#26 Augustus Raymond

Augustus Raymond (Abt. 1855-19??), aka Gus Raymond, Arthur L. Barry, William Walker — Sneak thief

Link to Byrnes’s text on #26 Augustus Raymond

Gus Raymond was a capable all-around thief, but specialized in a type of theft known as the “trunk game.” This crime was committed by gaining entry to a baggage area of a rail-car, depot, or steamship company and switching address labels on the luggage, so that they would be delivered right to the thief.

Although he acquired a reputation as a sneak thief in New York when he was still a teen in the late 1860s and early 1870s, it was not until 1877 that Raymond was caught committing a large heist. The mechanics of the theft of a trunk of jewels was described in detail by one of Raymond’s partners, Langdon Moore, in his autobiography. In his account, Moore himself is the unnamed “fourth man,” while “Bigelow” is Tom Bigelow, and “Briggs” is Thomas “Kid” Leary:


Under the protection of a Boston private detective, whose greed of gain was only excelled by his treachery to me as time rolled on, several important robberies took place in and near Boston. The day previous to my first prospecting visit to the Cambridgeport National Bank, Feb. 26, 1877, the Brigham robbery took place. This was followed by the Garey robbery, April 16; and on May 12 Ailing Brothers and Company’s jewelry trunk was stolen from their traveling salesman.

This salesman and his trunk were followed from the Tremont House, Boston, where he was registered, to the Bay State House, Worcester, by Raymond, Bigelow, Briggs and company. Seeing there was no opportunity to steal the trunk out of the hotel, while the salesman was visiting his customers among the jewelers in that city, the party decided to wait and follow him to his next stopping-place. Just before the afternoon express train was due, he was seen to leave the hotel and enter the Bay State House coach, with his trunk behind him. He was followed to the depot, where he bought a ticket for Hartford, Conn. Being late, he checked his trunk, and before it could be put on board the train started. He got on, leaving his baggage to be forwarded by the next train.

When it was found he had left his trunk, Bigelow went to a store on Main Street, and bought a large glazed cloth valise, while Briggs entered a grocery store and purchased a bag of salt and four dozen oranges, with a package of brown paper. While walking through a back street, the oranges, after being wrapped in the paper, were put in the bag, along with the salt. The bag was locked, and Raymond carried it to the depot, where he bought a ticket for New York. He checked the valise to that city.

Early that evening, when the baggage-master was alone in the room, Raymond and Bigelow entered, and the former asked to be allowed to open his valise, as he wished to get something out. At the same time he showed his check and pointed the bag out to the baggage-master, who, after examining the check, handed the bag to him. The moment he did this, Bigelow engaged the baggage-master in conversation, turning him around and calling his attention to another part of the room. Raymond then walked across the room to where the salesman’s trunk was standing, and set the bag down on the end of the trunk. While Bigelow was seeking information from the baggage-master, Raymond changed the check from the valise to the trunk, and the check from the trunk to the valise, sending that to Hartford and the trunk to New York. He then carried the valise back to where he had taken it from, and gave Bigelow the “tip” that the exchange had been made. They thanked the baggage-master for his kindness, bade him goodnight, and left the room.

A fourth man had remained outside, where he had seen all that had taken place in the room. There he did post duty until released by Briggs, and between the two they watched to see if the baggage-master examined the checks. He did not; and when the express train for New York came along, the trunk and the bag were put aboard. When the train started, the four “crooks” entered the smoker. Not knowing but the salesman might have business in Springfield that would detain him until this train came, they kept a close watch upon all who entered the cars at that place. Nothing, however, occurred that could in any way interest the thieves until the train reached Hartford, where two of the men left the train, and saw the valise taken from the baggage car and placed alone upon the truck, where it remained until the train pulled out of the station.

One man was left behind to see that the salesman did not call or send for his trunk before the train reached New York, for, if he did, it might make it difficult for the party who presented the check at that end to explain how he came in possession of it. Upon the arrival of the train, the check was given to a hackman, with instructions to get the trunk and return to the front of the depot. This he did, being “piped” by the thieves, who saw the trunk delivered to him without question. When he drove to the front of the depot, Briggs got in and was driven to a hotel on Fourth Avenue, where he registered and had his trunk sent to his room.

In the meantime Bigelow entered the hotel, carrying a large valise, registered, and engaged a room for the purpose of changing his clothes. After these men had been shown to their rooms, and the boy who piloted them up had returned to the office, Bigelow went to Briggs’ room, broke open the trunk, transferred all the jewelry he found in it to the bag, returned to his room, and, after cleaning himself up, returned to the office. He paid his bill and left the hotel, carrying the bag. At the corner of Twenty-Seventh Street he was met by the other man, who had been “piping” the hotel while the shift was being made, and together they went to a hotel on Sixth Avenue, near Forty-Fifth Street, and engaged a room, when the “stuff” was looked over.

Briggs, who had been left at the Fourth Avenue Hotel, was told to hire an express wagon and take the empty trunk to a furnished room in Fortieth Street occupied by Bigelow; and that night the trunk was to be taken away and destroyed. Had he done this, all trace of the trunk would have been lost. But while going for the express wagon, Briggs met Raymond, who told him not to go to the trouble of carting the trunk away and destroying it, but to go to the Fifth Avenue Hotel and get a hackman to take it to the Adams Express office and ship it on to Baltimore.

While this was being done, the salesman sent to the depot for his trunk; and when the check was presented, the valise was delivered to the messenger, who carried it to the hotel where the man was staying, and delivered the bag to him. Seeing a mistake had been made and that he had got another person’s baggage, he went to the depot, looking for his trunk. After going through the baggage-room without finding what he was in search of, he made inquiries, and learned that no other baggage but the valise had been left there upon the arrival of the express train from the East. He then wired to Worcester to have his baggage forwarded, and received a reply that it had been sent on by the night express.

The police were soon notified and given a full description of the large, heavily-ironed black trunk, with a large letter “A” printed in white on the ends. The trunk had been over the road a hundred times, and was known to all the baggage-men and many of the hackmen between New York and Boston, to say nothing about the thieves who had followed the salesman over the road many times previous to this party striking the trail. Upon inquiry at the depot, the hackman was found who had taken the trunk and the man to the Fourth Avenue Hotel, where it was learned the trunk had been taken away by another hackman; but no one could tell who he was or whither he had taken the trunk.

