From Boniface to Bank Burglar The Price of Persecution
FROM BONIFACE TO
THE PRICE OF PERSECUTION
HOW A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS MAN, THROUGH
THE MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE, BECAME
A NOTORIOUS BANK LOOTER
GEORGE M. WHITE
Alias GEORGE BLISS
BELLOWS FALLS, VT.
TRUAX PRINTING COMPANY
By B. F. SLEEPER, Westminster, Vt.
J. S. Cushing & Co.—Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.
While paying the penalty of a last misdeed, Iresolved that no more of life’s precious years shouldbe spent in sowing to the wind and that my life’ssun should not set in eternal night; and I have beenable to keep my resolution. In the awful momentsof lonesomeness in the prison cell, I conceived theidea of publishing my life history in so far as I couldmake it interesting to the financial world and generalpublic. Many hours of solitude, while othersslept, I devoted to rummaging through the past insearch of facts, dating them from the innocent daysof my young manhood and resurrecting them fromperiod to period, until I succeeded in compiling alife history which, I sincerely trust, will prove notonly a helper to those who have the care of greatsums of money devolving upon them, but will alsobe accepted by those tempted to depart from thepath of rectitude as a warning not to be lightlyregarded.
I have endeavored to be accurate in my treatmentof each part of this history, and if there shall bevidiscovered an error here and there, kindly, dearreader, attribute it to a lapse of memory. I keptno record of events, for in leading the life of atransgressor it is not conducive to safety; so I havebeen forced to depend solely upon my memory,which, as it dwelt on the past, soon became aliveagain with old scenes. Acts long forgotten returnedto me clothed as they were more than twoscore yearsago, and I found myself living over the bright days,the dark days, the days of wealth, and the days ofpoverty. I started to write a small book, but factscrowded upon me until I have been enabled to issuea volume of no mean proportions.
G. M. WHITE.
|I.||My Hotel Days||1|
|II.||The Walpole Bank Burglary||9|
|III.||One Sheriff I Knew||17|
|IV.||The Unequal Fight||22|
|V.||Hanging of the Millstone||31|
|II.||Visited by the Whitecaps||83|
|III.||The Cadiz Bank Loot||96|
|IV.||An Expensive Chicken||109|
|V.||A Rock cleft for Me||130|
|VI.||’Twas a Sweet Babe||156|
|VII.||Police Shield not worn for Health||165|
|VIII.||Sheriff Smith’s Bribe—The Little Joker||185|
|X.||I corrupt a Bank Clerk||215|
|XI.||A Colossal Bank Burgling Enterprise||232|
|XII.||Juggling with Death||244viii|
|XIII.||Captain John Young’s Grab||272|
|XIV.||Plotting against Young||286|
|XV.||My Patent Safety Switch and Jim Irving||303|
|XVI.||Hard Work under Great Difficulties||319|
|XVII.||Mark makes Pi of Lock Tumblers||337|
|XVIII.||Disposition of Ocean Bank Loot||341|
|XIX.||A Clean Bill of Health||356|
|XX.||Tall Jim moves from Columbus Prison||368|
|XXI.||Jim Burns and his Congressman Pal||380|
|XXII.||William Hatch, Esquire, Day Watchman||403|
|XXIII.||The Plot that Failed||421|
|XXIV.||The Perfidy of Captain Jim Irving||440|
|XXV.||Some Detectives I found Useful||463|
|XXVI.||The Microbe “Callousitis”||480|
FROM BONIFACE TO BANK
MY HOTEL DAYS
“Here I am back again, Ellis, my dear boy!” Isaid to my clerk in the Central House, as comfortableand inviting a country hostelry as the average manof travel would want to make an occasional visit to,if I do say it myself.
“Glad of it, Mr. White,” returned Ellis Merrill,as he reciprocated my hearty hand-grasp. He hadbeen with me in the hotel business for some time, andI rather fancied him. And he was a most trustworthyyoung man too.
