#7 Edward Dinkelman

Edward Dinkelman (1843-19??), aka Eddie Miller, William Hunter, William B. Bowman — Shoplifter, Store Thief, Pickpocket

From Byrnes’ text:

DESCRIPTION. Forty-one years old in 1886. Born in Germany. Height, 5 feet 4 inches. Stout build. Dark hair, dark eyes, round face, dark complexion. Dresses well, and is very quick in his movements. Weight, about 150 pounds.

RECORD. Eddie Miller, the name by which he is best known, is a celebrated New York shoplifter. He generally works with his wife, Anna B. Miller. He is also a clever sneak, and occasionally turns his hand to hotel work. He was in prison in Chicago, Syracuse, and Canada, and is known in all the principal cities of America. Miller was arrested in New York City on March 23, 1880, for the larceny of three gold chains, valued at $100, from a jewelry store at 25 Maiden Lane. For this offense he pleaded guilty in the Court of General Sessions, New York, and was sentenced to two years in State prison on April 16, 1880, under the name of William Hunter. After his conviction and sentence he asked to be allowed to visit his home, on Sixth Avenue, for the purpose of getting some clothes and giving his wife some instructions in relation to his affairs. An officer of the court was sent with him, and while the officer was speaking to Miller’s wife, Miller sprang through an open doorway, cleared a flight of stairs in a few jumps, reached the street, and escaped. He was afterwards arrested in Chicago, Ill., and returned to New York to serve his sentence. Miller was arrested again in New York City for grand larceny, and sentenced to ten years in State prison, on May 16, 1884, under the name of William Bowman. His time will expire on September 16, 1890. Miller’s picture is a very good one.

Like many professional pickpockets and shoplifters, Edward Dinkelman lived a transient existence, making it difficult to trace his origins and connections. In all of his Sing Sing records, he indicated a birth year of 1843 and birthplace as Germany. He also identified his religion as Protestant, in contrast to one Kansas City Chief of Police, who judged his looks and accent to be Jewish.

Edward Dinkleman Pickpocket Portrait
Edward Dinkelman. Illustration  by David Birkey  http://cargocollective.com/dbillustration

No confirmed incidents involving Dinkelman in the U.S. predate 1880, but Byrnes indicates he had previously been jailed in Canada, and a Sing Sing entry notes that this occurred in 1874-1875. He was also said to have made a foreign tour as a thief, hitting London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna–but which year or years that trip took place is not known. As Byrnes notes, he was first arrested in New York in 1880 for stealing gold chains from a Maiden Lane jeweler; but was wanted in Boston for stealing silk from a store there several months earlier. He was sent to Sing Sing for two years, and was released in 1882, whereupon he was immediately rearrested and taken to Boston to face charges there, but the result was without serious consequences.

During the early 1880s, Dinkelman was abetted by a wife, Anna B. Miller; but sometime in the mid-1880s they stopped working together, and Dinkelman teamed up with other noted female pickpockets, such as Mag Williams and Jane “Jenny” Wildey. Dinkelman and Williams operated in Kansas City in the early part of 1883, prompting the Chief of Police to send out a warning to Nashville, Tennessee, that the pair might be headed there.

Typically, they would shoplift items by secreting them into special pockets inside their coats or skirts. They would then collect all their gleanings, put them in a trunk, and send them to their fence in a different city. Inevitably, if their lodgings were found and searched, loot would be found–which explains their frequent change of lodgings and use of a dizzying number of aliases.

By 1884, Dinkelman was back in New York, and in April was caught shoplifting goods from a cloakmaker. This earned him a second stay in Sing Sing, this time with a sentence of ten years. With time reduced, he was set free in 1890. Two years later, he was picked by New York detective. No stolen goods were found on him, but he was wearing his specially-tailored shoplifting overcoat. This was a crime in itself, similar to possessing burglar’s tools. For this, Dinkelman was sent away for five months.

Capture

In his 1895 edition, Chief Byrnes noted that Dinkelman was said to be living with and working with an infamous old female pickpocket, Mary Busby (who had separated from her pickpocket husband, Henry Busby, many years earlier). Just months after Byrnes mentioned that, Dinkelman and Mary Busby were arrested for stealing a coat; the police later found a trunkful of stolen goods in their residence. Eddie was sentenced to another four years and six months at Sing Sing.

Eddie was picked up by Philadelphia police in November, 1899, for trying to sell a stolen woman’s fur cloak on the street. His career from that point forward is not known.

 

Edward Dinkelman (#7)

Edward Dinkelman (1843-19??), aka Eddie Miller, William Hunter, William B. Bowman — Shoplifter, Store Thief, Pickpocket

Like many professional pickpockets and shoplifters, Edward Dinkelman lived a transient existence, making it difficult to trace his origins and connections. In all of his Sing Sing records, he indicated a birth year of 1843 and birthplace as Germany. He also identified his religion as Protestant, in contrast to one Kansas City Chief of Police, who judged his looks and accent to be Jewish.

Edward Dinkleman Pickpocket Portrait
Edward Dinkelman. Illustration  by David Birkey  http://cargocollective.com/dbillustration

No confirmed incidents involving Dinkelman in the U.S. predate 1880, but Byrnes indicates he had previously been jailed in Canada, and a Sing Sing entry notes that this occurred in 1874-1875. He was also said to have made a foreign tour as a thief, hitting London, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna–but which year or years that trip took place is not known. As Byrnes notes, he was first arrested in New York in 1880 for stealing gold chains from a Maiden Lane jeweler; but was wanted in Boston for stealing silk from a store there several months earlier. He was sent to Sing Sing for two years, and was released in 1882, whereupon he was immediately rearrested and taken to Boston to face charges there, but the result was without serious consequences.

During the early 1880s, Dinkelman was abetted by a wife, Anna B. Miller; but sometime in the mid-1880s they stopped working together, and Dinkelman teamed up with other noted female pickpockets, such as Mag Williams and Jane “Jenny” Wildey. Dinkelman and Williams operated in Kansas City in the early part of 1883, prompting the Chief of Police to send out a warning to Nashville, Tennessee, that the pair might be headed there.

Typically, they would shoplift items by secreting them into special pockets inside their coats or skirts. They would then collect all their gleanings, put them in a trunk, and send them to their fence in a different city. Inevitably, if their lodgings were found and searched, loot would be found–which explains their frequent change of lodgings and use of a dizzying number of aliases.

By 1884, Dinkelman was back in New York, and in April was caught shoplifting goods from a cloakmaker. This earned him a second stay in Sing Sing, this time with a sentence of ten years. With time reduced, he was set free in 1890. Two years later, he was picked by New York detective. No stolen goods were found on him, but he was wearing his specially-tailored shoplifting overcoat. This was a crime in itself, similar to possessing burglar’s tools. For this, Dinkelman was sent away for five months.

Capture

In his 1895 edition, Chief Byrnes noted that Dinkelman was said to be living with and working with an infamous old female pickpocket, Mary Busby (who had separated from her pickpocket husband, Henry Busby, many years earlier). Just months after Byrnes mentioned that, Dinkelman and Mary Busby were arrested for stealing a coat; the police later found a trunkful of stolen goods in their residence. Eddie was sentenced to another four years and six months at Sing Sing.

Eddie was picked up by Philadelphia police in November, 1899, for trying to sell a stolen woman’s fur cloak on the street. His career from that point forward is not known.

