Fagan then appeared at the door, and seeing me standing
there by my gate, just across the street from her, came over
and handed me the key, saying that she regretted very much
that she could not pay the rent, but her mother had been dis-
appointed in getting money and she would send it to me when
she got east. But I never expect to get it, my friend, never."
" How did she spend her time here after her mother went
away?" queried the young detective.
" I can't say, but I heard after they were all gone, that she
was staying here really to get a divorce from her husband. I
don't know whether she got it or not, but I guess Charley
Baker would get it for her if it could be done."
"Charley Baker had the case, did he?" asked Detective
"That's what I heard; fact is, I never thought any more
228 HOW TO PROCEED.
about them, after they went away, and paid no attention to the
reports that went around."
"Well, I think my bill is a dead duck, as you say, and I
guess I will go back to the office and charge it up to P. and
L.," and thanking the landlord for his information and bidding
him good day, our young member took his joyous way back
to the office to report.
"A divorce! Charley Baker, the attorney!" sang out De-
tective Grannan. "Here's something new. By Jove, I'll see
him. We're going to the bottom of this thing." And almost
before the other members present knew what was meant, the
Captain had passed out of the door and disappeared on his
way to attorney Chas. W. Baker's office.
"Hello, Captain, come in. How's everything?"
"First-class, couldn't be better. How's the law?'
, " Busy all the time, but alwa)^s got time to give a few min-
utes to a friend. What can I do for you to-day?"
"Well, nothing of much importance. One of your clients,
or at least I understand it is one of your clients, owes me a lit-
tle bill, and I thought you might throw a little light on the sub-
ject, and perhaps give a little assistance in getting it."
"Well, now, I don't have many of that kind of clients that
owe little bills around promiscously, but "
"Well, this might have been a charity case, Mr. Baker."
"Possibly so," said he, laughing, "who is the party?"
"Mrs. Mary E. Fagan."
"Oh, yes, that was a charity case, sure enough. But I
guess she is able to pay you now, as she has recently married,
and I understand rich."
"Married! hardly married again?" said the Captain. " She
is already married."
"Oh, yes, but I got her a divorce recently."
THE OSHKOSH CASE. 229
"So? How long since?"
"Not long ago. L,et me see," turning to his book. "Yes,
here it is. The decree was granted on the 19th day of De-
As he held the book open, the Captain's sharp eye caught
the docket number of the case, 64554, which he hastily pen-
ciled on his cuff.
"Yes, I sent the divorce on to New York to her, $75.00
C. O. D., and the money came back. I don't know how she
Thanking Mr. Baker for his kindness, the Captain left.
This was progress, but not so encouraging. That divorce
might knock the bottom out of the whole case. Captain
Grannan felt considerably cast down about it but reported at
once to Paige by wire, that Mary E. Fagan had been divorced
and he would send certified copy of proceedings by mail.
Though not now so hopeful he was still determined to go to
the bottom and taking detective Burgoyne and confidential
clerk Grigsby, went to examine the court records. In twenty-
four hours they had true copies of the entire proceedings,
properly certified, in the mail and on the way to C. C. Paige,
at Oshkosh. The return mail brought a check for $100 and
an order to come to Oshkosh by first train. The Captain tele-
graphed his departure and arrived in Oshkosh six hours soon-
er than Mr. Paige expected. He went to his office about 1 1
a. m. Mr. C. C. Paige was in the iron business. The Captain
found him very busy.
A detective's song.
Captain Grannan introduced himself to Mr. Paige as the
representative of the Union Fence Co., Painesville, O. "I
only want about three minutes of your time, Mr. Paige (I be-
lieve I have the honor of addressing Mr. Paige.)"
230 HOW TO PROCEED.
"That is my name, sir."
"I have been sent out into your great country, Mr. Paige,
to introduce what is known as the Patent Combination Fence,
composed of wood, iron and sand. We use in making our
fence large quantities of iron in all forms. You are a manu-
facturer of iron, and if I am successful in introducing our
fence, we want to contract with* some large manufacturer here
to make the iron for us."
"Well, that sounds like business," said Paige.
