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The Weekly Oskaloosa herald. [volume] (Oskaloosa, Iowa) 1855-1885, May 09, 1872, Image 6

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84027329/1872-05-09/ed-1/seq-6/

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[From the Saturday Night.!
Well, the fads of the ease* were
about as follows :
A man, coming through on the
Western train, stopped in our city, j
Nothing remarkable about that; uei-,
ther was there anything remarkable
about the man. He was dressed in
loose, dark clothes; wore his hair and
bear i long, and a broad Mexican
hat on his head ; in short, had just
the appearance of what he professed
to be a California miuer, washed
up and just out from the “diggings.”
lie took lodgings a quiet hotel,
booked hitusell as James L. Snyder.
Hu manners were unobstrusive, and
bad everything connected with him
so perfect! > common place as to sug
gest the idea expressed by the land
lord :
“Clever fellow enough ! Hut as
to smartness—between you and I, he
will never set the river on fire!”
Well, Mr. J ames L. Snider lin
gered, and looked about for upward
of a week, and tlieu announced his
intention of settling down.” He
made a partial bargain for some real
estate; had some talk of taking
shares in a railroad just going
through ; and thus it transpired that
he was a man ol means.
About this time iie to*.k the land
b.rd so fur into his confidence as to
nnpaii a little anxiety lie felt respect
ing bis capital, llis “pile” was just
as he had made it, being all in ‘dust’;
and as ihe amount was considerable,
be doubted being able to exchange it
at any of our banks.
The landlord, who was a good-na
tured fellow, and withal a man of
some influence, ottered to go with
him to the principal one, which he
did, Snyder carrying a specimen of
his ‘dust’ in a small bottle.
The cashier, who was attending to
business during the absence of the
president, gave great encouragement
respecting the exchange, but as he
felt a great responsibility resting up
on himself, wished to retain the
specimen, and postpone his reply
until the next day.
Snyder readily complied with this
proposition, and expressed a deal ol
quiet satisfaction at the prospect of
so easily changing his ‘dust’ into
available capital.
The specimen being duly tested,
and proving to be a pure article, the
cashier’s reply, next day was a fa
vorable one; and Snyder, going di
rectly to the hotel, brought back the
‘dust’ in a chamois-skin bag, and was
counted out at its market value in
bank notes and coin, to the amount
of eight thousand dollars.
While the ‘dust’ was being weighed,
Snyder recollected that he bad
promised, as a curiosity, to send a
ltttle to bis brother, living out in In
diana, and asked for a small vial to
put it up in, whereupon the cashier
returned him his own specimen, its
contents untouched.
A little latei in the day, one*of the
professors of the University, who
was quite a noted chemist, happened
in at the bank, heart! Knox, the
cashier, speaking ol his speculation
of his gold dust.
‘Gold dust!’ he said. ‘Have you
any objections to show me theVmlor
ol it?’
‘Certainly not. Oh, it’s all right!
I had a specimen thoroughly tested
belore I bargained to take it.’
Half au hour after, lvnox burst into
my room, like a man bcrelt of his
‘For God’s sake, P n, get up
here and help me! If you don’t,
I’m a ruined, desperate man!’
‘ln Heaven’s name, wl at have you
been doing, man?’ I asked in aston
‘l’ve been fooled, seduced, swin
dled ! I’ve burst the bank! I’ve
ruined myself and everybody else !’
‘C ome, come !’ 1 said soothingly
tor I saw he was quite wild with
excitement—‘l am sure it isn’t so
bad as that. lam ready and willing
to help you, but you must cool down,
and tell me just what's up and all
about it.’ I
Partly by persuasion and partly by I
force, I got him down in a chair,
and managed to pump the whole sto
ry out of him.
Tchadd had been testing some of
the ‘dust,’ and the test failed ; he
tried again and again, and then the
secret came out; the whole lot was
worthless, tinseled dross.
‘llow many people know this?’ I
‘Only Tchadd, myself, and you.’
‘Then keep quiet and tell him to.
President Brown will not be back
until next week. Keep your own
counsel, and I have a presentment
we will straighten out his tangled
snarl before then.’
I sauntered around to the hotel,
and inquired for Snyder. He had
not been back since he had went
down to sell Ids ‘dust.’
‘Did he leave any luggage* in his
room?’ I asked.
‘No ; he bought only a valise,
and carried the gold in it to the
I made various inquiries about
town and ascertained to a dead cer
tainty what I was convinced of, viz:
| that Snyder had ‘sloped.’
I was confident that he had taken
the train West, which started out
about gfteen minutes after he had re
ceived his money at the bank. lie
had played too sharp a game to be a
mere novice at getting out of the
trap alter he had taken the bait.
Another train was to start out in
hour, and purchasing atieket through
to Omaha, I made the best use of
my time in getting ready for my
trip and making some needful in
quiries. To the landlord I in
debted for a minute description ol
the man’s person.
He was about five feet eight inches
in hight, and thick set, though his
loose garments rather added to that
effect; his hair and beard were jet
black; and, what was unusual for a
person of so dark complexion, his
eyes were a pale grayish-blue; at
the extreme corner of his left eye
was a small red sear, and, on the
back of his right hand, a large hairy
, mole.
