December 18, 2017

Creede Camp: The Great Divide Mag., May 1892.

The Great Divide
Pages 50-51
(Click image to enlarge)

The Great Divide Magazine, May 1892.

“If you have a cut or vain in the bowels of the earth, we have the sucker.”

Below is the text of a great article on early Creede, Colorado published in the May 1892 issue of The Great Divide, a magazine published in Denver.

Various phases of Life in Colorado’s New Silver City.

[In the following article on Creede Camp we get the results of the observations of many men who have visited the new town. These opinions are presented in narrative form, in order that the reader may have a connected story of Creede life, and these opinions are, to the best of our knowledge, the observations of truthful correspondents. The illustrations are from the photo–negatives made on the spot, especially for THE GREAT DIVIDE, by the well-known Denver photographers, W. H. Jackson and Co., And give actual views and occurrences, instead of being merely artistic fancies. — EDITOR.]


The Great Divide
front cover
May 1892
(Click image to enlarge)

     A FEW months ago Creede was so thoroughly unknown that the legislators and geographers overlooked it entirely in cutting up the state into counties. Now there are 8,000 people there, blowing bubbles of fortune and chasing them over the three-mile strip of Mountain Gulch.
     Five months ago Creede Camp had scarcely a population of 500. Willow Creek tumbled and roared down its narrow bed between the great caƱon walls rising a thousand feet in the air, almost from its very banks, its waters swishing against logs and boulders in their course to the Rio Grande. To–day the foundations of a thousand houses encroach upon the channel of the stream, and all winter did its frozen surface furnish a resting–place for saloons and gambling–houses.
     Buildings have been forced into every nook or cranny in the rock walls, and no coign of vantage has been lost sight of.
     The precious metal in the rockribs of Bachelor, Mammoth and Campbell Mountains has drawn to Creede the human bee in every guise— the prospector, who has grown gray in his search for a “strike”; gamblers, with roulette wheels and other implements; merchants, who have grown tired of the sloth and dullness of the San Luis Valley; frail women, in search of new fields of excitement and gain; bunco steerers, thimble riggers, the bad man with his gun and all the other strange and dangerous elements that go to make up the population of a booming Colorado mining town.
     With the rush came the struggle for lots. There were the hillside and the creek bottom to choose from, but surveys and titles there were none. The first building up made a street, the stake took the place of a paper title, and the gun or the Dirk–knife was more powerful in holding a claim than a whole line of transfers would have been. “I claim this lot for building purposes,” was the notice Johnnie, the tough, Jenny, the adventurous, or Jones, the merchant, served on the world when he or she had picked out a place for a house. Attempts at stake–jumping were exciting and sometimes caused bloodshed.
     A Mr. and Mrs. Osgood were among the first arrivals. Mrs. Osgood was the business and of the concern, and she opened a hotel and staked out a number of lots. Then she went back to the valley town to rest, leaving her husband in charge. Hardly was she out of sight when Jack Pughe, the bad man of Creede, seeing in one of the lots an eligible site for a saloon, jumped it. While he held possession with his gun, two of his lieutenants hustled around, and by midnight lumber from the sawmill far below was holding the lot for him.
     Mrs. Osgood heard that her rights of property were in danger, and flew back on the next train. In the cold and snow she held the jumper at bay while a carpenter put up her building. “I’ll stand here till I’m frozen stiff,” she said, “but I’ll hold my lot. I ain’t afraid of Jack Pughe.” A few weeks later Mrs. Osgood sold her lot for $10,000.
     Just now everybody is making money, and each branch of the boom is booming.


The Great Divide
Page 65
(Click image to enlarge)
     “Oh, hello, the little joker—that’s the time you got me—ah, no, it was that—here, here is where it was all the time!” is one of the steady cries on the street of Creede, and the old prospector, the minor or the hardy pioneer, who has seen the three–shell game from New York to California, bites again at Creede because he has money, and the spirit of chance and recklessness is in the air.
     In a big gambling–saloon, one Sunday evening, Rev. Joseph Gaston, a Presbyterian divine from the camp of Ouray, mounted the chair of the faro–dealer. The games stopped at a signal from the proprietor, and the 300 gangsters in the room, at the site of the preacher, uncovered their heads and stood quietly for fifteen minutes listening to a sensible talk on the text: “if a man dies, shall he live again?”
     At the conclusion of the sermon the preacher commenced a recital of the Lord’s Prayer. First one or two weak voices began to follow him, then another here and there from all over the room came in, and at the last, men who had said the prayer the last time at their mother’s knee back in the States before the Pike’s Peak excitement call them to Colorado found the words on their lips.
     The closing was most impressive, and not a few drops of moisture hung on half–shamed faces as one caught the other in symptoms of weakness. Then somebody laughed. It was all over. The silence was broken.
     “The Queen wins and the tray loses.” “Thirty–one and the black and nobody there.” “First ball 41.” The men who had held their stacks of white and blue and yellow chips in their hands turned again to the play. The preacher folded up his Bible, shook hands with the proprietor and started out. Someone in the rear of the room cried out:
     “By ——, boys, we forgot something. We must make a collection for the parson. I’ll start it with $5. Pass it around.”
     But the preacher turned, smiled good-naturedly, and thanking them, said that was not what he had come for, and departed.
     These incidents give some idea of the “tough” side of life in Creede Camp.


