THE BURGLAR'S FATE AND THE DETECTIVES.
"Expressman and Detective," "Melnotte and Detectives,"
"Professional Thieves and Detectives,"
"Railroad Forger and Detectives,"
"Mollie Maguires and Detectives,"
"Spiritualists and Detectives,"
Etc., Etc., Etc.
G. W. Carleton & Co., Publishers.
London: S. Low, Son & Co.
Stereotyped by Samuel Stodder, 42 Dey Street, N.Y.
Trow's Printing And Book-Binding Co., N.Y.
In the pages which follow I have narrated a story of actual occurrence.
No touch of fiction obscures the truthful recital. The crime which is
here detailed was actually committed, and under the circumstances which
I have related. The four young men, whose real names are clothed with
the charitable mantle of fiction, deliberately perpetrated the deed for
which they suffered and to-day are inmates of a prison. No tint or
coloring of the imagination has given a deeper touch to the action of
the story, and the process of detection is detailed with all the
frankness and truthfulness of an active participant. As a revelation of
the certain consequences which follow the perpetration of crime, I send
this volume forth, in the fervent hope that those who may read its
pages, will glean from this history the lessons of virtue, of honor,
and of the strictest integrity. If in the punishment of Eugene Pearson,
Dr. Johnson, Newton Edwards and Thomas Duncan, the young men of to-day,
tempted by folly or extravagance, will learn that their condemnation was
but the natural and inevitable result of thoughtless crime, and if their
experience shall be the means of deterring one young man from the
commission of a deed, which the repentance of years will not obliterate,
I shall feel that I have not labored in vain. As a true story of
detective experience, the actors in which are still living, I give this
volume to the world, trusting that its perusal may not fail in its
object of interesting and instructing the few or many who may read its
Geneva - The Robbery - Search for the Burglars - My Agency notified 11
The Investigation begun - John Manning's Visit to Geneva - Eugene
Pearson's Story - The Detective's Incredulity - A Miraculous
Deliverance with a Ten-Cent Coin 22
An Interview with Miss Patton - Important Revelations - Doubts
Strengthened - Mr. Bartman's Story - William Resolves to seek Newton
The Work Progresses - Eugene Pearson's Early Life - On the Trail of
Newton Edwards 51
New Developments - Tidings of Newton Edwards - Suspicions
Strengthening against Eugene Pearson - Mr. Silby's Confidence 63
The Detective at Woodford - An Interview with the Discarded Wife of
Newton Edwards 77
A Fire and a Talkative Fireman - Mrs. Edwards Receives a Letter 90
A Plan to Intercept Correspondence - Edwards fully Identified
A pretty Servant Girl and a Visit to Church 102
Waiting and Watching - Two Letters - Newton Edwards' Hiding-Place
The Burglar Tracked to his Lair - The old Stage Driver - A Fishing
Party - A Long Wait - A Sorrowful Surprise - The Arrest of Newton
Newton Edwards brought back to Chicago - Attempt to Induce a
Confession - a Visit to his Relatives - The Burglar Broken Down 141
The Confession of Newton Edwards - The foul Plot fully Explained
Eugene Pearson's Guilt clearly Proven - A Story of Temptation and
Edwards taken to Geneva - The Arrest of Eugene Pearson
His Confession - More Money Recovered - Dr. Johnson Arrested 167
Proceedings at Geneva - Speculations as to the Missing Five Thousand
Dollars - John Manning Starts in Search of Thomas Duncan 182
On the Track of the fleeing Burglar - Duncan's Home - Some Reflections 192
Bob King meets with a Surprise - His Story of Duncan's Flight
The Detective starts Westward 208
Manning Strikes the Trail - An Accommodating Tailor - Temporary
Disappointment and final Success - The Detective reaches Minneapolis 224
The Detective at Bismarck - Further Traces of the Fugitive
A Protracted Orgie - A Jewish Friend of the Burglar in Trouble 241
From Bismarck to Bozeman - The trail Growing Warmer - Duncan Buys a
Pony - A long Stage Ride 254
The Stage Driver's Story 266
False Information which nearly Proves Fatal - A Night Ride to
Helena - Dangers by the Wayside 280
In Helena - A Fruitless Quest - Jerry Taylor's Bagnio - Reliable
Tidings - A Midnight Ride - Arrival at Butte City 293
The Long Trail Ended - Duncan Traced to his Lair - Caught at last
The Escaping Burglar a prisoner 306
The Burglar Returns to Chicago - Revelations by the Way
The Missing Five Thousand Dollars 319
The Mystery of the Missing Five Thousand Dollars Solved at Last
The Money Recovered - Duncan at Geneva 328
Conclusion - Retribution 337
THE BURGLAR'S FATE AND THE DETECTIVES.
