OCR Interpretation

Silver Springs signal. (Silver Springs, N.Y. ;) 1892-19??, July 20, 1916, Image 2

Image and text provided by Pioneer Library System

Persistent link: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn88074193/1916-07-20/ed-1/seq-2/

Thumbnail for 2
THE SILVER SPRINGS SIGNAL The BigCotton Swindle Stories of the Greatest Cases in the Career of Thomas. Furlong, the Fa­ mous Railroad Detective, Told by Himself Copyright by W. O. Chapman Early in the month of January, 1884, I waB suddenly called to the office of Capt. C. G Warner who was then general auditor for the Gould railway system, whose chief special agent I then was. \Furlong said Captain Warner, \I have Just received a long telegraphic dispatch from one of my traveling auditors in Sherman, Tex. H e states that a large amount of cotton, which had been shipped from that station, has undoubtedly been diverted in transit, as It has not reached its prop­ er destination. I want you to go to Sherman at once, find the traveling auditor, Mr Flnby, and make a thor­ ough investigation \ Sherman was a point from which a very large amount of cotton was shipped annually It was the outlet for one of the largest cotton produc­ ing districts of the state For this reason the eastern cotton buyers and cotton mill owners were represented by agents here Theso agents were really brokers It was their practice, as soon as they had purchased cotton, to iiave it delivered at once to the rail­ way company for shipment, when they would receive from the railway com­ pany's agent a bill of lading, setting forth the number and weight of each hale. This bill of lading, when signed by the railway agent, was negotiable at any bank in the cotton producing district. The bank would take the bill of lading, allowing the depositor 90 per cent cash on the face value and would hold 10 per cent back until the exact value of the cotton had been BBevrtainod I left for Sherman on tho first train, and found Mr Finby at that point He Informed me that the company's agent in charge at Sherman had left there on the preceding Saturday night saving that ho was going to take a run down to Galveston on personal business and expected to return on the following Monday It then being Wednesday, and the man not having returned. Mr Finby had become sua picious and had wired to headquar­ ters, with the result indicated above I spent sevnral days at Sherman making inquiries about the missing agent. Meanwhile telegraphic mes­ sages of inquiry were pouring in from New York. Philadelphia, Fall River aud Providenre from persons who had purchased and paid for large quantities of cotton, the total value aggregating $121,000, and they wanted to know why they had not received it If the cotton had been diverted from its destination an^ stolen, the railway company would be responsible for the loss After ten daya' investigation at Sherman, I became convinced that three other men were connected in the swindle with the missing agent These may bo known as No. 1, No No. 3, No. 4 standing for the agent The swindle had been perpetrated In thla way Th e bills of lading had been signed by the agent In blank and turned over to a confederate in blocks. This confederate had then filled out each blank for various numbers of bales of cotton, setting forth the number of bales and the weight of each bale in the regular way He then turned the bills of lad­ ing thus prepared by him over to a second confederate, a cotton buyer, who placed these billa In various banlf? at Sherman Dallas and other Texa.< towns, drawing cash for tho face value, less 10 per cont. I tucceeded in locating the family and friends of tho missing agent (No. 4), and also learned that No 1 had a brother living In New Orleans I de­ termined to go to that city and quiet­ ly investigate this brother. In tho hope of discovering where No . 1 was staying. I telegraphed to my office In St. Louis for George W. Herbert, one of my assistants, directing him to meet mo in New Orleans, which he did. The brother of No 1 was found in New Orleans without any difficulty, and there was reason to believe that No. l's wife might be staying with the brother and his family In the rather pretentious mansion which they oc­ cupied For some three weeks the house was assiduously watched, Her­ bert and I taking turns of eight hours each. This was one of the most diffi­ cult tasks that I have ever under­ taken I was well known to the New Orleans police, who would, no doubt, have rendered me valuable aid, but if I had been recognized I would have had to explain to them my presence In that city, and, owing to the influ­ ential position which the brother of No. 1 held, the news of my presence Ing a fine new hand^organ of ex­ tremely loud tone. I bargained for their services and arranged that they should take up their station In front of the house which we were watching and play there as long as the police permitted tbem. The music and the performance of the