In the meantime the salesman, with the assistance of the officers, burst open the valise, and found the bag of salt carefully packed away among the oranges, which were beginning to decay. A search was then made by the police for the man who had sold the valise, the salt, and the oranges, to the man who had the bag. They were not successful in this, however, and the hunt was soon given up. Not so, however, with the New York police, for they caused to be inserted in the papers a notice offering a reward for any information leading to the recovery of the trunk, with a request that the hackman who had taken it from the Fourth Avenue Hotel call at police headquarters. As this man seldom read the papers, he heard nothing of the inquiries being made by the police about the trunk until his attention was called to it by overhearing some other hackmen accusing one another of stealing a jewelry trunk with a big “A” printed on the ends. Upon inquiry as to the meaning of their talk, an explanation followed, and he was shown the notice in the papers.

After reading this, he jumped on his hack and drove to police headquarters, where he gave the information that led to the recovery of the trunk at the express office at Baltimore by New York detectives, who returned to New York with it, and renewed their search for the plunder, and the thieves who had dared work a new trick on the police and railroad people. While they were running around among the “stool pigeons” for information, the “stuff” was sold to a “fence” for four thousand dollars, and the party returned to Boston.

Police eventually tracked down the hackmen, which led them to Raymond; both Raymond and Kid Leary were identified by the baggage-master. Raymond and Leary were eventually caught and prosecuted, with Raymond sentenced to five years in the Massachusetts State Prison and Leary given the same number of years in Sing Sing. Moore and Bigelow escaped.

However, before Raymond was tracked down for this theft, he and Moore planned other jobs–and Moore became convinced that Gus Raymond was trying to cheat him. All the later mentions of Raymond in Moore’s book following the trunk theft are damning–though it should be mentioned that Moore also felt he was betrayed by George Mason; and thought Big John Tracy was worthless.

Raymond’s teaming up with forgers George W. Wilkes and Little Joe Elliott in 1886 was out of character. Raymond was not known to have engaged in any forgery schemes after Wilkes and Elliott were jailed.

From 1887 on, Raymond stuck to stealing from passenger ships, either using the “trunk game” or by breaking into cabins just before the steamers left dock. He was still at it in 1910:





#38 Charles J. Everhardt

Charles J. Everhardt (Abt. 1842-19??), aka Marsh Market Jake, Charles Williams, George Walsh, Charles Webb, Greenback Charley, George Hartman, Samuel Peters, Charles Koch, Charles McGloin, George Jones, Samuel Wells, William Helburne, etc. — Sneak thief, forger

Link to Byrnes’s text for #38 Charles J. Everhardt

Despite his distinctive name, nickname, and numerous mentions in Professional Criminals of America, there are several mysteries surrounding “Marsh Market Jake.” Most sources agree he was raised in Baltimore, which had a neighborhood (and street gang) named Marsh Market. Baltimore had a large German population, with many families named Everhardt/Everhart/Everhard–but there are no leads indicating whether Jake came from one of them. The same sources locating his early years in Baltimore also say that he was a thief since youth; yet there are no Baltimore crime reports of a chronic offender by this name.

Before any known criminal activities, Jake served in the military, according to the 1890 Veteran Schedule records filled out in Sing Sing. Those indicate that he served three months (May-August 1861) in the 12th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry; and then enlisted in the Navy in 1862 and served over thirty months on the USS Brandywine during its blockade of the Virginia coast.

In January 1870, Everhardt, alias Charles Williams alias George Walsh, was arrested twice in Philadelphia: once for snatching bills away from a man at a bank; and secondly for trying to shoplift a bolt of satin. He was sentenced to six years and nine months in Eastern State Penitentiary.

After leaving ESP, Everhardt teamed up with Philly Pearson and George Williams for an 1876 bank robbery in Montreal, but were captured. Everhardt was sentenced to three and a half years.

In April 1880, Everhardt was back in Philadelphia and led a gang that opened a safe in a whisky store, stealing $2200. His partners were Kid Carroll (identified by Byrnes as “Little Al Wilson”), George Williams, and Billy Morgan. They were each sentenced to eighteen months in Eastern State Penitentiary.

A Cincinnati detective was convinced that Everhardt, Tom Bigelow, John Jourdan, and Charles Benedict were responsible for the October 1881 theft of $20,000 in bonds from Senator Burton in Cincinnati, but the case was never proved, nor were they ever arrested.

In May 1882, Everhardt and Philly Pearson were caught with a third man, known by the alias Charles Wilson, in Kingston, Ontario. They were accused of robbing a Toronto jewelry store; Pheason gave his name as John Miller, and Everhardt gave the name Charles Webb. They were sentenced to five years in the Kingston Penitentiary, but with time reduced were out in March 1885.

Three months later, Everhardt and Pearson were arrested on suspicion in Philadelphia, where Jake offered the aliases William Helburne and Albert Rudolph. Pearson gave the name George Thompson. Though the evidence against them was circumstantial, they were given ninety days in jail.

Upon his release in August 1885, Jake hooked up with Charles Fisher’s gang of check forgers. Fisher and Everhardt were briefly detained by police in Boston, but were let go. In New York, the gang–including Everhardt, Fisher, Walter Pierce, and Charles Denken–were tracked by Byrnes’s detectives, who succeeded in corralling the gang and charged them with several counts of presenting forged checks. Everhardt’s protege, Kid Carroll, was arrested for attempting to lay one of the checks in Baltimore. In January 1886, Marsh Market Jake was sentenced to ten years in Sing Sing.

Jake’s sentence was commuted and he was released from Sing Sing in November 1892.

Everhardt returned to New York and resided there under the alias Samuel Wells, and situated himself as a trader in jewelry. In October 1894, Secret Service and Postal Inspectors had Everhardt arrested on charges that he had broken into and stolen $5000 in stamps from the New Albany, Indiana post office. When he was taken in New York, officials found $3000 in stamps in his possession. Everhardt was brought up on charges in a federal court in Indiana and convicted, despite calling in many respectable witnesses who swore they saw him in New York at the time of the robbery.

