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Writing History & Mysteries

When I'm not delving into historical research, I'm planning a character's demise.

Friday, April 04, 2014


If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, fret not. There is a recap in the article below plus more dirt. It’s embarrassing enough when a counterfeiter turns out to be the son of a District Attorney, but how about the police being alerted to the bogus bills by a house of ill repute? Ain’t no well respectin’ Madam gonna be cheated out of her due for services rendered!


Western New Yorker (Warsaw, Wyoming County, NY
February 3, 1857

THE COUNTERFEITERS.—A young man named Tripp, who is supposed to be connected with a gang of counterfeiters some of whom have been recently arrested, was lodged in the jail at Buffalo last week. Tripp was formerly from this vicinity. The Rochester American speaks of a curious circumstance that was brought to light before the United States District Court at Albany a few days since. It will be recollected that a young man named McKay was arrested in Buffalo last week for passing counterfeit money consisting of bogus United States coin, and spurious tens on the Midland District branch C.W. He pleaded guilty to passing the money on his examination, and was sent to Albany in charge of the United States Marshal, in order to bring this case before the grand jury in attendance upon the United States District Court.

A quantity of the counterfeit bills and coin besides what he had passed, was found and taken possession of by the officers. Some of the bills had an endorsement upon them, and while the Buffalo officer was in Albany, he happened to be in conversation with the Deputy Sheriff from Wyoming County, and showed him the bills. The Wyoming County man immediately recognized the endorsement on it as his own!

It' seems that some time since two men were arrested for counterfeiting, at Warsaw, and on searching them this money was found. The officer endorsed the bills in order to be able to swear to their identity on the trial and handed them over to the District Attorney. The prisoner, McKay, is a son of the district attorney; he stole the counterfeit money from his father, and put out for Buffalo, on a spree; here he passed some $80 of it in the house of bad repute, which led to his arrest.

There were ten bills endorsed by the Wyoming County officer, and eight of these were found upon, or traced to young McKay. The bogus coin found in his possession, was also identified as some that was taken from the man arrested at Warsaw.

One of these men is now in the Albany jail awaiting trial on counterfeiting; the other is in jail it Warsaw. What makes the thing more interesting is the fact that the production of the bogus money by the prosecution is necessary in order to secure their conviction. As young McKay had taken the whole of it, this would have been impossible, but for this opportune arrest and the identification of the money; now the two young rogues will stand a fair chance to get their desserts.

McKay is about 22 years of age, and for a long time refused to tell who his father was. He yielded at last, and a letter was dispatched to the parent informing him of the situation of his son. The letter has been indicted by the Grand Jury at Albany. It will be necessary in order to convict him to show that he knew the money was counterfeit; his plea of guilty only covering the fact of passing it. So says a contemporary.

The officers spoken of above, was constable Holcomb of this village. Young McKay, was returned to Buffalo last week. He will have his trial in May.

If I were young McKay I think I would have worried more about what dear old dad was going to do to me!

Stay tuned as I blog the entire month on 19th century true crimes!

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  1. Hi Cindy; Didn't know you were participating and found this by chance. Glad I did! True crime is always so interesting.
    My theme is "Travel & Culture". Cheers!

  2. A very interesting story, that I am reading backwards lol, now onto C...fantastic subject.

  3. So what happened to young McKay? Paul Harvey would give us "the rest of the story". Are you toying with us? Or is more to come? lol

  4. Wow research and blogging - all in one.

  5. Oh snap! Now that's awkward. :)

  6. I don't think there's a switch large enough for his father to use : )


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