Appendix: the hardships and privations of a detective's life

Every person who may have survived the experience has undoubtedly a lively recollection of the wild groups of people which the building of the Union and Central Pacific Railroads brought together from all directions, and from all causes.

There were millions upon millions of dollars to be expended; and as the points of construction neared each other, and the twin bands of iron crept along the earth's surface like two huge serpents, spanning mighty rivers, penetrating vast mountains, and trailing through majestic forests, creeping slowly but surely towards each other, there was always the greatest dread at the most advanced points, which, like the heads of serpents, always contained danger and death; and the vast cities of a day that then [588] sprang into existence, and melted away like school-children's snow-houses, were the points where such wild scenes were enacted as will probably never again occur in the history of railroad building.

Everything contributed to make these places typical of Babelic confusion, or Pandemoniac contention. Foreigners were told of the exhaustless work, and the exhaustless wealth, of this new country which was being so rapidly developed, and they came; men --brave men, too — who had been on the wrong side during the late irritation, and who had lost all, having staked all on the result of the war, saw a possible opportunity of retrieving their fortunes rapidly, and they came; the big-headed youth of the village whose smattering of books at the academy, or the seminary, had enlarged his brain and contracted his sense so that he was too good for the common duties and everyday drudgeries which, with patience, lead to success, learned of the glory and grandeur of that new land, and he came; the speculating shirk and the peculating clerk came; the almond-eyed sons of the Orient in herds-herds of quick-witted, patient, plodding beings who could be beaten, starved, even murdered-came; the forger, the bruiser, the counterfeiter, the gambler, the garroter, the prostitute, the robber, and the murderer, each and every, came; there was adventure for the adventurous, gold for the thief, waiting throats for the murderer; while the few respectable people quickly became discouraged, and [589] fell into the general looseness of habits that the loose life engendered, and gradually grew reckless as the most reckless, or quickly acquiesced in the wild orgies or startling crimes which were of common occurrence. In fact, as in the human system, when any portion of it becomes diseased and all the poison in the blood flows to it, further corrupting and diseasing it until arrested by a gradual purification of the whole body, or by some severe treatment, so from every portion of the country flowed these streams of morally corrupt people, until nearly every town west of Missouri, or east of the mountains, along these lines, became a terror to honest people, and continued so until an irresistible conflict compelled a moral revulsion, sometimes so sweeping and violent as to cause an application of that unwritten, though often exceedingly just law, the execution of which leaves offenders dangling to limbs of trees, lamp-posts, and other convenient points of suspension.

As a rule, in these places, every man, whatever his business and condition, was thoroughly armed, the question of self-defense being a paramount one, from the fact that laws which governed older communities were completely a dead letter; and the law of might, in a few instances made somewhat respectable by a faint outline of ruffianly honor, alone prevailed, until advancing civilization and altered conditions brought about a better state of society; so that in these reckless crowds which pushed after the constantly changing [590] termini of the approaching roads, any instrument of bloodshed was considered valuable, and stores where arms and ammunition could be secured did quite as large a trade as those devoted to any other branch of business; while so outrageous was the price extorted for these instruments of aggression or defense, that they have often been known to sell for their weight in gold; and just as, during the war, the army was followed by enterprising traders who turned many an honest penny trafficking at the heels of the weary soldiers, so the same class of people were not slow to take advantage of such opportunities for gigantic profits which, though often lessened by the many risks run in such trading, were still heavy enough to prove peculiarly attractive.

As a consequence, there were many firms engaged in this particular business, but probably the heaviest was that of Kuhn Brothers, who were reported to be worth upwards of one hundred thousand dollars, which had principally been made along the line of the read, and who, with headquarters at Cheyenne, had established various “stores” at different points as the Union Pacific was pushed on, always keeping the largest stock at the most advanced point, and withdrawing stocks from the paper cities which had been left behind, though only in those towns which had not been altogether destroyed by the periodical exodus occasioned by each change of terminus.

For this reason the firms were obliged to entrust [591] their business to the honesty of many different employees, who were subject to the vitiating influences and temptations, which were unusual and severe under the circumstances already mentioned, while the distances between the points, and the scarcity of secure means of safely keeping the large sums of money which would occasionally unavoidably accrue at certain points, left Kuhn Brothers, in many instances, really dependent on those dependent on them.

In this condition of affairs, and after a slight defalcation had occurred at one of their smaller stores in the spring of 1867, the firm were seeking a man whom they could place in actual charge of one or two of their establishments at the larger towns, and give a sort of general supervision over the others, when the senior member of the firm, being in Laramie, casually met a young gentleman, who happened to be able to do him so great a favor that the incident led to a close friendship and ultimate business relations, eventually resulting in this narrative of facts.

It was a pleasant May evening, and Mr. Kuhn had decided to returned to Cheyenne in order to secure a proper man for the superintendency nearer home. He was to have left Laramie for the East at a late hour of the evening and, being at a loss how to pass the intervening time, strolled out from the hotel with no particular destination in view and his mind fully occupied with the cares of his business, [592] only occasionally noticing some peculiarity or strange sight more than usually striking among the thousands of weired things, to which his frontier business had compelled him to become accustomed, when suddenly he found himself in front of a mammoth dance-house, and, yielding to a momentary impulse of curiosity, turned into the place with the stream of gamblers, adventurers, greasers, and, in fact, everybody respectable or otherwise, who, so far from civilization, found such a place peculiarly attractive.

The dance-house was a sort of hell's bazaar, if the term may be allowed-and it is certainly the one most befitting it-and was really no “house” at all, being merely a very large board enclosure covered with a gigantic tent or series of tents, bedecked with flags and gaudy streamers. The entrance fee to this elegant place of amusement was one dollar, and you had only paid an initiatory fee when you had gained admission.

On either side as you entered were immense bars, built of the roughest of boards, where every kind of liquid poison was dispensed at the moderate sum of twenty-five cents a drink, five-cent cigars selling at the same price, and the united efforts of a half-dozen murderous looking bar-tenders at each side were required to assuage the thirst of the quite as murderous looking crowd that swayed back and forth within the space evidently prepared for that purpose.

Beyond this point, and to either side, as also [593] down the center for some distance, could be found almost every known game of chance, dealt, of course, “by the house,” while surrounding the lay-outs were every description of men crazed with drink, flushed with success, or deathly pale from sudden ruin; while everywhere the revolver or the bowie intimated with what terrible swiftness and certainty any trifling dispute, rankling grudge, or violent insult would be settled, one way or the other, and to be marked by the mere pitching of an inanimate form into the street!

After these attractions came a stout partition which had evidently been found necessary, for beyond it there was the strikingly strange heaven of a mushroom city — a vast department where there were music and women; and it seemed that the “management” of this grand robbers' roost had shrewdly calculated on the fact that if a poor fool had not been swindled out of every dollar he might have had before he reached this point, those two elements, all powerful for good or evil the world over, would wring the last penny from him.

Here was another but a finer bar, where more time was taken to prepare a drink and drug a man with some show of artistic excellence, and where a half dollar was changed for a single measure of poison; women,--shrewd, devilish women who could shoot or cut, if occasion required, with the nicety and effect of a man,--“steering” every person giving token of having money in his possession to the more [594] genteelly gotten up “lay-outs,” and acting in the same capacity, only with far more successful results, as the ordinary “ropers — in” of any large city; a wild, discordant orchestra that would have been hooted out of the lowest of the “varieties” east of the Missouri; but in this place, and to these ears, so long unused to the music of the far-away homes beyond the Mississippi, producing the very perfection of enchanting harmonies; but above all, and the crowning attraction before which every other thing paled and dwindled to insignificance, a score of abandoned women, dancing and ogling with every manner of man, robbing them while embracing, cheering and drinking with them, and in every way bedeviling them; the whole forming a scene viler than imagination or the pen of man can conceive or picture; grouping of wild orgies and terrible debaucheries, such as would put Lucifer to a blush, and compel a revolution in the lowest depths of Hades.

Kuhn had strolled through the place, and now, out of compliment to general custom, purchased a cigar and was just turning to depart, when he suddenly found himself being hustled back and forth among several hard-looking fellows, who, evidently knowing his business, and surmising that he carried large sums of money upon his person, had determined to provoke him to resistance; when there would, according to the social codes then in existence at Laramie, have been a just cause for either robbing and [595] beating him, or murdering him outright and robbing him afterwards; when a tall, finely-formed man suddenly stepped into the crowd, and in a very decided tone of voice said:

I say, gentlemen, that won't do. You must stand back!

Then taking the terror-stricken ammunition dealer by the coat collar with his left hand, but keeping his right hand free for quick use and certain work, if necessary, he trotted him through the now excited throng and out into the open air, hastily telling him to “cut for the hotel,” which were quite unnecessary instructions, as he made for that point at as lively a gait as his rather dumpy legs could carry him.

The person who had thus prevented the merchant's being robbed, and had also possibly saved his life, was a tall, comely young man of about twenty-eight years of age, and with a complexion as fair as a woman's, pleasant, though determined, blue eyes, and a long, reddish, luxuriant beard, all of which, with a decidedly military cut to his gray, woollen garments, and long fair hair falling upon his shoulders-the whole crowned, or rather slouched over, by a white hat of extraordinary width of brim, gave him the appearance of an ex-Confederate officer, and right good fellow, as the term goes, perfectly capable of caring for himself wherever his fortune, or misfortune, might lead him * which proved the case as he turned and confronted the desperadoes, who had immediately [596] followed him in a threatening manner, and whom he stood ready to receive with a navy revolver half as long as his arm, mysteriously whipped from some hiding-place, in each steady hand.

A critical examination of the man as he stood there, and a very casual survey of him, for that matter, would have instantly suggested the fact to an ordinary observer that a very cool man at the rear ends of two navy revolvers huge enough to have been mounted for light-artillery service, was something well calculated to check the mounting ambition on the part of most anybody to punish him for the character of the interference shown ; and the leader of the gang contented himself with remarking, “See here, Captain Harry, if it wasn't you, there'd be a reck'ning here; lively, too, I'm tellina ye!”

“Well, but it is me; and so there won't be any reck'ning. Will there, now, eh?”

The ruffians made no answer, but sullenly returned to the dance-house, when Captain Harry, as he had been called, rammed the two huge revolvers into his boot legs, which action displayed a smaller weapon of the same kind upon each hip; after which he nodded a pleasant “good-night” to the bystanders, and walked away leisurely in the direction Mr. Kuhn had taken, pleasantly whistling “The Bonnie blue flag,” or “The Star Spangled banner,” as best suited him.