Everhardt was sentenced to two and a half years in prison. In October 1896, just four months shy of completing his term, Jake was pardoned by President Grover Cleveland. The Secret Service and Post Office had discovered after his conviction that others committed the robbery.

Jake returned to New York, but within a few years had exhausted every means of legal income. He checked in with Chief Detective George F. Titus, a former lawyer, and Titus got him a job as a watchman on the New York subway construction project.

Many years later, it was said that he died in a poorhouse, but the date and location is unknown.




#42 Edward A. Condit

Edward Augustus Condit (1848 – 1931), aka Robert S. Corning, Edward A. Cranston, W. S. Carson, Sterling, Cornell — Forger, Passer of Bad Checks

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Forty-one years old in 1886. Medium build. Height, 5 feet 11 inches. Weight, 167 pounds. Dark brown hair, hazel eyes, long pointed nose, sallow complexion. Has a scar on right side of neck. Small dark mole on left cheek. Prominent eyebrows.

RECORD. Edward A. Condit, a swindler who had a peculiar method of dealing in worthless checks, was arrested in New York City on March 2, 1883. Condit’s manner of doing business was to inquire by letter the terms upon which a broker would deal in a stock, and then ordering him to buy or sell, giving as margin a check on the Orange (N.J.) Savings Bank. Condit had only a small amount on deposit in that bank, but owing to the time required for the passage of the check through the Clearing-house, and other delaying causes, several days elapsed before its worthless character was exposed, and he was enabled to reap the benefit of the fluctuations in the price of the stock within the time required to collect the check. If the stock moved to his advantage, he contrived to meet or intercept the check, and take the benefit. If the transaction went against him, he allowed the check to go to protest, so that the broker was the loser.

Condit has a pleasing address, and is apparently a man of some education. He gave a short history of his life after confessing his operations. He said that he inherited a small fortune in 1869, which in the course of the next two years he increased to $100,000. He began to speculate in Wall Street in 1872. At first he was successful, but after the “panic” he began to lose, and by 1876 he was a beggar.

Then it was that he attempted to retrieve his losses by the mode described above. When arrested on March 2, 1883, he was committed for trial by Judge Cowing, but was turned over to the Jersey City police authorities in October, 1884. On December 1, 1884, he made a nearly successful attempt to escape from the Hudson County Jail, on Jersey City Heights, where he was confined awaiting trial for swindling several storekeepers in Jersey City by worthless checks. He was convicted on December 24, 1884, and sentenced, January 23, 1885, to four years in State prison at Trenton, N.J., where he was taken on June 28, 1885. Condit’s picture is an excellent one, taken in 1884.

Edward A. Condit came from a privileged family, and was gifted with many head-starts in life: family wealth, goods looks, athletic ability, intelligence, and a fine education. His schooling ended with a degree from Princeton. While attending college, Condit was a fine first baseman for the Nassau Club of Princeton, one of the country’s best amateur teams (in the years 1862-1866, just before the first professional clubs). He graduated college prepared to make his own fortune–and he was ready to cut corners to do so.


Condit began his career was a Wall Street speculator after inheriting a substantial amount of money in 1869. One of his first ventures was the Enterprise Slate Company of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. In 1870, Condit and partner H. W. H Fitzgerald were sued by a third partner, Henry Kern, for breach of promise. Condit and Fitzgerald were in court a year later on charges of forging a check; it is unclear whether this was related to the slate company venture or a different incident. Condit defended the charge by arguing that there was no forgery, merely the issuance of a check from an account that temporarily had insufficient funds.

In 1876, Condit made a desperate attempt to manipulate stock prices by sending a fake telegram to Wall Street announcing the death of Cornelius Vanderbilt (who did pass away a year later). Condit’s deception was exposed, but he escaped punishment.

By 1883, Condit had refined his trick of purchasing margins from brokers with worthless checks, and then reaping the profits and quickly covering the checks; or, if the investment didn’t work out, allow the checks to be protested. This worked until he tried the same trick on storekeepers in New Jersey, who brought a civil suit against Condit. Confined to a Jersey City jail, Condit made a foolish attempt to escape. He was eventually sentence to four years in the New jersey State Prison.

In 1891, Condit traveled to Holyoke, Massachusetts and attempted to cash four checks under the name Robert S. Corning. He was arrested and released on bail, which he defaulted. He was captured again in Madison, Wisconsin in December 1892 under the name W. A. Carson. This time he was sentenced to three years of hard labor at the Wisconsin State Prison at Waupun. He was caught once more in Chicago in October 1898 under the name W. A. Cornell, but was released on his own recognizance.

Condit unwisely returned to Massachusetts and was soon identified as a forger and swindler, and was sentenced to ten-fifteen years in State Prison under the name Edward A. Cranston.

Condit’s last travail occurred in Tiffin, Ohio, in October 1919. His long-suffering wife Addie had passed away a few months earlier. Now an old man, Condit was worn down by the struggle:


After his release from Ohio, Condit returned to Newark, New Jersey to live with his daughter. He died there in 1931 at age 82.

#104 Charles Ward

Charles W. Hall (Abt. 1833-19??), aka Charles E. Stewart, Charles E. Ward, Charles Vallen, J. C. Massie, William Edwards, William Hall. E. C. Stewart, Charles D. Stewart, etc. — Swindler, Check forger, Hotel Thief, Sneak Thief

From Byrnes’s 1886 edition:

DESCRIPTION. Fifty-two years old in 1886. Born in United States. Book-keeper. Married. Medium build. Height, 5 feet 9 inches. Weight, 159 pounds. Brown hair, mixed with gray, wears it long; blue eyes, light complexion. Generally wears a full, heavy gray beard and mustache. Dresses well, and has an extraordinary gift of the gab.

RECORD. Charley Ward, whose right name is Charles Vallum, is one of the most noted confidence operators in America. He enjoys the distinction of being the only man in his line who can play the confidence game successfully on women. His principal forte, though, is collecting subscriptions for homes and asylums.

He was arrested in New York City on April 6, 1877, for collecting money for the Presbyterian Hospital of New York City without authority. For this he was sentenced to five years in State prison, on April 12, 1877, by Judge Sutherland. He was pardoned by Governor Cornell in 1880.

