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   Chapter 15 No.15

The Expressman and the Detective By Allan Pinkerton Characters: 16231

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:04

Saturday, the seventh of May, was a busy one for my operatives. Maroney left the hotel, followed by Rivers, walked around, visited different stores, and finally stopped at the corner of Vine and Third streets. In five or ten minutes, who should come along and meet him but Mrs. Maroney, shadowed by Green? It seemed strange to Rivers that they should have taken this roundabout way of meeting, and he could not understand the reason for it. When Mrs. Maroney came up, Maroney took her arm, and together they walked to the office of Alderman G. W. Williams. They remained in the office some fifteen minutes, and on coming out went directly to the Washington House. In a few minutes they again appeared, accompanied by Flora, and getting into a carriage were driven to the ferry, crossed over to Camden, and took the train for New York.

Rivers, who was the fastest runner, started on a keen run for the Adams Express Office and reported to me that the Maroney family were under way for New York. Bangs was in New York, so I telegraphed to him, informing him of their departure for that city. He immediately found Mr. Seward and had everything in readiness to give them a warm reception.

But what had they been doing at Alderman Williams's? It was better to find out at once. I supposed he had been executing some deed. I consulted with the Vice-President about the person most likely to procure the desired information from Alderman Williams. After due consideration, we decided that Mr. Franklin, head of the city detectives, was the best man for the purpose. Franklin had always been square and honest in all his dealings, but I determined not to put too much confidence in him. I am always suspicious of men until I know them thoroughly, or have them employed in my establishment; I therefore instructed Rivers to watch Alderman Williams, and learn all that he could.

The Vice-President sent for Franklin, and employed him to find out what had transpired at the Alderman's. Franklin was a genial man, a good talker, and devoted to his duty. He proved himself to be the best man we could have procured for our purpose. He was well acquainted with Alderman Williams, and strolled along past his office. The Alderman was seated with his feet cocked up on the window-sill, smoking a cigar, and, not having much to do, hailed Franklin as he went by, asking him to come in. Franklin accepted the invitation, and lighting a cigar which the Alderman handed him, took a seat.

The Alderman had witnessed an amusing scene, and, knowing Franklin's fondness for a good story, related it to him. Franklin thought the story a good one, laughed heartily at it, and then told one or two of his own. He finally turned to the Alderman, and said; "I say, Williams, this is rather dry work. What do you say to going down to the restaurant with me, and having some oysters and a bottle of champagne to wash them down?"

Williams, like most Aldermen, was fond of the good things of this earth, and accepted the proposition without waiting for a second asking. He locked up his office, and they went down to the restaurant. Franklin gave his orders, and the delicious bivalves were soon smoking before them. He called for champagne, and under its exhilarating influence grew wittier and wittier, and kept the Alderman in such roars of laughter that he could scarcely swallow his oysters. At length Franklin told a story of a man by the name of Maroney, who had come to the city, and getting into rather questionable company, had been fleeced of quite a large amount of money. He had sought Franklin's aid in ferreting out the thieves, but finding it would be necessary to disclose his name and the circumstances in which he was robbed, and that the facts would find their way into the daily papers, he concluded to bear the loss and say no more about it.

"Franklin gave his orders and the delicious bivalves were soon smoking before them. He called for champagne, and under its exhilarating influence grew wittier and wittier, and kept the alderman in such roars of laughter that he could scarcely swallow his oysters."-Page 125.

As he finished this little story the Alderman laughed heartily, and remarked: "I'll bet five dollars it is the same man."

"Why, what do you mean?" inquired Franklin.

"Well, a man named Nathan Maroney came to my office yesterday with a wealthy widow, Mrs. Irvin, and I married them. I got a good big fee, too, and I'll bet five dollars he is the same man that called on you. Of course he would not want it known that he frequented such places just as he was going to be married, and so did not prosecute. Don't you see?"

They both laughed heartily, and Franklin, having learned all he wanted to, soon took his departure. He reported to the Vice-President that Maroney had been married the day before, and the Vice-President immediately communicated the news to me.

I hurriedly thought the matter over. I had all the points on Mrs. Maroney that I wanted. I could see that there was some cogent reason for Maroney's marrying Mrs. Irvin. He wanted to place her where she would tell no stories. There were only two ways to do this. Maroney, the thief, had either to murder his mistress, or to make her his wife. I could see plainly through the whole transaction. Maroney, after committing the robbery, had, in exact accordance with my theory, found that he needed some one in whom he could confide, and with whom he could ease his overburdened mind by disclosing the facts of the robbery. Who could be a safer person than his mistress? Her interests were identical with his; he had gained her the entrée to good society; had taken her from a house of infamy, where she was shunned and scorned, and by allowing her the use of his name, had placed her in a position to demand respect.

