Newspaper Page Text
True Story of t
By COL. H.
Former Chief U
WAS on duty as specia
agent of the United State.
government at New Or
leans in the summer 6
1862. Maj. Gen. Benja
min F. Butler was depart
ment commander and rul
ing this then turbuleni
city with an iron hand
Everything down there
including the weat! i
was sizzling hot. Thugs and thievef
were being severely dealt with. Mar
tial law was in force and summar3
punishment was being meted ou
by the provost judge. Several hous
robbers had been hanged by or
der of General Butler and theri
must have been a ticklish sensatio!
about the necks of the unruly.
It was one of those blazing hol
mornings for which New Orleans is
famous that Major -, a United
States paymaster on duty in that city
left his office In the custom house car
Tying a portemonnale containing jus
$20,000 In gold coin. The major wa!
one of those economical men wh<
thought a penny saved was as good a
a -penny earned. Gold at this time was
at a premium, hence a saving coul
be made by making an exchange 0
gold for paper currency. Besides, he
may have thought paper money more
convenient for -the soldiers' use. A!
he passed down the custom house
steps he paused a moment as if to de
termine the course to pursue. He
hailed a passing cab, and entering i
he instructed the driver to take hin:
to the bank of Jacob Barker on CamI
street. The cab drew up directly it
front of the main entrance.
The paymaster went inside. Step
ping around the end of the countei
he met and shook hands with a stock
1ly built man whose locks were lon
and white. This was. Jacob Barkez
whose name at this time was familiai
to every banker in the United States.
Uncle Jacob blinked a welcome as the
shining pieces w(:re spread upon the
Two young me. now came forward
to make the coltnt and pile up the
treasure. The wo-,k completed, bundles
of greenbacks were crowded into the
portemonnai to xake the place of the
gold coin. Then there was a side
transaction and a package that looked
like money was stowed away in the
avmas r's rd tTn &et
ca did not notIce
Ctediver was casting longing
ees upon the bulging portemonnale.
* He was then taken to the post office,
which was located in the custom
house. He got out of the cab and
stepped inside, where he remained
just long enough to unlock and re
mnove the mall from his letter box. Re
turning to the street he was greatly
~4astonished and nearly paralyzed with
45 excitement to discover that the cab
~ in which he had left the $20,000 had
Sdisappeared. He looked up and down
~the street stupidly at first. Recover
inlg himself he madly rushed around
the corner. There was no cab In
sight He then started on foot at a
- lively pace for the office of the pro
yost marshal general on St. Charles
. I chanced to be in the provost mar
shar'e!ce at this - time. I listened
to tepyaster's story and was the
frst undertake the recovery of the
mnyIt was one of those smooth
easy robberies with little or no clue
for a starting point.
1 started out on what seemed to be
a rather difficult case, less than an
-bour after the theft.
I had an abiding faith that If I could
meet the guilty man face to face while
- the affair was yet warm on his mind
I could pick him out from the many
cab drivers In the city.
The paymaster thought the driver
of the- cab an Irishman, but was not
quite certain. He knew that he had
Sbeen separated from his money and
that was about all the information he
could give. The capturing of the thief
and recovering the money seemed
now to rest upon the telltale eyes.
.It was now noon-day and feeding
time. The most of the cabs were off
the streets, but I -chanced to secure
one, and I started out to visIt the
many cab stands in the city. When I
4 met a driver of one of these vehicles
I looked him over carefully, but saw
nothing In the face of any of them to
arouse suspicion. My mind might
have been a little romantic in those
days, but I thought the thief would
have a disturbance on his face by
which I would be able to pick him out.
When at last I had met nearly all the
cabbies in the city, and discovered
#nothing upon which to base suspicion,
the driver with whom I was riding
chanced to speak of a man who had
quite .recently started in the cab busi
ness. His stable was at his own
Shome on St. Peters street. He knew
the place and I told him to drive to it.
Arriving there. I entered the yard and
discovered wheel tracks that appeared
to be freshly made. There was a
Ssmall stable in the rear of the lot near
which was a pile of litter. The top of
this pile had recently been disturbed.