 

#6 Thomas Leary

Thomas Lewis (Abt. 1855-19??), aka Thomas Leary, Kid Leary, George R. Briggs, Leonard Graham, Walter H. Kimball — Sneak thief, Bank robber

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Thirty years old in 1886. Medium build. Height, 5 feet 6 inches. Dark red hair. Eyes, bluish gray. Complexion, light. Born in New Orleans. Weight, 120 pounds. Married.

RECORD. “Kid” Leary, alias George R. Briggs, was arrested in New York City on October 24, 1877, in company of Langdon W. Moore, alias Charley Adams, charged with being implicated in the robbery of the Cambridge National Bank of Cambridge, Mass., September 26, 1877, when bonds and securities amounting to $50,000 were stolen. He was not returned to Massachusetts in this case, for lack of identification, but was held in New York for the larceny of a trunk containing gold and silver jewelry. The facts were that on May 12, 1877, the firm of Ailing Brothers & Co., of Worcester, Mass., shipped a trunk containing $9,000 worth of jewelry from Worcester to Hartford, Conn., to their agent, who discovered that the checks had been changed and the trunk stolen. It was traced from Hartford to a New York hotel, and from there to Baltimore, Md., where it was found empty. Leary was identified as the party who received the trunk at the hotel and shipped it to Baltimore. A portion of the contents was found in the house where Leary was arrested, in New York City. His case was set down for trial on November 8, 1877, but was adjourned until November 20, 1877, when he was convicted and sentenced to five years in State prison for the offense. See record of No. 26.

Leary was again arrested in Baltimore, Md., on October 3, 1881, charged with robbing the South Baltimore Permanent Mutual Loan and Savings Association. He was found guilty and sentenced to five years in State prison on October 21, 1881, under the name of Walter H. Kimball. Allowing him his full commutation time, he was discharged on December 21, 1885. His picture is a good one, taken some eight years ago. He has filled out more now.

Thomas Lewis was not an especially daring or successful thief. As is the case with several other profiles of Inspector Byrnes, newspaper clippings and the Sing Sing intake records reveal more about Lewis’s beginnings than the chief detective. Lewis was first arrested under a name that Byrnes only mentioned in his 1895 edition –Thomas Lewis–despite the fact that Sing Sing records indicate this was his intake name two times, in 1874 and again in 1893. Moreover, his 1874 arrest for Grand Larceny also indicated that he was from Boston (not New Orleans, at Byrnes indicates) and that his parents were Thomas and Mary Lewis of 11 Newton Street in Boston. His crime in 1874 was in stealing $1200 from a ticket agent of the LIRR.

About a year after his release from Sing Sing, in October of 1877, Lewis was arrested as “George Briggs” by New York detectives for the robbery of the Cambridge National Bank of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lewis was rounded up at his residence along with his girlfriend and notorious bank thief Langdon Moore and his wife Rebecca. However, no evidence was found, and the quartet was released.

A month later, in November, 1877, Lewis was arrested again for stealing a trunk with $10,000 worth of jewelry from a salesman by arranging for the trunk to be diverted at a railroad depot. Lewis, using the alias George R. Briggs, was identified as the man who requested the trunk to be sent to an address in Baltimore. Later, one of the bracelets in the trunk was found in possession of Lewis’s girlfriend, Elizabeth Hill. Lewis was convicted of this crime and sent to Sing Sing for a term of five years.

With time reduced,  Lewis was free by 1881. Lacking experienced companions, Lewis rashly decided to commit an armed robbery of a Baltimore bank in October, 1881. Lewis pointed a revolver at a cashier while another man went behind the counter, beat the cashier, and swept $252 into a denim bag. Lewis was nabbed coming out of the bank by a patrolman. He was sent to a Maryland prison for five years under the name Walter H. Kimball. With time reduced, he was free again in December, 1885.

In early 1890, the Pinkertons believed that Leary was roaming the country with George Bell and Rufe Minor.

Over the next years, Lewis was either a very good thief or simply inactive. He was not heard from again until 1893, when he was arrested for concealing a kit of burglar’s tools–possession of which was a felony. He was sentenced to another five years at Sing Sing under his name, Thomas Lewis. Back on the streets of New York in 1899, Lewis was arrested on suspicion on June 29, 1899–but there was no evidence that could be found against him, so he was cut loose.

A year later he was captured as “Leonard Graham,” for attempting to crack a safe belonging to H. Reinhardt, Son, and Co., New York dry goods dealers. During his trial, Lewis behaved with the fatalistic noblesse oblige of a veteran criminal. He refused to name his accomplice: “The other fellow simply helped me. I got him into it. It wouldn’t be fair to tell on him. You’ve got me dead and I’ll take the consequences.” Lewis also apologized and shook hands with his accusers from the Reinhardt office, and helpfully informed them that one of the dynamite charges in the safe had not gone off, and was likely still lodged inside. For his gentility, Lewis was allowed to enter prison under the name Thomas J. Leary as a first-time offender, which assured his release before 1903.

Perhaps seeking different luck, Lewis went west. He was arrested in Waukesha, Wisconsin in February, 1903, for his involvement in the robbery of the Eagle Bank. He gave his name as Thomas McKay; it was weeks before photographs came from New York that confirmed to authorities that they had Thomas Lewis, aka the notorious bank robber Kid Leary. However, all they could convict him on was a charge of horse-stealing, so Lewis only did a year in at the Wisconsin State Prison in Waupun. Upon walking out, Lewis migrated to Chicago, where detectives jumped him while he was sleeping in his boarding house room. He was later released with no charges.

Perhaps Lewis’s better instincts finally prevailed; he was never heard from again.

Thomas Lewis (#6)

Thomas Lewis (Abt. 1855-19??), aka Thomas Leary, Kid Leary, George R. Briggs, Leonard Graham, Walter H. Kimball — Sneak thief, Bank robber

Thomas Lewis was not an especially daring or successful thief. As is the case with several other profiles of Chief Byrnes, newspaper clippings and the Sing Sing intake records reveal more about Lewis’s beginnings than the chief detective. Lewis was first arrested under a name that Byrnes only mentioned in his 1895 edition –Thomas Lewis–despite the fact that Sing Sing records indicate this was his intake name two times, in 1874 and again in 1893. Moreover, his 1874 arrest for Grand Larceny also indicated that he was from Boston (not New Orleans, at Byrnes indicates) and that his parents were Thomas and Mary Lewis of 11 Newton Street in Boston. His crime in 1874 was in stealing $1200 from a ticket agent of the LIRR.

About a year after his release from Sing Sing, in October of 1877, Lewis was arrested as “George Briggs” by New York detectives for the robbery of the Cambridge National Bank of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lewis was rounded up at his residence along with his girlfriend and notorious bank thief Langdon Moore and his wife Rebecca. However, no evidence was found, and the quartet was released.

A month later, in November, 1877, Lewis was arrested again for stealing a trunk with $10,000 worth of jewelry from a salesman by arranging for the trunk to be diverted at a railroad depot. Lewis, using the alias George R. Briggs, was identified as the man who requested the trunk to be sent to an address in Baltimore. Later, one of the bracelets in the trunk was found in possession of Lewis’s girlfriend, Elizabeth Hill. Lewis was convicted of this crime and sent to Sing Sing for a term of five years.

Capture2

With time reduced,  Lewis was free by 1881. Lacking experienced companions, Lewis rashly decided to commit an armed robbery of a Baltimore bank in October, 1881. Lewis pointed a revolver at a cashier while another man went behind the counter, beat the cashier, and swept $252 into a denim bag. Lewis was nabbed coming out of the bank by a patrolman. He was sent to a Maryland prison for five years under the name Walter H. Kimball. With time reduced, he was free again in December, 1885.

