August 6, 1909
KANSAN PUT IN IRONS.
Garnett Sheriff Takes No Chances
With Alleged Forger.
With his hands shackled to prevent his escape, Sidney Brunner, the alleged forger, was taken back yesterday to the Garnett, Kas., jail by Sheriff B. B. Babb of Garnett. He would not have been placed in irons but for threats told of by Detectives Frank Lyngar and Charles Lewis, who arrested him at Fairmount park the day previously.
"I'm either going to kill the sheriff or he will kill me," they say he said.
The sheriff did not want to take any chances and put a pair of handcuffs on Brunner.
Labels: detectives, fairmount park, forgery
August 5, 1909
DESERTED BY HIS GIRL
WHEN ARRESTED AT PARK.
Officers Charge Sidney Brunner
With Forging Check on Bank
of Kincaid, Kas.
Sidney Brunner, well dressed and handsome, who is said to have sawed out of the Garnett, Kas., jail July 29, where he was held on a charge of forging a check for $262 on the Bank of Kincaid, Kas., in June, was arrested at Fairmount park yesterday afternoon while with a young woman and taken to police headquarters.
The American Bankers' Association notified the Pinkerton detective agency that Brunner was at large and a detective was sent to a room in Kansas City where he had been stopping. Investigation of his trunk disclosed love letters from different young women in many cities, with pictures and locks of hair.
Brunner returned to Kansas City and a detective who, learning that he was enjoying an outing at Fairmount park yesterday afternoon, went there and saw Brunner jauntily coming up the gravel walk with a young woman on his arm. She was gazing into his eyes when the officer stepped up.
"You are under arrest," said the detective.
"You must be mistaken," remonstrated Brunner.
"I guess not," said the officer.
With her head in the air the young woman left both men and was lost in the crowd. The Pinkerton man called up the police headquarters and Detective Charles Lewis took Brunner to headquarters. Out of deference to his handsome face and good clothes he was lodged in the matron's room.
At one time Brunner was fireman on the Missouri Pacific. Later he became a motor car enthusiast and was employed as a chauffeur by several Kansas City families. He would disclose none of their names last night. He will return to Garnett with Sheriff B. B. Babb, who will arrive from there this morning.
Labels: detectives, fairmount park, forgery
May 5, 1909
PRISONER BETRAYED FRIEND.
When Minnesota Sheriff Went for
Food, Alleged Forger Decamped.
Because he was obliging and left his supposedly ill prisoner alone while he went to get him some tea and toast, Henry Terhaar, sheriff of Jackson county, Minn., lost Dr. Frank Hanson, whom he was taking to Minnesota from Colorado Springs to answer to a charge of forgery.
Sheriff Terhaar arrived in Kansas City with Hanson Monday afternoon. As Hanson had complained of illness before the train reached Kansas city, Terhaar took him to the Blossom house, engaged a room on the fifth floor and sent for a physician. Yesterday noon Hanson declared he was unable to arise. It was then that Terhaar went for food. When he returned Hanson had decamped.
Patrolman John Coughlin, stationed at the Union depot, after being shown a photograph of Hanson, declared that a man answering his description had boarded the Santa Fe train at 12:15 o'clock.
Hanson was the family physician of Sheriff Terhaar and the two men were friends. He is wanted on charges of forgery and embezzlement, the amount involved being about $8,000.
Labels: Blossom house, embezzlement, forgery, hotels, missing, police, Union depot, visitors
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
January 2, 1909
THERE'S A NEW WARDEN
AT THE CI TY JAIL.
NUMBER OF ESCAPEES FROM THE
CENTRAL STATION HOLDOVER.
Last Tuesday Night a Prisoner Even
Stole the Lock from the Hold-
over Door -- Some Noted
Prisoner With a Record Who Escaped From Central Station Holdover.
The monthly change list showing the assignments of police for January was posted yesterday. The changing of a jailer, as a rule, is of little not, but the list shows that Jailer Philip Welch has been removed from headquarters and made relief jailer, and jailer William Long, who was relief jailer, is stationed permanently at headquarters. Welch has been at headquarters over one year. In that time there were two jail deliveries on his watch.