monkeys brought several women from the house to the veranda, but the woman who was wanted was not among them. The same performance, repeated on sev­ eral mornings, produced a similar re­ sult The brother of No. 1, who was a gentleman of leisure, was in the hab­ it of strolling each morning from his house to the post office, where he usually mailed several letters. He always dropped these into the gen­ eral receptacle, which had an opening in the main corridor at least a foot in length and three inches wide, and led to a large box in the basement below the main floor This box contained about a wagon-load of letters and packages, and when a letter had been dropped In this mass It was almost impossible to find it again, The brother was a middle-aged man, rather slow In his movements, and very deliberate In everything that he did He would approach tho general mail box, placing his cane under his left arm and carefully re­ moving the glove from his right hand; then he would take the letters generally three or more in number, and in an exasperatingly Blow and de liberate manner would deposit them In the box, watching them till they had disappeared down the chute This operation was repeated by him each week day during about three i weeks, being witnessed each time by ono of us. I prepared two letters, directing them to myself and my associate, stamped them, and then covered the back of each envelope with a thick coating of mucilage. I myself took one letter and Herbert the other Each of us posted himself on one side of the chute, being some llttlo dis- 1 tance from tho receptacle. 1 Knowing the hour at which No l's brother was in the habit of visiting the post office, we were not kept wait­ ing more than a few minutes before he put in an appearance.' After he had gone through his customary maneuvers, but before ho had time to drqp tho three letters which he held, Herbert and I rushed forward, one on each side, both reaching out the let­ ters which we held simultaneously, in such a way that the five wer e forced into the chute together No l's brother became very indignant, and muttered something about rude­ ness and awkwardness. After at­ tempting a hasty apology, I disap­ peared around the corner to the office of the assistant postmaster, whose ac­ quaintance I had previously formed I told him that I had Just deposited two letters in the chute, and, having discovered that I had put each in the wrong envelope, wished to get them back in order to rectify the mistake. The assistant postmaster at once con­ ducted me to the main mall box be­ low, where, among a half wagon load of letters and general postal matter the five letters were speedily discov­ ered, all stuck together Ono of these was addressed to a relative of No. l's wife at her home in Tennessee, and a second to another brother of No 1, who resided at Atlanta, Ga. The third letter was addressed to No. 1 himself, whoso name was Dillard, at Ocean Springs, Miss. I went at onco to Ocean Springs, which was then a small winter resort located on the Louisville & Nashville railroad, between Montgomery and New Orleans. I arrived there tho same midnight, and found that the post office of the town was kept In a small grocery store, which was part of the principal hotel of the town. I showed the landlord photographs of Dillard and his wife, and he at onco Identified them by name. He stated that Dillard had represented himself as being a rich Iron manufacturer from Chattanooga, that his wife was in ill health, and that they had been thero for tho past month, having rent­ ed a beautiful residence known as Montgomery Cottage, situated about two miles away I pave the post­ master to understand that Dillard (No 1, be it remembered) had fallen heir to a sum of money and property, and that I was desirous of acquaint­ ing him of hl3 good fortune by sur­ prise, after having established his identity This, ,1 told him, would re­ quire about ten days, and I cautioned the landlord to say nothing to Dillard nor of Mississippi had to go to Jack­ son, Miss., where the agent for the 6tate of Texas had to appear in per­ son to receive the papers. I had myself appointed as the agent for the state of Texas. Taking a night train to New Orleans, in due course I Obtained the papers, and then proceeded to Canton, Miss., which was the county seat for Ocean Springs. I there found Sheriff Clark, who, in the requisition papers, was instructed to render me, as agent for Texas, all the assistance which I needed. Accompanied by the sheriff and a deputy, I returned to Ocean Springs, stepping off the train at a station about five miles distant, he- cause I had been informed that No. l's brother-in-law visited the depot at Ocean Springs every night to see who had arrived. We three, taking a roundaljout route, met Herbert at a point agreed upon, near the cottage. Before leaving upon my mission I had Instructed Herbert to go to Ocean Springs in the guise of an in­ valid, and there to