Over the next eight years, Lewis was either a very good thief or simply inactive. He was not heard from again until 1893, when he was arrested for concealing a kit of burglar’s tools–possession of which was a felony. He was sentenced to another five years at Sing Sing under his name, Thomas Lewis. Back on the streets of New York in 1899, Lewis was arrested on suspicion on June 29, 1899–but there was no evidence that could be found against him, so he was cut loose.

A year later he was captured as “Leonard Graham,” for attempting to crack a safe belonging to H. Reinhardt, Son, and Co., New York dry goods dealers. During his trial, Lewis behaved with the fatalistic noblesse oblige of a veteran criminal. He refused to name his accomplice: “The other fellow simply helped me. I got him into it. It wouldn’t be fair to tell on him. You’ve got me dead and I’ll take the consequences.” Lewis also apologized and shook hands with his accusers from the Reinhardt office, and helpfully informed them that one of the dynamite charges in the safe had not gone off, and was likely still lodged inside. For his gentility, Lewis was allowed to enter prison under the name Thomas J. Leary as a first-time offender, which assured his release before 1903.

Perhaps seeking different luck, Lewis went west. He was arrested in Waukesha, Wisconsin in February, 1903, for his involvement in the robbery of the Eagle Bank. He gave his name as Thomas McKay; it was weeks before photographs came from New York that confirmed to authorities that they had Thomas Lewis, aka the notorious bank robber Kid Leary. However, all they could convict him on was a charge of horse-stealing, so Lewis only did a year in at the Wisconsin State Prison in Waupun. Upon walking out, Lewis migrated to Chicago, where detectives jumped him while he was sleeping in his boarding house room. He was later released with no charges.

Perhaps Lewis’s better instincts finally prevailed; he was never heard from again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#11 John Larney

John Larney (1836?-19??), aka Mollie or Molly Matches, et al. — Pickpocket, Bank Burglar

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Forty-seven years old in 1886. Born in United States. Married. No trade. Stout build. Height, 5 feet 7 inches. Weight, 160 pounds. Brown hair, hazel eyes. Wears a No. 7 shoe, and generally wears a full dark beard. He has two upper teeth out on right side; also a small India-ink mark between thumb and forefinger of left hand. Straight nose. Part of an anchor on one arm.

RECORD. “Mollie Matches,” or John Larney, which is his right name, although a talented thief, was always an outspoken one. He makes his home in Cleveland, O.; wears fine clothes, which is his weakness; seldom indulges in liquor, never to excess; he has an aversion to tobacco. When he settled down in Cleveland, in 1875, he said he was going to live honestly if the police would let him. For some reason or another he failed to do so. The great fault with Mollie was the freedom with which he talked of his affairs, to which failing he ultimately owed his downfall.

The act that made Larney notorious and gave him his alias was on the occasion of a large celebration in New York City, when he was a boy. He disguised himself as a match girl, and, basket in hand, mingled with the crowds in the streets. Being slight in form and having delicate features, the boy had no difficulty in carrying out the deception. His day’s work, it is said, netted him over $2,000, and the nickname of “Mollie Matches.” During the war Mollie attained great eminence as a bounty jumper. He says that he enlisted in ninety-three Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New York regiments.

Being of a frugal disposition, and having an eye to comfort in his old age, he invested in property in Toronto and Silver Creek, Canada, which he still holds under the name of John Dolan. Later he bought real estate in Cleveland, O. Mollie Matches has become pretty well known all over the United States. At the age of thirty-three years he had served eleven years in various reformatories and penal institutions, and was still indebted twelve years’ time to others from which he had escaped. He still owes six years to a Massachusetts State prison where he was sentenced to for seven years. He staid there just nine months; he had the freedom of the jail-yard on account of his eyesight failing him; he finally recovered his liberty and eyesight both.

About seven years after his escape he was again sent to the same prison, which was in Salem, and served a sixteen months’ sentence without being recognized. The adventures through which this man passed are wonderful. He is believed to have realized by his tricks about $150,000, a large portion of which he has paid out lately to lawyers. Mollie was convicted at Galesburg, Ill., for robbing the Farmers’ and Mechanics’ Bank of that city, and was sentenced to ten years in State prison at Joliet, Ill., on July 17, 1882. At a trial in Cleveland, O., on January 14, 1885, the above bank obtained a judgment of $12,000 against Mollie. An associate of his, Eddie Guerin, testified on this trial as follows:

“After I had concluded that the Galesburg Bank was an easy one to work, I sent for ‘Mollie Matches’ and two others. They agreed with me. One of them went to a neighboring town and hired a horse and wagon containing a large dry goods box. We hitched the team near the bank about noon. ‘Mollie’ watched the president and treasurer go out of the bank, and immediately entered it and went to the cashier and proceeded to buy a New York draft, with small silver, making much noise. Another man stood near by holding up a paper that screened the third man, who sneaked in and took $9,600 off the desk alongside the cashier, while Mollie was arguing with him about the draft. Mollie admitted to the cashier that he had made a mistake as to the amount of money he had with him, and gathering up what he had, said he would go for some more.”

Once outside, the ‘look-out,’ the sneak and Mollie (the ‘stall’) jumped into the wagon, and were driven by the fourth man to the railroad depot, and all escaped.

It was months afterwards that Mollie was arrested in Cincinnati, O., on December 21, 1881, and taken back to Galesburg for trial. His picture is a fair one, although a copy.

John Larney, known better as “Molly Matches,” was perhaps the most well-known American pickpocket of the nineteenth century. Chief Byrnes’ account of his career is basically correct, but four years earlier, in 1882, the Cleveland Leader published its own biographical account of Larney’s origins that is richer in detail (and likely more accurate):

bio

molly-matches
John Larney/Mollie Matches. Illustration by David Birkey http://cargocollective.com/dbillustration

Following the Civil War (in which he admirably enlisted–by his count–93 times in order to receive the bounties), Larney settled in Cleveland, Ohio, and bought some property under the name John Dolan. He married a Cleveland woman, Mary Sullivan, in August 1866. He opened a saloon, but most of his income came from long-distance pickpocket tours. He knew every technique of working crowds, train stations, seaside resorts, fairs, passenger steamers…anyplace people jostled together. Often, Larney directed a team that worked in conjunction with one another: one creating a distraction, one stalling the victim with a bump or misdirection, another dipping into pockets or purses, and another cruising quickly past to take the purloined property from the “dip.” But in a pinch, Larney could work alone.

Chief Byrnes points out that Larney was a versatile criminal, as witnessed by his involvement in a robbery by sneak thieves of a bank in Galesburg, Illinois in July, 1879. The gang included Jimmy “Nosy Jones” Carroll (aka “Red-Headed Jimmy”), Patrick”Paddy” Guerin, and Billy Burke (a husband of Sophie Lyons). With the spoils, Larney bought property in Canada under the name “John Dolan,” and while there also decided to acquire a second wife, Catharine Flight.

During the period around 1879-1880, there’s an anecdote about Larney that demonstrates one of his talents:

Capture

Examples of the different looks of Molly Matches can be found in Grannan’s pocket guide to criminals:

Larney was tracked down for the Galesburg robbery in 1881–which precipitated his divorce from Mary Sullivan–and in 1882 was sent to Joliet on a ten-year sentence. With time reduced, he was freed in the fall of 1888.

