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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 75 [newspaper clipping], ca. 1858

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Identifier: DX03463751

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 9, page 75 [newspaper clipping], ca. 1858

Description: Newspaper clipping regarding the arrest of J.W. Watson, alias J.C. Davis, for forgery and theft in Boston and Philadelphia.


A SHREWD SWINDLER ARRESTED.—In November last ex-Officer Bowyer, late one of Chief Police Matsell’s aids, while stopping at the Girard House, Philadelphia, learned that a Mr. J. W. Watson, who also put up at the same hotel, had committed a constructive larceny under the following circumstances. It appears that Watson had been for some days previous advertising to purchase first-rate business paper on very advantageous terms, but did not state on whose side the advantage was to be. In consequence of his advertisements a merchant named E. B. Shee, who had a couple of first rate notes amounting to about $600, called upon Watson who took him to his room in the hotel in question, where were displayed upon his table a number of documents and notes which he stated he had purchased from various merchants within the last few day. He further stated that he was acting for a very heavy house in New-York. The two notes above referred to were submitted to Watson, and after some talk about the matter, a price was agreed upon therefore. Watson took the notes and said he would go to the office of the hotel, as he had placed his funds (four thousand dollars) in the iron safe last he might be robbed, and called Mr. Shee's attention to the printed notice on the door of his room, cautioning parties against leaving money in their trunks, on account of the number of hotel thieves that were about.

Mr. Shee did not much like the idea of Watson's taking the notes away, and was about to object, when Watson, who by this time had closed the door, opened it again, and poking in his head, asked Shee what kind of funds he would like. Mr. Shee replied that he must have bankable funds. Watson said, "Very well," and again closed the door. Fifteen minutes elapsed, then half an hour, and then an hour, when Mr. Shee began to grow very uneasy. Once or twice he got up to leave the room, but thinking of the large amount of notes on the table that would be exposed in case of his so doing, again sat down and endeavored to make himself easy. Mr. Shee at length summoned a waiter whom he desired to call the proprietor. The proprietor entered the room, and upon hearing the case told Mr. Shee that he thought he had been sold, as Watson had no doubt absquatulated with his notes. Upon the evening following this operation, Officer Bowyer had an interview with Mr. Shee, who was very desirous of having Watson arrested.

On Friday last, Officer Bowyer captured Watson on board a Hoboken ferry-boat, and took him forthwith by railroad to Philadelphia, and delivered him into the custody of Officer Callanan, at the Mayor's Office. Upon searching Watson, there were found in his pockets between $400 and $500, a gold lever watch, and some jewelry. Watson had an examination on Saturday, and was committed to prison for trial, when Officer Bowyer returned to this city.

On Sunday morning, Officer B. received a letter from Officer Dunn of Boston, requesting him to look out for a confidence man who had been swindling several firms in Boston out of watches, jewelry and other property, by giving checks on various banks, in the name of J. C. Davis, which checks, upon being presented, were found to be worthless. Officer Bowyer, upon reading the minute description of said Davis, came to the conclusion that he and Watson were one and the same party.

Procuring the assistance of Officer McDougal, Officer Bowyer proceeded to Hoboken, and found upon inquiry that Watson, alias Davis, had a room at one of the hotels in that place. His room was searched, when several bills in the name of J. C. Davis, for watches, jewelry, and other property, were found. Among his papers were several promissory notes, one of which was drawn by Gibbs & Jewey in favor of Edward Allen for $2,500,. . . .

Rights: NoC-US



Type(s): Diary


Subjects: Crime
Swindlers and swindling


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