I glanced at the register on the desk, as any hotelproprietor is apt to do after several days’ absence.
“Ah,” remarked I, as my eyes fell on two names—“Wyckoffand Cummings. They came yesterday.Are they together?”
2“Yes, Mr. White; and they seemed to be mightywell stocked with cash. Up to date they’ve beenvery prompt in paying their bills; in fact, havepaid for everything in advance.”
I glanced over a file of business papers. Then Isaid: “It seems they’ve hired one of our best teamsfor three days, paid for it, and will return to-morrow.That’s good business, Ellis.”
“Right you are, sir.”
I gossiped more about my guests,—as to whatbusiness they might be engaged in, and the like.
“Mr. Wyckoff told me that he’s a United Statesdeputy marshal. As to his companion, he didn’t sayanything,” said Merrill. “I allowed him to haveabout the best team we had in the stable, on therepresentation that he was a government official.”
This was in the spring of 1864, when there wasmuch reason to believe that the war between theNorth and South over the negro was drawing to aclose. I was a resident of Stoneham, Massachusetts,and, after a fashion, felt pretty well satisfied withmyself and surroundings. I was the owner of ahotel, a large livery with a fine stock of horsesand vehicles, besides a grocery business in which Iemployed several clerks, and a goodly interest inTowle & Seavy’s wine house at 21 Congress Street,Boston. Also, I had a few parcels of real estate inStoneham, which were increasing in value. In thesedays of colossal fortunes, the total of my worldly3possessions then would be of no account; but I, theholder of thirty thousand dollars and a happy home,surrounded by a happier family, my father andmother still living, and I barely thirty, with thespirits of youth, felt, as I have just said, prettywell satisfied with my life and the world generally.
I had just returned from a delightful visit to mypaternal home in Vermont, to find this United Statesdeputy marshal and his friend, James Cummings,guests at my hotel. I must confess to having a feelingof curiosity as to what they looked like, whichmay have been a trifle effeminate in me; so I was notsorry when, the next day, this Mr. Wyckoff, unaccompaniedby his friend, drove up to the hotel.Aside from curiosity, I had the excusable characteristic,usually found in public-house proprietors,of wanting to cater to patrons with full purses anda disposition to spend money freely. Naturally, Igreeted Wyckoff effusively and made him a welcomeguest. He seemed to be of a good sort; a bright,stirring young fellow, with a pleasing address and aready flow of language. I was very much interestedin his conversation on war topics, his knowledge, itseemed to me, being based on a wide experience.He appeared to be well versed in the financial opportunitiesof the war, particularly as to army contracts,—howthey were obtained and the large amount ofmoney that was being made out of them.
Wyckoff was not the first marshal to stop at my4hotel, for in those tumultuous times they poppedup frequently in search of deserters from the army.I confess to taking a great liking to him, and whenin a few hours he left the hotel, saying he must go onfarther, I felt genuine regret, in which there was notmingled an avaricious thought.
“I hope you’ll stop here whenever you come downthis way,” I said to him at parting.
“I certainly shall,” was his reply; “and I’m quitelikely to be along soon, too. I liked the team I had,and all of your hotel accommodations. If I docome, I shall need another team no doubt, and Ihope you’ll let me have your best.”
“That you shall, Mr. Wyckoff. The best serviceof my house and stable shall be yours.”
The next I saw of him was in September, when heput up with me again. He engaged one of my bestspans and was away three days. Later in the samemonth he was my guest, and, hiring another outfit,was gone three or four days. In October I saw him,but in a most unexpected manner, as shall be relatedin due time.
Affairs prospered with me in the usual happychannel, and day by day saw me adding a few dollarsto my little fortune. I saw no speck, portentousof trouble, on life’s horizon, nor did I discoveranything that foretold disaster. My business wasfirmly established and my credit was of the highestorder. For my honesty I was respected, and as for