#94 James White

AKA James White (181?-????), aka Pop White, Doc Long, James Allen, James Adams, James Dunn, William Wills, Walter Wells, etc. — Pickpocket, grifter, hotel thief

From Byrnes’s text:
DESCRIPTION. Seventy years old in 1886. Born in Delaware. Painter by trade. Very slim. Single. Height, 5 feet 8 inches. Weight, about 135 pounds. Gray hair, dark-blue eyes, sallow complexion, very wrinkled face. Looks like a well-to-do farmer.
RECORD. Old Pop White, or “Doc” Long, is the oldest criminal in his line in America. Over one-third of his life has been spent in State prisons and penitentiaries. He has turned his hand to almost everything, from stealing a pair of shoes to fifty thousand dollars. He was well known when younger as a clever bank sneak, hotel man and confidence worker.
He is an old man now, and most of his early companions are dead. He worked along the river fronts of New York and Boston for years, with George, alias “Kid” Affleck (56), and old “Hod” Bacon, and was arrested time and time again. One of their victims, whom they robbed in the Pennsylvania Railroad depot at Philadelphia in 1883 of $7,000, died of grief shortly after.
Old White was discharged from Trenton, N.J., State prison on December 19, 1885, after serving a term for grand larceny. He was arrested again in New York City the day after for stealing a pair of shoes from a store. He pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to five months in the penitentiary on Blackwell’s Island, in the Court of Special Sessions, on December 22, 1885.
Pop White’s picture is a good one, taken in July, 1875.
Pop White’s real name and origins have been lost, along with most of his criminal history. He was adept at using a variety of aliases, and reticent in speaking with lawyers, detectives, and reporters. The July 1875 photo can not be linked to an arrest record; the earliest account found is an 1878 arrest in Philadelphia as Walter Wells, alias Doc Long. At that time he was already recognized as an old thief.

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As perhaps the oldest criminal listed in Byrnes’ Professional Criminals of America, it may be that Pop White could have told more stories of 19th Century crooks than anyone else; he might have been a fascinating character–but he was tight-lipped, and his crimes were small: stealing from hotel rooms, pickpocketing, small cons, etc. He was a classic grifter. The last misdeed of Pop White was in 1893, when he was arrested in Philadelphia and sent to the county prison for 90 days.
By far the most notable exploit of Pop White occurred ten years earlier. In March, 1883, there was a robbery of $7000 in gold coins stored in the valise of a man named as Jesse Williams, described by newspapers as a 70-plus-year-old farmer from Orange County, New York, who was traveling south to purchase new farmland. Williams took a train from New York to Philadelphia, and stood by for his connecting train in the gentlemen’s waiting area of Penn Station. There he was approached by two other older gentlemen, who engaged him in conversation; these two were Pop White and his partner, George Affleck. White put down his baggage and steered Williams into the station’s saloon, assuring Williams that his baggage would be safe if he left it next to his. Upon coming out of the bar, Williams discovered that his satchel–containing the gold–was gone, and so was Affleck. Pop White soon vanished, too.
White and Affleck were tracked to New York, where Byrnes’ detectives arrested Affleck and his wife. The satchel of Williams’ was found in Affleck’s hotel room, but only $1000 was left. Affleck claimed another $1000 had been deposited in banks. White was caught a few months later in Boston, and jailed there. The victim, Jesse Williams, said that the $7000 had been his life’s savings; after lawyer expenses he got back just $940.
Six months later, eastern newspapers reported that Jesse Williams had died of grief. It seemed to be a clear example of the heavy human cost caused by habitual criminals, and Thomas Byrnes made it the center of his profile of Pop White.
Little more can be said about the career of Pop White…but it turns out that there was much more to the story of his most notable victim, Jesse Williams.
In March, 1883, right after the robbery and arrest of Affleck was reported, people in Orange County, New York asked each other if they knew of Jesse Williams, and why he might be carrying around $7000. It was a minor mystery for quite a few days until a Port Jervis (Orange County, NY) newspaper discovered that the man’s full name was Jesse Williams Jennings, who had indeed been born in Monroe, Orange County, but who had moved to a western state over fifty years earlier.