"Yes, sir, we mean business. We've got the best fence in
the world, and we know it, and we propose to put it up all
over this country. We have the great secret of making wood
as durable as iron. Our fence is a wooden fence except posts
and points. We take a piece of green wood, and b)' a mechan-
ical contrivance we suck every particle of sap or moisture out
of it. The stick is left like a honey-comb, and while in this
open or honey-comb condition, we force into it by powerful
machinery a resinous or bituminous substance. The wood
is thoroughly infiltrated with this substance. It will last till
the millennium. Then we make it into all shapes and sizes
and patterns. The delicate workmanship on a fence suitable
for your front yard is in striking contrast with the strong
enclosure for a jail yard that we also put up. Then there is
the church fence, the farm fence, the country fence and every
conceivable description of fence; and we make all of them.
Now, if you'll take hold of this thing and help me introduce
it here, we will make it interesting for you."
"Well, that seems plausible, and I would like to converse
further with you about it, but you will have to excuse me
now, as I am looking for a gentleman from Cincinnati, and
must go to the train now to meet him."
"Certainly, certainly," said Detective Grannan. "I am
stopping at the hotel down here and will be glad to confer
THE OSHKOSH CASE. 23I
with you there at any time convenient to you. When shall
we meet and talk further on this question?"
"Let me see. I shall be pretty busy very likely all the af-
ternoon with my friend, and well, I think to-morrow morn-
ing, say ten o'clock."
"That will suit me," said* the Captain.
"By the way, I've forgotten your name if you mentioned
it. For whom shall I call to-morrow?"
The Captain handed him one of his cards and waited for
results. Mr. Paige read the card carefully ' and gradually his
eyes lifted and wandered up to the smiling countenance of De-
tective Grannan. He wasn't long in catching on.
"Shake," he said, "it's on me. What'll you take?"
They went to see Paige's attorney, Geo. W. Burnell. Mr.
Paige introduced the Captain as Mr. Bronsou, a fence man,
and he sang the attorney the same song. When he got
through, the attorney, who was to be employed to attend to
all the ligitation for the new business, and draw up the papers
for the organization of the company had become much inter-
ested and promised his hearty co-operation.
Then he asked Paige, by way of. side remark, whether
Grannan had shown up yet.
"I expect him here this evening," said Paige, evasively.
As they were about to leave "Mr. Bronson" invited Bur-
nell to call on him at the hotel and handed him one of his
cards. Burnell glanced at the card hastily at first, then looked
more closely, then read carefully, and as the truth of the joke
gradually dawned upon him he exclaimed:
"Well, this is good very clever."
"I guess we've got the right man, don't you think so?"
"He'll do," said the attorney.
It was then arranged that Captain Grannan should be
232 HOW TO PROCEED.
known there publicly as an electric light man, and should go
under the name of Bronson, and during his whole stay in Osh-
kosh, and all his subsequent visits there, and even yet he is
known there as Bronson.
The first thing done was to discharge all the other detec-
tives working on the case. Then Mr. Paige told Grannan all
that had taken place at that end of the line. Immediately
after the tragic death of his brother, the unnatural wife took
his watch, an elegant gold hunting case, of great value, and
sold it to a banker for one-half less than C. C. Paige would
have given for it. She would not let him have it for spite.
She took his diamond from his shirt and sold it almost before
his body was cold. A splendid stallion that cost him $4,000
she let go for $625. Then she attempted to have herself ap-
pointed administratrix of his estate. She could not give bond
and so that failed. C. C. Paige, as next of kin, was then ap-
pointed and qualified. Of course, she claimed all of his vast
estate. They believed her an adventuress, doubted the legality
of their marriage, and proposed to investigate her record from
beginning to end.
Detective Grannan now learned, for the first time, the enor-
mous value of the property for which they were going into
litigation. The task of saving nine million seven hundred
thousand dollars from the clutches of an unworthy adventuress,
a schemer without soul or conscience, devolved on him. The
weight of the great responsibility was heavy upon him, espec-
ially when he knew how slender were the threads upon which
hung the possibility of success, and how easily all his work of
investigation might be defeated by finding that every step in
her proceedings was done under cover of law. However, he
now went to work with a determination to win, if success were
From this point then a new start was taken in unfolding
THE OSHKOSH CASE. 233
this remarkable ease; a case involving many millions of money,
and months of hard labor, fraught many times with danger and
excitement; a case that required the work of many men, and
took Captain Grannau and members of his force into almost
every State in the Union, and in which a number of young
detectives received their first careful drilling in their chosen
TRAPPING A WOMAN.