He returned briefly to Cleveland before embarking on a pickpocket tour of Ontario with his friend Joe Dubuque. He was arrested in Toronto, but turned loose for lack of evidence. He returned to Ohio, only to be nabbed for plying his skills in Ashtabula County in mid-1889. That slip sent Larney to the Ohio State Penitentiary from 1889 to 1892.

After this release from prison, Larney returned to Ontario; in Toronto he was arrested for fleecing an English gentleman–not by picking his pockets–but by running a con game. Escaping a serious sentence, Larney invaded Vermont and was caught picking pockets in Burlington, Vermont, in 1894. This resulted in a prison term of four years.

Upon his release in 1898, Larney went back to Canada and was arrested for picking pockets; but while detained, officials there realized that the old bigamy charge against Larney had never been resolved, so he was sent to St.-Vincent-de-Paul Penitentiary on a seven-year sentence, which with reduced time allowed him freedom by 1904.

Molly Matches was now about sixty-eight years old; ten years earlier, authorities thought that he was too old to pick pockets. Nonetheless, Larney teamed up with an even older criminal, known by the aliases “W. H. Bankhard,” “Joseph Brown,” and “W. H. Brown,” and “William Phillips.” [None of these names match notorious criminals; could it have been the infamous Chicago pickpocket, Cabbage Ryan? Or Joe Dubuque?] They also recruited some younger accomplices, and set out on a pickpockets’ tour. They were arrested together in York, Pennsylvania; but were soon released.

The old pickpockets then traveled across the country to Southern California, with the object of hitting fairs, funerals, and passengers trains going up the Pacific coast. Starting around Christmas, 1904, along with two young assistants they were responsible for a string of reported robberies on passengers on trains and at streetcar depots between San Diego and Los Angeles. They were briefly detained, but on release hit the crowds at the funeral of Jane Lathrop Stanford.

The gang passed through San Francisco on their way to Portland, where the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition was underway. Police now had matched the descriptions of the Los Angeles detainees and knew that Larney was leading the gang. Alerts appeared in papers in San Francisco, San Jose, Portland, and Tacoma. By the time the four men arrived in Tacoma, detectives were ready for them. They were arrested on suspicion, and the news was blared on page one:

19050627tacomadailynews

Larney took the setback in stride, and appeared jaunty and healthy when posed for his picture, sporting a white goatee and a captain’s hat:

Image1

Larney, with or without his companions, left Tacoma and was back east by August, 1905. He was picked up by Philadelphia detectives who had chased him to Somers Point, near Atlantic City, New Jersey. That was his final known misadventure.

John Larney (#11)

John Larney (1836?-19??), aka Mollie or Molly Matches, et al. — Pickpocket, Bank Burglar

John Larney, known better as “Molly Matches,” was perhaps the most well-known American pickpocket of the nineteenth century. Chief Byrnes account of his career is basically correct, but four years earlier, in 1882, the Cleveland Leader published its own biographical account of Larney’s origins that is richer in detail (and likely more accurate):

bio

molly-matches
John Larney/Mollie Matches. Illustration by David Birkey http://cargocollective.com/dbillustration

Following the Civil War (in which he admirably enlisted–by his count–93 times), Larney settled in Cleveland, Ohio, and bought some property under the name John Dolan. He married a Cleveland woman, Mary Sullivan, in August 1866. He opened a saloon, but most of his income came from long-distance pickpocket tours. He knew every technique of working crowds, train stations, beach resorts, passenger steamers…anyplace people jostled together. Often, Larney directed a team that worked in conjunction with one another: one creating a distraction, one stalling the victim with a bump or misdirection, another dipping into pockets or purses, and another cruising quickly past to take the purloined property from the “dip.” But in a pinch, Larney could work alone.

Chief Byrnes points out that Larney was a versatile criminal, as witnessed by his involvement in a robbery by sneak thieves of a bank in Galesburg, Illinois in July, 1879. The gang included Jimmy “Nosy Jones” Carroll (aka “Red-Headed Jimmy”), Patrick”Paddy” Guerin, and Billy Burke (a husband of Sophie Lyons). With the spoils, Larney bought property in Canada under the name “John Dolan,” and while there also decided to acquire a second wife, Catharine Flight.

During the period around 1879-1880, there’s an anecdote about Larney that demonstrates one of his talents:

Capture

Examples of the different looks of Molly Matches can be found in Grannan’s pocket guide to criminals:

Larney was tracked down for the Galesburg robbery in 1881–which precipitated his divorce from Mary Sullivan–and in 1882 was sent to Joliet on a ten-year sentence. With time reduced, he was freed in the fall of 1888.

He returned briefly to Cleveland before embarking on a pickpocket tour of Ontario with his friend Joe Dubuque. He was arrested in Toronto, but turned loose for lack of evidence. He returned to Ohio, only to be nabbed for plying his skills in Ashtabula County in mid-1889. That slip sent Larney to the Ohio State Penitentiary from 1889 to 1892.

After this release from prison, Larney returned to Ontario; in Toronto he was arrested for fleecing an English gentleman–not by picking his pockets–but by running a con game. Escaping a serious sentence, Larney invaded Vermont and was caught picking pockets in Burlington, Vermont, in 1894. This resulted in a prison term of four years.

Upon his release in 1898, Larney went back to Canada and was arrested for pickpocketing; but while detained, officials there realized that the old bigamy charge against Larney had never been resolved, so he was sent to St.-Vincent-de-Paul Penitentiary on a seven-year sentence, which with reduced time allowed him freedom by 1904.

Molly Matches was now about sixty-eight years old; ten years earlier, authorities thought that he was too old to pick pockets. Nonetheless, Larney teamed up with an even older criminal, known by the aliases “W. H. Bankhard,” “Joseph Brown,” and “W. H. Brown,” and “William Phillips.” [None of these names match notorious criminals; could it have been the infamous Chicago pickpocket, Cabbage Ryan? Or Joe Dubuque?] They also recruited some younger accomplices, and set out on a pickpocketing tour. They were arrested together in York, Pennsylvania; but were soon released.

The old pickpockets then traveled across the country to Southern California, with the object of hitting fairs, funerals, and passengers trains going up the Pacific coast. Starting around Christmas, 1904, along with two young assistants they were responsible for a string of reported robberies on passengers on trains and at streetcar depots between San Diego and Los Angeles. They were briefly detained, but on release hit the crowds at the funeral of Jane Lathrop Stanford.

The gang passed through San Francisco on their way to Portland, where the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition was underway. Police now had matched the descriptions of the Los Angeles detainees and knew that Larney was leading the gang. Alerts appeared in papers in San Francisco, San Jose, Portland, and Tacoma. By the time the four men arrived in Tacoma, detectives were ready for them. They were arrested on suspicion, and the news was blared on page one:

19050627tacomadailynews

Larney took the setback in stride, and appeared jaunty and healthy when posed for his picture, sporting a white goatee and a captain’s hat:

Image1

Larney, with or without his companions, left Tacoma and was back east by August, 1905. He was picked up by Philadelphia detectives who had chased him to Somers Point, near Atlantic City, New Jersey. That was his final known misadventure.