Jesse W. Jennings had moved to what was then the frontier of America, the state of Indiana. Here is what A History of St Joseph County Indiana wrote about him in 1907:
Jesse W. Jennings, deceased, was numbered among the earliest pioneers and leading agriculturisrts of St. Joseph county, whom to know was to esteem and honor. He was a native of the Empire state of New York, born in 1809, the son of James Jennings. In his native commonwealth Jesse W. Jennings learned his trade of shoemaking, and during his early manhood he went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he was married to one of the city’s native daughters, Mary Ann Pearse, her birth occurring in 1811. In 1830 Mr. Jennings came to St. Joseph county, Indiana, entering and taking up his abode on a farm in Clay township. He subsequently returned to Cleveland, but afterward again made his way to St. Joseph county and to Clay township, where he cleared a farm and continued its improvement and cultivation until failing health caused him to remove to South Bend. He later, however, bought the old county farm in Center township, but a short time afterward returned to his old place, there remaining until he became the owner of a farm in Portage township, which now consists of four hundred and fifty acres. At one time his estate consisted of over six hundred acres. His reputation was unassailable in all trade transactions, and by the exercise of industry, sound judgment, energy and perseverance he won a handsome competence, of which he was well deserving. During his later life Mr. Jennings traveled a great deal, and his death occurred in Cleveland, Ohio, but his remains were brought back and buried in the city cemetery of South Bend. He was the father of seven children, four sons and three daughters, but only three of the number grew to years of maturity. Mrs. Lucy Farneman, the fifth child in order of birth, now resides on the farm in Portage township which was formerly the David Ulery farm, and was also the Stover farm. The tract consists of one hundred and fifty acres of rich and fertile land. Mr. Jennings gave his political support to the Democratic party, and had fraternal relations with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He enjoyed the confidence of all with whom his dealings brought him in contact, and he was regarded as one of the representative citizens of old St. Joseph county.
This complimentary biographical sketch, however, glosses over some of the more turbulent aspects of Jesse’s later years.
By the late 1870s, Jesse and his wife Mary Ann Pearse were divorced. As part of the settlement, she obtained a large piece of land adjacent to his that was leased out to tenant farmers. She then remarried to a second husband. Jesse, apparently, believed the terms of his settlement with Mary Ann entitled him to some of the income from the lease, and this gave rise to a dispute both with his former wife and the tenants. Meanwhile, Jesse also was getting tired of living alone with no cook.
In the spring of 1879, Jesse asked his itinerant farmhand, a 19-year-old youth from Western Pennsylvania, to go back to Pennsylvania and pick out a young woman for him to marry. The young man went, solicited one of his neighbors, and she began a correspondence with Jesse. They traded letters, and Jesse sent his picture (he was 70; she was 20) and proposed to marry her, if she would come to Indiana and he liked her. She refused. Jesse turned elsewhere, and proposed to a female cook working in a local restaurant. She accepted, and Jesse gave her cash to get a wedding dress. But Jesse started to have second thoughts–thinking perhaps it was his money that she wanted–and broke off the engagement. In the fall of 1879, she sued Jesse for breach of promise.
At about the same time, Jesse’s temper boiled over concerning his wife’s neighboring lease. On December 2, 1879, a barn on that property burnt down to the ground, along with two horses, five cows, and machinery, altogether valued at $2500, but only insured for $1000. It was immediately apparent that the fire was a case of arson. Jesse’s young farmhand was arrested and thrown in jail, where he gave evidence that Jesse himself had started the fire. Officials then arrested Jesse and threw him in jail, too. At that point events spun out of control, and were later written up and printed as far away as Brooklyn:
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Jesse W. Jennings was let out of jail on bond for the arson charge. In a civil action, he was forced to pay $1500 in damages. Nearly a year after these legal troubles, in February, 1881, four brick block buildings in South Bend, co-owned by Jesse, burnt down to the ground, resulting in a loss of $40,000. Jesse was re-arrested in May, 1881 for skipping out on his first bail bond a year earlier. He was able to once again buy his release on a $4000 bond, which people seemed to think he would also skip out on. They were right: in November, this second bond was forfeited. He had wasted $5500 to avoid facing charges.
Where Jesse was between early 1881 and March, 1883 is not known, but it’s likely that he opted to stay away from Indiana, perhaps permanently, taking his nest egg of gold coins with him.
And then he met the man known as “the Fagin of America,” the grifter, Pop White.
And so, when the victimized Jesse explained events to police, he identified himself as “Jesse Williams” hailing from Orange County, New York–and not as Jesse W. Jennings of St Joseph County, Indiana.
Now nearly out of cash, Jesse left Philadelphia with his $940 and went to stay with a nephew in Cleveland, Ohio.