Detective Grannan carefully compared notes with attorney
Geo. W. Burnell and got all the legal points of the case to help
in formulating his theory and laying his plans for action. A
circumstance that occurred early in the legal proceedings and
which was the first almost positive proof of the fraudulent
character of the widow of Simon B. Paige, lately Mrs. Mary E.
Fagan, is worth relating, as it was an important part of the
information that Detective Grannan got from attorney Burnell.
In addition to the unseemly haste of the woman, as related be-
fore, to convert Mr. Paige's property into money, she went
into court at Davenport, Iowa, where he owned large property,
and got an allowance of $300 per month pending the settle-
ment of the estate.
Then she went to Duluth where his possessions were equally
large and obtained an allowance of $250 per month. She
then went to Oshkosh and attempted the same thing, and as
stated before, to have herself appointed administratrix of the
estate. When the application came on for hearing at Oshkosh,
Mr. Burnell took occasion to put a few questions to the
woman who was claiming so much :
Burnell Mrs. Paige, I believe you were married once be-
fore your marriage with the late Mr. Paige?
Mrs. Paige. Yes, sir.
234 HOW TO PROCEED.
B. What was your husband's name?
Mrs. P.-Wm. E. Fagan.
B. Is Mr. Fagan still living
Mrs. P. No, sir, he is dead.
B. How long since?
Mrs. P. About three years.
B. Where did he die?
Mrs. P. At Santa Fe, Texas.
B What's that? Did you say Santa Fe, Texas?
Mrs. P. Yes, sir, Santa Fe, Texas.
B. Were you there when he died?
Mrs. P. No, sir.
B. What evidence have you of his death?
Mrs. P. Well, I have letters stating that he was dead, and
also the undertaker's certificate showing that he died and was
B. Have you that certificate with you?
Mrs. P. No, sir, I have not.
B. Can you find it?
Mrs. P. I think I can. I think I have it among my papers.
B. (To the Court.) If your Honor please, I would like
the witness instructed to bring this paper into court.
The Court. You may proceed with the examination at
present and the witness will bring the paper into court this
B. Now, Mrs. Paige, you corresponded with your husband
when he was in Santa Fe, Texas, didn't you?
Mrs. P. Oh, yes, frequently.
B. About how frequently?
Mrs. P. He used to write every week.
B. And I suppose you as a faithful wife answered his letters?
Mrs. P. Yes, sir, I wrote to him sometimes two or three
times a week.
THE OSHKOSH CASE. 235
B. And his address became very familiar to you, didn't it ?
Mrs. P. Oh, yes, I should think in writing it forty or fifty
times I ought to become pretty familiar with it.
B. Well now, Mrs. Paige, will you be kind enough to
take this envelope and address it with this pen just as you used
to do when your husband was down there where he died?
Mrs. P. Certainly.
And she took the pen and wrote:
MR. WM. E. FAGAN,
B. Now, you are sure this is right?
Mrs. P. Yes, sir.
B. And this is just as you have written it scores of times
before Mr. Wm. E. Fagan, Santa Fe, Texas is it?
Mrs. P. Yes, sir.
The excitement and confusion among the crowd of in-
terested spectators was at this point very great.
Mr. Burnell then addressed the Court: Now, if your Honor
please, I submit this envelope on which this woman has writ-
ten the address of her first husband, Wm. E. Fagan, Santa Fe,
Texas. Your Honor heard the positive character of her testi-
mony on this point, and you know, too, that there is no such
place as Santa Fe, Texas.
"Well, Santa Fe, wherever it is; Santa Fe, wherever it is,"
fairly shouted Mrs. Paige, with her brazen facility for turning
at the critical moment, if she saw she was wrong or about to
But the incident sadly impaired her case. The judge laid
the matter over for further evidence, and after several days
she brought into court a paper purporting to be the death or
burial certificate. It was crumpled and torn and bore little
236 HOW TO PROCEED.
evidence of genuineness. As stated before she could not
qualify as executrix and the judge only allowed her a small
sum monthly here in view of the uncertain attitude in which
she stood before the court and the people. C. C. Paige was
appointed administrator, and then began a fight for the prop-
Detective Grannan got all the possible information about
the woman, her peculiarities of speech and action, style and
subject matter of conversation, etc. A very important piece
of information he dropped onto by accident important, be-
cause it was the key that unlocked the future of the case for
him. One day when Mrs. Paige-Fagan was conversing with
Mrs. John Paige, a brother's wife, the latter remarked the reg-
ularity and beautiful pearly whiteness of Mrs. S. B. Paige's
teeth. "Are they natural,?" she asked. "Oh, no," responded
the widow, "they were made by one of the finest dentists in
PULLING A TOOTH.