On Decmeber 22 Patrolman J. D. Brown arrested James Douglass, alias Ryan alias martin. He was wanted in Boston for forgery and officers were notified to come for him. Douglass had the freedom of the corridor and gave little trouble. In fact, he made himself useful and gained the confidence of some of his keepers.
Last Tuesday, Chief of Detectives Thomas Sheehan and Detective Patrick J. Gaddis of Boston arrived here at 4 p. m. and at once went to headquarters and had a heart to heart talk with the prisoner. Of course he was willing to go back. He was very accommodating, even offering to stand half the night guarding himself on the way back and let the officers sleep.
At 9 o'clock Wednesday morning the Boston officers went to the station preparatory to taking their prisoner back. He was gone. So were four other prisoners, three city cases and a safe keeper.
DID HE TAKE THE LOCK?
The story then came out. Douglass had taken French leave of the city bastile about 2 a. m., leaving no future address. He had taken the lock from the main door leading into the holdover by removing the screws. Some say he took the lock with him -- just as a joke, it is supposed. Anyway, two officers have been guarding the opening ever since.
One of those who was taking advantage of the open door made too much noise about it as he ascended the iron stops, and in that manner Jailer Welch was aroused. He generally rested in a tilted chair right at the head of the stairs, but the prisoners went out a door leading from the first landing into the areaway back of the city hall. B. C. Stevens, the man taken back to Texarkana, Tex., Thursday, had an opportunity to gain his freedom, but refused. A new lock was being placed on the door yesterday.
On December 14 a man named Frank Madison was arrested by officers at No. 2 station on complaint of the Royal Brewing Company. He was sent to headquarters and the brewery people were on hand the next day to prosecute him. But he wasn't there. Somehow he was among the missing.
The police got Madison again in a few days, and asked him, "What became of you that time we sent you to headquarters and you weren't there the next day?"
"Oh, I just side-stepped the jailer," he said with a smile.
Some months ago there was a general free-for-all delivery. Twenty-three men got out. Saws were passed in from the outside and two lower bars were sawed and broken. Two desperate Greeks who were being held here for highway robbers and assault with intent to kill for Cripple Creek, Col., authorities, were believed to have been the instigators. They were afterwards recaptured, but it cost the Colorado authorities two trips here to get their men, they having arrived just after the delivery. A negro wanted in Alabama for murder was never recaptured and no attention was paid to the city cases that got away. Several plain drunks and safe keepers squeezed through the hole.
The two deliveries which occurred on Welch's watch are the only real jail breaking since the city holdover was built in 1886. One very small man, years ago, got into the air shaft which led to the top of the building and made his escape. How he did it no one has ever been able to explain. Others tried it after that but found their way blocked.
The man, Douglass, who removed the lock and left his compliments is said to be wanted in other places. On November 7 he was arrested at Twenty-second and Madison streets by Patrolman J. D. Brown and Jailer William Long. A saloonkeeper on the Southwest boulevard accused him of passing a bad check for $20.
Labels: Boston, breweries, detectives, forgery, jail, missing, police, police headquarters, saloon
December 30, 1908
BELIEVED 10 YEARS WOULD DO.
Opium User Asked Long Sentence So He Might Be Cured.
Charles Lewis, who forged a check, yesterday asked to be sent to the penitentiary.
"For ten years I have been a user of opium and I believe a prison sentence would cure me of the habit," he told Judge R. S. Latshaw in the criminal court.
Lewis was given five years, the minimum penalty. With good behavior he will finish his time in three years and three months.
Labels: criminal court, forgery, Judge Latshaw, narcotics, penitentiary
December 24, 1908
CHANCE FOR A DETECTIVE.
Maybe He Can Find Out Who Bun-
coed the City Detective Force.
Consternation reigns among about ten detectives at police headquarters. They have work to do, detective work, and each one is keeping from the other his course of action. They are all searching for a clue to the wag who so kindly made them each a present of a substantial check -- all of which turned out to be bogus. Each of the detectives received a letter containing a check, worded as follows:
"Dear Blank: Inclosed please find my check for $10 which please accept for past favors. Merry Xmas, W. D. Blank.