make No. l's ac­ quaintance. Herbert represented him­ self as a sufferer from chronic rheu­ matism, and soon met No. 1, who in­ vited him to vlBit the cottage and to take a sail on the bay in a yacht which he kept anchored in front of the property Herbert accepted the invitation, and was introduced to the wife of Dillard, and a good-looking young woman who passed under an assumed name, but was subsequently discovered to be the wife of the miss­ ing agent (No. 4) The yacht, which the party boarded for a short sail, was of about twenty tons' burden, and managed by a little man somo five and thirty years of age. Herbert was not introduced to this man by his hOBt, and thought lit­ tle about him, imagining him to be the sailing master, since he was al­ ways in uniform. However, upon re­ ceipt of Herbert's lettor containing a description of this man, I was satis­ fied that the sailing master was none other than the agent, No . 4, himself The confederate had left llttlo to chance, for not only was the yacht ready to take them at any time out­ side the three-mile limit, but they had rigged up a wire-tapping arrangement consisting of two thin copper wires, hidden among the thick foliage, and running from the cottage to the Lou­ isville and Nashville railroad Theso wires, as was discovered later, were arrested, and the whole party marched to the hotel at Ocean Springs, where the. landlord was great­ ly surprised to learn the true nature of the detective's mission. The prisoners were taken to Dallas, Texas, by a roundabout route, and so quietly that that city was reached be­ fore the story of the arrest had be­ come public. The causo for this se­ crecy was that Nos. 2 and 3 had been located in Dallas, and it was essential to arrest these before the story of the capture became known to them and put them on guard. Dallas was reached at night, and on the follow­ ing morning Jim Arnold, the chief of police for that city, together with my­ self, arrested the other two accom­ plices. All waived preliminary hearings and were committed to jail to await the action of the grand Jury, which convened a month or six weeks later In the meantime three of the defend­ ants succeeded in obtaining bonds and were released from jail. After his arrest No . 3 was taken 111, and he died about a month later. Nos. 1 and 2 fled the country almost Immediately they were released on bonds, No. 1 going to Mexico and No 2 to London, Ontario, Canada. When the cases were called for trial, there­ fore, only No. 4, the agent, appeared, having remained the whole time In Jail. The trial was accordingly post­ poned pending the arrest of Nos. 1 and 2, and my work had largely to be done over again Upon receipt of instructions to this effect from the Missouri-Pacific rail­ way I detailed Herbert and Bailey, another of my assistants, to locate and arrest No. 1 in Mexico, which they succeeded in doing after rqvtch hard work. I myself assumed the task of arrest­ ing No. 2. I discovered his location in London after some effort, and vis­ ited the place, seeing tho fugitive without being seen by him. No. 2 had surrounded himself with a num­ ber of sympathizing friends, many of whom wero, like himself, fugitives from justice, and among them he felt safe. The extradition treaty then in force between Great Britain and the United States, known as the Ashburton and Webster treaty, had been passed about the middle of the century It permit­ ted the extradition of fugitives charg­ ed with the following offenses. Mur- THE MUSIC BROUGHT SEVERAL WOMEN TO THE VERANDA. FOUND HIMSELF COVERED BY TWO GUNS. DOUBLE-BARRELED SHOT- might have leaked out and given the , or his wife, a request which elicited man whom I sought the alarm. Many amusing incidents occurred during this vigil One morning, after we had been on watch for sev- . oral days, I hit upon a plan to find whether there were any women in the bouse, hoping to discover the wife of No. 1 among them. A few blocks down tho street a couple of good- look'&s; young Italian girls were play- ready promise. It was necessary to obtain requisi­ tion papers from the governors of Mississippi and Texas, a process which would require eight or ten days as complaint had to be lodged connected with the commercial wire of the Western Union Telegraph com­ pany, and thero was a telegraph of­ fice in one of the rooms of the cottage from which the conspirators could find out all that was passing over the wires of the Western Union company. Tho cottage was surrounded early In the morning, after a reconnaissance had showed that all the Inmates were asleep. While Herbert and tho deputy covered the rear, the sheriff and I went to tho front door and rapped for admission The window shutters were pushed open and the inmates, peer­ ing out, discovered that they were trapped. \Open the door or we shall force it!