Geneva - The Robbery - Search for the Burglars - My Agency Notified.
Geneva is one of the prettiest and most thriving little towns in the
west. Situated, as it is, in the midst of one of the finest agricultural
districts in the country, its growth has been rapid beyond expectation,
while its social progress has been almost phenomenal. Stretching for
miles in all directions, over a country beautifully interspersed with
gentle elevations and depressions, lie the well-cultivated farms of the
honest tillers of the soil. The farm-houses, which nestle down beneath
the tall trees, present an appearance of comfort and beauty rarely
witnessed, while the commodious and substantial out-buildings evince the
thorough neatness of systematic husbandry. Standing upon a high knoll,
and gazing over the scene upon a bright sunny morning, the eye lights
upon a panorama of rustic splendor that delights the vision and
entrances the senses. The vast fields, with their varied crops, give
indications of a sure financial return which the gathered harvests
unfailingly justify, and the rural population of Geneva are, in the
main, a community of honest, independent people, who have cheerfully
toiled for the honest competence they so fully enjoy.
Nor is the town dependent alone upon the farmer and the herdsman for its
success in a financial sense. Nature has been bounteous in her gifts to
this locality, and in addition to the fertile and fruitful soil, there
is found imbedded under the surface, great mines of coal, of excellent
quality, and seemingly inexhaustible in quantity. This enterprise alone
affords employment to hundreds of men and boys, who, with their begrimed
faces and brawny arms, toil day and night in the bowels of the earth for
the "black diamonds," which impart warmth and light to countless happy
homes, and materially add to the wealth of the miners.
Numerous manufacturing industries also find a home here. Large
buildings, out of whose huge chimneys the black smoke is pouring forth
in dense volumes, and whose busy wheels and roaring furnace fires,
mingled with the sound of scores of ringing hammers, make merry music
throughout the day.
On certain days in the week Geneva presents a cheerful and animated
appearance. On every hand are heard the sounds of honest toil and the
hum of busy trade. Farmers from the surrounding country come in numbers
into the village to purchase their necessary supplies and to listen to
the news and gossip of the day, and the numerous stores transact a
thriving business and reap a handsome profit on their wares.
The old mill, weather-beaten and white with the accumulating flour dust
of ages, and with the cobwebs hanging thick and heavy from its dingy
rafters, stands near by, and this too is an object of interest to the
sturdy farmers of the surrounding country. From morn till night its
wheels go round, transmuting the grain into the various articles of
consumption for man and beast, and bringing a goodly share of "honest
toll" into the coffers of the unimpeachable old miller. The mill is a
great place of meeting for the farmers, and the yard in its front is
daily filled with teams from the country, whose owners congregate in
groups and converse upon topics of general interest, or disperse
themselves, while waiting for their "grist," about the town to transact
the various matters of business which had brought them hither.
In common with all progressive American towns, Geneva boasts of its
school-house, a large brick building, where rosy-cheeked children daily
gather to receive the knowledge which is to fit them more thoroughly for
the great battle of life, when the years shall have passed and they
become men and women.