The moment that Mr. Kuhn's protector appeared [597] at the hotel, the former gentleman expressed his liveliest thanks for the opportune assistance he had been rendered, and introduced himself to the Captain, who already knew of him, and who in return gave his name as “Harry G. Taylor, the man from somewhere,” as he himself expressed it with a pleasant laugh.

It was easy to be seen that there was a stroke of business in Mr. Kuhn's eye, which his escape from the dance-house had suggested, as he told Taylor that he had intended to return to Cheyenne that night; but he further stated that as he had so unexpectedly been befriended, he should certainly be obliged to remain another day in order to secure a further acquaintance with the man to whom he already owed so much.

Mr. Kuhn then produced some choice cigars, and the gentlemen secured a retired place upon the hotel-porch, at once entering into a general conversation, which, from the merchant's evident unusual curiosity, and Taylor's quite as evident good-humored, devil-may-care disposition, caused it to drift into the Captain's account of himself.

He told Mr. Kuhn that his family resided at that time in Philadelphia, where they had moved after his father had failed in business at Raleigh, N. C., but had taken so honorable a name with him to the former city that he had been able to retrieve his fortunes to some extent. The Captain was born at [598] Raleigh, and had received his education in the South, and, being unable to share in his father's regard for the North, even as a portion of the country best adapted for doing business, sought out some of his old college friends in Louisville, Atlanta, and New Orleans, who had been able to secure him a fine business position at Atlanta, where by care and economy in 1860, though but a mere boy yet, he had accumulated property that would have satisfied many a man twenty years his senior.

Being impulsive, and a warm admirer of Southern institutions, he was one of the first men to join the Confederate army at Atlanta, and fought in a Georgia regiment under Johnson and Hood during the entire war, at Jonesville and Rough-and-Ready Station seeing the smoke ascend above the ruins of the once beautiful city, and realizing that the most of his earthly possessions had disappeared when the flames died away.

Having been promoted to a captaincy, he had fought as bravely as he could against the “bluecoats,” like a man, acknowledging their bravery as well as that of his comrades; and at the close of the war, which of course terminated disadvantageously to his interests, he had sold his lots at Atlanta for whatever he could get for them, and with thousands of others in like circumstances, had come West and taken his chances at retrieving his fortunes.

This was told in a frank, straightforward way, [599] which seemed to completely captivate Mr. Kuhn, for he at once spoke to Taylor concerning his business in Laramie, and bluntly asked him, in the event of mutual and satisfactory references being exchanged, whether he would accept the engagement as superintendent of his business over that portion of the road, and take actual charge of the store in that place, and the one about to be established at Benton City.

The result of the evening's interview was the engagement of Taylor by the firm at a large salary; his immediately taking supervision of the business without bonds or any security whatever; and for a time his management and habits were so able and irreproachable that, with the gratitude for his protection of Mr. Kuhn at Lamarie still fresh and sincere, the firm felt that they had been most fortunate in their selection of an utter stranger, and were in every way gratified with the turn events had taken.


During the early morning of a blustering December day of the same year, I was quite annoyed by the persistence of a gentleman to see me, on what he insisted, in the business office of my Chicago agency, on terming “important business.” [600]

It was not later than half-past 8 o'clock; and, as I have made it a life-long practice to get at business at an early hour, get ahead of it, and keep ahead of it during the day, I was elbow-deep in the mass of letters, telegrams, and communications of a different nature, which, in my business, invariably accumulates during the night, and felt anxious to wade through it before taking up any other matter.

The gentleman, who gave the name of Kuhn, seemed very anxious to see me, however; and letting drop the statements that he greatly desired to take the morning train for Cheyenne, where he resided; might not be able to be in Chicago again for some time ; felt very desirous of seeing me personally; and would require but a few moments to explain his business, which he agreed to make explicit; I concluded to drop everything else and see him.

On being ushered into my private apartments, he at once hastily gave me an outline of the facts related in the previous chapter, adding a new series of incidents which occasioned his visit, and to the effect that the firm had made the necessary arrangements for increasing their business under their new superintendent, having added largely to their stock at Laramie, and placed about twenty thousand dollars' worth of goods at Benton City.

According to the agreement, he was required to forward money whenever the sales had reached a stated sum at each point, and was given authority to [601] take charge of goods or moneys on hand at any of the less important stations, when convinced that things were being run loosely, or whenever it in any way appeared for the interests of the firm for him to do so.

It will be seen that under this arrangement, which was in every respect injudicious, no security having been given by Taylor, he immediately became possessed of great responsibility, as well as power; but appeared to appreciate the unusual confidence reposed in him, and conducted the business of Kuhn Brothers with unusual profit to them and credit to himself. Matters progressed in this way for some time, when suddenly, about the first of October, the firm at Cheyenne began to receive dispatches from different employees along the road, inquiring when Taylor was to return from Cheyenne, and intimating that business was greatly suffering from his absence. The members of the firm were astonished. They knew nothing of Taylor's being in Cheyenne. On the contrary, their last advices from him were to the effect that he should be at their city on the tenth of that month, with large collections; and the announcement was accompanied with glowing accounts of the prosperity of their business under his careful management.

After the startling intelligence of Taylor's unaccountable absence, a member of the firm immediately left for Laramie, Benton City, and other points, to [602] ascertain the true condition of affairs, still unable to believe that the handsome, chivalrous captain had wronged them, and that everything would be found right upon examination of matters which was immediately and searchingly entered upon; but the first glance at affairs showed conclusively that they had been swindled, and it was soon discovered that he had gathered together at the stores under his own charge, and at different points along the line, under various pretexts, fully fourteen thousand dollars, and had been given two weeks in which to escape.

Mr. Kuhn did not desire to give the case into my hands on that morning; but explained that he had returned from a fruitless trip to Philadelphia in search of his former superintendent, and had been advised by a telegram from his brothers to lay the case before me and request my advice about the matter; at the same time securing information about the probable pecuniary outlay necessary for further prosecution of the search, and such other items of information as would enable him to counsel with the remainder of the firm concerning the case, and be able to give the case into my hands, should they decide to do so, without further delay.

This was given him; and I, in turn, secured from Mr. Kuhn all the information possible concerning Taylor, which was scant indeed, as they had seen very little of him, could give but a very general description of the man, and here they had injudiciously given [603] him over two months start, during which time he might have safely got to the other side of the world.

Only one item of information had been developed by which a clue to his whereabouts could by any possibility be imagined. He had often spoken to Mr. Kuhn in the most glowing terms of life in both Texas and Mexico, as he had passed, so he had said, a portion of a year in that part of America, since the close of the war, and in connection with the subject, he had stated that he should have remained there had he been supplied with sufficient capital to have enabled him to begin business.

This was all; and I dismissed the swindled merchant with little encouragement as to the result of a chase for a thief who had got so much the advantage , or, rather, intimated to him that though I had no doubts of being able to eventually catch him, it would be rather a poor investment for the firm to expend the amount of money which might be necessary to effect his capture, unless, in looking into the matter further, I should be able to see opportunities for securing much better knowledge as to his present whereabouts, or clues which could be made to lead to them.

With this not very cheering assurance, Mr. Kuhn returned to Cheyenne.

Not hearing from the firm for several days, I finally dismissed the matter entirely from mind; but on arriving at the agency one morning, I received instructions [604] from the Cheyenne firm to proceed in the matter, and with all expedition possible endeavor to cage the flown bird for them.

I at once detailed William A. Pinkerton, my eldest son, and at present assistant superintendent of my Chicago agency, to proceed to Cheyenne, and look over the ground thoroughly there, and also, if necessary, to proceed along the line of the Union Pacific, and, after ascertaining who were Taylor's friends and companions, work up a trail through them, which would eventually bring him down.

The latter course was not necessary to be followed, however, as on arriving at Cheyenne, with some little information gleaned from the firm, he was able to ascertain that a young lawyer there named La Grange, also originally from the South, had been a quite intimate friend of Taylor's-so much so, in fact, that La Grange had for the last six months regularly corresponded with the Captain's sister, who had been described to him as not only an exceedingly beautiful woman, but as also a lady possessed of unusual accomplishments and amiability.

My son “cultivated” La Grange largely, but could secure but little information through him. He seemed to know nothing further concerning either Taylor or his family, save that he had incidentally met him along the line of the Union Pacific; they had naturally taken a sort of liking to each other, and in that way became friends in much the same manner [605] that most friendships were made in that country. He further recollected that he had always directed his letters to a certain post-office box, instead of to a street number; but seemed perfectly mystified concerning the action of the brother. He had just returned from a three months absence in Kentucky, and it was the first intimation he had had of the Captain's crime. La Grange also said that as he had been very busy, he had not written to Miss Lizzie (evidently referring to the sister), nor had he received any communication from her during that time. He had had a photograph of Harry, taken in full-dress uniform while stationed at Atlanta, which had been copied in Philadelphia, but a thorough search among his papers failed to reveal it.

This was all that my son could secure, as La Grange, evidently suspecting that, in his surprise at Taylor's crime, he might say something to compromise himself and endanger Taylor or wound his beautiful sister, to whom he seemed greatly attached, positively refused to have anything further to say concerning the matter; and with what information he had, William returned to the hotel in a brown study, determined to take time to exhaust the material at Cheyenne before proceeding on the proposed trip along the Union Pacific.

After summing up and arranging the points he had got hold of, he telegraphed me fully, adding his own impression that Taylor was in Texas, but expressing [606] a doubt as to whether he had better proceed along the Union Pacific for more information, or go on to Philadelphia at once, and in some way secure information of the family as to their son's whereabouts.

On the receipt of this telegram, which arrived in Chicago about noon, I at once resolved upon a little strategy, being myself satisfied that Taylor had proceeded, via St. Louis and New Orleans into either Texas or Mexico, and was then engaged under his own or an assumed name, in some business agreeable to his taste, as formerly explained to Mr. Kuhn, and immediately telegraphed to my son:

Keep La Grange busied all day so he cannot write, or mail letters. Study La Grange's language and modes of expression. Get La Grange's and Taylor's handwriting, signatures, and Miss Taylor's address, and come next train.

Agreeable to these instructions, he secured several letters from Taylor to Kuhn Brothers, concerning business matters, with the last one, containing the announcement that he would be in Cheyenne on the tenth of October with collections; and immediately sent by a messenger a courteous note to La Grange, desiring an outline of Taylor's life so far as he might feel justified in giving it, and requesting an answer, which was politely but firmly given in the negative over Adolph La Grange's own signature, which completed a portion of his work neatly.