\ shouted Sheriff Clark. After a little parleying the front door was opened. This was a double door, and only one-half of It was opened, and then, very suddenly, No. l's brothor-ln-law, a very tall Individ­ ual, appeared with a iouble-barreled shotgun In his hands. Before ho had time to raise the weapon to a shoot­ ing position, however, he found him­ self covered by two double-barreled shotguns, and dropped his own promptly on the command. The sher­ iff took possession of him and I start­ ed into the cottage. No . 1 appeared at his door, a pistol in his hand, and was promptly arrested. \Where is the agent?\ I asked \In the room across the hall,\ re- at Sherman, Tex., a request for the ; plied the other sullenly. I rapped requisition had to be sent from Sher- and. being refused admission, burst man to Austin, and the request of 1 the door open, where I found No. 4 the governor of Texas to the gover- partly dressed. He and his wife wore der, felonious assault with Intent to murder, arson, rape, forgery, uttering of forged paper and perjury. After I had seen No. 2 In London, I telegraphed by wire code to ex-Gov. John C. Brown, the general solicitor for tho Gould railroads, through Vice- President Hoxie, who had commis­ sioned mo to procure the fugitive's arrest. Ex-Governor Brown had a national reputation as a lawyer, and. being convinced that No . 2 could not be extradited under the treaty, he wired back by code, instructing me to induco the exile to accompany me across the border, either into Michi­ gan or Into New York state, where he could be held for extradition to Texas. Needless to say, this would have been an Impossible feat, the fugitive being well acquainted with the man who had aided InTjls arrest. Further­ more, I soon discovered that. If I at­ tempted to induce No. 2 to accom­ pany me across the border, for tho purpose of arresting him without legal authority. I would be liable to prose­ cution for kidnaping, and might be sent to prison for a term of from two to seven years. Seeing the Impossi­ bility of carrying out his Instructions, I took counsel's opinion upon the sub­ ject from a young barrister named McBrlde. After detailing the case to the young man, I asked him what crime the men had committed under Canadian law McBrlde at once in­ formed me that they were all guilty of forgery, and ot having uttered and published forged paper \Supposing these men bad fled from the United States and were found in Canada, could they be arrested and extradited back to the United States for trial''\ I aiked. \Undoubtedly under the provisions of tbe Ashburton and Webster treaty,\ answered the other \But I said, \the judge who pre­ sided over tho criminal court at Dal­ las, Texas, was of opinion that the fraudulent bills of lading signed by the agent were not fdrgeries, as the agent was in the employ of the com­ pany \ \The agent signed the bills of lad­ ing for fraudulent purposes,\ answer­ ed McBrlde, \and therefore his signa­ ture was unauthorized by the com­ pany which employed him Under the Canadian law he is a forger, while the other conspirators would be guilty of uttering and publishing forged pa­ per.\ I at once filed tho necessary com­ plaint, and procured a warrant for the arrest of No. 2, who was taken to Chatham and lodged in jail I then telegraphed to ex-Governor Brown, ex- j plaining what I had done. The latter wired back - \Why did you disobey my Instruc­ tions, when you knew that I had in­ structed you as to what the Texas judge had decided, and thereforo the fugitive could not be extradited from i Canada under the existing treaty nor In accordance with the act of con- 1 gress. which provides for said treaty'' ! Answer John C Brown \ I replied \I disregarded your instructions, finding them erroneous, and that you did not understand the law pertaining to this case Have also learned that a Texas judge's ruling is not consid­ ered in Canada and I find that I can legally extradite the fugitive from Canada under the present law \ With a copy of the revised statutes of Canada in my suitcase, I at once returned to St Louis, where I report­ ed to Vice-President Hoxle. \Tom Governor Brown showed me a mes­ sage which he had received from you i yesterday. He appeared to be quite angry \ \I am here to explain my actions fully,\ I answered, \and I wish you would kindly request Governor Brown to come to your office at his conveni­ ence, as I think my explanation should | be made to him in your presence, so that one explanation may serve for both. My time Is limited, as 1 must go to Texas and procure certain wit­ nesses and return with them to Chat­ ham, Ontario, within two weeks, the time set for the hearing.