Here, too, are banking institutions and warehouses, and every element
that contributes to the thrift and advancement of a happy, honest,
hard-working and prosperous people.
Of its history, but few words are necessary for its relation. Not many
years ago it was the home of the red man, whose council fires gleamed
through the darkness of the night, and who roamed, free as the air, over
the trackless prairie, with no thought of the intruding footsteps of the
pale-face, and with no premonition of the mighty changes which the
future was to bring forth.
Then came the hardy pioneers - those brave, self-reliant men and women
who sought the broad acres of the west, and builded their homes upon the
"edge of civilization." From that time began the work of progress and
cultivation. Towns, villages and cities sprang up as if under the wand
of the magician. Fifty years ago, a small trading post, with its general
store, its hand grist-mill, rude blacksmith-shop and the fort. To-day, a
busy active town, with more than five thousand inhabitants, a hundred
business enterprises, great railroad facilities, and every element that
conduces to prosperity, honesty and happiness.
Such is Geneva to-day, a substantial, bustling, thriving and progressive
village of the west.
It is a hot, sultry day in August, 18 - , and the shrill whistles from
the factories have just announced the arrival of six o'clock. Work is
suspended for the day, and the army of workmen are preparing for their
homes after the labors of the day.
At the little bank in Geneva the day has been an active one. Numerous
herders have brought their stock into market, and after disposing of
them have deposited their moneys with the steady little institution, in
which they have implicit confidence, and through which the financial
affairs of the merchants and farmers round about are transacted.
The last depositor has departed, and the door has just been closed. The
assistant cashier and a lady clerk are engaged within in settling up the
business of the day. At the Geneva bank the hours for business vary with
the requirements of the occasion, and very frequently the hour of six
arrives ere their customers have all received attention and their wants
have been supplied. This had been the case upon this day in August, and
breathing a sigh of relief as the last customer took his leave, the
front door was locked and the work of balancing up the accounts was
Suddenly, a knock is heard at the outer door, and Mr. Pearson, the
assistant cashier, being busily engaged, requested the young lady with
him to answer the summons. As she did so, two men, roughly dressed, and
with unshaved faces, burst into the room. Closing the door quickly
behind them, one of the men seized the young lady from behind and placed
his hand upon her mouth. Uttering a piercing scream, the young lady
attempted to escape from the grasp upon her, and with her teeth she
inflicted several severe wounds upon the ruffianly hand that attempted
to smother her cries. In a moment she was knocked down, a gag was placed
in her mouth, and she was tied helplessly hand and foot. While this had
been transpiring, the other intruder had advanced to the assistant
cashier, and in a few moments he too was overpowered, bound and gagged.
In less time than is required to tell the story, both of them were lying
helpless before their assailants, while the open doors of the bank vault
revealed the treasures which had excited the passions of these depraved
men, and led to the assault which had just been successfully committed.
No time was to be lost, the alarm might be sounded in a moment, and the
thieves, picking up a valise which stood near by, entered the vault,
and securing all the available gold, silver and bank-notes, placed them
in the satchel and prepared to leave the place.
Before doing so, however, they dragged the helpless bodies of the young
man and woman into the despoiled vault, and laying them upon the floor,
they deliberately closed the doors and locked them in.
Not a word had been spoken during this entire proceeding, and now, in
silence, the two men picked up the satchel, and with an appearance of
unconcern upon their faces, passed out of the bank and stood upon the
The streets were filled with men and women hurrying from their work. The
sun was shining brightly in the heavens, and into this throng of human
beings, all intent upon their own affairs, these bold burglars
recklessly plunged, and made their way safely out of the village.