Inspector Byrnes and the eastern newspapers said the Jesse died of grief from being victimized. The Cleveland coroner, however, only found indications of heart disease.
After Pop White’s last jailing in early 1893, he ended his criminal career and retired to a flat in New York City. The Illustrated Police News reported that he lived quietly, and on pleasant days was seen strolling on Sixth Avenue with his small Scotch terrier. He was said to visit his old haunts in the Union Square neighborhood, “and likes to tell the story of his life to anyone who will listen to it.” Those stories are lost.

#164 Westley Allen

Charles Wesley Allen (1843-189?), aka Wess/Wes Allen, Wesley/Westley Allen, Charles Langley — Pickpocket, Thief

From Byrnes’s text:
DESCRIPTION. Forty-six years old in 1886. Born in New York. Widower. No trade. Slim build. Height, 5 feet 10 inches. Weight, 155 pounds. Right eye gray, left eye out, and replaced at times by a glass one. He sometimes wears green goggles, or only a green patch over the left eye. Dark hair, mixed with gray; sallow complexion. Generally wears a black mustache. Scar on left side of face. Has letters “W.A.,” an anchor, and dots of India ink on left fore-arm.
RECORD. “Wess.” Allen is probably the most notorious criminal in America, and is well known all over the United States. He is a saucy, treacherous fellow, and requires to be watched closely, as he will use a pistol if an opportunity presents itself. Wess.’s brothers are Theodore Allen, well known as “The. Allen,” a saloon keeper in New York, John Allen, a jeweler in New York, Martin Allen, a burglar, now in Sing Sing State prison, sentenced to ten years on November 1, 1883, for burglary in New York City (a house robbery, second offense), and Jesse Allen, a burglar (now dead).
Wess. has been a thief for many years, but has not served much time in prison. He was arrested in New York City for an attempt to break into a silk house, and sentenced to five years in Sing Sing prison, on July 7, 1873, under the name of Charles W. Allen. Since his release, in 1877, he has been arrested in almost every city in America, but always manages to escape conviction.
The following are a few of his arrests since 1880: He was arrested in New Haven, Conn., on January 29, 1880, in company of Wm. Brown, alias Burton, and James H. Johnson, at the Elliott House, whither they had followed Parnell and Dillon, the agitators. After a few days’ detention he was discharged. He was discharged from custody at Reading, Pa., on April 14, 1880, where he was detained on five indictments for picking pockets at a fair there in the fall of 1879.
He was charged with picking the pocket of Thomas Rochford of his watch, on the night of October 29, 1880, near the City Hall in Brooklyn. He proved an alibi, and was acquitted by a jury in the Kings County Court of Sessions in Brooklyn, N.Y., on December 23, 1880.
He was arrested in New Haven, Conn., on August 30, 1883, for an attempt to pick the pocket of John McDermott on a railroad train. As usual, he was discharged. He was discharged from arrest in the Jefferson Market Police Court, New York City, on July 30, 1884. The complainant, Edward P. Shields, a barkeeper for Theodore Allen, Wess.’s brother, charged him with “jabbing two of his fingers in his left eye.”
He was arrested again in New York City, after a severe tussle, on September 13, 1885, while attending the funeral of his wife, Amelia, on a warrant issued by Justice Mulholland, of Syracuse, N.Y., charging him with grand larceny. He was delivered to a detective officer, who took him back to Syracuse, where he again escaped his just deserts.
In November, 1885, two men of gentlemanly appearance called upon an Alleghany City, Pa., tailor named Rice, and were measured for some suits of clothing. “Send them C. O. D. to West Jefferson, Ohio, when they are finished,” they said, and bowed themselves out, after giving their names as Fisher and Grimes. The clothes, valued at $146, were shipped by Adams Express a week later, and the night they arrived in West Jefferson the express office was broken into and the clothing stolen. Fisher proved to be Wess. Allen. He had assumed his father-in-law’s name, Martin Fisher, whose house in New York City was searched by the police, and they found three of the missing suits there and also some silk. Fisher and his wife were taken into custody as receivers of stolen goods, and subsequently discharged. The former is over seventy years old, and the latter only a few years younger. Allen could not be found, as from the latest accounts he had gone to England to try his fortune there. His picture is an excellent one, the best in existence, taken in March, 1880.
