on the former occasion, was 
met by the same answers from Wilson, paid the charger 
on the valise, and, just as he turned to depart, one of my 
operatives, who happened to be passing, heard him re- 
mark in a low tone of voice : 

' Meet me at the Sherman House just as soon as you 
get through. Room 86." 

Two men accompanied Mercer to that hotel without 
his knowledge, with orders to arrest him instantly on his 
making the slightest sign of an intention to not keep his 
appointment with Wilson ; while two more detectives fol- 
'owed the company's wagon, in a private conveyance, to 
the express office, with instructions to never permit the 
guilty messenger to escape them, but in no manner to 
disturb him if he proceeded to the hotel according to ap- 
pointment ; while I at once dispatched a special messen- 
ger requesting Superintendent Ballard to meet me im- 
mediately in the office of the Sherman House. 

By this means in less than an hour all the parties had 
been brought together, and helped materially to swell the 
crowd in the rctunda. 

I kept Mr. liallard out of sight, as I was apprehensive 
lest Wilson might suspect his mission, and found that this 
was the wisest plan, for shortly he came hurriedly into the 
hotel, and, after standing a moment as if irresolute, walked 
though and through the office, hazily scanning the face 


of every man in it, not excepting myself. Then, after 
going out and looking up and down the street in eithei 
direction, as if to be doubly assured that he was not sus 
pected and followed, he returned and hurriedly proceeded 
to the room designated as No. 86. 

Telling Mr. Ballard to follow in a few moments, I has- 
tened after the retreating messenger, and arrived at the 
landing of the floor on which No. 86 was situated just 
in time to observe Wilson, a few yards in advance, pause 
before a door, give two quick raps, and enter immediately 

There were two or three gentlemen in the hall, care 
lessly conversing together. A stranger to them would 
merely have regarded them as pleasant, chatty guests, who 
had met by chance and were enjoying the meeting. 
They were my operatives ; but they paid no attention to 
me, nor I to them. 

Scarcely had the door to 86 closed, when I silently 
stood beside it, and could easily catch the low, earnest 
conversation within. 

" My dear boy," said Mercer enthusiastically, " you 
did splendidly ! " 

" I feel like death about it ! " said the messenger with 
such a touch of genuine remorse in his tones, that I 
pitied the deluded fellow from the bottom of my heart 

" O pshaw ! d n them ! it's nothing to them, and in 
two days we will be out of harm's way. But we must get 
out of this lively. My plan is to get a livery team and 
drive out into Indiana, and there take the M'chrjat 


Central train for Canada. They'll probably have a loi 
of Pinkerton's men watching the depots, and we will just 
learn these smart detectives a new trick," replied Mercer 
with a triumphant laugh. 

By this time Mr. Ballard was beside me, and, with a. 
slight signal, I had two of the parties in the hall, whom a 
stranger would have taken for chatting guests, at the 
door, one stationed silently at either side. 

Then I rapped loudly upon the door. 

A smothered oath from Mercer, a cry of remorseful 
surprise from the poor messenger, and a rustle and hurry 
inside, were the only response. 

I rapped again, louder than before, and then finally 
told the parties that if the door was not instantly opened, 
it would be forced. 

After another rustle and scuffle, Mercer opened the 
door, and Mr. Ballard and myself quickly entered, 1 lock- 
ing the door, putting the key in my pocket. 

Mercer looked me full in the face for a moment, and 
with the one gasping ejaculation, " My God ! Allan 
Pinkerton ! " sank into a chair ; while Wilson, white as a 
ghost, reeled against the wall, looking from me to Mr. 
Ballard, his superintendent, for a moment, and then, 
burying his face in his hands, threw himself upon the bed, 
and moaned in utter agony. 

They were at once arrested ; and while Mercer was 
consigned to the county jail to await examination, I had 
Wilson taken to my office, whtre a full confession was se- 
cured, . All the ropney was recovered, save the few hun 


dred dollars expended by Mercer for the clothing and 
jewelry with which his dupe was led on to the commission 
of the second and greater crime. 

At the trial which was shortly had, the judge, at my 
earnest solicitation, mercifully took into consideration the 
facts of the case, and the messenger, Wilson, was given 
the least punishment possible ; while ex-Sir Henry, whose 
crime was aggravated ten-fold by his cruel and heartless 
ruin of a previously honored and respected boy, was con 
signed to his rightful sphere of action, where, for ten years 
at least, he remained an honest and law-abiding citizen 
of the State of Illinois within its penitentiary at Joliet 



THERE are some men who naturally choose, or, 
through a series of unfortunate blunders, drift into 
the life of social outlaws, who possess so many remarkably 
original traits of charactei that they become rather sub- 
jects for admiration than condemnation when we review 
heir life and career. 

On nrst thought it could hardly be imagined that one 
who has been all his life, so far as is known, a gambler 
and a confidence man, whose associates were always of 

the same or worse class than himself, v bq had no 


regard for law than a wild Indian, and who nerer in hii 
entire career seemed to have an aspiration above being 
the vagabond, par excellence, could move us to anything 
beyond a passing interest, the same as we would have for 
a wild animal or any unusual character among men and 

But here is a man who, from his daring, his genuine 
simplicity, his great aptitude for his nefarious work, his 
simple, almost childish ways, his unequaled success, and 
a hundred other marked and remarkable qualities, cannot 
but cause something more than a common interest, and 
must always remain as an extraordinarily brilliant type ot 
a very dangerous and unworthy class. 

Such was " Canada Bill," whose real name was William 
Jones. He was born in a little tent under the trees of 
Yorkshire, in old England. His people were genuine 
Gypsies, who lived, as all other Gypsies do, by tinkering, 
dickering, or fortune-telling, and horse-trading. Bill, as 
he was always called; grew up among the Romany like 
any other Gypsy lad, becoming proficient in the nameless 
and numberless tricks of the Gypsy life, and particularly 
^dept at handling cards. In fact, this proficiency caused 
him finally to leave his tribe, as, wherever he went among 
them, he never failed to beat the shrewdest of his shrewd 
people on every occasion where it was possible for him 
to secure an opponent willing to risk any money upon his 
supposed superiority in that direction. 

Having become altogether too keen for his Gypsy 
friends, he began appearing at fairs and tnv:ling witft 


provincial catchpenny shows 5n England. Tiring of suc- 
cesses in that field, he eventually came to America, and 
wandered about Canada for some time in the genuine 
Gypsy fashion. This was about twenty-five years ago, 
when Bill was twenty-two or twenty-three years of age, 
and when thimble-rigging was the great game at the fairs 
and among travelers. 

Bill soon developed a great reputation for playing short- 
card games, but finally devoted his talents entirely to 
three-card monte under the guise of a countryman, and 
may be said to 'have been the genuine original of that 
poor, simple personage who had been swindled by sharp- 
ers, and who, while bewailing his loss and showing inter- 
ested people the manner in which he had been robbed, 
invariably made their natural curiosity and patronizing 
sympathy cost them dearly. 

Himself and another well-known monte-player, named 
Dick Cady, traveled through Canada for several years, 
gaining a great notoriety among gamblers and sporting 
men ; and it was here that this singular person secured the 
sobriquet of "Canada Bill," which name clung to him 
until his death, in the summer of 1877 ; and he was known 
by everybody throughout the country who knew him at 
all by that name, it being generally supposed that he was 
of Canadian birth. 

As a rule, three-card monte men are among the most 
godless, worthless, unprincipled villains that infest society 
anywhere ; but this strange character, from his simplicity, 
which was geruins, his cunning, which was most brilliant, 


his acting, which was inimitable, because it was nature it 
self, created a lofty niche for himself in all the honor therr 
may be attached to a brilliant and wholly original careei 
as a sharper of this kind ; and however many imitator? 
he may have and he has hundreds none can ever ap- 
proach his perfection in the slightest possible degree. 

Any deft person, after t certain amount of practice, 
can do all the trickery there is about the sleight-of-hand in 
three-card monte ; but the game is so common a dodge 
among swindlers, that unless the confidence of the dupe is 
first fully secured, he seldom bites at the bait offered. 

This must either be confidence, on the part of the 
person being operated on, that he is smarter than the 
dealer, if his real character is known ; or, in case it is not 
known, a conviction that he is a genuine greenhorn whj 
can easily be beaten the second time. 

It was here that Canada Bill's peculiar genius never 
failed to give him victory ; and it is said of him that he 
never made a mistake and never failed to win money 
whenever he attempted it. 

His personal appearance, which was most ludicrous, 
undeniably had much to do with his success. He was the 
veritable country gawky, the ridiculous, ignorant, absurd 
creature that has been so imperfectly imitated on and 
off the stage for years, and whose true description can 
scarcely be written. He was fully six feet high, with 
dark eyes and hair, and always had a smooth-shaven face, 
full of seams and wrinkles, that were put to all mannei 
of difficult expressions with a marvelous facility and ease, 

CANADA BttL. l8l 

Atl this coupled with long, loose-jointed arms, long, 
thin, and apparently a trifle unsteady legs, a shambling, 
shuffling, awkward gait, and this remarkable face and 
head bent forward and turned a little to one side, like an 
inquiring and wise old owl, and then an outfit of Granger 
clothing, the entire cost of which never exceeded fifteen 
dollars made a combination that never failed to call a 
smile to a stranger's face, or awaken a feeling of curiosity 
and interest wherever he might be seen. 

One striking difference between Canada Bill and all the 
other sharpers of his ilk lay in the fact that he was the 
thing he seemed to be. Old gamblers and sporting-men 
could never fathom him. He was an enigma to his clos- 
est friends. A short study of the awkward, ambling fellow 
would give one the impression that he was simply su- 
premely clever in his manner and ma*ke up ; that he was 
merely one of the most accomplished actors in his pro- 
fession ever known ; and that he only kept up this ap- 
pearance of guilelessness for the purpose of acquiring 
greater reputation among his fellows. But those who 
knew him, as far as it was possible to know the wander- 
ing vagabond that he was, assert that he was the most 
unaffected, innocent, and really simple-hearted of human 
beings, and never had been anything, and never could 
have been anything, save just what he was. 

This would hardly seem possible of even an exceptional 
person among ordinary people , and I can only reconcile 
this singular case with consistency when I call to mind 
many of the interesting old Gypsv tinkers I have myself 

1 82 CAtfAtiA SILL. 

known, who, with all their wise lore ahd cunning tricks 
were the merriest, kindest-hearted, 'oiliest, and most child- 
like simple dogs on earth. 

It seems almost impossible that any living person 
waging such a relentless war against society as Canada Bill 
did, until the day of his death, could have anything gener- 
ous and simple about him ; but he certainly had those 
two qualities to a remarkable degree. They were upper- 
most in everything that he did. It almost seemed that 
this man had no thought but that his vocation in life wag 
**f the highest respectability ; that skinning a man out of 
A thousand dollars as neatly as he could do it was an ad- 
mirable stroke of business, even if it led to that man's 
ruin ; and that every act of his criminal life was one of the 
most honorable accomplishments ; so that this sunny tem- 
per and honest face was an outgrowth of a satisfaction in 
upright living. 

He was certainly different from all other men whom I 
have been called upon to study. He always had a mel- 
low and old look about him that at once won the looker- 
on and caused a real touch of warmth and kindliness 
toward him. His face was always beaming with a rough 
good-fellowship and a sturdy friendliness that seemed 
almost something to cling to and bet on, while every 
movement of his slouchy, unkempt body was only a new 
indication of his rustic ingenuousness. 

One November night, several years since, 1 started on 
a hurried trip over the Pittsburg and Fort Wayne road 
from Chicago to the East, for the transaction of some im- 


portant business of such a nature that I did not desire the 
fact of my known there ; and, noticing several 
eastern and western people of my acquaintance in the 
sleeper and throughout the cars, before the train started, 
I quietly entered the smoking car. and took a cigar and a 
seat in a quiet corner, with the object of avoiding my 
friends as much as possible, and remaining where I was 
until everything had got quiet in the sleeper for the 
night, so that I could safely retire without observation. 

Being very tired, after a casual glance at several other 
persons in front of me- in the car, I settled myself snug<v 
in my seat, hoping to be able to get a little nap ; but I had 
scarcely got myself comfortably arranged, when the train 
halted at Twenty-second Street, and my attention was at- 
tracted by the entrance into our car of a tall, stumbling 
fellow, dressed in some cheap, woolen, home-spun stuff, 
that hung about his attenuated frame like a dirty camp- 
meeting tent around a straggling set of poles. 

Pausing just inside the door for a moment, he deposited 
on the floor a valise whose size and cavernous appearance 
would have won the heart of an audience at a minstrel 
show, and then, giving his big hand a great ungainly wave 
as if to clear away the smoke immediately in front of him, 
peered into the murky distance, and ejaculated " Gaul- 
darned thick ! '' 

He probably referred to both the smoke and the pas- 
sengers. In any event, he sat clumsily down upon the 
stove, from which he suddenly bounded like a rubbei 
ball, although there was no fire within it. it appeared * 


though it had crept into his bucolic mind that ic was sit 
ting on a stove, and that there must, of course, be a fire 
within it, and, consequently, he must be bursed. What- 
ever impelled him, he and his cavernous valise went 
ricocheting along the aisle, finally coming up short, like a 
"bucking" mule, at about the center of the car, and there, 
tumbling noisily into a seat, which, taking into considera- 
tion the crowded condition of the coach, singul&rly 
enough was vacant. 

By this time there was a broad smile on the faces of all 
the passengers, and many mirthful references were made 
in an undertone to the wild " Hoosier," some of which 
he evidently overheard, but which were received in the 
best of humor, the subject of such witticism turning a 
benign and smiling farmer face upon all, but holding on 
to his big, though evidently nearly empty valise with bo'tn 
Sands, as if indicating that he was quite ready for any 
good-natured joke with " the boys," so long as none oi 
them attempted any sharp city tricks upon him, wiich r it 
could be easily seen from his manner, he had already 
experienced, as he thought, and wa* quite ready to have 
it generally known that quite a mistake wouid be made 
when anybody took him for a " young man from the 
country. " 

After the Twenty-second Street crossing was passt d. ve 
sped along rapidly, almost the majority of the car seem- 
ing to be of that very common class of travelers that are 
usually considered "good fellows," who were rea^v <o 
jest, whether it were ordinary or of the first class. 


We had been bowling along for but a short time, now 
i ver, before the conductor made his appearance. 

His was mere business to collect fares ; that was all. 
He came through the car like an ' old campaigner," with 
no favors to ask and none to give. 

He got along to where our bucolic friend was sitting 
without trouble, when that lively individual seemed ready 
for an argument. 

" You're the conductor ? " he remarked dryly. 

" Yes." 

: * You takes the money for ridin' on this machine ? " 

" Yes ; where ye goin' ? " 

" Fort Wayne, God willin'." 

The countryman clumsily produced a bill from out a 
huge roll, and then remarked : 

" Lots of good boys on the train ? " 

" Dunno ; guess so," replied the conductor. The con- 
ductor gave the innocent party his change, when thai 
ubiquitous individual remarked : 

" Lots of funny fellows on this train ? " . 

The conductor had passed, but he took the time tc 
turn and say : 

"Don't trust 'em, my Granger friend." 

" D d if I will," said he, as he took a stronger and 

firmer hold of his priceless "?riu-sack." D d if I 

will, fur I've been thar ! I've been thar i " 

A roar of laughter followed this sally from the " In 
jeanny Granger," and I noticed at the time, without giv 
ing it any particular attention so far as this c tmtryman 


and his immediate remarks were concerned, that, at 
various intervals throughout the car, the laughing which 
followed his remark was extremely well distributed ; but 
being tired, I received all this merriment as a common 
occurrence, and, after the conductor passed, fell into a 
heavy drowse, in which tall Indiana Grangers, brusque 
conductors, commercial travelers, and the ordinary rail- 
road riffraff danced back and forth through my disturbed 

I was of course unconscious of what passed for a little 
time, but was eventually disturbed by renewed laughtei 
through the car, and noticed that quite a group had gath- 
ered around the Granger, whose members were evidently 
greatly interested in whatever he was doing and saying ; 
while his great, honest face, all alive with enthusiasm, was 
wreathed with smiles at being such an object of general 

As before stated, up to this time I had given the mat- 
ter no thought ; but when I now heard- one of a couple ir 
front of me remark : " Very quaint character ; very quaint 
character. I believe some of those Chicago rascals have 
victimized him, and he is telling the passengers about it,' 
which was followed by a request to his companion to 
J< come along and see the fun," I immediately under- 
stood that we were to be given an exhibition of three- 
card monte of a very ir cresting character, and that many 
of the persons in the car were " cappers," or those mem- 
bers of the gang who are used to persuade fools to bet 
upon the game. 


My first impulse was to put a stop to the villainy at 
Wiy personal risk ; but I recollected that the very reason 
which had forced -ne to take up with the discomforts of 
the smoking-car an absolute necessity for remaining un- 
known prevented this, and though my blood boiled with 
i, desire to frustrate the already ripened and charmingly- 
working plans of the keen scamps, I was forced to swal- 
low my indignation and content myself with taking up a 
position where I could get a comprehensive idea of what 
might follow. 

By this time so much interest was being exhibited in 
the uncouth fellow's manipulations, that two seats had 
been given him ; and there he sat in one corner of the 
space thus made, with his legs crossed under him like a 
tailor's, his huge valise lying across this framework in 
such a manner that a most neat, level, and glossy surface 
was made, and all this with- a nicety of calculation really 
remarkable, while his whole form, manner, and action 
showed him to be the simplest, most honest of men, who, 
out of the pure goodness of his heart, rough, ig- 
norant, and unkempt as he was. proposed giving the 
crowd about him his experiences merely for what benefit 
it would certainly prove to them. 

* Yaas," he said in an indescribably droll tone of voice, 
" yaas, them dogoned Chicago skinners cum nigh a ruin- 
in' me. Now, 1 do 'low them fellers beat the hull tarnal 
kentry. But gosh ! I found 'em out ! " 

Here the Hoosier laughed with such a ridiculously child 
is)' lir of triumph, that general laughter was iiresie'ible, 


He then reached his long, skinny fingers down into hi* 
huge valise and brought out a handful of articles of va- 
rious kinds,- among which were a couple of sickle-teeth, 
tied together with a string, a horn husking-pin, and a 
" snack " of chicken covered with bread-crumbs. These 
caused another laugh, but were suddenly returned to theii 
restirfg-pte.ce a-nd several other dives made into the 
greasy cavern, evidently to the great discomfiture of the 
gawky; but he chattered and grinned away, until finally 
a brand-new pack of cards had been secured. 

This was bunglingly opened, the greater portion of the 
cards slushing out of his hands upon the floor and flying 
in different directions upon the seat. 

To any casual observer it was more than apparent that 
the poor silly fellow was not more than half-witted, and 
Hie fun of it all seemed to lie in his sincerity, which the 
passengers took for one of the hugest of jokes. 

After things had been got to rights which took the 
clumsy fellow a long time, during which he enlivened his 
listeners with his idea of Chicago as a city, its people as 
sharpers of the first order, and the grandeur of his own 
great State, Indiana he selected three cards from ths 
pack, and, wrapping the balance in a dirty bit of browc 
paper, put them away carefully in the valise. 

The three cards selected were the five of spades, the 
five of clubs, and the queen of hearts, and the gentleman 
from Indiana now began his exposition in real earnest 

" Wy, d'ye know, the durn skunks said they knowed 
me, 'n' 'fore I knowed what I was a doiii' these oW 


friends, as they said they wus, had me bettin' th it 1 could 
jerk up the joker. Now, yer see, fellers," reu.arked tlie 
dealer, as he held up the queen, ' they called this keerd 
the joker, fur why I can't tell yer, lest it's a joke on the 
dealer if yer picks it up," 

"Of course you picked it up \ ' jsmarked a flashy gen- 
tleman, who had the appearance of a successful commer- 
cial traveler on a good salary. 

Such a look as the dealer gave the man. 

" Picked it up ! picked it up ? My friend, mebby you 
think you're smart enough to pick it up ! Don't you ever 
squander yer money like I did a-tryin' ! Pick her up ! 
Pick up hell ! 'Tain't in her to git picked up. She 
can't be got. Them cussed coons has worked some all- 
fired charm on that durned keerd, so that no man can 
raise her. Mebby you kin lift the keerd ? She allers 
wins, she does ; but don't bet nuthin'." 

Here the dealer bunglingly shuffled the cards, and made 
such a mess of it that the effort only brought forth more 
peals of derisive laughter. 

" Now, ye see, fellers," pursued the imperturbable 
dealer, " this is the five uv spades, hy'r is the five uv 
dubs, and thar is the rip-roarin' female that wins every 
time she kin be got. I'm jest a-goin' to skin the boys 
down hum in Kos-cus-ky County ; fur it's the beautifullest 
and deceivenst game out; but," he added, with the so- 
lemnity of a parson at a funeral, " fellers, d'ye know I 
wouldn't hev a friend o' mine bet on this yer game fin 
anything not fur a good boss 1 " 


He closed this admonitory remark with such \ drol" 
wave of his long arm and hand, that a palpable snickei 
greeted the performance ; and the flashy gentleman vho 
had suggested that the greeny must have been able to 
pick up the card when being entertained by his Chicago 
friends, bent forward, and after a moment's hesitation over 
the three cards, which were lying face downward upon the 
valise, picked up one, which, with an air of triumph, he 
held aloft for a moment and then slapped down with a 
great flourish. 

This was the * * rip-roarin' female that wins every 
time!" and his honor, the gentleman from Kosciusco 
County, Indiana, turned white as he observed how neatly 
her ladyship could be brought to the surface by one of a 
miscellaneous crowd. 

" Jehosiphat ! " he exclaimed, as he grabbed the cards 
and began another bungling shuffle of them "Jehosi- 
phat ! Stranger, d'yer know I've got pea-green scrip in 
my pocket as says as yer can't do that agin ? " 

" Oh, I wouldn't take your money ! " the flashy man 
replied, as he nudged a man near him. " *T wouldn't be 
fair, you know." 

" Now now, see hy'r, stranger," answered the Indi- 
anian, " I've told ye already that ye hadn't ought to bet 
on this deceitful game; but yer is too sassy and Dold. 
Yer thinks yer knows it all, 'n' yer doesn't. Jist wait till i 
fix the keerds. Thar nov.' ! Old Injeanny agin the field ! " 

The dealer had rearranged the cards in a reckless, 
fashion ; but there they lay, and the passenger* 


ciowded closer and closer about the group to see all the 
fun that might happen. 

Slowly and ungainly enough the dealer reached down 
into the outside pockets of his homespun suit with both 
hands. Finding nothing there, he tremulously went into 
his pantaloons pockets ; but he found nothing there. 

" Oh, he's a fraud ! " suggested a big-bellied man near 
me, turning to a rural-looking fellow at his side. " Do 
you know," he continued warmly, "you and I could go 
in together, and clean that 'old Jasey' out if he's got 
any money. But," he added, confidentially, to his com- 
panion, "I don't believe he's got a copper; and I 
wouldn't be surprised if he passed around his hat, begging 
lor car-fare, or lodging, or for his supper-bill, or something 
of that sort, before he leaves the train. Oh, I've seen too 
much of that sort of thing, /have ! " 

His companion, whom I had already taken for a coun- 
try merchant, or something of that kind, as he afterward 
proved to be, looked nervous, and only replied : 

" Wait a bit ; let's see what he can find in his clothes. 
Perhaps these gentlemen wouldn't let us win anything 

1 did not catch the answer, only observing that a pretty 
good understanding had been arrived at between the 
two. The party from Indiana by this time, after going 
through nearly every pocket in his clothing, had brought 
out from an inside vest-pocket a great, rough, dirty-look- 
ing wallet that contained, as could be seen at a glance, a 
irery large though loosely arranged package of green- 


backs, which he had denominated "pea-green scrip,' And 
which he shook out into his broad-rimmed hat at his side 
in an alarmingly careless way. 

" Thar's what I got left, after comin' outn' that d d 
Gomorer, Chicager ! " the dealer said feelingly. " Stock's 
down, V grass is dry, but I'll be gol-walloped ef I don't 
believe for a hundred-dollar pictur the female boss can't 
be lifted agin ! " 

" I'm your sweet potato just for once, mind you, just 
for once, for I ain't a betting man. But I'll risk that much 
just to show you how easily you can be beat at your own 
game ! " remarked the flashy man, carelessly, at the same 
time covering the hundred-dollar " pictur " with ten ten- 
dollar bills. 