One guardian of the peace immediately set out and paid his grocery bill with his check. Another indorsed his and banked it. Still another, in need of some ready cash, saw Captain Frank F. Snow, property clerk, who was accommodating enough to cash the paper for him.
It is not for everybody to know, but one of them is said to have paid a little saloon bill with his, while one did a very unusual thing -- he paid his doctor bill. This little detective wanted to surprise his physician, and he did, as the doctor indorsed the check to another, to whom he has not got to make good.
It was not until yesterday morning that the ten detectives, who had been so especially remembered "for past favors" this Christmas, began to get together and talk through their noses to one another about the matter. Then they began to take notes by way of comparing the letters. All are in the same handwriting, which is poor and the spelling bad. But the detectives never noticed that. All they saw were the checks.
Labels: banking, detectives, forgery, police headquarters
September 24, 1908
GOOD NAME GONE;
NEIGHBORS SHUN HIM.
NONE OF THEM WOULD GO ON
Finally Lawyers Came to Rescue of
Man Who Is Accused of Forgery
and Attempted Wife
After much delay and no little impatience on the part of the many curious spectators who crowded the court room at Buckner, Mo., yesterday morning, W. A. Johnson, on trial on a charge of attempted wife murder, waived his preliminary hearing. He was bound over to the criminal court in $4,000 bond. Justice James Adams, before whom the case was called, at first placed the bond at $5,000.
"Your honor, don't you think that is a little stiff," asked T. A. J. Mastin, who represented the defendant. Our client can hardly raise $1,000."
After some argument, the matter being satisfactory to the state, the bond was lowered to $4,000. Then time was asked that the defendant might secure bondsmen. The judge granted one hour.
FRIENDS GONE -- ATTORNEYS HELP.
For several days previous to the trial Johnson had circulated among those who had been his friends in Buckner and Independence, trying to secure someone who would sign his bond. But when Tuesday came and he had no success he went among those in Buckner with whom he had never had business transactions, but to no avail. Sentiment in his home town is strongly against the man, and no one would give him help.
It was soon decided that no bondsmen could be secured and his attorneys, Mr. Masten and W. S. Fournoy, expressed their willingness to sign the bond. Immediately Johnson was released on bond he was rearrested on the charge of forgery, his wife declaring that he forged her name on a deed in January, 1908. As the warrant for his arrest on that charge had been sworn out in Independence, he was taken there by the marshal and the justice of the peace sought.
ARRESTED ON FORGERY CHARGES.
The party arrived at the court room late in the afternoon and the judge was not present; consequently the state expressed its willingness to let Johnson have his freedom under guard until the bond could be fixed this morning. Johnson's attorneys have signified their intention of signing the bond.
Johnson has aged remarkably within the past month. His extreme nervous manner has increased, and while the complaint which charged him with having struck his sleeping wife with the desire to kill her was being read by the judge, the defendant nervously fingered his hat and his hands trembled violently.
Mrs. Johnson, the victim of the assault, has been improving rapidly and is no longer confined to her bed. Yesterday afternoon in the presence of Prosecuting Attorney I. B. Kimbrell; his assistant Will Carmody, and her attorney, J. G. Paxton, she reviewed the whole case. Once, in telling of her endeavors to win Johnson from the kind of life which he had been leading, the woman, now wrinkled and still suffering from her severe wound, broke down and sobbed.
MRS. JOHNSON IN TEARS.
"Oh, why did he do it? He knew that he was breaking my heart." It was some minutes before she regained control of herself. The story of the life which she had been forced to endure within the past two years moved her vastly, and she could scarcely talk at times.
"When I first learned that he was associating with a Mrs. Howard of Kansas City, I went to him and begged him to leave her and come back to me," she said. "But he would not do it, and he tried to deceive me. It was always business that called him to the city every morning, and it was business that kept him there almost all of every week.
"In February of last year he insisted that I go to our ranch in Mexico. I did not want to go, but he was so urgent that I finally gave in to him, as I always did. He gave me $8 to spend on that month's trip, and I did not hear from him but once. I did not know then that he had been in Colorado with this other woman, but the night that I got home I heard that he had returned the day before.