The balance was more difficult. He ordered a [607] sleigh, and after settling his hotel bill, but reserving his room for the night, at once drove to La Grange's office, where he in person thanked him for his courteous letter, even if he did not feel justified in giving him the information desired. A little complimentary conversation ensued during which time my son's quick eyes noticed in the lawyer's waste-basket an envelope evidently discarded on account of its soiled appearance, addressed to “Miss Lizzie Taylor, Post-office Box --, Philadelphia,” which on the first opportunity he appropriated. The next move was to prevent In Grange's mailing any letter, as it was evident he had written several, including one to Taylor's sister, which were only waiting to be mailed.

Seeing that he had made a pleasant impression upon La Grange, who appreciated the courtesy of the call under the circumstances, and informing him that lie had decided to make no further inquiries there, but was to proceed west on the following morning, he prevailed upon him to take a ride in his company about the city and its environs. In leaving his office, La Grange hesitated a moment as if deciding the propriety of taking the letters with him, or returning for them after the sleigh-ride; but evidently decided to do the latter, as he left them, much to my son's relief.

The drive was prolonged as much as possible, and the outlying forts visited, where, having letters of introduction from myself to several army-officers stationed there, both he and his companion were so hospitably [608] treated that the afternoon slipped away quickly, and the two returned to town evidently in high spirits. La Grange felt compelled to reciprocate as far as in his power, and billiards, with frequent drinks for the lawyer and a liberal supply of water for the detective, were in order until within a half hour of the eastern bound train time, when La Grange succumbed to an accumulation of good-fellowship, and on his own suggestion, as he “wash rising y'nag 'torny y'know!” accepted the hospitalities of my son's room, at the Rawlins House, where he left him sweetly sleeping at a rate which would prevent the mailing of the letters he had left locked in his office for at least two days to come; as “rising young attorneys,” as a rule, sober off in a carefully graduated diminishing scale of excesses of quite similar construction to the original.

On the arrival of my son in Chicago, I immediately caused to be written a letter addressed to Miss Lizzie Taylor, at her post-office box in Philadelphia, of which the following is a copy:

Sherman House, Chicago, Jan. 1868.
Miss Taylor,
my dear friend :--You know of my intended absence from Cheyenne in the South. During that trip, I really never had the time when I could write you so fully as I desired, and even now I am only able to send you a few words. I am en route to Washington on business, and have now to ask you [609] to send the street and number of your father's house, even if it is not a magnificent one, as you have told me, to my address, at the Girard House, in your city, on receipt of this, as I shall be in Washington but one day, and would wish to see both you and your people without delay. I not only greatly wish to see you for selfish reasons, which our long and pleasant correspondence will suggest to you as both reasonable and natural, but there are other good reasons, which you all will readily understand when I tell you that I met him accidentally just before my return to Cheyenne, and that I have a communication of a personal nature to deliver. While not upholding him in the step he has taken, I cannot forget that I am his friend, and he your brother.

In great haste, Your true friend, Adolph La G--.
P. S.-I leave here for the East this morning. Please answer on immediate receipt.

A. L.

This was posted on the eastern-bound train not an hour after my son's arrival from the West; and another note was written upon the back of an envelope which had passed through the mail, and had got a very much used appearance, and ran thus:

Father of Lizzie :
Treat Adolph well, you can trust him. Give him one of the ‘photos’ taken at Atlanta in my full-dress uniform; keep one other of the same for yourselves; but destroy all the rest. Have been so hurried and [610] worried that I don't remember whether I have said anything about photographs before. But this is a matter of imperative necessity. Adolph will explain how he met me.



It was impossible to detect any difference between this handwriting and that of Captain Taylor's in his business correspondence to Kuhn Brothers; and, armed with this document, with the assistance of the epistolary self-introduction which had preceded it, I directed my son to leave for Philadelphia that evening, secure admission to Taylor's residence and the family's confidence, agreeable to the appointment made by mail, and thus not only secure the man's photograph, but other information that would be definite.

On arrival at Philadelphia, he secured the services of an operative from my agency in that city, to follow any member of the Taylor family who might call for the letter, to their residence, in the event of an answer not being received at his hotel in due time from the one assumed to have been sent from the hotel in Chicago from La Grange, who found Taylor's home, an unpretentious house on Locust street, while my son remained at the hotel, fully expecting the coveted invitation to visit the Captain's beautiful sister, which arrived at his hotel only a half day after he did, and strongly urged him to call at his convenience. [611]

He was satisfied from this that our theory regarding his being in Texas, or Mexico, was correct; that the family had not the slightest suspicion of his identity, and that, wherever Captain Taylor might be, communication with his people had been very infrequent, and that, with what he would be able to invent after being received at Taylor's house, he could secure at least sufficient information to put him upon his son's trail. Not desiring to play upon their feelings and friendship as another person any longer than necessary, however, he sent word by a messenger, not daring to trust his own handwriting, that he would call that evening, though necessarily at a late hour; and, accordingly, that evening, about nine o'clock, found him at the door of a pleasant Locust street cottage, ringing for admission.

A tall, handsome young woman greeted him at the door, and accordingly bade him enter, saying pleasantly, as she ushered him into the cozy little parlor, that she was Miss Lizzie Taylor, and presumed he was Mr. La Grange, with whom she had had so long and so pleasant a correspondence; and of whom “poor Harry,” as she said with a shade of sadness and tenderness in her voice, had so often written, before he had made his terrible mistake, and become a wanderer.

After hastily satisfying her that he was the genuine La Grange, and profusely apologizing for his not having written for so long a time previous to his [612] arrival at Chicago, from Cheyenne, he took up the thread she had dropped, as quickly as possible, and said that he felt sure that Harry would retrieve himself soon, and return the money, as he had no bad habits, and everything would be all right again.

“But yet, Mr. La Grange,” she continued, “it makes me shudder whenever I think of all my brothers being away off there on the Rio Grande, among those terrible people!”

“ But, you must remember,” he replied, encouragingly, “they are strong men, and can well defend themselves under any circumstances.”

“ Harry is strong and brave, I know,” answered Miss Taylor, rather admiringly; “but brother Robert is not fit for such a life. Why, he is but a boy yet.”

“Ah, a younger brother?” he thought, making a mental note of it, in order to assist in shaping his conversation after which he said aloud: “I almost forgot to give you this note;” and he took the piece of envelope out of his note-book, as if it had been sacredly guarded, and handed it to her.

Miss Taylor read the hastily written lines with evident emotion; and after studying a moment, as if endeavoring to reconcile matters, while her face was being searchingly read by an experienced detective, she rose, and, apologizing to him for the absence of her father, who was in New York, on business, and of her mother, who was confined to her apartment, a [613] confirmed invalid, she asked to be excused so as to show the note to her mother.

The instant the door closed, my son had seized the album, which he had located during the preceding conversation; and rapidly turned its leaves to assure himself that he was not treading on dangerous ground. He found a half-a-dozen different styles of pictures of the Captain, including three of the copies taken in Philadelphia of the original Atlanta picture, and felt reassured beyond measure at the lucky turn things had taken. He would have abstracted one of these, but it was impossible, and had barely time to return the album to the table, and himself to his seat, when he heard the woman's step along the hall, and in a moment more she entered the room.


Giving the door a little impulsive slam, as she closed it, Miss Taylor at once came to where my son was sitting upon the sofa, and seated herself beside him. She said that her mother was anxious beyond measure to learn how and where he had met Harry, how he was looking, and what he had said.

The imagination and resources of the able detective are fully equal to those of the most brilliant [614] newspaper reporters, and a pleasant and plausible fiction was invented, how he (as La Grange, of course), having taken a run from Louisville down to New Orleans, by boat, was just landing at the levee, when he suddenly came across Harry, who had hastily told him all; how great had been his transgression, how deeply he had regretted it; but that now he was situated in his business matters so that, if let alone, he would be able to return to Kuhn Brothers every dollar which he had taken, and have a fine business left; how it had been necessary for him to come to New Orleans on imperative business, and that he should not come east of the Mississippi again under any circumstances. He further said, that Harry seemed hopeful; that he had stated that his younger brother Robert was well and enjoying the frontier life; and that, further than that, he had no time or disposition to talk, as he was on the very eve of departure for Texas, only having time to write the little note concerning the photographs.

Miss Taylor excused herself for a moment to convey the truthful intelligence to her anxious mother; and on her return suggested that they go through the album together at once, and attend to the photographs, an invitation which was accepted with unusual readiness.

Every gentleman who has had the experience, and there are few who have not, know that looking over an album with a beautiful woman who has some [615] interest in her companion, is a wonderfully pleasant diversion. In this instance it was doubly pleasant, for it meant success to my son, whose zeal is as untiring as my own when once on the trail of a criminal.

“ I wonder why,” asked Miss Taylor, as if wondering as much about Mr. La Grange as about any other subject ; “I wonder why Harry desires those photographs destroyed?”

He was turning the leaves for her and, as La Grange, of course, had a perfect right to take plenty of time to explain the matter soothingly and sympathetically.

“But do those horrid detectives track a man out and run him down, when, if he were let alone, he might recover from his misfortune, and right the wrong he has done?”

Mr. La Grange remarked that he had heard that some of them were very much lacking in sentiment and sensibility, and would go right forward through the very fire itself to trace the whereabouts of a criminal ; and all those little things helped, he could assure her.

She began to see how it was, she said; but suddenly firing up, she shook her pretty fist at some imaginary person, exclaiming:

Oh, I could kill the man who would thus dog my brother Harry.

And then, after a little April shower of tears, quite like any other woman's way of [616] showing how very desperate they can be under certain circumstances, began slowly taking the Captain's pictures from the album, commenting upon them, and then handing them to the bogus La Grange to burn, who would occasionally step to the fire-place for that purpose, where he would quickly substitute miscellaneous business cards, which answered the purpose excellently.

An hour or two was passed with Miss Taylor in conversation upon various topics which might lead the really estimable young lady to divulge all she knew about the Captain, or concerning his whereabouts and business, which was certainly not much.

It appeared that, immediately after the embezzlement, and while at St. Louis, Taylor had telegraphed to his brother Robert to meet him at New Orleans at a certain time, as he was going into business in that section, and should need his services, for which he would be able to pay him handsomely; the brothers had met there and had proceeded to some other point; the Captain claiming that it would be injudicious to make that fact known, as he had also sent a full and complete confession to his parents of his embezzlement from Kuhn Brothers, which he had directed them to burn, and which he finished by requesting his family not to write to either himself or his brother for some time to come; or at least until he should indicate to them that it would be safe to do so; and under no circumstances to give any [617] person an iota of information concerning himself or his brother.

My son left Miss Taylor's hospitable home with a pang of regret for the deception which had seemed necessary in this case; for whatever may be the opinion of the public regarding the matter, a detective has often quite as large and compassionate a soul as men of other and apparently more high-toned professions.