" Can't I go halves on that ? " eagerly asked a rough- 
looking fellow, who stood on a seat peering over the headf 
of the passengers, and at the same time holding up a fifty, 
dollar bill. 

I saw that the scheme for getting outside parties to bet, 
and divide chances with those who considered themselves 
" up to the game," was being given a fine impetus. 

"Well, I don't mind, although I'm sure of the whole," 
gaid the flashy party, as he received the fifty dollars non- 

The honest Granger from Indiana looked dumbfounded 
at this new evidence of a want of confidence in his abil- 
ity, but spoke up cheeiily : " Wall, thar's the keerds ; yei 
kin take yer pick ! " 

Upon this the flash/ party pushed his way into the 


open space, sat down opposite the dealer, and, without 
any further ado, reached forward with one hand and 
turned the queen in a twinkling, and raked in the money 
with the other, immediately risir.g and handing the party 
who had taken half the bet the one-hundred-doiiar bill, 
and pocketing the ten ten-dollar bills, and then imme- 
diately leaving the luckless dealer, to communicate and 
comment upon his good fortune to his friends throughout 
the car and tell them how easily the thing was done. 

"Gaul darn the keerds, anyhow!" blurted out the 
dealer; " the hull cussed thing's gone back on me ; but I 
swon ef I don't keep the fun a-goin' ! " 

Several small bets were made by various parties, the 
winnings being almost equally divided if anything, out- 
ride parties getting the 'best of what was to be got. 

Suddenly there was a movement near me, and I heard 
the country merchant remark to his friend : 

"Well, I'll go in five hundred with you. Be careful 
now, be careful ! " 

Another " capper " in the crowd, having a Jew in tow, 
now bet a hundred dollars, ar. 3 won, dividing the winnings 
with that party, who received his share with rapturous 
delight ; and it could be easily seen he was in a fine con 
dition to be " worked." 

The large man with the country merchant now stopped 
and turned to "his friend, saying in an undertone: " No, 
you're a stranger to me, and I'd rather you'd bet thf^ 
money. We will fix it this way: I'm certain of picking 
np the card, but I might be mistaken. I'll make two o| 


three small bets first, or enough, so that I can pick np tht 
card. While I have it in my hand, I'll turn one corner 
under, so that the card, after it is dealt, won't .ay down 
flat. You'll see it plainly, and you can't make a mistake 
Now, watch things ! " 

With this fine piece of bait, the corpulent fellow, who 
was none other than a "capper," sat down opposite the 
dealer and made a few small bets. He lost three in 
quick succession, but on the fourth trial he turned up 
the queen, and won. 

I watched him closely, for I had overheard him state to 
his dupe that he would mark the card by turning one cor- 
ner of the same under toward the face. Surely enough, 
he did so very deftly, and I noticed that the country 
merchant had also seen the action, for he immediately 
stepped forward and took the place made vacant for him. 

*' Careful now ! " said the stout man, as they passed 
each other. 

An answering look from the merchant showed that he 
considered himself up to a thing or two ; and, as he seated 
himself, he inquired of the ?gnorant dealer if he limited 
his bets 

"Ye kin jist bet yer hull pile, or a ten-cent pictur, 
stranger!" replied that worthy, with a silly, childisb 
chuckle, as he tossed the cards back and forth in a seem- 
ingly foolishly-reckless way. 

The crowd now pressed forward, all interest and atten 
tion. There is always an inexpressible fascination about 
either winning or losing money, ^he flush of winning 


communicates itself to every looker-on, while :he wild 
hunger to get back what one has lost has just as firm a 
hold upon the bystander as the victim; and one feels 
almost impelled to try his luck, when he sees that the very 
fates are all against him. 

" Two hundred dollars on the queen ! " said the country 
merchant, laying that amount on the old valise. I noticed 
that a quick look of intelligence passed between the stout 
man and the Hoosier dealer. The stout fellow was mis 
taken in his man. He was betting too low. I made up 
my mind that his look to the dealer expressed all this with 
the additional advice : " Let him win a little ! " 

The money was covered, and the merchant's hands 
fluttered tremulously over the cards for a moment. But 
he picked up the queen and won. A buzz of excited com- 
ments followed. 

"Be ye one o' them Chicager skinners?" asked the 
dealer. " Confound it ! I'm a-gittin' beat right an' 
left I " 

The merchant was flushed with his winnings. He was 
evidently flattered by being considered so shrewd as a 
"Chicago skinner." Over behind the front ranks of the 
ookers-on earn-; a pantomime order from his stout friend, 
which seemed to me to mean : " Bet heavy while you are 
to luck." 

"You don't limit bets?" asked the merchant eagerly. 

"Nary time, nary time. Hyr's a hatful of picturs as 
backs the winnin' keerd, which is always the queen." 

u Well, then," said the dupe with painful slowness, while 

106 CANADA. 6ILL. 

the corners of his mouth drew down and his lips became 
colorless, " I'll bet fifteen hundred dollars I can pick up 
the queen ! " 

There laid one of the cards, showing it had beet 
doubled enough to prevent its resting flatly upon the old 
valise. The merchant counted out the money in a husky 
voice, making several errors, and being correcte 1 by some 
cf the passengers. The dealer, who might have had just 
a trace of a glitter in his black, fishy eyes, groped around 
among his " picturs " and provided an equal amount. 
Every person in the car bent forward, and in a painful, 
breathless silence awaited the result. 

" Yer pays yer money, 'n' yer takes yer choice ! " re- 
marked the dealer, leaning back in his seat, and whistling 
as unconcernedly as if at a town-meeting. 

The merchant leaned forward. He looked at the 
cards as though his very soul had leaped into his eyes. 
He suddenly grasped the card that refused to lie flatly 
upon the valise, and turned it over. 

He had picked up the five of clubs, and had lost ! 

Something like a moan escaped the poc r victim's lips. 
My own blood boiled to rescue him from this villainous 
robbery. I could not do it without jeopardizing fa* 
greater interests, but my heart bled for him in his misery , 

" I'm a ruined man !" he gasped, and then staggered 
through the crowd to sink into a vacant seat. 

Even then he could not be left alone. His stout 
friend, the "capper," sought him out and upbraided him 
for his foolishness in picking up the wrong card and 


losing his five hundred dollars with his own. le even 
begged him to try again, and, finding that he had a few 
hundred dollars left out of what he was going to New 
York to buy goods with, cursed him because he woulc 
not risk that in order to retrieve himself and pay him bacK 
his money, which the reader will readily understand 
already belonged to the honest, simple-hearted Hoosier 
who was manipulating the cards. 

But the game went on. The loss of so great a sum of 
money put rather a dampener upon it ; but the " cappers " 
came to the rescue with twenty, fifty, and one hundred 
dollar bets, which were so rapidly won that the Jew was 
at last " worked" out of six hundred dollars in two quick 
bets of three hundred each ; and amid a great row and 
racket which he made over his loss, the voice of the 
brakeman could be heard, crying out : 

" Valparaiso ! Twenty minutes for supper ! " 

Not a minute more had passed, and the train had not 
even come to a halt, when every one of the nefarious 
gang had disappeared. 

The flashy man, with the look of a successful commer- 
cial traveler, was gone ; the stout man, who had " stood 
In " with the country merchant, had gone ; the party who 
bad entertained the Jew was gone ; and the honest, sim- 
ple, cheery countryman from Kosciusko County, Indiana, 
with his cavernous valise half full of loose bills, which he 
had not even taken time to arrange in the old book for 
carrying in his side-pocket and who was none other 
than the notorious " Canada Bill " was gone. They 


were all gone, and they had taken from their dupes frott 
eighteen hundred to two thousand dollars. 

I could not but pity the poor victims, who were left on 
the train to brood over their foolishness ; but at the same 
time a sense of justice stole in upon my sympathy. 
3very one of these dupes had got beaten at his own 
game. They were just as dishonest as the men who 
fleeced them. They would not have risked a dollar had 
they not, one and all, believed that they had the advan- 
tage of a poor, foolish fellow. If he had been what they 
believed, and they had won his money, it would have 
been robbery just as much as it was robbery to take their 
money as neatly and easily as it was taken. 

Just after the close of the war Canada Bill, in company 
with a river gambler, named George Devol, or " Uncle 
George," as he had a fondness for being called, started 
for the South, and began operating in and about New 
Orleans. This George Devol was himself a character, 
as he had once been a station-agent of some railroad in 
Minnesota, and on being "braced" and beaten out of 
his own and considerable of the company's funds, had 
such an admiration for the manner in which he had been 
beaten, that he turned out a gambler himself, and became 
quite well known along the lower Mississippi. 

The two men, in company with one Jerry Kendricks, 
did an immense business in New Orleans, in the city, 
upok the boats, and on the different railroad lines run- 
ning out of that place. Here, in New Orleans, Bill aras 
the green, rollicking, back-country planter, and nearly 


always made his appearance upon a boat or a train as 
though he had had a narrow escape from a gang of cut- 
throats, but was in high glee over the fact that they hai' 
not stolen quite all of his money, and had left him a fine 
package of tin-ware, two or three packages of cow-hide 
shoes, large enough for a Louisiana negro, and a side 01 
two of bacon. Old " Ben " Burnish, a character well 
known among sporting men in the North, was one of his 
most accomplished " cappers " during these days, and the 
gang made vast sums of money. 

But finally " Uncle George " Devol hoped to get the 
best of Bill, he was so careless and really ingenuous 
among his friends ; and, knowing that he carried a twenty- 
five hundred dollar roll, got a man and arranged things to 
beat him. Through his wonderful faculty for reading 
people and character, Bill permitted the play, and when 
his opponent won, remarked quietly : " George, you 
sized my pile pretty well, and got things fixed nice. 
Your friend will find that roll the smallest twenty-five 
hundred dollar pot he ever grabbed. Good-by, Uncle 
George ! " 

Bill having arranged a " road-roll," or a showy pile of 
bills of small denomination, was willing to expend that 
much to ascertain definitely that Devol had played him 
false, and immediately took leave of him forever. 

When the Union and Central Pacific Railroads were in 
process of construction, this field proved a grand harvesjl 
for Canada Bill ; and, on leaving the South, where he at 
one time owned nearly half of a town at the mouth of thfl 


Red River, he proceeded to Kansas City, wnere, with 
" Dutch Charlie " as principal " pal," he certainly must 
have won from a hundred and fifty to two hundred thou- 
sand dollars. 

From Kansas City he went to Omaha, and drifted 
back and forth between these points for some time, never 
failing to win money where he attempted, becoming a 
perfect scourge to the railroad companies and travelers, 
but, strangely enough, establishing the highest regard 
among all business men with whom he came in contact, 
hardly one of whom would not have taken his word for 
almost any amount of money. 

The man did not seem to realize what money was 
worth, and gave it to anybody that might ask it. It has 
been related by those who should be capable of judging, 
that Bill gave away, gambled, or foolishly expended, fully 
a quarter of a million dollars. 

On one occasion, in Omaha, some policemen, having a 
spite against Bill, arrested him and brought him before a 
police magistrate. He was fined fifty dollars. 

Bill, rising in the box, with one of his most droll and 
happy expressions of voice and face, asked : 

'* Jedge, who does the money go to ? " 

" This class of fines goes to the school fund. Why ? " 
replied the justice. 

" Wall, I reckon ef it goes to so good a cause as that, 
you can chalk her up to a hundred and fifty jedge ! " and 
Bill put down the money and left the court. 

But finally his prowess became so great and the win 


nings of his crowd so large upon the Union Pacific Rail- 
road, that a general order of the strictest terms was 
issued forbidding any monte-players riding or playing on 
the trains of the road, and instructing conductors, on peril 
of dismissal, to eject them from the cars at all risks and 
with whatever force might be required. It was upon the 
appearance of this order that Bill wrote or caused to be 
written, as he could not write his own name his noted 
impudent proposition to the general superintendent of 
that road, in which he offered the company ten thousand 
dollars per annum, if he were given the sole right to thro\\ 
three-card monte on the Union Pacific trains, and 
making his offer more attractive by pledging his word 
that he would confine his professional attentions ex- 
clusively to Chicago commercial travelers and Methodist 

It is unnecessary to add that Bill's proposition did 
not receive the attention which he imagined it de- 

After this, in 1874, in company with "Jim" Porter 
and the veteran gambler, " Colonel " Charlie Starr, 
Canada Bill proceeded to Chicago, where, by means 
best known to this class, he secured an understanding 
with the police, and at once opened A>ur "joints," or 
playing-places, and soon had half the " bunko " men in 
Chicago " steering " for him. The follc wing lines, fr om 
the Chicago Tribune^ of August 7, 1874, were in his 
honor> although his name was not mentioned. They arc 

entitled : 




It was an ancient Farmer Man 
Who was stopped by one of three. 

u By thy black moustache and oroide ring, 
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me ? " 

* Hail, Mr, Smith ; hail, Mr. Smith 1 
What news from Kankakee ? " 

Then up and spake the Farmer Man : 

* Mistaken ye mote be, 
I am not Smith, nor have I kith 

Nor kin in Kankakee ; 
But I till the soil in Kalamazoo 

And my name is Jones John P. H 

The Stranger Man apologized : 

" I'm sorry that I did 
Mistake you, sir, for my friend Smith ; 

Excuse me I " and he slid. 

It was that ancient Farmer Man 

Was stopped by the second of three ; 

* By thy blonde moustache and Alaska pis,, 
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me ? M 

*' Why, welcome Jones, of Kalamazoo, 
Dost thou remember me ? 

k Thou dost not ? not remember Btowa f 
Strange, strange ! but I do thee ; 

Nor shall thou quit me till thou drain 
A friendly cup with me. 

Some news would I of Kalamazoo, 
And friends that thereat be I 


* The bar-room doors are open wide, 

And we must go therein ; 
A health I claim J come, give it name | 

Or whisky, beer, or gin ? " 
And the Farmer hoar his fingers fomi 
He loyally hoisted in. 

Twas then the ancient Farmer Man 

Beheld a carl * full drunk, 
Who at a table in the room, 

Had negligently sunk. 

His hair was grizzled, beard unshorn, 

His eyes were red and blear, 
His whole appearance spoke him one 

That drives the Texan steer, 
And full well grips the blacksnake whipi 

A merry bull-whackeer. 

And still he hiccupped, still he reeled, 
And muttered, " Woe is me ! 

For I hare lost of dollars a host 
A-bucking the paste-boards three; 

Yea, this is the way them thieves did ply 
The sinful three-card monte." 

And still he shuffled and chuckled eke : 
" There's a Jack, a Seven, a Three, 

And spotting the Three, the Seven, the 
Them gamblers they plundered me ; " 

While under, and over, and under again, 
He threw the three-card monte. 

* * Carl " Countryman, greeny. 


And youths and men who sat around 

Did wagers with him lay ; 
And which was the Jack, the Seven, the Three, 

Infallibly did say, 
While he lost his pile with maudlin smile 

And muttered, " Tharzer way 1 " 

Who was it then but pseudo Brown 
To the Farmer whispered, " See I 

Drunk as a loon this herder of mules 
And possessed of much monie. 

Others already are in the field, 
Why here stand idle we ? " 

And who was it but the pseudo Brown 

That betting did begin, 
And laid a C with the Texan clown 

And eke the same did win, 
While nudging Sir Jones of Kalamazoo, 

And bidding him " go in I" 

Bnt the gentle heart of the guileless Jc 

Rebelled against the game ; 
Quoth he, with a smile, " I'll win his ril* 

But will not keep the same, 
But will it return with a lecture stern, 

And put him thus to shame i " 

And lo, the merry bull-whackecr 

A card did careless spill, 
And his nerveless fingers could not grasp 

The Seven and Jack until 
The pseudo Brown had marked the Thret 

PUin with his lead-pencil. 


Then up and spake the gallant Jonts, 

" These bills I wager thee, 
That I can pick the Trey from out 

The shuffled paste-boards three." 
And the Texan clown put his money down 

And said, u Thou art meat for me I " 

Over and under he threw the cards, 

Under and over and back ; 
Jones laid his finger on that one 

Scored with a cross so black ; 
" 'Tis the Three ! " he cried, with honett pride. 

But lo ! it was the Jack ! 

At Kalamazoo, a Fanner Man 

May at this day be seen, 
Who talks of Sodom and Babylon 

As one who has therein been, 
And frowns at the sight of his lambkins white 

When they gambol on the green. 

It is estimated that he made fully one hundred an 1 
fifty thousand dollars in Chicago ; but as he was an invet- 
erate gambler himself, and played into faro banks nearly 
all he took at monte, he left that city comparatively 
u broke," and, in company with " Jim " and Alick Porter, 
went to Cleveland, where his last active work was done. 

Countless instances are related of the shrewdness and 
success of this strange man. Among his kind he was king 
and I have only given this sketch of him as illustrative of 
a striking type of a dangerous class, still powerful and 


cunning, which the public would do well to avoid in 
whatever guise they may appear. 

Canada Bill, after an unprecedently successful career 
of over twenty years in America, died a. pauper as nearly 
every one of all the criminal classes do at the Chant) 
Hospital, in Reading, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 



I AM certain that my readers will be interested in the 
recital of a few instances within my recollection 
where criminals, either convicts or prisoners awaiting 
trial for general offenses, have escaped their prison con- 
fines in a most ingenious and dramatic manner. 

On July 8, 1878, the city of Columbus, Ohio, was 
startled by a report that some forty prisoners, confined 
at the State penitentiary there, had escaped, and were 
" making a lively trial for tall timber " in all directions. 
A visit to the penitentiary proved that the reports were 
greatly magnified. Only three prisoners had escaped, 
but these had shown an amount of enterprise in getting 
outside of the walls that was truly remarkable. 

It was found, too, that e yen the three did not make 
their escape together, but that one had got out the pre- 
vious night. He had been recaptured, and was once 
more a prisoner, although the other two were still at lil> 


erty The one that had been recaptured had occupied a 
cell in one of the tiers of cell-houses on which the State 
was then placing a new roof. He managed, in some way, 
to dig out of his cell and gain access to the roof. A 
large derrick for elevating stone, used in the walls during 
the day, stood against the prison, but at night was pulled 
back quite a distance from it. The prisoner stood on top 
of the wall, and, calculating the distance in the darkness, 
made a leap, the like of which has never been attempted 
by any acrobat on earth, and, after descending at least 
thirty feet through the air, caught the derrick-rope and 
slid down the remaining distance, making his escape 

What nerve and actual bravery vtzre required for this ! 
The convict risked his life more surely than if taking his 
chances in battle. The slightest miscalculation, the 
merest mischance, the least failure in estimating his 
power for leaping, would have caused him to have fallen 
a mangled corpse upon the stones below. 

But all this daring brought no reward to the pooi 
fellow, for he was captured on the Pan Handle Road, 
near Summit Station, not ten hours subsequent to his 
marvelous escape. 

The other men did not show as much daring in theii 
escape, but even more shrewdness and ingenuity. They 
were engaged cutting stone just north of the penitentiary, 
Through the aid of friends they supplied themselves with 
citizens' clothing, which they secreted in a closet neai 
where they were working, and leaped from this into a sewei 


leading into the Scioto River. As soon as they re ached 
the bank, they stripped off their prison garb, and, don- 
ning their citizens' clothing, strolled leisurely away. For 
all that is known, they are still leisurely strolling, as they 
have never been recaptured. 

Cne of the most desperate prison escapes ever known 
was made from Sing Sing prison on the morning of May 
14, 1875, and would have ended disastrously to more 
than a score of lives had it not been for the presence of 
mind of Dennis Cassin, a Hudson River Railroad engi- 

Just north of Sing Sing prison, between the extreme 
northern guard-house and the arched railway bridge, as 
you go south, is located the prison quarry, on the east side 
of the railroad track. From it, over the railroad track, 
on the west side, extends a bridge over which stone from 
the quarry is trundled in wheelbarrows by the convicts. 

At about eight o'clock, on the morning mentioned, an 
extra Leight train, bound south, slowly approached the 
prison bridge. The train was drawn by " No. 89," Den- 
nis Cassin, engineer. They were slowly following the 
regular passenger train from Sing Sing to New York, 
which had left a few moments before. As the engine 
reached the trestle, or prison bridge, five convicts sud- 
denly dropped upon it, from the bridge above ; they were 
led by the notorious " Steve " Boyle and Charles Woods. 

Four of them ran into the engineer's cab, while the 
other hastened to the coupling which attached the train 
to the engine. The convicts on the cab, with drawr 


revolvers, ordered the engineer and fii eman to jump oft, 
which they did, when the convicts put on steam, and the 
engine started down the road at lightning speed. 

Their escape was detected almost immediately, and 
several shots were fired after them by the prison-guard, 
but without effect. Then began the pursuit. The 
superintendent of the raiload was notified quickly, when 
a telegraph alarm was sounded at all points south of Sing 
Sing. A dispatch was sent to the Tarrytown agent 
directing him .to turn the switch at that station on the 
river side, so as to let the engine, with the convicts on 
board, jump the bank and plunge into the river. Danger 
signals were also ordered to be set on the down track, and 
prompt measures of every kind were taken to prevent 
danger from collision with the stolen locomotive. The 
trackmen in the vicinity of Scarborough saw the engine 
coining like lightning, or rather saw a vast cloud of smoke 
and steam and water, whirl by with a deafening roar, and 
gazed with terror at the frightful speed the engine had 
attained. At Tarrytown crowds of people were gathered, 
expecting to see the engine dash into the station, and ofl 
the switch into the river ; but it did not arrive. 

After waiting a short time, the Tarrytown agent sent 
an engine cautiously up the road to look for the stolen 
property ; and " No. 89 " was finally found, with both 
cylinder-heads broken, three miles north and opposite 
the Aspinwall Place." The boiler was full of water 
and the steam down. The convicts had left the disabled 
engine a half mile fa -ther north, and had disappeared into 


the dense Aspinwall woods, having first stoler all tht 
clothing which could be found in the engineer's und fire 
man's boxes in the tender. 

Engineer Cassin's wonderful presence of mind un- 
doubtedly prevented a large destruction of property and 
human life. He was surrounded by the four convicti 
before being conscious of it, and conld feel the cold muz- 
zles of their revolvers against his head. Instantly after 
he realized what had occurred. 

" Get off! get off!" the desperate men shouted. They 
did get off, and that right lively ; but Cassin did not turn 
from his place until he had prevented disaster. Just before 
the convicts jumped into the cab, he had three gauges of 
watejr in the boiler, and had shut off the pumps; but, 
as he turned to go when ordered, he shoved the pumps 
full on, the convicts not noticing the movement. The 
desperadoes undoubtedly pulled the throttle-valve wide 
open when they started, and for a little time the engine 
attained a terrific speed ; but finally the cylinders got 
so full that both heads were blown out, or broken, and 
that necessarily ended the trip. 

None of the daring fellows were immediately recap, 
tured, but the eventual return of the leader of the es- 
capade was effected through my office ; and how it all 
came about necessitates a short sketch of "Steve" Boyle, 
the leading and most desperate spirit in the escape just 

Boyle is a noted "houseworker," or house-burglar, and 
general thief, and has nearly always been brilliant and 


successful in whatever he has undertaken. His work waj 
principally done in the East, until 1867, when that pan 
of the country became too warm for him, and, in com- 
pany with his "gang," consisting of "Bob" Taylor, 
" Torn " Fitzgerald 1 , alias *' Big Fitz," and William 
, alias " Black Bill," he removed to Chicago. 

Their first operation in that city was very unfortunate 
for Boyle. They were "working" a residence in the 
West Division, and Boyle was "doing" the rooms and 
passing the plunder out to his confederates, when, being 
very weak from a severe attack of the asthma, he made a 
misstep, stumbled, dropped his revolver, and caused such 
a noise that in an instant the gentleman of the house was 
upon him with a cocked revolver in his hand, and effected 
his capture easily. 

As he was then comparatively unknown in the West, 
on the plea of ill-health, first offense, respectable parents, 
and the like, he succeeded in escaping with a sentence of 
but one year's imprisonment at Joliet, Illinois. 