SEARCHED HIS POCKETS.
"Something made me go through his pockets that night, and I found a receipted bill from the Savoy hotel in Denver made out to W. A. Johnson and Mrs. Howard of Kansas City. The bill was a very large one. I have it now.
"The next day I asked him how long he had been in Denver and hinted that I knew all about it. He did not say anything at all. But from time to time he would go away on long business trips and take this woman with him. In Mexico, where he usually went, I had friends, and they recognized him and Mrs. Howard. They told me about it, but I could not say anything to Dode (her husband's nickname) about it. Finally things got so bad that I told him I was going to leave him after threshing this fall and that we would divide up the property equally and he would go his way and I would go mine. Nothing was said by him to that proposition.
"When the wheat crop was in he got about $1,800 for it. I asked him for $25 to buy a new dress, and though he always promised it, he gave me less than half of the $25. Most of that I spent for things for him.
"But before then he had signed my name to a deed which transferred $1,000 worth of property. I never saw one cent of that money. He promised that he would make it all right, but he never did. I never threatened him with exposure, but he knew that I knew of the forgery. It made him afraid.
"Less that a month before that night (she referred so to the night of the assault) Dode came to me and told me he was going back to Mexico to settle up the ranch business. I told him that he would have to take me. He did not want to do so, but I said that I would follow him on the next train if he went without me. He wouldn't be able to lose me like he did his little niece whom I sent to Mexico to take care of him last fall. But he did not go and nothing more was said about the trip up to that night."
BOUGHT HOUSE FOR WOMAN.
Such, in part, is the story which Mrs. Johnson told her attorneys. She told about other women in Kansas City with whom Johnson had lived, one in particular. She said thatJohnson bought an expensive house for this woman on Bales avenue and furnished it luxuriously, with chairs which cost $150 apiece. But Johnson did not pay the bills he contracted in Buckner, she said. She always opened his mail and knew, for he could not read.
The prosecutor and those associated with him have no doubt that they can convict Johnson on both charges. They say that the forgery is a clear cut case and there is no way out of that. Though the assault case is purely circumstantial, Mr. Kimbrell believes that Johnson's own statement will convict him.
The state is very anxious to get the assault case to trial within the next two weeks and will make every effort to do so. Meanwhile, in Buckner, W. A. Johnson, once the most respected man in the community, walks the streets and is shunned by those who once called him their friend. He said yesterday that he intended spending the greater part of his time on his farm near the town.
Labels: Buckner, courtroom, Denver, domestic violence, forgery, Johnson assault case, Judges, lawyer, marriage, Mexico, Prosecutor Kimbrell
March 24, 1908
GAVE BOGUS CHECK FOR CAR.
Young Man of Many Names Says His
Parents Are Rich.
A desire to ride in an automobile for even a short space of time, caused the arrest last night of a man believed to be A. W. Martin of Quincy, Ill. A week ago this man called to Missouri Valley Automobile over the telephone telling the company that he wished to be a White steamer car, and asked that a demonstrator be sent to him at the Midland. The request was complied with and the man, who gave his name as Martin, was taken for a spin.
At the end of the drive Martin expressed himself as being satisfied with the machine and signed a check on the Kansas-Nebraska bank in Wichita, Kas., for $4,200. After some communication the bank in Kansas informed the automobile company that A. W. Martin never had money in that bank. Martin was taken to the garage and was accused of having tried to pass a worthless check in payment for the machine. He frankly admitted that he knew the check was worthless and gave no further explanation. He was then taken to police headquarters at the request of the Pinkerton detective agency.
At police headquarters the man first gave the name of John Jones, and later told the officers that his name was A. G. Dorkenwald, son of the owner of Dick Bros. brewery, at Quincy, and made out a draft upon Dorkenwald for the amount necessary to gain his release. While he was being searched, however, the name of A. W. Martin, Quincy, Ill., and the name of the tailor who had made his clothes were found sewed on his coat.