In all things she seemed devoted to his interests, and so far as he knew, her conduct while with him had been beyond reproach. What could be more natural than his selecting her and pouring into her ear the details of his crime?

How well it must have made him feel to find in her not a stern moralist who would turn from him with scorn and point to the heinousness of his crime, but a sweet enthusiast, with ideas moulded to suit his, who would encourage and renew his feelings of ultimate success and almost rob crime of its horrors!

What a happy moment it must have been to her to hear Maroney give vent to his pent-up feelings! How she must have looked forward with delight to the coming time when Maroney, rich with his ill-gotten spoils, should place her in a position far above what she had ever anticipated reaching! How her eyes must have flashed as she thought how she could then return with redoubled force the scorn that had been shown to her! She had only one more step to take and then her life of shame would be completely covered up: Maroney must marry her!!

She now had him in her power; she would be true to him if he would be to her; but if he refused her request to make her an honest woman in the eyes of the world, woe be to him!!

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

She did not at once force the matter on Maroney, but waited until she reached the North, and then gradually unfolded to him the necessity of his marrying her. It was a bitter pill for him to swallow, but unless he chose to add murder to his other crimes, was his only means of safety.

The necessity was rendered all the more distasteful by the fact that he was now really in love with a girl who possessed all the qualifications which render the sex so dear to man. He had formed a plan to get rid of his mistress, Mrs. Irvin, as soon as possible after his trial, and then to marry the girl he loved, but he was doomed to disappointment. As he had not the courage to kill Mrs. Irvin, he had been forced North to marry her. He therefore was determined to kill two birds with one stone, and while North have some keys made to fit the company's pouch.

I sat for some hours in the office of the General Superintendent, cogitating over the matter, and finally concluded to have the notic

e of the marriage published. I wrote out the notice in the usual form and sent it to the Philadelphia Press. It read:


"Maroney-Irvin-At Philadelphia, on May 7th, 1859, by Alderman G. W. Williams, Nathan Maroney, of Montgomery, Ala., to Mrs. Irvin, of Jenkintown, Penn.

"Montgomery papers please copy."

I sent copies of the Press containing this notice to all the Montgomery papers, enclosing the usual one dollar note to pay for its insertion in their columns, and in a few days the news was blazoned forth in Montgomery. But I had not finished with it yet. I got the names of all the ladies with whom Maroney was acquainted in Montgomery and the surrounding country, also of all his male friends, and, buying a large number of the Press containing this notice, I had copies directed to these persons; and also to his friends in Atlanta, Chattanooga, Nashville, Memphis, Natchez, New Orleans and Mobile, not forgetting the highly respectable ladies at the pleasant house at Chattanooga, or at Natchez, on the hill. These papers I sent to Porter by express, directing him to mail them. Wherever I could learn of any of Maroney's friends, I furnished them with copies of the Press. They must have thought some one very kind to take so much interest in him, or more likely thought he had sent them himself. I knew I was making capital for the company by having the notice so fully circulated in Montgomery. The inhabitants were amazed when they saw it, and terribly indignant at Maroney's conduct.

While it was true that Maroney and his wife had never mingled much in society in Montgomery, still he had brought a woman there and openly lived with her as his wife, who had not only led a life of infamy prior to her meeting with Maroney, but who, even then, was but his mistress. It was an outrage upon decency, and as such was felt and resented. From Maroney's personal popularity and agreeable manners, there were many who believed in his innocence, still more who did not desire his conviction. His marriage thinned the ranks of the latter and entirely wiped out almost every trace of the former. The man who would live with and introduce a prostitute as his wife, was regarded as never too good to be guilty of robbery or any other crime.

The sympathy which had been felt and expressed for Maroney by those who regarded him as fighting single-handed against a wealthy and powerful corporation, was now regarded as having been worse than thrown away. It was at once and permanently withdrawn. My move had proved a perfect success and I now felt much easier about the result of the final trial to be held in Montgomery.