He was arrested again in New York City on August 4, 1881, for collecting considerable money, without authority, in aid of the “Society for the Relief of the Destitute Blind,” of New York City, and appropriating it to his own use. In this case, owing to the efforts of a loving wife, he escaped with eighteen months’ imprisonment in State prison, on September 7, 1881, being sentenced by Judge Cowing. Ward’s picture is an excellent one, taken in April, 1877.

From Byrnes’s 1895 edition:

Ward was arrested at Cincinnati, 0., in August, 1889, charged with having stabbed a woman that he was boarding with. For this offense he was sentenced to four years in the penitentiary at Columbus, 0. He was discharged from there on April 15, 1892.

Arrested again at Rochester, N. Y., on July 26, 1894, for the larceny of a satchel from the N.Y. Cen. & H.R.R. Depot. For this offense he was sentenced to three months imprisonment in the Munroe Co., N.Y., Penitentiary, by Judge Chas. B. Ernst, on July 27, 1894, under name of Wm. Edwards.

He was arrested again at Niagara Falls, N.Y., under the name of Wm. Hall, alias, E. C. Stewart, on November 28, 1894, charged with passing a worthless check on the proprietor of the Prospect House; he refused to prosecute him. He was, however, sentenced to twenty-five days imprisonment in the Niagara County Jail at Lockport, N.Y., for the larceny of a satchel from the New York Central Railroad Depot, by Judge Piper, on November 30, 1894.

Arrested again on January 31, 1895, at Dunkirk, N.Y., under the name of Wm. E. Miller, charged with defrauding the Hotel Gratiot out of a hotel bill. He sold his overcoat, settled his bill, and was discharged.

Ward was arrested again at Philadelphia, Pa., on October 28, 1895, for the larceny of an overcoat containing valuable papers from a guest of the Waldorf Hotel, New York City. He was brought back to New York, and was sentenced to three years and three months on this charge, on November I5, 1895, by Recorder Goff.

While detained by police in Cincinnati in May of 1889, the criminal popularly known as Charles Ward spoke with a reporter and offered a confession of his criminal career. He claimed to be sixty-three years old, though other records indicate he was only fifty-six. Still, by appearance he looked like a man living his final years. Neither Ward nor the reporter could have predicted that Ward’s confession was a bit premature, for many arrests and jailings were still to come.

“My life has a tinge of romance in it,” said Ward, as he chatted with the reporter last evening. “It’s no matter what my right name is. But one man knows, and he is my brother, a prosperous merchant in a South American country.

“Years ago I went wrong. What led me to a life of crookedness I can’t say, for I believe I was cut out for something better than a thief. Some dozen years ago I landed in St. Louis with a mob of crooks. We put up at the Lindell Hotel, but our headquarters we made at a well-known house of ill-fame. We were flush, and spent our money like princes for two weeks. Then a big trick was turned, and we scattered. My share was $4,000. At the house mentioned I became infatuated with a girl named Doris Meyer. She told me her story. When scarcely seventeen years old she had been brought to this country by her aunt, a Madame Schimmel, who then kept a den of infamy at 537 Race street in Cincinnati.

“This innocent, pretty girl’s honor was deliberately sold by her aunt to the highest bidder. Subsequently Doris married a captain in the army name Bookwood. The husband went wrong, and was dismissed from the army in disgrace. He was no better than the relative who had ruined the girl, for he forced his wife to return to a life of infamy, and lived on the proceeds of her shame.

“It was then I met her. I pitied Doris, and loved her as man ever loved woman. Well, I took her with me to Chicago. She did not know I was a crook, for I led her to think I was a gambler. Leaving her in Chicago, I went east; in Buffalo I ‘fell.’ I telegraphed Doris, and she came on. It was a bad case. Grover Cleveland was my lawyer, and although we made a vigorous fight, I went up for five years. Doris went to work,and, after I had spent half my term at Auburn, she secured my pardon.

“I found that Doris had become a city missionary in New York. The graduate of a St. Louis den had become an angel of mercy. Well, I married her in Brooklyn. Through her influence I secured work as a collector for a charitable institution. I received only $12 a week, but it was honest, and I felt better than when I had thousands I had stolen. Frequently  have turned over at then end of a week as much as $2000. That shows how easy it is to get money from the rich, and it was this fact that accomplished my final ruin.

“I was given a prominent position under the society, and my annual income was between $4000 and $7000. I seemed to have a peculiar faculty for the work. Through my own exertions the contributions had increased nearly $50,000. My besetting sin has been drink. I began to squander my money for wine, and, forgetful of my faithful Doris, I became infatuated with a shameless woman. In the mean time, my wife and I had made a trip to Europe. I had a comfortable bank account, and nobody was better thought of. But the climax came. I remained away from the office for an entire week. I was permitted to resign.

“My money went fast in dissipation, until I awoke one morning and realized that I hadn’t a dollar in the world. Then the idea seized me that I would work the collection racket. My success astonished me. Soon thousands of dollars were pouring in on me…and so it went on for weeks. I had returned to my old life and was again the associate of thieves and one of them.

“One day I called on wealthy Miss Catherine Wolf…I represented myself as from a prominent institution and left my book. Unfortunately for me Miss Wolf was on friendly terms with the president of the concern, and when he called the next day she broached the subject and showed the book. When I called three days after recovering from a spree a servant handed me the book with the ends of several bills sticking ut. The next instant a detective laid his hand on my shoulder and I was a prisoner. This time I also got five years for forgery.

“My wife again went to work and finally, after I had served nearly three years at Sing Sing, she secured my pardon from Governor Robinson. New York was now closed to me; I was too well known. I went to Baltimore with several crooks. One night while playing billiards we were pinched. Some gilly had been robbed. He identified all of us, though on my word we were innocent. Again I went to the Penitentiary, and again my wife began to intercede for me. She was finally successful, but before the doors opened, I received a letter announcing the death of my devoted Doris. She had caught cold while at her missionary work, and death had quickly followed.

“I began to drink, and, within a week, was again pinched.I had attempted a little crooked business at a hotel wand was caught. Again I went up. Doris’s death made me desperate and despondent. I cared for nothing. A year ago last February I was released from the Maryland Penitentiary.”