Wes Allen was one of five infamous brothers of the Allen family, noted for their thieving, street gang battles, political thuggery, and vice activities centered in Manhattan’s Eighth and Ninth Wards. His older brothers included Theodore “The” Allen (1834-1908); Jesse “Jess” Allen (1837-1875); Martin Van Buren “Mart” Allen (1841-191?); and John, a saloon operator. Among them, Wes, has the distinction of being the only one included in Byrnes’ Professional Criminals of America. Brothers Jess and Mart might have qualified, but Jess died eleven years before Byrnes published. Why Mart did not make the cut is a mystery–perhaps he only lacked a photograph–which is unfortunate, since Mart was perhaps the most interesting of the clan.
For sixty years, members of the Allen family were a constant source of melodrama, bloody violence, infidelity and depravity that entertained the newspaper-reading public and saloon gossipers of Manhattan and Brooklyn. “The” Allen was also a major figure in New York City politics, sporting life and nightlife. The family’s story started conventionally enough, with the marriage of Jesse Allen Sr. and Hannah Louise Cole just before 1830. Jesse Sr. was a cartman by trade. Hannah bore ten children by 1848, seven of who survived childhood.
In 1848, when the brothers ranged from 5 to 17 (with Wes being the youngest), the family first came to public attention–but not because of any mischief by the sons, who had no arrest records to that point. From the October 26, 1848 edition of the New York Herald:
Seduction by a Methodist Class Leader
Much to be regretted, we are called upon too often to expose the wolves in sheep’s clothing, who prowl about in this community, seeking whom they may devour, under the garb of religion, consummating their hellish purposes in seduction and adultery; breaking up the peace and quiet of respectable families, apparently with impunity—all of which is done under the cloak of administering spiritual comfort. One of these wolves we are about to describe; and that the reader may understand the whole case, we shall begin at the beginning and finish off with the last acts by which the guilty parties were discovered and taken to the police station, through the ingenious management of Justice Mountfort, one of our indefatigable magistrates.
It will be recollected that many months ago, the Independent Methodist Church, situated in 18th street, near the North River, was under the direction of Brother Witney, a Methodist minister, in which meeting house a class was formed of the pious souls of that vicinity; and amongst this congregation was Brother Peter W. Longley, a produce dealer, of No. 78 Courtlandt street. Now, brother Longley was a man of the world, and, although a class-leader, was still susceptible of the many points that constitute the attractions of a pretty woman; such, however, is human nature, and brother Longley, on this point, was no worse than many others who are yet to be discovered.
In the class of brother Longley was a neat, good-looking little woman, of about 34 years of age, by the name of Hannah Allen, the wife of Jesse Allen, a respectable cartman, residing in West 18th street, by whom she has a family of seven children. Brother Longley was very attentive to all his little flock, in administering to them the spiritual comforts; but more particularly to Mrs. Allen, whom he used to visit during the day, at her residence, sometimes once, sometimes twice, and some days three times, according as the spirit moved him. On these meeting the neighbors would hear them pray and sing together with all the devotion imaginable, until some of the good neighbors began to think that brother Longley was a little too devoted in his attentions.
This was secretly whispered around by the different ladies in the vicinity, and finally came to the ears of Mr. Allen, who, upon several occasions of coming home in the course of a day, found brother Longley in earnest prayer with his better half. Brother Allen then told brother Longley that he thought his visits were rather too frequent—and that it would be more pleasing to him if he would stay away. This rather dampened the ardor of brother Longley; and the consequence was that out-door visits were resorted to, as they were afterwards frequently seen seated together in earnest conversation in Union square.
The intercourse was carried on as usual between them in secret meetings, until about two weeks since, when brother Longley concocted a plan whereby they could enjoy each other, without creating so much suspicion. A few months ago, Longley’s wife was the owner in her own right of a new three-story house situated in 26th street, corner of 2d avenue; this, Longley persuaded her to make over to him, which she did, accordingly. Thus far so good, for brother Longley; but not so for Mrs. Longley as two weeks ago she was informed by her husband that her mother, who resides at New Haven, was very sick, and wanted to see her, and was advised by him to go up immediately; and was told at the same time that she might stay two weeks, or as long as she pleased.
Mrs. L started; but on arriving at New Haven, she discovered the story was false—that her mother was not sick. Now that his wife was absent, brother Longley devised a plan whereby to enjoy the worldly comforts of sister Allen; the father of Mrs. Allen was applied to, and the husband (Mr. Allen) represented to be a brute, and that a divorce must be obtained; and while that was pending, brother Longley kindly offered two rooms in his house for the accommodation of sister Allen. This was readily accepted by Mrs. Allen, and sanctioned by the father, who knew Longley to be a member of the church, and a class leader, thus feeling satisfied that his daughter was safe in the hands of such a good and pious man. Therefore, in the absence of Mr. Allen, Mrs. Allen removed some of her best furniture from her husband’s house to the house of Longley, where she was to occupy a room, taking with her likewise one of her children.
