#147 Dennis Carroll

Dennis Carroll (Abt. 1858-????), aka William Thompson, Big Slim — Pickpocket, Thief

From Byrne’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Twenty-eight years old in 1886. Born in United States. Single. No trade. Slim build. Height, 5 feet 11 inches. Weight, about 150 pounds. Dark hair, dark eyes, quite weak; dark complexion. Generally wears a light, thin mustache. Slightly pitted with pock-marks.

RECORD. “Big Slim,” the name he is best known by, is a Chicago thief, and was formerly a partner of Joe Parish (84). He is a bold, desperate thief, having shot an officer out West who was trying to arrest him and Parish for picking pockets in one of the towns that ex-President Garfield’s body passed through. He came East four or five years ago, and has been working the country with Johnny Dobbs and his gang. He was arrested in Lawrence, Mass., on March 3, 1884, in company of Johnny Dobbs (64), Thos. McCarty, alias Day (87), and Frederick P. Grey (73). Carroll, or Thompson, is the man that did the shooting. (See record of No. 64.) Carroll and Dobbs pleaded guilty and were sentenced to ten years each, on June 9, 1884. Carroll was pardoned on September 23, 1885, by Governor Robinson, of Massachusetts. It was claimed that he was suffering from an incurable disease. His health returned, however, upon his release. When last seen he was in New York City, apparently as well as ever. (See record of No. 87.) His picture is an excellent one, taken in March, 1884.

Byrnes’s entry for Dennis Carroll is very similar to his entry for another member of the 1884 Lawrence (Johnny Dobbs) gang, Thomas McCarthy. Both Carroll and McCarthy are mentioned as former partners of Joseph Parish, but are virtually untraceable prior to the Lawrence arrest. Both had distinctive nicknames…and both disappeared into obscurity after being released from Massachusetts.

Carroll had been jailed in Massachusetts under the name William Thompson. He was pardoned a year and a half into his ten-year sentence:


The prison physician, Dr. Sawin, had received his medical degree a year earlier, in 1883. Byrnes implies that Carroll made a miraculous recovery once he was free; however, in his 1895 edition, Byrnes indicates that Carroll inherited wealth and moved to California, but was still in ill-health.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s