#202 Charles Williamson

Charles H. Perrin (Abt. 1844-191?), aka Charles Stevens, Charles J. Williamson, Charles P. Hall, Charles Cherwood, George A. Vincent, etc.   — Burglar, forger, swindler

Link to Byrnes’s entry on #202 Charles Williamson

Chief Inspector Byrnes named Perrin as “Charles Williamson, alias Perrine” and described him as “one of the most extraordinary criminals this country has ever produced.” “Extraordinary” may have been the right word, but should not be equated with “successful” or “skilled.” Most of Perrin’s adult life was spent behind bars, and his main talent was sheer brazenness.

Perrin was born to Solon and Jane Perrin of Fort Covington, New York, just a few miles from the St. Lawrence River on the Little Salmon River. The Perrins were respectable people in the community; by one account Solon served as a physician, and by another he acted as Sheriff. Charles was mentioned as being noted at school for his “careless and daredevil performances.” His father Solon became ill in the mid 1850s, and died when Charles was thirteen. Charles was taken in by his uncle, Henry J. Perrin, who found work for him in the printing shop of the Franklin Gazette, located in Fort Covington.

Charles, at age 18, joined the Union Army when the Civil War broke out, though little is known of his service record. At the close of the war, he returned to New York City, where he found employment as a printer foreman in the stationers/publishers shop of Scott & Porter on Fulton Street. One night in January, 1866, one of the proprietors, Mr. Porter, from the street saw someone entering the locked storefront with a key–no one was supposed to be there. Porter summoned the police, and after a search they found Perrin inside, trying to hide himself under pieces of coal in the coal bin. He was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to three years at Sing Sing State Prison.

Byrnes cites an 1869 warehouse robbery on Howard Street as one of Perrin’s crimes, committed under the alias of Stevens, but the crime occurred on January 24th a mile away at 12 Dey St., at the location of Hugh McKay, silk importers. Perrin was arrested and convicted under the name Charles Stevens, and given a sentence of 4 years six months at Sing Sing. [Note that Sing Sing’s intake registers for these months of late 1868-early 1869 do not exist, so the evidence is only found in newspaper accounts.] After his release in mid 1873–having made many criminal contacts while behind bars–Perrin moved on to the realm of forgeries–not as the “penman,” but as a self-assured front man whose job it was to gain the trust of suspicious financial bankers and trade fraudulent stock bonds.

In mid-1873, Perrin joined with a half dozen other criminal luminaries in a giant conspiracy to flood Wall Street with forged railroad company bonds. The ringleaders of this endeavor were  longtime criminals Andrew L. “Andy” Roberts and Valentine “Frank” Gleason, an engraver who was born into a family of counterfeiters. Joining the ring were Spencer “Spence” Pettis, an ambitious but weaselly forger; Walter Sheridan (#8), one of the most successful thieves and forgers of the 19th century; and Steve Raymond (#55), an English forger. Two others provided support in the form of references and introductions: shady broker Charles B. Orvis and a wealthy New York dental surgeon with many unsavory associations, Dr. Alvah Blaisdell (misspelled by Byrnes as “Blaisell”).

Perrin escaped from capture of the ring members with his share: between $80,000-$100,000. He then likely headed to England with Steve Raymond. However, he impetuously decided to come back to New York in 1875 and posed as Charles Farnham, an investment banker looking to enter a partnership with a legitimate brokerage firm. He was taken in by Rollins Brothers, bankers. While there he tried to insert forged bonds into the company’s transactions, but was discovered before much damage could be done. He was arrested and kept locked up in the Tombs, the city detention center, until his trial in October, 1876. He was hit with forty-eight indictments dating back to the 1873 railroad bond forgeries, so the sentence passed on him was stiff: ten years, plus another five. He was sent back to Sing Sing that month.

Sing Sing had a justly deserved reputation for holes in its security, which did not take long for Perrin to exploit. In 1904, a former prisoner, known only as “Number 1500,” recalled “Charley” Perrin, aka Williamson:

“Although he was a bold and merciless crook, he was an exceedingly well-educated man, and he could think harder and longer than any one else I ever met in prison. His mind must have had magnificent training from some competent person, for he could quickly acquire knowledge and retain it in its original accuracy apparently for an indefinite time. His mental equipment was peculiar in that it exhibited a remarkable power in every task to which he applied it, except in the development of a criminal project. In this line, his own chosen life, he had no more ability than an idiot. He often explained to me plans for some stupendous rascality that were so foolish as to lead me to doubt his sanity. Certainly nature never intended him for a rogue. He had, however, succeeded in one great criminal undertaking and obtained a large sum of money, the credit of which enterprise he unjustly claimed from his more capable associates…

“…It was on a warm June night of the next year [1877] that Williamson took his departure. He was employed in the bakery, then situated on the river front, and his occupation demanded his labor in the evening after the other inmates had been locked in their cells. The darkness of night had just fallen when the bakery was discovered to be on fire. In the excitement of extinguishing the flames Williamson’s flight was not for a time discovered. He had eluded the guards and run along the river front northward to the railway station. There he entered the Hudson and swam to its channel, a mile and a half away. He remained in the water until nearly midnight when he hailed the captain of a passing boat bound for New York. He impressed the master of the vessel with his sincerity in offering a liberal reward for his aid and in due time was landed in the city. The promise of substantial pay was faithfully redeemed and in a few weeks Williamson was safe in England. There he found friends who, like himself, had fled their country for their own and their country’s good and engaged with them in a scheme to rob a great London bank.”

Byrnes’ summary of Perrin’s time in England are correct; he fell in with some other American forgers, tried to pass altered checks against the Central Bank of London, Southwark branch, and was captured. Perrin was sentenced to ten years at Newgate Prison under the name Charles Cherwood. There, he demonstrated some of his “stupendous rascality” by suggesting he be employed by British authorities:

 

18801024londonobserver

Instead, British prosecutors suggested to Perrin that his sentence could be reduced simply by informing against his accomplices in England: Dan Noble, John “Clutch” Donohue, and Joe Chapman. Perrin complied, and was released in 1883 after serving half of his sentence.

Perrin returned to the United States via Canada, came to New York briefly, and headed west, to St. Louis. There he was caught on February 28, 1884 attempting to pass an altered check at the St. Louis National Bank. He gave his name as “George A. Vincent,” but papers found on him included letters and clippings indicating that he was a seasoned forger. His identity was confirmed by New York detectives, but proceedings against him in St. Louis continued. He was convicted and sentenced to ten years in the Missouri State Prison at Jefferson City.

Perrin was released from Jefferson City in August, 1892, having had two years reduced from his sentence. Waiting for him at the prison gate were officers from New York, who arrested him and took him back to Sing Sing to serve out the fifteen year sentence that he had so rudely declined to endure earlier. He was later transferred from Sing Sing to Clinton State Penitentiary in Dannemora, New York.

Perrin was finally released from Clinton on February 20, 1902. He was now 57-58 years old, and had spent 31 of his previous 36 years of adult life behind bars. However, he was still a man of surprises. From Dannemora, Perrin got on a train south to Troy, New York, where he met a woman with whom he had been corresponding through the mail while in prison. They got married that same night. Her given name was Mary Ann Smith, a former farm girl from a modest family of Cazenovia, New York–but she was not without a fascinating history of her own.

Mary Ann was born around 1862, and in her late teens migrated to New York City and took a job in a cigarette factory. According to one story, a picture was taken of the factory girls, and Mary Ann’s attractiveness created a stir. However, by another story, she followed a brother, an actor, to the city; and she worked at A. T. Stewart’s, one of the first department stores; and later as a waitress in a coffee house. She came home to Cazenovia in the summers to escape the heat of the city.