We left Maroney, his wife and Flora on the cars, bound for New York, to enjoy their honey-moon. They were shadowed by Green, and he noticed that Mrs. Maroney appeared supremely happy. She had accomplished her purpose; she was now a legally married woman. Maroney was in good spirits, but must have had a hard battle to keep them up. He was now enjoying some of the sweets of crime, being forced to leave the girl he loved and marry a common prostitute. He had sold his freedom for gold, and although outwardly he appeared calm and happy, inwardly he was racked with contending emotions. What would he now not have given to be back in his old position, free from the taint of crime, free to do as he wished? But the fatal step had been taken; he could not retrace it, he must go on, and when he won, as he now felt sure he would, could he not find some quiet way to get rid of his wife? They were rapidly nearing Jersey City, and when they reached there Mrs. Maroney grasped Maroney's arm, and taking Flora by the hand, walked aboard the ferry-boat. No newly-married bride ever felt more exultant than she. She glanced with scorn at the hurrying crowd, and as they roughly jostled her, felt contaminated by the touch. They little dreamed of the reception that awaited them in New York. The news of their marriage had been flashed over the wires to Bangs, and he had made all preparations to give them a warm reception. Bangs had called for Mr. Seward, and he having all the papers ready, drove to the Marshal's office. Seward was a great favorite with every one, and had no trouble in getting United States Marshal Keefe and a deputy to accompany him. They were all engaged when he called, but readily postponed their other business to attend to him. They, with Bangs, proceeded to the ferry and crossed over to Jersey City, to meet the train coming from Philadelphia.

When Maroney and his wife stepped on the ferry boat they did not notice the consultation of Green, Bangs and Marshal Keefe. When the boat touched the wharf in New York, all was hurry and bustle. Maroney, with his wife and Flora, stood one side for a few moments, waiting for the crush to be over, and then stepped proudly out for the wharf. He had taken scarcely three steps on the soil of New York before he was confronted by Marshal Keefe.

"You are my prisoner!" said he. "Nathan Maroney, I demand that you immediately deliver to me fifty thousand dollars, the property of the Adams Express, which you feloniously have in your possession."

"You are my prisoner!" said he. "Nathan Maroney, I demand that you immediately deliver to me fifty thousand dollars, the property of the Adams Express Company."-Page 131.

If a thunderbolt had fallen at his feet he could not have been more astonished. The demand of the Marshal, delivered in a loud, harsh tone, and coming so unexpectedly, completely unnerved him, and for a moment he shook like a leaf. His head swam around, and he felt as though he would drop to the ground. By a desperate effort he gained control of himself. His wife hung speechless on his arm, while little Flora grasped her mother's dress, and gazed with a startled, frightened look at the Marshal and the rapidly gathering crowd.

"I have no money belonging to the Express Company!" said Maroney, and supposing that that was all that was wanted with him, he attempted to force himself past the Marshal.

"Not so fast!" exclaimed the Marshal, taking hold of one of Maroney's arms, while his deputy stepped forward to assist him, if Maroney made any resistance. "Not so fast, you must come with me!"

Maroney could scarcely realize his situation; it was to him a horrid dream. In a few moments he would awake and laugh at it. But the jeering crowd, the stern officers of the law, his weeping wife and her frightened child, formed a scene which was indelibly stamped on his memory never to be obliterated. His wife insisted that her husband should be allowed to accompany her to the Astor House, and the Marshal finally consented. At the Astor House he saw his wife and Flora in their room, in the presence of Marshal Keefe, his deputy, and Bangs. No words passed between them. His new-made bride of only six hours was bathed in tears-what a honey-moon! Maroney was almost in tears himself, but he choked them back. He kissed his wife and Flora, and motioning to the officers that he was ready, followed them to Eldridge street jail.

How terribly must he have felt when the heavy door of his cell was bolted upon him, and he was left in solitude to brood over his position. How he must have cursed the moment when he married Mrs. Irvin. He did so merely to save himself, and now he was in prison! What would he not have given to undo what only six hours before he had been so anxious to consummate! What a blow it would have been to him if he could have known the efforts I was then making to disseminate through the South the news of his marriage; but this I did not intend he should know. Mrs. Maroney thought that Maroney would soon be out of jail, but wondered why he had been arrested in New York. She concluded that the Company had determined on the plan of suddenly confronting him and charging him with the crime, hoping that if guilty he would break down and make a confession. He had passed through the trying ordeal unscathed and most likely would be liberated in the morning. She little thought they had been separated never more to be united.

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