He was then locked up and upon further questioning said that his real name is Earl Frazer, and that he had formerly lived in Chicago with his parents who were very wealthy. He said that his father and mother are now in San Monico, Cal. Frazer, or whoever he might be, did not appear troubled over his arrest, saying that he had no doubt that his folks would see that he was soon released and the matter cleared.
Labels: automobiles, Chicago, con artist, forgery, Midland, police headquarters, Wichita
March 8, 1908
JUNIOR JIM THE PENMAN.
Sent to College, Clifford Webster Be-
gins to Write Checks.
Clifford Webster, a 16-year-old boy who has been living with E. A. Walmsley at 2508 Peery avenue and has been attending a local business college, learned to write checks at the college and tried to pass two of his own. The first one, drawn on the New Enland National bank, for $5, he got the money on. The second on the same bank for $18.75, purporting to have been given by J. R. Tomlin, was refused and City Detectives Keshler and McGraw nabbed the boy. He is being held in the detention home. The boy's father is dead, his stepfather lives in France, and Walmsley some months ago took him into his home and put him in school.
Labels: banking, children, detectives, detention home, forgery
March 3, 1908
TOO FREE WITH HIS PENCIL.
Four Years in Prison for Boy Who
Forged a Note.
"Please give Izzie 75 cents for the coat. Give him not less than 50 cents."
The name of Izzie's mother was on this note, addressed to a pawnbroker, but Izzie wrote the note himself. Izzie is hardly out of the swaddling clothes, but he had a weakness for doing little things in violation of the Missouri statutes. Some months ago he forged a check for $28. For this offense he was sentenced to four years in the reform school. Judge McCune paroled him, but when Izzie was hauled before his honor yesterday the old penalty was assessed. Both the father and mother of Izzie (their name is Miller, by the way) averred that Mrs. Miller really wrote the note, but the judge would not believe them.
Labels: children, forgery, Judge McCune, pawn brokers, reform school
December 14, 1907
VICTIM OF A CHECK FORGERY.
Much Bogus Paper Afloat Bearing
Avery Company's Name.
The Avery Manufacturing Company, Tenth and Santa Fe streets, has been annoyed for a week or more by a man who has been going about the city forging small checks on the firm. Between fifteen and twenty checks, ranging from $1.50 to $3, have been passed on to dry goods stores, saloons, and furnishing goods stores.
The checks are all made payable to a man named Joseph Barker, signed "Avery Manufacturing Company, J. Anderson, manager." They have been drawn on the First National Bank. The company has a stamp which it uses when signing its checks, but this forger does the work all by hand, so the firm reported to the police. An effort is being made to locate Barker, or the man who has been going under that name.
Labels: forgery, Santa Fe street, Tenth street
November 8, 1907
AN EPIDEMIC OF FORGERY.
Judge Wallace Reduced a Sentence, but
Will Grant No Paroles.
In the criminal court yesterday, H. O. McClung asked Judge Wallace to reduce the charge agaisnt him from forgery in the second degree to the third degree and allow him to make a plea of guilty.
"Yes, I will make you a present of three years out of the penitentiary by reducing the charge," Judge Wallace said. "That will make it only two years in prison and that's your sentence. Don't come back again and ask for parole, however, because I won't give it to you. There is an epidemic of forgery in this community. It seems that many persons think all they have to do when they need ten or twenty dollars is to go and forge a name to a check and cash it. That must stop. I am going to bear down on the crime of forgery. You have come in and held up your hands and said you are guilty. The man who bows to the law and gives up deserves some leniency, butbut he who defies the law may expect no compassion from this court."
Labels: criminal court, forgery, Judge Wallace, prison
October 11, 1907
HE CRIES FOR JUSTICE
NEALY HARRIS UNABLE TO GET BOND OR TRIAL.
Has Been in Jail Almost Two Years
on Charge of Forging His Mother's
Name -- Has Never Seen His
Child -- Grand Jury Takes Case.
Sunday theaters and matters of public interest were laid aside yesterday and the day was spent in searching out justice for Nealy Harris, a Blue Springs youth, who , awaiting trial on the charge of forging his mother's name, has been in the county jail for twenty-two months. During his imprisonment his father has died and his only child, whom he has never seen, has been born.
