February 4, 1910
PATRONYMICS OF THE GREAT.
Sly Attempt of Wrongdoers to En-
list Official Sympathy.
"Did it ever occur to you," asked Inspector Edward P. Boyle last night, "how many men when arrested will take the name of the chief of police, the police judge or some other official with whom they have to come in contact? They hope to gain sympathy by that ruse. We got a man yesterday for horse stealing, and, by gosh, he gave the name of Edward P. Boyle, my full name. He is in the county jail now under my name, but when we looked him up in the National Bureau of Identification, we find that he has a goodly supply of names."
"Boyle" was arrested by L. C. Barber, a motorcycle policeman, on complaint of of the Kirby Transfer Company, Missouri and Grand avenues. It appears that he rented a horse and wagon from Kirby to do a huckster business and disposed of the rig.
"Boyle's" picture is in the book sent out by the National Bureau of Identification at Washington. He appears there under the name of James J. O'Neil, which, bu the way, is the name of a former chief of police of Chicago. He also bears the names of Edward Riley and Edward Connors, the last being believed by the police to be his. He has done time in the Rochester, N. Y., Industrial school, the Elmira, N. Y., reformatory, and two years in the Auburn, N. Y., penitentiary. He was five years in Elmira. The man of many "police" names also has done short terms elsewhere.
When Hugh C. Brady was police judge there hardly was a week that some bum did not give the name of "Hugh Brady, sir, yer honor."
Labels: Chicago, con artist, crime, Grand avenue, Inspector Boyle, jail, Missouri avenue, New York, police
January 7, 1910
CURED OF ILLS
OVER THE PHONE?
ABSENT TREATMENT PUT MRS.
MOSTOW UNDER SPELL,
Spiritualist Seeks to Prevent
Heirs From Depriving
Him of Bequests.
That by giving her absent treatment over the telephone for rheumatism and in other ways, John H. Lee, said to be a spiritualist, won the confidence of wealthy Mrs. Victoria Mostow, 71 years old, and thus influenced her to bequeath him property worth $35,000, was the substance of testimony given yesterday in Judge J. G. Park's division of the circuit court.
The occasion was the trial of a suit by which Lee seeks to have set aside deeds transferring to James P. Richardson, principal of the Prosso school, and nephew of Mrs. Mostow, the property left to Lee by will. The heirs have a suit pending to set aside the will.
The story told by witnesses in substance follows:
Mrs. Mostow was the wife of the late Randolph Mostow, and a sister of the late Dr. De Estaing Dickerson. From the latter she inherited a large amount of property. Mr. Mostow died in the summer of 1908. During his last illness, he summoned Lee and was given treatment. In this way Mrs. Mostow became acquainted with the spiritualist.
TREATED BY PHONE.
After her husband's death, Mrs. Mostow became a believer in spiritualism. Through the medium of spirits and mesmeric powers Lee claimed that he could cure every known ill. Mrs. Mostow put in a telephone at her home, at Thirty-fourth and Wyandotte streets, and when she became troubled with rheumatism, Lee would give her absent treatment over the phone. At this time he lived near 4800 East Eighth street, several miles across the city from his patient.
In January, 1908, Mrs. Mostow made deeds to property at 817 Main street, and her home on Wyandotte, to her only surviving heir in Kansas City, James P. Richardson, owner of the Prosso Preparatory school. This was done to escape the payment of the collateral inheritance tax, and to prevent the heirs in Chicago from securing any of her property. The deeds were not to be recorded until after her death.
LIVED WITH HER.
In the summer of 1908, it is charged, Lee secured so great an influence over Mrs. Mostow that he secured permission to move himself and family into her home. Here they have lived since. The taxes are said to have been paid by the Mostow estate, and during her lifetime all the household expenses were met by Mrs. Mostow.
After Lee had been living in the Mostow home a few months, it is charged, it was seen that he gained an influence over the aged woman, and she began deeding small pieces of property to him.
Mr. Richardson, seeing the trend of affairs and fearing that he might lose the property that was to be his at the death of his aunt, immediately recorded the two deeds. When Mrs. Mostow died, it was found that she had bequeathed the same two pieces of property to Lee.
Suit was brought in the circuit court by Lee to set aside the deeds, charging undue influence. A similar suit was also brought by Richardson and the Chicago heirs to set aside the will.
The evidence was all submitted yesterday in Judge Park's court. The final arguments will be heard some time next week.
Labels: Chicago, con artist, Eighth street, illness, probate, real estate, schools, telephone, Thirty-fourth street, women, Wyandotte street
Decmeber 14, 1909
FAKE MESSENGER ARRESTED.
Two Boys Get Year in Jail After
Delivering Bogus Telegram.
Early yesterday morning a traveling man at the Sexton hotel was awakened by a rap at the door. Answering the summons he opened the door to have a telegram thrust in his hand by a boy in the uniform of the Postal Telegraph Company.
"Prepare for the worst," it read, "an accident has happened to your two sons. Will wire particulars later. -- Dr. Brown."
The traveling man rushed into his clothes and raced in a cab to the Postal office. There he was told that no message had been received from "Dr. Brown."
Harry Norton, 18 years of age, a messenger boy, was arrested on the charge of embezzlement. Alvin Church, the boy who is said to have delivered the telegram, but who is not an employe of the telegraph company, was taken into custody later on the charge of petty larceny.
When arraigned in the criminal court they admitted their offense, and Judge Latshaw gave each one year in jail, the maximum sentence. The boys say they have worked the fake telegram graft in three cities. Norton obtained work at the Postal in order to get telegraph blanks.
Church, they said, would visit the different hotels and take names from the registers. Fake telegrams would be prepared, usually telling that the man's wife or child was seriously ill or dead. The telegrams would be marked "collect."
Labels: con artist, crime, criminal court, hotels, Judge Latshaw, telegram
December 2, 1909
CONFUSING HORSE DEAL.
Animal Twice Stolen, Alleged Thief
Almost Escapes Prosecution.
Charged with stealing the same horse twice, Henry Tobin, who was arrested yesterday on a warrant from Justice Theodore Remley's court, can be prosecuted only on a minor charge of obtaining money under false pretenses.
On November 22, Tobin is charged with having stolen a horse from E. T. McElroy and the following day selling it to W. E. Edwards.
Subsequently McElroy, who had searched the city for his horse, decided to offer a $5 reward for the animal's return. Tobin, it is charged, hearing of this, went to Edwards's stable, stole the horse he had sold only a few days before, returned it to McElroy and was given the $5 reward.
When Tobin was arrested yesterday, McElroy refused to prosecute. But as the stolen horse which had been sold to Edwards did not belong to the latter, Edwards cannot prosecute for horse stealing. The only charge remaining is that of obtaining money under false pretenses.
Labels: animals, con artist, crime, Judge Remley
November 27, 1909
MANY CITIES ASK FOR
KANSAS CITY PRISONER.
Vagrant a Menace at Workhouse,
Board Member Says, Teaching the
Boys How to Work "Safe" Games.
The police of several cities are anxious to get possession of E. Burgess, now serving a year's sentence here on a technical charge of vagrancy, according to L. A. Halbert, secretary of the board of pardons and paroles.
Burgess was accused originally of inducing the matron of the Nettleton home to marry him, it being alleged that he had a wife in another city. He is said to have posed as a wealthy man. While awaiting "a large remittance," his new wife was supporting him, having paid for the marriage license and ceremony.
Mrs. Burgess heard that her husband proposed to other women after the marriage, and previously had proposed to a dozen or more. She caused his arrest. The first wife did not appear so he was arraigned in the municipal court as a vagrant and fined $500.
A letter from the chief of police at Hudson, Wis., told of a man supposed to be Burgess, who had a wife there. She supported him for a long time after marriage while he gambled and was engaged in a general confidence business.
The chief of police of Ottumwa, Ia., said Burgess is wanted there on a charge of passing worthless checks and "beating" hotels. He said the Cedar Rapids, Ia., police want Burgess on the same charge.
The police of Oklahoma City, Ok., and El Paso, Tex., tell of similar accusations there. The Hudson, Wis., chief says Burgess "is an all round crook and confidence man."
"He has been a menace to the younger prisoners here in the workhouse," said Jacob Billikopf, a member of the board, at the weekly meeting yesterday. "He frequently relates his experiences and tells how easy it is to separate people from their spare change and how to work the game so as to keep out of prison."