How long the two persons remained in the bank it is impossible to tell;
Miss Patton in a death-like swoon, and Mr. Pearson, in the vain
endeavor to extricate himself from the bonds which held him. At length,
however, the young man succeeded in freeing himself, and as he did so,
the young lady also recovered her consciousness. Calling loudly for
help, and beating upon the iron door of their prison, they indulged in
the futile hope that some one would hear their cries and come to their
At last, however, Mr. Pearson succeeded in unscrewing the bolts from the
lock upon the inside of the doors of the vault, and in a few minutes
thereafter, he leaped out, and dashing through a window, gave the alarm
upon the street. The news spread far and wide, and within an hour after
the robbery had taken place, the town was alive with an excited
populace, and numerous parties were scouring the country in all
directions in eager search of the fugitives. All to no avail, however,
the desperate burglars were not discovered, and the crest-fallen bank
officers contemplated their ruin with sorrowful faces, and with
Meanwhile, Miss Patton had been carefully removed to her home, her
injuries had been attended to, and surrounded by sympathetic friends,
who ministered to her wants, she was slowly recovering from the effects
of the severe trial of the afternoon.
An examination of the vault revealed the fact that the robbers had
succeeded in obtaining about twenty thousand dollars in gold, silver and
currency - all the available funds of the bank, and the loss of which
would seriously impair their standing, and which would be keenly felt by
every one interested in its management.
Though sorely crippled by their loss, the bank officials were
undismayed, and resolved to take immediate steps for the capture of the
criminals, and the recovery of the stolen property. To this end they
decided to employ the services of my agency at once, in the full hope
that our efforts would be crowned with success. Whether the trust of the
directors was well founded, and the result so much desired was achieved,
the sequel will show.
The Investigation Begun - John Manning's Visit to Geneva - Eugene
Pearson's Story - The Detective's Incredulity - A Miraculous Deliverance
With a Ten-Cent Coin.
On the evening of the same day on which this daring robbery occurred,
and as I was preparing to leave my agency for the day, a telegram was
handed to me by the superintendent of my Chicago office, Mr. Frank
Warner. The message read as follows:
"GENEVA, August - , 18 - .
"Bank robbed to-day. Twenty thousand
dollars taken. Please send or come at once.
"(Signed,) HENRY SILBY, President."
This was all. There was no detail of particulars, no statement of the
means employed, only a simple, concise and urgent appeal for my
services. As for myself, realizing the importance of promptness and
despatch in affairs of this nature, and fully appreciating the anxiety
of the bank officials, I resolved to answer their call as speedily as
possible. But few words of consultation were required for the subject,
and in a short time I had selected the man for the preliminary
investigation, and requested his presence in my office. John Manning was
the operative chosen for this task, an intelligent, shrewd and trusty
young man of about thirty years of age, who had been in my employ for a
long time. Well educated, of good address, and with a quiet, gentlemanly
air about him that induced a favorable opinion at a glance. Frequently,
prior to this, occasions had presented themselves for testing his
abilities, and I had always found him equal to any emergency. Sagacious
and skillful as I knew him to be, I felt that I could implicitly rely
upon him to glean all the information that was required in order to
enable me to devise an intelligent plan of detection, and which would,
as I hoped, lead to eventual success.
Giving John Manning full instructions as to his mode of proceeding, and
cautioning him to be particular and thorough in all his inquiries, I
directed him to proceed as soon as possible to the scene of the robbery,
and enter at once upon the performance of his duties.
In a very short time Manning had made his preparations, and at eight
o'clock that evening he was at the depot awaiting the departure of the
train that was to bear him to his new field of operation.
After a journey of several hours, in which the detective endeavored to
snatch as much comfort as possible, the train drew up at the neat little
station at Geneva, and Manning was upon the ground.
It was two o'clock in the morning when he arrived, consequently there
were but few people stirring, and the station was almost entirely
deserted. Two or three passengers who were awaiting the train, the
persons connected with the railroad, and the runners of the two hotels
(Geneva boasted of two of these very necessary establishments), were
the only persons who greeted him upon his arrival.
Having never been to Geneva before, and being entirely ignorant of the
accommodations afforded by either of these houses of entertainment,
Manning, at a hazard, selected the "Geneva Hotel" as his place of abode.