So long as intelligent crime is the result of a high standard of mental culture and a low standard of moral conscience-conditions which now exist and have for some years existed-intelligent minds must be trained to battle criminals with their own weapons; and these two questions, of speedy detection of crime and swift punishment of criminals will be found quite as essential to a preservation of law and society as lofty arguments or high moral dissertations on the right or wrong of the expediencies necessary to bring wrong-doers to immediate and certain justice.

As soon as I had received a full telegraphic report of the success of the Philadelphia experiment, I directed him to proceed to Louisville, where he would be met by operative Keating, from Chicago, who would bring letters of introduction from myself to Colonel Wood, commanding the First Infantry at New Orleans; Captain White, chief of the detective force of that city; General Canby, commanding the [618] Department of Texas, at Austin; Col. Hunt, Chief Quartermaster of the Department of Texas, and other army officers, requesting them to render my son and his assistant any aid in their power should the necessity for such assistance arise; the requisition from Governor Foulke, of Dakotah Territory, for Henry G. Taylor, upon Governor Pease, of Texas, and general instructions concerning his conduct of the search for the handsome captain after he had got beyond mail and telegraphic communication.

I was sending him into a country which was at that time in many portions utterly unsafe for the securing of a criminal should the pursuer's mission become known, so as to allow the person desired time to apprise his friends of his danger, or give him even an opportunity to rally any number of acquaintances for defense; for the reason that, as Texas had become a sort of refuge for ruffians, they became clannish through the general peril of being pursued each experienced; and would, as a rule, on the slightest provocation, assist in the rescue of any person under arrest, not knowing how soon it might be their turn to cry for help; but I have invariably sent my sons into danger with the same expectation that they would do their duty regardless of consequences, as I have had when sending other men's sons into danger. Happily I have never mistaken their metal; and, in this instance, felt sure that I could rely upon him to exercise both discretion and intrepidity in exigencies to which [619] his long experience and careful training have at all times made him equal.

The two detectives met in Louisville, and at once proceeded to New Orleans, where they arrived early in the morning of the 7th of January, 1868, and were driven to the St. Charles Hotel. No time was lost; and while my son presented his letters to different parties, and made cautious inquiries regarding the recent appearance in New Orleans of Taylor, Keating, in the character of a provincial merchant, investigated as far as possible the business houses dealing in stock, leather, or wool, as to whether any such person had made arrangement for consignments from the interior or seaport Texan cities. No trace of their man was found, however, until my son was able to get at the register of the St. Charles Hotel for the preceding three months, which was attended with some difficulty, on account of the crowded condition of things at that house ; and any detective, or other expert, will understand how much time and patience are required to discover one signature from among ten thousand, when that one may be an assumed name, and perhaps five hundred of the ten thousand be so similar to the one sought, that a disinterested person could scarcely be convinced it was really not the person's handwriting desired; but after a good deal of trouble and searching, the names of “H. G. Taylor & clerk,” were discovered on the last half line at the bottom of a page under date of November 30th, 1867, which, [620] by constant wear and thumbing in turning pages, had been nearly defaced, but which, in his handwriting, beyond a doubt told the story of their presence.

Further inquiry of the clerk on duty at that time, and with his memory refreshed by a glance at Taylor's photographs, developed the facts that he had certainly been at the St. Charles on the date shown by the register, and that he was accompanied by a young man about nineteen years of age, who was recognized as Taylor's clerk.

The peculiar register then kept at the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans was also instrumental in assisting the detectives. It gave the guest's name, residence, hour of arrival, and hour of departure, with name of conveyance at arrival and departure, in the following manner:

H. G. Taylor and Clerk, I Mobile, | 12 m. I Ped. 2 Dec. l 7 a. m. | 'Bus.

This told anybody curious about the matter that H. G. Taylor and clerk, assuming to reside in Mouile, arrived at the St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans, at noon on Saturday, the thirtirth day of November, 1867, either afoot or by some mode of conveyance unknown to the clerk of the house, and that they left the house in an omnibus at seven o'clock on the morning of the third day following.

Naturally the next inquiries were directed to ascertaining to what boat or railroad lines omnibuses [621] could be ordered at that hour of the morning; if to different ones, then to discover who had driven the particular omnibus which conveyed Taylor and his brother from the hotel; and then make an effort to learn to what point they had been conveyed. This, however, proved less difficult than had been feared; for it was found that on the morning in question the omnibus had gone from the hotel to but one point, and that was to the ferry connecting with Berwick Bay route, by the New Orleans and Opelousas Railroad and the Gulf, to Galveston, although a large number of passengers had been booked, and it was impossible to ascertain whether Taylor and his brother had actually gone that route or not, though everything was in favor of that presumption.

The death of General Rosseau had caused quite a commotion in New Orleans, and it seemed a pretty hard matter to get anything further of a definite character in that place; and I therefore instructed my son and detective Keating to proceed slowly to Galveston, stopping at Brashear City, where Taylor might have diverged,--supposing he had taken that route with the other passengers from New Orleans,and to particularly search passenger lists aboard any lines of boats, and all hotel registers, before arriving at Galveston, so as to have the work done thoroughly nearest the base of operation; as I knew that for any party to get on the wrong scent in that vast state, thinly settled as it was, with no means of quickly conveying [622] needful intelligence, was to enter upon both a needless waste of money for my patrons, and an objectless and wearying struggle against insurmountable obstacles for my detectives, whom, whatever may be said to the contrary, I have never in a single instance needlessly or injudiciously exposed to privation or danger.

In Brashear conductors of trains were applied to; the hotel and omnibus men were questioned, the postmaster was appealed to, and even the passenger-lists of the boats which had been in port, and to which they were able to gain access for a period of three months, had been searched in vain. Every trace of the man seemed lost; and I was appealed to for a decision as to whether they should proceed to Galveston by boat, with the presumption that Taylor had taken passage under an assumed name, or take a few days' trip up along the line of the New Orleans and Opelousas Railroad and seek for information of their man at different points through Central Louisiana.

I decided on the former course, and they accordingly embarked from Brashear immediately after the receipt of my telegram of instructions, on the handsome steamer “Josephine,” the only boat whose books they had had no opportunity of examining; and, having received my telegram but a few minutes before the steamer left, were obliged to do some lively running to reach it; for, in anticipation of a message from me [623] to take that route, my son had directed Keating to settle the hotel bill, and with both valises in hand wait at a convenient corner, where, should William receive a dispatch from me of the character expected, within a certain time, they might yet make the boat. Everything transpiring as my son had hoped, they were just in time, after a lively run, to be hauled up the gang-plank by two stalwart negroes, and were soon steaming down the bay and thence out to sea.


As the two ascended to the cabin they were congratulated by the officers of the boat and many of the passengers on their graceful and expeditious boarding of the steamer; and being something of objects of interest on account of the little incident, they concluded not to lose the opportunity to blend the good feeling evoked into a thoroughly pleasant impression, and consequently took the shortest way to accomplish that desired end by at once walking up to the bar where the assembled gentlemen, to a man, apparently in compliance to general custom, seemed to understand that they had been invited before a word had been uttered by either of the detectives, so that when my son asked, “Gentlemen, won't you join us?” it [624] was an entirely superfluous request; for on either side, behind, and extending a solid phalanx beyond, the “gentlemen” had already joined and were describing the particular liquor that in their minds would do honor to the occasion in the most lively and familiar manner possible, and interspersing their demands upon the leisurely bar-keeper with such remarks as “Gen'lemen had narrow 'scape;” “Gen'lemen made a right smart run of it;” “Gen'lemen not down from Norlens (New Orleans), reckon come down Opelousas route,” and other similar comments; but invariably prefacing each and every remark with the stereotyped word “Gen'lemen,” which men were, without exception, assumed to be in that country at that time, at least in conversation; as any neglect to preface a remark with the word laid one liable to become immediately engaged in a discussion regarding the propriety of the use of the term, behind navy revolvers, rifles, double-barreled shot-guns, or any other available pointed or forcible means of argument.

After the thirst of the crowd, which upon a Gulf-coasting steamer is something terrible to contemplate, had been in a measure assuaged, my son excused himself, and with Keating repaired to the office, remarking to the clerk:

I presume you would like to transact a little business with us now?

“Any time to suit your convenience,” returned the clerk, but getting at his books with an alacrity [625] which showed that he would be a little more willing to attend to the matter of fares then than at any other time.

William handed him an amount of money large enough to pay for both the fares of himself and Keating from Brashear to Galveston; and, while the clerk was making change, said, by way of getting into conversation with him, “I'm afraid we're on a fool's errand out here.”

The clerk counted out the change, inked his pen to take the names, and then elevating his eyebrows, although not speaking a word, plainly asked, “Ah, how's that?”

“Well, you see,” replied the detective, “we're hunting a man that's had right good luck.”

“ He can't be in these parts,” replied the clerk, with a slightly satirical smile. “Names?” he then asked.

James A. Hicks and Patrick Mallory.”

“Where from?”


“Which is which?” asked the clerk, in a business tone of voice.

“ I am Hicks, and that pretty smart-looking Irishman by the baggage-room is Mallory,” was the reply.

“ Your age and weight?” asked the clerk mechanically, at the same time looking at my son keenly, and getting the rest of his description at a glance. [626]

These questions were properly answered, and as the clerk was noting them he asked, “Might I ask what was the gentleman's good luck?”

“ Certainly; he has fallen heir to a coal mine in Pennsylvania, and we are endeavoring to hunt him up for the executors of the estate.”

“ Ah?” said the clerk, driving away with his pen; “will you be so good as to ask Mr. Mallory to step this way?”

My son stepped up to Keating and remarked aloud, “Mr. Mallory, Mr. Mallory, the clerk would like to see you ;” and then as Keating stepped to his side, remarked as if for his better information, “He knows your name is Patrick Mallory and that we are from Pittsburg, hunting Taylor, so he can come home and enjoy the property the old man left him; but he wants your entire description.”

“Quite so,” said the quick-witted Irishman, dryly.

“You've got me, now,” said Keating, winking familiarly at the clerk, “when we came over we went under; and so many of us was lost that those saved wasn't worth mendina as to age, ye see; but concerning heft, why I'd not fear to say I'd turn an honest scale at a hundred ana sixty.”

The clerk smiled, but concluded not to ask Mr. Mallory from Pittsburg any more questions.

As soon as he had made his notes, however, William told him that he had examined the lists of all [627] other boats plying between Brashear and Galveston save those of the “Josephine,” and requested him to look through them, concluding by describing Taylor, and stating that he might register either as H. G. Taylor and clerk, or under an assumed name, as he was somewhat erratic, and through family troubles, not necessary to explain, he had got into a habit of occasionally traveling incognito.