"I would be willing to turn Burgess over the the authorities of any city where it plainly could be shown that they had a case against him which would send him over the road," said President William Volker. "If any of these places has a direct charge against Burgess, I will be glad to turn him over, but I don't want to take any chances of turning loose a dangerous man on the public again. Let him remain here for the balance of his sentence, nine months, and notify the places where he is wanted when he is to be released."
An effort is to be made, through the Hudson, Wis., police, to induce the alleged original Mrs. Burgess to come here and prosecute the man for bigamy.
Labels: bigamy, con artist, crime, Jacob Billikopf, oklahoma, parole board, Texas, vagrancy
November 4, 1909
HEADS BOW, PENITENT STEALS.
New "Mourner" Asks for Prayer,
Grabs Offering and Runs.
The Gospel Mission on Fourth street opposite police headquarters had conducted a successful service last night. The offering had been taken and the presiding elder had called all repentant sinners forward to testify. One young man, in particular, was vehement in his protestations of conversion to a better life.
"Brothers, I was a drunkard -- yes, at one time I was a thief, but all that is changed now, and I desire your prayers for my complete redemption."
The congregation bowed their heads in prayer and while they were so occupied the hand of the professed penitent slowly moved across the wooden table until it reached a pocket book which contained the nightly offering of the score of faithful.
In a flash it had gone, and with a laugh the man ran down the aisle and out into the street.
The police department was notified by Mrs. I. Hanson, 1406 Grand avenue, the owner of the pocket book. It contained about $5.
Labels: churches, con artist, crime, Fourth street, Grand avenue
November 2, 1909
SUFFERS SO SHE CAN
LIVE WITH A THIEF.
WOMAN'S DIARY TELLS OF
HARDSHIPS AND ROBBERIES.
Pair Disappear From Couch Hotel,
Where They Had Been Befriend-
ed, Taking New Clothes
and $90 in Money.
A diary, which had been written in plaintive words the sufferings of a woman who loved well, but not wisely, is the only memento Mrs. J. W. Couch, proprietress of the Couch hotel, 1711 1/2 Grand avenue, has of Early Elbridge and his wife, Edna, whom she befriended when they needed help, and who repaid her by robbing her.
There are only two dates in the diary, which was discovered after the couple had departed from the hotel, where Mrs. Couch had given them employment, after hearing their pitiful tale of destitution. They took with them a lot of wearing apparel and $90 in money, belonging to Mrs. Couch.
The writing reveals Bill Sykes and Nancy in real life; a life of theft on the part of one, hunger and suffering on the part of the other, and yet the woman evidently is contented with the love which she seems to think the man holds for her.
The first date is April 18, and the last July 1. In one instance only is it possible to tell where the events recorded occur.
The opening paragraph reads:
"I am sorry to leave this town, but Earl thought we had better get out. As the train started I said to Earl: "We had better get off and go back, so that woman won't suspect we stole her $20," but just then the train started and Earl said it was too late."
HAD BEEN IN ST. JOSEPH.
The next was:
"We have been in St. Joseph now three months, the longest we have been anywhere. Earl split a man's head with a meat cleaver today, though, and I suppose we will have to go away for good."
The next showed some of the hardships she endured with the man she loved and was as follows:
"We haven't had any food for twenty-four hours, and we are nearly starved. We slept last night in an orchard, not being able to get bed or shelter."
Evidently there had been a silver lining to the black clouds of the last paragraph for the next one read:
"Earl is better to me every day. I love him so much. He treats me better than I deserve, I know."
Misfortune and despondency were evidently again knocking at her heart when she wrote the next one:
"I wonder what that woman, Mary, will think of us, we left so abruptly last night. I guess we will always be on the move."
The next one evidenced that the hard luck of the couple was continuing:
"Arrived in the big city yesterday, dead broke and awfully hungry. This is another starving period. If we only could get a job."
STILL LOVES THIEF.
The last paragraph was the most important from a police standpoint. It shows that the hardships have in no wise cooled the ardor of her affections for the man who caused it all. It reads:
"Earl is five feet, eight inches in height and weighs about 145 pounds. He has dark hair and eyes. My love for him grows every day. Isn't it funny we are both 21 years old and there is only a few days difference in our ages."
Mrs. Couch informed the police that the couple came to her house a week ago and related a pitiful tale of suffering. She took them in, nad they had since been working around the place in return for their board.
Saturday night when Mrs. Couch left the couple at home to go to market, they informed her they were going right to bed, and she need not awaken them on her return. Sunday morning when Mrs. Couch went to call them she discovered two dummies, made of old clothes, in the bed.
Further investigation showed that $90 had been taken, together with Mr. Couch's best suit of clothes and Mrs. Couch's entire new fall outfit including shoes, hat, lingerie, etc. Mrs. Couch notified her husband, who was in Baldwin, Kas., and he will arrive here this morning.
Mrs. Couch also learned that Elbridge had failed to pay $15, with which she had entrusted him, to a butcher and furniture dealer to whom she owed some money.
Labels: con artist, crime, Grand avenue, hotels, St.Joseph
October 21, 1909
WOMAN FOILS A PLOT
TO LOOT BIG ESTATE.
TIPS OFF IOWA WOMAN'S $300,-
Jealousy Reveals and Thwarts Far
Reaching Intrigue to Get Pos-
session of Late Adolph Hunte-
"Hell hath no terror like a woman scorned." But for a jilted Chicago woman, the plot to obtain possession of the $300,000 estate of Adolph Huntemann, who died here in March, 1907, supposedly without heirs, might not have been uncovered.
Through a tip obtained from this woman, Grant I. Rosenzweig, attorney for the estate, worked up evidence which, when presented Tuesday to Mrs. Minnie A. Shepherd and her attorneys in Burlington, Ia., caused the woman to confess that she had concocted one of the cleverest frauds of the age.
Mr. Rosenzweig returned yesterday with the woman's affidavit, in which she admitted the fraud, and relinquished all claims to the estate. This he filed with the probate court.
IOWA WOMAN'S CLAIM.
Last March the court was ready to distribute the estate to the nieces and nephews of Huntemann in Germany, their identity having been established by birth, marriage and death records there.
Just one day before Judge J. G. Guinotte was to make the order Mrs. Minnie A Shepherd appeared and filed suits against the seven different pieces of property constituting the estate.
This stopped the distribution, and Mr. Rosenzweig was ordered by the court to take Mrs. Shepherd's deposition. The story of the attempted fraud, how it was planned, and how thwarted can better be told in Mr. Rosenzweig's own words.
"In her first deposition," he said, "Mrs. Shepherd claimed to be the daughter of Pauline Lipps, who was the daughter of Mary and Adolph Huntemann. While she alleged that Pauline was illegitimate, she claimed that a common law marriage later was contracted, making Pauline a legitimate child under the laws of Missouri. If this had been true Mrs. Shepherd would have been the sole heir, to the exclusion of all the German family.
"She claimed that on account of having been an abandoned child she could furnish few facts, but said she had certain letters written by Adolph Huntemann in which he recognized her as his grandchild, a fragment of a will in his handwriting in which she was so recognized, an old Bible inscribed in his hand to her as his grandchild and a number of similar documents.
HOODWINKED HER LAWYERS.
At this point in the deposition Mrs. Shepherd named women in St. Louis, Chicago and elsewhere who, she said, had known Huntemann intimately and had been eye witnesses to certain events showing relationship of father and daughter between Huntemann and her mother.
"Judge Guinotte always is watchful of anything that looks out of place concerning estates in his court," said the narrator, "and with his approval I began a quiet investigation. I made investigations in Chicago, Des Moines, Burlington, Davenport and St. Louis and discovered a plot that had a branch in each one of these places involving women of lower classes and men of desperate character, a woman teacher and a man now in an Illinois penitentiary."
It appears that Mrs. Shepherd had employed attorneys of good standing, Holsteen & Hill in Burlington, and Boyle and Howell here. Her first step was to deceive them by pretending to advertise in the papers for the missing witnesses.
Her plot was so well arranged that each of the confederates answered the advertisements, wrote to the attorneys, giving her family history, and giving her the best of character. Each gave her a straight line of descent from Huntemann.
JILTED WOMAN'S TIP.
Everything was going well when Mrs. Shepherd made a secret trip to Chicago about the time a brother-in-law whom she and her husband had refused aid, was incarcerated in the Illinois penitentiary.
Just following this a woman in Chicago who had been jilted by one of the men in the case, gave the tip that certain information might be obtained in Davenport, Ia.
