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[newspaper clipping]
  A SHREWD SWINDLER ARRESTED. In November
last ex-Officer Bowyer, late one of Chief Police Mat-
sell s aids, while stopping at the Girard House, Phil-
adelphia, learned that a Mr. J. W. Watson, who also
put up at the same hotel, had committed a construc-
tive larceny under the following circumstances.  It ap-
pears 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 mer-
chants 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 sub-
mitted 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 dol-
lars) 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 ex-
posed in case of his so doing, again sat down and en-
deavored 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 absquatu-
lated with his notes.  Upon the evening following this
operation, Officer Bowyer had an interview with Mr.
Shee, who was very desirous of having Watson ar-
rested.
  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 cus-
tody 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 sev-
eral 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 pre
sented, 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, payable at the Fairhaven
Bank, Mass.; one for $1,500 dated Boston, Jan. 23,
1858, in favor of J. C. Davis, drawn by James F.
Dane; another for $2,000 dated Boston, Dec. 23, 1857,
drawn to the order of J. G. Munck, by T. C. Whit-
more, Treasurer of the Boston and Maine Foundery.
  Officer Bowyer also ascertained that within a year
or two Watson, alias Davis, had obtained moneys on
forged drafts to the amount of several thousand dol-
lars, and that about 12 or 15 years ago he was ar-
rested for forging a check on Col. Tompkins of this
city.  Immediately upon Officer Bowyer making these
discoveries he telegraphed the fact to Officer Calla-
nan of Philadelphia and requested that Watson alias
Davis should be held as a fugitive from Boston, but
before the dispatch was received the swindler was re-
leased upon bail.  He was, however, soon after ar-
rested and sent to prison.  The accused gave up a
large quantity of valuable jewelry that he had in his
possession.  It is supposed that he has swindled a
a number of persons in New-York, and any per-
sons having knowledge of the fellow would advance
the ends of justice by calling upon ex-Officer Bowyer
at the Detective Police Agency, No. 195 Broadway.
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nine: page seventy-five
Description:Newspaper clipping regarding the arrest of J. W. Watson, alias J. C. Davis, for forgery and theft in Boston and Philadelphia.
Subject:Bowyer; Callanan; Crime; Dunn, Officer; Forgery; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Matsell; McDougal; Police; Shee, E.B.; Tompkins, Colonel; Watson, John
Coverage (City/State):New York, [New York]; Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania]; Boston, [Massachusetts]; Hoboken, [New Jersey]
Coverage (Street):195 Broadway
Scan Date:2011-02-02

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Nine
Description:Includes descriptions of boardinghouse living, a picnic at Hoboken with other New York artists and journalists, his drawing and writing work in New York, attending a lecture by Lola Montez, visits to James Parton and Fanny Fern and the Edwards family, a controversy over Fitz James O'Brien's story ''The Diamond Lens,'' artist Sol Eytinge's relationship with writer Allie Vernon, the suicide of writer Henry William Herbert, antics of the New York Bohemians, the interest of people living in his boarding house in spiritualism, a visit to his friend George Bolton's farm in Canada, a visit to Niagara Falls, and a scandal involving Harbormaster Willis Patten, who lives in his boarding house.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Farms; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Publishers and publishing; Suicide; Travel; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Rochester, New York; Elmira, New York; Paris, Ontario, Canada
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.