With a pitcb-fork I overhauled some
of it. I can give no explanation why I
did this. I made no discovery. I then
ascended the stairs leading up on the
outsidle gf the house to the portico.
a entered a living room in the sec
he Secret Service *
S. Secret Service
I ond story. There was a woman lying
upon the bed. She appeared quite
feeble and had recently given birth to
"Who lives here?" I inquired.
She answered, "Patrick O'Rafferty."
"What is his business?"
"A cab driver."
"Did your husband come to his din
"No, he has not been here since he
left this morning."
I then said, "My good woman, I am
a government officer, and am here to
search your house for concealed
"You can search as much as you
s please, but you will find nothing of the
kind in this house."
I cast my eyes about and saw that
I was in a home -that seemed destitute
of the common comforts of life. I
stepped into an unfurnished adjoin
ing room and swung open the door of
a small dark closet. There were only
a few articles of clothing hanging
upon the wall. Feeling about in the
hope ot discovering something, I
chanced to put my hand on a pair of
Attukapas pants that were damp
about the waist.
My suspicion was aroused a little
then, and considerably more so'since
I was informed by Mrs. O'Rafferty
that there had not been a man in the
house since early morning. She
. #'n 4Let >1K/
/tre at me astog ryn ocm
preen the sitaton
dstad athme rastoug tyig to omn
prhenhd sohe situatio.Temitr
abot tewaisgto orr thernt whanyt
furnthe houseatonl a ecsedr me
asbere Wh cudiad ltthe odn it?
kee acrned tha'aferngasImt hsae
dstand the resnnh the leewotfrfom
sh umhouldsep ando decieed unles
shierha omae obect thee mtoisue.O
aboui t the aisignthed ptI wast
fortunataine thatn O'Raffertys atsuis
sranga onto thlve oteyarc fro
theicusto huserdn and sietedpthe
drisvey to tk hmhr atbonycharged
ariv ig atel the igaterpo baAs
myrtunat met idI knermy an.i
1Nsprng ot of proothe conanc yi
brisly upv clere himma I bollhren
His statement differed materially
from the one made by his wife. On
questioning him he said he had been'
at home in the middle of the day. Had
fed his f'orse, cooked his own dinner
and waited upon himself. Talked with
his wife and changed his pants. He
could give no reason why he made the
change, except that he did so. He
stoutly denied carrying the paymaster
and swore by all the saints in Chris
tendom that he hadn't carried a pas
senger on that day.
Icould not budge him in the least;
the more I crowded him the keener
was his denial. He deeply resented
the charge I had made and braced up
to me in a spirit of defiance. He was
Irish sure enough. Being tinctured
considerably with the same blood my
self, and with the United States gov
ernment at my back, I had the ad
vantage of him. Yet be might have
downed me had it not been for the
pants. This discovery as simple as it
was loomed up as a matter of great
importance. I arrested him and locked
him up in the First district station. I
was confident he was the thief, but
when he was brought into the pres
ence of the paymaster I was almost
knocked off my base when the major
was unable to recognize the prisoner,
besides which he had the amazing
stupidity to admit it in hIs presence.
H' was evidently one of the negative.
ly conscientious. He refused to make
a charge. Consequently I took the
responsibility of holding the prisoner
and locking him in a cell where he
was not allowed to converse with any
After a few days of confinement he
appeared quite down-hearted and
begged to be permitted to see his wife.
The meeting between the husband
and wife at their home was quite af
fecting, yet there was no development
that would suggest guilt. I now de
termined to give O'RaffertY a little
jolt for the purpose of frightening
him Into a confession.
In the corridor, at a little distance
from his cell, a person inquired:
"What are they going to do. with
O'Rafferty?" In as earnest a manner
as I could command I answered that
he was to be hung on the following
morning at nine o'clock, by order of
the commanding general. O'Raffert7,
of course, heard the conversation that
was intended for his ears.
There was at this time a prevailing
fear among many that General Butler
was liable to hang almost anyone. My
ruse had its effect, as O'Rafferty now
began to sob and groan. I stepped in
side his cell and made an effort to
console him, assuring him that I was
very sorry, but that nothing could
be done to help him unless he would
give up the money.