Around the winter of 1883-1884, she met Jacob H. Vanderbilt, a widower son of Captain J. H. Vanderbilt of Staten Island, and a nephew of magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of the richest men in the world. Later, during divorce proceedings, Jacob Jr. would claim that he met Mary Ann while she using the alias “Violet Smith,” and that she worked in a “house of ill-fame” and in alliance with a bunco steerer (a recruiter for rigged gambling operations). Upon their meeting, Jacob Jr. became enthralled with Mary Ann, and even came to visit in Cazenovia in the summers of 1884 and 1885, where he would arrange rendezvous with her. Jacob realized his family would never approve of her, but secretly married her anyway in April of 1886–they both used assumed names. Vanderbilt installed her in an apartment in Manhattan, but word soon leaked out to his father.

Jacob Sr. told him the marriage was unacceptable, that he had to get rid of her or else he would be disinherited. Jacob Jr. relented, and told Mary Ann they would have to separate, and that she would be given $1000. Mary Ann hired an attorney instead, and what had been a private matter became a very public scandal, with public sentiment on Mary Ann’s side. They eventually settled out of court, with Mary Ann getting a substantial yearly allowance. Jacob Jr. was banished by the family to Seattle, where he took over as a bank president and remarried.

Mary Ann stayed at her Manhattan apartment, occasionally running into her Vanderbilt relatives, much to their embarrassment. It was there that she entered into a correspondence with prisoner “Charles P. Hall,”  (the name Perrin now sported.) After the two met and married in Troy, they returned to Manhattan, where Perrin enjoyed a bit of the good life thanks to the gratuity of the Vanderbilts.

Mary Ann, still known to the public as “Mrs. Jacob Vanderbilt,” further tweaked her former in-laws by opening a tea room/smoking room catering to women on fashionable Fifth Avenue. In 1903, the idea of women smoking in public–especially at a high society address–was heartily criticized.

19030524topekadailycapital

Meanwhile, the urge to pursue his own schemes overtook Perrin’s judgment (as it always had in the past). Perrin started to make regular visits to New Brunswick, New Jersey, in order to convince people there to invest in an electric water filtration plant:

19030806centralnewjerseryhomenews

While the water filtration scam was percolating, Perrin also joined a cabal of corrupt New York real estate agents and lawyers in their efforts to run fire insurance frauds. Perrin had his new wife, under the name “Emily O. Hall” buy a house in Dutchess County, New York. Two days after they (supposedly) moved in, the place burned to the ground. Hall was arrested and accused of arson, but in order to have the charges dropped, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and name his co-conspirators. Needless to say, the publicity about the arson made its way to New Brunswick, killing any last hopes Perrin had of scamming investors there.

Both Charles H. Perrin and Mary Ann Smith disappeared from the public record after 1904. It could be that Mary Ann was mortified to learn that Perrin had returned to his criminal ways; or it could be that they vanished into new, different aliases together, and surfaced somewhere unexpected with new plans, scams, and scandals–yet to be uncovered by researchers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles H. Perrin (#202)

Charles H. Perrin (Abt. 1844-191?), aka Charles Stevens, Charles J. Williamson, Charles P. Hall, Charles Cherwood, George A. Vincent, etc.   — Burglar, forger, swindler

Chief Inspector Byrnes named Perrin as “Charles Williamson, alias Perrine” and described him as “one of the most extraordinary criminals this country has ever produced.” “Extraordinary” may have been the right word, but should not be equated with “successful” or “skilled.” Most of Perrin’s adult life was spent behind bars, and his main talent was sheer brazenness.

Perrin was born to Solon and Jane Perrin of Fort Covington, New York, just a few miles from the St. Lawrence River on the Little Salmon River. The Perrins were respectable people in the community; by one account Solon served as a physician, and by another he acted as Sheriff. Charles was mentioned as being noted at school for his “careless and daredevil performances.” His father Solon became ill in the mid 1850s, and died when Charles was thirteen. Charles was taken in by his uncle, Henry J. Perrin, who found work for him in the printing shop of the Franklin Gazette, located in Fort Covington.

Charles, at age 18, joined the Union Army when the Civil War broke out, though little is known of his service record. At the close of the war, he returned to New York City, where he found employment as a printer foreman in the stationers/publishers shop of Scott & Porter on Fulton Street. One night in January, 1866, one of the proprietors, Mr. Porter, from the street saw someone entering the locked storefront with a key–no one was supposed to be there. Porter summoned the police, and after a search they found Perrin inside, trying to hide himself under pieces of coal in the coal bin. He was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to three years at Sing Sing State Prison.

Byrnes cites an 1869 warehouse robbery on Howard Street as one of Perrin’s crimes, committed under the alias of Stevens, but the crime occurred on January 24th a mile away at 12 Dey St., at the location of Hugh McKay, silk importers. Perrin was arrested and convicted under the name Charles Stevens, and given a sentence of 4 years six months at Sing Sing. [Note that Sing Sing’s intake registers for these months of late 1868-early 1869 do not exist, so the evidence is only found in newspaper accounts.] After his release in mid 1873–having made many criminal contacts while behind bars–Perrin moved on to the realm of forgeries–not as the “penman,” but as a self-assured front man whose job it was to gain the trust of suspicious financial bankers and trade fraudulent stock bonds.

In mid-1873, Perrin joined with a half dozen other criminal luminaries in a giant conspiracy to flood Wall Street with forged railroad company bonds. The ringleaders of this endeavor were  longtime criminals Andrew L. “Andy” Roberts and Valentine “Frank” Gleason, an engraver who was born into a family of counterfeiters. Joining the ring were Spencer “Spence” Pettis, an ambitious but weaselly forger; Walter Sheridan (#8), one of the most successful thieves and forgers of the 19th century; and Steve Raymond (#55), an English forger. Two others provided support in the form of references and introductions: shady broker Charles B. Orvis and a wealthy New York dental surgeon with many unsavory associations, Dr. Alvah Blaisdell (misspelled by Byrnes as “Blaisell”).

Perrin escaped from capture of the ring members with his share: between $80,000-$100,000. He then likely headed to England with Steve Raymond. However, he impetuously decided to come back to New York in 1875 and posed as Charles Farnham, an investment banker looking to enter a partnership with a legitimate brokerage firm. He was taken in by Rollins Brothers, bankers. While there he tried to insert forged bonds into the company’s transactions, but was discovered before much damage could be done. He was arrested and kept locked up in the Tombs, the city detention center, until his trial in October, 1876. He was hit with forty-eight indictments dating back to the 1873 railroad bond forgeries, so the sentence passed on him was stiff: ten years, plus another five. He was sent back to Sing Sing that month.