The clerk readily complied with his request, scanning the pages closely, and repeating the name musingly as if endeavoring to recall where he had heard it. By the time he had got on with the examination of a few pages, William had selected a photograph of Taylor, and on showing it to the clerk the latter seemed to have a certain recollection of having seen him, but a very uncertain recollection as to where, or under what circumstances. He went on repeating the name, however, turning back the pages with his right hand and tracing the names back and forth with the index finger of his left hand, occasionally looking at the photograph as if to assist in forcing a definite recollection, but without any result for so long a time that Messrs. Hill and Mallory of Pittsburg became satisfied that their last hope before arriving at Galveston was gone, when suddenly the clerk carelessly placed the picture beside a certain name and in a manner very similar to a dry-goods clerk on securing a successful “match,” in two pieces of cloth, quietly remarked: [628]

“Yes, can't be mistaken. There you are; I've got him.”

“Then we've got him!” exclaimed my son, in the excess of his gratification, shaking the hand of Mr. Mallory, from Pittsburg.

“It's a joy,” said the latter, beaming.

“Think of the immense property!” continued my son.

“And the surprise to his friends!” murmured Keating.

“The surprise to himself, I should say,” interrupted the clerk.

“ Quite so,” said Mr. Keating.

It appeared that Taylor and his brother had missed one or two boats at Brashear from some cause, but had finally taken passage on the “Josephine,” November 7th; and as the detectives had not been able to ascertain whether the “Josephine” had carried the fugitives or not, on account of her being belated by adverse weather, and was now returning to Galveston, after having had barely time to touch at Brashear, they had felt that perhaps they might be upon the wrong trail, which, with unknown adventures before them, had been peculiarly discouraging; so that now, when they ascertained that his apprehension was only a question of time and careful work, they could not repress their gratification.

Nothing further worthy of note transpired on the voyage from Brashear to Galveston, save that the [629] trip was a pretty rough one, and they finally arrived in the latter city, hopeful and encouraged, notwithstanding the unusually dismal weather, which seemed to consist of one disconnected but never-ending storm, the “oldest inhabitants” of the place contending with great earnestness that “it 'peared like's they'd never had nothina like it befoah!”

Arriving in Galveston early Sunday morning, they went to the Exchange Hotel, and after breakfast set about examining the hotel registers of the place, ascertaining that Taylor and brother had been in the city, stopped a day or two, and then, so far as could be learned, had gone on to Houston. They were satisfied he had made no special efforts to cover his tracks, although he had not made himself at all conspicuous, as the difficulty encountered in getting those who would be most likely to recollect him, to recollect him at all, clearly showed; and it was quite evident that he had not anticipated pursuit, at least of any nature which he could not easily compromise, and intended going into some legitimate business under his own name, and with his brother's assistance.

Before he could be arrested in Texas, however, it would be necessary to secure Governor Pease's warrant, which obliged a long, tedious trip to Austin, the capital of the State; nearly the whole distance having to be done by stage, which at that time seemed a forbidding piece of work, as it had rained every day of [630] the year, so far; and it might be a question of helping the stage through rather than being helped through by it. Besides this, according to my son's reports, which gave a true description of things in Texas at that time, everything beyond Houston had to be paid for in gold, as sectional sentiment and counterfeiting had pronounced a ban upon greenbacks, and not only in gold, but at exorbitant prices; hotel rates being five dollars per day; single meals from one to two dollars; railroad fares eight cents per mile, and stage rates nearly double that amount; with no assurance that you would ever reach a destination you had paid to be conveyed to; all attended by various kinds of danger, among which was the pleasant reflection that you might be called upon at any time to contribute to the benefit of that noble relic of chivalry, the Ku Klux Klan, who at that day were particularly busy in Texas.

All of these pleasant considerations made the departure from Galveston for Austin, in a Pickwickian sense, unusually agreeable.

At Houston they discovered from different persons, including the postmaster, that Taylor had been there, but had made inquiries about points further up country; and the general impression was that he had gone on, though at Brenham, the terminus of the railroad, where they arrived Monday evening, they could find no trace of him.

The next morning, when my son arose and looked [631] on the vast sea of mud,--a filthy, black earth below; a dirty, black sky above; with nothing but driving rain and wintry gusts between; while the lackadaisical Texans slouched about with their hands in their pockets, with only energy enough to procure tobacco or “licker ;” their sallow faces, down-at-the-heels, snuff-dipping wives desolately appearing at the doors and windows, only to retire again with a woe-begone expression of suspended animation in their leathery faces,--he fully realized the force of the remark attributed to General Sheridan, and more expressive than polite: “If I owned Texas and hell, I would live in hell and sell Texas!”

The stage was crowded, however, and the dreary conveyance splashed and crunched on until noon, when dinner was taken at Wilson's Ranche, a long, low, rambling, tumbledown structure, which, like its owner, who had at one time been a “General” of something, and now retained the thriving title out of compliment to his departed glory, had gone to a genteel decay with a lazy ease worthy of its master's copy. The dinner was one long to be remembered by the detectives, as it was their first genuine Texan dinner, and consisted merely of fat boiled pork, and hot bread of the consistence of putty cakes of the same dimensions, which, when broken open after a mighty effort, disclosed various articles of household furniture, such as clay pipes, old knife handles, and various other invoices, probably playfully [632] dumped into the flour barrel by some one of the half-score of tow-headed, half-clad children, which the “General” and his buxom help-meet had seen fit to provide for torturing another generation with rare Texan dinners at a dollar a plate.

It was an all-day's labor getting to La Grange, but thirty-five miles from Brenham, where they arrived at ten o'clock, tired and exhausted from the day's banging about in the stage and out of it, for they were obliged to walk many times in order to rest the jaded horses so that they could get through to La Grange at all; but before retiring made all the inquiries necessary to develop the fact that their man had not been at that point.

The next day, Wednesday, was rather more trying than the previous one. Two miles out of town the stage got “bogged,” and the entire load of passengers were obliged to get out and walk through three miles of swamps, the stage finally sticking fast, necessitating prying it out with rails. After this Slough of Despond was passed, the Colorado river had to be forded three times, and then came a “dry run,” which now, with every other ravine or depression, had became a “wet run,” and was “a booming” as the drunken driver termed it between oaths. There was at least four feet of water in the dry run, and the horses balking, the buckskin argument was applied to them so forcibly that they gave a sudden start, and broke the pole off short, which further [633] complicated matters. My son, being on the box, sprang to the assistance of the driver, and stepping down upon the stub of the pole, quickly unhitched the wheel horses, so that the stage could not be overturned, and then disengaged the head team, finally appropriating a heavy wheel horse, with which he rode back to Keating, who was perched upon a rear wheel to keep out of the water, which was rushing and seething below, sweeping through the bottom of the stage, and at every moment seeming to have lifted the vehicle preparatory to sweeping it away like feathers, and also holding on to the baggage, which he had got safely upon the roof of the stage; and, taking him aboard his improvised ferry, after securing the valises, rode to the muddy shore, forming with his companions about as fine a picture of despairing “carpet-baggers” as the South has ever on any occasion been able to produce. The bedraggled passengers ascertained that the next town, Webberville, was several miles distant, and that there was no house nearer, save on the other side of the rapidly rising stream; and as night had come on, the best thing that could be done was to penetrate the woods, build a rousing fire, and shiver and shiver through as long, wet and weary a night as was ever experienced.

There was never a more longed — for morning than the next one, and the moment that the sickly light came feebly through the mist and rain, and straggled into the dense cotton-wood trees, where the discouraged [634] passengers had a sort of fervent out-doors prayer-meeting, they started forward for Webberville, hungry, drenched, and so benumbed as to be scarcely able to walk. It was five miles into town, but one mile of that distance stretched over a quagmire known and described in that section as “Hell's half-acre;” and the truthful inhabitants of Webberville related of this delectable ground that during the rainy season its powers of absorption were so great that it would even retain the gigantic Texan mosquito, should it happen to take a seat there.

This bog was impassable to the travelers, who finally bartered with the owner of a hog wagon to be carried over the marsh for a silver half dollar each. This was far better than remaining on the other side, and they finally trudged into the town more dead than alive.

Fortunately for the detectives, the brother of ex-Governor Lubbock, of Texas, was one of the party, and as they had all become so thoroughly acquainted, as common misery will quickly make travelers, he took my son and Keating to the residence of Colonel Banks, a merchant of Webberville, whose good wife never rested until she had provided the party with a splendid meal, something with which to wash it down, and beds which seemed to them all to have been composed of down.

After they had a good rest, the passengers for Austin were got together, and explained the situation [635] of things. The creek the other side of Webberville was a mighty river. The driver thought he could possibly get the stage across, but was certain he could not do so with any passengers or baggage to make it drag more heavily; but he thought that if once on the other side, they might get to Austin the same day. William was anxious to push ahead, and looking about town discovered a rather venturesome negro who owned a monstrous mule, and at once entered into negotiations with him for the transfer of the party and baggage, sink or swim. So when the stage arrived at the creek, the baggage was unloaded, and the stage successfully forded the stream. But as the water covered so broad an expanse, was so deep and rapid, and altogether presented such a forbidding appearance, the passengers refused to try the mule experiment unless William, who had proposed the mode of transfer, and had secured the novel ferry, which stood with the grinning negro upon its back ready for passengers, would first cross the Rubicon to demonstrate the convenience and safety of the passage. So, handing the captain one of the valises, he mounted the mule, which after a few whirls, a little “bucking,” several suspicious sidewise movements, and a shouted “Ya-a-oop, da, Dani-el!-done quit dis heyah foolishness!” plunged into the current without further ceremony.

The passengers saw that Dani-el and his master were up to a thing or two in that section of the [636] country; and after seeing Keating cross the stream in safety also, they one by one ventured upon the transfer, which was finished without accident, but with a good deal of merriment; and the colored clown paid even beyond his contract price, the stage was enabled to go lumbering on to Austin, where it arrived at a late hour of the same day.


Rain, drizzle and mist; mist, drizzle and rain. It seemed all that the country was capable of producing; and the same preface to the befogged condition of the English chancery courts used by Dickens, in his introduction to “Bleak House,” with a few of the localisms expunged, would have fitly applied to the condition of things in Texas, which afterward culminated in a flood which swept everything before it.

In Austin-though the seat of the State government and the headquarters of the military department of Texas, full of legislators, lobbyists, officers and soldiers, everything had the appearance of having been through a washing that had lasted an age, and had been prematurely wrung out to dry, but had been caught on the lines by an eternal rain day. Involuntarily, with the spatters and dashes of rain and the [637] morning wind, Longfellow's “Rainy day” came drifting into the mind, and the lines:

The day is cold and dark and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
While at very gust the dead leaves fall.
And the day is dark and dreary!

were never more appropriate than when applied to any portion of Texas during the months of January and February, 1868.