     There is a clangor of hammers and saws, a slamming of planks, a calling of men to one another, a din as of the war. That is the way they make mining camps in Colorado, at places where there are millions in sight. Now and then a man shoots out of a saloon door or a barbershop—for there are barbershops—with a foot or a fist behind him. The man from the barbershop at once goes into the saloon, the man from the saloon hunts another. The shanty on poles across the creek flourishes, as does the smoke–begrimed tent.
     The creek furnishes all the water for the camp, and already a waterworks company has been incorporated to pipe the water through both towns and preserve the purity of the water from garbage and sluice boxes. But every saloon and store is lighted by electricity. The construction of the electric plant was the quickest ever known in the history of this country. The town has not organized, and what is everybody’s business is nobody’s business.
     The train, when it comes in, is a sight to behold, the smoking–car being and an especial marvel. It is jammed. Men set on one another and on the arms of the seats, stand in the aisles and hanging to the platforms. Pipes, blankets and dilapidated satchels form the major part of their equipment.


The Great Divide
page 51
Soapy Smith's Orleans Club (under flag)
(Click image to enlarge)
     “Don’t jostle that fellow. he may be a millionaire to–morrow and resent the insult.”
     Such are familiar warnings in Creede of to–day, and they are not without sense. There is not another spot on earth which contains within its four miles of settlement so many men poor to–day who may by the turn of a card by the fickle goddess of fortune be a millionaire to–morrow.
     The man who peddles apples on the street, the woman who washes clothes, the carpenter of the boom and wood chopper of ordinary life, the hustler who does odd jobs, the merchant, the banker, the real estate dealer, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker, each and all are working but for the money that goes to pay the man upon the hillside who is putting down “a hole” for him.
     To–morrow one of those men of the pick-and-shovel brigade may put in a shot just far enough to tear nature’s guarded secret from her, and presto! all will be like the transformation scene at the play–guys will be gentlemen, fellows men, and mayhap some men pure statesmen and politicians. So wags the world, and if Creede does not turn out its quota of the latter class it will be an exception to the rule which was heretofore maintained in Colorado mining camps.
     It would amuse one to pick out from the 8,000 players at the game of chance those who would be most likely to take front rank in the business, social or political life of the State after that elusive period of time having struck it rich, and the cynic can find much material for his grist from such speculation.
     Up and down the narrow, rough streets of the new city these prospected millionaires rush about, sustained in the fire of excitement and the pace that kills with ever recurring tales of new strikes, and the feverish flame is kept alive by rocks brought at night from the cut or shaft bearing in their composition hints of riches to be had when the working has gone deeper down in the door to the storehouse of silver opened to where the thievish elements of air and water have not penetrated.
     “If you have a cut or vain in the bowels of the earth, we have the sucker.” So advertises a confident broker of the camp, but the fellow with the prospect says he wants no sucker and has nothing to sell on those terms. So he puts up his money to the man on the hill and hopes on for the day when the “maybe” shall be “is.”
     Up on the hills all is not peaceful and serene. Even millionaires are not satisfied, and the Oliver Twist principle rules. Claim jumping as a means to an end is the resort, and is becoming of daily occurrence and dangerous quality.
     Up at Deer Lodge, a new camp at the head of Willow Creek, the miners have organized a Vigilance Committee and issued notices to jumpers to keep off the grass.
     A jumper sent an engineering corps up there recently to run out some claims. The leader of the committee was asleep in his tent when the lieutenant went to him, yelling: “there is a man here with an instrument and for men; every man has a gun and every gun has a wheel on it.”
     A call to arms was made, the surveyors halted and the captain confronted them.
     “We came to survey for the man who employed us.”
     “Go back and tell the man who employed you to come up here himself,” was the reply.
     The surveyors departed, but the man who did the jumping had lost no claims up Deer Lodge way.
     Up on the Quaking Asp, which takes in a part of Bachelor City, rival contestants have been watching each other with the keenest of eyes, and declarations of war passed between the lines many times a day. A contractor jumped the claims. The original owners—Denver men—engaged new men and put them to work. The jumper, with half the settlers of the town at his back, warn them to quit. They did so. The owners put them to work again, under promise of a guard, and, despite frequent warnings, notices, threats and gunplays, have kept at work.
     Just now it is a question for dispute among those who would come into the towns and the mining men who assert the desirability of such a move, what the extent of Creede’s mineral resources well ultimately proved to be. The doubter has come in now and then and said that the camp was to settle down to a heavy production from only a few mines of great richness. This proposition the men up mines dispute.
     Mr. N. C. Creede, who found the veins now shipping, says that he believes there are more big mines here, and that they will be found this year. He said:
     “I hope to show up more mines in the camp this year, and do not believe the resources have been nearly exhausted. I cannot help thinking there are more mines here than those now shipping.
     “Mammoth is a good mountain. The ‘Mammoth’ vein is unquestionably a continuation of the ‘Holy Moses.’ I expect to see a rich strike made there this summer, one such as the camp is looking for. It may not equal the ‘Amethyst,’ for I firmly believe that to be one of the richest mines in the State, but one almost as good. It may be in the ‘Mammoth,’ it may be in the Eclat,’ but it is there and will be found.”
     Mr. Creede asserts that the “Mammoth” vein is the continuation of the Holy Moses,” and four strong companies are now at work sinking there. When the holes go deeper, there is no question but that the big reserve fund of the camp will be largely in the boom.
     Parallel veins to the big ones on Campbell, Bachelor and Mammoth are being worked in a way that means business, and the mining men of Creede have quit standing by the holes, speculating on what may be below. They are taking off their coats and going after it.
     Down in the lime, there is the real puzzle of the camp. Men who know contacts see the stuff between the porphyry and the lime, scratch their heads and say, “if it ain’t there, it ought to be,” then go look at the “Amethyst” and “Last Chance,” and come back and say that everything in the camp is a contact.
     Thousands of ten-foot holes are being sunk, and hope is high in that locality.
     Probably another boom of such magnitude will not occur in the West for years, and if it should, and be hedged about with all law and police regulations which authority can give, it is great odds against it settling down with such a good record for good conduct as Creede has so far and will in all likelihood continue to make. From time to time, war in the camp has seemed eminent, but the troubles have been smoothed over, and now, with a partial police regulation and a full authority near at hand, the prospects for peace are improving. Deputy Sheriffs from the various counties claiming the camp, Marshals appointed by the citizens and commissioned specially by the State authorities, act as a check on would-be law breakers.
     Prominent among the mining men who have flocked from all over the West was “Old Bill Comer,” who found the great “Lamartine” mine, and says he will find another at Creede.
     So the great boom—great in its every feature—grows and spreads, and will continue to do so as long, as one miner put it, “as the precious minerals lie in the heart of Mother Nature, and the governments of the earth will coin them.”