Sing Sing had a justly deserved reputation for holes in its security, which did not take long for Perrin to exploit. In 1904, a former prisoner, known only as “Number 1500,” recalled “Charley” Perrin, aka Williamson:

“Although he was a bold and merciless crook, he was an exceedingly well-educated man, and he could think harder and longer than any one else I ever met in prison. His mind must have had magnificent training from some competent person, for he could quickly acquire knowledge and retain it in its original accuracy apparently for an indefinite time. His mental equipment was peculiar in that it exhibited a remarkable power in every task to which he applied it, except in the development of a criminal project. In this line, his own chosen life, he had no more ability than an idiot. He often explained to me plans for some stupendous rascality that were so foolish as to lead me to doubt his sanity. Certainly nature never intended him for a rogue. He had, however, succeeded in one great criminal undertaking and obtained a large sum of money, the credit of which enterprise he unjustly claimed from his more capable associates…

“…It was on a warm June night of the next year [1877] that Williamson took his departure. He was employed in the bakery, then situated on the river front, and his occupation demanded his labor in the evening after the other inmates had been locked in their cells. The darkness of night had just fallen when the bakery was discovered to be on fire. In the excitement of extinguishing the flames Williamson’s flight was not for a time discovered. He had eluded the guards and run along the river front northward to the railway station. There he entered the Hudson and swam to its channel, a mile and a half away. He remained in the water until nearly midnight when he hailed the captain of a passing boat bound for New York. He impressed the master of the vessel with his sincerity in offering a liberal reward for his aid and in due time was landed in the city. The promise of substantial pay was faithfully redeemed and in a few weeks Williamson was safe in England. There he found friends who, like himself, had fled their country for their own and their country’s good and engaged with them in a scheme to rob a great London bank.”

Capture2

Byrnes’ summary of Perrin’s time in England are correct; he fell in with some other American forgers, tried to pass altered checks against the Central Bank of London, Southwark branch, and was captured. Perrin was sentenced to ten years at Newgate Prison under the name Charles Cherwood. There, he demonstrated some of his “stupendous rascality” by suggesting he be employed by British authorities:

18801024londonobserver

Instead, British prosecutors suggested to Perrin that his sentence could be reduced simply by informing against his accomplices in England: Dan Noble, John “Clutch” Donohue, and Joe Chapman. Perrin complied, and was released in 1883 after serving half of his sentence.

Perrin returned to the United States via Canada, came to New York briefly, and headed west, to St. Louis. There he was caught on February 28, 1884 attempting to pass an altered check at the St. Louis National Bank. He gave his name as “George A. Vincent,” but papers found on him included letters and clippings indicating that he was a seasoned forger. His identity was confirmed by New York detectives, but proceedings against him in St. Louis continued. He was convicted and sentenced to ten years in the Missouri State Prison at Jefferson City.

Perrin was released from Jefferson City in August, 1892, having had two years reduced from his sentence. Waiting for him at the prison gate were officers from New York, who arrested him and took him back to Sing Sing to serve out the fifteen year sentence that he had so rudely declined to endure earlier. He was later transferred from Sing Sing to Clinton State Penitentiary in Dannemora, New York.

Perrin was finally released from Clinton on February 20, 1902. He was now 57-58 years old, and had spent 31 of his previous 36 years of adult life behind bars. However, he was still a man of surprises. From Dannemora, Perrin got on a train south to Troy, New York, where he met a woman with whom he had been corresponding through the mail while in prison. They got married that same night. Her given name was Mary Ann Smith, a former farm girl from a modest family of Cazenovia, New York–but she was not without a fascinating history of her own.

Mary Ann was born around 1862, and in her late teens migrated to New York City and took a job in a cigarette factory. According to one story, a picture was taken of the factory girls, and Mary Ann’s attractiveness created a stir. However, by another story, she followed a brother, an actor, to the city; and she worked at A. T. Stewart’s, one of the first department stores; and later as a waitress in a coffee house. She came home to Cazenovia in the summers to escape the heat of the city.

Around the winter of 1883-1884, she met Jacob H. Vanderbilt, a widower son of Captain J. H. Vanderbilt of Staten Island, and a nephew of magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt, one of the richest men in the world. Later, during divorce proceedings, Jacob Jr. would claim that he met Mary Ann while she using the alias “Violet Smith,” and that she worked in a “house of ill-fame” and in alliance with a bunco steerer (a recruiter for rigged gambling operations). Upon their meeting, Jacob Jr. became enthralled with Mary Ann, and even came to visit in Cazenovia in the summers of 1884 and 1885, where he would arrange rendezvous with her. Jacob realized his family would never approve of her, but secretly married her anyway in April of 1886–they both used assumed names. Vanderbilt installed her in an apartment in Manhattan, but word soon leaked out to his father.

Jacob Sr. told him the marriage was unacceptable, that he had to get rid of her or else he would be disinherited. Jacob Jr. relented, and told Mary Ann they would have to separate, and that she would be given $1000. Mary Ann hired an attorney instead, and what had been a private matter became a very public scandal, with public sentiment on Mary Ann’s side. They eventually settled out of court, with Mary Ann getting a substantial yearly allowance. Jacob Jr. was banished by the family to Seattle, where he took over as a bank president and remarried.

Mary Ann stayed at her Manhattan apartment, occasionally running into her Vanderbilt relatives, much to their embarrassment. It was there that she entered into a correspondence with prisoner “Charles P. Hall,”  (the name Perrin now sported.) After the two met and married in Troy, they returned to Manhattan, where Perrin enjoyed a bit of the good life thanks to the gratuity of the Vanderbilts.

Mary Ann, still known to the public as “Mrs. Jacob Vanderbilt,” further tweaked her former in-laws by opening a tea room/smoking room catering to women on fashionable Fifth Avenue. In 1903, the idea of women smoking in public–especially at a high society address–was heartily criticized.

19030524topekadailycapital

Meanwhile, the urge to pursue his own schemes overtook Perrin’s judgment (as it always had in the past). Perrin started to make regular visits to New Brunswick, New Jersey, in order to convince people there to invest in an electric water filtration plant:

19030806centralnewjerseryhomenews

While the water filtration scam was percolating, Perrin also joined a cabal of corrupt New York real estate agents and lawyers in their efforts to run fire insurance frauds. Perrin had his new wife, under the name “Emily O. Hall” buy a house in Dutchess County, New York. Two days after they (supposedly) moved in, the place burned to the ground. Hall was arrested and accused of arson, but in order to have the charges dropped, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and name his co-conspirators. Needless to say, the publicity about the arson made its way to New Brunswick, killing any last hopes Perrin had of scamming investors there.

Both Charles H. Perrin and Mary Ann Smith disappeared from the public record after 1904. It could be that Mary Ann was mortified to learn that Perrin had returned to his criminal ways; or it could be that they vanished into new, different aliases together, and surfaced somewhere unexpected with new plans, scams, and scandals–yet to be uncovered by researchers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#68 John Love

John Edward Love (1844-1914), aka Johnny Love, Jack Love, James Long, John Lynch, James D. Wells — Burglar, Bank Robber

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Forty-two years old in 1886. Born in United States. Medium build. Plane-maker by trade. Married. Height, 5 feet 8 inches. Weight, 140 pounds. Sandy-brown hair, gray eyes, florid complexion. Generally wears reddish-brown mustache. Has figures “33” in India ink on left leg, also letters “J. L.” on each arm.

RECORD. Love, alias James D. Wells, is a clever store and bank burglar. He has had considerable luck in escaping punishment considering his long career of crime. He is a desperate man and will shoot on the first opportunity, and is well known in most of the Eastern States as a leader of a desperate gang of burglars. He was implicated with Langdon W. Moore, alias Charley Adams (22), and George Mason, alias Gordon (24), for the robbery of the Warren Savings Bank and the Post-office in Charlestown, Mass., on December 4, 1879. Mason, on whose testimony Adams was convicted, refused to testify in any manner against Love, and he was not indicted. Mason was afterwards sentenced to three years in the House of Correction, and Moore, or Adams, received sixteen years.