\ In a short time ex-Governor Brown appeared, and I repeated tho instruc­ tions which I had received from him. I then stated that I had found it would be impossible to carry them out with­ out subjecting myself to prosecution and a possible Jail sentence, and that I had therefore done the next best thing, which was to consult a compe­ tent attorney. I then produced his copy of the statutes, and directed the ex-governor's attention to the marked sections, which the latter carefully read. After ho had finished his perusal I read the telegram which he had re­ ceived, and my own answer. \Well governor, what do you think of this matter'\ asked Mr. Hoxle, when he had read the dispatches For answer, the ex-governor walked round the table to where I was seat­ ed and extended his hand, which I took. \Furlong was right all tho way through,\ he said to mo. No 2 put up a strong fight for free­ dom. The appeal upon the extradi­ tion was argued, and the extradition papers were sustained. A higher court upheld the action of the lower ono, and tho caso was at once taken up by the privy court at Toronto, which likewise affirmed the action of tho lower courts. As this was the highest tribunal In Canada, its decis­ ion was final, and No 2 was commit­ ted for extradition. I immediately left Toronto for Washington and presented the neces­ sary papers from the state of Texas at the department of justice there. They were promptly approved and sent to President Cleveland for signa­ ture. President Cleveland had then been in office just four days, and these were the first papers of the kind that he Binned. With the signature of the president affixed to them, I left f or Chatham, v/lth the purpose of bring, ing No. 2 back to Dallas for trial When the train stopped at Canan- daigua, New York, a messenger called my name at the dining room door. He handed me a telegram from the high sheriff of Chatham, which read as follows. \When my jailor went to the cell occupied by No. 2 at twelve o'clock today he found him dead Had ap­ parently been dead an hour Causs of death yet unknown. Probably heart failure.\ The autopsy showed that tho man had killed himself by swallowing j laudanum, but how he had obtained the drug was never discovered Thus only two of the swindlers re­ mained for trial, and these, rather re­ markably, were No. 1 and No 4, both of whom I had arrested at Ocean Springs. The case now came on for trial, and I turned the duplicate bills of lading over to Capt. Tom Brown of Sherman, Texas, who was the railroad com- j pany's attorney in that district | These, with other documentary evi­ dence, the captain placed in his over­ coat pocket, and he left that garment, together with his coat and hat, on a rack in the corridor of a hotel while he was eating breakfast When he returned for his overcoat the papers had been stolen. In consequence of the loss of these documents when tho case was called the prosecuting attor­ ney asked that a nollo prosequi be en­ tered in the case, thus letting the two men go free. This was an unfortunate ending to so much enterprise, but no stigma ever attached itself to Captain Urown, who was afterward elected a Judge ] of the supreme bench of Texas. To Preserve Historic Building. Lovers of historic spots will be pleased by the note that the Associa­ tion for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities has virtually completed 113 campaign for the acquisition of tbe old­ est courthouse In the United States, that which was built at Eastvllle, Northampton county, in 1CS0 Ths building is a beautiful specimen of colonial brick structure, laid up In Flemish bond. Its original cost was 7,127 pounds of tobacco Over a cen­ tury ago it was leased to a Mr Not; tlngham for $1 a year on condition that he put a new roof on it—the lea»J to run as long as the roof lasted He soaked his shingles In linseed oil ani the courthouse remained in possession of his heirs till 1913, when the coun­ ty bought it for $4,000. Tho super­ visors were about to demolish it In order that the site might be otherwise used, when tho association camo to the rescue. Lottery for Navy. Greeco supports her navy in part b? a public lottery, known as the royal Greek naval lottery. The navy re­ ceives 70 per cent of the gains and the Grecian Archeological society tho remainder, m the last decade the lot­ tery distributed $1,216,3S4 In prize* the navy got a little more and tho Archeological society $521,000 The lottery tickets, which are sold by men and boys on the street, are bought outright from the government before being sold to the individual purchasers. War's Effect on Wireless. According to Lloyds' Register, which only covers the records up to 191- 3 thero has been a steady growth in the) number of vessels equipped with wire­ less apparatus and submarine ilenal- ing installations. There are now on Lloyds' registry of the world s mer­ chant marine 2,939 vessels equippf* with wirolcss apparatus and 947 pro­ vided with submarine signaling sy» tems. ' The Truth. \How did you come to adopt a llt -J erary career ?'* wo askod the celebrated J novelist. \Ill tell you.\ he replied, \but roil must not let It go any further Whenl I was a. boy T was such an awful iWl that I never could hold a Job of a &I kind for more than a week, so 1 4*1 elded to canter the only field where Off peculiar talents would be appreciated^

xml | txt