He was a Catholic and begged that
he might see a priest. I thought he
wanted to make a confession, and
went at once to the custom house to
consult Major -, and chanced to
meet the postmaster, who was Gen
eral Butler's brother-in-law. When .
explained the situation and the possi
bility of a confession, he said it would
do no good to let him confess to a
priest, who would divulge nothing that
was told him, and suggested Major
Farr, chaplain of a Connecticut regi
ment. "Don't try to fool a Catholic."
I said, "but let us secure a real
Upon my agreeing to take charge of
this part of the program, It was final
ly concluded that a priest should be
sent for and that he was to meet the
prisoner in a room In. the custom
house. There was a number of large
wardrobes, or armoires as they were
called In New Orleans, in the room.
These were used for storing books.
Some of them were removed from
one, giving room for a man to enter.
When the good father and O'Rafferty
came and took a seat near this
armoire, they surely did not notice
that its door was just a little ajar.
Father M- soon came out of the
room. There was an expression of
sadness upon his face, but he said
nothing that could throw any light
upon the robbery; yet it was quite ap
parent that something unusual had
happened. Something had, and I now
possesse4 the clue -I needed.
It was dark when I arrived at the
corner of White and Clio streets and
knocked at the front door of a small
dwelling house, which was soon
opened by a middle-aged man. I In
formed him that I was a government
officer and that I had come there to
arrest both him and his wife and
seize their house, which would be
forfeited to the government. I told
him that O'Rafferty had confessed
everything. He now turned to his
wife and exclaimed in an excited man
ner: "What did I tell you. Margaret?
You see the bad business your brother
has got us Into?"
"Where's the money?" I demanded.
"It's under the house, and I will
bring it to you."
"Be lively about It," I said In a com
manding tone. He now went into the
kitchen where he raised a small trap
n the floor. Reaching down, he pulled
out a corn sack. Hastily examining
Its contents I found It contained about
$6,500 in paper money. I demanded
he keys of his house and they were
banded to me. The bigger the bluff
the greater the scare, I thought. I
took the man and his wife to the First
istrct police station where they
were locked up together in a comfort
able room. A messenger was at once
dispatched to bring Father M-.
When found he was at the house on
the corner of White and Clo streets
endeavoring to arouse the occupants.
Ee came immediately to the police
station, and I acquainted him with the
act that a portion of the money had
been recovered, and the persons In
whose possession It had been found
were in custody. He was unquestion
may well he presumed that Father
M-, having received O'Rafferty's
confession, was in the act of reach
ing out for the restoration of th(
stolen money when accosted by the
messenger. Believing himself to bc
the possessor of the only informatior
that would lead to this importani
event, he was of course somewhal
puzzled at what had taken place. but
he convinced me that he was quite
anxious to render any assistance ir
his power to recover the rest of the
money. At my request he went in to
talk with the man and his wife. I
assured him that they would be re
leased and not further molested if
they would give up the stolen money.
I went farther than this and said that
if he could promise me that the
money would be returned within the
next twenty-four hours I would at once
release the two prisoners. After in
terviewing them, he came outside and
requested me to let the man and hie
wife go home. He said everything
would be well at 12 o'clock on the fol
lowing day, and his request was com
plied with. The good father was
greatly concerned about what was to
become of O'Rafferty.
"This." said he. "is the first great
sin of this young man's life. On ac
count of the sickness of his wife he
has been greatly pressed for money.
In a moment of weakness he yielded to
temptation." The father did not say
it, -but I Inferred that with him a full
confession and restitution meant re
pentance, forgiveness and a pardon
from God. In this particular case,
however, a law made by man stood in
the way. How was it to be overcome?
I realized that affairs were very
much mixed at this time, and that
there were many otherwise honest
people who might find a ready excuse
for a thief from the United States
government. While a condition of this
kind could not be plead as a bar to
O'Rafferty's punishment, it might be
offered In palliation of the crime; he
might have remained an honest man
had not the opportunity been thrust
upon him. I had made promises to
the good father and might have
imagined the confession of the culprit
a solemn absolution of his sin; hence
my deep sympathy and determination
to procure his release.