     Mr. R. MacMechen, in writing upon the geological formation of Creede, says: “the chief peculiarity of the section is the enormous preponderance of trachyte without any exemplifications of a sedimentary formation. Yet the existence of the latter is easily traced. Just as a lower limit of Jimtown we discover the presence of the carboniferous, and along the Rio Grande and upon other side of that stream, below Jimtown, can be followed an island of sedentary formation, some eight miles in length by two and a half in width, encompassed by an ocean of highly eruptive material of a much later period. The first good idea of the geological nature of this section is obtained, shortly after leaving Wagon Wheel Gap, in ascending the Rio Grande towards Jimtown. Along the stream a horizontal stratum of limestone is observed to the east. This is the lower carboniferous or, in mining parlance, blue limestone. At frequent intervals, the stratification is exposed by erosion, and at these points is noted an overlying volcanic trap– rock, showing the indigenous overflow. North of the Rio Grande, following Willow Creek for about one and one–half miles, the northern limit of the carboniferous, it is discovered in a highly mineralized state, broken and seamed with dykes of eruptive rock. The eruptive flow again appears south of the carboniferous island, thus practically enclosing the sedentary formation.”


There are earlier articles in the March 1892 and "preceding numbers of The Great Divide but I have yet to find them. It should be noted that the business district of Creede burnt down on June 5, 1892, the month of the next issue of this magazine. It will be interesting to see if they have anything more.

Creede, Colorado: A search under "Creede" for this blog. Note that the articles are not in any particular order so the best one may be the last one. 

Creede: pages 11, 63, 73, 75, 77, 79, 82-84, 87-89, 90, 94, 199, 131, 137, 183, 197-242.