It appears that Ward was being very honest in his account: he did marry Doris Meyer, who had been married to a Charles Bookwood. Ward was pardoned out of Auburn Prison in 1874, after entering it as Charles W. Hall in March 1872. He was also pardoned from Sing Sing in October 1879 after entering as William H. Hall in April, 1877. Doris Ward roomed for many years at the Bible House, the mission of the American Bible Society.

Ward went to Cincinnati in 1879 to seek out Madame Schimmel, who was running a sketchy boarding house under the name Helene Krolage. They got along together at first–and in fact helped her con another woman in town that was her enemy. However, by July, Ward confronted her about her ruination of 17-year-old Doris, and became enraged. He tried to stab her with a penknife; she survived, but Ward was arrested and convicted of assault, sending him to the Ohio State Penitentiary for five years.

Upon his release, Ward wandered through upstate New York, committing small robberies of coats, satchels, etc. from train depots and hotels.  In Niagara Falls, when an officer attempted to arrest him in his hotel room, he tried to put a gun to his own head and commit suicide. Later that same year, 1895, he was arrested in Philadelphia for a hotel robbery he had committed in New York and sent back there. This episode earned him another three year sentence in Sing Sing as Charles Vallen.

Again regaining his freedom, he joined a gang of forgers led by an interesting figure, former timber magnate, lawyer, and State Senator, Alonzo James Whiteman.

The last reference to Ward dates to 1906, when he was arrested by a Manhattan hotel detective for stealing into someone else’s room.

In his last decades, Ward was often confused by amateur sleuths for another criminal in Byrnes’s book, the horse-trainer and sometime-forger Lewis Martin. They were similar in appearance when both were wearing long, gray beards.

#193 George Bell

George Bell (Abt. 1846-????), aka George H. Williams — Forger

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Forty years old in 1886. Born in United States. Single. No trade. A well-built man. Height, 5 feet 11 3/4 inches. Weight, 180 pounds. Brown hair, hazel eyes, light complexion. Vaccination mark on right arm. Small scar on right arm, above the wrist. Scar on right temple, over the eye. He is generally clean-shaven, and affects a staid and religious air during his operations.

RECORD. George Bell is as good a general thief as there is in this country. He is well known in most of the principal cities in the United States and Europe, having operated with Charles O. Brockway, alias Vanderpool (14), the celebrated forger, on both sides of the water, and was considered one of Brockway’s cleverest men. Bell has traveled considerably, but claims New York City as his home. He has been a professional thief, forger and manipulator of forged paper for years.

He was arrested in Philadelphia, Pa., on March 25, 1876, and sentenced to one year in Cherry Hill prison. Shortly after his discharge he was arrested again, in Philadelphia, for a “pennyweight” robbery, and sentenced to eighteen months in the Philadelphia County prison.

Early in 1880 Bell went to Europe with Al. Wilson, Cleary and others, for the purpose of flooding the Continent with forged circular notes. The scheme, which was managed by George Wilkes, Engle and Becker, proved a failure, and they returned to America.

Bell, Charles Farren, alias the “Big Duke,” and Henry Cleary, were arrested in New York City on July 27, 1880, charged with having defrauded the Merchants’ National Bank and the Third National Bank of Baltimore, Md., to the amount of $12,000, by forged checks, on July 16 and 17, 1880.

Farren was discharged for want of evidence. Cleary was claimed by the Albany (N.Y.) police authorities, and delivered to them, to answer a charge of forgery (a check for $490), for which he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to two years and six months in Dannemora prison, New York State, in November, 1880.

Bell was delayed in New York City, by habeas corpus proceedings, until August 1880, when he was delivered to Deputy Marshal Prey, of Baltimore, Md., and taken to that city by him. He was tried in Baltimore on November 30, 1880. The trial lasted until December 1, when the jury disagreed. He was tried again on December 16 and 17, 1880, with the same result. The venue was changed, and he was again tried, in an adjoining county. This trial resulted in a conviction, and he was sentenced to ten years in State prison on July 9, 1881.

Bell’s sentence will expire on October 9, 1889…His picture is a good one, taken in 1876.

Collection of Shayne Davidson

Bell’s 1876 arrest in Philadelphia came under the name George H. Williams.

Inspector Byrnes undoubtedly had information that would identify the real name of Bell/Williams, but by the publication of his 1895 edition, Byrnes believed that Bell had reformed, and was then in a legitimate business that prepared insurance and patent rights documents.

Byrnes believed this despite the fact that he was aware that Bell/Williams had masterminded a check-forging operation even in the weeks before his release from the Central Maryland State Penitentiary:


The fate of Bell/Williams is not known, but to put an ambitious forger in a position of dealing with insurance and patent documents does not forebode a good outcome.




#55 Stephen Raymond

Stephen George Francis Rayment (1835-1909), aka Stephen Raymond, Stephen Handsworth, Frank Stewart, George Morgan, Charles Seymour, Robert Maguire — Forger, Pickpocket

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Fifty-four years old in 1886. Born in England. Stout build. Married. Height, 5 feet 8 inches. Weight, 180 pounds. Has considerable English accent when talking. Gray mixed hair, blue eyes, dark complexion. Mole on the upper lip, right side. The right eye is glass.

RECORD. Steve Raymond has a remarkable history as a forger and negotiator of forged bonds and securities. He had only left Sing Sing prison, where he had been confined for forgery, a few months, when he was arrested in London, England, on January 8, 1874, charged with being implicated in the great Buffalo, Erie and New York Railroad bond forgeries. Over $400,000 of fraudulent bonds of these railroads were sold in New York City, and an equal amount in other places, before their genuineness was doubted. They were so cleverly executed that one of the railroad companies accepted $40,000 of them without suspicion. These forgeries were the largest that were ever committed and successfully carried out in this or any other country. The capital to carry this scheme was said to have been furnished by Andrew L. Roberts and Valentine Gleason. Raymond’s share was $40,000 cash, the larger part of which was stolen from him before he left for Europe in July, 1873. Raymond was taken before Justice Henry, a London magistrate, and remanded for extradition on January 16, 1874, and was shortly after brought back to America.