His comrades now employed every effort in their 
power to secure a pardon for Boyle, using large sums of 
money for this purpose ; but this failing, they eventually 
found a way of conveying money to him within the peni- 
tentiary. Whether or not this was more powerful than 
whatever instruments to effect his escape Boyle may have 
secured, I cannot say; but, at all events, a plan of escape 
was determined on, which proved successful ; and, on a 
certain night, Boyle, at the head of eleven other convicts, 
made their way from the cells up into one of the guard 


towers used for the sentry, and thence, in some mysteri- 
ous manner, which has never since been fully explained, 
not only made good their escape, but carried away all 
the arms quite a number which were stored in the 

Boyle's hard luck seemed about equal to his good for- 
tune and ability to conquer difficulties. 

The second day after escaping from the Illinois peni- 
tentiary, as he needed money, himself and another of the 
escaped prisoners were arrested in Chicago while in the 
act of " tapping " the till of a North Side German gro- 
cery. They were locked up for the night together at one 
of the North Side stations. Boyle's companion was pos- 
sessed of a terrible fear that he would be recognized and 
returned to Joliet. 

" Oh, I'll fix all that ! " said Boyle jauntily ; and forth- 
with he set to work and gave his ex- convict comrade 
such a pummeling, disfiguring his face and blacking his 
eyes, that his own mother would not have recognized 

The next morning they were put in charge of separate 
policemen, who started with their prisoners for the police 
court on the South Side. The officer in charge of Boyle 
was a huge German, weighing fully two hundred and 
twenty-five pounds. When the two had arrived at a 
point on North Wells Street, near the river, Boyle's keen 
eyes discovered a house of disreputable character, which 
he had formerly frequented. A negress, a servant at the 
establishment, was scrubbing the steps in the e iny morn- 


ing before the inmates had arisen, and the basement-dooi 
stood wide open. As quick as thought, Boyle planted a 
terrific blow squarely in the big Dutch policeman's beUy, 
doubling him up like a stage harlequin going backward 
through a trap, and then, leaping over and beyond the 
horrified black woman at one bound, darted into the 
house, and shut and bolted the door behind him. Then 
he sped through the basement to the rear of the house 
and escaped. His companion, who had been herded in 
the " bull-pen " along with the regular daily collection of 
petty offenders, was finally brought before the police jus- 
rice, and the grocery-man whose till had been robbed fail- 
ing to identify him, he was fined five dollars, as a simple 
case of "drunk," on general principles. The fine was 
paid by some of his friends, who had learned of his pre- 
dicament, and thus he too escaped. 

About this time the other portion of Boyle's gang had 
endeavored to rob a bank at Schoolcraft, Michigan. 
They had succeeded in getting into the vault, and had 
already got open the outer door to a large safe standing 
within it, when a sleigh-riding party, out on a lark, came 
dashing up to a point near the bank, shouting and halloo- 
ing in a boisterous and roystering fashion. The thieves, 
thinking they had been discovered, fled from the place, 
leaving their tools and their nearly secured booty behind 

From here they went to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and, 
securing new tools from Chicago, made an attempt to rob 
a bank there, but were all arrested, and, being recognized 

as the parties engaged in the unsuccessful Schoolc /aft joU 
were held without bail. 

Through a friend in Kalamazoo who was then close!) 
allied with rogues of this class, but who is now a respected 
citizen of that city, word of their misfortune wa r conveyed 
to Boyle in Chicago, who, with a New York thief named 
Harry Darrah, returned the cheering intelligence that the} 
would be over to Kalamazoo on a certain night, and give 
them " a break," that is, liberate them. 

On the night in question, true to their word, Boyle and 
Darrah got so far toward the liberation of their friends 
as to have passed pistols and small steel saws in to them 
in the jail, when Colonel Orcutt, the sheriff, whose apart- 
ments were in the jail building, discovered the efforts be- 
ing made, and, coming upon the scene en dishabille, with 
cocked revolver in hand, endeavored to arrest the jail 
b- Bakers. 

The men instantly fled, Colonel Orcutt pursuing. He 
ordered them to halt, but they did not comply ; and he 
began firing upon them, succeeding in shooting Darrah' i 
hat from his head. This only had the effect to increase 
his efforts to escape. Boyle, whose chronic asthma made 
it impossible for him to run any distance, suddenly dodged 
behind a tree, unperceived by the sheriff, and, when the 
latter passed him in hot pursuit of Darrah, the cowardly 
ruffian Boyle fired upon him, shooting him through the 
spine, and effecting a wound from which Colonel Orcutt 
died twelve hours after. Darrah skulkeJ about the place 
for a few days, and finally disappeared , \vhile Boyle, on 


the same night, secreted himself upon an eastern-bound 
freight-train, went to Detroit, and from thence into 
Canada, where, after remaining under cover for a few 
weeks, he proceeded to New York, being soon after rt- 
ioined by Darrah, who was subsequently arrested for 
pocket-picking, and, being identified, was returned to 
K.a!arnazoo, where he made a full confession, implicating 
Boyle in the murder of Colonel Orcutt. 

He eluded arrest, however, for nearly a year, when, hii 
bad fortune following him, he was captured in New York 
Yfhile attempting to do what is known as the " butcher 
cart job." This is effected in the following manner : 

At a time of the year when street doors of jeweler shop- 
are usually closed throughout the day as well as the even- 
ing, a common grocer's, or delivery wagon of any sort, 
but always selected for its easy-running qualities, and to 
which is always attached a fast horse, will be driven up to the 
vicinity of some jewelry-store, which has already been fixed 
upon, and which always has a fine display in the window 
This wagon will invariably contain one, and sometimes 
two persons, aside from the driver In the meantime a 
confederate of this " butcher-cart gang " slips up to the 
joor of the shop in question, and deftly inserts a wooden 
peg or wedge beneath the door, between that and the 
sill, driving it home with his heel or in any other manner 
possible. The moment this is done another ol the gang 
at one stroke smashes in the entire window, and the two 
then grab whatever they can lay their hands upon, always 
of course selecting that which is the most valuable, and 


rush to the covered wagon in waiting, when, with theii 
booty, they are driven rapidly away, nine times out ot ten 
getting wholly beyond pursuit before the astonished and 
shut-in shopmen are able to get their own door open. 

It was while Boyle was conducting an operation of thij 
kind that he was captured, and, rather than be conveyed 
to Michigan, to answer the charge of murder, he made no 
defense, but pleaded guilty to everything brought against 
him, and was finally sentenced to twenty years' imprison- 
ment at Sing Sing. 

It was the boast of himself and his friends that no prison 
had been built strong enough to hold him, arid a special 
guard was for a time placed over him. 

Illustrative of the man's cunning is the fact that, one 
day, while being so watched, he slipped his jacket and hat 
upon a broom standing near, and then, noiselessly placing 
it where he had sat. stole away from his guard entirely. It 
was some minutes before the watchful guard discovered 
the trick which had been played upon him, and Boyle had 
made so good a use of his time that eight hours had 
elapsed before he was found. He had secreted himself 
in the prison, with the hope of escaping the same night. 

The next instance in Boyle's career worthy of note was 
the planning and execution of the desperate escape from 
Sing Sing upon the engine " No. 89," as has been related. 

In company with Charles Woods, one of the convicts 
escaping with him on that occasion, Boyle then secured 
& " kit " of burglar's tools, and the two proceeded to 3t 
Louis, where they began operating upon small safes in real 


estate and brokers' offices. They deposited their tools in 
what they believed to be a deserted carpenter's shop. The 
proprietors, returning unexpectedly, discovered the tools, 
and, informing the police, a detail of officers was at once 
made to lie in wait for the owners of the suspicious goods, 
who returned, and, before being given time to explain any- 
thing, were unmercifully clubbed and taken into custody. 

The men being utter strangers to the St. Louis author- 
ities, were only given six months in the workhouse. 
Their pictures were taken, however, and, a set coming 
into my office, that of Boyle was recognized, when, on his 
being fully identified by my son, William A. Pinkerton, he 
was returned to Sing Sing, where, fortunately for society 
in general, he is now serving his unexpired term of twenty 
years' imprisonment. 

In 1870 George White, alias George Miles, alias 
George Bliss, made one of the most remarkably brilliant 
prison escapes on record. 

He had, in company with one Joe Howard, another 
bank burglar, robbed the bank of an interior New York 
town, and, securing a noted race-horse of the locality in 
escaping from the place, ran the inimal nearly thirty 
miles at its fullest speed, until it fell to the earth from 
sheer exhaustion. The men then brutally cut the throat 
of the horse, leaving it dying. The men were subse- 
quently captured, convicted, and incarcerated in Sing 
Sing. While here, White made the acquaintance and 
friendship of a noted character, named Cramer, familiarly 
called Doctor Dyonissius Cramer, or " the Long Doctor," 


now a reformed thief, but in his day one of the cleverest 
known " stalls " of the " bank sneak gangs. ' This " Long 
Doctor" had a peculiarly inventive genius, and I am 
happy to say that now, as he has become an honest man, 
it is securing for him considerable wealth. 

His familiarity with White resulted in his inventing 
more as a curious experiment than anything else a hollow 
rubber apparatus, which, when completed, had the exact 
appearance of a very large decoy duck. This was also 
provided with rubber tubes for breathing through ; and 
one morning, when a party of convicts were working 
along the docks by the side of the river, White, who had 
secreted the contrivance in his clothing, at an opportune 
moment adjusted it, and, slipping into the water, calmly 
floated down the Hudson, passing within twenty feet o( 
the guards, thus making his escape. 

His recapture would have been certain, but Colonel 
Whitley, then Chief of the Secret Service, made such 
strong representations to the Government authorities that 
his use by the Government in ferreting out several impor 
tant counterfeiting cases would be valuable, that he evea 
tually secured for him from the Governor of New York A 
free pardon. The value of his subsequent service- may 
be inferred when it is stated that Colonel Whitley used 
him as one of the chief actors in the infamous sham rob- 
bery of the safe of the district attorney's office in Wash- 
ington, when it was sought to ruin the Hon. Columbus 
Alexander, who was nobly fighting th? Washington ring 
its corruptions, 



OF al species of business there is none so liable to the 
machinations of dishonest persons as the insur- 
ance. The large sums which are often secured from death 
or loss, with the undeniable obligations which the com- 
panies labor under to cancel their indebtedness, upon the 
showing of good and sufficient causes for the same, arc 
incentives that have often urged men to employ their in- 
genuity and villainy in endeavors to defraud insurance 
companies. There may be something like a law of com- 
pensation about this kind of swindling, as the insurance 
business itself has harbored most accomplished scamps, 
and presented to the world about as brilliant schemes of 
commercial piracy as have come to light in any other 
kind of business. Of these instances Dickens has given 
us the type in " Martin Chuzzlewit," in the operations of 
Montague Tiggs, Anglo-Bengalee Disinterested Loan and 
Life Insurance Company ; and, as an illustration of the 
consummate plans for defrauding honestly-conducted in- 
surance companies, the following case, where I was fortu 
nately able to defeat an exceedingly clever scheme of 
fraud, will stand as an interesting illustration cf conspira- 
cies against such corporations. 

In the month of June, 1866, one Monroe Rigger, a 
sailor, at that time a resident of Chicago, called at thf 


office of a certain life insurance company, and effected an 
insurance upon his life for the sum of five thousand dol- 
lars. For this policy he paid the sum of thirty dollars. 
This was an ordinary case of insurance, and compre- 
hended only such accidents and disasters as one is ordi- 
narily exposed to on shore. 

A few days afterward he returned to the insurance 
office, and expressed a desire to have the terms of the 
policy altered, as he wished to sail upon the lakes during 
the months of September and October. This permission 
was granted upon the payment of an extra ten dollars, 
and a new policy, covering accidents on the lake during 
those two months, was issued. On the very next day he 
returned to the office, and informed the officers that he 
had concluded to sail during the entire season, having se- 
cured a position on a vessel, and that he wished the 
policy changed from a special to an extra-hazardous one, 
in order to guard against his increased liability to acci- 
dents and dangers. Upon "the payment of twenty dollars 
additional, the extra guarantee was granted, and Rigger 
took his departure. This was the last the company ever 
saw of him. 

On August 8th following, Mrs. Susan Rigger, the wife 
of itonroe Rigger, called at the office of the insurance 
company, and informed the officers that her husbam 1 , who 
held a policy in their company, had been drowned. This 
lady was dressed in mourntng, and 'old a straightforward 

She stated that her husband had been drowned in Lake 


Erie on the night of July 2oth, about fifteen miles north 
west of Cleveland, while sailing on the brig " Mechanic,' 
James Todd, master. There was no constraint or indica- 
tions of dishonesty in her statement. She further said 
that on the evening in question her husband, acting 
under instructions from his superior officer, had gone out 
on the bowsprit of the ship to adjust the rigging ; that 
his foot suddenly slipped, precipitating him into the lake ; 
and that efforts were made to save him, but all in vain. 

To substantiate her story, she furnished several affi- 
davits, duly attested and authenticated, corroborating the 
details of her husband's death. These affidavits were fur- 
nished by persons who professed to have seen Rigger fall 
into the lake, and were signed by the owner of the brig 
an old and respectable citizen of Chicago, largely identi- 
fied with shipping interests the captain, the mate, the 
helmsman, and several others, all evidently trustworthy 
and reliable persons. Their affidavits certainly were de- 
serving of consideration ; but, in accordance with their 
usual custom, the officers desired time to look into the 
matter, and they dismissed the lady, requesting her to 
call again. 

This was all the information that came to me about 
the matter, with a request from the company that I 
should make a speedy and most rigid investigation ; and 
I confess that, when I first gave the subject a cursory 
examination, I saw nothing about it which did not have 
A clean and straight appearance. But upon perusing 
the affidavits, certain little disci epancies therein began 


to excite my curiosity. I began to see that the namr 
of a certain Joseph Wagner, mate of the brig "Mechanic, 1 
from which it was alleged that Rigger had been lost, ap- 
peared with a frequency, which, to say the least, was 

The affidavits were taken before a magistrate in Buffalo ; 
and I at once dispatched a keen, careful man to that 
city, who soon returned with the information that this 
Joseph Wagner, mate of the brig, who had become fixed 
in my mind as in some way mixed up with the matter, if 
it should be found that it was tainted with fraud, had 
been chiefly instrumental in procuring the affidavits. He 
had been present when they were made, had signed one 
of them himself, had defrayed the expenses of executing 
them, and had finally brought them to Chicago to Mrs. 
Rigg er - Here was a circumstance, trivial enough in it- 
self, easily accounted for on the ground of solicitude for 
the widow of a deceased comrade, and might seem to 
have no special relation to the case ; but it continued to 
strongly impress me. I felt that this man had exhibited 
too great an officiousness. He had been at too much 
trouble ; he had expended too much money for a wholly 
disinterested party. 

. Besides all this, the haste which had been exercised in 
securing the affidavits was worthy of notice. It occurred 
to me that sailors, as a rule, are easy-going fellows, and 
they seldom do things in a hurry. The " Mechanic " 
had hardly reached Buffalo before Wagner had set about 
securing evidence of Rigger* 5 death. These papers had 


been immediately forwarded to Mrs. Rigger, so that she 
had been able to call at the insurance office within a very 
few days after the alleged drowning of Rigger and some 
time before the "Mechanic" returned to Chicago. In 
my mind this was another noticeable feature of the case. 
It might be, I even reasoned, that there had been mur- 
der done ; that Mrs. Rigger had conceived an unlawfu 1 
affection for this mate, Joseph Wagner ; that the two 
had not conspired against the insurance company so 
much as against the life of the husband whom the woman 
had urged to become insured, so that should he happen 
to fall overboard while in Wagner's company, there would 
be a snug little sum coming to the two ; and that the 
whole thing, from beginning to end, was a terrible plan 
to both get rid of an obnoxious person and secure a 
small fortune. 

In any event, I could not but couple the mate of the 
" Mechanic " and Mrs. Rigger in a conspiracy, either 
against the company, in which case Rigger himself had 
joined in a conspiiacy against the life of the latter ; or, 
indeed, in a consiiracy against the company, in which 
Rigger had readily joined, but which might not have been 
wholly understood by him, and which was wedded to the 
darker crime that had been privately planned by his wife 
and friend, and too well executed by the friend. 

In casting about for a starting-point in detective oper- 
ations, wherever a crime is to be unraveled, one of the 
most essential things to be done is to determine what 
motives probably caused the commission of the crime. 


When the causes leading to a crime are fully known half 
your work is done, for you then at once know how to gt 
to work. 

I determined to ascertain what relations existed be- 
tween Mrs. Rigger and the mate Wagner. I found that 
Mrs. Rigger lived in a quiet, respectable manner, as be- 
fitted the wife of a sailor, and no suspicious circumstance 
could be developed against her, although I felt that the 
facts justified keeping a strict surveillance upon her. 

The reader will recollect that, on account of Wagner's 
great haste in securing proof of the sailor's death, there 
had been both time for Mrs. Rigger to make her applica- 
tion at the insurance office for her five thousand dollars, 
and for me to get a man to Buffalo and return with the 
information referred to. 

I had also taken means to ascertain that Wagner had 
left Buffalo on the return trip in the " Mechanic," and 
of the date of her probable arrival in Chicago. So, fird- 
ing the owner of the brig, I easily made arrangements to 
be informed of her arrival in port, as well as to ship a naau 
as a common sailor upon her, on her second trip to Buf- 
falo, should I so desire. 

When the "Mechanic" arrived, Wagner, as soon as 
hi* duties would permit, went straight to Mrs. Rigger's 
house. He remained inside but a few hours, and made 
his exit upon the street with a thoughtful, anxious face, 
In the little time he had been in the house I had taken 
measures which conclusively proved to me that no crimi 
nal intimacy existed between the mate and the allegea 


*idow Rigger, and this clearly demonstrated that no con- 
spiracy by the two against the life of the missing sailor 
had been entered into. 

If there had been a conspiracy, I concluded that it ha' 1 
been between the entire three against the company ; ai 
as a persistent watching of the house had failed to dis 
cover the arrival of Rigger, who, I hoped, might secretly 
reappear, I knew that the only way to get a hold upon 
the shrewd trio was to fall back upon my old and suc- 
cessful plan of placing some person, capable of winning 
and holding Wagner's confidence, with him, which I had 
already provided ; for, as will presently be seen, in the 
person of an operative named Dick Hamilton since lost 
at sea, poor fellow ! who seemed to possess a combina- 
tion of every known interesting trait of the Irish charac- 

Generous, brave, faithful, cunning ; full of unconquer- 
able antics and irrepressible humor ; quick as lightning at 
repartee or jest ; but possessing good judgment ; a great 
traveler and salt-water sailor ; and withal the biggest liar 
on earth when it came to a cock-and-bull story, or to a 
match at story-telling : this was the man I had detailed 
to operate upon Wagner, and that individual, with a woi- 
ried look upon his face, had not been absent from Mrs. 
Rigger's humble dwelling half an hour when the two had 
become firm friends. 

Wagner, with his worry upon him, had stepped into one 
of those saloons along the wharves of great cities wheic 

sfcilors and their friends congregate, to get a glass of grog, 


and, being in a rather ugly frame of mind from receiving 
the ill-tidings from Mrs. Rigger that there was a suspi- 
cious delay in the payment of the insurance money, was 
in no mood for joking. As the place was full of carous- 
ing sailors, some silly drunken remark was made to him, 
which he resented. In a moment the place was in an 
uproar ; Wagner was violently assaulted, and only rescued 
from a hard drubbing by Hamilton, who laid out the 
assailing parties right and left, and finally got Wagner 
away in safety. 

He was very grateful of course, and finding, according 
to Hamilton's story, that he was a salt-water sailor and a 
great fellow altogether, and had come to Chicago with a 
little money ahead, not caring where his fortunes took 
him, a great friendship immediately sprang up between 
the two; and it was arranged, over many and copious 
glasses, that Hamilton and Wagner should pass the time 
together while in port, and that my operative should then 
ship with Wagner on the brig " Mechanic " for the trip 
to Buffalo and return ; when, if everything still went well 
between them, they would join fortunes and sail regularly 

The " Mechanic " and its crew remained in port but 
three days ; but during that time enough came to the 
surface to show me conclusively that I was upon the right 
track, and that it was but a question of time when my 
shrewd Irish operative would unearth the mystery, en- 
shrouding the sailor's supposed death. 

Hamilton became a welcome visitor at Mrs. Rigger'i 


cottage the next day after making Wagner's acquaintance. 
Not a single thing could be seen to warrant a suspicion 
of wrong between the woman and the mate, with the ex- 
ception of several private and earnest interviews between 
the two, during which an occasional unguarded word was 
let fall which showed that some new move was on hand. 
This was made plain on the third day, just before the 
vessel left, when Wagner and Mrs. Rigger visited a law- 
yer's office and began suit against the company for the 
payment of the policy. They felt so certain of the 
strength of their plans that they were either willing that 
the whole matter should be raked up, or they hoped to 
force the payment of the money by a show of fight. 

In the meantime Wagner and Hamilton got along 

Dick, who had become acquainted with the entire 
brig's crew, from captain to cook, made things lively for 
them all. A book would not have held the infernal lies 
that he told, and not all of the sparkling " Irish Dra- 
goon" contains such irresistible wit and ilroll hun.or as 
he was capable of, on the least pretext, so that before 
the " Mechanic " sailed every man on board was in love 
frith Dick and congratulating Wagner on finding such a 
capital fellow for the voyage. Of course Wagner felt 
flattered and glad at the turn matters had taken, and 
seemed to begin to place great confidence in his new 
found friend. When drinking, as is quite common with 
sailors when ashore, he made greaf promises for himself 
and friend, and hinted in various ways that before th 


season was over he would command a first-class vessel 
himself, and would make Hamilton no less than mate. 

One trip was made to Buffalo without result, so far as 
the operation was concerned, save that Wagner seemed 
diawn closer and closer to his companion. They be- 
came greater friends than ever ; but Wagner had not got 
wholly ready to trust him. In a hundred ways he en- 
deavored to test him as to his being one he could trust 
and usf, and during the trip gradually unfolded a 
scheme to rob a brother-in-law of Mrs. Rigger's, an 
honest and hard-working mechanic in Milwaukee. 

The wife of this man frequently visited her sister, Mrs. 
Rigger, in Chicago, and Wagner had in some way 
learned that the couple, by years of hard labor, had 
saved several hundred dollars, and kept the same in a 
certain bureau drawer. As the husband was compelled 
to leave the house at an unusually early hour in the 
morning to reach his work, and was so kind and consid- 
erate to his wife that he never awakened her, it would be 
an easy matter to leave Chicago on the late train for 
that city, watch the party's house until he had left for his 
laily toil, and then, easily gaining access to the house, 
secure the money, and return to Chicago on the next 
train. The whole thing could be done inside :>f twelve 
hours, and there was certainly four or five hundred dol 
lars apiece for them. 

Hamilton entered into the scheme with all hi* heart, 
and suggested so mar,y capital ideas concerning carrying 
out the robbery, that Wagner was more in love with him 


than ever ; and he hinted at many other schemes which 
they would mutually profit by. 

On the arrival of the brig in Chicago, the plan Ox this 
projected robbery was immediately laid before me. I 
indorsed what Hamilton had done, as a means of winning 
Wagner's thorough confidence, and also as a measure of 
establishing the character of the man; while I at once 
arranged matters in Milwaukee, so that when the rol >bery 
was attempted, a sham policeman would be on hand to 
prevent the actual robbery. I believed it necessary to 
permit this to seem to go on, as I knew that, should 
the two attempt anything criminal together, this would 
prove the last bond of confidence required to enable my 
operative to compel a revelation of his connection with 
the conspiracy against the insurance company. 

As luck would have it, however, the " Mechanic " only 
remained in Chicago one night and a day, and the rob- 
bery of the honest Milwaukee workingman was necessa- 
rily postponed. But Wagner was now certain of his man. 

There had been two or three interviews between Mrs. 
Rigger and Wagner, which Hamilton could not secure the 
gist of, and, just as the boat was leaving her slip, a small 
Jad brought a large package, evidently containing clothing, 
which Wagner quickly received and stored snugly away 
under his bunk. 