Leading men of Blue Springs, where Nealy's family live, and of Independence, where he disposed of $5,000 worth of alleged forged notes, were summoned by the jury. Among them was J. L. Prewitt, mayor of Independence and president of the Grain Valley bank' Matthew Wood, president and Hartley E. Warren, cashier of the Bank of Independence; J. G. Paxton, attorney; William A. Symington, Emmet E. Montgomery, G. N. Hughes, all of Independence; N. Utterback of Oak Grove and John H. Alkire of Blue Springs, and these relatives of Nealy Harris: Mrs. Mary Eliza Harris, mother; Mrs. Minnie Etta Harris, wife; Mrs. Anna Bridges, aunt, S. S. Holloway, brother-in-law, and V. Adams, father-in-law.
Nealy Harris's story is familiar to Blue Springs people, and the neighborhood is about evenly divided as to his guilt. On the one hand it is claimed that he has been a wild and reckless youth and abused the confidence of his mother by forging her name to paper upon which he collected money at the Independence banks. On the other hand, it is claimed that the papers were signed by his mother through the instrumentality of another, and that person, after inducing the mother to sign them, influenced her to repute them and her son. The mother has steadily refused to testify against the boy.
THE MOTHER FAINTED.
When Harris's case came up for trial last spring in Judge Porter's division of the criminal court, the mother, who had been subpoenaed by the state, fell in a faint in the court room. An immediate parole was offered Nealy, if he would lead guilty and take six months' sentence, but the youth insisted upon his innocence and refused to plead. The trial was then continued.
Prior to Harris's confinement in the county jail on December 5, 1905, from which place he has never been since, he was for a few days in an asylum in St. Joseph. He was discharged from that place by the authorities, who said he was sane.
Yesterday afternoon Harris was brought down from his cell on the fourth floor of the jail to talk with his mother. As he came came down the corridor Mrs. Minnie E. Harris, his wife, was led out of the way.
She was weak and practically helpless at the time and did not know Nealy was coming. She had come an hour before from the jury room, in which two men had half led and half carried her, and to bring back two men again were needed. When she was placed in a chair by the press room, just across the hall, she fainted.
NEVER SAW HIS CHILD.
"It is persecution, not prosecution," Nealy said from behind the bar that evening, after the jury had adjourned and his relatives had gone home.
"I have been in here nearly two years and have never seen my child, who was born a few weeks after my arrest. My father died January 19, 1906. I didn't know of it until my wife wrote to me a week later.
"I am not afraid of a trial. I wrote a note to the grand jury, urging them to investigate my case. I had read that they are good and true men."
The deputy marshals and jailers almost without exception believe his story. He has for over a year been in charge of the jail hospital, a considerable responsibility.
Labels: banking, Blue Springs, criminal court, forgery
August 1, 1907
HE SWINDLED LONG
CAPTURE OF MAN WHO VICTIM-
OLD HAND AT THE GAME
HAS DONE TIME IN PRISON FOR
Represented to R. A. Long That He
Would Give Him a Write-Up
in a Magazine and Was
Given a Check
Brought From Denver to Answer the
Charge of Victimizing R. A. Long.
Oliver Smith, alias H. O. Lee, alias Benton Smith, alias O. B. Smith, alias S. H. Peabody, alias James T. Ridgeway, said to be one of the cleverst swindlers and forgers in the United States, was brought to Kansas City yesterday by Detective Thomas McAnany, after waiving extradition.
HIS VICTIMS MANY.
Smith is wanted here to answer a sort of confidence game he is said to have worked upon many wealthy men all over the country. He represente dto Mr. Long that he was James T. Ridgeway, treasurer of the Ridgeway Publishing Company, publishers of Everybody's magazine. He contracted for an illustrated article, of which Mr. Long was to be the subject, to be printed in that periodical at an early date. In payment, Mr. Long gave him his check for $750 drawn on the National Bank of Commerce, which Smith indorsed as "James T. Ridgeway, Treasurer," and cashed through the Bankers' Trust Compay. Mr. Long later became suspicious fo the man and ordered the check cancelled, but not until Smith had obtained most of the money and gone to Denver.