There is more than a morsel of truth in the saying, "He who hates vice hates mankind."
—W. MacNeile Dixon


1787: New Jersey becomes the third state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
1796: The Monitor of Baltimore, Maryland is published as the first Sunday newspaper.
1856: Lieutenant James Witherell of Company C, 2nd Cavalry, and two officers from the 8th Infantry, battle with a party of Apache Indians while scouting by the Rio Grande from Ft. Clark, Texas.
1862: The first orthopedic hospital, the Hospital for Ruptured and Crippled, is organized in New York City.
1865: Slavery is abolished in the United States with the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
1894: Soapy Smith and John Bowers are arrested in Denver on complaint from Thomas Moody. Soapy pays a $300 bond to get them out of jail.
1898: A new automobile speed record is set at 39 mph.
1899: President McKinley commutes the sentence of Soap Gang member “Slim Jim” Foster in the robbery of John D. Stewart in Skagway, Alaska, after one year due to his having contracted consumption.
1903: The Panama Canal Zone is acquired 'in perpetuity' by the U.S. for an annual rent.
1912: The discovery of the Piltdown man in East Sussex is announced. It will be proved a hoax in 1953. Bad man Soapy Smith had a petrified man found in 1892. It was not proven to be a hoax until 2012, when it was determined that the corpse was intentionally mummified. 

December 7, 2017

The criminal history of Harry Gilmore, alias Jim Jordan.

Harry Gilmore
Alias Jim Jordan
age 48-54

Rocky Mountain News
April 19, 1894
(Click image to enlarge)

ho the hell was Harry Gilmore?

     We are all mere "students" of history. When I published my book, Alias Soapy Smith: The Life and Death of a Scoundrel, there was a limit to time and resources I had available to work with. I could not spend the time researching every person Soapy Smith knew. These days I have more time and resources at my disposal. Thus, as a result, I am coming across new and interesting historical information. Today's article regards a con man Soapy knew, named Harry Gilmore, alias "Jim Jordan."
     In Alias Soapy Smith I describe him as an opposition figure of "Troublesome" Tom Cady, standing at Soapy's side in Denver on October 11, 1892, the day gambler Cliff Sparks was shot and killed in Murphy's Exchange. The Denver newspapers report that his name is Jim Jordan, alias Harry Gilmore, and I accepted that at the time. A more thorough search indicates it is likely the other way around, his real name being Harry Gilmore, alias "Jim Jordan." Who shot and killed Sparks was never determined, and the murder remains a mystery, though throughout the rest of his life newspapers gave Gilmore credit for the deed when reporting on him.
     The shooting of Sparks indirectly caused problems for Soapy six years later in Skagway, Alaska, when brothel proprietor Mattie Silks arrived in town. Her husband, Corteze “Cort” Thomson, was a friend and business partner of Gilmore's and for a brief time was also implicated in the shooting. As told to a Seattle reporter, Silks accused Soapy of plotting to murder her.
     While Alias Soapy Smith contains much more detail about Gilmore, the above information summarizes what I knew about him, until very recently. Research of Gilmore in a Denver newspaper suggested that I should try to pick up his trail and follow it. That pursuit led to a landfill of new information about this criminal. For some of the following newspaper listings, the "Harry Gilmore" cited may be about some other criminal using this name. However, all of the listings suggest one and the same person based on details known about the man and the criminal nature of his crimes.

  • 1840-1846: Newspapers vary on Harry Gilmore's year of birth. In 1894 the Rocky Mountain News stated he was 48 years old, where as the Morning Star (Washington, D.C.) states that he was 78 at the time of his death in 1918.
  • September 15, 1876: Gilmore is incarcerated for burglary and larceny. Jamestown Journal (New York).
  • October 18, 1876: Gilmore is in police court for "larceny of gas pipe from J. F. Reardon; [sentenced to] six months in jail." Evening Star (Washington D.C.).
  • Unknown date prior to 1881: Gilmore was injured in "A trespassing operation [that] was unsuccessful," and as a result, "there is a silver plate in Gilmore's head to-day." November 8, 1886, Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois).
  • March 14, 1881: Gilmore shoots and kills George McBride. Daily Illinois State Journal (Chicago, Illinois).