While awaiting trial in the Tombs prison in New York, with his confederates, Walter Sheridan, alias Ralston (8), Charles Williamson, alias Perrine (202), Andy Roberts and Valentine Gleason, Raymond was taken to Elmira, N.Y., on habeas corpus proceedings, to be examined as a witness in some case, and while there he succeeded in making his escape from the Sheriff. He was arrested some time afterwards and committed to the Eastern Penitentiary on Cherry Hill, Philadelphia, for fifteen months, under the name of Frank Stewart, for a petty pocketbook swindle, which he carried on through the newspapers, and remained there without recognition until a short time before his release, when the fact became known to the New York authorities, who arrested him at the prison on January 27, 1877 (just two years after he had left the Tombs for Elmira), and brought him back to New York.

Raymond was convicted of forgery in the third degree and sentenced to State prison for five years on March 20, 1877, and was discharged from there in October, 1880. The list of the forgeries he was implicated in is as follows : New York Central Railroad bonds, $250,000 ; Buffalo, New York and Erie bonds, $200,000 ; Western Union Telegraph Company bonds, $200,000 ; New Jersey Central Railroad bonds, $150,000. A total of $800,000.

Raymond was arrested again in New York City on July 3, 1882, charged with the larceny of a watch on a street car. He could not be identified as the party who stole it, but a bunch of keys was found upon his person and the magistrate construed these keys as being equivalent to burglars’ tools and committed him in $1,500 bail for trial. This was reduced to $500 by Judge Haight, of the Supreme Court, and Raymond was shortly after discharged.

Raymond was arrested again in New York City on September 1, 1883, charged with altering the numbers and cashing coupons of the Union Pacific Railroad Company, which had been stolen from the Northampton Bank in Massachusetts, in 1876. He presented at the office of the Union Pacific Railroad Company on September 1, 1883, twelve coupons and received a check for $480 in payment. When placed on the stand at the time of his trial, he said:

“I met a man named George Clark, with whom I had been acquainted for years, in a liquor store on Eighth Avenue, about two years ago; during the conversation he asked me if I would cash some coupons; I was promised a percentage of $50 on $480, the amount of interest; Clark said to me, ‘You can’t expect the coupons to be straight; they are cut from stolen bonds.’ I cashed several lots of coupons; I never suspected that the numbers of the coupons had been altered or I would not have had anything to do with them; I saw three detectives near the bank when I entered it, but they were looking in another direction. In my extensive experience with crooked bonds I never before heard of the numbers of the coupons being altered. If I had had plenty of money I would not have touched the coupons, but as my wife was sick I wanted money. When I came out of prison in 1880 I sold directories and afterwards gambled.”

Raymond was convicted of forgery (second offense) and sentenced to State prison for life on October 22, 1883. The law under which he was sentenced reads as follows : “If the subsequent crime is such that upon a first conviction the offender might be punished, in the discretion of the court, by imprisonment for life, he must be imprisoned for life.” The Court of Appeals of New York State confirmed Raymond’s sentence on April 29, 1884. Raymond’s picture is a good one, taken in 1882.

This forger was baptized as “Stephen George Francis Rayment,” but at an early age the family reverted to the spelling Raymond. He was first arrested at age 12 for stealing a tea kettle, and was sentenced to six days in jail. He was apprenticed in his father’s trade of type foundry, but later in life identified himself as a jeweler. One mention suggests he was a “Botany Bay convict,” i.e. had been sent from England to an Australian penal colony.


Raymond arrived in the United States in the late 1860s, having already married and divorced in England before 1862. In New York City, he was recruited by some unknown gang of Wall Street forgers to help them secure bonds from a bank messenger. He was caught stealing gold certificates from a messenger in October 1868 and sentenced the next February to four and a half years in Sing Sing under the name Stephen Handsworth.

In Sing Sing, Raymond became friends with Dr. Alvah Blaisdell, a New York whiskey distiller who had attempted to remove a zealous tax collector by paying witnesses to testify that the taxman took bribes. The “Whiskey Ring” plot was uncovered, sending Blaisdell to Sing Sing.

When Blaisdell was freed, he was anxious to recoup his losses via the shortcut of forged bonds, and joined with a gang of professionals to help him: Andy Roberts, Valentine Gleason, George Engels, George W. Wilkes, Walter Sheridan, Charles Perrin (Williamson), Spence Pettis…and Blaisdell’s jail pal, Stephen Raymond. The efforts of this impressive collection of men resulted in–as Byrnes states–the largest successful forgeries ever committed up to that time. It became known as the Roberts-Gleason gang.

Nearly all of Raymond’s share of the loot was stolen from him in a saloon by pickpockets Red Leary and Jim Hoey. Seeing other members of the Roberts-Gleason gang being arrested, Raymond fled to England in July 1873 along with “Mrs. Bowden” nee LaGrand, the mistress of Alvah Blaisdell. William A. Pinkerton tracked him down in England and had him arrested and extradited back to the United States. While awaiting trial, he was sent to Elmira in order to testify in a case, and managed to escape from an escorting sheriff.

Raymond adopted the alias “Frank Stewart” and made Philadelphia his base for a mail-fraud known as “the pocket-book swindle.” It was fairly simple–he placed ads in newspapers around the country announcing that the Union Pocket Book Company of Philadelphia would send a fine morocco pocket-book to all who remitted them the sum of one dollar, with the pocket book containing a coupon for a lottery drawing of $100,000. These ads were to be paid for after they were run (but never were). No pocket-books were ever sent out. Raymond was caught for this scam and sentenced to three years in the Eastern State Penitentiary.

In 1877, visiting detectives to the prison recognized Raymond and he was returned to face trial for the Roberts-Gleason gang forgeries. In March 1877, he was sentenced to five years in Sing Sing.

Raymond got out in 1882, and–as Byrnes notes–was harassed with a charge of carrying burglars’ tools, when all he had was a bunch of keys. However, in 1883, he tried to cash a check for coupons taken from stolen bonds–coupons given to him by other thieves who had altered the numbers. Whether Raymond was cognizant of the forgery or not, he was found guilty; moreover, a recently enacted law required anyone found guilty of forgery a second time was to be imprisoned for life.

