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December 20, 1909

ARREST A SACK OF SNAKES.

Police Also Take "Grave Robber"
and "Wild Man."

Detectives who do not object to tackling bad men draw the line when it comes to taking snakes into custody. There was a case of near insubordination in the detective bureau last night. It came about owing to the arrest of the proprietors of an animal show which held forth at 525 Bluff street.

The animals consisted of a choice selection of snakes, one fine specimen of Gilamonster and a weird and non-descript sort of animal which was advertised on the handbills as the "South American Grave Robber." There was also a "wild man of Borneo," but he was roped in, tusks, nose rings and all and deposited in the holdover at police headquarters. The detectives were willing to go up against the "grave robber" and even tackle the Gila monster, but they drew the line at a gunny sack full of lively reptiles.

S. H. Terry, S. D. Rose, L. Crossman and C. H. Hornsen, the alleged proprietors were taken to police headquarters and booked for investigation. The arrest was made on complaint of a man who declared that he had been defrauded of $30 while in the show room. The stock alive and kicking was left at 525 Bluff street.

"Suppose the animals should escape," said the inspector of detectives. "You men had better go back and bring them down here." With one accord the officers declared that they had no experience in animal training. The matter was finally compromised by letting one of the proprietors out on bond to care for the sackful of snakes.

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June 22, 1909

SKELETON IN CELLAR OF
OLD OCCIDENTAL HOTEL.

Workmen Uncover Gruesome Relic
Under Building Historic in
Kansas City's Early Days.

A ghastly relic of some unknown or long forgotten crime, part of a human skull which apparently had lain in the debris for years, was uncovered Saturday by workmen excavating for the foundation of a scaffolding in the basement of the old Occidental hotel at Fifth and Bluff streets.

Yesterday other parts of the skeleton were found. The police believe that the trash and cinders cover a crime committed so many years ago that the mystery will never be unraveled.

The Occidental hotel long was one of the principal hostelries of the North end. With the departure of the business district from that section of the city the building had developed into a rooming house of indifferent character. Many robberies and other crimes were reported from the old rookery, and under pressure of the public sentiment the place was finally closed.

Last week the owner engaged carpenters to remodel it. Daylight penetrated the basement for the first time since the building was erected when a carpenter tore open the overhead flooring. As he dug into the trash with a shovel, he uncovered the lower jaw of a human skull.

"None of it in mine," he said, as he climbed to the floor above.

The firemen of No. 6 station, directly around the corner, took possession of the bone and exhibited it to all visitors. Yesterday it was turned over to the police department, along with several fragments of human ribs which were uncovered late yesterday afternoon. Dr. Fred Kryger and Dr. J. W. Hayward, who examined the bones, said that they were probably buried ten years ago. The jaw bone would indicate that the skeleton is that of a man who was probably 25 years old at death for the wisdom teeth had barely pushed through the bone.

The bones were found in the south-east corner of the cellar on top of a pile of cinders. From the slope of the debris it is believed that the cinders had been thrown in to the cellar from an outside window which has long been choked by debris. The outside of the window can be seen from the inside.

The police have not yet decided whether the body was carried into the cellar from the floor above or whether the bones were shoveled through the open window after the crime had been committed. The cellar will be searched today.

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June 25, 1908

FORMER MAYOR HUNT
DIES IN LEAVENWORTH.

HE WAS QUARTERMASTER OF
NATIONAL SOLDIERS' HOME.

In 1879 He Served This City as Mayor
and Began Many Improvements.
His Experiences Here in
the Early Days.

After two weeks' illness from uraemic poisoning, Lieutenant Colonel R. H. Hunt, a former mayor of Kansas City, died at the Soldiers' Home in Leavenworth yesterday morning. Colonel Hunt was 68 years old, and up until his last illness he had been a man of marked vitality.

About one year ago Colonel Hunt was appointed from private life to the post of Quartermaster at the Soldiers' Home, and he was serving in that capacity when he died. Colonel Hunt was a widower and is survived by two nieces. They are Mrs. John Stearns of Kansas City and Miss Mamie Hunt of St. Louis.

Funeral services will be held Friday morning in the chapel at the Soldiers' Home in Leavenworth. The burial in the national cemetery will be attended with regular military honors.

Special cars will be run to the Soldiers' Home tomorrow morning to carry friends to the funeral. The cars will start from Tenth and Main streets at 8 o'clock.

Robert H. Hunt was born in Shannon, Kerry County, Ireland, in 1839, and came to America at the age of 10 with his father. Kansas City was reached even in very early days, and the spirit of individuality which all his long life afterwards made him conspicuous, asserted itself in the father and son, for they left Kansas City for Western Kansas to get where they could not see slaves. The father soon went on about his business, leaving the boy to make a living for himself.

