No. 499
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
November 29, 2020
Rogue's Corner: WILLIAM HAGUE (196)
WILLIAM HAGUE
alias: CURLY HARRIS, JAMES MARTIN
Description:
Forty-three years old in 1886. Jew, born in United States. Married. No trade.Medium build. Height, 5 feet 5 3/4 inches. Weight, about 140 pounds. Looks like, and is, a Jew. Dark eyes, black curly hair, dark complexion. . Generally wears a black mustache. Four dots of India ink on left arm. Has a vaccination mark and mole on right arm above the elbow.

Record:
"CURLY" HARRIS is one of the most desperate thieves and ruffians in America. He is well known in all the large cities in the United States, especially in Philadelphia, where he makes his home.

Harris, with "Brummagen Bill" and James Elliott, two other notorious Philadelphia thieves, robbed Hughy Dougherty, the minstrel performer, in a saloon on Ninth Street, above Jayne, in Philadelphia, some years ago. The thieves subsequently, in passing the corner of Sixth and Market streets, were accosted by Officer Murphy, whereupon Harris deliberately drew his revolver and fired. The ball, fortunately for the officer, struck the buckle of his belt, which saved his life. "Brummagen Bill" and Elliott were arrested and convicted, and sentenced respectively to eleven and sixteen years' imprisonment in the Eastern Penitentiary. Harris escaped, but was afterwards arrested in Pittsburg, Pa. The authorities of Philadelphia chartered a special car, and traveled westward after the fugitive criminal. While returning, Harris, with his hands still manacled, escaped from his captors, and although the train was traveling at the rate of forty miles an hour, he jumped from the rear platform of a car, and a diligent search failed to reveal his whereabouts.

Nothing was heard of "Curly" for some years, and this was owing to the fact that he had been arrested and convicted in the northern part of the State of New York for a hotel robbery, and sentenced to six years in State prison.After his release he boldly went back to Philadelphia, and was arrested there for robbing the American Hotel. He was acquitted, however, and when the old charge against him for the Dougherty affair was spoken of, it was found that the minstrel performer and the officer could not be found to prosecute him.Harris was arrested again in New York City on May 6, 1880, and delivered to the police authorities of Philadelphia, charged with the murder of James Reilly, alias John Davis, another hotel thief. The murder was committed on August 25, 1879. Reilly resided with his wife on Orange Street, Philadelphia. Upon the day mentioned he was picked up bleeding in front of a saloon at Eighth and Sansom streets. On September 13, 1879, the wounded man died from a fracture of the skull. From facts subsequently gathered it appears that Harris met Reilly and asked him for some money, and the latter replied that he had none. He was then told to go to his wife and obtain some, which he abruptly declined to do. Harris, in his usual cowardly manner, drew a revolver, aimed it directly at his partner in crime and pulled the trigger. The cartridge did not explode, and the desperado then pushed the barrel of his pistol with so much force into one of Reilly's eyes as to fracture his skull and cause his death. Harris was tried and convicted in June, 1880, and sentenced to ten years in State prison on July 3, 1880, by Judge Yerkers, in Philadelphia. His sentence will expire on June 3, 1888.

His picture is a good one, taken in 1876.
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Source:
Byrnes, Thomas. Professional criminals of America. New York, N.Y: Cassel, 1886.