#33 Timothy J. Gilmore

Timothy G. Gilmore (Abt. 1838-18??) — Check forger

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Forty-eight years old in 1886. Born in United States. Widower. Clerk. Stout build. Height, 5 feet 7 1/2 inches. Weight, 175 pounds. Dark brown hair, brown eyes, ruddy complexion, high forehead. Generally wears brown mustache, cut short. Gilmore has three young sons who are now in an orphan asylum.

RECORD. Gilmore is a professional forger, well known in New York and several of the Eastern cities. He is said to have formerly lived in St. Louis, Mo., and has served time in prison there.

He was arrested in New York City on June 24, 1878, and sentenced to four years and six months in State prison for forgery.

He was arrested again in New York City on February 7, 1884. Mr. Goodwin, a baker, of No. 228 Front Street, New York, identified Gilmore as the man to whom on July 30, 1883, he had sold ten barrels of bread for $25.22, and who gave him a check for $70 in payment. The check was worthless. Thomas A. O’Brien, bookkeeper for Fitzpatrick & Case, spice dealers, of No. 7 James Slip, New York, said that on December 11, 1883, Gilmore paid him a check for $80, signed ” R. H. Macy & Co.,” for $45 worth of tea. In this case he obtained $35 change. Gilmore pleaded guilty to both complaints, and was sentenced to eight years in State prison on March 5, 1884, in the Court of General Sessions, New York. Gilmore’s picture is a good one, taken in 1878.

Timothy J. Gilmore’s habit of writing bad checks appears to have been more mental illness than criminal ambition. He came from a good family, and when his father Martin died in 1849, he was provided for in the will, along with his mother and brother. He settled down to life as a clerk, and married Catherine Lyons around the year 1860. They had two sons, Martin in 1863 and Edward in 1867–and then Timothy went off the rails.

He was caught in late May 1868 passing worthless checks, signing them with fictitious names and presenting them to gullible merchants. Newspapers did not record his sentencing, but he was not sent to State prison. He appeared to have operated strictly on his own. The Gilmores had a third son Albert,  born a year later, in 1869.

Timothy’s mania returned in August 1873. This time, he was sentenced to four years in Sing Sing, and was later transferred to Auburn. Though no details can found, apparently his imprisonment drove his wife temporarily insane:


After a brief year of freedom, Gilmore continued to lay down a flurry of bad checks in June 1878. He was sent back to Sing Sing for another sentence of four and a half years.

He was released in 1882, long enough to see his wife, Kate, pass away, leaving Timothy alone to raise three boys. That responsibility did not deter Gilmore: he was arrested for the same crime, using the same methods, in December 1883. Merchants were shown Gilmore’s photograph, taken in 1878, and identified him quickly. Gilmore’s sons were placed with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children; Gilmore was sent to Sing Sing a third time, this time for eight years.

When Gilmore was processed back into society yet again, his found his sons were grown, and there was no reunion. In February 1892, he spread bad checks throughout Brooklyn, and was returned to Sing Sing to do another eight years. There are no records indicating that he emerged from his fourth obligation to the State of New York.





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