This he first did by carrying the water pail on a section for the construction of the railroad. Twenty years later, he was working 2,000 men himself, one of the big railroad contractors of the West. Between the time of his carrying the dipper and building part of the Rock Island, the Santa Fe and the Missouri Pacific, young Hunt went to a college. He worked his passage through it, and got out in time to go into the war to serve with Rosecranz, Thomas and Grant; to join Ewing and to become chief of staff under General Samuel R. Curtis.

IN LOCAL BATTLES.

Most of his service with the colors was on the border between Missouri and Kansas. Hereabouts, with General Curtis, he directed the artillery movements of the fights of the Little Blue, Big Blue, Westport, Osage, Newtonia and Mine Creek. It was at this last battle that General "Pap" Price was crushed and General Marmaduke was captured.

Colonel Hunt enlisted in a Kansas regiment, but left it during the war and became a staff officer. Afterwards he got back into a Kansas regiment, the Fifteenth cavalry, of which he was Major. The regiment had two colonels, C. R. Jennison and afterwards Colonel Cloud, while George W. Hoyt, afterwards a brigadier, was the lieutenant colonel. Robert H. Hunt was the senior major of the command.

There is a book published on "The Battle of Westport" by Rev. Paul B. Jenkins, formerly of this city, in which no mention whatever, in the slightest word, is made of Colonel Hunt.

"But he was there," said Colonel Van Horn yesterday, "and directed the artillery. I was related by marriage to General Curtis, commanding the Union forces here. He appointed me to his staff and directed me to prepare fortifications for the city. In that way I located and had the rifles ready and the encroachments dug. I saw a handsome young officer riding in and about, coming frequently to general headquarters for orders or with supports, and, struck by his magnificent bearing, asked his name. I was told it was the chief of staff, Colonel Hunt. What began as an acquaintance has lasted until now. As there is no battle in which the artillery is not the objective point, and as Colonel Hunt was commanding the artillery at the Battle of Westport, as I know from my own observations then, I know that he was in the fight; yet Mr. Jenkins made no mention whatever of him in what he declared to be a record of the battle."

The obscuring of Colonel Hunt by the Jenkins book is not unique. Other leaders in the engagement were similarly treated by the local historian.

A PRIEST HIS TUTOR.

The end of the war saw Colonel Hunt located in Kansas City, to engage in contracting. When first young Hunt landed in this country the priest of the parish they settled in took him up and began training him for service on the alter.

The good priest in this way taught him Latin. To the last days of his life Colonel Hunt kept his Latin fresh and, by means of a dictionary he would read Latin books. He regarded it as an accomplishment and was proud of it. But he never boasted of it. Reading Latin, born a Catholic and Republican in politics though an Irishman. Colonel Hunt made the acquaintance of the Rev. William J. Dalton, native of St. Louis, child of Irish parents, a Latin scholar and a clergyman of the church of Rome. The two remained friends to the last.

Father Dalton is a Republican in politics. Father Dalton came to Kansas City just as Colonel Hunt was closing his term as mayor, "but I was here early enough," said Father Dalton yesterday, "to hear the whole town commending him for his tremendous strides. Energy had marked every week of his administration, and today we have substantial evidence of it. With but little to do anything at all with, Mayor Hunt did much. He was at the very forefront of everything, calculating on the future warranting all his energy."

HE STOPPED A HANGING.

"At the very forefront of everything," says Father Dalton, and so it would appear. There walks about town today a little old man with a scar on the back of his neck. He built the retaining wall which keeps Bluff street from sliding into the Missouri river. There was trouble one Saturday afternoon about the pay, and the men undertook to lynch the contractor. They actually got a rope around his neck and started with him to throw him over his own retaining wall.

The city hall then was where it is now, only in a one-story brick that might have been a country feed store. Mayor Hunt got word of the crisis, picked up a pamphlet he had in his scant library, jumped into a saddle that was not his own and soon was in the ob. He literally rode into it and from the back of his horse read the riot act. That constitutional performance made him a summary marshal and there was no lynching. If there had been there would have been a wholesale killing by the force of twelve marshals Kansas City then had, old "Tom" Speer their chief.

During Colonel Hunt's administration Kansas City was the head of the Fenian movement. "No. 1," a mysterious Irish patriot, and Captain "Tom" Phelan, well remembered here and today alive in a home somewhere, were to fight a duel with broadswords over the troubles of Ireland. Colonel John Moore and Colonel John Edwards, both newspapermen, were to act as seconds. The principals went into training in rooms in a store on West Twelfth street. The morning the duel was to have been fought Colonel Hunt personally smashed in the doors of the training rooms and arrested the belligerents. There was an encounter, but he mayor, being a peace officer and a fighter himself, won. There was no duel.