When the Western train started
out, you might have seen a greenish
i looking countryman, in farmer’s
dress, with a big, light-colored over
| coat, a red neck-shawl, and drab felt
hat. with a cotton umbrella in one
hand, and a valise in another, wa
ving au adieu to Knox, who stood
ion the platform. Had you taken the
trouble to examine a card attached
to the handle of the aforesaid valise,
you would have seen, in an awk
ward, cramped hand, the euphoni
ous title, ‘ 'Tosiaft Stebbins. llis Va
lise. ’ I presume it is needless to
mention that this individual w T as my
As a matter of course, I was rather
a moving pianet. I followed the
conductor through the traiu, inno
cently .scrutinizing the occupants
of each car as I passed along. When
we stopped—which was only at im
portant stations, as I was on the
lightning express —I managed to
see what new passengers came on.
Right in front of me sat a most ar
tistically gotton up model of the pres
ent fashionable woman. lleavv
rings adorned her ungloved lingers,
and a good many lengths of gold
chain were fastened at her throat and
belt, supporting a cluster of glitter
ing ‘charms’ upon her breast. I
have no faculty for describing the
my terious details of a lady’s costume,
and can only say that this one, from
the gaily gilt heel-taps of her ‘No,
2’ gaiters to the exquisite pink of
her delicately-rogued cheeks, was
legibly written over—‘ln the mar
I saw her lip take a contemptu
ous curl as I seated myelf in her 1
rear; hut when the news-boy, came
through the train with pop corn,
and stopped for me to purchase, the
sight of a well filled pocket book
some what altered her regards. The ,
next time 1 caught her eye she gave
me a seductive smile, which I re
turned with a sheepish grin, timidly
offering her part of the corn which I
sat verdantly munching.
She honored me by accepting,
thanked ine sweetly, and, by way of
opening a conversation, asked ‘if I
knew how far it was to the next sta
tion ?’
I told her no, but hoped it was a
right smart way, it she had to get off
She said she was going further
than that and asked me how far I
w’as going.
Whereupon I proceeded to tell
her that my name was Josiah Steb
bins ; that rny dad bad got the big
gest farm in southern Indianny, and
raised more hogs than she could
shake a stick at; that I’d been up to
Chigo to fetch some pigs to market,
had got their spoiidulix in my wal
let, and was going out to Omaher,
to see the fun, and to spree it *a lit
The strange lday saiu she was go
ing to Omaha, too, ana was delight
ed to find so agreeable company.
Our conversation was here inter
rupted by the stoppage of the train at
a station. It was now dusk, and the
lamps were lighted. A solitary pas
senger came on, and got in our car.
His appearance, revealed by the
lamp light, might be aptly termed as
lie was ol medium height, with
broad shoulders and a tapered waist,
lie was dressed iu an elegant broad
cloth suit, of the latest cut ; a ‘stove
pipe’ hat on his head, and a slender
cane in his hand; while a profusion
of showy gewelry was distribnted
about Ins person. He had a pale
complexion, close cut auburn hair,
a shodow of a mustache on his upper
lip, and pale blue eyes.
I saw him glance hesitatingly at
the half-vacant seat of my fair ac
quaintance before he deposited him
self gingerly on the one in front;
but she gave him no encouragement.
She evidently supposed him, like
the generality of his class, to be out
of pocket.
When the conductor came through
the new* passenger had no ticket;
but, after displaying a handful of
coin, be pulled out a prodigious roll
of bank-notes from winch to pay his
From that time, my Dulcinea had
no smiles forme. There commenced
a series of delicate manoeuvres,
which culminated in my gentleman
coming back into my lady’s seat.
There their acquaintance prog
gressed rapidly. His arm, which at
first rested respectifully upon the
back of the seat, slipped protecting
ly around her unresisting waist.
Both faces were close together, and
their murmuring conversation was
drowned by the rattle of the wheels.
But presently the tableau changed.
Disengaging herself from the em
bracing arm, the lady turned again
to me.
‘I must tell you how fortunate I
am,’ she said, with frank simplicity.
‘I find this gentleman is a friend of
nty friends, and is going through to
Omaha. Shall I introduce him to
Taking consent for granted, she
presented her companion as :
‘Mr. St. James.’
That gentleman gave me a very
patronizing bow ; professed to be
quite at home in Omaha, which he
designated as the place of residence
of a certain cloven-footed gentleman,
at present unmentionable, and said
he would be pleased to show me
some sports, as my fair friend had
informed him that this was my first
O f course I signified that all this
would be extremely gratifying to me,
and appeared quite overawed by his
splendor and his condescension. Up
on this he became more familiar,
and when I adventured to admire a
certain ring he wore, he look it from
his finger, that I might examine it
more closely.
As he removed the ring J noticed
a peculiar mark on his right hand ;
a glance at his face, and the chance
game became one in dead earnest.