The balance of the money was all
returned by the priest as promised,
but the difficult point in the case was
yet to be accomplished. How was
O'Rafferty to be let out? I might have
unlocked his cell door and allowed
him to walk out, but he would not be
free, as he would be liable to be ar
rested by other officers. He had now
openly told the simple story of the
robbery and there was nothing further
He said he had no thought of steal
ing the sack when the paymaster
stepped out of the cab, but when left
alone the idea flashed through his
brain to drive to his home with it,
where he made an attempt to bury it
in the litter pile. Abandoning this
plan, he drove to his brother-in-law's
house. On arriving there he found his
sister washing clothes In the yard. He
told her in a hurried manner that he
had brought a big lot of money and
that he would leove It with her to
take care of. He put the portemon
naie in a box under the shed in the
yard and covered it with hay. There
were two of the husband's brothers
sleeping in the house at the time;
they were bakers by trade, working
nights and sleeping In the day time.
When they got up In the afternoon
the sack containing the money was
pointed out to them. They cut it
open and divided its contents, as near
as they could guess, into three equal
parts. Leaving one-third for the sis
ter, they hid the other two-thirds for
themselves. Poor O'Rafferty, who real
ly did not know very much about the
contents of the sack, was left out In
The city of New Orleans was under
martial law at this time, and offend
ers were being handled severely in
the provost court. The judge was:
puritanical in principle and clothed
with almost unlimited power. He wag4
considered quite unapproachable, yet
I determined to visit him at his house
on behalf of O'Rafferty. I found him
a much more generous man than 1
Ihad thougt,- him to be. He listened
attentively when I told him the story
of the robbery and the part the priest
had taken in recovering the money. I
put up the best plea I could for the
prisoner and his sick wife. I was cer
tain that the judge was Interested and
his heart softened. He said he would
take the case under advisement, bug
said nothing to indicate what his de
cision might be.
A trial In a provost court at New
Orleans in that day was a rather
brief affair. It consisted mostly of an
accusation and a sentence. When
O'Rafferty was arraigned, he pleaded
guilty to the charge of stealing the
$20,000. In a few brief moments the
judge made an order for his confine
ment at Fort Jackson for a period of
years. I felt quite sore on account of
this decision, but was a little sur
prised when he called me up and
thrust the order for the prisoner's
commitment In my hand, I saw that I
was charged with his delivery to the
commanding officer of the fort, a fea
ture ofs the program that was certain
ly not in my line, and I jumped at the
conclusion that the responsibility for
his release was resting upon my shoul
Two days afterwards i returned the
order of commitment with a report of
the prisoner's escape indorsed upon
Its back. The judge smiled his seem
ing approval. O'Rafferty's release
may have been illegal, but I believe it
was justified by the pardon he re
cved through the intercession of the
( Copyright, by W. G. Cha.pman.)
NOT AS BAD AS IT SOUNDEDI
Wonderful Highland Dia!ect Respon
sible for Wrong Impression
Andrew Carnegie, at a dinner in
New York, talked about the Scotch I
"It's a hard lingo to understand," he
said. "It often causes awkward mis
"Once an American divine spent
Christmas in a Highland inn. On
Christmas morning he gave the maid
a tip of a sovereign, and he said, look
ing earnestly at her-for she was a
"'Do you know, Kathleen, you are a
very good-looking lassie?'
"Of course Kathleen was pleased,
but, being modest. she blushed like a
rose and answered:
"'Ah, na! Ah, na; But my kissin,
sir, is beautiful!'
"The divine frowned.
"'Leave the room, you wicked
young baggage!' he said sternly.
"He didn't know, you see, that mod
est Kathleen had been simply praising
in her Highland dialect, the superior
charms of her cousin Janet of Pee
The Congressman-I'm opposed to
the bill at present, but I might changa
my mind for $5,000,
The lobbyist-Your mind doesn't ap
pear to me to be worth that much.
A Son's Compliment.
His incessant work, his avoidance
of all rest and recreation and his rig
orous self-denial made Joseph Pulit
zer, in his days in harness, the de
spair of his family.
In this connection a pretty story Is
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Ralph. Mr. Pulitzer had refused to
take a holiday, and Mrs. Pulitzer -ex
"Did you ever know your father to
do anything because it was pleasant?"
"Yes, once-when he married you,"
the young man gracefully replied.
"'m going to give my wife a real
surprise this Christmas."
"That so? What are you going to
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