Following that up, affidavits were secured showing that Mrs. Shepherd was not an only child, but had five brothers and sisters living; that her mother has a twin sister and a brother living. It was found that her story was false, and that her grandmother, Mary, had been honorably married and was buried in Wilton, Ill.
"In addition," said Mr. Rosenzweig, "thirty or forty letters were secured which had been written by Mrs. Shepherd to her confederates giving dates, names and places which confederates were to confirm. Also letters which confederates were to copy in English and German and a fragment of the alleged will where the handwriting was to be identified.
"Confederates had obeyed her instructions, and identified all these fraudulent papers as genuine. An old Bible had been secured from a secondhand store and all names inserted in dim ink. All documents were yellow with age. I also had proof that Mrs. Shepherd's mother had died in 1903 and not in the early 80's."
After getting all of this together, Mr. Rosenzweig decided that the time had come to present it to Mrs. Shepherd and her attorneys in Burlington. He arrived there Tuesday and first laid the evidence before the lawyers who were reluctant to admit that their client could have hatched up such a clever plot.
"I went out and brought her to their office," continued Mr. Rosenzweig, "and there ensued a meeting which lasted six hours before the woman gave in. A woman of more brazen boldness and falsehood, backed by clever cunning I never expect to see. She denied authorship of the letters notwithstanding her attorneys had some of hers with which they were compared and she said that relatives who had made affidavits were unknown to her.
TRIES TO BRAZEN IT OUT.
"She looked us straight in the eye, and almost convinced her attorneys that a mistake had been made. She asked for a day in which to think the matter over, but I asked her if her story would be believed against the contrary evidence of five brothers and sisters, two uncles and aunts, her stepfather, some of her confederates and all of her letters and documents plotting the fraud which I possessed.
"At this point she asked for a private conference with her attorneys and shortly they returned saying she admitted it all. Her statement in writing was taken before a notary in which she admitted that she was not descended from and bore no kinship or relationship in now way whatever to Huntemann.
"After seeing articles in the newspapers that Huntemann had left a $300,000 estate and no known heirs the plot was hatched with assistance of others. She thought she might as well be an heir as anyone else. What inspired her most was the fact that she had been successful six years before in a similar undertaking, she said. An Australian had died leaving an estate of $1,000. By means of affidavits and other documents she said she established the fact that she was an only child of the Australian."
Labels: attorney, Chicago, con artist, Des Moines, Huntemann estate, probate, St Louis
October 17, 1909
"JOY RIDER" NOW SORRY.
Didn't Anticipate Arrest for Giving
Another's Name to Auto Firm.
Representing himself as a Grand avenue furniture dealer, a man who yesterday told the police that his name is Charles E. Lach, engaged a motor car from the Royal Auto Company Friday night. After running up a bill of $67.50 he returned the auto and told the company to send up the bill "any time." Naturally the furniture dealer remonstrated yesterday when the bill was presented and then the police were notified. The "joy rider" was discovered and locked in a cell at police headquarters.
"I have always wanted to entertain my friends in a lavish fashion," he told the officers. "You see I'm a stranger in the city and after looking through the city directory to see if there was any one by the name of 'Lach.' Sure enough, I noticed the furniture dealer and decided to place the expenses of a motor trip on him. I didn't anticipate any such result, however, and I'm heartily sorry that I took such a notion."
Labels: automobiles, con artist, Grand avenue, police headquarters
June 17, 1909
QUIT BRIDE BEFORE
END OF HONEYMOON.
FORMER MATRON HAS HER HUS-
Married Just a Month Ago, Mrs.
Frances Rodgers Burgess Charges
Desertion, and Has Earl
Just one month ago today, Mrs. Frances Rodgers, 32 years old, matron of the George H. Nettleton home, married Earl Burgess, a distinguished looking stranger from St. Paul, whom she had known a month. Last night, Burgess slept in the holdover at police headquarters and will face Judge Kyle in the municipal court this morning on a charge of vagrancy. Mrs. Burgess, who claims that he deserted her a week ago in St. Joseph, after taking her savings, came to Kansas City, and in person saw that he was safely locked up.
"I'm going to prosecute him," she declared as she stamped her foot last night at the police station. "He has taken every cent of my money, and now I'm penniless."
GIRLS' PICTURES IN POCKET.
Burgess, who is 46 years old, and who was wearing a light gray summer suit of clothes, looked extremely downcast when the jailer inspected his pockets. He colored slightly when several miniature photographs of young women were discovered.
"I met him in April," said the wife, "and he represented himself as a retired traveling man. He said that he had property in St. Paul, Oklahoma City and Omaha. In fact he was just traveling because he hated to be idle.
"I became interested at once, and accepted when he proposed marriage. I was then matron of the Nettleton home at a good salary. We went to St. Joseph, my former home, where my two children by my first marriage are in school. He then left me, but returned five days later.
DEAF TO HIS PLEADINGS.
"I forgave the first desertion, but when he again left me last Thursday I couldn't stand it any longer. He claimed that he had gone to St. Paul, but I traced him to Kansas City. I'm mighty glad to see that he is arrested, but I don't know what I'm going to do without money. I don't think he has a foot of property."
Detectives J. J. Raferty and M. J. Halvey arrested Burgess at a rooming house near Fourteenth and Broadway, where he was with a young woman. Mrs. Burgess waited for the detectives at Twelfth street and Broadway, and accompanied them to the station. Burgess implored her not to have him locked up, but his wife ignored his pleadings.
Labels: con artist, detectives, Judge Kyle, marriage, municipal court, St.Joseph, Twelfth street
June 12, 1909
"CON" MAN'S GAME BALKED.
Had Texan Talked Into Cashing
Check When Police Interfered.
Classed as an undesirable citizen by the judge of the municipal court yesterday morning, Lon Newton, also named Spencer, pleaded guilty to a charge of vagrancy and was fined $500. The defendant's crime was one of playing confidence man at the Union depot Wednesday night and attempting to separate a Texas farmer from a small amount of cash.
Newton watched a stranger buy a ticket to Bird's Point, Kas., and then struck up a conversation with him. Showing a ticket to St. Joseph, the confidence man said he was only going that far but that he would be in the Kansas town the following day, as that was his home. He said his father was president of a bank and that he was president of a bank and that he was the cashier. Then he asked the Texas man to cash a check for a small amount.
It was at this point that the conductor of the Burlington train overheard the conversation and called Patrolman John Coughlin and Depot Detective Bradley. The man was placed under arrest, but his partner escaped by running between two moving trains.
Labels: con artist, detectives, railroad, Texas, Union depot, vagrancy
June 10, 1909
CLAIM HE HYPNOTIZED
SIX MEMBERS CAUSE ARREST OF
AFFABLE BOOK AGENT.
A. W. Johnson Alleged to Have In-
duced Them to Give Up Money
and I. O. U.'s Totaling $120.
Held by Justice.
Six members of the Athenaeum Club went to the prosecutor's office yesterday and on behalf of themselves and three others declared that A. W. Johnson, a book agent, had hypnotized them into giving up money and I. O. U.'s totaling $120.75.
The women who complained to M. M. Bogie, assistant prosecuting attorney, were the following: Mrs. Anna S. Welch, wife of a physician; Mrs. E. T. Phillips, wife of a physician, residence the Lorraine; Mrs. Paul B. Chaney, 3446 Campbell street; Mrs. George S. Millard, 4331 Harrison street; Mrs. W. W. Anderson, 2705 Linwood avenue; Dr. Eliza Mitchell, 1008 Locust street.
Besides these, the following complained of Johnson, but did not appear yesterday: Mrs. Willard Q. Church, 3325 Wyandotte street; Mrs. Wilbur Bell, 200 Olive street, and Mrs. S. S. Moorehead, 3329 Forest avenue.
The women confronted Johnson in Mr. Bogie's office. It was declared that he had exercised hypnotic power. Said Mrs. M. H. Devault, 3411 Wabash avenue, prominent in the Athenaeum:
"This man sold a set of books called 'The Authors' Digest' to these members of the Athenaeum on representation that I had purchased the volumes and had recommended them. They bought largely on this recommendation."
"Yes, and we were hypnotized," said the women.
In addition to the books, Johnson sold a membership in the "American University Association." This, the women say he told them, would enable them to buy books, and especially medical works, at less than the usual price. After correspondence it was found that the lower prices could not be secured.
From all but one woman named, except Mrs. Devault, Johnson secured $5.75 and an order for $115. From Mrs. Millard he got $20 in money.