Hamilton had also laid in a package for this particulai 
trip, but it contained something more to the liking of sail 
ors than clothing. It was two gallons of the best of liquo^ 
and, as himself and Wagner were sampling the article; 


while a grimy little tug was pulling the * Mechanic " swiftly 
out past the Chicago lighthouse to the broad expanse of 
the lake, where the regular evening breeze from the land 
should speed the brig on its trackless way, Wagner, after 
filling a glass unusually full, touched it against the rim of 
Hamilton's glass in a most friendly way, and remarked : 

" Dick, old boy, you've been the great story-teller of this 
craft ever since you came aboard her. Before we get to 
Buffalo I'll tell you a better story than you ever heard." 

" Give it to us now, while the brig is gettin' her wind," 
replied Hamilton, with a knowing wink. 

" No, no ; not yet not before we get almost to Buffa- 
lo. And, Dick, if you're the man I take you for, and 
the friend I believe you to be, before the last chapter of 
the story's done it'll be only two or three chapters, I'll 
tell you then there may be a little * spec ' in it for you. 
This is no gammon story. There's a live corpse in it, 
and a stiff one to be got ! " 

"All right, then, me hearty," responded Hamilton, 
clinking the glasses again ; " I'm your boy for any lively 
game, and here's luck to ourselves and both corpses, God 
rest "em 1 " 

The liquor was drunk, and the two shook hands heart- 
ily, and went on deck. 

There never was a finer trip than that from Chicago to 
Buffalo, " around the lakes ; " and this one proved a lovely 
one to the "Mechanic" and all on board. 

Dick was in his happiest vein, and kept everybody .on 
board roaring with laughter with his mad pranks and ri 


diculous yarns. Through the long sunny days it was 
story and joke and trick, and yet always so harmless and 
jolly as to cause no feeling of antagonism or offense, and, 
through the moonlit evenings, the same round of pleasure*, 
so that the slight labor involved in handling the vessel 
amounted to nothing but a desirable change from what 
would otherwise have been a surfeit of enjoyment. 

At last, one night, when within a few miles if Buffalo, 
Wagner came on watch and Hamilton with him. Aftei 
everything had become quiet for the night, Wagner, after 
a liberal supply of liquor, in a low, careful tone, told Ham- 
ilton the following story : 

" You know about the Rigger case, of course ; you have 
heard the men talk about it, and know that Mrs. Rigger 
has begun suit against the insurance company for five 
thousand dollars. 

" Well, Dick, we three put that up / " 

" Faith, is that where the corpses come in ? " asked 
Hamilton, with a well-assumed look of cunning praise 

" That's it, Dick. I'll come to that shortly." 

" We were just about this distance from Buffalo, about 
thirty miles, and Rigger and I were on watch. The night 
was fearfully foggy, and I run her (the boat) into withir. 
half a mile off shore. Then I had Riggei 40 forward ind 
fix a line on the bowsprit, taking pains to have one 01 
two of the crew on deck. He kinder weaved when he go! 
to the timber, and I yelled out : * Take care, Rigger, 
mind your footing ! ' I hadn't more than said that, wbei 
up he slips and pitches headlong into the lakt 1 


" It was all in the game, you know, and he had two bifl 
life-preservers, a couple of biscuits, and a little compass, 
fast on him. But I raised a fearful rumpus, got the boats 
out, and for an hour we tried awful hard to find him, I 
sending the boats in the opposite direction from which he 
fell in and struck out for shore. After a time we give it 
up, and by the time I took hold of the brig again, and 
set her out into deep water, Rigger was ashore ! " 

"Tare an' ages 1 but you're a slick one !" ejaculated 
Hamilton ; " an' won't the hay then insurance company 
pay up like men ? " 

" No ; that's just what's the matter. Mrs. Rigger has 
begun suit against them ; and now, Dick, I want you to 
help us out ! " 

" I'm your buck ! What's the game ? " 

"You remember that big bag I've got under my 

"Faith, Idol" 

" Well, that's the very suit of clothes Rigger wore when 
he went over. He skipped back to Chicago, changed his 
togs, and left for California on the next train. We're all 

going out there after we beat the d d company out of 

the money." 

"Yes; splendid!" 

" Now, when we get down to Buffalo I want you to 
help me look up a convenient cemetery, and then we'll dig 
up some fellow that's been under the sod a month or so., 
take the body out along the shore, and, after mashing it 
Up so the very devil wouldn't recognize it save by tht 


clothes, chuck it in the lake, let it wash ashore, and be 
found his letters and papers, and all that are in the 
rlothes. And then, by the Eternal ! we've got 'em fixed i 
Are ye in, Dick ? " 

"In ! in ! Bedad I'm in for any fun of that kind, and 
we'll have -the corpse in the water, W out of it, upon the 
shore and discovered, before even a fish can get a smell 
of 'em!" 

With a hearty hand-shake and a parting glass of grog, 
the two turned in as the next watch came on ; and I had 
won the case. 

The next morning the "Mechanic" arrived at Buffalo, 
and Hamilton had not been on shore thirty minutes be- 
fore Wagner's confession and plans came spinning ove- 
the wires to me at Chicago. 

I at once laid the information before the company, 
and requested that its officers permit me to arrest both 
parties, and that they would prosecute them to the fullest 
extent of the law, for I have always bitterly opposed any 
compromise with criminals. But it seemed to be theii 
policy to keep out of the courts and the newspapers, and, 
with what had been got, with which they were highly 
elated, Mrs. Rigger was confronted ; and scared and half- 
crazec] with the turn things had taken, she at once pro 
ceeded to the Circuit Court, and signed a waiver and re- 
lease of all obligations held by her against the company. 

This much done, Hamilton was recalled by telegraph, 
And I subsequently learned that Wagner, becoming 
alarmed at his co-conspirator's sudden disappearance, 


left the " Mechanic " at Buffalo never to reappear amonp 
his sailor friends at Chicago ; while the bogus widow evi- 
dently quickly took honest old Horace Greeley's ackice, 
and went West to grow up with the country, for the little 
cottage was utterly deserted, and *' For Rent " but two 
days after. 



BANG, bang, bang ! " 
There was no response to this impatient knock- 
i/ig upon the heavy door of the small Adams Express 
Company building near the end of the Columbus, Ohio, 
Union Depot, that night. 

There stood the train with all its usual bustle about it, 
the engine snorting like a spirited steed impatient to be 
out upon the road again, but the Adams Express clerk 
and assistant had not made their accustomed appearance. 
The express messenger, John Gossman, had become 
greatly alarmed, for but a few moments more elapsed 
before the train would pass on, and it was one of his 
guards who had been sent to awaken the two careless 
employees and hasten their regular visit to the train. 

" Bang, bang, bang ! " This time *ouder and more per- 
sistent than before upon the heavy oaken and riveted 
door. But there was still no answer from within. 

QUICK WORK. , 235 

Then the guard took hold of the door-knob, and, 
throwing his whole weight against the loor, shook and 
rattled it frantically. Still no answer, and the guard 
rushed back to the train. 

: " Can't wake 'em up, John. Mebty they ain't there at 

Not daring to leave his car, the messenger, now fearing 
that foul play of some kind had transpired, directed the 
guard to return to the express building and get into it if 
he had to break in. In a moment more he was at the 
door, and, turning the knob, as he ordinarily would have 
done, the door swung readily upon its hinges, and he 
walked into the room. 

It was very dark inside, and striking a match, he went 
to the ^as-light, where he found that it had been turned 
very low. Letting on the full light, it was seen that the 
papers and packages lay about the floor in the wildest 
confusion, while the clerk and his assistant, who were ly- 
ing in bed but a few feet from the safes, seemed to be in 
a sort of stupor ; for, although the guard had hallooed lus- 
tily to them after entering, he was obliged to give them a 
pretty thorough shaking. 

It was evident that the two men had been chloroformed 
the sickening, deathly aroma of that drug still pervad- 
ing the atmosphere of the room and that the company 
had been robbed. The agent ef the company at Colurn 
bus, although it was about two o'clock in the morning, 
immediately informed the officers of the company of the 
affair, who called upon me, by telegraph, for help, and J 


was able to put Superintendent War ner, of my Cnicagc 
office, upon the ground during the next forenoon after the 
robbery, with t\vo shrewd operatives in the background 
ready for any possible emergency which might arise in me 

But little information had been forwarded with the 
brief telegram, but I was familiar with the working of the 
express company's matters at Columbus, and I could 
hardly imagine how any thief or thieves could approach 
this building in so public a place, chloroform the inmates, 
and rob the safes, without attracting notice. 

The main office of the company was located in the 
more business portion of the city, a considerable distance 
from the depot, and it had been for a long time necessary 
to keep a clerk and assistant at the depot to deliver and 
receive express matter, and the custom was for the clerk 
to leave the down-town office at about six o'clock in the 
evening, proceed to the depot, put everything snugly 
away in the safes, and then retire until the arrival of the 
late night trains, being awakened to attend to his duties, 
by the depot watchman; and I could not shake off the 
feelings which I impressed upon Mr. Warner before he 
took his departure, that this robbery could hardly hav 
been committed without the complicity of some one of the 
express employees at Columbus. 

A searching investigation by my superintendent devel- 
oped the following facts : 

On the evening before the roubery, May 16, 1871, 
John Barker, the depot express clerk, left the main office 

QUJC r WORK. 237 

on Broad Street for the depot office at six o'clock, with 
seventy-two thousand dollars for different points, thirty- 
two thousand of which was in- revenue stamps, and all oC 
which was put into the safes. On the arrival of th- late 
tiain at twenty-five minutes past two m the morning, the 
clerk did not make his appearance, although he been 
called as usual by the watchman who was not certain that 
he had been answered, but who supposed Barker had been 
awakened. The guard had found the door open, as pre- 
viously explained, and on gaining an entrance, and turn- 
ing on the light, the keys had been found in one of the 
safe doors; everything seemed to be in confusion in the 
office ; and Barker and his assistant were still in their 
bed, apparently stupefied from the effects of chloroform. 
A bottle still containing a small amount of chloroform was 
discovered, as also a sponge used in applying it to the 
faces of the sleeping employees. When they had finally 
been awakened, Barker was the first to speak, and he 
remarked : " Why, we've been robbed ! " and, after noti- 
cing the package of revenue stamps, " I'm glad they left 
that much ! " 

Both Barker and his assistant acted in a^ .lonest. 
straightforward manner, and readily answered all ques- 
tions put to them. A casual investigation would hardly 
have developed anything save that the office was entered, 
the men chloroformed, and the safes robbed ; but a thor- 
ough examination did show, among other things, that the 
bolt on the door had been bent back, as if the door had 
been forced open. Unfoitunatcly r or this theory, how 


ever, the butt, which ran from the frame &.c: }ss the edge 
of the door, had been bent considerably further than neces 
sary, to permit the edge of the door to pass it, while ther ? 
was no evidence of a "jimmy '' or other instiument hav- 
ing been used to force the door open and thus bend the 
bolt. It had been done from the inside; and the very 
important query was : Who did it ? 

This trifling circumstance, which an amateur detective 
would be likely to wholly overlook, clinched the convic- 
tion in both my own and Mr. Warner's mind, that one of 
the t\vo employees in the little office, or possibly both, 
had some criminal knowledge of the robbery, if, indeed, 
they had not done the work themselves. 

While the investigation was progressing the two men 
w-ere kept under constant espionage, and it was very soon 
discovered and communicated to me by Mr. Warner that 
John Barker, the express clerk, had a brother named 
Henry Barker, who had been seen at Columbus, and in a 
way to indicate that he had made every possible effort to 
prevent being seen in the city. It was also learned that 
this mysterious brother was from Chicago. These two 
facts ascertained, I soon learned, in Chicago, that Henry 
Barker had borne a rather unpleasant reputation, and had 
been discharged from the employ of the Adams Express 
Company, as also from service on the Chicago and Alton 
Railroad. This might not amount to muc.'i, but taken iu 
connection with other circumstances, it looked suspicious. 

I was also informed by Mr. Warner that the express 
clerk, when questioned about his brothe , at first denied 

WORX. 239 

all knowledge of him : but after a time he confessed that 
his brother had been in Columbus, but was there merely 
on a little friendly visit ! He also laid great stress on the 
fact that his brother was wealthy, or rather that he had 
married a wealthy Chicago lady, and had no need to work. 
Following this out, I found that, instead of the wife 01' 
Henry Barker being a respectable and wealthy Chicago 
lady, she was neither. She proved to be merely che 
daughter of a noted proprietress of a Chicago house of 
ill-fame, who had given her the choice of marrying Bai 
ker, or being sent to the Reform School in that city ; and 
that she was then living'a disreputable life in mean apart 
ments, and without a dollar of honestly acquired money 
on earth. 

I judged that all these facts warranted the conclusion 
that the brothers were guilty of the robbery, or at least, 
had planned it, and had largely participated in the pro- 
ceeds of the same. I accordingly intrusted Mr. Warnei 
to at once cause the arrest of the express clerk, and use 
every effort to wring from him a confession, while his 
assistant and brother should be remorselessly watched 
Olid followed, hoping that they might in this way betray 
some evidence of guilt which would give me the truth of 
the whole matter. 

It is a principle in criminal matters, which almost in- 
variably holds true, that successful detection of crime is" in 
nearly every instance defeated when all suspected parties 
are at once incarcerated. Let one or two, as the case 
raay be, be held so closely that they car,r ->t be approacne.1 


?>r communicated with, and their accomplices will theh, 
if they are watched by keen detectives, always make some 
move which will betray them. But, if all parties are ar- 
rested, all mouths and sources of information are in- 
stantly closed, and, in nine cases out of ten, though the 
authorities may be morally certain that they have the 
right parties, their discharge or acquittal will be the 
result, simply because no evidence of their guilt can be 

So, applying the result of'my experience to this particu- 
lar case, I reasoned that if the express clerk was arrested, 
and put where he could secure no 'assistance and sympa 
thy, his accomplices would at once exhibit a nervousness 
and alarm which would definitely betray them. 

According to this programme, Mr. Warner caused 
John Barker's arrest, formally charging him with the rob- 
bery, and intimating that the whole plan of his operations 
was known, and in every possible way endeavoring to 
secure from him a statement which would implicate others. 
But the young man was obdurate, and nothing save that 
which might be learned from an utterly innocent person 
could be got from him. He very naively admitted that 
he could readily see how he might be reasonably sus- 
pected ; how the bending of the bolt apparently from the 
inside might be attributed to him, but he argued in the 
same breath that it might have been done by the party 
who did the woik for the purpose of casting sus t icion 
upon him. 

The closest of watching could develop nothing of a 


luspicious nature against the assistant. He was a simple, 
hard-working fellow, who seemed to be merely dazed and 
stunned by the robbery, and it seemingly had not once 
entered his head that he could be suspected of any man- 
ner of complicity in the matter. 

But the results from watching Henry Barker, who had 
married the " wealthy Chicago lady," were far different. 

He endeavored to keep quietly at home in Columbus, 
und it was observed that he never left his mother's house 
for any purpose until after night had wrapped its protect- 
ing folds around the city. Neither did he, after his 
brother's arrest and incarceration, vi'sit him, or attempt 
in any manner to communicate with him, and I was more 
than ever satisfied of his guilt. 

On the evening of the fifth day succeeding the robbery, 
Henry Barker suddenly took a train for Chicago. He 
did not leave Columbus like an honest man, but sneaked 
about the depot until the train was well under way, when 
he sprang aboard, giving my operative all he could do to 
accomplish the same thing and accompany him. At t* 
way station the detective telegraphed me the condition 
}f affairs, and I had two men at the depot in Chicago 
awaiting their arrival, one to relieve the man accompany 
ing Barker, and another my son William, to get a thor 
ough look at Barker, so that he might be able to rendei 
any assistance necessary. 

Barker at once proceeded to his "wealthy wife's" 
rooms in a disreputable quarter of the city. Here he 
remained well closeted from observation, but so thor* 


oughly guarded that his escape was impossible, /or OM 
day. Then, with a small valise which his wife had been 
seen to purchase for him at a pawn-shop near their habi- 
tation, he set out leisurely in the morning, considerably 
changed in personal appearance but perfectly self-pos- 
sessed and evidently with no fear of pursuit, for the Mich- 
igan Central depot. 

Arriving here he purchased a paper and a cigar, and 
smoking the one and occasionally glancing at the other, 
he sauntered about the locality for a short time, when he 
walked to the ticket office and purchased a ticket for 
Canada, via the Michigan Central and Grand Trunk 
railroads. This much done and he went to the train, 
took a seat in the smoking-car, and resumed the reading 
of his paper as pleasantly and nonchalantly as though a 
reputable business man starting out on a summer trip to 
the Thousand Islands. 

His presence at the depot had been reported to me 
immediately, and I authorized my son, William A. Pinker- 
ton, to make the arrest. A carriage took him to the 
depot from my office in five minutes, and he arrived at 
the train at the same time as young Barker. Following 
him into the car, he waited until Barker had seated him- 
self comfortably, when William approached him and said, 
pleasantly : 

" Barker, sorry to annoy you, but you will have to delay 
your trip to Canada until later in the season. The expresi 
folks down at Columbus want you." 

He made no resistance at all, but came along quietly, 

WORK. 243 

seeming to feel grateful that he had been arrested in a 
gentlemanly manner. 

He was then placed in the carnage which had conveyed 
'-Villiam to the depot, and my son, taking a seat beside 
inn, and an officer riding on the box with the driver, the 
*hole party were in my private office in a few minutes. 

He made no noise and seemed in no great degree 
alarmed. He submitted to being seai^L^^ .vith the best 
i)f grace, not over fifty dollars being found upon his per- 
son. I was beginning to fear we had made a mistake, 
when 1 ordered one of the men to remove the lining of 
the valise. Barker grew deathly pale when I said this, 
but he said nothing. 

This precaution rewarded me by discovering, neatl) 
secreted within the lining, fourteen thousand dollars. 
Even then he had nothing to say, and I concluded to let 
him think the matter over for a little time while on the 
train to Columbus, which he, an officer, and myself were 
on board of the same night, Barker pretty well ironed, 
more for the effect I hoped it would have on him than 
from any fear that l.e would attempt to escape. 

I gave strict orders that no word should be spoken to 
the man by any person, and engaging a stateroom of the 
sleeper for our party, shut him and the officer within it, 
compelling the officer to sit there like a sphinx, looking 
wise as an owl, but uttering never a word. 

Laie in the night, Barker could stand the silence and 
suspense no longer, a:u1 he begge \ piteously of his guard 
to permit him to speak to me. For a time he silentlj 


shook his head, but at last called ire, when the poor follow 
broke down altogether, begged piteously for mercy, and 
reveal d where twenty-five thousand dollars of the stolen 
money could be found buried in a vacant lot next that 
occupied by his mother's house, and gave me the whole 
particulars of the robbery, 'which I telegraphed in advance 
to Mr. Warner, who, with this aid, had secured a like full 
and free confession from the incarcerated express clerk, 
before our a/rival at Columbus at noon of the next day. 

The robbei/ had been planned by Henry Barker, and 
was the simplest thing in the world after his brother, the 
clerk, had consented to his share in it. The door was 
conveniently left open ; the assistant was given a heavy 
dose of chloroform ; then the clerk himself opened the 
safes and selected the packages of value for removal. 
Then the appearance of general confusion was arranged, 
and after the, bolt had been bent to give the impression 
that the door had been forced from the outside, Henry 
had given his brother a mild dose of chloroform, and de- 
parted with every dollar that the office contained, twenty- 
five thousand of which he had buried, and fifteen thousand 
of which he had taken with him from Columbus, it beii.g 
the intention of the express clerk to join his brother in 
Canada when the storm had blown over a little. 


" The best laid schemes o' mice and men 
Gang aft agley 1 " 

and the two robber* were subsequently given four year* 


each in the penitentiary, while the company was highly 
elated that I had been the means of recovering for them 
thirty-nine thousand dollars, out of what seemed an abso 
lute loss of forty thousand dollars, and that, too, all withiu 
eight days. 



SOME time in September, 1871, there was presented 
at the banking house of Henry Clews & Co., in 
New York City, a draft for the sum of $55 dollars. In 
the usual course of business, the draft was stamped thus : 


Payable at the Fourth National Bank. 


Two or three days afterwards, the draft was presented 
to the Fourth National Bank for payment. The f gure? 
had been altered to $5500, but not so as to attract atten- 

The man who presented the check, however, was so 
nervous that the suspicions of the paying teller were 
troused. He detained the man who presented the draft 
and sent a messenger to the house of Henry Clews & 
Co, to see if it was good After soi^ trouble the me? 


senger forced an interview with the junior member of the 
firm. That young gentleman seized the check, drew : t 
through his jeweled fingers and said : 

" Young man, there's our stamp on that draft right 
before your eyes. If that stamp was a bear, it would bite 
you. Tell your payfng teller that time is valuable to ui, 
and if we are to be interrupted in our business hours 
through his stupidity, the Fourth National Bank will have 
to make some other arrangements so far as Henry Clews 
& Co. are concerned ! " 

So saying, he seized a pen, and before the messenger 
had recovered from his surprise and could tell him of the 
suspicions of the teller of the Fourth National, he wrote 
across the face of the check : 

Good for $5500. 


This he handed to the young man, again rebuked him 
for bothering; the great firm of Henry Clews & Co., an..: 

The messenger returned to the bank, ana the paying 
teller indignantly paid the money without more question. 
The gentleman who altered the figures went on his way 
rejoicing, and but two days afterwards the 'irm of Clews 
& Co. discovered the fraud. 

They had lost exactly five thousand four hundred and 
forty- fV'e dollars for the exhibition of a little arrogance. 




A CURIOUS case of circumstantial evidence waa 
tried before Judge Paxon, in the New York Court 
of Quarter Sessions, some time since. A shoe manufac- 
turer, named George Bruder, was tried for the alleged 
theft of three thousand dollars, which was in charge of a 
bank messenger, named Brooks. The latter left the Se- 
curity Banking House with certain securities and money 
for the Clearing House, and on the way stopped at the 
shop of the shoemaker named, to pay a bill. 

The messenger laid his pocket-book and the package 
on the counter, and placed his arm upon them while he 
wrote out a bill. When he got to the Clearing House, a 
count of the securities and money was had, and then, for 
the first time, it was discovered that there was a deficit of 
three thousand dollars. The messenger at once returned 
to Bruder' s shop and made known his loss. The*shoe- 
maker denied having seen it, and a search was made 
of the place. Had the case rested here, there would 
have been very little upon which to base a belief that the 
shoemaker handled the money. The Commonwealth 
called a witness to prove that he was in the shop of 
George Bruder, the day after the loss, when his daughtei 
came in bearing a package of money, saying that the 
shop-boy had found it in the cellar ; whereupon the de 


fendant claimed that it wa 3 his, that he had put it thert 
for safe-keeping, and that he supposed his dog had lug 
it out of its place of concealment. The shop-boy also 
testified to finding the money in the cellar, to which he 
had gone to chop wood. The package of money was 
upon the ground, and was done up in an air. ost precisely 
similar manner to that of the bank package. 

There was proof that Bruder had a fire-proof safe in the 
store,. which made it all the more strange that he should 
have his treasure lying around loose in the cellar. The 
only evidence offered by the defense to meet this case 
was that of good character, and the fact that he did not 
keep a bank account. The jury were together for some 
time, and then rendered a verdict of not guilty. 

I think it would not be possible to make out a stronger 
case on circumstantial evidence than here presented. 
The remarkable fact of a package of money of the same 
amount, and in every other particular closely resembling 
the lost one, being found in the cellar by the shop-boy 
the day aftei the alleged loss, and the shoemaker's ex 
planation that he supposed his dog had found it anj 
dragged it from its place of concealment, would be, it 
seems to me, strongly indicative of guilt. But the little 
instance is simply one of thousands which every year con 
trive to throw a strange fascination and interest of possi 
bility and doubt around all cases of circumstamial evi 




THIS sketch relates to an insurance company and an 
assurance company. The former got the worst o 
it, and the latter were the worst. 

The insurance company in question was the Royal 
Fire and Life Insurance Company of Liverpool and -Lon- 
don, whose American office was, at the time I write of, 
located at No. 56 Wall Street, in New York ; and the 
Assurance Company was composed of the eminent Dan 
Noble, Jimmy Griffin, Frank Knapp, and Jack Tierney, 
sneak-thieves; and while New York was their general 
headquarters, it may be truthfully said that their opera- 
tions extended into all cities of the United States, while 
their risks were high and their profits very large. 