1 had fancied I was taking in tow a
‘decoy.’ by means of which I hoped
to track up and worry down my
game. I became now convinced
that the game itself was now in mv
I turned the ring over and over,
handling it with awkw'ard curiosity.
‘Now, I suppose,’ I said, admir
ingly, ‘that this ring’s real genuine
California gold?’
‘lt is said to be,’ replied its owner,
‘Have you ever been to Californ
ia?’ I asked, wonderlingly.
‘I have,’ he answered, somewhat
I came out in a sudden burst of
enthusiasm :
‘I do believe I’ll just put her right
through to Sanfrisco ! I swan I will!
I’ve got the greenbacks, and dad
can’t help himself! I wan’t to see
the gold in great, big chunks, jest as
they dig it out of the hill. All the
sand there’s full of little fine silvers,
ain’t it?’
‘ Ves; gold dust, like this in the vial.’
And he drew from his pocket the
identical bottle I had heard so mi
nutely described. I affected to be
overwhelmed with amazement, and
declared my intention of ‘going
through if it took a leg !’
Soon, however, on pretense of
sleepiness, I withdrew from the so
ciety of my companions, and affected
to fall into a doze.
I waited until I saw them lapsing
into forgetfulness, and then, leaving
my valise and umbrella on my
seat, w’ent out 'into _the rear car,
where the conductor was. A be
nevolent-faced old gentleman, who
was sitting near me, arose ami fol
lowed me.
‘l‘ardeu me, friend,’ he said, tap
ping me on the shoulder, ‘but you
seem unacquainted with the world,
and I feel it my duty to warn you
against those people you have just
been talking with. They are profess
ional sharpers, and are aiming to get
away your money.’
With a smile and a bow I gave
him my card, and passed on. I
made arrangements with the con
ductor to send out a|dispatch to the
next office we came to, to bo for
warded to our next regular stopping
place. Then I returned to my seat.
My absence seemed not to have been
noticed, and I resumed my reclining
As soon as the train had stopped,
two uniforms stepped on board ; a
signal and we were ready for duty.
Laying a hand on my gentleman’s
shoulder, I said :
‘1 have a warant to arrest this man
on charge of robbery, committed
this morning, on the First National
Bank in N city.’
He was completely surprised out'
of all resistance, and submitted as
quietly as a lamb. Nearly the whole
amount of boot) was found upon his
person. He was duly tried, sent
teneed, and paid the penalty of his
In his confession he stated that
this bogus ‘dust’ was, in effect, pow
dered oreide thinly washed in gold.
After receiving the money, he had
stepped into an outbuilding, remov
ing his false wig and beard, ex
changed huts, and thrown over his
costume a large Spanish cloak, which
he had in his valise, and so disguised
had taken the train. At a suitable
distance out he had stspped over a
train, in order to more fully com
plete his metamorphosis.
The unhappy Knox was entirely
restored to equilibrium, and still en
joys the confidence ef his employ**
ers. I have never learned how our
lady friend got through to Omaha.
A young man named Morgan, liv
ing in Caldwell township, eight miles
southeast of Centerville, while fool
ing *ith a revolver last Tuesday af
ternoon, was shot in the side the ball
inflicting a serious wound. '
The ladies ot Mount Vernon are
about to organize a new society, to
be called “The Home Interest Soci
ety.” The object of this society will
be administer to the relief of the
poor in Mount Vernon ; also to visit
the sick and show proper attention
to strangers.
Who would have the latter when the former can
be had in such great variety, and for so little
money at
Wholesale and Retail dealer in
Boots and Shoes,
West Side Square, Oskaloosa, lowa.
He has a full stock of
Boots 1 Shoes ® Men 1 Boys,
S&oiis, Slim art Ginn
Misses and Childrens’ Bootees,
Shoes and Slippers.
And in fact everything needed in that line.-
Thanklul for the many favors of the past he
respectfully solicits a call lrom all who
may need Boots or Shoes of any
•lust from the East, and are «f the latest
styles and patterns, and are war.
ranted to give satisfaction.
Boots and Shoes made to order by the best work
men in the city. Call and see me examine
goods, learn prices and the result will
be a purchase. as
Through the Flames of
1871 1871
North Missouri
Insurance Company,
Macon, Mo.
Only strength
From the Ashes of the Fearful
In which so many corporations
were bankrupt.
The Company was in all the
of the past season, yet closed
the year with a hand
some profit.
Assets, Jan. 1,1872, *645,417.91.
Assets, .Tan. 1,1871 290,807.70.
Abstract of statement for tiie
Assets :
Cash in Bank t ac aan
Cagh in handg of Agents . . . .
Honda (market value)
Loana on deeds of trust iv, -
Call Loans ;;;;;
Interest due and accrued... «,S’22
Bills Receivable (secured).... :itLBjS pr,
Real Estate, (Company's office, etc., ss'ooo no
Due from otker Companies for re-insur
» nce * n<l,o *«es already paid s.ooo oo
Office furnitureand pergonal property.. -1,135 oo
Stock Note* (secured; 300 qqq oo
Total Assets f«45,417 13
J. J. MERRILL, Agent.

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