Johnson, a well dressed, affable young man, was arraigned before Justice Theodore Remley on a charge of obtaining money under false pretenses. He pleaded not guilty and was released on a bond of $500. He said he had an office in the Century building.
Labels: books, con artist, doctors, Forest avenue, Harrison street, hypnosis, Judge Remley, Linwood avenue, Locust street, Olive street, organizations, Wabash avenue, women, Wyandotte street
March 19, 1909
NORD HAS RELIGION NOW.
He Is Not Afraid, and Wants Prose-
Charles E. Nord, charmer of women, has religion now. He says so in letters written to Mrs. Carrie Hamilton, 3010 East Twentieth street, on whose complaint he is now in the county jail awaiting trial on charges of obtaining property under false pretenses. Nord also has sent a mission worker to Miss Hamilton to induce her to drop the prosecution.
Nord writes somehting after this fasion:
"Whatever happens, the Lord is on my side. I have religion and am not afraid. You cannot hurt me. I know I will be taken care of."
Two or three letters of this import have been received by Mrs. Hamilton.
Labels: con artist, jail
March 14, 1909
CAME TO KANSAS CITY
SO HE WOULD BE SAFE.
CAMDEN POINT BANK ROBBER
KNEW WHERE TO LIGHT.
William Turner, Arrested at Station,
Makes Voluntary Confession That
Made Police Sit Up -- He's
Tired of Dodging.
Confessed Camden Point Bank Robber.
William Turner, one of the four men who robbed the Bank of Camden Point on December 27, 1907, and who has been in several bank robberies all over the country, has made a complete confession. Turner was arrested yesterday afternoon at Union depot under orders from the sheriff of Sapulpa, Ok., who wanted him for petty larceny. He confessed to the Camden Point bank robbery of his own accord.
The prisoner had been taken to the holdover late yesterday afternoon and as he was led through the corridor at police headquarters, he recognized W. P. Martin, a patrolman whom he had met in several occasions.
"I guess they are going to take me to Oklahoma," he said to Martin, who accompanied him to the holdover. "They want me down there for petty larceny, but if they knew what I had done here in Missouri, they wouldn't think of taking me back. Just tell the captain that I've got something to tell him."
DOESN'T LOOK LIKE CROOK.
Turner, who limps slightly, was led up stairs to Captain Walter Whitsett's private office. H is face had a determined look and though he is 28 years old and has associated with criminals ever since he was 14 years old, he does not look like a crook. He greeted the captain and in a matter of fact way informed him that he was a bank robber.
"I'm tired of beating around the country with the officers always on my trail and I'm willing to come through with all," he said. "You remember the bank at Camden Point? Well, I'm one of the four men that cracked the bank there over a year ago."
The robbery of the bank at that time had been a source of vexation to the police and though two of the men were captured, it was thought that the other members of the party came to Kansas City.
"Yes, Seranton Billie and I planned the robbery over in Zack's saloon at 307 Main street," Turner continued. "We went up to Leavenworth and then took a train to Camden Point the night before the robbery. Early the next morning, we went into the bank building and flowed the safe, but not until we had used most of our nitro-glycerine. The people of the town were roused and began to fire into the bank before we could get all the loot. The two men were captured the next day in a cornfield, but Billie and I got away. We first went to St. Joseph and there we separated. I came to Kansas City because I knew it would be pretty safe here. I had about $600 in bills but the police didn't get on to me at all.
STARTED OUT EARLY.
Turner's blue eyes grew reminiscent and he tilted back in his chair in a restful attitude. He told about his birth in Baltimore and said that he moved to Missouri with his parents in the latter part of the '80s,. At 15 he was stolen by tramps and learned the "yeg" business when in their company. They taught him to beg in small towns and on many occasions went around on crutches, pretending to be a cripple. He would carry the day's receipts to his pals late at night and they would then plan on some new disguise for the boy. He later became acquainted with the methods of manufacturing nitro-glycerin and the most approved method of cracking a safe. He has been all over the country, he says, and has known most of the "yegs" in the United States.
"But they all die in prison," he said, "and I've made up my mind to take my medicine. If there is any time left to me to be free I want to en joy it. I'm tired of this life. My shoulder hurts me where I was shot in one raid three years ago."
Turner put his confession in writing to W. S. Gabriel, an assistant prosecutor, and was taken to a cell in the matron's room. He asked permission of the captain to allow him a quantity of writing material.
"I want to write the story of my life," he said.
Labels: banking, Captain Whitsett, con artist, crime, hoboes, oklahoma, Union depot
March 9, 1909
GYPSY SMITH'S COUSIN,
SAID WOMAN IN BLACK.
TALKED RELIGION TO VICTIM,
WHO IS SHORT $130.
Police Searching for Mysterious
Female, Who Used Hypnotism on
Domestic and Got All the
Money She Had.
A mysterious "woman in black," purporting to be a cousin of Gypsy Smith, has been reported to the police by one of her victims, Mary Anderson, 1836 Pendleton avenue, a domestic in the employ of J. L. DeLong, as having muleted her of $130 after advising her to draw the money out of the bank. The woman claimed to be a fortune teller, possessing the marvelous powers of foresight, and told Miss Anderson that unless she withdrew her deposit before March 5 it would be lost.
Friends of the girl believe the woman to have been a hypnotist, the girl's story of her experience with the "seeress" seeming to bear out this belief. The money is supposed to have been taken by the woman while she and Miss Anderson were in one of the waiting rooms at Emery, Bird, Thayer's store on Walnut street.
SHE'S A FORTUNE TELLER.
"The woman first came to the ho use on Monday afternoon a week ago and asked to be allowed to tell my sister's fortune," said the girl yesterday, "but, as my sister does not understand English well enough to carry on a conversation, I was approached. I told her I did not have time to talk to her and didn't want my fortune told, anyway.
"The next afternoon the woman appeared again and this time she insisted upon reading my hand. She told me that my people in the old country were having some trouble with their property and that all was not well with them. This was true and I began to put some credence in what she told me. Then she declared that the property would be lost and that there would much trouble come of it.
"After telling me this she looked right at me and said that I had money in the bank. 'You had better be careful of that, too,' she said, 'for I can see that you are going to have trouble with it. That institution will fail before March 5, and if your money is not out by that time you will lose it.' She then asked me how much I had and I told her I did not think it was any of her business. 'I know how much it is,' she declared, 'you have $130 or $150 in t he bank, but you had better take it out.' "
DREW MONEY FROM BANK.
The victim of the plot, after this seeming marvelous revelation of "powers," made an excuse the next day and went down to the bank and drew out her $130, her saving of more than seven months, the money that was to bring relief and help to her family across the ocean, and help to bring another sister from Sweden to America. She had lost some of her savings once before when a bank failed three years ago.
At the office of the bank the "woman in black" was waiting, but Miss Anderson says she was not there when she came out with the money.
"I had my money tied up in a handkerchief and that inside a leather handbag I carried," she said. I walked into Emery, Bird, Thayer's and went up to the waiting room. Here I met the woman again and she came to me and said, 'What , you again? I am glad to see you.' "
Sitting down to a table by themselves, the two women, according to the girl's story, began to talk . The "woman in black" began by asking the girl if she had been to hear Gypsy Smith. A reply in the negative brought a torrent of upbraidings. The woman declared she would suffer the torments of hell and the fires of everlasting damnation if she did not change her ways, and live the right life, as set forth in the teachings of the revivalist. She urged the girl to go with her to Convention hall, but this she would not do.
SHE WANTED THE BANK ROLL.
"I experienced the queerest sensation all the time the woman talked," she said. "Her beady black eyes seemed to burn into mine, and I could not take my eyes away from hers. I kept saying to myself, 'You cannot get my money, you cannot get my money.' And then she asked me to give it to her, saying she would return it to me the next day. I asked her if she thought I was crazy, and she told me that she thought I was one of the brightest girls she had ever known.
"She left me saying 'God bless you, I'll see you tomorrow.' and went out of the room. I did not get up for a moment, and when I did try I could hardly stand on my feet. I felt dazed and sleepy, and thought I should not be able to get home. There was no one in the room during all the time we were in there together. It was not until after I was on the street car on my way home that I noticed the money was gone."
THE BEADY BLACK EYES.
The police were notified of the occurrence, but so far nothing definite has been learned. Several persons in the neighborhood of Pendleton avenue saw the "woman in black," and declared she had tried to gain entrance to a numnber of residences on the plea of telling fortunes. She is described as wearing a black hat with several large black plumes, a black skirt and a black cloak reaching about to the knee. Her expression is said to be unpleasant and forbidding, the beady black eyes which stare at you directly seem to fascinate against the will, make the face repellent.