Dan Noble himself has always been noted as a bril- 
liant and gentlemanly rascal of the confidence game, 
sneak-thief 01 der, and, at about the time he organized the 
company of precious rascals referred to, was at the height 
of his business prosperity as \ professional sneak-thief. 
Noble never did much of the actual " sneaking " himself, 
trit he was a most brilliant general of these matters, and 
was, nearly always successful in, first, planning a huge rob- 
bery ; second, in biinging the right parties together tc 


assiot in doing the work ; and, third, in having immediate 
and direct charge of ail the neat little work of the rob 
bery itself. 

Even as far back as during the early period of the wai 
Noble was a noted criminal, but had always, through hi 
splendid appearance, ready money, and fine generalship, 
managed to elude the several clutches of justice grasping 
for him from all directions ; and in those instances where 
he had been compelled to taste the legitimate fruits of his 
villainous life the bitter experience had been short, and 
was, through the lavish use of his money, rendered as little 
disagreeable as possible. 

Accidentally I was the cause of a little practical joke on 
Noble, which, although it occurred many years since, still 
clings to him with unusual freshness, and which created 
great merriment among sporting and criminal classes of 
the more polished order ; and even to-day, among this 
class, whenever " Dan Noble's steerers running oLl Pinker- 
ton into a faro-house" is mentioned, a laugh at Dan's ex- 
pense is the result, and, referred to in his presence, is in- 
variably as good as an order for a bottle of wine. 

The incident referred to happened in this way : 

During the war, while I was at the head of the Secret 
Service of the Government, although here, there, and 
everywhere, my real headquarters were with General 
McClellan in the field, although official business frequent- 
ly took me to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, and New 

On one occasion, when I was :'n the latter city for the 


purpose of seeing Colonel Thomas Key, whose head 
quarters were then at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, having nol 
as yet established my large New York agency, I took 
quarters at the St. Nicholas, on Broadway. 

I had arrived late in the afternoon, with the intention 
of seeing the Colonel during the evening, which would 
permit of my return to Washington the same night, or, at 
least, the next morning ; and, having secured a hearty sup- 
per and purchased a cigar for I was a great smoker then 
I strolled aimlessly and leisurely about the rotunda and 
public rooms of the hotel. 

I had been enjoying this solitary promenade but a 
few minutes, when one of two gentlemen came uj; to me 
with extended hand and smiling face, and, heartily grasp- 
ing my hand, which I readily gave him, most enthusiastic- 
ally ejaculated : 

" Why, Colonel Green, this is a pleasure ! When did 
you get in ? Why, here, Edwards, you know the Col- 
onel ? " 

" Certainly, certainly," promptly responded that gen- 
tlemen. " We had no idea of meeting you here, Colonel 
Are you stopping at the St. Nicholas ? " 

Of course I understood the whole matter in an instant. 
The game was old, very old, and besides, I knew the 
men. My first thought was to have the couple arrested, 
but I saw a capital chance for a little fun at the expense 
of the two, who were regular "steerers" for the house 
where Dan Noble was " dealing " a faro game, and 
pretty fa/'r confidence men. So I perrn'tted the game tc 


go on, and, assuming an air of opulent rural simplicity 
f responded : 

4< My friends, you have the advantage of me. DOD' 
believe I'm the man you're lookin' for." 

"Why, you're Colonel Green, aren't you?" persisti 
the scamp, with a beaming face and a look which wav 
intended to convey the impression that he would forgive 
any pleasant raillery like that from his dear old friend, 
the Colonel from Hackensack. 

" No, you're wrong," said I, pleasantly ; " my name's 
Smith Major Smith, of the Quartermaster's Depart- 

" And you positively say that you're not Colonel 
Green? "said the roper, with a very handsomely gotten up 
look of perplexity, wonder, and amazement stealing over 
his features. 

* Not much," said I, tersely. 

"Well, I'm damned!" he retorted, turning to his 
friend. *' Edwards, I never made a mistake like that 
before in my life ! " 

"Well, / have, once or twice," remarked Edwards, 
thoughtfully ; " but, by Jupiter! it is the most remarkable 
likeness I ever saw most remarkable ! " 

"Remarkable! Well, I rather think so. Why, Major 
Smith beg pardon, would you favor me with a light ? 
Thank you. Do you know, I've sold this Colonel Green 
goods right along for fifteen ^ears, every season, until this. 
But come, let's sit, and you must pardon me for being 
so rude. Here's my card. I am the ' Preston ' of the 


firm ; and this is my friend, Mr. Edwards same business, 
but another house ; and, do you know, I'd have bet an 
?ven thousand dollars that you were Colonel Green ? " 

" Yes, and I'd have gone you ' halves ' on that. What 
lepartment did you say you were in, Major Smith?" 
isked Edwards, carelessly. 

" Quartermaster's," I replied ; " 'Swindling the Govern 
tent,' the newspapers call it." 

" Indeed ! " ejaculated the roper calling himself Mr. 
j v veston, attentively noting every word I uttered. 

" Yes, I am over here to New York now for a thousand 
cavalry horses." 

Now, it would take a good deal of money to buy a 
thousand cavalry horses; and Mr. Preston's eyes fairly 
sparkled as he thought of the rich lead he had struck. I 
was dressed roughly, was very much tanned by exposure 
in the field, *nd undoubtedly looked the character of the 
rough Quartermaster's Department man I had assumed to 
perfection, and I led the two men to believe me easy 

" Let's have another cigar, Edwards, and then take a 
stroll up to the clubhouse," said Preston ; and then ad- 
dressing his conversation more particularly to me, he 
asked : " Major Smith, won't you walk up with us \ We 
merchants have got % cozy little place up here a few 
blocks, where, after the business and down-town banging 
of the day are over, \r? can go and n^ve a quiet, sociable 
time, all by ourselves. Won't you take * walk up with 


"Well, I don't mind," I implied reflectively. "But i 
can't stay long, for I've got to attend to part of my buyin 
to night." 

At this remark, indicating to Preston that I probably 
had a good supply of ready money on my person, as well 
as large resources, being an army contractor, his eyes 
snapped again, and I could just imagine the fellow de- 
vouring me in his mind and thinking : " Oh, won't we 
have a sociable time carving up this old stuffed turkey 
oh, won't we though !" 

A moment later we were on the street, ami within fiv* 
minutes were entering what appeared to be a most ele- 
gant private mansion, on the east side of Broadway, and 
but a few blocks from the hotel. 

" Fine place you have here," I observed, as we stood 
in the vestibule, and the alleged Preston stepped to the 
bell-knob and gave it a pull. 

"It's one of the most complete 'club-rooms' in the 
country. The boys have good times here occasionally." 

While he was replying to me, I distinctly heard 
the soft tinkle of another bell besides the one that the 
"steerer" had rung, and I at once conjectured that it 
was a signal, given perhaps by Preston's companion, to 
those within, that another fool with a fat purse had been 
captured, and that everything should be ready within for 
a proper reception of him ; and, although I had not the 
slightest fear of personal harm, I dexterously whipped out 
my revolver from my hip-pocket and slipped it down intc 
;y front pantaloons pocket, where J conveniently held 


its handle with my light hand, quite ready for anything 
that might occur ; and, with my hands in my pockets and 
my hat on the back of my head, quite countrified T 
appearance, I strolled in after the two precious scamos, 

It is needless to give my readers any detailed descnp 
tion of the place into which we were now ushered. It 
was a magnificent gambling-house, and that was all there 
was of it. 

When we had arrived within, quite a pleasant scene 
was presented. To one uninitiated it would have ap- 
peared to be just what the "roper" stated that it was 
a business-man's resort, where he could enjoy himself 
among clever companions. Here sat a group of persons 
talking of stocks and bonds, and gravely discussing the 
effect of certain war movements upon securities ; at 
another place were a couple chatting on social topics ; 
and, again, a little party seemed to have some connection 
with ne^paper matters. Everything was beautifully 
arranged to create a fine impression upon a rural stran- 
ger, and, as the bank-note reporters used to say, was 
"well calculated to deceive." 

In the rear room of the suite stood a regular far> 
table, and several gentlemen were gathered about this, 
chatting and laughing, and occasionally making a play, 
After introducing me to several of the inmates and re- 
lating the incident bringing us together, vhich he termed 
'* a most ludicrous though agreeable error," Preston led 
the way toward the gaming-table. 

I did not follow him immediately, but, with my handi 


still in my pockets, and my hat still upon my Head, 1 
lounged about the place in a very lawless and countij 
fashion, curiously examining and handling different arti 
cles of bijouterie and ornamentation, and occasional!) 
asking information about the cost or quality of any arti- 
cle which struck my fancy, as it appeared, of whoevei 
might be standing near me. 

Finally Preston carelessly remarked : " Come, Ma 
jor, step over here and have something." 

" Well, I believe I will," I replied, making a lunge 
toward the magnificent sideboard. A half-dozen other 
persons followed, and were introduced in a high-sounding 
manner, while the spruce negro attendants served to each 
of us such liquor as we might fancy ; and I recollect that 
the whisky I got was some of the finest I ever drank. 

During this pleasant diversion I heard the voice of the 
elegant Dan Noble, who was dealing the game and right 
here let me say that I could not have, for my life, told 
whether it was faro, keno, or any other game, for I never 
played a game of cards in my life, and never expect to 
urging the " cappers " and " steerers " to lose no time, 
but bring me to the table and begin the operation of 
if -it ing me ; while they, evidently somewhat impressed 
with my stubbornness, protested in low tones that there 
was plenty of time, and that they would " work me " 

After this refreshment, I resumed my appearance of 
curiosity, and again began my strolling ; while several of 
the pretended gentlemen crowded arpund the gaming 


&ble, and made heavy winnings all of which of course 
was for the purpose of arousing my curiosity and tempt- 
ing me to join the game ; while, without appearing to do 
so } I noticed that the keen, sharp eyes of Dan Noble 
followed me wherever I went, and he appeared anxious 
to try his hand at fleecing me so thoroughly that I would 
remember it so long as I lived. 

The appointments of the place were simply magnifi- 
cent, and I took my own time to examine them, while the 
two " steerers " I had met at the St. Nicholas, by every 
manner in their power, persistently sought to induce me 
to join the parties playing; and I could not help enjoy- 
ing a hearty laugh internally, so hearty, in fact, that I 
could at times scarcely repress a roaring- out burst to 
see the ingenuity of the men so handsomely yet so 
fruitlessly exercised, while I mentally noted the interest 
exhibited by their confederates and the chances they 
seemed to take in their own minds as to the probability 
of gaining my supposed wealth from me, although they 
each and all, true to their habits and profession, made a 
great effort to support the character of being elegant 
business or other gentlemen, at ^eisure for the evening, 
and bent on having a good time nil to themselves. 

Finding that I resisted all these ingenious attacks, re 
course was again had to the sideboard ; but this time, to 
the dismay of the gamblers, I only took a cigar. The 
cigar was as fine as the liquor, and, enjoying its splendid 
iroma, 1 now straggled up to the table. 

Everybody was now in high spirits. Jokes and wu 


flowed freely, and the betting began to run high, those 
risking their money very singularly winning largely ; 
while the magnificent Mr. Noble, slick and trim as a 
bishop, and with a solitaire diamond as large as a big 
hazel-nut gleaming from his shirt-front, greeted my pres- 
ence among the gentlemen around the green cloth with 
a nod and a smile of welcome. 

"Gentlemen, won't you please make room for Majoi 
Smith ? " said Noble, with a voice as sweet and pleasant 
as a blooming country schoolma'am's; while instantly at 
least three chairs were made ready for my occupancy. 

But I stood there very provokingly disinclined to be 
made a victim of, and remarked, extremely innocently 
after a little time : 

" Well, I guess I won't play any to-night. I don't un 
derstand the game." 

Immediately I was appealed to from all sides with ; 
"Do, Major ; just one play, Major ! " " Major, try youi 
luck with the rest of us ! " and all that sort of thing ; 
while Noble himself remarked pleasantly : " You must 
remember, Major Smith, that we are all gentlemen 
here ! " 

At this I looked at Dan a few moments in a quizzical, 
comical way," and finally, as if suddenly being struck by 4 
remarkable recollection, I blurted out : 

" Come over here, dealer, and have a drink, ard then 
I'll tell you something funny." 

There was a noticeable confusion about the table 
E^erybody wa? surprised and some bewildered. No vi e 


at first hesitated ; but as I led the way to the sideboard 
he fol.owed me mechanically, and his face began to 
express wonder, perplexity, chagrin, and even rage, in 
rapid succession. Several of the gamblers followed, and 
the liquor was swallowed by all in silence. Scarcely had 
I set my glass upon the sideboard, when Noble said, in a 
perplexed, curious, and half-alarmed tone : 

" Who in hell are you, any how ? " 

I seized him by the hand, and gave it a squeeze that 
made his fingers crack, from which he writhed as if hurt. 

" Why, Dan Noble, don't you remember me ? You 
ought to, Dan ! How long since you came from Elmira ? 
Are you going to get out of that scrape, Dan ? You 
don't know how glad I am to see you, Dan !" and I 
gave his hand another powerful grip, that made him 
squirm again. 

" But damn it, who are you ? " he said hotly. 

" Come over here, Dan, and I'll tell you," and I jerked 
and dragged him aside, and then whispered in his ear : 

" Allan Pinkerton." 

"You know me now, Dan," I continued uproariously. 
" You see I know you, and you" I roared, grasping the 
hind of Jim Laflin, the gambler. " How long have you 
been away from Chicago, Jim ? I'm damned glad to see 
all you good fellows ! And you, Sears," said I, crossing 
to another gambler whom I knew ; " how's luck beer, 
with you lately ? And you, and you, and you I " said I 
rapturously, nodding to half the people in the place, and 
calling each one of them by name, and clinching th$ 


knowledge of each by some little reference to their pre- 
vious criminal acts. " Why, boys, this ii a surprise tt 
me ; so glad to see you all, you know. Perhaps you re 
all a trifle surprised. But don't mind me. I'm just a 
common sort of a fellow. Come, Dan, old boy," said 1, 
turning to Noble, who stood there as though a bomb- 
shell had exploded in the room ; " le f 's all have a good, 
sociable, friendly old drink together." 

" But you don't want me, do you ? " gasped Noble trem- 
blingly, after the liquor had been drank, with many toasts 
to Mr. Pinkerton, instead of to "Major Smith, of the 
Quartermaster's Department." 

"Oh no, not just now; but remember, Dan. if ever I 
do want you, it will not be a hard matter to get you." 

" I know that, I know that," said Noble, in a concilia- 
tory tone ; " but are you after anybody else here ? " 

" Oh, no, I guess not ; not just now, anyhow. It 
would be a pity to disturb a party of so eminent gentle- 
men bankers, newspaper men, society people, etc. ; and, 
as I have had a very pleasant call, I think I'll go and at- 
tend to buying those thousand horses." 

My identity had leaked out by this time to all, and sev 
eral of the scamps took occasion to slip out ; but most 
of the inmates gathered about me with great protestations 
of friendship and admiration ; and, after lighting a fresh 
cigar, I left the place, having caused the greatest sensa- 
tion it had ever known, and left to Dan Noble the legacy 
of a practical joke that his criminal companions will jest 
him upon to the day of his death. 


But his ingenuity and ability to plan and assist in the 
execution of " sneak " <vork were of the highest order, as 
the robbery of the Royal Fire and Life Insurance Com- 
pany of Liverpool and London evidenced. 

On December 10, 1866, all New York was thrown into 
a great state of excitement by the announcement that the 
office of the company in question had been robbed of a 
quarter of a million dollars ; and the public interest in the 
matter was none the less when the manner of the robbery 
became known. 

A meeting of the American directors of the company 
had been announced to be held at their office, at noon of 
the day in question, and at about half-past ten o'clock of 
the same forenoon a tin box, usually deposited for safe 
keeping in the vaults of the Merchants' Bank, and con- 
taining about a quarter of a million dollars in Government 
bonds and negotiable securities, had been sent for, to be 
used or inspected by the directors in the event of any 
change in stock, as was the usual custom at such meet 

The box with its contents was placed in the vault open- 
Ing from the inner or back room of the office of Mr 
Anthony B. McDonald, the agent, and the inner iron dooi 
usj( the safe closed, but not locked. 

\t about a quarter past eleven two well-dressed and 
apparently respectable men called, and, expressing a de 
sire to be informed regarding the conditions of life insur- 
ance, were shown into Mr. McDonald's apartment. 

One of them, a young man about thir'y years of age 


and having the appearance of an able commercial travelei 
on a fine salary, immediately entered into conversation 
with the agent ; and, taking a seat on the opposite side 
of the table, inquired the terms on life policies, stating 
that he and several other individuals wished to effect an 
insurance on their lives, as they were about leaving to go 
down the Mississippi to New Orleans on a quite extended 
trip for their different houses. 

He then made some remarks, to the effect that they 
were undecided as to whether they would take a traveler's 
risk or insure for a life period, and stated that, as he had 
just been married, he felt an additional anxiety to secure 
his wife against prospective poverty. 

During the time this business-like conversation was 
going on, the other gentleman, from occasional timely re- 
marks, indicated to Mr. McDonald that he was one of 
the commercial travelers desiring insurance, and that the 
person talking to him was the spokesman for the whole 
party. After a little time, while the agent and the in- 
quirer after rates and terms were busily employed to- 
gether, the friend remarked that he thought he would 
step out for a few moments, and would return shortly. 

The vault was situated to one side and to the rear of 
where Mr. McDonald was at work upon his tables and 
statements, and the young man who remained entered 
into the business so arduously that Mr. McDonald made 
some calculations from a table of risks to satisfy his in- 
quiries regarding the policies for his friends. 

During this time the yomvu; m in who had left the 


resumed hi* careless manner :>f walk* 
ing aoout tne room and mtciefteaiy examining the pio 
tures and other articles of ornamentation hanging upon 
the walls. 

After a little time he made some casial remark about 
not being able to keep a certain appointment unless his 
friend excused him then ; and, after agreeing to meet him 
at a later designated hour at the house of a prominent 
business firm, he bade the two gentlemen good-day and 
left the office. 

A few minutes later the gentleman who had been such 
an interested inquirer in insurance matters, after thank- 
ing Mr. McDonald for his kindness and attention, and 
promising to consult his friends and call again after so 
doing, also withdrew. 

The meeting of the directors was held according to the 
call. Those gentlemen gravely considered such matters 
as required their attention, and finally desired an exami- 
nation of the bonds and stocks. The tin box was sought ; 
but lo ! it was gone. The greatest consternation pre- 
vailed ; but it was soon seen that the company had been 
robbed in a most brilliant manner, and that the two gen- 
tlemanly pretended travelers, who wished to provide for 
their wives so tenderly, were the skillful sneak-thieves who 
did the work. 

Now, Dan Noble haJ planned the whole matter, knew 
that the directors' meeting was to be held, knew that the 
an box which traveled so frequently between the insur- 
ance office and the Merchants' Bank contained bonds 01 


other valuables, and also had learned all about the habits 
and methods of conducting the inner office. 

He therefore organized a " gang," as it is called, con* 
sisting of Frank Knapp, Jimmy Griffin, and Jack Tierney, 
to do the work. Himself and Jack Tierney were to dc 
the " piping " on the outside, as also to hold a carriage 
in readiness, either to remove the plunder or enable the 
" sneaks " to escape, should their object be discovered 
before it should have been consummated. 

Frank Knapp represented the inquiring commercial 
traveler, and Jimmy Griffin was the " sneak " who repre- 
sented the friend who was compelled to go out, and then, 
after his return, was unable to remain on account of keep- 
ing a certain appointment. 

Knapp took a seat at agent McDonald's table, so that 
the latter's back was toward the vault, and then Knapp 
shrewdly kept him so thoroughly engaged that he paid no 
attention whatever to the supposed friend, who, with an 
overcoat thrown lightly over his arm, carelessly walked 
about the place, apparently whiling away the time in a 
cursory examination of the ornaments on the walls. 

During this sort of thing Griffin slipped into the vault, 
noiselessly opened the safe, abstracted the tin box con 
Jaining the bonds, arranged his coat over it neatly, and 
then came back, standing within two feet of the agent 
and Knapp when he stated to them that he would have 
to go out for a few minutes. 

He went out, gave the box and the overcoat to Noble 
tnd Tierney in the carriage the latter instantly leaving-- 


Mid then, after a short delay, returned to the insuiancc 
office to make his excuses and leave the second time. 

The leaving of Knapp has already been described, and 
no one can question that the scheme, in its planning and 
cool, leisurely execution, was one of the most perfect and 
brilliant in the entire annals of crime. 

Knapp and Griffin at once fled to Canada/ being urged 
to that course by Noble, who only gave these men twenty- 
seven thousand dollars out of a booty of over a quarter of 
a million ; and this unfair deal at last led to troubles be- 
tween the thieves, resulting in Noble's arrest, conviction, 
and partial punishment for this particular crime. Fifty- 
five thousand dollars' worth of the bonds were recovered 
by the company, on payment of a premium or reward of 
fifteen per cent. 

Noble eluded punishment for over four years, but was 
finally convicted at Oswego, New York, in February, 
1871 his great wealth, entirely secured by crime, having 
been utterly exhausted in his long battle with justice. 

He was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment at Sing 
Sing, but escaped from there in 1872, having served 
" prison time " but a little over one year, and then fled 
to Europe, where he began anew his career of crime. He 
attempted to perpetrate a daring ll sneak " job on the 
Paris Bourse in 1873, on a broker's office, but was caught 
in the very act, convicted, and sentenced to five years' 
penal servitude, which full time he served, only being 
liberated in the summer of 1878, just in time to attend 
the Paris Exposition, and continue his brilliant conspira- 


sies. But, as I have said, wherever Dan NoLle goes, 01 
whatever luck he may have in a criminal way, the story 
of his " steerers running old Pinkerton up to his brace 
game " will always remain a practical joke upon him, 
which can never be run away from and never shaken off. 



OF the tens of thousands of strange and interesting 
incidents connected with prolonged and far-reach- 
ing detective service, undoubtedly that portion contain- 
ing the richest veins of romance, the brightest humor, and 
the deepest pathos, is comprised in the demands made on 
the detective agency for numberless kinds of assistance 
by men and women who ire unfortunate enough to be- 
come complicated in family troubles involving the sup- 
posed unfaithfulness of the husband or the wife. 

I wish to say, at the beginning of this bit of romance, 
that I am bitterly and irrevocably opposed to touching 
that kind of work. No honest and honorable detective 
will soil his hands with it. For thirty years, and through 
hundreds of thousands of applications for the services of 
myself and my men, I have shunned and avoided it for 
the unclean, poisonous thing that it is. In all modesty, 
and for the purity and honor of the detective service of 
ftnierica, as one who has spent the best half of his life in 


its elevation and bettering, I wish to, here and at all times, 
urge upon those younger and less experienced than my- 
self, who may be at the threshold of their life-work, the 
absolute necessity of turning a deaf ear to applications 
for this class of assistance. 

There may be, there often are, exceptions in this le 
gard, where men and women, from the highest and most 
honorable of motives, desire and have a right to certain 
information, which may more thoroughly establish a wife, 
a husband, or a near friend in their regard and esteem, 01 
permit a decision which, though hard and heart-breaking 
to make, is the only dignified and honorable thing to be 
done, when the one under suspicion proves himself or 
herself utterly unworthy of confidence or respect ; but 
these are unusual exceptions, and Dearly every instance 
where women apply to the detective to watch the hur- 
band, or the husband the wife, the mistress the man, 01 
her " friend " the mistress, there will be found something 
disreputable and degrading behind it. 

To put detectives on such low errands of espionage is 
to demoralize them and utterly unfit them for highei 
work. The detective must have a clean mind and clean 
nands, or he sinks to the level of the criminal, and is no 
better than he ; and there is no way in which he can 
become so completely corrupt and unbalanced as to place 
him where he becomes the spy and tht football between 
animal passion and revenge. 