There being apparently nothing more to be learned or ac-
complished in Oshkosh Captain Grannan returned to Cincin-
nati to prepare for the work before him. His theory of the
case had already been formed. He would first visit New York
and learn the history of the Iyibbys and Fagans there. He
must have some excuse to visit the metropolitan dentists. He
went up to Dr. Woodward, Sixth and Race, an accomplished
dentist, and said:
"Doctor, I want a tooth drawn."
"All right, sir, take a seat."
The doctor made an examination, but seeing nothing
wrong he said:
"Which tooth is it you want extracted?"
THE OSHKOSH CASE. 237
" Well, I don't know as it makes much difference, this one
will do as well as any," pointing to one on the sub-maxillary.
" But the tooth is perfectly sound."
" I know it. That's all right. You pull it out."
" But, my dear friend, you will ruin your mouth. I never
pull a tooth unless it is absolutely necessary."
" Well, I insist on having it out, and if you don't do it I
will have to go some place else."
After further remonstrance and assurance that the Captain
was in earnest, the sound tooth was duly extracted, and the
cavity can be seen to this day in the Captain's mouth.
WORKING THE DENTISTS.
In a few days after this, Detective Grannan was in New
York. In his pocket was a good likeness of Mrs. Mary E.
Fagan, alias Alice Pierrepoint, now Mrs. Simon B. Paige. He
first called upon his New York correspondents, Fuller's Detec-
tive Bureau, 481 & 483 Broadway, and made known the nature
of his visit, and the importance of his case.
Mr. Fuller gave his personal attention to the matter, and
worked in conjunction with Detective Grannan, accomplishing
some splendid results. They first started out to visit the den-
tists. Detective Fuller directed their course to all the first-
class artists in this line, and Detective Grannan went in and
buzzed them something after this style :
" Doctor, I want to get a tooth inserted. I wish you would
look at the cavity and tell me how long it will take to do the
work, and about what it will cost."
"All right, take a seat."
Then the doctor made an examination and stated terms,
etc., for different classes of work.
" Yes, that's reasonable. The time required, I'm afraid,
238 HOW TO PROCEED.
may be too long for me, as I don't expect to be here long. I
had a friend who had some elegant work done here some time
ago, perhaps a year or over, and she recommended you so
highly I think you are the dentist that I determined to call
at any rate. Mrs. Fagan, I suppose you remember her ?"
" Fagan, Fagan, let me see; no, I don't."
" Perhaps this photograph may freshen your recollection."
A look at the photograph brought no signs of recognition.
Then the Captain said, " Possibly I have gotten the name of
the dentist wrong, but that won't matter, as I like the appear-
ance of you and your work, and if I find I have time for the
work I shall certainly come back here, especially as it would
now be futile for me to attempt to find my friend's dentist."
Then he got away and the same racket was gone through
time after time, and day after day was put in at this business
until thirty or more dentists had been interviewed in New
York City, without results. Then they despaired and went
over to Jersey City, and twenty to twenty-five tooth-carpenters
of that town were put through the same catechism. This
work brought nothing. They then went over to Brooklyn.
About the twentieth dentist he struck was Dr. Oran Cobb.
" Mrs. Fagan? Oh, yes, I remember her well. Have you
come to pay her bill? "
" Well, not exactly," said the Captain. " Does this picture
resemble the lady you speak of? "
" That's the one. That's the lady."
"Do you know where she lived?"
"Oh, yes. She lived at 379 Pacific Street, in this city. I
understand she is married now, and married rich ; they say a
western millionaire. I guess she is abundantly able to pay
everything she owes if she will."
Further talk and inquiry led Dr. Cobb to refer Detective
Grannan to his wife, who knew them much better than he did
THE OSHKOSH CASE. 239
and who could no doubt give him valuable information. Mrs.
Cobb was then out. Detective Grannan did not disclose his
real character or the nature of his business, and promising to
call further about the tooth, he left. Desiring to see Mrs.
Cobb alone he watched next day till he saw the doctor go out,
then he went to the house and rang.
"Is Dr. Cobb in?"