    CHICAGO, March 13.—George McBride, a hostler, in the employ of William B. Simpson, was shot and killed by a well known thief named Harry Gilmore, in front of the Wabash Avenue Pavilion today. Simpson had been on a spree last night, and McBride was sent from his home to hunt him up, and found him in the Pavilion in company with Gilmore. McBride tried to get his employer away, but Gilmore interfered and called McBride names, whereupon McBride invited him outside to settle the matter with fists. When they started out Gilmore was handed a pistol by the bartender. When Simpson saw the pistol in Gilmore's hand he tried to stop the fight, and McBride said he had no intention to fight unarmed against Gilmore. The latter said he had no intention to let his adversary off so, and leveling the pistol over Simpson's shoulder, sent a ball through McBride's temple, killing him instantly. Simpson, the owner of the saloon and the bartender were arrested, but Gilmore escaped.
  • March 15, 1881: "A dispatch from Fort Wayne [Indiana] says Gilmore is well known in that city, where it is thought he murdered Corner [Connor?] Webb, three years ago." Evening Leader (Chicago, Illinois). 
  • June 6, 1881: Gilmore is spotted in Chicago, entering the brothel where his mistress, Monte Hamilton, lived. Police searched the brothel, but Gilmore was not found. Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois).
  • Unknown date: Gilmore serves "a two year’s sentence in Fairfield, Iowa for some three-card monte business." November 8, 1886, Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois).
  • 1884: Gilmore is sighted in Portland, Oregon, but disappeared before he could be captured.  November 7, 1886, Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois).
  • November 7, 1886: Gilmore is captured in Chicago by Sergeant Max Kipley and Detective Costello as he emerged from a resort in Calhoune Place. Gilmore is described as "small and elegantly dressed." The paper also wrote that at the time of the murder in 1881 Gilmore was a "young appearing man, with luxurious black hair and beard. As he trembled in the clutch of the officers in his old haunts this morning, he was a man grown prematurely old. His hair and beard were white as snow, and he bore other evidence of having waged brisk war with fear and remorse during the five years that elapsed since the murder he is said to have done. The prisoner denies that he is Gilmore, and says the case is one of mistaken identity." Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois).
  • November 8, 1886: Old acquaintances of Gilmore identify the man being held at Central Station in Chicago as Gilmore. The newspaper identifies him as a three-card monte tosser. Details of Gilmore's escape after the 1881 murder are published. Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois).
         The facts concerning the escape of Gilmore at the time he murdered McBride have never been made public. The crime, which was a most cold-blooded one, was committed in the Wabash Avenue Pavilion, at Nos 542 and 546 of that thoroughfare. After Gilmore shot his victim through the head, he fled to the disreputable house kept by Mav Willard, a block north of the resort. There he had a woman named “Monte,” who was so called because of her relation to Gilmore, who was himself a three-card monte man. He remained there but a few hours, when he was taken on the West Side in a cab and “planted” in the house of a friend of his on Monroe street. There he remained about two weeks, when some of the police “stoolies” betrayed his hiding place, and Captain Buckley and four detectives went over to the house to get him. The officers went to the house next door to that in which Gilmore was hiding, and he was made aware of their presence. When they found their mistake, Gilmore was ready to make a desperate resistance; but a delay at the door gave him a chance to open a window and jump to a shed twenty feet below. As he stood on the sill, one of the officers caught sight of him, and as the murderer jumped a bullet was sent after him. It missed. Gilmore escaped around to Peoria street, thence north to Madison street, where he was lost sight of by the Chicago detectives until yesterday. When he disappeared from sight on Madison street, Gilmore took a car, rode to the Washingtonian Home, and there entered himself as a patient suffering from alcoholism. As such he remained for three weeks, when he sees an opportunity offered of leaving town.
         Since leaving here he has had some adventures. He has been in every State in the Union, almost, and did a two year’s sentence in Fairfield, Iowa for some three-card monte business. Two years ago his wife was in Chicago trying to make arrangements with the friends of the murdered man to drop the prosecution. Gilmore was then in California, and everything was about completed, when a [illegible word] occurred, and the negotiations fell through.
  • December 4, 1886: Gilmore is arrested in Chicago on five charges of larceny, falsely representing himself as an inspector for an insurance company, in which he stole four watches and gold jewelry. Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois).
    December 10, 1886: Pleads not guilty for the 1881 murder of  George McBride. Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois).
  • January 22, 1887: Gilmore is sentenced to 3 years in prison for larceny (see Dec 4, 1886). Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois).
  • January 26, 1887: Trial begins for the murder of George McBride (1881). Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois).
  • January 28, 1887: Gilmore is convicted of murdering George McBride (1881) and sentenced to 30 years in prison. Evening Star (Washington, D.C.).
  • July 10, 1892: The governor of Illinois pardons Gilmore for the murder of George McBride as Gilmore is reported to be dying of consumption. Daily Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois).
  • Unknown date: Harry Gilmore is first reported using the alias of "Jim Jordan."
  • October 11, 1892: Gilmore, alias "Jim Jordan," is a key suspect in the shooting death of gambler Cliff Sparks, along with Soapy Smith and Thomas Cady. All are acquitted of the murder. Rocky Mountain News, (Denver, Colorado). See blog post of August 3, 2011.