HIS RIOT ACT AGAIN.

The forum of Kansas City in those days was Turner hall, afterwards Kumpf's hall, standing as late as 1886 where Boley's clothing store now stands. A political row there sent Mayor Hunt to that place with his copy of the riot act. He would tolerate no mob law while he was mayor. He always asserted his authority to the utmost.

When the figures are all totaled up it will not be found that Colonel Hunt left much of an estate. He married a Miss Hoyne of Chicago. In the '70s Colonel Hunt was worth so much money that he was able to borrow $50,000 from the late Thomas Corrigan for a period of ten months. He was able to pay it back within two weeks. He might have been worth $200,000 or $500,000. Estimates made yesterday ran from one to the other of these figures. He built a mansion at Independence and Highland. The house is there now, a pastel in dull red of what it once was. The plot has been nibbled down to next to nothing.

BRILLIANCE OF HIS HOME.

Colonel Hunt's father had been a small farmer in Ireland. All of his days in this country had been spent in railroad camps or in the field with troops. When Colonel Hunt opened his mansion on Independence avenue he did so with the brilliance of an hereditary aristocrat. Handsome in person, he had handsome ways. There was a wine cellar where it ought to be, and the drawing room, and from one to the other of the Hunt mansion was complete. Kansas City has never seen brighter scenes than those witnessed while Colonel and Mrs. Hunt kept open house on Independence avenue.

Nobody knows where Colonel Hunt's fortune went. It went like the summer wind that sinks with the sun. There was no speculation, no wheat end to the story, no boom collapse, no expensive household bills. The fortune simply disappeared, though Colonel Hunt always, to his intimates, lately insisted that he held valuable securities which would in a few years put him on his feet. But he did not get on his feet.

Times did not prosper fast enough Colonel Hunt stood in need of a billet and Senator Warner gave it to him. He had him appointed quartermaster at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, near Leavenworth, a position he held for about a year. Within a year of three score and ten, Colonel Hunt walked like a youth. Almost six feet in height, no man in his forties and of similar physique walked straighter, faster nor further. His hair and long beard were merely turning gray. He could pass for a man of 55. He lived as he moved, energetically. He liked young people; old people with old stories troubled him. The young people would not take him up because they did not know about the things he knew most of, and the old ones -- his own years -- were too old to take anybody up. So Colonel Hunt was neither here nor there. That was why he had to ask an asylum at the hands of his old military, political, professional and personal friend, Senator Warner.

TOO SLOW FOR HIM.

"It killed him," said Father Dalton. "The life was too dull for him. He wanted to beat sixty times to the minute and he found himself in a clock which had a pendulum going twenty to the minute.

"Where he was accustomed to moving cannon, they set him buying buttons, and able to move troops all up and down the border with the celerity of Forest, they put him to watching veterans crawl across their parade ground. Mops and counting cases of blouses to the tune of a droning beat made Colonel Hunt settle back in a chair that most men look for at sixty, and conserve themselves till riper in years, and so he collapsed. I saw him on Monday, and then he showed he was going away.

"He entered the army at Leavenworth in his young life, left the Fort and the army in his middle age, and went back to Leavenworth and the army to die in his old age. May his soul rest in peace."

And so he is to be buried in Leavenworth, in the military grounds there. Only members of the home may be buried in the military cemetery, excepting by express permission, and that permission is granted sometimes in the instance of officers. Yesterday application was made to Senator Warner, one of the board of managers and it was promptly given. Internment is to be made on Friday, at ten o'clock. Those desiring to attend the funeral will have to leave Kansas City by the 8 o'clock trolley car. President C. F. Holmes has arranged to run a special car at 8:01 Friday for the accommodation of Senator Warner, Surveyor C. W. Clarke, General H. F. Devol, Brevet Brigadier General L. H. Waters and a number of other high officers of the civil war.

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May 3, 1908

ENGINEER HAD BEEN DRUGGED.

Matt Gaffney Fell Into Bad Company
on Bluff Street.

Matt Gaffney, a Missouri Pacific engineer, whose home is at 739 Parallel avenue, Kansas City, Kas., was taken to police headquarters last night in an unconscious condition by Richard Miller, a hack driver for the Quinby Livery Company. Dr. George Dagg, who examined Gaffney, said that the man had evidently been "doped." Miller, the hack driver, said that he got a call at Twelfth and Main streets at 10:40 o'clock to go to a rooming house at 507 Bluff street. When he got there a woman gave him $4 and told him to take a man whom she brought out of the house to Seventh street and Parallel avenue, Kansas City, Kas.