"No, sir, he's just gone out."
"Is Mrs. Cobb in?"
" I would like to see her, please."
He was asked to wait in the parlor till she came. He in-
troduced himself as one of her husband's patients, and got to
the subject by stating that the doctor had referred him to her
as better posted. She was very pleasant and obliging. She
knew Mrs. Fagan well. She had lived at 379 Pacific Street,
with her mother and sister. Before coming here they had
rooms over Mr.. Cox's silver plating establishment on Fulton
Avenue, Brooklyn," and also at Elm Place, a very aristocratic
quarter, and their house they had furnished in very elegant
style. Mrs. Cobb manifested so much good sense in the mat-
ter, and was so courteous and obliging that Detective Grannan
took her to a certain degree into his confidence, and told her
something of the real nature of his business, speaking of' him-
self as an attorney looking the matter up in behalf of the
She was always true to the trust and rendered him much
valuable service in his work.
ON THE TRAIL.
With the assistance of Mrs. Cobb and detectives, principal
of whom was Detective Frost, of 64 Orange Street, Brooklyn,
240 HOW TO PROCEED.
Detective Grannan accomplished a great deal of general work
on the case which was only preliminary to the real substantial
work to be done later on. He first got a sort of general out-
line of their movements in Brooklyn and New York. While
living at 379 Pacific Street, they rented the whole house, a
three-story brick, and sub-let rooms. Mrs. Fagan and her sis-
ter, Laura Libby, worked in New York at Buttrick's pattern
establishment. Before coming to this place they had lived on
Fulton Ave., Brooklyn, over Mr. Cox's plating establishment.
Here they had frequently been hard up, and had asked Mrs.
Cox not to throw any thing away that she might have left
from the table, as they would be glad to have it; she gave them
many things in this way.
When they left 379 Pacific Street, they went to 25 Elm Place.
This is a very aristocratic quarter, and the question was, how
could they get money to furnish the house up in a style to cor-
respond with the locality ? The place was visited. The lady
living there knew nothing of them, but referred to the next
door neighbor, who had resided there a long time. This lady
remembered the parties well. When they came they furnished
the house in good style with new furniture. She thought they
were finally put out of the house and the furniture taken
away from them.
Detective Grannan then knew they must have bought the
furniture on time. He visited a number of furniture establish-
ments, selecting those that sold on payments. About the
sixth house he struck was Carr & Murray's Myrtle Ave.
Here he found they had contracted for furniture, curtains, car-
pets, and, in fact, everything to fit up a house. They bought
only the very best goods. They represented themselves as be-
ing wealthy and having considerable money in the West, which
they received in instalments. Their smooth talk did the work
and they got the stuff, paying only fifty dollars down. Mr.
THE OSHKOSH CASE. 24 1
Carr's statement, made further on, is very interesting reading.
Captain Grannan could not imagine where they got the
$50 to pay on the furniture. He remembered that he had
heard talk of a piano in Cincinnati, but so far no trace of it in
Brooklyn had been discovered. He visited the freight offices
of the proper roads and discovered that a piano had been
shipped from the west. What had become of it? The piano
houses were then visited in regular order, and finally one was
found that remembered the people and the piano. They had
loaned them $75 on the piano. The name of the firm was
Bance & Benedick, 56 Center St., and the loan was made Oc-
tober 13, 1 88 1. Other articles of furniture were also put up
here. The piano was manufactured by the Grand Round Pi-
ano Co., of Cincinnati, Ohio, and was No. 1,020. The late T.
T. Haydock was President of this Company, and he afterwards
told Detective Grannan that the piano was bought of them on
time, and when they moved it away without knowledge of the
Company, and they were about to take action in the matter,
the affair was compromised by some friend of the Libbys.
Thus the $50 was accounted for.
The reader can imagine the arduous character of all this
work. It was all tedious and expensive. Weeks were spent
in accomplishing it all. Detective Grannan really made two
or three trips to New York before he had all the information
necessary from that point. The great result of his work there
he determined to put in the form of depositions of different
parties. These depositions contained matter of the most damag-
ing and startling character.
INCIDENTS OF THE SEARCH.
One or two incidents of the work of a rather amusing
character occurred worth relating. Friends of the Libbys
242 HOW TO PROCEED.
spoke of a picture that hung in the Libby mansion, now 379
Pacific Street, to which they had returned, that was believed