The woman told Miss Anderson that she lived in a tent in Kansas City, Kas., in the old Electric park, and that she was gypsy and still kept to the traditions of her race.
Labels: banking, con artist, crime, immigrants, Kansas City Kas, ministers, retailers, Walnut Street, women
January 29, 1909
LETTERS TO NORD
THAT RING TRUE.
GIRL IN SWEDEN PLEADS FOR
HERSELF AND CHILD.
Pitiful Tale of Lost Illusions Told in
Sequence -- Nord Says He Can't
Keep Women From
He just can't help it if women will fall in love with him and propose matrimony. That is the way in which Charles E. Nord explains his personal charm, which has been the cause of letters from women in many cities.
Nord is now in the county jail. He was committed some weeks ago on the charge of passing a check when there were no funds in the bank to make it good. This he explains by saying that he deposited another man's check to cover the paper he gave, but that the other person's check was thrown out by the bank, and hence not placed to his credit.
Of all the letters found in Nord's room, four from a young woman in Nikkala, Sweden, are the most pitiful after learning of his career. The letters, written in the Swedish language, begin with dreams of a hopeful life in the future, and then tell of the sad heart of the young mother when her loved one fails to write in answer to her pitiful appeals.
BEGS TO BE ACKNOWLEDGED.
The first letter, evidently written immediately after her return from the United States, is full of love messages. She deplores the fact that she ever left America and her dear Charles, and asks that he send for her soon.
A short time later she writes another letter telling of her happiness, and of the expected heir to the Nord estates in America. She begs her "husband" to let her acknowledge her marriage to her mother and father, and if he refuses her that, for him to send her enough money to go to Stockholm to live.
Acting under the impulses that govern a young mother the girl, who still has faith in Nord, writes him a long epistle breathing undying faith and love for him. She goes into raptures over their little girl and says that her hair is just like her father's. Three pages are devoted to the little one's intelligence and sweetness.
THE DEATH OF HOPE.
Then as it dawns upon the foreign girl that she is being forgotten by the man she loves she attempts to draw him back if possible. The last letter explains that she is in a strange city, having gone to Stockholm, and being unable to procure employment, is in dire distress. She begs that he do something for her and their child. Then the heart-broken girl gives up all hope and ceases writing.
Nord is a big Swede. With a few days' growth of jail beard and the inevitable lines that come with incarceration, he presents no great charms.
WOMEN JUMP AT CONCLUSIONS.
"It is getting so that when you show a woman a little attention she jumps at the conclusion that you intend to marry her," said Nord yesterday. "Every fellow has, to a degree, the same experiences in that line that I had. I believed in showing them a good time, especially while I lived in Chicago, but I never married anybody. And I don't intend to."
Of course Nord was modest about himself. He said his sumptuously furnished offices might have something to do with the air of prosperity which impressed his admirers. Then again, with a matter of three dozen shirts, something like eighteen suits and other apparel to be counted only in dozens, he was the bright twinkle in the feminine eye.
Yesterday, as on the day of his arrest several weeks ago, Nord said his transactions would show nothing wrong. All his efforts to get money, he said, were directed solely towards exploiting his cobalt mine in Quebec. He says the deposit of ore is very valuable and that he needed money to develop it.
Labels: con artist, immigrants, jail, romance
January 28, 1909
LETTERS TELL OF
LOVE AND LUCRE
WOMEN LIKE NORD, BUT WANT
THEIR MONEY BACK.
2,000 FOUND BY POLICE
KANSAS CITY APPARENT WEST-
ERN LIMIT OF OPERATIONS.
Trusting Females Assure Nord of
Their Faith in Him and Men-
tion Cash in Loans or in
Nearly 2,000 love letters written to Charles E. Nord, arrested in Omaha January 13 and charged with passing a bogus check on C. H. Reardon, 2602 Brooklyn avenue, found among his effects yesterday by Detectives Robert Phelen and Scott Godley, show that he preyed upon the affections of women in all parts of the country. Nord is now in the county jail, awaiting trial.
Some of the writers of the letters offer up their lives if necessary for his love, and others asked the return of money received from them. Nord apparently had the faculty of inspiring love in all women with whom he came in contact.
Jane Ida Bell, Halleybury, Ont., met Nord and fell in love with him. She had a little money in her own name, and purchased a half interest in a mining claim. Her brokers were informed of her little flyer, and Nord decamped.
LEFT HER HOME FOR HIM.
One writer, who signed her name as Jane, lived at 1223 Irwin street, Pittsburgh, Pa. She wrote to Nord in the most endearing terms. She pleaded with the man to sell his office furniture in Buffalo and come to her and marry her. She promised to work and assist in paying the household expenses. Her family objected, and she left home and went to work as a bookkeeeper for $12 a week.
On account of her confidence in him, Nord, from the letter, seems to have succeeded in getting the girl to loan him $25. Again he asked for $25, but she did not have it and informed Nord that she had sold her furniture to give him the money the first time he asked for hit. Then, losing her position, she wrote Nord, telling him sh e was starving.
THIS ONE WOULD PAY HIM.
An annuity of $100 a month was offered to Nord by Ida M. Stern, 5519 Madison street, Chicago, Ill., if he would only marry her and allow her to love him the rest of her life. She said she had that much guaranteed and they could live on it until his mines panned out.
Then Mary L. Berry got into the game, and Nord loved her $1,000 worth, or at least she says she signed his note for that amount. Mrs. Anna Heerhold, Irving Park, Ill., says she gave him a check for $500 and failed to ever hear from him again.
It remained for a Kansas City girl named Ida M., who formerly lived at 305 Wabash avenue, to represent the extreme western line that Nord's emotional and financial operations extended to. She loved him well enough to trust him for a loan, and then says she burned out the telephone wires in a futile effort to make him repay her.
In all of the letters the women write him they express the utmost faith in his love and fidelity, but wonder why he fails to keep his word. The police recovered nearly 2,000 letters written to Nord, and all of them speak of money obtained, either as loans or on mining schemes.
Labels: Brooklyn avenue, Chicago, con artist, detectives, forgery, Omaha, romance, Wabash avenue
November 18, 1908
JURY FINDS SPENCER GUILTY.
Chinese Interpreter Is Convicted on
Three Counts -- Admits He Is
Guilty on three counts, was the verdict returned by a jury yesterday in the United States court which had heard "Harry S. Reardon" conduct his own case, when he was tried for impersonating a government immigration inspector. "Reardon" was convicted on evidence furnished by Chinese witnesses, who accused him of obtaining money and endeavoring to get money from them by representing himself to be a government official.
When it was shown that he had been convicted a number of times and served time in different penal institutions, "Reardon" dramatically pointed his finger at a group of government immigration officers and, with tears streaming down his cheeks, exclaimed: "I am going to break the ice. I am Arthur P. Spencer. I have been in the penitentiary. They lie when they say I was convicted, because I always pleaded guilty."
Reardon conducted his own defense and was guilty of many blunders. In making this argument to the jury the Chinese linguist said: "This is part of a plot among the Chinese to get rid of me. They are suspicious of any white man that speaks their language. I have done no wrong in Kansas City and have been trying to live a straight life, as I gave my word to do. These charges are trumped up to get me away. I cannot get the truth out of these Chinamen, they have lied to you on this stand."
"Reardon" will be sentenced to the Leavenworth prison this morning.
Labels: con artist, crime, immigrants, Leavenworth, penitentiary, United States District Court
November 17, 1908
ALSO DELIVERS ADDRES BE-
FORE LADIES' STUDY CLUBS.
MANY YEARS SPENT
HAD PLANNED TO ORGANIZE
SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS HERE.
Reardon's Singing of "Holy City"
in a Church Praised by One
Newspaper -- Acts as His
"Mr. William A. Graves was a visitor in our city last evening. He paid a very welcome visit to the rectory and at a special service sang 'The Holy City' in the Methodist church. Mr. Graves is an accomplished gentleman of much Oriental travel, and is always a delightful guest."
So says a newspaper clipping, part of a bundle two inches thick, relating to Arthur P. Spencer, alias a dozen other names, among them Harry Reardon. There was not much in the proceedings in the federal court yesterday afternoon to identify the "Holy City" singer as being Harry Reardon, on trial for impersonating an officer, so that he can be held to give the state authorities time to see if he is the man who killed the Chinaman last week near Liberty.