  • January 3, 1893: In San Francisco Gilmore, Horace Black, "Kid" McCoy and William Edwards rob Wachhorst's jewelry store of a "large quantity of diamonds" valued at $7,000. April 19, 1894, Rocky Mountain News, (Denver, Colorado).
  • February 11, 1894: Gilmore is arrested in Denver along with con man Frank Salter alias "Plunk." The capture of a local criminal who had letters on his person leads to the fact that Harry Gilmore, alias "Jim Jordan," is the leader of a gang of robbers in Denver. Police corruption is suspected as Jordan is released for no apparent reason. Orders are given to rearrest Jordan on vagrancy and suspicion. By the time Gilmore was arrested, a bond for his release had been made out. Gilmore is believed to be a "go-between for the holdups" that have been occurring in Denver for several months. Rocky Mountain News, (Denver, Colorado).
  • March 12, 1894: A Chicago newspaper publishes an article stating that "Thomas Jordan, who is under sentence of death in Colorado for killing a watchman at the Grant smelter and whom Governor Waite has refused to pardon, is said to be Harry Gilmore, ..." [could this be just a simple mistake, or could it be an attempt to pass on Gilmore's identity to a convicted man awaiting execution?] Rocky Mountain News, (Denver, Colorado).
  • April 1, 1894: A San Francisco sheriff wires Denver police to hold Gilmore until they can arrive and take him back to California for defrauding Len Foster out of $4,000 in the summer of 1893. Gilmore's accomplice is Corteze “Cort” Thomson but there is not enough evidence to charge Thomson with being a co-conspirator in the crime. At some point while in California, Gilmore is also arrested on a burglary charge. Rocky Mountain News, (Denver, Colorado).
  • April 15, 1894: In San Francisco, Gilmore partner Horace Black, who is in jail, informs on Gilmore and confesses their Wachhorst diamond robbery. Gilmore is in jail in Denver awaiting the arrival of San Francisco police officers to arrest and return him to California to stand trial. San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California).
  • April 19, 1894: A snag in Gilmore's extradition occurs. Denver police had arrested and held Gilmore at the request of Sheriff O'Neil of San Francisco for the diamond robbery in that city, and a private detective was sent to collect Gilmore. However, upon arriving to take charge of his prisoner, the detective was told that Gilmore had been released. California Governor Markham was notified by wire, and a war of words ignited between him and Colorado Governor Waite. The detective was ordered to remain in Denver and follow Gilmore until the tangled legal mess could be unraveled. Rocky Mountain News, (Denver, Colorado).
  • May 13, 1897: In Columbus, Ohio, along with other men, Harry Gilmore is arrested, using the alias "Murnan Creet," while defrauding numerous bicycle dealers throughout the state. Cleveland Leader (Cleveland, Ohio).
    The plan is a new one and brilliant in its simplicity. One of the men called up Schoedinger & Fearn by telephone, gave the name of a retail dealer, ordered a few pairs of bicycle tires, and said he would send a boy for the tires and the bill. In a few minutes the boy appeared and got the tires. The trio, of course, skipped before the monthly bills were rendered.
         From the extensiveness with which the men had operated it is believed that they bagged at least $10,000.
  • June 13, 1899: Denver police receive information from Seattle, Washington, that Gilmore is "wanted for working the gold brick swindle." Gilmore, J. R. Green and J. F. Gray "bilked a farmer at Walla Walla, Washington out of $8,000 recently." Rocky Mountain News, (Denver, Colorado). See blog post of December 3, 2017.
  • February 4, 1901: In Denver, Gilmore, alias "Jim Jordan," is identified as the "chief bunco man" among the gang being financed by Kittie Fitzgibbons. Others in the gang living at the Belmont hotel are Kid Cunningham, alias Thorne, Annie Piggott, May Sloan, George Barrett,  Chris and Charlie, known as "the Swedes," "Sleepy" Jake and Ike Cohen. Rocky Mountain News, (Denver, Colorado).
  • December 21, 1902: Gilmore, alias "James Carlisle," is arrested at a race track in New Orleans as a "dangerous and suspicious character." The newspaper makes mention that he had been arrested in Salt Lake City, Utah, and El Paso, Texas (winter of 1901). Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana). According to the December 22, 1902, San Francisco Chronicle, Gilmore was convicted and sentenced to five years in San Quentin for a swindle in Stockton, California.
  • February 3, 1905: Gilmore, alias "J. C. Martin," is arrested in Dayton, Ohio. Denver Post (Denver, Colorado).
  • August 19, 1905: Gilmore, alias "Jim Jordan," is a key witness in the Pollock diamond robbery in Iowa. Daily Nonpareil (Council Bluffs, Iowa).
  • February 1, 1907: Gilmore is identified and sought for check forgery. Morning Star (Washington, D.C.).
  • May 5, 1908: In Denver Gilmore and a young female are arrested for larceny and burglarizing $600 worth of furs from the store owned by J. Neilsen. Gilmore was working as a waiter in the Mining Exchange saloon so he was released on personal recognizance. Denver Post (Denver, Colorado).
  • June 7, 1908: Gilmore is rearrested in Denver and held pending instructions from several law police departments in the East. In St. Joseph, Missouri, the inspector of detectives recognized Gilmore as "Charles O'Hara," brother of "Cat" O'Hara, serving a life sentence for the murder of a saloon proprietor. Authorities in Omaha, Nebraska, are seeking Gilmore on a charge of forging or passing a U.S. postal order. Rocky Mountain News (Denver, Colorado). 
  • January 4, 1909: In New Jersey Gilmore is charged with four counts of grand larceny as a boarding house thief working what the newspaper calls the "furnished room game." He enters a plea of non vult, or "no contest," and at age 70 is sentenced to 8 years in prison. The newspaper writes, "The aged offender, now a cripple and forced to use a heavy cane." Jersey Journal (Jersey City, New Jersey).