It took nine years, but this injustice was resolved with a pardon from New York Governor Flower in 1892.

In his 1895 edition, Byrnes states that “Steve” Raymond was next heard from in 1895, when he ran a “panel room” operation against a man named Louis Oppenheimer.

By 1906, Raymond was over seventy years old and nearly blind, and was forced to take refuge in the New York Almshouse. He died in March 1909 at the New York City Home for the Aged, with his burial there funded by the Episcopal City Mission Society.





#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.





#34 Richard O. Davis

Richard Oliver Davis (1856-19??), aka James Camp, George T. Carson — Forger

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Twenty-eight years old in 1886. Married. Born in United States. Cloth cutter by trade. Medium build. Fair complexion. Height, 5 feet 9 1/2 inches. Weight, 161 pounds. Brown hair, brown eyes. Dresses well. Davis and his partner, No. 36, are considered clever people. They are well known in New York, Boston and in several other cities in the United States.

RECORD. Davis was arrested in New York City on November 22, 1883, in connection with Edward Darlington (36) and Charles Preston, alias Fisher (41), charged with forging a check for $400, drawn on Harris & Co. The complaint was made by Howes & Co., bankers. No. 11 Wall Street, New York City. He was committed in $2,000 bail by Justice Duffy. Davis pleaded guilty in the Court of General Sessions in New York City, and was sentenced to six years in State prison, on December 27, 1883. His sentence will expire, allowing him his commutation time, on February 26, 1888. This man and his partner, Darlington, had been traveling around the country for some time, before their arrest in New York City, passing forged checks. His picture is a good one, taken in 1883.

While Richard O. Davis was not a forger’s dupe, like Berkeley Puseley (aka Edward Darlington, the young man whose life was ruined by Davis and Charles Tisher, aka Charles Fisher), neither was he a master penman. His usual role was to establish good accounts and gain the trust of cashiers, while a lower-level player presented the bad checks. Inspector Byrnes never realized the full extent of Charles Tisher’s operations–Tisher, more so than Charles Becker or George Wade Wilkes–was the foremost forger mastermind of the 1880s and 1890s.


Richard O. Davis was the son of James Oliver Davis and Anna V. Luce. Richard was just one of more than ten children in the family, which made several moves: from near Albany, New York; to Weehawken, New Jersey; to Dunkirk, New York (on Lake Erie); and finally back east to Manhattan. James Oliver Davis was a jack-of-all-trades: a carpenter, a tavern owner, and lastly a stable owner. His son Richard sometimes worked for his father, buying horses. It was likely in this capacity that he came in contact with Charles Tisher, sometime in 1882, leading to his conviction for forgery–along with Berkeley Puseley–in 1884.

Davis’s whereabouts between his release from Sing Sing in 1888 and 1894 are not known, but it is likely that he joined a new forging gang led by Charles Tisher following Tisher’s release from Sing Sing in May 1892. The new gang included Bob Bowman, a veteran operations man, James Cregan, and Charles Becker, a skilled penman, as well as several others.

Davis was seen passing a forged check in April 1894 in Cincinnati, Ohio, posing as James Camp. A bank teller identified him as Davis from the photograph in Byrnes’s book. This kicked off a legal battle to find, extradite, and convict Davis that lasted more than four years. He was arrested in October 1894 in New York City, sparking the first legal battle over whether there was cause to send him to Ohio. After a hearing, it was decided to allow him to be escorted back there. Next a writ of habeas corpus was submitted, arguing that the requisition issued by Ohio had not been valid. That was denied, but in February 1895, Davis was allowed out of the Cincinnati jail on a $5000 bail bond. He dutifully returned to a Cincinnati court in March to renew his bail bond.

The next month, April 1895, Davis was caught trying to pass a forged check in Boston, Massachusetts, under the name George T. Carson; his partner was Max Steele. He was held in jail for months, long enough for official in Cincinnati to hear about it. A Cincinnati police detective came to Boston, posted Davis’s bail there, and took him back to Cincinnati to face trial. However, prosecutors now had difficulty collecting witnesses against him, and he was released on bail again.

Davis next joined a gang of postal box thieves/forgers, a crime that had been perfected by Charles Tisher. Tisher himself had fled to England in 1897, so leadership of the postal-box gang fell to Timothy J. Hogan. The so-called “Hogan band” gang made a huge tour starting with Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Toledo, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. Davis was arrested in New York in December 1897 by postal authorities for mailbox robberies that took place in Toledo; Hogan was arrested in Kansas City, Kansas. Prosecutors once again failed to make a case against Davis in Toledo, so he was taken to Kansas City. There, the case against him failed when it was discovered that the alleged crime had taken place in Missouri, not Kansas. Missouri officials declined to take over the case, so Davis was once again released in late 1898.

Davis turned to burglary in March 1900, and was quickly arrested in New York City. No one recognized him as the once-famous forger. He was sent to Sing Sing on a sentence of five years, and released in 1904. A year later, in December 1905, he was caught in Queens, New York, again for burglary. When he re-entered Sing Sing with another five-year sentence it was noted he was lame in one leg.

There is no record that Davis was ever discharged or pardoned.





#198 John Pettengill

John J. Pettingill (Abt. 1835-1886), aka John Anderson, Joe Pettengill, James Pettingill, William Pettingill, James Gray, Little Pettingill, Boston Pett, Edward Perkins — Thief, Forger, Counterfeiter

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Fifty-one years old in 1886. Born in the United States. Single. No trade. Stout build. Height, 5 feet 6 inches. Weight, about 150 pounds. Blue eyes, very weak; light hair, Light complexion. Thick lower lip, broad, high forehead. Has India ink marks on left arm and back of left hand. Small scar on back of neck from a boil.

RECORD. Pettengill is an old New York thief. He is what may be called a general thief, as he can turn his hand to almost anything — burglary, boarding-house work, handling forged paper or bonds, counterfeiting, etc. He has been arrested in almost every State from Maine to California, and has spent considerable of his life in State prison. He is well known in all the cities, and is considered more of a tool than a principal.