Reardon acted as his own lawyer and made a botch of the whole business. The government put six or eight witnesses on the stand who testified that Reardon had gone to their laundries or stores, had spoken to them in Chinese, had said he could "fix" residence certificates for from $150 to $400 and had collected from $3 to $6 from each of them in the way of loans. Every witness examined told the same story, and Reardon was unable to break down one of them. This morning he will take the stand in his own behalf and will have several white people by means of whom he will try to establish a reputation.
"You came to my house and said that you could fix up residence papers for a boy in my kitchen, who had none," said Dr. Mon Gong Young.
"I did, did I! And what did you say?"
TOO MUCH FOR THE DOCTOR.
"I said I would not pay it. It was too much," the doctor answered, whereat Assistant United States District Attorney George Neal, conducting the case, had to laugh. The simplicity of the witness was too much for his decorum.
Reardon or Spencer, or whatever his name is, is an animate example of a misspent life. Master of the difficult Chinese language, he could command $100 a month steadily, according to the government interpreter who was sent here to help in the case now on trial. In addition to English and Chinese, he speaks Portuguese, Spanish and Italian.
With all these accomplishments and without a dollar to his name, after living forty or forty-five years, he has a record of having done five years in the New York penitentiary, three years in the Pennsylvania state penitentiary, two terms of three years in the California Penal Institute and three years in the state penitentiary in Washington. In addition he was sentenced to do three months in jail in Pennsylvania for beating a woman out of a board bill, but was paroled. He was fined "to pay 6 1/4 cents to the commonwealth of Pennsylvania" at another time and to undergo three months in jail for representing himself as a lawyer long enough to collect $5 from one Frank de Laurentis, and there is a sentence of three years hanging over him in New York for a last offense.
GETS SMALL SUMS.
To merit all this punishment Reardon has done no more than blackmail small sums of money out of contraband Chinese, commit perjury, forgery once and represent himself as a government inspector. In being sent up in Pennsylvania the federal judge declared that Reardon was doubly guilty for not taking advantage of his accomplishments. Now he is in Kansas City trying to prove that he was here organizing a Sunday school, and trying to disprove that he killed the Chinaman found dead a week ago near Liberty and with having borrowed money from laundrymen here under penalty of turning up unregistered Chinamen to the government.
The records show Reardon to be a man of amazing nerve. He borrowed $5 from a Pennsylvania chief of police after explaining to the chief that he was in his town looking for contrabands. At another time he actually went to a government immigration officer, in Waterville, Pa., and told that he was a lawyer representing the Six Companies, adding that the Chinese company always required him, when in the vicinity of immigration officers, to work with federal authorities. Thereupon Reardon, sailing under the name of Spencer, asked for a dozen John Doe warrants so he could make an arrest. Armed with those -- which he did not get --Reardon could have made a hot time of it in Waterville Chinatown.
Witnesses on the stand here yesterday said that Reardon had told some of them that he was a government immigration officer, detailed to look after the Chinese, but that for $400 he would let any Chinaman into the United States. Reardon is up to the minute on the Chinese exclusion law, which has made him formidable in the laundries, where, as one witness said yesterday, through an interpreter"
"He came in and asked if I had any papers and any boys without papers. He said he was an inspector and wanted to see mine. I was not sure that he would not destroy them if I handed them to him, so I gave him $3 he asked for and got rid of him that way."
"PERSECUTION," SAYS HE.
"It is all a conspiracy," said Reardon to United States Judge Pollock. "The Chinese hate a white man who speaks their language. They have tried for years to have me locked up. I am being persecuted, and I want the court to protect me."
"The court will," Judge Pollock replied.
Reardon showed his legal training when at one time he said hastily:
"I object, your honor. That is misleading."
"It is a little so," the court admitted. "Objection sustained."
Reardon, while in Kansas City during his three weeks, had addressed a ladies' study club, addressed a church society, had undertaken to organize a Sunday school class of fifteen Chinamen, got mixed up in a murder and now is nabbed on the word of eight laundrymen and storekeepers, on a charge of representing himself as a government inspector of Chinese certificates.
In swearing the witnesses, the usual form prescribed for use in this country was followed. Reardon, familiar with Chinese customs and himself knowing the trivial light of the United States oath in the eyes of a Chinaman, offered no objection. This was supposed by the government authorities to be his ruse for a fight later on to throw out testimony. The evidence is being given before a jury.
"They could not take a binding oath no matter what form it was administered in," said Reardon. "To make a Chinaman tell the truth, he has to break a saucer over the grave of an ancestor, have a baked fowl there, and walk all around the grave. They have no graves here. This trial is ridiculous. They are determined to keep me locked up, and are here now doing their best."
Labels: California, con artist, courtroom, doctors, immigrants, Judge Pollock, Liberty, United States District Court
November 11, 1908
HE KNEW TOO MUCH
OF DEAD CHINAMAN.
ARTHUR SPENCER, ALIAS REAR-
DON, IS IN JAIL.
He Has a Criminal Record and I s
Being Held Pending Further
Investigation of Wong
Chee Tock's Death.
ARTHUR S. SPENCER, ALIAS
HARRY S. REARDON
Who is the murderer of Wong Chee Tock, the wealthy Chinaman found near Birmingham, Mo., last Friday morning with a crushed skull and a stab wound in his chest? The body was decomposed and from its position and the position of the overcoat, hat and shoes it looked as if he had been thrown from a northbound Burlington freight train. At least that was the theory of the Clay county authorities who investigated the murder.
Under arrest at police headquarters is Arthur S. Spencer, alias Harry S. Reardon, alias George H. Taylor, who came here a week ago and under the Reardon alias posed as "Official Interpreter of the Chinese language" for the courts of New York." Reardon immediately made himself persona grata with newspaper men, especially the police reporters on the different papers. He gave chop suey dinners -- at the expense of his Chinese friends -- and was a grand, high muck-a-muck among them.
"Reardon," as he styled himself here, was arrested Monday afternoon by Daniel Holmes, a crossing patrolman, at the insistence of Dr. Ho Ly Yuen, who alleged that the "official interpreter" was attempting to swindle the Chinese of the two Kansas Citys.
CRIMINAL RECORD LEARNED.
On the arrival in the city yesterday morning of Henry H. Moler of St. Louis, inspector in the United States immigration service, with his Chinese interpreter, Haw Lin Shuck, the past criminal record of the "official interpreter for the courts of New York" was learned. Fifteen years ago he was sentenced to McNeil's island, a government prison in Puget sound, Washington, for three years, for smuggling Chinese into this country. He admitted his full record when "sweated" yesterday morning by Lieutenant Harry E. Stege.
Four or five years ago Spencer -- that's his right name --served two years in the government prison at Pittsburgh, Pa., for impersonating a government official among the Chinese.
At the present time there is a suspended sentence of three years hanging over Spencer's head in New York city -- impersonating a government official again. He is virtually out on parole pending good behavior.
It was learned from the government officials that Spencer's graft has been to seek out Chinese who have no "chock chee," which is a certificate showing their right to remain in the United States. As he speaks the language fluently, he has no trouble in locating Chinamen who have been smuggled into this country. Then he is said to force them to pay him hush money. It is also said that he agreed to furnish a chock chee for $150 to any Chinaman needing one.
SAYS HE MERELY BORROWED.
From Dr. Ho Ly Yuen of this city, who has caused the arrest of "Reardon," it was learned yesterday that the chock chee racked was being worked here with ease. The arrested man admits that he had been bad, but is now trying to lead a Christian life for the sake of his wife and children in New York. He says he is being persecuted and all the money he secured here was borrowed from the Chinese -- merely a loan.
The police now suspect Spencer with being connected in some manner with the murder of the wealthy Chinaman, Wong Chee Tock. He was one of the first to go to Liberty "to investigate," and it was he who learned the man's name and seemed to know all about him. That fact, and the further fact that Spencer is said to have been seen here with the murdered man, makes the police suspicious of him. When the body was found he claimed to have never seen the Chinaman before. He is being held at police headquarters while Mr. Moler and Haw Lin Shuck investigate the case.
Spencer speaks fluent English, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian and is a well educated man. He says he was born in Hong Kong, that his mother was a Portuguese and his father an American.
Labels: Burlington, con artist, immigrants, murder, New York, railroad, St Louis
October 9, 1908
MADE BISCUITS OF ASBESTOS.
Peddler That Sold Mineral Flour to
Woman is Fined.