On Mr. Allen coming home from his daily labor, he learned the news that his wife had left, nor could he ascertain her whereabouts. This passed on for near two weeks, when Mrs. Longley returned, a few days earlier than was expected; she thought some trouble would occur on her return, from the fact of her being deceived by her husband in her New Haven trip. Therefore, she went to work with some caution; and as the lower part of Longley’s house is hired out to another family, upon inquiry, some important facts were elicited. Fearful that some tragical scene might occur if she went to the house alone, and to eradicate any such difficulty, she applied to Justice Mountfort, who, upon consultation, sent for Mr. Allen; and a plan was soon devised by the Justice, in order to keep the peace and see that no violence was used towards the person of either party.
This arranged, a descent was made on the house by Mrs. Longley and Mr. Allen, accompanied by a friend, Mr. Isaac F. Sharp, guarded in the rear by Captain Johnson and Assistant Captain Flandreau, of the Eighteenth ward police. The time was set at eleven o’clock, on Tuesday night last. The house was entered very carefully, so as to not give any alarm. Mr. Allen and Mrs. Longley, the two aggrieved parties, ascended gently upstairs to the room door of brother Longley, Mrs. L. putting her ear to the keyhole, and plainly heard the devoted couple praying together.
The reader can readily imagine the feelings of the discomforted couple outside the door, at hearing the loving couple within the room. Allen was for going right in, and so was Mrs. L; but recollecting the instructions of the magistrate, which was to listen attentively at the door, until quiet was restored within, then burst in the door, and each one go in for their own; this instruction was most faithfully kept, for no sooner was the light extinguished in the room, than in went the door, and, sure, such a scene was never seen before.
Mrs. Longley seized her husband’s inexpressibles, and grabbed his pocket book. He jumped out of bed sans culottes, seized his wife around her waist, and such a scene then took place, such a tugging, pulling, and hauling for the breeches, as the reader can more easily imagine than we can possibly describe; she crying out help, murder, murder, &c, making a “slice” of tragical comedy rarely witnessed. Mrs. Allen doubled herself up in bed under the sheets, resembling a mole hill in a meadow. The alarm of murder now brought in the aid of the police, to keep the peace between the enraged parties; which resulted in all being taken to the station house.
In the morning, Justice Mountfort investigated the case but finding no criminal law touching the charge of adultery, that was abandoned and Mr. Longley was held to bail in the sum of $500, to keep the peace towards his wife, as it appears from her affidavit that he has been in the habit of abusing her, as on one occasion, before she left for New Haven, because she did not clean his boots just to please him he slapped her face, and otherwise misused her. Mr. Allen took his wife home again, and is willing to forget and forgive, if she will only conduct herself better in future. It appears they have been married near twenty years, and have had ten children, seven of which are now living.
The hoped-for (at least by the Herald) reconciliation between Jesse Allen and Hannah did not occur. Less than two years later, Hannah could be found cohabiting with Peter Longley along with her youngest children, Martin (9), Wes (8), and Hannah (4). In 1851, Hannah sued Jesse for support; by 1855 she had married the now-divorced Longley and had two daughters by him. Martin (14), Wes (13) and Hannah (9) still lived with her and Peter. Similarly, after their divorce, Jesse Allen remarried and fathered four more children with his second wife, Helen Staley.
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By 1860, Hannah and Peter had migrated to Brooklyn. In that year’s census, Peter’s property was valued at $20,000–comparatively wealthy for that time. Martin, now 20, still lived with his mother, but Wes apparently opted to stay behind in Manhattan, where his grandparent’s had sheltered Theodore and Jesse after the breakup of the Allen marriage.
In that year, 1860, Wes–at age 18, was already described as a well-known pickpocket. Wes’s worse tendencies were interrupted by the Civil War, for which he volunteered in June, 1861. [His older brother “The”, Theodore Allen, also served, but ended the war in a military prison for collecting bounties on ghost recruits]. Wes Allen served ably in New York’s 62nd Infantry, Company G, and was promoted to Corporal in May 1864. He was wounded in October, 1864 during the pivotal Battle of Cedar Creek in Virginia, and lost his left eye. Afterwards he always wore an eye patch or dark green spectacles–a distinctive feature that cramped his occupation as a pickpocket [imitator pickpockets started wearing eye patches and dark glasses]. He was formally mustered out in October, 1865–but had already been roaming his home streets since May 1865 while convalescing at David’s Island military hospital in New Rochelle.