Smith is said to have worked this game upon scores of wealthy men all over the country. His plan seems to have been to represent himself as the agent for a large publication, to which he obtains subscriptions, asking amounts that varied as the means fo the intended victim were small or great. He is supposed to have carried a list with him containing the names of the prominent men of the city he intended to work, and from these to have culledo ut the prospects that bade fair to be the best "picking." When arrested in Denver he was occupying a suxurious suite of rooms at the largest hotel there. He made no resistance to arrest when the Denver detectives found him, but quietly admitted his identity and acknowledged the transaction with Mr. Long in Kansas City. He is said also to have acknowledged to the chief of the Denver police that he had planned to swindle some of the leading capitalists of that city.
TRUNK FULL OF MEMORANDA.
In his trunk were found memoranda of the men he intended to victimize, forged letters of introduction bearing the signature of W. H. Moore, head of the Rock Island railroad, and George F. Baker, an Eastern banker, and letters of indorsement purporting to be written by men like John D. Rockerfeller, J. Pierpont Morgan, Elihu Root, and others. The forgeries were clever and likely to deceive even those familiar with the handwriting of the originals. In his room at the Denver hotel were found eight different kinds of ink with which he is said to have forged countless names.
It seems that the man's favorite game was to enter a city, select his victims, present his bogus credentials and attempt to secure subscriptions for magazine articles. Of adroit address, and armed with his forged letters of introduction, he was able to impose upon the cleverest businessmen, and relied largely upon their reluctance to tell the story to get him out of danger. In Denver he is said to have presented himself as representing the New York Herald Publishing Association, Syndicate of Fifty Representative Newspapers, Temple H. Hamilton, treasurer, and the "Men of the Time," from "Everybody's," S. H. Peabody, secretary. In Kansas City he passed as James T. Ridgeway, treasurer of the Ridgeway Publishing Company. It was under the last title that he obtained the check from R. A. Long.
SWINDLED SOME BIG ONES.
Among the past victims of the man are said to be Melville E. Stone, manager of the Associated Press, General Russell A. Alger, and Jesse Seligman, the New York banker. He is said to have served time in Sing Sing and the Minnesota and Ohio state penitentiaries for forgery. After his arrest in Denver he confessed his identity to Chief of Police Delaney and freely admitted that he was the notorious swindler and forger. In the Kansas City prison yesterday, however, he repudiated his interviews in the Denver papers and declared that he was not guilty of the gorgeries named. He admitted getting the money from Mr. Long, but claimed that he had made a bona fide contract and that he had signed his own name to the check given him in payment. Asked why he had given his name as Smith both here and at denver he said he was drunk and registered at the Savoy and Albany hotels in the two cities through a prank. He contradicted himself several times in his statements ot the newspaper reporters, however, and practically admitted everything he had been charged with.
An interesting light was thrown upon his method of working by a memorandum list found among his possessions, containing names of leading capitalists of Denver and remarks upon the best means of getting at them. Names only of important business men were selected and these were labeled with a running fire of comment that indicated his thorough familiarity with the personal charactaristics of each.
While in this city he was accompanied by a woman he says was his wife, who has disappeared since the news of his arrest in Denver.
PINKERTONS KNOW HIM WELL.
"Our agency is well acquainted with this man, whom we consider one of the cleverest criminals in the United States, said John A. Gustafson, assistant superintendent of the local Pinkerton office, "and our records are full of accounts of his misdeeds. He began his operations as an expert 'write-up man,' as we term the swindlers who use his peculiar method of operation, in New York in 1902. From there he went to Philadelphia in 1903, and pulled off one deal that netted him $10,000. From there he went to Cleveland, O., where he was caught uttering a forged check, and was given eight months in the county workhouse. In the fall of 1903 he was caught trying to work General Russel A. Alger on the write-up game in Detroit, Mich. After he got out of prison in Michigan he pulled off another little affair in New York, which got him a sentence in Sing Sing. He was liberated from there a few months ago, to turn up here in Kansas City at his old game."
That he is no ordinary swindler, the manner Smith "listed" his Denver victims is hsown in the following memoranda taken from his pocket when he was approached by the Denver police:
Senator Walsh -- Telephone him to his country place and then go out. Has a secretary who is a tough one.