The very first man my son met in the office of the hotel, the next morning, was a member of the Legislature from Besar county, who, hearing his inquiries of the clerk concerning Taylor, informed him that he had been introduced to him in San Antonio a few weeks previous; that he was in company with a much younger man whom he represented as his brother, and that he had ostensibly come to San Antonio to make some inquiries concerning the hide and wool trade; but whether with an idea of settling at that point, or whether he could yet be found in San Antonio, he was unable to state.

In any event this was cheering news; for it assured my detectives that their long and weary search would not prove unavailing; and William directed Keating to make himself useful about the different hotels and hide and stock dealers,--as it is a detective's business to work all the time, and the slightest cessation of vigilance after the beginning of an operation [638] might at the most unexpected moment cause the beginning of a series of circumstances eventually permitting a criminal's escape,--while he himself sought out General Potter, who escorted him to General Canby's headquarters, where he was most cordially received, and not only given an order for military aid, should it be required, but General Canby himself went with him to the capitol and introduced him to Governor Pease, vouching for the reliability of any statement made in connection with the business which had brought him so far from home; as, while I had charge of the secret service of the Government, during the war, with myself and sons had had an intimate acquaintance with, and personal friendship for him.

Governor Pease frankly stated to William that the affidavits were rather weak, and that should some of the “shysters” of that state, who did a thriving business in habeas corpus releases, get an inkling of his business and the nature of the papers, they might give him a deal of trouble, even if they did not get his man away from him eventually. He said he would make the requisition as strong as possible, however, and expressed his hope that the reputation for ingenuity in devising and executing expedients possessed by Pinkerton's men would be more than sustained in this instance; and General Canby terminated the interview by giving the document approval over his own signature. [639]

My son thanked them both for their kindness, and withdrew, only too anxious to get to where his man was before any information that he was being sought for should reach him, and either scare him beyond the Rio Grande, or enable him to act on the defensive, as only a man can act who has plenty of money, plenty of friends, and, as we already knew, a great plenty of bravery on his own account.

Soon after he had returned to the hotel, Keating came in with undoubted information that Taylor had a permanent residence at or near Corpus Christi; that either he or his brother owned a sheep ranche near the coast, not far from that city, while the other dealt in hides and wool there; and that one or the other penetrated into the interior as far as San Antonio, soliciting consignments.

My son at once concluded that it was the Captain who had done the dealing, as well as stealing, and whose money and business ability had been brought to bear upon the trading at Corpus Christi, and upon the ranche in the country near it; the brother, though probably entirely innocent of complicity in the robbery, or even a knowledge of the source from whence the money had come, only being used for a convenient repository for his ill-gotten funds in case of Kuhn Brothers following him before he was ready to meet them.

He therefore decided to get through to Corpus Christi in the very shortest time in which the trip [640] could be made vid New Braunfels, San Antonio, Victoria, and Port Lavaca, hoping that he might be able to pick him up along some portion of that route, as it was quite evident he made frequent trips in that direction; and, at whatever point he might be started, should he seem to be going much farther into the interior,--which would be improbable, as San Antonio at that time was quite a frontier city,--arrest him at once, and hurry him back to Galveston along the route he was already familiar with; but, should he be going toward the coast, to let him take his own course, keeping him well in hand until he had reached Corpus Christi or some other seaport city, and, waiting a favorable opportunity, arrest him and get him aboard a boat before he could recover from the surprise.

Not a half hour before they left Austin, he fortunately met Judge Davis of Corpus Christi, who was there attending some political convention, and who gave him a letter to his law partner at home, should his services in any way be needed, as I had been of some service to him on a previous occasion; so that when my two detectives left Austin on the seventeenth of January, they felt perfectly satisfied of ultimate success, though the same terrible experiences as to staging were again encountered.

It required the entire day to traverse the few miles between Austin and Blanco Creek, where they secured a sort of a supper; the Onion Creek and its [641] branches having been waded and forded numberless times. At Manchell Springs, the stage pole being again broken, they were only able to proceed after improvising a tongue out of a sapling, chopped from the roadside with a very dull hatchet. At Blanco Springs a good rest was taken, and the driver, having the day's experience in his mind, objected to going further that night; but the detectives insisted that they had paid their money to be taken to a certain destination, and, as they had shown a disposition to more than earn their passage besides, no excuse for their detention should be offered.

After a good deal of grumbling, fresh horses were got out, a new pole put in the stage, and the procession again took up its weary march over the then most horrible of roads, crossing the innumerable brooks and runs which now pushed torrents into York's Creek. All night long they slushed and splashed, and tramped and cursed; though the rain had ceased for a time, there was but little light from the sky, which seemed full of black heavy clouds ready to burst asunder, to again drench them and swell the torrents afresh. My son, Keating, and a man sent along from Blanco Creek, “took turns,” trudging along ahead of the lead-team, and, with lanterns, picked out the way. Often they would be misled where the ground was so bad as to almost defy a passage over it, when the patient animals behind them, steaming from the toil of straining along with [642] nothing but an empty coach, would stop, as if guided by a keener instinct, where they would quietly remain until the united search of the three men had discovered the road, when the intelligent creatures docilely plodded along again.

And so, through seemingly bottomless quagmires; over corduroys, where the shaky ends of timbers, struck by a horse's hoof, would mercilessly splash those walking beside the useless vehicle, or, suddenly relieved from the weight of the ponderous wheel, would fly upwards to heave gallons of slime upon the coach; laboring around the bases of far-extending mounds of sandy loam; descending into unexpected and sometimes dangerous depressions, along creeks, and plunging into streams, where drift and changing, sandy bottoms always made it a question whether the coach could ever be got across; they marched only as Sherman taught soldiers to march, or as honest detectives will crowd all obstacles between themselves and their duty, and came with the gray of the morning to the beautiful, forest-shaded Guadaloupe.

Fording this river without nearly the trouble presented at some of the petty runs and creeks which had been passed, they came to New Braunfels with the sun, which had shown itself for the first time since their arrival in Texas, and which also shone upon the first city which had shown any of that wide-awake “go-aheaditiveness” and thrift so common to nearly all northern cities. [643]

The reason that New Braunfels differed so materially from the ordinary Texan towns lay in the fact that it was almost exclusively settled by Germans ; and it was a welcome sight to the detectives to be able to enter a place where, from suburb to center, up and down long, finely-shaded avenues, it was plain to be seen that the most had been made of everything

From the pleasantest cottage of the extreme suburb, and past the more pretentious residences,every home being provided with an exterior bake-oven, the same as in Germany, Pennsylvania, or portions of Wisconsin and Minnesota, to the shops, stores, hotels and public buildings, every yard, in many instances, fenced with stone gleaned and cleaned from the soil, and, for that matter, every spot upon which the eye rested showed that thrift and not whisky-drinking ruled that place; and that fact alone entitles the little German city to respectable elevation from the obscurity which has heretofore surrounded it.

As nothing at this point could be learned regarding Taylor, though leaving the town and its extraordinary attractions with some reluctance, they immediately proceeded to San Antonio, the roads to which place were quite passable, and arrived at that city Friday afternoon. I had telegraphed to Colonel Lee, of San Antonio, to hold himself in readiness to assist my son and Keating, on the score of personal friendship, whenever they might arrive there, not [644] knowing, from the terrible condition of the roads, at what time it would be possible for them to reach that point, and he, being ignorant from what direction they might come, where they might stay, or under what name they might register, had caused an advertisement to be inserted in the San Antonio Herald, of which the following is a copy:


Whenever the son of A. P., of Chicago, may arrive in San Antonio, he will learn of something to his advantage by calling upon Lieut.-Col. Lee, at the Mengler House.

Keating's sharp eyes first saw the item at the supper table of the Mengler House, where they were stopping, and they both learned, by listening to the conversation about them, that the Colonel was sitting at the same table.

After supper William made himself known to Colonel Lee without attracting attention, the latter kindly offering him any help needed, after which inquiries of a guarded character were instituted for the object of their search. The landlord of the Mengler House stated that Taylor had called upon him about three weeks before to inquire for letters, but as he was stopping elsewhere but little attention had been paid to him or his questions; all of which William had reason to believe absolutely true, on account of the strong corroborative testimony which would lie in the statement of any landlord that no civility was [645] shown to a man who quartered at any hostelry save his own.

The next morning he called upon Chief of Police, H. D. Bonnet, who extended every imaginable courtesy, went with him to the offices of the different stage-lines, and assisted in examining their lists for some time previous with a view to ascertaining what direction Taylor had taken when he left San Antonio; introduced him to the Mayor and Chief Marshal, and even went with him on an extended tour through the old Mexican quarter of the town; but no other information was secured save through the German landlady of a hotel, who was as positive as her limited knowledge of the English language would allow her to be, that Taylor had stopped at her house without registering at all, and had gone directly from San Antonio to Port Lavaca or Corpus Christi on horseback, which, after all, in the exceptional condition of the weather that year in Texas, seemed quite probable.

It was evident nothing was to be gained by remaining any longer at San Antonio, and was quite as plain that all possible expedition should be used in getting on to the coast.

As if the fates were ordained perverse, the moment the two left San Antonio a steady drenching rain again began to fall, and as the stage was crowded, the discomfort of those within could not very well be increased. About twelve miles from San Antonio [646] the driver succeeded in tipping over the stage, and giving the occupants “an elegant mud varnish all over,” as operative Keating aptly expressed it. The driver remarked that he was “going up the new road,” but some of the more profane passengers swore that, if so, he was hunting it three feet under the old one. On arriving at Lavernia station the dismal announcement was made by the lean, long stage agent, who seemed to have never done anything from time immemorial save sit in the door of his tumbledown hovel to make dismal announcement that “the Cibolo (pronounced there ‘C'uillou’) is just a scootina and a rippina up its banks like a mad buffler bull! ye'll all be back to stay at my tavern all night.”

It was the contemplation of this man's pure cussedness, as he sat there doting on the big bills he would charge when the Cibolo should drive back a stage load of hungry travelers, that nerved them to push on at all hazards and attempt a crossing at some point where the Cibolo “scooted and ripped up its banks” with less ardor than across the regular route to Victoria; but on reaching Southerland Springs, seven miles distant, it was found that it would be necessary to wait until Thursday morning, when they might possibly make a passage, as the stream was running down to within something like ordinary bounds very fast.

Thursday afternoon came before an attempt to [647] ford the stream was made, when the driver agreed to land the passengers in the middle of the stream on an immense fallen tree, from which point they could reach the other side, when they might be able to get the empty stage across also.