He was arrested in Philadelphia, Pa., on June 24, 1875, and sentenced to two years in Cherry Hill prison. Since then he has served terms in Sing Sing prison, New York, and other places. He was finally arrested in the ferry house in Hoboken, N.J., on April 18, 1885, in company of Theodore Krewolf, charged with passing a number of counterfeit ten-dollar bills, of the series of 1875, on several shopkeepers in Hoboken. He was sentenced to six years in Trenton State prison for this offense, on July 22, 1885. His picture is a good one, taken in June, 1875.

Byrnes describes Pettingill as “an old New York thief,” but Pettingill was a Boston native through and through, earning the nickname “Boston Pett.” His prime years as a criminal took place a generation before most of Byrnes’s crooks. In 1860 he was arrested for robbing $3000 worth of silks from a Manchester, New Hampshire store; and at the same time held for a store robbery in Boston. Even as this juncture, Pettingill was described as a “well-known Boston thief.”

In 1865, Pettingill was caught trying to pass counterfeit $50 bills at a Springfield, Massachusetts bank. He was arrested and taken to a station house, but while his Bertillon measurements were being taken, ran out the door. He was later recaptured and held on a $4000 bail bond; the money was put up, and Pettingill disappeared, forfeiting the bond. In 1866, Pettengill was rumored to have been in Dan Noble’s gang when it committed the Lord Bond robbery, netting a million and a half dollars [however, the crooks who committed the Lord Bond job have never been conclusively identified.] He was finally recaptured in 1868, and was sent to prison.

In 1875, Pettingill  passed a forged check at a Philadelphia bank. He was tracked to New York, arrested, and sent back to Philadelphia, where he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to three years at Eastern State Penitentiary (not two years at Cherry Hill, as Byrnes indicated).

Upon his release, he was next discovered in 1878 in Washington, D. C., where he robbed Chief Naval Constructor Isaiah Hanscome of $48,000 in bonds and cash. This job was pulled off in partnership with two notorious Philadelphia criminals, Pete Burns and Jimmy Logue. Pettingill was jailed for over a year while he was tried, convicted, and held on appeal, but finally, in July 1879, his appeals were denied and he was sentenced to three years in prison.

Pettengill was next apprehended, four months after his release, in New York in 1882, trying to pass a forged check in company with two other noted forgers, Andy Roberts and William Bartlett. Curiously, neither Byrnes nor New York newspapers offered details of any prosecutions resulting from these arrests, which suggests that the case against them was dismissed.

Boston Pett’s last misadventure came in Hoboken, New Jersey, in June of 1885, when he and a partner are caught trying to pass counterfeit $10 bills at a series of stores in New Jersey. Pettingill was sentenced to six years of hard labor at the State Prison in Trenton. His constitution could not endure the conditions there; he died in January 1886.



#31 Louis R. Martin

Lewis R. Martin (Abt. 1827-1894), aka Luther R. Martin, L. R. Martin, Lew Martin — Counterfeiter, Forger

From Byrnes’s text:

DESCRIPTION. Sixty-three years old in 1886. Born in United States. Horse dealer. Medium build. Height, 5 feet 10 3/4 inches. Weight, 164 pounds. Gray hair, eyes dark gray and weak, complexion light. Is a fine, gentlemanly-looking man.

RECORD. Martin was believed to be the capitalist of the Brockway gang of forgers and counterfeiters. He was well known by all the reputable horse and sporting men in this country, as a man of means engaged in the transportation of cattle between the United States, England and Australia.

He was indicted in the United States Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania in 1875, with an accomplice named Henry Moxie, alias Sweet, for passing counterfeit $500 notes. He was never tried. Previous to that time he had been known as an expert engraver and printer of counterfeits, under the name of Martin Luther. He made and owned the plate with which the $500 notes for which himself and Moxie were indicted were printed.

He has been connected in several large counterfeiting schemes with William E. Brockway (32), J. B. Doyle, Nathan B. Foster, English Moore, and others. He is well known by the United States officers as a counterfeiter.

Martin was arrested in New York City, on November 10, 1883, with Brockway (32) and Nathan B. Foster, charged with having in his possession forged $1,000 bonds of the Morris & Essex Railroad of New Jersey. At the time of his arrest, in the St. James Hotel, New York City, there was found in two valises in his room fifty-four $1,000 bonds of the above road, thirty-three of which had been numbered and signed ready for use. For this offense Martin was convicted, and sentenced to ten years in State prison, on August 6, 1884, by Judge Cowing, in the Court of General Sessions in New York City. His counsel obtained a stay of proceedings, and he was granted a new trial, and admitted to bail; while confined in the Tombs prison from some cause he became totally blind. His picture is an excellent one, taken in November, 1883.

There is no doubt that Lew Martin was a central partner in several counterfeiting schemes; less clear is whether he was ever an engraver himself, or always worked with others. Whatever the case, his crimes appear to have been episodic, and fueled by his real passion: horse breeding. Martin’s known crimes occurred far from his adopted home, San Francisco. As a counter to his profile in Professional Criminals of America, consider Lew Martin’s obituary in Breeder and Sportsman:


Martin’s patron, starting around 1870, was one of California’s greatest businessmen, Lucky Baldwin. Not only did Baldwin stand by his friend in his last decade as an invalid, Baldwin surely must have been aware of Lew’s counterfeiting crimes. [Was Lew Martin the “broker” of these rings? Or was it his rich mentor?] Martin must have also rubbed shoulders with Baldwin’s friend and horse-racing enthusiast, Wyatt Earp.

In the 1860s, prior to his move to California, Lew Martin was a well-known trotting horse breeder living in Brooklyn. In the late 1880s, the head of the United States Secret Service, Andrew L. Drummond, claimed that it was during the 1860s that Martin first started working with William E. Brockway.

Martin’s downfall was his 1883 arrest in New York with Brockway and Nathaniel B. Foster. The events surrounding this arrest are more fully described in two sources: 1) Allan Pinkerton’s Thirty Years a Detective (published in 1884), in the chapter “Counterfeiters;” and 2) A. L. Drummond’s True Detective Stories, in the chapter “A Wonderful Man Loses His Luck.” Brockway, Foster, and Martin likely would have been daunted to learn that the forces of the Pinkertons, the Secret Service, and Inspector Byrnes were all aligned against them.