Byrnes’s text: #76 Billy Forrester

Link to REVISED entry for #76 Billy Forrester

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Forty-five years old in 1886. Height, 5 feet 6 inches. Dark complexion, dark hair, dark hazel eyes, that are very piercing. Wears dark mustache. He is a broad-shouldered, well-built man. Weighs 150 pounds, and although in prison so long is a good man yet. Has a goddess of liberty in India ink on his right arm; an eagle, flag and dim anchor on left hand, between thumb and forefinger; Indian queen sitting on the back of an eagle on the left leg; full-rigged ship on his breast; United States coat-of-arms on left arm; red and blue ink bracelets on each wrist. Small but prominent scar one inch below the right eye. Both ears pierced for earrings; high, square forehead; small, narrow foot; tooth out of upper jaw, left side. Born in Lafourche County, La., and has served time in Sing Sing, N.Y.; Jackson, Miss.; Baton Rouge, La.; Chicago, Ill.; Memphis, Tenn.; Detroit, Mich.; and Philadelphia, Pa.

RECORD. Billy Forrester, as an expert, outranks many of the leading criminals in America. The first robbery of any importance that he committed was that of a United States paymaster, from whom he got $1,200, on a steamboat, near Vicksburg. He was next arrested for the murder of a man named Neely, in Detroit, Michigan, after robbing him of $3,500 at cards. Of this charge he was acquitted on the ground of self-defense.

He went to Canada, then to Baltimore, Md., where it is said he married a wealthy woman; shortly after which he paid Chicago, Ill., a visit, and was arrested there for highway robbery, and sentenced to thirteen years in Joliet (Ill.) Penitentiary on June 13, 1868.

He soon made his escape, was recaptured, and escaped again in 1869. On June 12, 1870, Forrester was arrested in New Orleans, La.; he was discharged on a writ on June 16, and was re-arrested, and again discharged, and remained around New Orleans. On January 1, 1871, Schoeler & Co.’s jewelry store on Canal Street, New Orleans, was robbed of diamonds, watches and jewelry valued at $83,000. Daigo Frank and Dave Cummings (50) were arrested for this robbery, but Forrester escaped, and shortly after assisted in releasing three burglars from jail in Mobile, Ala., in a most daring manner.

His next appearance was at the time of his arrest, in New York City, for the murder of Benjamin Nathan, on Twenty-third Street, near Fifth Avenue. The only witness in the case identified him, but he was discharged after proving an alibi. He offered during his confinement in the Tombs prison to name the Nathan murderer if his unexpired sentence at Joliet prison should be commuted. His offer was declined, and he was returned to Joliet. His sentence expired there January 12, 1880.

On May 23, 1881, one Conrad Foltz was arrested in Philadelphia, Pa., for the Ashton burglary. A strong effort was made to bail him, when he was recognized as Billy Forrester, and he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to five years in Cherry Hill prison. His sentence expired in November, 1885. He is now at large, and is liable to turn up at any minute. Forrester’s picture is an excellent one, taken in 1881.