#133 Patrick Martin

Patrick McCabe (Abt. 1858-????), aka Frank Hilton, Joseph Martin, Joseph Marsh, Michael McCabe — Pickpocket

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Twenty-nine years old in 1886. Born in Ireland. Single. Laborer. Medium build. Height, 5 feet 6 inches. Weight, 148 pounds. Light hair, blue eyes, sandy complexion.

RECORD. Paddy Martin, or English Paddy, is an English thief. He has been traveling through the country with a gang of Bowery (New York) pickpockets, and is considered a pretty clever man.

He was arrested in New York City on June 19, 1885, in company of another pickpocket, named Frank Mitchell, for an attempt to pick a man’s pocket on Bowling Green, near the Battery, New York. Both of them were sentenced to one month in the penitentiary on Blackwell’s Island, by Justice Duffy, on June 20, 1885.

Paddy was arrested again in Jersey City, N.J., on December 12, 1885, in the act of robbing a Mrs. Margaret Peters, of Montgomery Street, Jersey City, on a Pennsylvania ferry-boat. He tried to make her believe that he mistook her for his wife, and offered her ten dollars to release him. She rejected his overtures, and held on to him until a policeman arrived. He was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to three years and six months in Trenton State prison on December 14, 1885, under the name of Frank Hilton. His picture is an excellent one, taken in June, 1885.

Byrnes lists two arrests for this criminal, but the names he offers are at variance with the names or aliases reported by newspapers in each of these cases. The June 1885 arrest in the company of Frank Mitchell was under the alias of Joseph Martin or Joseph Marsh, depending on whether you were reading the New York Herald or the New York Times.

After being caught in December 1885, the suspect offered the name Frank Hilton. Four newspapers indicated that the man was Patrick McCabe, a well-known pickpocket. One newspaper later changed that to Michael McCabe.

In neither arrest did the courts of newspapers use the name that Byrnes offered: Patrick Martin; or the nickname “English Paddy.”

Byrnes indicates the man was born in Ireland but was English. Several newspapers suggested that Patrick McCabe had come from Chicago, but had been in New York City and associating with Bowery pickpockets for a time.

Though not well-known in New York or elsewhere under any of these aliases, there is little doubt that McCabe was experienced. He knew what to do when arrested: 1) contact his girlfriend, and through her, 2) contact his partners; 3) gather legal defense funds from the New York City underworld; and 4) approach the victim with a bribe to drop charges. McCabe was arrested in Jersey City, New Jersey; from the jail there, he had to get word to his girlfriend by sending a letter out with a prisoner that was being released. However, that prison took the letter directly to the jail-keeper, so McCabe’s strategy was revealed. He told his girlfriend, Mamie reed, to contact his partners: Joe Welling, Jerry Williams, and Joe Morton. All of these appeared to be obscure nicknames, lending credence to the idea that they had come from outside New York. He also instructed her to contact “all the mob on the Bowery” to have them each contribute $5 to his defense. Finally, he told her to approach the woman whose purse he had attempted to steal, and to tell her a sob-story about having children to feed with no income. If necessary, she was to bribe the woman with a seal fur stole, a gold watch, and $10.

The intercept of the letter spoiled McCabe’s plan, even though the pickpocket victim did indeed write a letter to the judge pleading mercy for McCabe.He was sent to State prison for three years.

In 1889, a pickpocket named Michael McCabe, 35, said to be from Chicago, was arrested in Philadelphia. Possibly, this was the same man.

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