Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
July 14, 2020
Rogue's Corner: JOHN T IRVING (86)
Forty-eight years old in 1886. Born in New York. Married. Medium build. Height 5 feet 4 inches. Weight, about 130 pounds. Gray hair; generally wears a gray mustache. He shows his age on account of his long prison life, but is still capable of doing a good job.
"OLD JACK," as he is called, is one of the most celebrated criminals in America. He was born and brought up in the Fourth Ward of New York City, and has, for some offense or other, served time in State prisons from Maine to California. He created considerable excitement in the early part of 1873, while under arrest for burglary in San Francisco, Cal., by declaring himself the murderer of Benjamin Nathan, who was killed at his residence in Twenty-third Street, New York City, on Friday morning, July 29, 1870. He was brought from California on an indictment. charging him with burglarizing the jewelry store of Henry A. Casperfeldt, at No. 206 Chatham Street, on June I, 1873, and stealing therefrom eighty-seven silver watches, four gold watches, and a number of gold and precious stone rings. Irving and another man rented a room at NO.3 Doyer Street, and forced an entrance into the store from the rear.
After his return from California he was confined in the Tombs prison, and while there, on November 22, 1873, he made another statement in which he alleged that he was one of the burglars who robbed Nathan's house, and offered to tell who it was that killed the banker. The matter was thoroughly investigated by the authorities, who concluded that Irving was only trying to avoid the consequences of the two burglaries he was indicted for. He was therefore placed on trial in the Court of General Sessions, in New York City, on December 8, 1873, and found guilty of the Casperfeldt burglary, and also for another one, committed in the Fifth Ward. He was sentenced to five years on the first charge and two years and six months on the second one, making seven years and six months in all.
Irving, some years ago, was shot while escaping from a bonded warehouse m Brooklyn, N. Y., and believing himself about to die, betrayed his comrades. He recovered from his wounds, and was discharged from custody.After that, in company with others, he attempted to rob Simpson's pawnshop, in the Bowery, New York City. The burglars hired a suite of rooms in the adjoining house, and drilled through the walls into the vault. The plot was discovered by the police, who, however, were unable to capture them, as the cracksmen were frightened away by a party living in the house.
He was arrested again in New York City on April 26, 1881, under the name of George Mason, in company of another notorious thief named John Jennings, alias Connors, alias "Liverpool Jack," in the act of robbing the tea store of Gerhard Overhaus, No. 219 Grand Street. They were both committed in $3,000 bail for trial by Justice Wandell. Both pleaded guilty to burglary in the third degree, in the Court of General Sessions, and were sentenced to two years and six months in the penitentiary, on May 10, 1881, by Judge Gildersleeve.
Irving was arrested again in New York City on suspicion of burglary, on April 22, 1886. The complainant failed to identify him, and he was discharged. He is now at large.
lrving's,picture resembles him to-day, although taken some fifteen years ago.