The trial was made, and was successful so far as landing the passengers was concerned, but while this was being done the wheels of the coach sank deeper and deeper into the mucky bed of the stream, and though but a few minutes had elapsed, the strange action of the water had caused deposits to form about the coach so rapidly that it became firmly imbedded, and could not be moved by the four horses attached. At this juncture an old farmer came along, who carried the evidences of some of his propensities strongly marked in his face, which was a thin one, like his conscience, but with bright tips on his cheek bones and as red a nose as ever the devil-artist in alcohol tipped with crimson. No importunities or amount of money could prevail on him to assist the discouraged travelers with his fine mule train; but a pint of good whiskey, to be delivered the moment the stage had been drawn from its peril, with a small drink by way of retainer, accomplished what would not have been done in any other manner, and set the travelers joyfully on their way again. They journeyed on at a snail's pace until one o'clock Friday morning, when they arrived at Kelly's ranche, kept by Bill Kelly, uncle of the “Taylor boys,” notorious for [648] their connection with the Ku Klux and various other gangs of villainous desperadoes.

The family were unceremoniously awakened, and at once good-humoredly proceeded to provide the ravenous passengers with something to eat; after which they made a “shake-down” on the floor, into which substitute for a bed everybody turned, and slept late into the morning, awakening stiff in every joint and scarcely able for that day's journey, which, with its complement of accidents and delays, took them safely over Esteto creek and into Yorktown early in the evening, where the detectives secured certain information that Taylor had been in Corpus Christi the week previous, and was undoubtedly there at that time, as Texas by this time had become a net-work of resistless streams, almost impassible quagmires and far-reaching lagoons.


Late the next morning they left Yorktown, having taken on a passenger of no less importance than ex-Confederate Governor Owens, of Arizona. He was a pleasant, voluble old fellow, and my son at once fell in with his ways, and treated him so courteously [649] that it perhaps averted a greater disaster than had at any previous time occurred.

Governor Owens was largely engaged in the Rio Grande trade of supplying frontier points with provisions and merchandise, and was just on his way to Indianola, on the coast, where he was to meet his Mexican freighters, comprising thirty wagons and carts, of all characters and descriptions, driven by the inevitable lazy Greaser. Even as late as the same period, 1867-8, a vast amount of freighting was done between St. Paul, Minnesota, and Fort Garry, Manitoba, in the famed Red River carts, driven by the inevitable, lazy half-breed.

William, knowing the position held by Governor Owens during a portion of the war, and realizing that an ex-office-holder will never lose his tenderness for the political regime which made him titled, assumed to be a Mississippian, from Vicksburg, with an Irish acquaintance, on a trip of inspection through Texas, and, so far, terribly disappointed with the State.

During those periods when, owing to the depth of the mud, the passengers were obliged to walk, they would fall behind or walk ahead of the stage, when they would chat pleasantly upon general subjects. On one of these occasions Governor Owens eyed his companion sharply a moment, and then asked:

Can I trust you, sir?


“On the word and honor of a gentleman?” [650]

“Yes, and an honest man, too,” William answered.

“I believe you; thank you. You know stages are robbed out this way?”

“I do.”

“Did you ever see it done?”

“No; nor have I any desire to be around on such an occasion,” he replied, laughing.

“I reckon you hadn't better, either,” said the Governor earnestly. “It wouldn't make so much difference if they would do the work a trifle genteelly, in a gentlemanly way; but the fact is, we have low fellows along our Texas stage-lines. They have no regard for a man's family. Why,” he continued, warmly, “they'll just pop out from behind the trees, or up through some clumps of bushes, ram a double barreled shot-gun, loaded to the muzzle with slugs and things, into the coach from both sides at once, and just blaze away-all that are not killed outright are scared to death. There's nothing fair about it!”

William expressed his curiosity to know if the drivers were ever killed.

“Drivers? Never, sir, never. Why, those ruffians are too smart for that. Let it be known that they have begun killing drivers, and there isn't a stage company in Texas that could send a coach past the first timber. They couldn't afford to kill stage-drivers, for the moment they began it, that would be the end of staging.”

My son expressed his thanks at learning so much [651] of the business principles of these land pirates, and the old gentleman continued:

You see, it takes a peculiar kind of a driver for a Texas coach. You want one, first, that can drink right smart of whiskey, for the water isn't good along some of these branches. You want one that can swear a hoss's head square off, too. He's got to be a coward, or he would help put this robbing down; and yet, he has got to be rather brave to drive right along up to a spot where he knows he is to see his passengers butchered! and that,

continued the Governor, earnestly, “is just what I want to talk to you about, as I feel sure that I can trust you.”

The Governor then explained to him that a certain member of the Ku Klux, whom he was sorry to say was too intimate with those roadside plunderers, had informed him that morning, just as he was leaving Yorktown, that preparations had been made to rob their stage at a point between Clinton and Mission Valley; and that he very much desired some organization among the passengers for defense, as he himself had upwards of thirty thousand dollars, to be paid out at Indianola, for goods, and to his freighters for wages.

On the receipt of this alarming intelligence, my son took the responsibility of informing the rest of the passengers what might possibly be expected; and, as Governor Owens had six fine carbines, which he was also taking down to Indianola for the protection of [652] his freighters on the Rio Grand, preparatory to any attack that might be made.

About six miles from Mission Valley the stage route traversed a low piece of bottom-lands covered with timber, and a considerable growth of underbrush. A corduroy road had been built through the place, and as the coach was obliged to be driven slowly across it, the locality offered particularly fine inducements for a robbery of the character described by the Governor; so that the precaution was taken of walking along with the coach, three on either side, with carbines ready for instant use.

Just before entering the timber, two men were seen prowling about, and, evidently fearing their actions might cause suspicion and frustrate the plan they had in view, made a great effort to appear to be two respectable hunters in search of only wild game; and, before leaving the timber at the other side, two more persons were seen, who, evidently, not having been given any signal, had come as near to the stage as they dared, to ascertain for themselves why their comrades had failed in their calculations; but skulked away after seeing the force which grimly trudged along, guarding the empty vehicle, into which the passengers were glad enough to climb when the danger was gone by, and be carried with sound bodies and whole pockets to the supper which had been some time in waiting when they reached Mission Valley. [653]

Dinner the next day was taken at Victoria, from which city William and Keating expected to be able to go by railroad to Port Lavaca, only twenty-eight miles distant. They were doomed to disappointment in this, as the railroad had been abandoned since the war, either the Union or Confederate soldiers having taken it up bodily and turned it upside down, like a gigantic furrow, from Victoria to the sea.

After many years somebody had come along and turned it back; but to this day the steam-engine has never thundered over it again; the most that has ever been done having been to drag an occasional freight car over the road by the not peculiarly thrilling application of mule power; and so it was said a hand-car, worked by a gang of negroes, was used for transporting passengers, the trips being made back and forth whenever a load could be got, and not before.

As they were obliged to remain for this new mode of conveyance, their time was entirely unoccupied, and they could not but have leisure to make something of a study of Texan life, as it then existed; and on Sunday afternoon were witnesses to one of those little episodes which sometimes make extremely lively certain periods that would otherwise remain humdrum and ordinary.

The bar-room of the hotel had been crowded all day, and a good deal of liquor had been drunk, while there had also been a large amount of money lost and [654] won over cards, so that there was that feverish, explosive condition of things which always follows large winnings or losses at games of chance, although there had as yet been no disturbance of a serious character.

At one of the little gaming tables, John Foster, county clerk of Victoria County, and another person, named Lew Phillips, who had been one of the Andersonville prison-keepers during the war, but had drifted out to Victoria and had secured charge of a large livery-stable there, were engaged at a game of poker, when Foster was heard to quietly say:

See here, Lew Phillips, you stole that card!

“You're a liar!” was retorted, with an oath.

The two men were up over the card-table in a twinkling, looking at each other, and both very white.

“Apologize!” demanded Foster, still quiet, but with a terrible earnestness in his voice.

“ I don't do that sort of business, you white-livered coward!” shouted Phillips.

Without another look or word, the two parted, one passing out one door and the other out of another, while the crowd in the hotel canvassed the matter as coolly as though there had been no difficulty worth mentioning, while a few quietly laid wagers on who would get the first shot.

In about fifteen minutes more, Foster was seen returning with a double-barreled shot-gun, and Phillips, who had a wooden leg, came stumping up [655] another street, with an immense navy revolver in his hand. It was noticeable that the space between the advancing men was made very clear, so that nothing should interfere with their sociability. In a moment more, Phillips had fired at Foster, and evidently hit him; for, as he was bringing his gun to his shoulder, his aim had been badly disturbed, and before he had time to fire, Phillips had fired again and wounded his man the second time. Foster now leaned against a porch column, desperately resolved to get a good aim,--his antagonist, all the while advancing, attempted to fire again, but missed this time, the cap refusing to communicate the deadly flash to the chamber of the revolver,--then there was a blinding flash from Foster's gun, accompanied by a thunderous report, and the two men fell almost instantaneously.

Foster had discharged both barrels of his weapon, heavily loaded with buck-shot, at Phillips, the entire charge having entered his wooden leg, and sent him spinning to the ground, like the sudden jerk and whirl of a nearly spent top, the recoil of the gun also “kicking” Foster flat as a Tennessee “poor white's” corn pone.

The “gentlemen” who had been looking on and quietly criticising the little by-play, now rushed forward and surrounded the combatants, the anxiety of each of whom was to be assured of the other's death; or, in case of his being alive, to have some one to be the immediate bearer of tender regards and profuse [656] expressions of friendship; thus terminating satisfactorily to all parties what the chivalrous inhabitants of Victoria informed my detectives was called a “stag duel,” the most common and effective method known for settling the little difficulties liable at any time to occur among gentlemen, the only conditions imposed by custom being that neither party shall offer to shoot in a crowded room, or be allowed to fire at his opponent unless he is also prepared, when other citizens who may be using the streets at those times withdraw from them as rapidly as consistent with the proprieties, when the occasion is immediately made interesting to the participants, who advance and fire upon each other as rapidly as a liberal practice in this and other “codes” of taking human life will permit.

As the next sensation to a “stag duel” in Victoria was the arrival of the “train” from Lavaca, in the shape of the hand-car manned by four burly negroes, who with the original superintendent of the road had formed a soulless corporation with which nothing could compete, it was not long before the detectives had secured seats with four other passengers, making ten persons in all, to be conveyed twenty-eight miles on a broken-down hand-car over probably the most villainous excuse for a railroad ever known.