Mrs. Mary Ricks, an extremely corpulent woman who lives near the Missouri Pacific tracks in the East Bottoms, will buy no more flour from peddlers, no matter how good a bargain she may get. Her experience with asbestos as a substitute for flour is what taught her a lesson.
All summer long near her home cars of asbestos, white and flour-like, have been unloaded, but she paid no particular attention to it. So, two days ago, when J. L. Fletcher appeared at her door with a fifty-pound sack of "good flour," for which he asked only 50 cents, big Mary bit. Fletcher, who was fined $10 in municipal court yesterday, had previously filled the flour sack with white asbestos.
To Patrolman Frank Michaels, who arrested Fletcher, Mrs. Ricks told this story: "I didn't need no flour, no I didn't, but 'twuz so cheap that I bought it. Pretty soon some company come up and I was fixin' to make biscuits for dinner. I rolled out mah flour, put in mah soda, shortening and so forth.
"I didn't see much wrong 'till I mixed in th' buttermilk and started to knead mah dough. Well, that dough kept a-gettin' stickier and stickier, and heavier than lead. I couldn't get it off mah hands and it was caked under mah nails. I coulda knocked a horse down a block away with a ball of that stuff."
Mrs. Ricks said that she had great difficulty in removing the asbestos flour from her hands. She didn't notice her nails and the stuff dried under them. She said she had to "chizzle" the asbestos dough out.
Labels: con artist, East bottoms, food, police, railroad
July 22, 1908
LIVELY ENCOUNTER IN NO. 2
In the Midst of the Melee Two Pris-
oners Bolt for Liberty, but
the Watchful Jailer
There was the liveliest kind of mixup between detectives in No. 2 police station last night and for a moment it looked as though blood might be shed.
At 10 o'clock last night, William Bradley, a Union depot detective, Carl Demmett, a Rock Island detective, and Charles Lewis and Frank Lyngar, city detectives, brought two prisoners, George Stryker and Fred Reed, into No. 2 police station and charged them with attempting to pass a bad check on J. A. Merritt of Savannah, Mo.
Gum opium was found in a sack of tobacco carried by Stryker and Desk Sergeant Harry Moulder told Jailer Long to look in the men's shoes to see if they had any "dope" concealed there. The prisoners were taken to the back of the room.
Then the sergeant asked Bradley who the arresting officers were. Bradley, who was standing in front of the desk replied:
"Bradley, Demmett, Lewis and Lyngar.
Lyngar was standing at Sergeant Moulder's elbow.
"Bradley had nothing whatever to do with the arrest" said Lyngar.
"You're a liar!" shouted Bradley, and started to go around the desk toward Lyngar.
Detective Lewis was standing in Bradley's way and he pushed the depot detective back. Bradley struck Lewis and the two clashed. Lewis drew his revolver and tried to hit Bradley with the butt end, but Bradley knocked the weapon out of his hand.
Sergeant Moulder tried to hold Bradley and there was a mixup of officers in the thick of which Policeman Joe Kelley was discovered with his left hand clutching Bradley by the throat and his right hand shaking a club in Bradley's face.
In the meantime the prisoners, who had been interested spectators of the fight, suddenly concluded that a police station filled with fighting officers was no place for them, and they bolted for freedom. Jailer William Love saw them going and he made a grab for them. Immediately there was a lively triangular struggle that did not end until J. P. Johnson, a Gamewell operator, hastened to Long's assistance. By this time everybody in the station house, including the prisoners, was red faced and perspiring freely. And nobody was in a good humor. The prisoners offered the excuse that they feared they might get shot if they remained int he station.
Lyngar and Bradley have always been rivals. Both work at the depot, but Bradley is employed by the depot and Lyngar is paid by the city.
The prisoner, who gave his name as George Stryker, is said to be "Whitie," a well known confidence man. It is said that he and Reed tried to borrow $20 from Merritt on a bad check for $1,350.
Merritt was on the Frisco Meteor, due to leave here at 9:30 p. m., when these men came in the car and made themselves acquainted. Reed told Merritt that he had the dead body of his brother at the depot and couldn't get the body out because he owed $20 express charges. Reed wanted to ship the beloved relative on the Meteor. Stryker was introduced as the hard hearted express agent. He said that if Reed would get $20 he would let the body go, and not before.
Reed had a check for $1,350 and finally he offered to leave this with Merritt as security for a $20 loan. Just then the detectives arrived and a Savannah, Mo., citizen was saved.
Dr. D. M. Monie of West Pittston, Pa., who was with the detectives when the arrest was made, was attempting to identify a man who had agreed to sell his ticket to Chicago. He wanted to go to St. Louis, so accepted the kind offer of a new found friend who "knew a man who would pay well for a ticket to Chicago." Dr. Monie did not find his man or the ticket.
Labels: con artist, detectives, jail, No 2 police station, railroad, Union depot, violence, visitors
July 11, 1908
METHOD IS FULLY EXPLAINED
BY REV. A. T. OSBORN.
USED A LANTERN SLIDE AND
WORKED BY DAY, ONLY.
Minister Says He Solved the Imposi-
tion After a Long Season of
Prayer and Much Prac-
Spirit portrait painting, mind reading, spirit writing, spirit attendance, and all kinds of black magic are quite simple to do after one knows how -- So Rev. Andrew T. Osborn demonstrated in his expose of things spiritual and supernatural at the Grand Avenue Methodist church last night. The principal feature of the exposition was the spirit portrait painting as done by the Bangs sisters in Kansas City some weeks ago.
These sisters advertised that they were able to paint the portrait of any person who was dead, either as they were at the time of death or as they were at the time the portrait was painted. The consequence was that they painted many pictures in Kansas City and received a vast amount of money from many persons, over $10,000 from one individual. The pictures, on the whole, were so realistic and natural that they caused many people to have strong faith in the ability of the Bangs sisters to paint the pictures of departed ones.
It was Rev. Mr. Osborn's purpose last night to show that there was absolutely nothing supernatural about the work and his demonstration was undoubtedly a success.
"The Bangs sisters rented a luxurious apartment in Kansas City. They had much fine tapestry and many things which hid the crudeness of the work which you will see tonight," said he in introducing the work. "I am not here to fool you or to mystify you, so my work will be done without the blinding tapestry used by the two women in their work, but it will be just as successful and will be done exactly as their work was done.
PICTURE WAS CONCEALED.
"It is a peculiar fact that all seances for pictures had to be held in the day time. The person wishing a picture was asked to bring a photograph of the departed person with them. When they entered the room the picture was turned over to one of the Bangs sisters and placed in a double slate. The slate had a spring in it which was pressed by one of the sisters and handed to a hidden confederate. The secret spring could not be noticed by the person who desired the picture, as the slate was placed on a table with a false bottom.
"Then the Bangs sisters told the customer to select one of the various canvases which were placed in the room. The canvas selected was placed in a window. The curtain was drawn to the top of the canvas and side curtains drawn down its side. The only light which could get into the room then was the rays through the white canvas.
"While all of these details are being arranged the picture has been transferred to the film of a stereopticon lantern and replaced in the slate. The lantern is hidden from view in many rich curtains, and its rays are invisible because they are focused upon the white canvas through which the rays of the sun are seen. The two lights counteract each other and there is no added brightness.
"Now we are ready for the picture. The Bangs sisters sit at either side of the table directly under the canvas. The person desiring the picture is seated two or three feet in front of the canvas, his back to the stereopticon lantern. Then he is told to think of the face which is to be painted by spirit hands, and to think of nothing else.
"Deeply engrossed in thought, the person notices the form of the dead relative slowly and indistinctly appear upon the canvas. The confederate is slowly focusing the rays upon the sheet. It is marvelous. For the face and form of the dead relative slowly and indistinctly appear upon the sheet. It is marvelous. For the face and form of the relative grows distinct, and suddenly a beautiful picture is upon the screen.
PICTURE WAS CONCEALED.
"Perhaps, as in one case of which I know, the details do not exactly suit. Then the picture is suddenly wiped away and after the confederate has put a few daubs of paint here and there, changed the color of the eyes or such, it is again thrown upon the canvas, slowly and impressively , and it then suits the customer in every detail."
The minister was working while he talked and explained. He used a picture of William McKinley, and had it thrown upon the crude canvas which he constructed, minus the window and the tapestry. A very small boy operated the steropticon lantern, but when Rev. Mr. Osborn decided to change the expression about the late president's eyes, he took charge of the lantern himself. A few touches about the eyes and when the picture was seen again the eyes were light instead of dark.