  • Harry Gilmore
    "Age 70"
    likely age 63-69
    Jersey Journal
    January 7, 1909

  • April 13, 1911: A Harry Gilmore is given six months in the San Francisco county jail for petty larceny in the hold up of G. F. Fillippi. San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco).
  • April 11, 1918: Harry Gilmore dies. Morning Star (Washington, D.C.).  
  • _______________

    BALTIMORE, Md., April 10.—"Old Jim" Jordan, international confidence man, died in Baltimore today at the age of 78. Jordan was a "de luxe" card sharper, working especially the big transatlantic liners. He had killed two men in his day and was generally feared by the police. His real name was Harry Gilmore.

     So ends the recently collected, chronological data for Harry Gilmore, aka "Jim Jordan," and a host of other alias.' No stories are known about what kind of a "card sharper" he was except that he was considered to be of the "deluxe" variety. He probably did not have the polished manner, guile, and nerve of a Soapy Smith, but Gilmore approached being like Soapy in at least a couple of ways: his inveterate pursuit of criminal enterprise and his ability to evade law enforcement and short change the justice system. These are not qualities to be praised. In fact, they're not even qualities, except in how they express a wildness of spirit that refused to submit. 

Harry Gilmore, alias "Jim Jordan:" December 3, 2017
Cliff Sparks: August 3, 2011

Harry Gilmore, alias "Jim Jordan:" pages 250-55, 257-58, 507, 520.
Cliff Sparks: pages 79, 250-59, 263, 268, 289, 291-92, 502, 507, 529.

"There are two types of people in this world, good and bad. The good sleep better, but the bad seem to enjoy the waking hours much more."
—Woody Allen


1787: Delaware is the first state to ratify the U.S. constitution.
1796: John Adams is elected the second president of the U.S.
1836: Martin Van Buren is elected the eighth president of the U.S.
1863: George Ives, a member of the “innocents” outlaw gang, robs and kills Nick Thiebalt in Ruby Valley, Montana Territory.
1869: The James-Younger gang robs the Gallatin, Missouri bank. John W. Sheets, a former captain in the Union Army, is shot and killed by Jesse James. The robbers ride away with about $700.
1871: The town of Kit Carson, Colorado Territory is surrounded by thousands of buffalo, who are ranging 200 miles farther west than usual. The Indians of the region say that it is a prediction of a bad winter.
1874: Twenty-six Indians surrender to Captain Keyes and the 10th Cavalry at Kingfisher Creek, Indian Territory.
1874: Four men rob the Tishomingo Bank in Cornith, Mississippi. Newspapers and some historians say it is the work of the James-Younger gang.
1875: John Clark brings the first flock of sheep into Arizona Territory.
1878: The first train to enter New Mexico Territory comes from Colorado via the Raton Pass.
1888: Buffalo Bill Cody visits Cheyenne, Wyoming.

December 3, 2017

Buncoed Jay: Denver Evening Post, June 12, 1899

Article transposed below.
(Click image to enlarge)

Denver Evening Post, June 12, 1899



Police Notified to Look Out for Harry Gilmore.




Gilmore Is Heading This Way After
Having Parted $6,000 From It’s
Owner—Aided by Two Accomplices
All Are Well Known in Denver. Where
Gilmore Once Stood Trial for Murder.