The fare was six dollars in gold for each passenger, which might seem to have a shade of exorbitance about it when it was considered that the accommodations [657] consisted of two very insecure seats, constructed over the wheels, upon each of which three persons might cling with a constant expectation of being jolted off by the unevenness of the road, or of falling off from sheer fatigue in endeavor to cling to the ramshackle boards beneath them.

“All abo'd!” shouted the negro conductor, with all the style and unction of the diamond-pinned aristocrat of a New York Central train; and then, as the “train” started out of Victoria the passengers and the admiring lookers — on were greeted with the following song, tuned to the “Ra-ta-tat” of the wheels upon the rails, and sturdily sung, or chanted rather, by the jolly but powerful crew:

Heave ho!
Away we go-
Winds may wait, or de winds may blow!
Heave ho!
Away we go-
For to cotch de gals at Lavac-o!

In the sense that this mode of traveling had the charm of novelty and the thrilling attraction of danger combined, it was a success. There was freshness and variety about it, too; for, whenever one of the negroes had “done gin out,” the conductor would call for volunteers from among the passengers, and give the demand a peculiar emphasis by the remark, “Takes brawn 'n sinyew to pump dis hy'r train into 'vacca; 'n dea Lo'd never did make no men out oa cl'ar iron 'n steel!” [658]

The argument was so forcible that some one would work with the negroes while the “clean done gone” man and brother rested and meditated upon “catchina the gals of 'vacca!” which the song brought out so feelingly.

Besides this, new interest would be added to the excursion whenever the wind was favorable; for, stopping the car, a mast, to which a sort of “mutton-leg sail,” as they termed it, would be attached; the conductor would brace himself and would lengthen or shorten the sail as was most judicious, and then the hand-car ship would speed along the billowy tract like a majestic thing of life for a mile or two, when the party were again forced into a realizing sense of the plodding nature of the means of transit, which, after all, at times became monotonous.

On one of these occasions of momentary fair sailing and enthusiasm, they were also favored with a down grade of quite a stretch; and, as everybody was happy at the wonderful rate of speed acquired, while the negroes were singing snatches of songs in the gayest manner possible, a “spread” of the track let the car upon the ties, from which it leaped at one bound into the swamp, completely immersing several of its occupants in the muddy slime.

No damage was done, however, as the spot where everything and everybody alighted was too soft to cause anything to be broken; and after righting the car, and repairing the disaster as much as possible, [659] William and Keating safely arrived in Lavaca early in the afternoon, were at once driven to Indianola, where they cleaned up, including a most welcome bathing and shaving, at the Magnolia House; embarked on a little schooner carrying the government mail down the coast; were becalmed in Aranzas Bay, and late during the night of the twenty-seventh of January the light from a quaint seaport city danced along the waves of its beautiful harbor, and welcomed the worn-out but indefatigable detectives to Corpus Christi.


Going ashore, the two proceeded to a sort of hotel or boarding-house on the beach, where they found Judge Carpenter, formerly of Chicago, who had become district judge there, and who, on learning my son's name, inquired if he were not a relative of Allan Pinkerton the detective.

He replied that he was very distantly related, which was a literal truth at that time, when the Judge, claiming an acquaintance, proffered any assistance which might be desired, whatever his business. The courtesy was courteously accepted, but no questions were asked concerning Taylor.

After breakfast the next morning, they strolled [660] up-town with Judge Carpenter, when passing a Mr. Buckley's store, Keating, while catching step, took occasion to nudge my son, who carelessly looked into the place, as any stranger might, and there saw the object of his long search pleasantly chatting with one of the clerks; but they walked on quietly with the Judge as far as the post-office, when he kindly introduced them to another Mr. Taylor, the postmaster.

After a few moments' pleasant conversation, William asked the postmaster if he could direct him to ex-Sheriff John McLane's residence. It proved to be but a block distant, but on inquiring there, it was ascertained that he was absent at his store, farther down-town. He was the only person in that city, besides Keating, whom my son felt that he could trust, as I had not only previously rendered him service, but also held him in the light of a friend; and he had already been requested by me to render him any service in his power, should William pass that way, so that he knew the first thing he should do was to go to him, explain his business fully and secure his immediate advice and assistance.

Finding him, he told him that he did not feel justified in arresting Taylor unless the mail-boat in which he had arrived was, in some way, detained for an hour. McLane said he would attend to that, and brought Captain Reinhart to the store, but not telling him why the delay was desired, arranged for the same, and at once hunted up Sheriff Benson, to whom my [661] son delivered the warrant and demanded the prisoner.

Benson at first hesitated, expressing the utmost surprise, as Taylor was a fellow-boarder, and he could not realize, so he said, that he was other than a brave and chivalrous gentleman, and began to question the validity of the requisition, but William told him that there was the order of Governor Pease approved by General Canby, and that he did not propose to be dallied with or imposed upon in any manner.

Seeing that my son had come too far and undergone too many hardships to be trifled with, he went with him to Buckley's store, where they found Taylor, who was given into the detectives' hands, though utterly astounded and completely unnerved at the idea that the strong hand of the law was upon him.

In this condition, and before he could collect his scattered senses and decide to make a legal resistance, which would have caused my son a vast amount of trouble, if indeed it had not resulted in the liberation of the elegant swindler, he was placed on board the schooner.

After they had left Corpus Christi behind, William began a system of soothing argument, with the end in view of convincing Taylor, who was now becoming nervous and restless, and evidently ashamed of being carried away so ingloriously, that it would be the best thing for himself, his brother, and even his people in Philadelphia, to go along quietly, without [662] creating any disturbance, as, should he do so, he would treat him like a gentleman in every instance; but should he give him any trouble whatever he would be obliged to put him in irons, and not only treat him like a criminal, but would serve him roughly in every particular.

Taylor saw that he was in my power, and that I had put two men after him who would have gone to Cape Horn for him, and that his only chance of escape lay in strategy.

He had the perfect freedom of the boat, and, when he desired, chatted with the captain and the crew, who were not apprised by my son of the character of his new companion, and everything was done to make him comfortable.

At first he kept entirely to himself, but of a sudden his manner changed entirely, and he became particularly pleasant, especially to the captain of the boat; and as they were nearing the little barren Saluria Island, at the entrance to Matagorda Bay, William accidentally overheard the captain say to Taylor, “The tide is high enough, and I will be able to run close to the island.” This caused him to have no particular suspicion of Taylor, as the remark might equally apply to a hundred other subjects besides the one to which it did; but in a few moments after, he noticed the schooner, which had hugged the island pretty closely, now suddenly take a still closer tack, and rapidly neared the barren coast. Feeling alarmed [663] lest the helmsman was not attending to his duty, my son yelled:

Captain, what under heaven do you mean? Don't you see that in another moment you'll have us beached?

He had scarcely uttered the words when Taylor was seen to spring into the waves, and then disappear, and the boat at the same moment stood off from the island, as if in obedience to the warning my son had given.

The truth flashed into his mind in an instant: Here, after this hard, unremitting toil, the discomforts, the annoyances, the dangers, everything through which they had been obliged to pass, after their hopes for success, and after they had earned it — if two men ever had earned success-just when they were beginning to feel the pleasure of work well done, and be able to experience the genuine satisfaction it is to any man who is honest enough to acknowledge it, in securing the regard of the public for assisting in its protection, the commendation of one's employer for good sturdy care for his interests, and the self-respect one gains in doing one's duty, even if it has led him a hard life of it,--they were to be cheated and outwitted. Half crazed, my son, with anger and indignation, and a perfect flood of humiliating thoughts filled his brain in the first great question, “What was to be done?”

His first impulse was to plunge in after him, and [664] in pursuance of that impulse he had freed himself of his boots and coat, when, seeing Taylor rise to the surface and make but little headway against the tide, which was ebbing strongly, he call to the captain to round to, and began firing with considerable rapidity, so as to strike the water within a few feet of the man who was so unsuccessfully struggling against the tide, but whom he could not blame for making so brave and desperate an effort to free himself.

He was provided with two magnificent English Trenter revolvers, which will carry a half-ounce ball a fourth of a mile with absolute accuracy; and as he could use it with great precision he could easily have killed the man in the water. Both the captain and Taylor were terribly scared, and as Taylor held up his hand, and yelled-“I surrender!” the balls were cutting into the water all about him savagely, and the captain shouted, “For God's sake, don't kill the man! Don't you see I'm rounding to?”

Keating, who had been almost worn out from the Texas trip, had been sleeping in a bunk below, and who had been roused by William's firing and the strange motion of the schooner, now came on deck rather thinly clad, and the two detectives covered Taylor with their revolvers; while the captain, himself at the wheel, handled the schooner so that it was only necessary for him to keep himself above water in order to float with the tide against the side of the boat, when my son, rather too indignant to be particularly [665] tender, grabbed him by the hair and his luxuriant whiskers, drew him aboard, and soundly kicked him into the cabin, where he began crying from excitement and fright, even going to such depths of discouragement that he begged for a revolver with which to kill himself, which being handed him by my son for that purpose, he very properly refused, and was put to bed for the purpose of drying his clothes like a truant school-boy.

It was my son's intention to take the steamer at Indianola for Galveston immediately upon arriving at the former place; but on account of a heavy “Norther,” which had blown all day Friday, the steamer had been obliged to put out to sea, and the party were consequently compelled to put up at the Magnolia House, and wait there until the following Monday; and it required all the detective's shrewdness to keep Taylor quiet, as he had learned from some source that the creation of Wyoming Territory, which occurred a short time before his capture, had caused Cheyenne to be a city of quite a different Territory than when the requisition was issued, which would have amounted to so grave a technical flaw that the requisition would not have held against a habeas corpus.

Court had just set at the place, and Indianola was full of lawyers, hungry as vultures for just such a rich case; but by constant persuasions, partial promises, leading to a hope, at least, that a compromise [666] might be effected at New Orleans, and dark hints of irons, and that, should his brother come on there and create any disturbance he would be immediately arrested as accessory both before and after the crime; with constant drives out into the country, rambles down the sea-shore, and every pretext known to the mind of the ingenious detective, everything was managed successfully; a receipt for nearly two thousand dollars in specie secured; the turning over of the money to Taylor's brother stopped; and Taylor himself taken to New Orleans without an attempt at rescue; and receiving a dispatch there from me to the effect that a compromise could not be for a moment considered, the party left that city Thursday, February 4th, arriving in Cheyenne six days later, my son accounting for his prisoner to the authorities into whose hands the case then passed; the last being seen of “Harry G. Taylor, the man from Somewhere,” being behind the bars of the guard-house at Fort Russell, where he had been placed for safe-keeping previous to his trial ;--and I have related these facts, not so much to show any startling phase of crime, as to give the public a single illustration, out of thousands upon my records, of how men must overcome every known obstacle while leading the hard life of the detective.

The End.

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