The instance 1 am about to relate, where I took a case 
f {his kind, is only an exception proving the general rujf 


which I have laid down, and was one so pitiable, and yet 
so ridiculous, that I cannot restrain a hearty laagh whe.i- 
e /er I recall it. It occurred but a few years since, and is 
still as fresh in my mind as though it happened but yes- 

One summer afternoon, about three o'clock, a pretty 
ioupe halted in front of my present offices on Fifth Av- 
enue, Chicago. The sweet face of a young woman 
appeared at the window and looked up at the large build- 
ing with evident trepidation and fear. Even the negro 
footman, that quickly descended to serve the lady, seemed 
possessed of a certain solemnity and awe, which indicated 
at least some well-defined unpleasantness in the household 
where he was employed, and momentous importance at- 
taching to this visit. Alighting upon the sidewalk, the lit- 
tle lady looked nervously about her, peered into the open 
door of the fine station on the first floor, where my large 
night watch, the preventative police, are quartered, where 
she saw a few officers and patrolmen quietly sitting about 
on day duty; and then, seemingly quickly satisfying her 
self that this was not the detective department, hastened 
rapidly up the broad stairs. 

She had determination in rfer manner; but in eveiy 
feature of her fine face there was a quiver and tremoi 
that told of acute suffering. It was not common that so 
remarkably fine-looking a lady, so distinguished in ap- 
pearance, sought the mysteries of detective service ; Jid, 
as she swept into the main office, casting a flushed and 
Startled look about her, the groups of sub-officers and 


bevies of clerks, by long custom grown quick and keen 
in judgment of such things, knew, without being told, 
something of what the case might be, and in their minds 

unanimously pronounced it : " Particularly pitiable." 

My office-boy also taking in the situation at a glance, 
and seeming to understand that the lady was much con 
fused by the, to her, unaccustomed surroundings at once 
conducted her into my superintendent's consulting-room, 
and proffered her a seat opposite Mr. Warner himself. 

Superintendent Warner, who has been in my employ 
for nearly twenty years, is a very staid, sober gentleman, 
one who has a reputation, among my other officers and 
men, of never looking at a woman save sidewise, and then 
only for the tenth part of a second (a man who is so 
proverbially modest in this particular that it is even re 
ported of him that he passes words, when reading, unless 
certain that they are of the masculine gender) ; but the 
very woe that spoke from his visitor's face affected him so 
strongly that he looked up over his gold-rimmed quizzers 
from his papers and dispatches, and regarded her curi 
ously with his cold gray eyes for fully three seconds. 

Then the handsome, elegantly-dressed, beautiful lady 
began sobbing and talking. 

Superintendent Warner, looking straight out of the win- 
dow, adjusted his quizzers, and began listening. 

The lady whom I will call Mrs. Saunders after severa' 
sobs, which she finally mastered with a great effort, said 
in a voice of repressed emotion : 

* Mr. Warner, 1 am in great trouble great trouble/' 


He could see it ; and he hinted as much, resuming hit 
attitude of attention. 

" Is it necessary to tell my name ? n 

" Most certainly." 

" And tell you where I live ? " 


" Oh, this is awful ! " she said, more AS if speaking to 
herself than the superintendent. " Well, I live at No. 
Indiana Avenue "(a very aristocratic thoroughfare). " My 
husband is tbe senior member of the firm of Saunders, 
Rice & Co., on State Street." 

Yes, Mr. Warner knew them very well. 

" And you know about our trouble ? " she asked, in a 
way showing that the poor woman felt certain, as people 
always do, that her grief was certain to occupy the atten- 
tion of all the world. 

" Well, I think it would be better for you to give me 
your version of it," he replied quietly, but already nervous 
at the probable prorpect before him. 

" Oh, dear ! well " she began, with a flushing and pal- 
ing face. " My husband is rich. We have a beautiful 
home ; it seemed as though the world was very bright be 
fore this I " (Sobs.) " He always came home to dinner 
and never, never passed the evening away save with me 1 " 

" How long have you been married, riadam ? " re. 
pectfully asked the superintendent 

"Only eighteei sfyprt months," she replied, crying &it 

"H*ye you* child?" 


" One darling babe." Another sob. 

Well ? " 

The superintendent was getting anxious for particulars, 
ind troubled for the result. 

" Well, sir, about two weeks ago we had a slight misun 

Mr. Warner nodded his head, as though he knew what 
that meant. 

" But it wasn't much, sir ; truly it was hardly a quarrel, 
But we began taking our meals separately, each too 
proud to make any concession, each full of spirit, and 
thinking the other was in the wrong, but both gradually 
growing away from each other until finally " 

Here the good little lady paused and blushed deeply. 
It hurt her to say what was on her tongue, but it had to 

" Well ? " queried Mr. Warner, wiping his quizzers and 
blusning to the very top of his bald head. 

" Until we finally occupied sleeping apartments in quite 
opposite parts of the house 1 " 

Mr. Warner saw it was the old story, one that had 
floated ten thousand times into the office, ever since he 
had been in it, and he began to fidget about in his chair 
as the lady resumed her weeping. 

" Well, sir, he acts so strangely. He slams the doors, 
and won't even look at the baby. I hold up in my arms for 
him to see ; and, about a week ago, I noticed that he did 
not get into the house until two or three o'clock in the 
piorning. J CQu'.dn't gei; tiyit a glinipe of his face, but fee 


looked guilty / I hate to tell you this, sir, but I am \ure 
some bold, bad woman is at the bottom of it all. He has 
been away from home for three whole nights, sir for 
thiee long, dreary nights. I know he is with this woman. 
Oh, sir ! I don't know what to do ! I don't know what 
to do ! But if you can only some way get iry husband to 
realize what a terrible thing he is doing, and then capture 
this bad woman, and do something awful -just awful I 
with her, you shall have any yes, any sum you have a 
mind to name ! " 

Here the poor lady, seeing that there was but little 
hope for her in my superintendent's face, pleaded pite- 
ously, between really heart-rending sobs, that her " dear 
hubby " might be brought back, and this horrible woman 
completely annihilated, and explained how, for several 
days, she had been dodging about the city herself, to 
ascertain where the supposed cause of her husband's 
misdoing lived, and how she might wreak a deserted 
wife's vengeance upon her, and, finding that she could 
accomplish nothing, discouraged and disheartened, she 
had come to my office hoping for help. 

Superintendent Warner really pitied his fair visitor, and 
hardly knew what to do. He glanced for courage along 
the wall, where one of the framed mottoes from my " Gen- 
eral Principles " for detective work hung in its frame. 
The motto read : 

" These Agencies will, under no circumstances, operatt 
in cases arising from marital difficulties 1 " 

He tried to get courage and brawry enough from this 


but the misery of the little woman got the better of him ; 
and, trying to look very sympathetic and at the same 
time severe, he stammered out, as he rose to indicate the 
termination of the interview : 

'' Sorry ; d very sorry, madam ! But much as I dei 

plore your trouble pardon me for saying this is well- 
ha, hum ! well, one of that kind of cases, you see, wher 
I will have to confer with Mr. Pinkerton before giving 
you any answer of a definite character. I can hold out 
no hope for you whatever to-day. Mr. Pinkerton will 
be in shortly. I will lay the matter before him. You may 
call at the same hour to-morrow. I can give you a deci- 
sion then." 

The little woman dried her eyes, thanked the superin- 
tendent as best she could, and was shown out the private 
door of the outer consulting-room, Mr. Warner mur- 
muring sympathetically : 

" Good-day, madam ; good-day. Sorry ; d very 


It is a custom of mine, which has been observed with- 
out exception for several years, to ride in my carriage, 
rain or shine, snow or sleet, for from two to four hours 
of every afternoon. I find not only genuine ^asure in 
it but health and vigor, and, above all, a relief from a 
crush of business, which, with me, seems never to be done, 
and to increase beyond measure as I advance in life. 

These rides are taken in ever) direction from my 
office ; sometimes through and through the heart of tnt 
city ; sometimes to some outlying suburb ; and often ten 



twenty, and frequently thirty miles straight out into the 
country. I have thus formed a regular acquaintance with 
little roadside inns, where I always find my bevy of beg- 
gars and vagabonds ready to hold or water my horses, 
for the change they as invariably expect ; and I have 
thus come to know every sign in the city, every alley or 
by-way, every nook and corner ; and, in numberless in- 
stances, the almost perfect information so secured of 
ivery peculiarity of Chicago and its surroundings has 
proven of invaluable service in facilitating whatever work 
of a local nature I might have in hand. 

On the day in question I had been out over the roads 
adjacent to Chicago's beautiful North Shore, and had de- 
termined to return through Lincoln Park along the wide, 
smooth boulevard which borders the white beach where 
the waves come tumbling in. It was one of those rough, 
raw days when the clouds go scurrying across the sky, 
and the water upon the broad expanse of Lake Michigan 
had a steely-blue color intervening between the scudding 
white-caps. The park was deserted, and not a carriage 
save my own was to be seen down the miles of drive, 
level as a floor. Turning from the highway into the 
drive, I saw, a mile beyond, like a dark silhouette against 
the water, the form of a solitary man, pacing rapidly back 
and forth upon the sands. Swiftly he sped up and down 
the shore, like one with no purpose, but impelled by 
some strong and overwhelming excitement. 

As I neared him, he took no notice of either myself oi 
carriage, and I saw that his face was pale, and that all 


jf his actions betokened great mental trouble. My de 
tective instincts, or curiosity, or whatever it may be 
called, were at once aroused, and I directed my drivel 
to pass the man slowly. Arriving . opposite him, as *ve 
were now going in opposite directions, I noticed at once 
that he was a young business man of my acquaintance. 

" Hallo, Saunders ! " said I. 

"Well, what do you want?" he returned, in a hard, 
hurt kind of a way. 

" I want you to get right in here with me," I replied 
sternly, knowing that the man required a superior will to 
manage him. 

He got in the carriage and sat down beside me without 
a word. 

" What is the matter, Saunders ? " I abruptly asked. 

" I'm all gone to pieces," he answered, with a moan. 

" In a business way?" I asked. 

" No, at home," he replied bitterly. 

" Now, tell me the truth nothing else ! " said I, se- 

<c Well, friend Pinkerton," he answered slowly, and as 
though his whole life and heart were in the reply, "my 
wife is going wrong ! " 

" I don't believe it ! " I replied, warmly. 

"Yes," he said, after a pause ; "yes, it's true. A few 
weeks ago we had one of those family quarrels that curse 
married people. It was a little thing at first a littlt 
thing just one of those family misunderstandings that 
bring hell between a couple. I wou dn't give \i\ nor 


would she. At first we were very proud, and would noi 
recognize each other. Soon we took separate meals. 
Then my wife got high-toned, and took a bed in anothet 
part of the house. I followed suit, and took my bed as far 
away from her as I could get it in the house. For nearly 
a week past she has been spending the days and nights 
out. I have been trying to get at the secret of her estrange^ 
merit. For the last three days and nights I have been out 
constantly. I have had several of our most trustworthy 
employees watching the house and following her, but I 
am entirely at a loss ; some human devil is taking advan- 
tage of our family trouble to ruin her. Pinkerton, I made 
up my mind to come to you. But I recollected that you 
never touch these matters, and I had about determined 
to do something desperate ! " 

My heart opened at once for the man, and I concluded 
to break over my rule at any cost, get at the bottom of 
the trouble, which, I could see, he had only made worse 
by his attempting to play the detective, and then, if it 
were possible, show the wife the wretchedness and mis- 
ery she was causing, and in some way, not then quite 
clear to me, but which I felt assured would in good time 
transpire, bring about a reconciliation and peace to the 
family of my young friend. 

I told him this ; and it made a new man of him at once. 

We were soon at the agency, and we proceeded to- 
gether at once to my own private office. 1 immediately 
summoned Mr. Warner, and began explaining matte) s 
with a view of having him get a thorough un lers'anding 


of it with me, and then make a detail of men when neces 
sary for thorough investigation. 

This had hardly been entered into when I observed 
that my superintendent was conducting himself very 
strangely. He "hummed" and "hawed," cleared hi? 
throat a half-dozen times as if to speak, but each time 
seemed to change his mind and repress himself by the 
greatest effort. On several occasions I came near asking 
him the reason for his singular action, but refrained on 
account of the presence of rhy friend. 

No sooner had he departed, with the understanding 
that I should pick him up at a designated spot on the 
next afternoon, and before he had hardly reached the 
street, than Mr. Warner burst into such an irrepressible fit 
of laughter that I could not resist joining him, although I 
confess the whole proceeding was quite beyond my power 
of comprehension ; but when he had sufficiently recovered 
to explain himself and relate the interview with the 
beautiful lady an hour previous, the ludicrousness and 
complete absurdity of the entire situation came over me 
with such force that I am afraid I was quite as badly af- 
fected as my superintendent, and certainly myself indulged 
in a roar of laughter which must have been heard *.o the 
remotest part of the great building, and possibly, as I have 
capital lungs, beyond into the street. 

But my readers may be very sure that the cases were 

The next afternoon the lady called, was informed that 
Mr. Pinkerton had deviated from his fixed rule in hei 


Lehalf, and such necessary information was secured as 
ftould give color to the evident planning of a thorough 
Investigation. Superintendent Warner also gave her such 
hope and courage as he could ; and the little woman went 
away with the understanding that she should call at the 
same hour on the next day, and looking much brighter 
and happier for the hope that had risen within her. He 
also elicited the fact that her husband had returned to his 
home early on the previous night, had retired early, and 
had certainly remained in the house during the whole 

On the same afternoon I had my young friend in my 
carriage for an hour, gave him some hint that the object of 
our search would be captured, possibly by the next day, 
and in all probability everything would terminate murh 
better than I had at first feared in fact, wholly as it 
should. I was also able to learn that his wife had cer- 
tainly passed the preceding night at home. He was 
sure of it, but did not seem to wish to tell me how. 
Altogether, he had become sunnier and more hopeful. 

On the third afternoon the little woman came as true 
as time to the minute of her appointment with my supei 

" Well, we have the truth of the matter at last. I hope 
it won't prove too bad ! " he continued, reassuringly, as 
the little lady, womanlike, now that the suspense of it 
all was nearly over, burst into tears. 

" Tell me, tell me all about it ! Do tell me ! If if 
tills me, I must know it all ! " she sobbed violently. 


" My dear madam ! " replied Mr. Warner in a sooth- 
ing tone, " you must compose yourself. I am not at lib- 
erty to give you the particulars. I can only say this much : 
We shall in a few minutes have this party who has caused 
the trouble in our office. You are to take a seat in one 
of the parlors. We will then have the party introduced 
to you, and you can then, having everything in your 
power, secure a confession as we have done, and extort 
a lasting pledge ! " 

With this the lady was conducted to one of the several 
small parlors, or reception-rooms, near my own private 
office, frequently found necessary in my business. The 
room was conveniently somewhat darkened, and, on leav- 
ing the superintendent at the door, she said, with some 
trepidity and evident fear : 

" Oh, what shall I do alone with this fiend ? " 

"Just use your very best judgment, madam," Mr. 
Warner replied ; " nothing shall harm you." 

With this the door closed, and the little woman was 
alone. What were her feelings and thoughts I cannot 
attempt to picture. One thing, however, was certain. 
As she paced the floor with a quick stride for the few 
minutes which should intervene, her fingers worked 
nervously, as though her spirit and indignation could not 
be restrained, and that she must wreak vengeance upon 
the fiend who had come between her and all that she 

Half an hour before I had left my young friend ; t his 
itore. I had informed him that I had "run in th 


party he " most wanted to see ; " that the person was then 
in my office ; that I had extorted a full confession, the 
details of which, however, I declined to gi\e, as I had 
determined he should be given an opportunity to confront 
the person himself and see with his own eyes and heai 
with his own ears the object of his fruitless detective ser- 
vice and the whole story. He was greatly moved, and 

said he feared he would do the d d villain bodily 

harm. I told him that if he did he would forever for- 
feit my friendship ; and he pledged himself solemnly to 
confine his indignation and punishment to his unexpected 
presence and words alone. 

The last words of mine to him, as he alighted from my 
carriage at his store, were : 

" Now, Saunders, if you bring a revolver or anything 
of that sort, or in any way break faith with me, I wiil 
make you suffer for it. / won't have any scenes in my 
office / " 

I had arranged that he should take a certain course to 
get to the agency. This brought him to the second floor 
and near my room by a private entrance, so that there 
might be no danger of any of his friends seeing him. 

I shortly heard his footsteps upon the stairs. He 
halted occasionally, as if to gain strength for his terrible 
meeting. At last he entered my room, and said : 

" Pinkerton ! My God ! this is too much ! Where 
where is he ? " 

" There ! " I replied, pointing to a sliding-door, through 
which a parlor was reached. 


He stepped to the door, put his hand upon the knob, 
paused a moment nervously, then, drawing himself to his 
fullest height and looking so much the man, every inch of 
him, that I was proud of the fellow strode into the room. 

There was silence for a moment 1 confess that to me 
it was an awful silence. It was a thrilling moment, and 
had a thousand times more in it than I ever hoped. 

Then there was a little shriek, a strong voice tremu- 
lously choked and stifled, a rush of a true husband and a 
devoted wife across what had seemed an impassable gulf, 
safe and sure into each other's arms. 

I did not disturb them. For an hour they were there 
together. What love had been renewed, quickened, 
doubt dispelled, hopes brightened, everything that is ten- 
der and true in life resurrected and bettered, I cannot 
tell , but I do know that two more grateful people never 
existed on the face of this green earth. 

And I also know that they both went home in the little 
ccufe together, and have never occupied " separate apart- 
toents " since. 



IN my upward of a quaiter of a century's detective 
career many strange circumstances have continu- 
ally arisen, and are constantly arising, to make the experi- 
ence of my every -day life both rerr.arkably painful and 


pleasantly romantic. The position which I occupy gives 
me an unusuai opportunity to see life from the undei side, 
and the worst as well as the best phases of human charac 
ter are forced upon my notice, until they become, by sec 
ond nature, a matter for study. 

Among the peculiar experiences which are forced upon 
me ar-e some from a class which have risen directly from 
the world- wide reputation which has been secured for my 
agencies and my methods of detection. Many unthink- 
ing people have come to believe that there is something 
mysterious, wonderful, and awful about the detective. 
All my life, and in every manner in my power, I have 
endeavored to break down this popular superstition, but 
it would seem that it could not be done. 

Many persons seem -to desire to believe that a detective 
holds some supernatural power, or yet is possessed of 
some finer instinct or keener perception than other mor- 
tals ; and hence the bogus detective has the elements of 
success as a swindler when he even makes the shabbiest 
pretense of being a detective. 

This foolish fancy as to the power of the detective 
comes, I am aware, from that element, nearly akin to fear 
in all of us, for anything mysterious or unexplainable. 
But I have always contended that the criminal could not 
best be brought to justice by the criminal, but by the 
clean, healthy, honest mind, using clean, healthy, hones! 
methods, and those persistently and unceasingly. 

It is undoubtedly trie tnat the successful detective 
be possessed of faculties fitting mm for his peculiar 


character of work, and ten thousand men may possess 
those who live and die without the slightest hint of such 
capabilities. Into nearly every prominent profession 01 
vocation men drift because they are by nature best suited 
to fit them. The successful merchant becomes so not, as 
a ruie, through good fortune, but by keeping his work well 
in hand, being capable of managing a large number of 
employees, making his investments safe and certain, and 
being content with gradually acquired credit and wealth. 
But he must have the disposition and the ability to do all 
this, or he is quite likely to fail. And so with every other 
profession or business ; and the detective must possess 
certain qualifications of prudence, secrecy, inventiveness, 
persistency, personal courage, and, above all other things, 
honesty; while he must add to these the same quality of 
reaching out and becoming possessed of that almost 
boundless information which will permit of the immedi- 
ate and effective application of his detective talent in 
whatever degree that may be possessed. 

And this is all there is to the very best of detectives. 

If there is mystery attached to his movements, it is 
simply because secrecy is imperative, and that will never 
consist in vague hints and meaningless intimations. 
These are the surest signs that he is an impostor. If he 
is a detective, and an able one, he will not go about pub- 
lishing the fact. Any thinking person can readily see how 
utterly useless would be the efforts of such a person to 
iccomplish anything worthy. 

I have been led to say this much, not only to dispel the 


popular idea concerning detectives, but to also call th* 
attention of my readers, and the public generally, to the 
almost countless instances where business men and pri- 
vate citizens are imposed upon and subjected to every 
manner of indignity and annoyance by the veriest swin- 
dlers extant, who pursue petty thievery or petty blackmail 
ing schemes through the pretense of being detectives, and 
particularly of being " Pinkerton's detectives." 

One of these scamps will call at some little provincial 
town, where communication with large cities is poor, 
and, after getting " the lay of the land," will call upon 
some business man of the place the more ignorant the 
better and vaguely intimate that he is there in his 
interest. If the person should fail to understand, the 
bogus detective will buttonhole him, take him into a 
quiet corner, when the following conversation is likely to 
ensue : 

" Pinkerton, you know ?" 

" Pinkerton ? Pinkerton ? Well, what about him ? * 

" I'm one of his men ! " the alleged will reply, with an 
air of great importance. 

"Well, I've heard of Mr. Pinkerton cften; but what 
may your business be ? " 

" That's just what concerns you I " 

Here the assumed detective will probably show some 
forged letters or some cheap star, or something of the 
kind, with a pretense that it is his " authority " for acting 
in the business. 

By this time the country merchant is half-frightened, 


wholly curious, and altogether mystified, and, very natu- 
rally, wishes to know what the nature of the man's busi- 
ness is, and what is about to happen. 

Upon this the bogus detective branches forth into a talk 
about Mr. Pinkerton having discovered that on such and 
such a bight his store is to be broken into and robbed, 
and that he has been sent there to inform the merchant 
of the proposed burglary, and to act with him in prevent 
i'ng the same. 

Now, nothing will more work upon a man's fears than 
the conviction, of impending danger some evil which 
still lies in the dark, but which seems certain to transpire ; 
and so soon as the bogus detective has laid this foun- 
dation, nothing is easier than for him to get upon the most 
confidential terms with his unsuspicious victim. 

In the meantime the impostor has taken board at the 
best hotel in the place if he has had assurance enough for 
that and soon lets his pretended business be known iii 
certain quarters, though always exhorting the strictest 
secrecy, and he soon has the reputation about town of 
being " one of Pinkerton' s men ! " 

He will now probably begin operations by making a 
pretense of communicating with me, and, in the presence 
of some party whom he is desirous to impress with hib 
i/nportance, will seal and direct a massive " report " or 
letter to me, which, however, he is very careful not to 
mail. He will then hint at mysterious comrades all my 
men who are close at hand, ':>ut under cover, and who 
*rill be ready to assist him at the necessary moment, and 


that he proposes to make a clean job of the thing, and 
forever rid that place of robbers and criminals. 

In this manner, and in various other ways, he gradually 
worms himself into public confidence. And this class of 
a fraud has sometimes even the audacity to telegraph me, 
in meaningless jargon, unintelligible combinations of 
words or sets of figures, until everything is ripe; and 
then, on the strength of my reputation as a business man 
and a detective, strikes right and left for money or any 
other thing he can get, and leaves the place between two 
days, having beaten everybody possible. 

Others of this class will accidentally ascertain some 
foible, or possibly criminal act, of the private citizen, and 
will at once make known his object to be the arrest of 
the party on a certain charge also quietly hinting that he 
is sorry for the publicity which must ensue, but that he 
feels compelled to do his whole duty. Perhaps he will 
inform the victim that he may be allowed his liberty for a 
day or two, in order to arrange his business affairs, and, 
in the interim, pretend to keep a close watch upon him. 
By this time the party is in a proper condition to be bled, 
and shortly is so worked upon that a snug sum is got, 
when the villain immediately decamps. 

This pretending to be in my employ is a favorite 
dodge of impecunious wanderers and " dead-beats " who 
find themselves stranded at hotels. I have a large per- 
sonal acquaintance among hotel-keepers and other public 
business men, so that, in my kind of business, circum- 
stances might occur, as they have frequently occurred, 


ahere courtesies and favors from them "iave been of great 
benefit. The dead-beat has found this of use, and, with 
his keen insight into possible chances of extending his 
stay, or of getting away without the detention of his bag- 
gage, should he have any, he has frequently made sutj" 
liberal use of my name as to permit his peaceful depar- 

Even in communities where citizens are usually well 
informed, and perhaps I had recently brought some im- 
portant case to a successful termination, some unprinci 
pled lawyer or official, possessing a petty spite or grudge 
against a neighbor, has dimly hinted that he and myself 
understood each other ; that when the proper time came 
he would cause an explosion, and that Pinkerton's men 
were then in town, and keeping their eyes open too ! 

