#72 William Morgan

William B. Morgan (1852-1887), aka Billy Morgan, William Moran, William Brown, James Sweeney — Sneak thief, Shoplifter

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Thirty-three years old in 1886. Born in New York. Medium build. Single. No trade. Height, 5 feet 8 inches. Weight, about 142 pounds. Brown hair, blue eyes, florid complexion. Has “W. B. Morgan” in India ink on his right arm; one dot of ink on left hand.

RECORD. Billy Morgan is considered one of the smartest till-tappers and shoplifters in the business. He has confined himself to till-tapping and work of that description of late years, and has been arrested in several of the principal cities in America, and is well known in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. He has worked with the best people in this line, and thoroughly understands his business.

He was arrested in Philadelphia, Pa., on April 16, 1880, with “Marsh Market Jake” (38), Little Al. Wilson, and George Williams (194), for the larceny of $2,200 in bank bills from one Henry Ruddy of that city. The whole party were convicted and sentenced to eighteen months in the Eastern Penitentiary at Philadelphia on April 26, 1880.

Since his release he has been traveling through the country working almost every kind of schemes to get money. He has been arrested in New York several times. An account of all his arrests would fill many pages. His picture is a very good one, taken while under arrest, in August, 1882.

Billy Morgan was a habitual, but not particularly notorious thief. He was arrested for grand larceny in 1870, at age 18, and sent to Sing Sing on a two-year sentence under the name William Brown in December 1870.

He was arrested again for attempted larceny, shoplifting clothing, in October 1874 and sentenced to Sing Sing again for another two years.

The April 1880 sneaking of bank bills in a gang led by Marsh Market Jake resulted in his arrest in Philadelphia under the name William Moran. [Charles J. Everhardt, on this occasion, used a little wit in giving his alias as “William Helburne.”]

No further criminal activities of Morgan are documented. In his 1895 edition, Byrnes indicates that Morgan died suddenly in New York City on November 5, 1887, at age 35. He left behind a wife, Hester Logan, and a daughter, Hester Morgan.

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