From Byrnes’s text:
DESCRIPTION. Fifty-one years old In 1886. Born in England. Married. Machinist. Stout build. Height, 5 feet 5 inches. Weight, 150 pounds. Gray hair, blue eyes, dark complexion, smooth round face, large mouth. Has some English accent. Stands his age well.
RECORD. Kerrigan, or Johnny Dobbs, was born and brought up in the slums of the Fourth Ward of New York City. He started out as a pickpocket, and was afterwards connected with Patsey Conroy (deceased), Larry Griffin, Denny Brady, Pugsey Hurley, and other notorious river thieves. Later on he became one of the most expert bank burglars in America. He is well known in almost every large city in America, and is considered a first-class workman. His associates were Charles Adams, alias Langdon W. Moore (22) ; George Mason, alias Gordon (24) ; Big Frank McCoy (89), Old Bill Meagher, Abe Coakley, Fairy McGuire (78), Sam Perris, alias Worcester Sam (199); Johnny Hope (19), Jimmy Hope (20), and, in fact, all the best men in the profession. He has been engaged in almost all the important bank robberies that have occurred in this country during the past twenty-five years.
Dobbs, Worcester Sam, and old man Hope, were implicated in the robbery of the Dexter Bank of Maine, and the murder of the cashier. Worcester Sam, it is claimed, threw Cashier Barron into the bank vault and shut the door on him, because he refused to give them the combination of the safe in the vault, and next morning he was found dead. Sam is wanted now for this murder. Dobbs, alias Rice, escaped from State prison at Wethersfield, Conn., in company of another convict, on May 3, 1875. He was serving a sentence of four years for a burglary committed in Collinsville, Conn. When in jail at Hartford, Conn., before his transfer to Wethersfield, he made an attempt to escape, but was detected when he had almost dug himself out.
Dobbs was arrested again in Philadelphia, Pa., on May 7, 1879, while attempting to sell some of the bonds stolen from the Manhattan Savings Institution in New York on October 27, 1878. He was brought to New York City, and confined in the Tombs prison until February 6, 1880, when he was delivered to the authorities of Connecticut, and taken back to Wethersfield prison, to serve out his unexpired time.
The following is an account of the last arrest of Dobbs and his gang in Lawrence, Mass., as published in the police news of Boston at the time. With a few corrections, it is given in full:
“The value of strict police surveillance of strangers was never better illustrated in this country than at Lawrence, Mass., on Monday night, March 3, 1884. Officer Carey of the day patrol had reported to the city marshal two days before the presence at the Franklin House of four persons, whom the officer thought were worth watching. A description of the men was placed on the blotter at police headquarters for the information of all members of the force. When these men alighted in Lawrence at 4 p. m., March 3, and carried their gripsacks to a different hotel from that they had patronized on their visit two days before, the eye of the ‘countryman copper’ was wide open and kept them within view. They registered at the hotel, and, later, ‘connected’ with two other members of the gang who had hired teams at different stables in Lowell, Mass., and driven over the road ten miles. Four of the gang took supper at Arthur Dodge’s restaurant and left their gripsacks there and took a stroll around the city. About 7:30 p. m. one of them bought a pair of rubbers at a shoe store, and then the gang sought out a billiard saloon to put in the time till the night was ripe for business.
“City Marshal James T. O’Sullivan, Assistant Marshal John Sheehan, Police Inspector Hiram R. Neal, Night Watch Captain James T. Brady and officers O’Connor, Mahoney and John J. Sullivan, in citizens’ clothes, watched the billiard saloon, and had but a brief time to wait, when three of the desperadoes were heard coming down the stairs. They were on the street conversing in a low tone of voice, when Inspector Neal jumped in upon them and grabbed George Day, alias Moore, alias McCarty (87), by the neck, and speedily pinioned him. The other two ducked their heads and eluded his grasp, one running towards Hampshire Street, pursued by Captain Brady, and the other toward Franklin, both firing as they ran. The captain, as his man who was William Thompson, alias Dennis Carroll, alias Big Slim (147), turned down towards the canal, ordered him to stop, and when he failed to comply, fired one shot. Thompson continued on the run, firing three shots at the captain as he ran, and now the shooting began in earnest. The noise of the shots, none of which took effect, attracted officers O’Connor and J. J. Sullivan from Amesbury Street, and they, too, joined in the pursuit.
“Thompson threw his revolver away, and ran into the alley between the Atlantic blocks, where again Capt. Brady leveled at him and fired, and Thompson fell, crying: “I’m hit! I’m hit!” The captain, with the other officers came upon him, and when told to throw up his hands, he did so, and was taken to the station, where it was found that he was uninjured. The marshal paid his attention to the other rascal, who fled through the alley, firing after him as he went, and the burglar returning the fire, shooting over his shoulder. He managed to escape, however. This man was John Love (68).
“The report of revolvers awakened the two burglars who remained in the billiard room, and they made a bolt for the street. They broke from the billiard room, but did not reach the street before they were pin- ioned by the marshal, officers Carey and Dennis Sullivan, and Matthew McDonald. These men were James Rodgers and Frederick P. Gray (73). Rodgers was the leader of the gang. He has been identified as Johnny Dobbs. One detective called him Johnny Irving, which, of course, was a mistake. In the gripsacks were found a complete set of tools for safe-blowing — bellows, steel bits, dark lanterns, fuse, cartridge caps, sectional jimmies, tubes through which to blow explosives, and other implements of the craft. All had self-cocking revolvers of 32 calibre, and a quantity of cartridges to match, and among the party there was over $500, and each had a gold watch.
“In Dobbs’ sack was found a box of Reading, Pa., powder, and a box of troches, labelled Edward S. Kelley, Boylston, corner Berkeley Street, Boston. A formidable set of burglars’ tools were those which the gang had, some of them, such as the pusher, for opening combination locks,- extremely rare and expensive. The jimmies included a sectional one, five feet long, in three joints, and a smaller one sixteen inches long. There was a bellows worked by the feet, a lot of half-inch rubber hose and seven tin tubes for powder to be forced through in blowing open safes. This powder, contained in two flasks and a bottle, was very fine and well adapted to the work. Besides this explosive were several pounds of nitro-glycerine and atlas powder, in cartridges, so arranged as to be exploded by electricity if desired. There were three coils of waterproof fuse, a fur muff, intended to deaden sound, and a gossamer to hide rays of light, two pocket dark lanterns, a thin spatula to work window fastenings, an adjustable wrench, a bit-stock, fifty-eight drills of silver-steel, and thirty-four steel wedges, ranging from three-quarters of an inch to four inches in length. For coercion and defense there were four new pattern revolvers and two pair of Bean’s improved handcuffs. A map of New England and one of Essex county, two bottles of whiskey, with the paper labels scratched off, and a machine for cutting out door locks, made up the interesting collection.”
At the examination in the Lawrence police court, March 6, 1884, each member of the gang was held in $15,000 for having burglars’ tools in their possession, and Thompson was held in $10,000 additional for shooting at the officer. Dobbs and Thompson pleaded guilty to having burglars’ tools in their possession, and were sentenced to ten years each in Concord prison on June 9, 1884. Day, alias McCarty, and Gray were tried some time after, and convicted. They carried their case up to the Supreme Court, which confirmed the verdict of the lower court, and they were finally sentenced to ten years each on February 11, 1885. See records of Nos. 68, 80, 86, 88, 90, and 199. Dobbs’ picture is an excellent one, taken in 1884.