Slouching individuals of all manner of kind, traveling 
to or stopping at all manner of places, when the last re 
sort tus failed for raising the wind, or carrying out some 
miserable scheme, immediately transform themselves intc 
pseudo-detectives, and nearly as often make a pretense of 
some near or remote connection with my business for as 
many various purposes as there are different swindlers. 

But a short time since a mysterious individual appeared 
at the residence of a wealthy family of Iowa farmers, who 
are immediate relatives of a gentleman prominently con- 
nected with the Philadelphia Inquirer. He txnibited a 
letter purporting to be from my office, authorizing him to 
follow and hunt down certain Missouri outlaws, and also 
called their attention to an item from a Chicago papsr 


relating an affray between one of my operatives and * 
criminal whom he was arresting, where the operative lost 
his finger from a pistol-shot. The name of the detectiv-e 
was given, and it corresponded with that of the bogus 
letter ; while, sure enough, the impostor had lost just that 
finger spoken of. 

The vagabond intimated that he wished to remain with 
them for a short time for his " detective " purposes, and 
also stated which secured his admission to the family 
that while he was there he would q-uietly keep his eye 
upon the members of a neighboring family with whom the 
former had been at feud for nearly fifteen years. 

The actions of the man were incomprehensible. He 
was of course mysterious, and made a pretense of being 
*out much of nights, and keeping very closely within the 
house during the day. He told great tales of miraculous 
doings with criminals, exhibited many wounds he had re- 
ceived in the assumed pursuit of his duty, and in various 
other ways played the r61e of a detective according to 
the stage rendering and the popular conception of that 
character, remaining with the family several weeks. But 
at last the real character of the man became known. 

A brother of the farmer was a wealthy stock-man, and, 
ft?r his trips to Chicago, always returned to the farm 
for a few days' visit, generally with a considerable amount 
pf money in his possession. On his first arrival there 
after the appearance of the bogus detective, the lattei 
conceived a cock-and-bull story about having discovered 
a counterfeiter's cave in the woods near the farm, 


was occupied during the day, but always deserted at 
night, and he endeavored to induce the stock-dealer to 
accompany ham on a tour of inspection. At first he con- 
sented to go ; but his suspicions finally became aroused, 
and he refused unless also accompanied by his brother. 
This the scamp opposed, offering some excuse, which 
further inclined the people to believe he was an impostor. 
The same night the rogue suddenly left, and the parties 
found that every pistol or revolver in the house had been 
so tampered with that its effective use would be simply 

It had been this particular bogus detective's plan to get 
into the good graces of the family until such a time as the 
drover appeared, and then decoy him into the woods at 
night, where he might rob him or murder and rob him at 

Not succeeding in this, and finding that the locality was 
becoming too warm for him, he decamped. The same 
night he robbed the post-office in the village near at 
hand, and was captured. He got one year in the peniten- 
tiary for this. But, strange as it may seem, I was nevei 
informed of his pretensions concerning being in my em- 
ploy until after he had served his term and been dis- 
charged, when, evidently out of mere curiosity, the gentle 
man referred to as prominently connected with the Phila- 
delphia Inquirer gave me a history of the matter and 
desired information as to the man s genuineness. 

I could give the reader hundreds of similar instances 
irhefe people are daily permitting themselves to be im 


posed upon by these shrewd tramps and petty swindlers 
who, under the guise of " Pinkerton's detectives/' carry 
on their villainous schemes of blackmail, and exasperat- 
ing, although paltry swindles. I am continually receiv- 
ing telegrams and letters asking if such and such persons 
are in my employ ; whether they have been authorized to 
take certain proceedings, or whether I will be responsible 
for any indebtedness they may incur. And I am certain 
that a modest estimate of the sum I have expended in 
running down these pests and assisting in bringing them 
to justice would not fall short of ten thousand dollars. 

But if " bogus detectives " have proven of constant an 
aoyance and occasional absorbing interest, there is an 
jther class of persons that have been still more persist 
ent in endeavoring to attract my attention, and at all 
times a source of infinite amusement. 

My mails are daily burdened with their communica- 
tions. I am run down and cornered most ingeniously^ 
I never have peace from their obstinate endeavors. 

These are the would-be detectives. 

They are legion. 

They exist in all parts of the world, are in all sorts of 
positions or conditions of impecuniosity, and have every 
manner of ability imaginable. They will be detectives 
whether or no ; and, if I do not give them a chance, they 
threaten to distinguish themselves on their own account. 
Every time word comes to the public of my agencies hav 
ing succeeded in an operation of any magnitude these 
applications come in shoals, although the daily receipt is 


so laige in number that the Government at least must 
be greatly benefited. I try to have them all suitably 
answered ; but many of them defy a sober consideration 
and even a translation. These are turned over to Chief 
Clerk Robertson, and consigned to what I have appropri- 
ately named the " Lunatic File ;" and I ana sorry to con- 
fess that this is a wonderfully large monument to detective 

There seem to be three things which are the ambition 
of a very great class of men and women who have arrived 
at a point where they are desperately in need of employ- 
ment. They wish to go upon the stage, become an 
author, or turn detective ; and it is about an equal chance 
which way they go. 

One of these people writes me : 

" l am traveling around a great deal, and want you to send me 
a roving commission as one of your detective? . I see many instances 
where the power of such authority would tx. c t great benefit to me." 

Now, here was an individual who really and honestly 
believed that I in some way had tlw power to grant him 
a "roving commissior ' TJ m&ke art vtss of himself on any 
occasion which miy>'. r/-r ; anr! if there was one thing in 
the world that the prxlous scurjp yas sincere about, it 
was that I would go ;nio f.ctfsifj-.jj over being able to 
secure just such talent as lik. 

A benighted female wr.cfo f.o'.n Detroit that she is 
" alone in the world ; " th'*t J.e > certain of being " born 
a detective ; " that she is at r / ; f /c at boarding at a certain 


respectable boarding-house, where there is a thin partition 
separating her room from another, in which she is sure a 
noted gang of burglars have their rendezvous ; that in the 
silent and witching hours of the night these men talk over 
the situation in deep and solemn voices, and arrange 
future plans for depredation and robbery ; and that her 
:ar is constantly applied to this partition, until she has 
become a sort of an Edison phonograph in fact, a reposi- 
tory of wonderful secrets, which she will divulge like the 
machine, give forth when she is unwound ; and that all 
that is necessary for me to become possessed of such in- 
formation as will enable me to distinguish myself and win 
fame, is to send her forty dollars. Think of it ! only forty 
dollars ! This will enable her to liquidate a slight out- 
standing indebtedness at the aforesaid boarding-house 
with a thin partition, when she will proceed to the ends 
of the earth, if necessary, and dog the footsteps of this 
band of robbers, and, by getting into rooms at hotels, and 
otherwise, will continue the phonographic business in- 

Now, here was a genius that ought to have received en- 
couragement; but unfortunately she did not set a suffi- 
ciently high value upon her service. 8 

A gentleman, addressing me from the Grand Hotel, 
San Francisco, relates that he is writing a book from ob 
servation on the Pacific coast, and that he thinks a com- 
mission from me, authorizing him as a detective in that 
section, would prove of great ber^efit to him. In return 
for this he solemnly promises to give me and my busi- 


ness a "splendid puff" in his book, which he is sure (what 
author was ever not) will " sell like hot cakes." 

I felt a sympathy for the man, but was compelled to de- 
dine becoming responsible for his hotel and other bills, 
even at the risk of losing so excellent an opportunity for 
a place in his swiftly-selling book. 

A party from a large town in Kentucky, who is in the 
piano and organ trade, writes that his income is becoming 
small, through the cutting on prices of base interlopers, 
and that, as his business is fast going to the devil, he has 
made up his mind to fling himself, as it were, body and 
soul, into the detective business ; and, while certain that 
his services are worth to any employer or corporation 
from four to five thousand dollars a year, he will sacrifice 
himself to the cause of justice at a mere pittance. He 
concludes his interesting application with this naive and 
spicy remark : 

"As I am a married man, with six cherubs, my mother-in-law 
oeing a permanent fixture with me now, I can leave home indefi- 
nitely. " 

It might have been that here was the secret of a man, 
<vorth four or five thousand dollars to any employer, being 
villing to leave home indefinitely for a mere pittance. 

Motbers-in-law have been the cause of even greater in- 
stances of desperation than this. 

Away up from the cotton-fields of Texas I receive an 
Application from a party who says he is with me every 
day and hour in my fight against criminals and law-break 


ing. He says he is "nothing hut a common cotton- 
picker," but confesses that he has a great mind, and that 
to a massive intellect " cotton-picking has its drawbacks." 
He bids me God-speed in my good work, and remarks 
that he knows a thing or two that I am not "up to," 
even if I did come from Scotland, closing his letter with 
the proposition that, whenever I want a man who can get 
right at the bottom of things, he will leave the fair fields 
of Texas at a moment's notice. 

Poor fellow ! I could almost see a man who had had 
better fortune in the years before, and who had written 
me more as an outburst of his own desperation at his 
cotton-picking fate in the burning sun of Texas, than be- 
cause he had the remotest idea that he could be of any 
service to me or that I could more than kindly reply to 

Another person, writing from a southern Illinois town, 
puts the matter in this concise manner : 

u There is a. band of burglars here. Fm going to hunt them out, 
if you can' t. I'll come to Chicago for fifteen dollars a week, twenty 
dollars advanced." 

In the man's efforts to appear wise and terse, he neg- 
lected to sign his name, and so I could not forward him 
the amount required. 

Another would-be detective, with an inventive turn, 
writes me : 

** I have a sure method of detecting crime or persons. I will di 
close the same to you for two thousand dollars in money , or I wil 


accept a position under you in your force, at a salary commensurate 
with the importance of my discovery, and use the system in connec- 
tion with my operations." 

Out of mere curiosity I looked into this matter, and 
found the applicant to be an impecunious half-crazy 
"mind reader" and spiritualist. 

A party from Pittsburg explained some of his abilities 

as follows : 

" In the character of a common laborer or Irishman I can handle 
a pick and shovel admirably. As a negro I can transform my ap- 
pearance and dialect, so that I could pass undetected among negroes 
themselves. I can pass in the best society as a titled foreigner, or 
play 'coachy' in- a gentleman's household. I can take any charac- 
ter to perfection, and, if you will indicate anything you wish assumed, 
I will put up a forfeit of any reasonable amount that I can assume it, 
or enact it so as to even deceive yourself. Salary is no object. 

" I know I would love the detective's life ; and if you don't want 
me, I shall go it alone." 

Never having made a bet in my life, I could not consci- 
entiously take this wager, and therefore was compelled 
tc inform the Pittsburg aspirant for detective honors that 
he would have to u go it alone." 

The district attorney of one of the wealthiest counties 
in Wisconsin recently wrote me, asking to become a de- 
tective. He stated that he had a- lucrative practice; had 
Deen ver) successful in his office ; could give the highest 
commendations from lawyers, members of the Wisconsin 
Legislature, senators, and from the JAOSS ; but that he had 
become fascinated with his idea of the life of a detective^ 


and that he felt that he must enter my service. He agreed 
to leave his business entirely, devote himself honestly and 
earnestly to the work, and prove himself in every way wor 
thy of my best respect and esteem. 

Now, here was an application worthy of all considera- 
tion; but I saw that the man was simply momentarily 
flushed with the supposed romance of the work, had never 
considered the numberless instances of ill-success and 
hard, grinding labor ; in fact, that he had had as a per- 
son will witness a grand theatric performance and become 
momentarily "stage-struck" his mind fixed upon some 
brilliant achievement of the detective order, and was foi 
the time being actually " detective-struck," if that term is 
admissible. And I frankly told him so, showing him that 
his course did not lie in that direction. The result was : 
second, sober thought ; and the man to-day thanks me for 
an honorable standing among the legal fraternity of Wis- 

Now, these are but a few samples, at random, out of 
thousands of applications from would-be detectives the 
country over. They are before me, as I write, in huge 
piles ; from women who have a mission ; from men who 
want a commission ; from traveling preachers, who confess 
that there is much roguery even among church people 
which they wish to bring to light always providing they 
can make a few dollars out of the business ; from country 
bumpkins, who are dissatisfied with the plain ways of the 
village or the farm, and who imagine there is great glor) 
and perennial romance in the detective's career ; from al 1 


iurts of men, who imagine they have a scent of all sorts 
of crime, and who only want my indorsement and a little, 
just a little, money to make the thing a grand success j 
from authors, who wish to become familiar with crime, in 
order to depict it, and who absolutely need, so they say, 
a connection with my agencies to accomplish it; from 
sailors, who promise to climb to the cross-yards, stand on 
their heads, and do other daring nautical feats while scat- 
tering circulars to advertise my business ; from wander- 
ing pedlars ; from strolling tinkers ; from traveling clock- 
repairers ; from gypsies, and even from thieves in count- 
less numbers ! 

Each one and all have abilities on paper that are 
simply marvelous. Each and all show me what a sacrifice 
they are making to take upon themselves such a life, and 
how brilliantly successful they will' be in my service. And 
each and all want money, immediately and continuously. 

Now, I have just this advice to offer to all with detect- 
ive aspirations: Let well enough alone. If you are in 
any employment, remain in it ; attend to it faithfully and 
honestly. You might become a detective ; but where one 
becomes a successful detective, a thousand fail utterly and 
completely or, worse, become blackmailers and vaga* 
bonds, if not actual thieves and criminals. 




ONE day in December, 1870, the president of one of 
the Chicago national banks called at my office 
and desired a private interview with me. 

His statement was, that the deputy county treasurer of 
a county in Iowa, while alone in his office, had been 
assaulted by some unknown ruffians, nearly murdered, and 
sixteen thousand dollars taken out of his safe. 

It was desired by some correspondent of the bank's, at 
the county seat where the assault and robbery had 
occurred, that the bank president should confer with me 
and secure my assistance. 

Having but these bare outlines of the matter, I could 
do no more than at once dispatch one of my most able 
men to the point, with such general instructions as at that 
lime could be given. This man a keen, shrewd Irish 
American named Hanlon, upon whom had previously 
dev^.^u the successful working up, under my direction, 
of several heavy bank and safe robt^ries proceeded 
immediately to the place, and there met a gentleman 
named Wooster, who had authorized the operation, and 
who, being on the deputy treasurer's bonds, was naturally 
very anxious that the burglars and would-be murderer* 


should be apprehended, and the large amount of money 
taken or at least a portion of it recovered. 

The result of a careful preliminary examination into 
the matter was telegraphed me as follows: 

On the night of the ninth of December, in the year 
mentioned, a gentleman named Newcomb, desiring to 
purchase a county bond for some customer, went to the 
court-house, where the deputy treasurer, a gentleman 
named Benton Emery, was accustomed to remain unti" 
about nine o'clock his office being a sort of general ren- 
dezvous for a few of the county officials and several busi 
ness men of the town. 

On entering the treasurer's office, Mr. Newcomb was 
startled to find a prostrate form upon the floor. He 
immediately procured a light, and found a man covered 
with blood, and apparently dying. Blood was upon the 
floor and flowed from several wounds of the presumably 
murdered man. The room betrayed evidences of a severe 
struggle ; the lamp had been thrown upon the floor, and 
the odor of the oil showed that it had been broken in the 
fall. The chairs were thrown about and broken, and, what 
was more conclusive, and seemed to give some little clue 
to the mystery, was the circumstance that the door to 
the safe stood wide open, and papers and parcels were 
scattered in every direction around it. 

Mr. Newcomb took all this in at a single glance, and, 
half suspecting what was to follow, found the wounded 
man to be no other than Benton Emery, the deputy treas- 
4rer himself. He was immediately taken home, and in 9 


few days, though he barely lived through the terrible 
wounds he had received, was able to give an account of 
the robbery, as it undoubtedly was. 

He stated that just after dark two men in oil-cloth coats 
called at his office, and stated that they desired to pur- 
chase some revenue stamps. They asked for five dollars' 
worth, and tendered a one hundred dollar bill in payment. 
He took up a glass to examine it, and, after scrutinizing it 
and becoming satisfied of its genuineness, turned to open 
the safe. No sooner had he done so than one of the 
men sprang upon him, drawing a dagger, and grasped him 
violently by the throat. He was unable to utter a sound, 
but struggled with his assailants, clutching the dagger by 
the blade. The ruffian drew the dagger through his hand, 
and inflicted an awful gash, nearly severing the thumli 
at the ball. Weakened from his struggles with his burl} 
foe and the pressure on his throat, he was compelled to 
gradually relax his efforts, when he received several stabs 
in his side. He then fell to the floor insensible. 

An examination of the wounds proved that, though they 
were dangerous, they were not necessarily fatal. There 
was a gash on the hand, as stated, and four wounds around 
the heart, which, though deep, were not dangerous. The 
throat was wounded, and a frightful cut in the head dis 
closed the skull underneath. 

The safe was overhauled, and sixteen thousand dollars, 
chiefly county funds, with a few small sums placed in the 
safe by merchants for safe-keeping, had been taken. 

Now, these were the outlines of the matter, and it woultf 


reasonaoly be supposed that a bold and outrageous rob- 
bery had occurred and a brutal murder almost committed. 

in fact, hardly any other theory could account for the 
terrible wounds which Mr. Emery sustained. 

Some delay had ensued before I had been called upoii, 
so that by the time my operative had arrived in the village 
Alt. Emery had so far recovered from his wounds ao to 
be able to take an active part in the endeavor to detect 
the perpetrators of the crime. He was a man of wealth, 
was engaged in no speculations which might have embar- 
rassed him, so that while no possible clue to the robbers 
could be secured at that time, and with the information I 
then possessed, the last thought to enter my mind was 
any possible suspicion that the deputy treasurer himself 
had the remotest connection with the robbery. 

But every other possible theory and clue were finally 

I reasoned that professional criminals of the sort capa- 
ble of so daring a crime, in nearly every instance leave 
some clue by which their character as criminals can be 
established, and subsequently their identity pretty clearly 
Arrived at. In my thirty years of detective work t se 
things became so marked and fixe' 1 that, on reading a 'tele- 
graphic newspaper report of a or small robbery, 
with the aid of my vast records and great personal experi- 
ence and familiarity with these matters, I can at once tell 
the character of thn work, and then, knowing the names, 
history, habits, and quite frequently the rendezvous of the 
doing that class of work, am able to detciinine, witfc 


almost unerring certainty, not only the very parties who 
committed the robberies, but also what disposition they 
are likely to make of their plunder, and at what point* 
they may be in hiding. 

I hardly believed this robbery to have been committed 
by professional bank robbers. This conviction was veri- 
fied by the fact that the closest inquiries failed to show 
that any strangers who could not be accounted for had 
been seen in the village for weeks before. The town, 
though the county seat, did not contain at that time a 
population of over five hundred, and in a place of that 
size the face of a stranger is always closely scanned, and 
he cannot remain in the place without being quizzed and 

I could not believe the robbery had been done by any 
of the class of outlaws who generally commit depredations 
upon express "companies, isolated banks, and the like, in 
the more sparsely settled portions of the West ; for a 
scouring of the country, in every direction, fai'ed to dis- 
cover the slightest clue to any persons having ridden to 
or from the place, or reached or departed from it on foot 
or by any manner of conveyance. 

This consequently narrowed the investigation to the 
townspeople of the place itself. So here I directed my 
operative to dig away persistently, and leave i/o stone un- 
turned toward the solving of the mvstery. But it was of 
no use. The history, antecedents, cecupation, habits, and 
financial condition of every male person in the village 
vas secured, and where any person was found who migh! 


jave, bv the remotest possibility, been connected with the 
affair, he was made to give a thorough account of himself. 
But at last this course utterly failed to develop anything 
material to the case, and I found myself balked in every 

One day, while sitting in my private office, puzzling my 
brain over the matter, and going through and through my 
operative's reports from beginning to end, with the vain 
hope of picking out of it all some slight thread upon which 
to hang even a theory of the robbery, I came to this sen- 
Lence in one of 'the reports : 

" Mr. Emery is ceaseless in his efforts to assist me, but seems to be 
very much opposed to my going so hard upon some of the people of 
the village, as he constantly insists that it was done by professional 
robbers from a distance." 

In the mood I then was, my mind continually reverted 
to this. Why was Mr. Emery so solicitous about his 
fellow-townsmen while there remained the barest chance 
of the robbers being found among them ? And why did 
Mr. Emery desire to constantly impress my operative 
with the idea that the robbery was done by professional 
robbers from a distance ? 

Pass this paragraph as often as I might, I always came 
around to it, stopped at it, and began asking myself these 
questions about it. I could not rid myself of the feeling, 
the longer I studied over it, that the 'impression was 
gradually but surely becoming fixed in my mind 
there was behind all this a motive, 


Now what was that motive ? 

I felt that the suspicion which was gradually creeping 
into my mind was unjust to Mr. Emery; but the line of 
investigation it suggested, and which I now determined 
upon, was the dernier ressort. 

I therefore immediately instructed my operative to con- 
tinue his investigations as zealously as ever, but to af" once 
devote more attention to noting every act and expression, 
as well as the manner and bearing of Mr. Emery, without 
in the slightest degree betraying to the deputy treasurer 
his double duty. 

The result of this was, that in a few days I had before 
me reports which fully justified the course taken. 

Emery seemed to be worried and anxious, and to relax 
his interest in endeavoring to track the robbers. There 
was a great load of some kind upon his mind. He 
appeared to have relapsed into a listless condition, from 
which any newly-proposed plan by my 'operative would 
awaken him into a state of genuine nervousness and ex- 
citement, and it soon came to be his half-expressed desire 
that the operation should be abandoned. 

At this point I decided to further test my new theory 
of the robbery. 

I arranged that an anonymous communication should 
be forwarded to the place from Dubuque, intimating that 
two suspicious characters could be found at a certain 
designated place in that city, whom the writer had reason 
to believe were the two persons that had committed the 
robbery. The descriptions sent tallied exac.tly with those 


given of the robbers by the deputy treasurer himsell j and 
accoidingly my operative and Mr. Emery set out for 
Dubuque to endeavor to secure an identification of the 
suspected parties. 

But my operative found it hard work to even get him 
away from home. He protested that he had no faith in> 
anonymous letters, and would wager any amount that it 
would all prove a fool's errand ; and although he finally 
consented to make the trip, nearly every remark made' 
by him concerning the matter tended to show that Mr. 
Emeiy knew as well as I did that no robbers of his treas- 
ury were to be found in Dubuque. 

I had instructed operative Hanlon to insist both that 
the parties were to be found, and that, if there was any- 
thing like an excuse for doing so, he should arrest the 
men and take them back with him. When this was said 
pretty forcibly and decidedly, Emery seemed to be utterly 
at a loss for an opinion ; but finally, as if overwhelmed by 
the possible complications which such a course might 
involve, very hotly urged the injustice of such a step ; 
and finally, just before reaching the city, came out flatly, 
\nd said that he had been thinking the matter over, and 
had come to the conclusion that, if the real robbers were 
brought before him, it wa:j very doubtful whether he 
would be able to identify them at all! 

Ail of this and much other, tending to show a guilty 
knowledge of the robbery on Emery's part, and a great 
anxiety to be rid of the whole matter, was telegraphed 
me from Dubuque ; and I instantly decided to arrange a 


ruse by which Emery could be brought right into tvj 
office, where I could watch him, converse with him, per 
haps play upon him a little, but, at all events, where I 
might be able to form a better judgment of the man, and 
conclude whether he was in any way connected with this 
affair, which, in looking at it from any standpoint, I could 
not but regard as very mysterious. 

I could scarcely imagine what connection Emery had 
with the matter. I confess that I suspected he had 
robbed himself. But how were the horrible wounds that 
had nearly caused his death to be accounted for ? 

Surely no sane man in Emery's position in life would 
cat his hand nearly off, stab himself a half dozen times 
most desperately over and about the heart, and lay open 
his skull as a fearful sabre stroke would do ! 

I could hardly imagine any solution to the mystery. 
Possibly he had not been guilty of the actual robbery, 
but perhaps it had been done by persons who had since 
approached him, and represented to him that they were 
too shrewd to be punished, and, having convinced him 
of this, for a liberal share of the stolen funds, secured 
from him a pledge that he would prevent, as far as possi- 
ble, the efforts which were being made for their capture. 