Miller told the police that when he got to the address the man was unconscious and was unable to give him further directions. He then drove back to the police station. It was first thought that Gaffney was drunk, but the physician's diagnosis led the police to believe that he had been drugged. The woman who put Gaffney into the hack will be arrested if she can be found.

William Bedell, a traveling engineer friend of Gaffney's, called at police headquarters at an early hour this morning. He said that Gaffney has two daughters, Teresa and Julia. Teresa lives with Bedell, and Julia is a student at a convent in Paola, Kas.

Letters in Gaffney's pockets indicate that he had cashed recently a draft for $500. A later diagnosis by the emergency hospital physicians developed morphine poisoning.

The house at 507 Bluff street was closed early this morning when the police went to arrest the woman who placed Gaffney in the hack.

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January 4, 1908

GREEK LABORER LOSES A LEG.

Anoynostopoulos to Be
Amputated.

Alexios Anoynostopoulos, a Greek laborer, fell off a Burlington work train in the Murray yards in Clay county shortly after 5 o'clock last evening, the wheels passing over his right leg. He was brought to the emergency hospital, and then was taken to the German hospital. There hs leg will be amputated at the knee. He is 29 years old, and lives at 609 Bluff street.

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December 21, 1907

POLICE GET HIS COCAINE BOX.

Many Men Had Been Drugged and
Robbed in North End Saloon.

The police have had many complaints of men being drugged and robbed in a Greek saloon near Sixth and Bluff streets recently. It was in and near this place that thirteen men have been arrested within the last two days and sent to the workhouse on fines of from $10 to $100.

A signwriter named Sellinger, who testified against some of the men in police court, told the police that he saw a man drugged, robbed and thrown into a hack and hauled away. At another time the clerk of the Metropolitan hotel was taken into a rear room, slugged and robbed.

Yesterday afternoon detectives arrested Chris Baptista, a Mexican bartender in the saloon complained of. They went behind the bar and confiscated two suspicious bottles and a box containing a chrystalline substance.

"The bottles do not smell like whiskey," said Inspector Ryan, "and the box looks like it contains cocaine."

The two bottles and the box were delivered to Dr. Walter M. Cross, city chemist, for analysis. Baptista is being held for investigation.

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August 16, 1907

NURSED JESSE JAMES

ARREST OF NEGRO REVIVES FOR-
GOTTEN BANDIT.

Son of Noted Highwayman, but
Now a Lawyer, Appeared in
Court in Defense of
Former Slave.

Charles Finley, a negro, of 523 Bluff street, who was tried before Justice J. B. Shoemaker yesterday afternoon and bound over to the criminal court on the charge of stabbing Edward Dyer, a member of the fire department at the Fifth and Bluff street station, was reared by Zerelda James-Samuels, was a hostler for Jesse and Frank James, the bandits, in their palmy days, and nursed young Jesse James, the Kansas City lawyer. Young Jesse defended him in the justice court yesterday and would take no fee.

"It's the first time I have been in trouble, since Master Jesse was killed twenty-five years ago in St. Joseph," said Finley last evening. "When I was arrested, I telephoned for Young Jesse, for I done raised that boy from a baby, just as his grandmother had raised me, and he came double quick and took my case. I knew he would not forget me when I got in trouble.

My father and mother were 'Reldie James' slaves long before the war. They lived on a farm near Kearney, Clay county, where I was born during the war. I never was a slave, but Old Misses 'Reldie raised me and my mother gave me to Susan James until I was 21 years of age. When Susan married Mr. Palmer and went to Texas, I went along and worked for them.

"I was back in Kearney pretty soon, though, and lived with 'Reldie. I never could forget that she had treated me like one of her own when I was a baby and that she always put me back of her on the horse when she rode to Liberty or about the farm.

"When Jesse and Frank got to be bad men, they needed someone with them so they took me to care for their horses and run errands. I ran with them most all the time, until Jesse was killed. I was not in St. Joseph that day, but heard all about it pretty soon. I was at home with 'Reldie.

"Old Miss 'Reldie thinks a whole lot of me yet -- she is Mrs. Samuels now, you know -- but she wouldn't do any more for me than would young Jesse or his sister.

"How did I come to leave her? Why, I came down here after Jesse was killed. I have worked for young Jesse a good deal. Then I got married and have a family of my own, so I have to stay here and work."

Charlie is a concreter. He says he makes $2 a day at it, but he doesn't enjoy the work nearly so well as he used to enjoy living on the farm near Kearney and helping " 'Reldie" take care of young Jesse.

"That boy sure was a smart little fellow," Finley says, "but he was powerful mischievous."

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