"The marvelous angel painting has awed the customer by this time, but he is ordered to remain perfectly still and silent, lest he frighten away the spirit and the picture vanish. It will take some hours for it to become so impressed upon the canvas, he is told, that it will not fade away The Bangs sisters request that he come tomorrow for the finished picture, as it will be entirely ready then.
"By the time tomorrow comes, the picture has been reproduced upon a duplicate canvas which is laid between the original one and a false one. The whole is placed upon a trick table and when the customer returns for the picture of his dead brother, he is asked to place his hands firmly upon the canvas laid on the table in order to transfer the original print to the second and durable canvas While he is doing this the secret spring in the trick table, which costs $2.50 in Chicago, is pressed by one of the sisters and the bottom canvas disappears. It is then time to lift the original window canvas, and on the one beneath is seen the picture of the dead one, painted by sacred spirit hands. Oh, it's very easy and there is nothing supernatural about it whatever.
ONE DIDN'T BELIEVE HIM.
Someone in the audience who had received a picture of her dead sister without having taken a picture to the Bangs sisters' seance, challenged the minister in his statements. Rev. Mr. Osborn did not have time nor the facilities at hand in order to illustrate how that feature was overcome, but he explained fully.
"You went into the room at the Bangs sisters," said he, "and told them that you wanted a picture of your sister who had been dead a given time. The chances are that there was at least a resemblance between you and you were made to tell her age at the time she died. The confederate has a camera in behind the tapestry and she then, in this case it was a girl, takes a picture of you.
"After it has been transferred to the stereopticon lantern, which process takes only a few minutes, it is thrown upon the canvas in the window and then you make our criticisms, if there were any needed. If your sister was very young the picture looked older. She had grown somewhat in the spirit land, you see. If she was old at the time of her death, she looks younger, according to the way you look. She had grown younger in the spirit land, for in that place all wrinkles and signs of age disappear. That satisfies you, for it is explained in the catalogue of the Bangs sisters work, which you had read. You expected it and so there was not much criticism. Anyhow, it was a very beautiful picture.
MANY THANKED HIM.
The person who made the objection seemed to be entirely satisfied. The explanation had been a correct history of the case as it was with the Bangs sisters. The whole process, according to Rev. Mr. Osborn, depended upon the stereopticon lantern, which could not be seen by the visitor. Not being able to see anything which was responsible for the appearance of the picture, they were naturally mystified; and inasmuch as the Bangs sisters at either side of their table sat perfectly motionless and as in a trance, it was not hard for the applicant to believe that the portrait was done by angel hands. Rembrandt, for example.
All of Rev. Mr. Osborn's work in the angel portrait painting was done in the light, where his every move could be detected and also the actions of his young confederate. There was no attempt on his part to veil the painting with mystery. Many of those who objected so strenuously in the charges that he made against the Bangs sisters at his expose Thursday night were convinced that they had seen the solution of the "mystery" and pressed around Rev. Mr. Osborn after the meeting to express their thanks.
Labels: Chicago, churches, con artist, Grand avenue, ministers, stereopticons
July 10, 1908
THEY OFFER $1,000 IF HE EX-
POSES THEIR METHOD.
Rev. Andrew T. Osborn Declares He
Can Paint "Spirit Pictures,"
and That It's All a Fake.
He'll Do It Tonight.
There was a lack of harmony between the advocates of spiritualism and Rev. Andrew T. Osborn, versed in the ways of mediums and the occult psychic phenomenon, at an expose in the Grand Avenue Methodist church last night. At times relations were so strained between the two, chiefly on the part of the spiritualists, that loud and somewhat sarcastic talk was frequently indulged.
It all came through the well known Bangs sisters, lately of Kansas City. These sisters, who trafficked in the life and sayings of the "other world," made quite an impression upon the spiritualistic sect in Kansas City. Their chief means of revenue was in painting pictures "by angel hands" of people in the spirit world. These sisters amassed a fortune by causing to be painted, through "supernatural means," the likeness of the dead upon a canvas which was stretched across a window.
Rev. Mr. Osborn, after some study and praying hit upon a scheme of "angel painting." To a select circle of friends he demonstrated his ability along such lines, and then declared the Bangs sisters to be frauds and fakirs. These pictures, according to Rev. Mr. Osborn, are drawn by mental suggestion. Just how the mental suggestion is worked in he has not yet explained, but at the same time he charged the Bangs sisters with having deceived the people of Kansas City. that he himself is able to cause these "angel pictures" to appear at will is declared to be a fact by many people who have seen him do it.
THEY CHALLENGE HIM.
Soon after the minister made his charges they were carried to the Bangs sisters by their many friends and followers in Kansas City. The result was that the minister received a telegram yesterday from the Chicago Inter Ocean, the Bangs sisters, being now in Chicago, setting forth the following:
"The Bangs sisters will give you $1,000 if you can prove your charges. Wire if you accept."
Rev. Mr. Osborn did accept, and so wired the Inter Ocean. It was in calling these Bangs sisters fakirs that the spirit antagonism was aroused among the spiritualists present last night. Before Rev. Mr. Osborn began his expose he read the telegram which has been quoted, asking that at least a dozen of his audience remain after the performance in order to give him moral support for his undertaking in Chicago. A dozen of the audience did stay, more than a dozen, fifty of them in fact, spiritualists in a big majority.
"It's easy and perfectly simple," said the minister in his talk to them, concerning the "angel painting. It is done by the influence of mind and by that niche. There is absolutely nothing supernatural about the work. The picture which is handed to you is not the picture of the person who is dead. That is not an exact likeness. The painter is usually criticized for his work in details and so he finds it easy to correct the picture.
"For example: The Bang sisters painted a picture of a young lady who has been dead for some time. The eyes and other details were left very indistinct. The person who had applied for the picture objected, saying that her sister had darker and more distinct eyes than that. Of course the picture was immediately caused to disappear and other one which better suited to the gullible sister was painted in its place."
HAD TO TAKE A PICTURE.
"That is not so," said Mrs. F. Cushman, who had secured a picture of her dead sister from the Bangs sisters. "They do not make the changes. They didn't in mine, and I never heard of them doing it before. The Bangs sisters never knew my sister. They did not even know her first name. They had never seen a picture of her, for I have the only one in existence."
"Ah, there it is," broke in the minister. "You were told that it would be necessary for you to bring a picture to the seance, weren't you?"
"Yes, but it was sealed in an envelope when I went into the room. The Bangs Sisters did not see it before the picture was drawn."
The minister smiled condescendingly, but he did not ask Mrs. Cushman any more questions.
It developed that there were very few who would come out openly and side with the minister, while there were many who had absolute faith in the work and ability of the Bangs sisters.
"If he can do all that he says he can; if he can make pictures appear and stay like the Bangs sisters could, he wouldn't be in the ministry," remarked Mrs. Cushman to a gathering of her sympathisers. "There's too much money in the other business for that."
The Rev. Mr. Osborn held his peace. He says he will do the "angel painting" at his expose and lecture on the occult psychic phenomena at the Grand Avenue Methodist church.
Rev. Mr. Osborn's work last night was done to explain the method of hypnotism and mental suggestion. He explained the so-called visions people frequently have and are unable to explain. This explanation was that they are seen, but that the person is in such a condition, mentally, through much suggestion, impression or, mental shock that he transforms material objects until they look like the thing which he expects to see. Examples of making tigers out of tree stumps while walking up in the mountain wood; of a widow having seen he husband, who turned out to be a gate post, were given to illustrate his point.
Mental telepathy was explained by comparing it to wireless telegraphy, Rev. Osborn believing that certain brain cells in one individual are so constructed or convulsions so imprinted concerning like subjects, that by intense thinking the thought form one person may be transferred to the mind of another.
His tests last night were only with hypnotism. A group of young men went upon the rostrum of the church at his request and allowed themselves to be put under his hypnotic influence.
Rev. Mr. Osborn is the pastor of the Bennington Heights Methodist Church in this city. He has long made a study of the occult phenomena and is able to do many very mysterious things Tonight he will give the exposition of the "angel painting" work and illustrate and explain the methods of mind reading. The proceeds which are made from the lectures will go towards the building fund of the new Bennington Heights church.
Labels: Chicago, churches, con artist, Grand avenue, ministers, telegram
|Get the Book|
Kansas City Stories
Early Kansas City, Missouri
The Trial of Jesse James,
As an Amazon Associate this site may earn commissions from qualifying