Consigning his valise to the care of the waiting porter, he was soon on
his way to that hostelrie, and serenely journeyed along through the
darkness, all unconscious of the reception that awaited him. On arriving
at their destination, he perceived through the glimmering light that
hung over the doorway, that the "Geneva Hotel" was an old, rambling
frame structure, which stood in the midst of an overgrowth of bushes and
shrubbery. So dense was the foliage that the detective imagined the air
of the place was damp and unwholesome in consequence. Certain it was, as
he discovered afterward, the air and sunshine had a desperate struggle
almost daily to obtain an entrance into the building, and after a few
hours engaged in the vain attempt, old Sol would vent his baffled rage
upon the worm-eaten old roof, to the decided discomfort of the lodgers
in the attic story.
Ceremony was an unheard-of quality at the "Geneva House," and the
railway porter performed the multifarious duties of night clerk, porter,
hall boy and hostler. As they entered the hotel, the porter lighted a
small lamp with the aid of a stable lantern, and without further parley
led the detective up two flights of stairs which cracked and groaned
under their feet, as if complaining of their weight, and threatening to
precipitate them to the regions below. Opening the door of a little box
of a room, out of which the hot air came rushing like a blast from a
furnace fire, the porter placed the lamp upon a dilapidated wash-stand
and the valise upon the floor, and without uttering a word, took himself
With all its progressiveness, it was evident that Geneva was far behind
the age in regard to her hotel accommodations; at least so thought
Manning as he gazed disconsolately around upon his surroundings. The
room was small, close and hot, while the furniture exceeded his powers
of description. The unpainted wash-stand seemed to poise itself uneasily
upon its three remaining legs - the mirror had evidently been the resort
of an army of self-admiring flies, who had left their marks upon its
leaden surface until reflection was impossible - two hard and
uncomfortable-looking chairs - and a bed, every feature of which was a
sonorous protest against being slept upon - completed the provisions
which had been made for his entertainment and comfort. Casting a dismal
look upon his uninviting quarters, but being thoroughly tired, the
detective threw himself upon the couch, which rattled and creaked under
him like old bones, and in a few moments was sound asleep.
How long he might have remained in this somnolent condition if left to
himself, it is impossible to state, for a vigorous alarm upon his door
cut short his slumbers, and startled him from his dreams.
Imagining that the hotel had taken fire, or that the porter had eloped
with the silver ware, he jumped hastily out of bed and opened the door.
"It's late and breakfast is waitin'," was the laconic message delivered
to him by the porter of the night before, as he started away.
With a muttered malediction upon this ruthless destroyer of his rest,
the detective donned his clothing, and, feeling as tired and unrefreshed
as though he had not slept at all, descended to the dining-room. If his
experiences of the previous evening had been distressing, the breakfast
which was set before him was positively heart-rending. A muddy-looking
liquid which they called coffee - strong, soggy biscuits, a beefsteak
that would rival in toughness a piece of baked gutta percha, and
evidently swimming in lard, and potatoes which gave decided tokens of
having been served on more than one previous occasion. With a smothered
groan he attacked the unsavory viands, and by dint of great effort
managed to appease his hunger, to the serious derangement of his
digestive organs. After he had finished his repast he lighted a cigar,
and as the hour was still too early for a conference with the bank
officials, he resolved to stroll about the town and ascertain the
locality of the Geneva bank, before entering upon the duties of the
His stroll, however, was not a very extended one, for as he started from
the hotel he noticed upon the opposite side of the street the sign of
the bank. The building in which it was located was a large, square brick
structure, occupied in part by the bank, and in part as a store for the
sale of hardware and agricultural implements. The upper floor was used
as an amusement hall, and was called the "Geneva Opera House." Here the
various entertainments of a musical and dramatic nature were given, to
the intense delight of the people of the village.
There was no notice of the bank having suspended operations on account
of the loss they had sustained, and the operative inferred from this,
that business was being transacted as usual.
When the doors were at length opened the operative entered the banking