In May, 1865, Wes was picked up for pickpocketing a man’s watch, but a city alderman appeared just in time to convince the victim not to press charges in return for $100, which the man assented to, but not before a judge learned of the story. Allen was brought up on charges and sentenced to five years in State Prison. He was pardoned by Governor Fenton after just five months, thanks to a bargain struck by his brother “The.” The deal was this: if “The” could carry the 7th and 8th districts of the Eighth Ward for M. O. Roberts as Judge, the Governor would be convinced to issue the pardon. “The” kept his end of the bargain, and his little brother was freed.
In August, 1868, Wes Allen and a large number of youths loitered outside “The’s” saloon, the St. Bernard House, at the corner of Mercer and Prince streets. They were told to disperse by a patrolman, Officer Crittenden, but instead chose to shower the man with abuse. Crittenden grabbed Wes Allen and signalled four other officers to join him. A nasty fight between the five officers and as many as thirty or forty ruffians broke out, capped by the appearance of Wes’s older brother Jess, who waded in to the fracas waving revolvers. Shots rang out, and the street toughs retreated inside “The’s” saloon, from which they opened fire. About thirty shots were traded, but with no serious injuries. Wes was released the next morning.
In November 1869, Wes was convicted of burglary in Brooklyn, where his family had no political influence, and sent to Auburn Prison. However, it was election time, and his brother “The” was on the ballot in the Eighth ward:
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Byrnes ends his entry saying that Wes fled to England in 1885. In Byrne’s 1895 edition, he states that Wes died there in prison in June, 1890. Articles appeared in January, 1891, confirming that he was in England, but was on the verge of death. A report from the New York Sun in July, 1891, said that Wes was present in his brother John’s house in Manhattan when “The” was taken there after a near-fatal stabbing. So was Byrnes wrong about Wes’s death? Regardless, Wes was heard from no more.

#176 Mark Shinburn

Maximilian Schoenbein (1842-1916), aka Max Shinburn, Mark Shinborn, Henry E. Moebus, etc. — Sneak thief, bank robber

Link to Byrnes’s text on Mark Shinburn
Maximilian Schoenbein, the preeminent bank robber of the 1860s, was born in 1842 to parents Johann Schoenbein and Agnes Keiss of Württemberg, Germany. He arrived in the United States sometime in the mid-1850s, but the date and place of entry is unknown. In later life Schoenbein never mentioned his parents or upbringing. As a young man he supported himself by “sneak thieving” from stores and houses. He posed as a “sporting” man, a devotee of gambling and horse racing.
Schoenbein’s first bank job was the Walpole, N.H. Bank robbery of 1864, assisted by James Cummings. By his own account, Schoenbein attempted eleven bank robberies between 1864 and 1870, and was successful in nine of them. In June, 1870, he married Adelaide Tisserman and sailed for Europe a wealthy man, not to return until 1890.
In 1913, three years before his death, Schoenbein wrote a series of eleven articles for the Sunday Boston Herald, detailing several of his most famous exploits, as well as several capers involving his fellow master thieves, Adam Worth and George Miles White. These articles appeared just weeks after similar articles about old-time crooks penned by Sophie Lyons. However, unlike Lyon’s columns, Schoenbein’s writings were never syndicated to other newspapers, and never collected and republished in book form…
…until now. As a result of the Professional Criminals of America–REVISED project, Schoenbein’s heist stories have been transcribed and published by Wickham House under the title King of Burglars: The Heist Stories of Max Shinburn. Each of the eleven articles is a treat for any fan of stories about old-time crooks.
[paperback available on Amazon on 8/22/18; Kindle version by 8/27/18]
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In one of his stories, Shinburn alludes briefly to the fact that after his return to the United States in the early 1890s, he spent two years trying to develop an invention. He later (in 1910) secured a patent for this after his release from the New Hampshire State Prison in 1908. The patent was US979325A, for a chambered pneumatic tire for automobiles:
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Shinburn’s attempt to develop this in the early 1890s depleted his funds, resulting in a return to robbery–and reimprisonment in New York and New Hampshire from 1895 to 1908.