Love was traveling around the country with Johnny Dobbs and his gang, and was the fifth man that escaped from an officer at Lawrence, Mass., on March 3, 1884, when the rest of them were arrested. He and others were concerned in the robbery of the post-office in Gloucester, Mass., in March, 1884, also the post-office in Concord, N.H., and several other robberies in New England. Love was formerly the partner of “Jack” Welsh, alias “John the Mick,” who killed “Jack” Irving, and who in turn was killed by Wm. O’Brien, alias “Billy Porter” (74), Irving’s partner, in a saloon on Sixth Avenue, New York City, on October 20, 1883. John Love, alias “James D. Wells;” Charles Lowery, alias ” William Harris,” alias “Hill,” of Canada; George Havill, alias “Harry Thorn,” alias “Joseph Cook (15), of Chicago, Ill. ; Frank McCrann, alias “Wm. McPhearson,” alias “Big Frank,” and Mike Blake, alias “Mike Kerwin,” alias “Barney Oats,” alias “Little Mickey,” of Pittsburg, Pa., were arrested near Elmira, N.Y., on February 14, 1885, for the robbery of the Osceola, Pa., Bank on the night of February 13, 1885. The bank vault was built of solid masonry two feet thick, but the concussion of the dynamite cartridge used was so great that the neighbors heard the explosion and notified the proprietors of the bank, who in turn notified a constable. The latter gathered a posse and pursued the burglars, who had escaped in a sleigh. They drove at such a furious rate that their team soon gave out. At that moment, a farmer came from his stable with a fresh horse and sleigh, which the robbers appropriated without ceremony and continued their flight. When within four miles of Elmira, N.Y., the gang was cornered, having been traced by their tracks in the snow. Lowery, a most desperate fellow, fired two shots at Constable Blanchard, one of them slightly wounding him in the arm. The marshal, joined by others, gave chase to the burglars across Mount Zoar, and a running fire was kept up. The pursuers were joined by other officers from Elmira, and when near that city two of the desperadoes were captured. One of them, Mike Blake, alias Kerwin, was shot through the wrist; John Love, alias Wells, Frank McCrann, alias McPhearson, and George Havill, alias Harry Thorn, alias Cook, the other members of the gang, were chased until evening, when they were captured and placed in jail at Elmira, N.Y. The robbery was small, amounting to about $1,500, of which $500 was in silver and was nearly all dropped by the burglars in their flight. Charles Lowery, alias Wm. Harris, alias Hill, is without doubt one of the most desperate criminals in America. After his arrest, he was also charged with the murder of the town marshal of Shelby, Ohio; and a $6,000 burglary at Gait, Ont.; also a $10,000 jewelry robbery in Montreal, Canada. While Lowery and another burglar named Andrews were in a bank cashier’s house at Belleville, Ont., they were surprised and captured. Lowery, a short time before that, had killed a hackman. In this case he escaped his just deserts through numerous appeals and the diplomacy of his wife, who lived in Toronto, Canada. He was convicted in the Osceola Bank case, and sentenced to ten years in State prison on April 9, 1885. Love was sentenced to nine years and eleven months, Havill to nine years and nine months, Frank McCrann to nine years and seven months, and Mike Blake to nine years and six months, in the same case and on the same day (April 9, 1885). Love’s picture resembles him very much, taken in July, 1882.

Thomas Byrne’s recitation of John Love’s record is accurate from 1879 forward, including the litany of infamous criminals whom Love accompanied on those jobs:

  • The robbery of the Post Office and the Warren Savings Bank in Charlestown, MA on December 4, 1879 with Langdon Moore (#22) and George Mason (#24).
  • The capture of the “Johnny Dobbs Gang” (Dobbs was John Kerrigan, #64) in Lawrence, Massachusetts on March 3, 1884, following a string of post office robberies in Massachusetts towns and in Concord, New Hampshire.
  • The capture of Love and four other nationally-known criminals in Elmira, New York, following the robbery of an Osceola, Pennsylvania bank on February 14, 1885. Two of the others involved were Charles Lowery and George Havill (#15). In Byrnes’s 1886 edition, Love’s portrait caption indicates that “Lowrey” was one of Love’s aliases, but that is not repeated in Byrne’s profile of Love, nor in any newspaper accounts; perhaps it was referencing the different man, Charles Lowery?

The chase of the Osceola bank robbers was even more thrilling than Byrne’s account. The February 14, 1885 edition of the Buffalo Commercial reprinted an account from Elmira:

18850214buffalocommercial

Curiously, Byrnes omits mention of all of Love’s New York convictions:

  • in 1869 he was arrested under the name James Long for burglary, and sent to Sing Sing on a five year sentence
  • in 1875, he was arrested as John Lynch for burglary, and again sent to Sing Sing for one year
  • In 1882, he was arrested with Michael Kurtz for robbery of an Italian bank in New York, but was released for lack of evidence.

In his 1895 updated edition, Byrnes indicates that Love had reformed. Indeed, in 1892, New York’s Governor issued a restitution to Love of all his citizenship rights, setting aside his 1869 and 1875 convictions–an action that Love must have requested, indicating how much it meant to him. He spent his last two decades as a bookkeeper, living in the Bronx with his wife and two sons. Love, who came from a good family, left his sons a small fortune in a trust account, not to be available to them until they were thirty years old–Love apparently wanted to make sure his sons learned an honest trade.

 

John Edward Love (#68)

John Edward Love (1844-1914), aka Johnny Love, Jack Love, James Long, John Lynch, James D. Wells — Burglar, Bank Robber

Thomas Byrne’s recitation of John Love’s record is accurate from 1879 forward, including the litany of infamous criminals whom Love accompanied on those jobs:

  • The robbery of the Post Office and the Warren Savings Bank in Charlestown, MA on December 4, 1879 with Langdon Moore (#22) and George Mason (#24).
  • The capture of the “Johnny Dobbs Gang” (Dobbs was Mike Kerrigan, #64) in Lawrence, Massachusetts on March 3, 1884, following a string of post office robberies in Massachusetts towns and in Concord, New Hampshire.
  • The capture of Love and four other nationally-known criminals in Elmira, New York, following the robbery of an Osceola, Pennsylvania bank on February 14, 1885. Two of the others involved were Charles Lowery and George Havill (#15). In Byrnes’s 1886 edition, Love’s portrait caption indicates that “Lowrey” was one of Love’s aliases, but that is not repeated in Byrne’s profile of Love, nor in any newspaper accounts; perhaps it was referencing the different man, Charles Lowery?

Capture

The chase of the Osceola bank robbers was even more thrilling than Byrne’s account. The February 14, 1885 edition of the Buffalo Commercial reprinted an account from Elmira:

18850214buffalocommercial

Curiously, Byrnes omits mention of all of Love’s New York convictions:

  • in 1869 he was arrested under the name James Long for burglary, and sent to Sing Sing on a five year sentence
  • in 1875, he was arrested as John Lynch for burglary, and again sent to Sing Sing for one year
  • In 1882, he was arrested with Michael Kurtz for robbery of an Italian bank in New York, but was released for lack of evidence.

In his 1895 updated edition, Byrnes indicates that Love had reformed. Indeed, in 1892, New York’s Governor issued a restitution to Love of all his citizenship rights, setting aside his 1869 and 1875 convictions–an action that Love must have requested, indicating how much it meant to him. He spent his last two decades as a bookkeeper, living in the Bronx with his wife and two sons. Love, who came from a good family, left his sons a small fortune in a trust account, not to be available to them until they were thirty years old–Love apparently wanted to make sure his sons learned an honest trade.