In any event, I had decided that Mr. Emery was guill) 
tf something / 

I therefore at once telegraphed operative Hanlon, at 
Dubuque, that the parties he had expected there nad got 
an inkling that their whereabouts had been discovered, 
had fled to this city ; that I had had them arrested, and 


*ras now detaining them ; and directing him to leave 
there at once for Chicago with Mr. Emery, whose pr?s- 
^nce would be absolutely required. 

This done, I set about preparing matters at my office 
>o as to give color to the genuineness of the arrest when 
Mr. Emery arrived. 

I selected two stalwart men from among my force, 
and, by change in dress and sundry other little manoeuvres, 
made them answer the description of the supposed bur- 
glars who had robbed and nearly murdered Mr. Emery. 
They, were heavily ironed and strongly guarded, and cer- 
tainly, under the circumstances, presented a very hard 
and desperate appearance. 

The next morning operative Hanlon and Mr. Emery 
arrived in Chicago. 

The very moment 1 set my eyes upon the man I 
knew him to be guilty. 

He was a gentleman of fine appearance naturally, but 
in every movement of his person, in every feature of his 
face, in every changing tone of his voice, in every 
startled look from his downcast eyes as they met nay 
own, there was as strong an evidence of guilt as I evei 
had looked upon, and as true a proof that Emery waa 
the criminal as though he had been a robber, had robbed 
and half-murdered another man, and come into my office 
under arrest rather than as a guest. 

I saw all this at once, and endeavored to reassure hirr 
with the belief that we had at last captured the light par 


He hoped so, he said ; and this was all that could b 
got out of him. 

Soon we proceeded to the apartment where the pre- 
tended desperate criminals were guarded. 

They played their parts well, and made every possible 
apparent effort, without overdoing the matter, to prevent 
recognition. Emery was white as a ghost when he was 
brought before them. He seemed at an utter loss of 
knowledge how to act, but finally ventured to say that, 
while he might have seen them, he could not swear to 
their being the parties. 

Returning to my private office, I invited Mr. Emery to 
a seat, directed the door to be closed, and, seating myself 
before him, remarked pleasantly : 

" Mr. Emery, we are having pretty hard luck in this 

" Very ! " he replied, with a dry throat and a good deal 
of huskiness in it. 

" What would you say, Mr. Emery," I remarked, with a 
meaning smile, " if I should tell you that, although you 
fail to identify the parties under arrest here, I now have 
the perpetrator of this crime within my office." 

His face grew livid and white by turns, and his eyes 
seemed starting from their sockets. 

" Yes," I continued, with great severity ; " and what 
would you say if I would show you the man in this very 
room ? " 

" Where ? where ? " he gasped, giving a startled look ir 
everj direction. 


" There ! there ! See him ! Look at him ! " 1 almost 
shouted, turning him at one motion in the revolving chaii 
where he -sat, and bringing the poor fellow squarely in 
front of a huge pier-glass, and then forced him squarely 
upon his feet against it by main strength. 

I never saw a more ghastly face than that of this self- 

He sank into his seat and gasped : 

" For God's sake, Mr. Pinkertori, you don't mean " 

" You know what I mean, Emery. You know it ! No-* 
out with the truth, like a man ! " 

There is but little more to tell. Emery now knew that I 
knew he committed the robbery, and the poor man went 
right at it, confessing the whole matter in a few minutes. 

It was to the effect that he had no need for the money, 
was wealthy and beyond any possible want for life, but, 
being there in the office, shut up with so large a sum oi 
money so long, he had first thought of the ease with which 
he might be robbed ; then, revolving this in his mind so 
frequently, he finally conceived the idea of robbing hiai- 
self. At last this became a sort of all-absorbing idea with 
him, which he could not by any possibility shake off, until 
actually, to give himself relief from it, he stole the money, 
hid it under the side-walk in front of the office, broke up 
the office furniture, and scattered papers and things, so as 
to give an evidence of a struggle, and at last inflicted 
upon himself the terrible wounds from which he had nearly 
died in order to give color to the story he was obliged to 
tell of being assaulted. 


But the saddest part remains to be told. Emery ttrfcl 
put in charge of the same operative, and returned to Iowa 
a prisoner, where he had left three days before a respect 
able citizen and a trusted officer. The money w..s all 
found just where Emery had said it was hidden. But the 
shame and disgrace of it all was more than the deluded 
man could sustain, and the second day after his arrival 
home he ended all his troubles by committing suicide ; thift 
tragedy terminating one of the strangest incidents of my 
detective career. 



IN looking over the events of my most eventful life, 
as the frequency of criminal occurrences of similar 
character often compels me to do, I cannot but icflect 
over the strange gullibility of the general public, and 
wonder at the great fertility of schemes and successful 
conspiracies on the part of criminals. Every day of the 
year some apparently new development in the way < t 
criminal ingenuity is apparent, and the best detective 
minds of the time are const: ntly kept at their keenest 
friction to devise some means and expedients to cope with 
the advanced and apparently cultivated brains that are 
forever busy with fresh devices for living a life of elegance 
tnd ^ase without honest labor. 


And v- :0 onc wno has spent the greater part of hu 
ife, A, r . Save done, in conscientiously studying the phi- 
losopk/ of crime and the peculiar traits and chan-cteris- 
tics of criminals, there appears to be nothing startlingly 
new in all these matters. There is change in manner of 
operation, there may be fresh method in execution, but 
the main principle of crime, as well as of its detection, al- 
ways remains the same ; and with the thousands upon thou- 
sands of wa :nings and public lessons coming to light every 
year, it wo tld almost seem that respectable citizens refuse 
to profit I / the bitter experience of others, and by their 
apparent implicity and unguardedness really invite upon 
themselv the manipulations of keen rogues and edu- 
c^^ed ra'/.als ; and so true is this of people of all grades 
of society, that frequently, while doing everything in my 
power to assist those who have been almost ruined by 
their own foolishness, I could not resist the reflection that 
they had been served as they deserved. 

An instance of carefully- prepared planning, neat work, 
and successful swindling of this kind came under my 
notice in Baltimore, a few years since ; and whenever it is 
recalled to my mind I am ir doubt whether I shall more 
admire the handsome manner in which the scheme was 
done, or condemn the foolishness of the educated victim, 
who, after I had unearthed the scoundrels that had 
cruelly deceived and swindled the party, refused to prose- 
cute them, out of some mawkish sentiment or fear of pub 
lie ridicule. 

Iti 1868 an old gentleman v.^o.u I will call Willet 


died in Baltimore, leaving behind him a young and char M 
mg widow and a big fortune. After a year's becoming 
retirement and mourning, Mrs. Willet reappeared in 
society, and was warmly received within her circle, as her 
accomplishments were apparent and her wealth well 
known. Her grief was very easily drowned in a moder- 
ately gay society life, and consequently many real admirers 
and more genuine adventurers came in contact with her. 

Among those with whom she became acquainted was 
one Henry Halliot, a son of a retired officer of the 
Union army during the rebellion. He was at one time, 
and was supposed then to be, a young gentleman of 
promise, wealth, and good connections, and, being a hand- 
s^Mie, pleasant sort of fellow, he possessed just those 
traits and habits to easily captivate impressible women. 

Halliot had been introduced to Mrs. Willet by a French 
lady, named Mile. Villiers a recent arrival in the society 
in which Mrs. Willet moved, but reputed wealthy and as 
being very select in her society. This Jeannette Villiers 
was unmarried, vivacious, witty in fact, fascinating as 
only spirited and handsome French women can be. She 
was a charming brunette, full of blood, vitality, and posi- 
iiveness, and soon began to exercise a certain magnetic 
influence over Mrs. Willet, with whom she soon became 
very intimate, and who was a dreamy-faced blonde, with 
but little strength of character. 

Perfectly charmed with the young and volatile French 
woman, Mrs. Willet, after an acquaintance of three 
months, took her to her home as a guest, to remain there 


just as long as she pleased, and share the luxuries of the 
splendid house, the servants, the plate, and the rich wine 
of the cellars, which Mrs. Willet had previously had all to 

Of course young Mr. Halliot called occasionally to 
visit the widow and her charming protegee. But his atten- 
tions were for a purpose, as will be shown,. most marked 
towaid the wealthy widow. It was not long before the 
handsome fellow made an impression upon the heart of 
.Mrs Willet ; and it was not much longer before it be- 
came evident that two years would not pass and leave 
Mrs. Willet a widow. Strange as it may seem, Mile. Vil- 
Hers appeared to look favorably upon the suit of the 
young soldier. Indeed she had been instrumental in 
forwarding the courtship, but had done so rather under 
cover, so that no complicity could appear between her 
self and young Halliot. 

In the meanwhile the splendid French woman had 
gained a complete mastery over the rich widow. She 
was her inseparable companion. She guided her in all 
things, even down to the last minute of going and coming. 
She selected her books. She managed her servants, and 
what was more to her purpose, advised her regarding the 
disposition of certain large and valuable pieces of city 
i ;al estate in the hands of a joint executor. In fact, the 
wily giil for she could hardly be called a woman so 
\\ound herself about the widow's affection that, if it is 
possible for one woman to be in love with another, Mrs. 
Willet was in love with Mile. Villiers. 


Mrs. Willet imagined that all her troubles were re 
moved whenever her friend was at ham 7 ; qn.l Hallior, t\ie 
handsome young ex officer, w .o still paid ais devoted atteu 
tions to the widow, often jokingly remarked that ne lu<l luf 
one rival in all the world to fear, and that one was the' 
dear little French woman who had brought them together. 

Mile. Villiers- also seemed pleasantly jealous of Halliot; 
but, without seeming to do it, she always put in a good 
word for Halliot, and brought the couple together on 
every possible occasion. In a few months they had be- 
come three inseparables, and the executor, who had been 
a life-long friend of the deceased husband, looked on yrith 
a smiling approval as long as money was not needed and 
his young charge seemed to be so happily situated. 

In September, 1869, Mrs. Willet disposed of a valuable 
piece of real estate, and received a cash payment of forty 
thousand dollars. Her husband had left her everything. 
and she was perfectly free to sell or lease any or all or 
none of the property, and duly appropriate the proceeds 
to her use as she saw fit. It was not supposed that the 
officer-lover knew of the widow's vast wealth, or cared to 
know the same ; but Mile. Villiers did know it, and took 
good care that Mrs. Willet, who knew nothing of law or 
business, should not be troubled with details or dry 
fig'ires, and she generously performed all the labor ot 
looking after the property for her friend. Kind soul* 
she expected no reward. Not she ! Had she not plenty 
of her own ? Did she not own an entire castle full of re- 
tainers, all in the south of la belle France ? So she harf 


told the widow, along with other delightful and bewitching 
romances of her sunny land beyond the sea ; and, besides,. 
her industry and good management of the Willet mansion 
were proverbial 

"How shall I ever repay you?" Mrs. Willet would 
ask, with an impulsive, affectionate enthusiasm. 

" Oh, mon amie, speak never more of so little things ! " 
the handsome French swindler would respond, throwing 
HCT arms around her friend's neck and adding the grace 
of impetuous ingenuousness to the pretty charm of hei 
bewitching, broken English. 

And so the fine French drama went on, with its gushing 
affection, its pretty wit, and its splendid intrigue. 

Mile. Villiers was always provided with funds from 
some mysterious bank account, and very frequently 
dropped, as if by accident, casual remarks concerning 
Parisian bills of exchange, the rents of her tenantry, and 
the like, which quite bewildered any of her chance ac- 
quaintances, and wholly deceived the poor dupe, upon 
whose bounty she was almost entirely living. 

For all that could be seen by Mrs. Willet, Halliot and 
Mile. Villiers were merely friends her friends, and her 
tiue and steadfast friends ; but if her eyes could have wit- 
nessed their secret meetings, and what occurred at them, 
and if her ears could have overheard the cold blooded 
I'lanning and scheming and comparing of notes, concern- 
ing the plucking they were soon to give her, there would 
have been an awakening, and that soon enough to pre- 
vent her from suffering great loss. 


Soon after the sale of the property in September, wLer, 
the forty thousand dollars had been invested in Govern 
ment bonds, Halliot, who had now become the recognized 
lover of Mrs. Willet, was taken suddenly ill. He occu 
pied fine apaitments at an up-town hotel, and thithei 
Mile. Villiers and the sorrowing widow proceeded to find 
the handsome ex -officer terribly emaciated in appearance. 
No words could express the sorrow of Mrs. Willet and 
her friend. Ascertaining that a considerable bill was 
standing against Halliot at the hotel, Villiers only had to 
hint that his illness had probj-bly caused it, when every 
penny's indebtedness was J'^uidated as well as a month's 
advance payment made. v,nile orders were left ihat every 
attention possible should be shown the invalid. 

Word kept coming to the Willet mansion that the sick 
man was growing worse and worse ; and the little French 
rascal, Villiers, so artfully worked upon the widow's fears, 
sympathies, and love, that she became nearly beside her- 
self with grief as well as utterly helpless and pliable in 
the hands of her pretended friend. 

Soon Mrs. Willet received a message, signed " your 
dying lover," summoning her to Halliot's bedside. She 
begged and entreated Mile. Villiers to accompany her. 
No, LO ; she could not, she would not ; she knew some- 
thing terrible was about to happen. Finally Mrs. Willet 
went alone, half frantic at the sudden overwhelming cloud 
that had fallen upon all she held dear, and nearly fainted 
at the door of Halliot's room. 

Rushing to his bedside, she took him impulsively in hei 


arms, and, sobbing like a child, I egged that he might be 
spared to her. 

Some touch of pity for the woman's fidelity must have 
corne over the shamming scamp as he lay there upon the 
white pillows, propped up in a picturesque position, for 
it was a long time before he seemed to dare to speak of 
the subject uppermost in his mind ; but finally it came, 
and after the following manner : 

While holding the betrayed woman to his heart, he 
confessed, in a seeming agony of remorse, that he had 
cruelly deceived her ; that he had long loved Jeannette 
Villiers, the beautiful French woman, and, worse than all 
that the woman was his wife ! 

He was on his death-bed. He could not die without 
Mrs. Willet's forgiveness, nor would he give up the ghost 
unless Mrs. Willet would swear, upon her bended knees, 
that his wife and soon-to-be-born child should be hej 
care, her wards through life. The broken-hearted 
woman took the oath, and departed. She meant, in all 
honesty, to keep it too. She vowed that she should 
never let this woman suffer, and, in her simplicity and 
loyalty to an honest friendship, was not altogether dis- 
pleased that events had so culminated that she could 
now show, in a practical manner, her kind feeling to the 
beautiful French girl, who was now, the simple Mrs. 
Willet thought, in a pitiable condition of dependency, 
and would soon be in a more pitiable plight with a father- 
less babe in her arms. 

On her return to the now miserable mansion, there wai 


a sad scene of reproach, forgiveness, an i sobbing ; but it 
all resulted in Mrs. Willet's taking Villiers into her heart 
and affection again, and, although both women were un- 
dergoing great anguish and grief, yet both women were 
happy. Mrs. Willet was happy because she had done a 
magnanimous act. The French woman was happy be- 
cause the French drama, of which she was " leading 
lady," was getting on so successfully. 

The next day the young ex-officer died so Mrs. 
Willet was informed ; and the Baltimore newspapers con- 
tained notices of his death, while the obituary editor of 
the Philadelphia Ledger wailed out (at a dollar a line) a 
fitting stanza of grief. This information and the previous 
excitement completely prostrated Mrs. Willet, and she 
did not attend the funeral. But Jeannette Villiers did. 
At least she went where Mrs. Willet supposed the 
funeral of Halliot occurred, and the charming rascal 
wore the deepest of mourning and looked more charm- 
ing than ever. She also evidently mourned deeply and 
Telt keenly the loss of her husband, while Mrs. Willet 
was simply inconsolable the whole matter, if it had 
been real on the part of Villiers, presenting the almost 
inconceivable instance of two handsome and intelligent 
women, one the wife and the other the denied lover, 
both mourning the loss of the same man, and both con- 
tinuing an ardent affection for each other. 

About a month after the supposed death of Halliot 
Mrs. Willet consulted an attorney, and thence went to 
g\e executor of her husband's estate, where she received 


ten thousand dollars. With this she proceeded to a 
prominent hotel with Villiers, where, in the presence of 
witnesses which had of course all accidentally been pro 
vided by the latter she placed this large sum of money 
in the hands of the French woman as a free gift. This 
was, as she said, partially fulfilling the solemn vow she 
had taken before Halliot on his death-bed. 

In three months more there was a birth at the Willet 
mansion. The sprightly, vivacious, charming Villiers, or 
Mrs. Halliot, as she was now called, had become the 
mother of a healthy boy. The heart of Mrs. Willet was 
further touched, and the strange fascination upon the 
woman still pursued her and prompted her to still greater 
generosity. As soon as the mother dare leave the house, 
Jie was once more taken to the hotel, and there again, 
before witnesses, presented with forty thousand dollars 
in Government bonds. 

Jeannette Villiers wept, and protested that her dear 
mend was too kind ; but Mrs. Willet insisted that she 
had it to spare, and felt that she was only keeping the 
binding oath she had taken. 

Strange to relate, however, one week from the day when 
the last presentation was made Mrs. Halliot and the 
child went out in a carriage for an airing. 

Mrs. Willet pressed the use of her own coupe upon her ; 
but no, she could not think of such a thing, and secured 
one on hire. Night came, and the mother and child did 
not return. 

^ They will surely come tomorrow!' ?aid the dc- 


serted widow. And she fairly wept herself to sleep that 
n'ght for lonesomeness at being separated from her " Jear 
Jeannstte." But " to-morrow" came, and another to- 
morrow, and a week sped, but no charming little French 
woman came. 

Mrs. Willet was now nearly insane, at least so the 
story went. Weak and tractable in the hands of a design- 
ing French woman before, now she was apparently wild 
with dread that something terrible had happened to her 
prottgtes ; and it was not until she had consulted her exe- 
cutor that her eyes were opened. He had not been made 
aware of the last gift of forty thousand dollars in Gov- 
ernment bonds. When Mrs. Willet gave the ten thou- 
sand-dollar check, he made no objection ; but now he was 
utterly dismayed at the turn things had taken, and at 
once applied to me for assistance to unravel the mystery, 
although the widow bitterly protested against such a 

I felt that little could be done, simply because the vic- 
tim of the conspiracy was unwilling to take any steps 
toward exposing the villainy of the rascals who had duped 
her; and I imagined I could see behind all more than the 
mere desire to shield persons whom she had once held in 
high regard, and consequently pursued my investigations 
with no possible hope of bringing two precious rascals to 
justice, but with a personal interest in fathoming the ause 
of Mrs. Willet' s peculiar tenderness. 

For some time my researches were balked in every par- 
ticular. To begin with, Mrs. Willet was very chary of 


giving information. Not only this, but Jeannette Villiers, 
on leaving the Willet mansion, had taken the precaution 
to not only remove her handsome photograph from Mrs. 
Willet's album, but had also destroyed or removed every 
little keepsake or article of virtu by which some possible 
clue of her whereabouts might be secured. 

I let this feature of the matter drop for a time, and 
finally turned my attention to Halliot's rather myste- 
rious death. Quite accidentally (through my extensive 
acquaintance among army officers) I learned that he hac 
been seen in the West, but my info.mant could not recol- 
lect where or under what circumstances. Being con- 
firmed in my opinion, however, that the dashing ex-army 
officer was alive and in the enjoyment of as good health 
as myself, I next turned my attention to the circum- 
stances attending his alleged death. 

Pursuing this line of investigation, a certain hotel clerk 
was found, who had been discharged for irregularities, and 
who, for an enticing remuneration, freely confessed to 
assisting Halliot in pretending to die He stated that 
Halliot had represented to him that the sham was neces- 
sary to prevent a marriage which he loathed. He had 
helped him simply as one good fellow would help another 
out of such a scrape, and had been given a handsome 
present for his trouble. I further ascertained from this 
man that Halliot was living in elegance in St. Louis, and 
had recently married a French widow, who had a very 
young child ; but that Halliot was now living under the 
assumed name of Hilliers, which, the reader will recollect, 



bore a striking similarity to Villiers, the tame of the 
chaiming French woman who had so mysteriously dis- 
appeared from Mrs. Willet's home in Baltimore. 

I could not but put these names together in my mind, 
and was now certain that I had found a clue to the shrewd 
pair, who were probably living in elegance in St. Louis 
on the proceeds of the generous woman they had both 
wronged ; but still I was unable to wholly account for the 
singular determination of the wronged widow to let them 
live in peace wherever they might be ; for by this time she 
was as fully convinced as myself and the executor that she 
hatl been coolly and deliberately swindled by the couple. 

The executor was determined to probe the matter to 
the bottom, whether or not any of the fifty thousand dol- 
lars could be recovered ; and I confess that my profes- 
sional interest and curiosity made me quite as anxious for 
the same result. 

It was a matter now of no difficulty to ascertain defi- 
nitely that Halliot, or Hilliers, as he now called himself, 
was living with the beautiful and fascinating French lady 
as his wife in St Louis ; that the man was in a lucrative 
business ; that the woman was supposed to be a handsome 
and wealthy Parisian widow, who had smitten the husband 
while traveling in Europe ; and that both were very 
lappy in the enjoyment of their ill-gotten gains : and it 
was a matter of scarcely greater difficulty to place an 
operative, a dashing man-of-the-world, in Halliot's society 
in such a way that he soon won his conf lence and com- 
pelled the revelation of what is the most interesting 


romantic, and dramatic feature of the wnc^e affair, show 
irig that the shrewdness of the two, their boldness, their 
cunning, and, above all, their supreme assurance, were all 
supremely incredible. 

Piece by piece the revelation was made that Halliot haJl 
exhausted the means left by his family, had in the mean- 
time married the beautiful Jeannette Villiers, but had kept 
such marriage secret, and that both, for purposes of plun- 
der, had pretended in society to being single ; that, as 
soon as the acquaintance of Mrs. Willet was formed by 
Mile. Villiers, the conspiracy to relieve the widow of her 
surplus wealth was arranged ; that Villiers then won her 
confidence and esteem, then introduced Halliot, who won 
her affection to an overwhelming degree ; that then Halliot 
pretended to die, having made the dying confession and 
secured the oath that Villiers should remain Mrs. Willet's 
care, knowing that the latter's generosity would be touched, 
and that she would do the handsome thing, which she had 
done to the extent of a ten thousand dollar check ; and 
that then, after this much had been secured, Halliot sud- 
denly came to life, before Mrs. Willet, at a place where 
Villiers had shrewdly arranged to have the widow so that 
A scene should be prevented; and that, though Mrs. 
Willet nearly died of fright and astonishment, she was so 
overjoyed at his being alive, that the scoundrel moulded 
her to his purposes like putty, and then and there agaiia 
made a confession that he had pretended to die so that ht 
might relieve himst If of Jeamutte Villiers^ who had never 
been his wife, but only his mistress, and that he loved the 


widow to distraction, and could never be happy without 

Then, in the joy and happiness of this reunion, the 
Double-dyed scoundrel so worked up the woman's feelings 
and real love for him, that, before they had left the roorr 
where Jeannette Villiers had brought them together, Mrs. 
Willet had agreed to a scheme to get rid of her little French 
friend by giving her the forty thousand dollars, which had 
been given, as already related ; and, when the entire fifty 
thousand dollars had been secured, the scheming and 
brilliant couple quietly left Baltimore and the doubly- 
wronged and deceived widow, to begin life in the West 
under the circumstances previously recited. 

But it was all of no use. Mrs. Willet positively refused 
to prosecute the parties ; and the operation, while a suc- 
cess in reaching the parties sought and securing the in- 
formation desired, failed to bring to justice two of the 
keenest unprofessional swindlers I have known. 

Halliot, alias Hilliers, is now a hale, hearty man oi 
forty, well-to-do in the world, while Jeannette Villiers, 
his wife, is a magnificent-appearing woman of a fevi 
years younger ; and, stranger than all of the strange 
things connected with this romantic affair, the Hallioti 
family and the family of Mrs. Willet who was, a few yiars 
since, happily remarried are on the best of terms and as 
good friends as though this villainous though brilliant 
confidence swindle had neve- "been performed. 



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IEC. C!R JAN 21 

(P200lslO)476 A-32 

General Library 

University of California 


LD 9-SOw-4,'70(N5