Senator Guggenheim -- Just elected United States senator. Will make a splurge.
A. D. Parker -- Vice president Colorado & Southern. Is reputed to be worth $15,000,000, all made in mining. He has the distinciton of being the only man that grub staked a miner for twenty years, who after a number of years of hard luck finally won out. A great deal has been written about him in newspapers in this conneciton.
J. J. Hentry -- Again on his feet promoting sugar beet factories. Likes publicity.
E. J. Wilcox -- President of railroad and mining companies. Was at one time a minister and is probably worth $5,000,000. Is a good fellow and likes publicity.
John F. Campion -- Mining man' probably stands the highest of any man in the mining game in Colorado. Worth about $5,000,000. Does not care particularly about publicity, but has had several steel plates and is known to subscribe to everything. Always winters at Los Angeles, where he is a heavy investor and associates with millionaires of the East.
Thomas F. Daly -- Insurance president, good fellow; has made a million in a few years in insurance and mining.
Otto Mears -- Railroad and mining. Well known character in Colorado. Has the title "Pathfinder of the San Juan." Dont think he has over $500,000.
J. A. Thatcher -- President of bank; a good fellow and worth about $5,000,000.
Labels: banking, con artist, Denver, detectives, forgery, hotels, newspapers, R A Long
July 17, 1907
NO LENIENCY FOR THEM
FORGERY COLD BLOODED CRIME,
SAYS JUDGE WALLACE.
Men Who Wrongfully Use Other
Men's Names Must Hereafter
Expatriate Their Offenses
According to the Law.
"Hereafter I am not going to parole men who have been convicted of or have pleaded guilty to forgery, unless there are unusual mitigating circumstances," said Judge W. H. Wallace of the criminal court yesterday afternoon, as he granted a parole to Carroll A. Kirch, sentenced to two years in the penitentiary for forgery in the third degree.
"Forgery is a cold-blooded crime and the man who commits it is thoroughly bad. A man may steal a loaf of bread or commit an assault with but little previous thought. Good men often break the law hastily.
"But before a man can commits a forgery he must sit down and study whose name he is going to forge, who he can get to advance him money on the crime and what bank he will draw the paper on. A forger is of necessity a calculating criminal, and men of that character should not be paroled."
Kirch secured what promises to be the last parole granted to a forger in Judge Wallace's court through the efforts of his wife.
Whe Kirch went to jail his wife took service as a domestic in the home of a Kansas City preacher. She was able, through interesting the preacher in her husband's case, to get the indorsement of practically all of the congregation on his application for a parole. Judge Wallace made the parole conditional upon Kirch staying on the "water wagon" and providing for his wife and children.
Labels: banking, criminal court, forgery, Judge Wallace, ministers
July 12, 1907
ON SECOND FORGERY CHARGE.
Harris Again Helf for Trial on
Nealy Harris, a young farmer from near Independence, was bound over to the criminal court by Justice Shoemaker yesterday on a charge of forgery. One week ago Justice Shoemaker held him to the criminal court on the same charge. The sum of the first note alleged to have been forged was $500 and the second $450. In each note Harris' name was first signed, then the names of R. A. Harris, his father, M. E. Harris, his mother, and of W. S. Adams, his father-in-law. Adamis is the prosecuting witness. Harris' wife, who is his daughter, has been staying at Adams' house during the year that Harris has been in jail. It was on Harris' protest that he wanted trial without delay that the case was taken into the justice court. Adams, the father-in-law, says he did go on two notes for Harris, but both were for smaller sums, and to pay rental for the farm Harris lived on. The two notes for $500 and $450 he says were forged. The last one bears the date of April 17, 1906, and was for six months. It was long past due when Adams first heard of it, he says, through the banker who had cashed the note when made.
At the trial on the first charge a week ago, Harris attacked his father-in-law, striking him with his fists as soon as he was outside the court room and away from the watchful eye of Justice Shoemaker.
Labels: criminal court, forgery, Independence, Judge Shoemaker
|Get the Book|
Kansas City Stories
Early Kansas City, Missouri