Berkeley Edward Puseley (1853-1886), aka Berkeley E. Paisley, Edward Darlington — Forger
From Byrnes’s text:
DESCRIPTION. Thirty-three years old in 1880. Born in England. Medium build. Not married. Height, 5 feet 8 1/2 inches. Weight, 138 pounds. Sandy hair, blue eyes, sallow complexion. Genteel appearance. Known in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and several other cities in the United States.
RECORD. Darlington was arrested in New York City on November 21, 1883, in connection with Richard O. Davis (34) and Charles Preston, alias Fisher (41), charged with forging the name of J.J. Smith to a check for $700 on the Continental Bank, No. 6 Nassau Street, New York City. He was committed in $2,000 bail by Justice Duffy. Darlington pleaded guilty in the Court of General Sessions, New York City, and was sentenced to nine years in State prison on December 27, 1883. His sentence will expire, allowing him full commutation time, on November 26, 1889.
This man, who no doubt is the cleverest of the three, and his partner (34), had been traveling through the country for some time, victimizing people with forged checks. At the time of his arrest in New York he was wanted in Boston, Mass., for a similar transaction. His picture is a good one, taken in 1883.
Berkeley E. Puseley came to the United States from London, England in 1879/80 to make his reputation as a writer and playwright. He was the son of Daniel Puseley, an author who wrote under the name Frank Foster. During his twenties, Berkeley was a newspaper correspondent filing stories from Cyprus, Egypt, and Afghanistan.
Upon arriving in New York, Puseley adopted the pen name Berkeley E. Paisley, and had limited success selling some material to popular comedic actors of the era, John E. Owens and Frank Mayo. In August, 1881, he was arrested as Berkeley E. Paisley for passing forged checks in New York. Puseley was not a penman; he was a dupe employed by Charles Tisher. Several actors and actresses attended his hearing, and testified that he had an excellent character. Upon hearing their praise, Puseley broke down in tears. The judge gave him a light sentence, one and a half years at Blackwell’s Island.
Upon being freed, Puseley fell back into the same crowd of forgers, namely, Charles Tisher and Richard Davis. He was arrested as Edward Darlington in November, 1883. He was treated much more harshly this time, receiving a sentence of nine years in Sing Sing.
Earlier in life, Puseley’s siblings had died at young ages. His father had passed away in 1882, several years after losing most of his savings in bad investments. Berkeley Puseley did not want his one remaining relative, his mother, to know that he had been jailed. We wrote to her that he was journeying into the American west. He entered Sing Sing with an attitude of despair, and later wrote a poem reflecting his fate:
Preachers tell us man’s a coward
Should he seek to take his life,
Though he is by grief devoured,
Though he’s conquered in the strife.
If this is so, who can blame him,
When his heart is racked with pain?
Tyrants those who would reclaim him
To his misery again
Coward rather he who bears it,
Lingering on with gasping breath;
Making crown of thorns to wear it,
Shuddering yet at death.
Puseley survived in Sing Sing less than three years, dying of consumption. Initially he was buried in the prison graveyard, but friends later had him re-interred in a cemetery in Pleasantville, New York, under his real name.