     The police have been notified to look out for and arrest Harry Gilmore, alias Jim Jordan, a gold brick swindler, well known in this city.
     Gilmore is now wanted in Seattle, wash., Where he and two accomplices are alleged to have buncoed a farmer out of $6,000 by the tin-box scheme.
     This is as old as the hills, yet it works with remarkable frequency. The scheme is to find an unsophisticated man with considerable money and engage him in conversation which may lead to the subject of the financial standing of some bank in which the victim has his money deposited, this fact being previously acertained by the “bunco man.”
     One of the “con” men also has some money in the same bank, or at least he says he has, but feels that the money is not safe, as he has heard that a run was about to be made. The victim does not like to lose his money, and the bunco man suggests that they both withdraw their accounts and thus save the money. At this stage of the game the “con” man says he has taken a great liking to the victim and says he would like to put his money in the same place with him. He suggests a tin box, and by his talk induces the victim to purchase the box and only one key. They meet the next day, and the bunco man as a bag of paper, on the top of which are several bills, to make it appear like a bag of money.
     He had a friend or two with him at the meeting and he and the victim place their money in the box, the victim to retain possession of it all the time. The boxes locked with the treasurer inside and the victim puts the key in his pocket. The “con” man then engages the victim in conversation and has him write a receipt, which necessarily compels him to put the box down on a table or chair. While he is engaged one of the accomplices who has brought a box with him which is just like the one the victim brought, grabs the box with the money and it and substitutes the empty one. As soon as the exchange is made the bunco men lose no time in getting away to “keep a business appointment,” and the unsuspecting victim carries home his empty box and deep down in his heart he wishes he would never hear from the men again.
     He changes his mind, however, when he gets home, and while he has a chance of counting the other man’s money while no one is looking he takes out his key to open the box. He finds that the key will not turn the lock, so he waits until the next day when he was to meet his kind friend. The friend, of course, does not show up, and the victim breaking open the box discovers that it is empty. Then the victim hurries to the police and wants the bunco men arrested.
     It was this scheme that Gilmore, alias Jordan, John R. Green, Alias Crooked Face Green, and J. F. Gray worked on a farmer at Walla Walla.
     All three of these men are well known in Denver as they worked on Seventeenth street during the latter part of the eighties and early nineties.
     Gray and Green are under arrest, but Gilmore got away and is supposed to be coming toward Denver. Gilmore alias Jordan, was once tried here for murder. In 1892 Cliff Sparks was shot and killed in Murphy’s Exchange on Larimer street. Several people were arrested for the killing, including Soapy Smith, Tom Keady and Gilmore, who was going under the name of Jordan. Smith and Keady got out of the trouble at a preliminary hearing, but Jordan had to stand trial and was acquitted. Previous to this he had been sentenced to 30 years in Joliet for murdering a hostler, and after serving 10 years of the sentence, was released.
     He and his pals worked many bunco tricks here, and they were in jail on numerous occasions, but were never convicted.
     The police here are keeping a lookout for Gilmore, and if he comes this way he will be landed in jail.
     As the Denver Evening Post indicates, John R. Green and J. F. Gray were arrested by the Walla Walla, Washington police. Several weeks later it is discovered that Green is wanted for murder.
     John R. Green, Alias Crooked Face Green is unknown to me, however, as this robbery occurred in Washington state, John Green may be con man and imposer Harry Green. Harry Green is the gentleman who Soapy became very angry with for using the name "Jeff R. Smith" in Washington, April 1898. I could not locate anything more on "John R. Green."
     J. F. Gray: I could not locate anything on "J. F. Gray." Is it possible this is John H. Morris, alias John H. Gray, T. J. Gray, "Fatty Gray?"
      Harry Gilmore, alias Henry Gilmore, Jim Jordan, "Gambler Jordan," is listed in my book Alias Soapy Smith, as Jim Jordan being his birth name, as listed in the 1892 Denver newspapers. In this instance an 1899 Denver newspaper states the opposite. I began to do some more digging and found that Harry Gilmore was likely his real name. I also found out a lot more about Gilmore's criminal history. See blog post for December 3, 2017.

James Jordan: August 3, 2011.
Harry Gilmore, alias "Jim Jordan:" December 3, 2017

Harry Gilmore, alias Henry Gilmore, Jim Jordan, "Gambler Jordan": pages 250-55, 257-58, 507, 520.

"It has ever been my experience that folks who have no vices, have very few virtues."
—Abraham Lincoln


1818: Illinois becomes the 21st state.
1828: Andrew Jackson is elected the seventh President of the U.S.
1833: Oberlin College in Ohio opens as the first coeducational school of higher learning.
1835: In Rhode Island, the Manufacturer Mutual Fire Insurance Company issues the first fire insurance policy.
1864: Gold is discovered near Confederate Gulch, Montana Territory.
1866: Completing the first Texas to Montana cattle drive Nelson Story, his cowboys, and herd arrive in the Gallatin Valley near Bozeman. The drive covered 2,500 miles.
1881: Dave Rudabaugh escapes jail and a death sentence by tunneling out of the San Miguel County, Colorado jail.
1881: John “Doc” Holliday is arrested, but acquitted, for firing a pistol inside the city limits of Tombstone, Arizona Territory.
1883: Outlaw William E. “Mormon Bill” Delaney rode into Bisbee, Arizona Territory with John Heath, Daniel Kelly, and others, where they rob a store killing four people, including a woman. Delaney stationed himself outside the store and was witnessed shooting down two men and may have killed the woman.