Highlights from the

Leadville Weekly Democrat

140 Years Ago

Saturday, October 8, 1880



A Well-Known Citizen Takes a Counterfeiter Out of the Hands of the Law.

Mr. L. M. Van Buren gives THE DEMOCRAT the particulars of a shameful piece of business, of which he was the victim.

A short time ago, it appears, there arrived in this city a detective from the east in quest of a noted counterfeiter who is wanted in Pennsylvania. He and Mr. Van Buren together took the trail, and the latter ascertained that the man wanted was not only in this city, but occupied a house near the corner of Ninth and Pine streets, in which he lived with his wife and family. By means of various disguises, and by engaging himself to the neighbors as a wood sawyer, Mr. Van Buren finally got the thing so that he had only to turn his hand over in order to capture his man and reap the handsome reward offered by the government for the apprehension of the criminal. Saturday night, armed with a United States warrant, Van Buren concealed himself in a barn owned by Mr. Randolph Carpenter, and, situated in a position where he could command a full view of the counterfeiter’s home, waited for his return from the city to nab him. While there, he was discovered by Mr. Carpenter, to whom, in order to account for his presence on the premises, he was compelled to detail the object of his concealment, and, deeming him perfectly trustworthy, he exhibited to him the warrant for the man’s arrest. Carpenter consented to aid him all he could to effect the arrest, but instead of fulfilling his promise, he induced Van Buren to leave the barn upon a pretext that the man he was after had just gone down the street, and while the detective betook himself in the direction indicated, Mr. Van Buren says, Carpenter gave the wink to the criminal and the latter escaped. Van Buren volunteers to make an affidavit to this statement, and is very sore at the defeat to which Mr. Carpenter’s inexplicable action in the matter subjected him. The bird has flown and no one knows whither.


How the County is Made to Pay for the Folly of a Precocious Young Lawyer.

A DEMOCRAT reporter ascended a flight of stairs in the jail yesterday, accompanied by Sheriff Tucker, and entered the apartment which has been set apart for the confinement of “lady” prisoners. The room is in the new building over the office and is devoid of any grating or aught to indicate its adaptability to a prison. Evidently it was not meant for one, and it must indeed be a desperate woman who would attempt to escape from this place; the only exit, independent of the windows, which are well secured and one story above the ground, being the stairway which leads into the hall, only a few feet in extent, which connects the jail office with the reception room.

The room in which the female prisoners are kept contains a bath-tub with hot and cold water, and some articles of furniture, such as three beds, chairs and a table. Upon the table lay a book, evidently a good novel, but its pages appeared not to have been touched by either of the inmates. The number of prisoners at present confined there is three, of the Mother Duffey bevy of naughty damsels who were arrested on Tuesday night for disturbing the peace. It was near four o’clock when the reporter called, but, though dressed, neither one of the girls had left their beds. They lay in a listless attitude with their arms folded under their heads, regarding the intruders with a bold, impudent stare. One, who appeared to be the youngest, as she was the most attractive, alone showed any concern. She quickly started up from her lazy position, arranged her dress, and, as if ashamed of the inspection of the sheriff and the reporter, turned her back to them and averted her face. The three girls, as they have thus, presented a sad appearance.

They were arrested for disturbing the peace. Ordinarily this is not a very serious offense, and it was supposed that when the arrest was made that by the payment of a modest fine they would be released, but when they were up for trial, a young lawyer—very much such a chap as the one who assumed to prove to a Nevada justice that his court had no legal existence on general principles, and hence his client would have to be discharged—conclusively showed by some long-forgotten authority that Justice Bardine would render himself responsible to the supreme court of the United States if he discharged the poor girls.

By the embellishment of a dose of grand eloquence, which young lawyers as a general thing have a happy knack of hurling like a broadside into the faces of the gray-haired magistrates to whose sense of justice they so masterly appeal, the thing was settled, and instead of enriching the city’s coffers by the imposition of a commensurate fine, the girls were committed to await the action of the grand jury, which, having but just adjourned, does not again assemble until some time in January.

Thus it is that through the folly of an inexperienced lawyer, who expects to enroll his name among the galaxy of illustrious disciples of Blackstone by this feat, the county is made to provide for those girls for three months until the grand jury again assembles to hear their cases. Then, in all probability, no true bills will be found against them.

It was Sheriff Tucker’s object to learn if they could give bond that induced him to visit the girls in their prison, but all appeared perfectly indifferent to change their quarters, and will doubtless “board it out” until the time for their release comes.


Jas. McCallom Stabbed and Shot by Frank Gilbert.

The Murderer Comes to McCallom’s Cabin in Tennessee Park and Commits the Foul Deed.

A frightful murder was committed at about 10 o’clock last night in a log cabin in Tennessee Park, about six miles from Leadville, and a short distance from


The name of the murdered man is James McCallom, and that of the murderer


The news of the crime was not received in the city until 3 o’clock this morning, when a brother of the deceased, and a witness of the tragedy named Rodell Root, rode into town to notify the coroner.


of the latest atrocity were obtained from the brother of McCallom, and are as follows:

Some time ago, a man named O’Connell purchased several loads of charcoal from Gilbert and his partner without paying for them, engaging James McCallom to do the hauling for him. When Gilbert found that he could not get his pay from O’Connell he applied to McCallom, as he had hauled the coal. This gave rise to the quarrel which last night resulted in


At about 10 o’clock, Frank Gilbert and a man whose first name is Mike went to McCallom’s cabin in Tennessee park, Gilbert entering the door with a revolver in one hand and a bowie knife in the other. Besides McCallom no one was stopping in the cabin except Rodell Root. Gilbert was intoxicated. He insulted McCallom, then struck him in the side with the bowie knife, the blade penetrating an oilcloth coat and entering his side several inches. The wounded man hastened to the door, at the same time drawing his revolver, and began to run. Gilbert followed him to the door and fired three or four shots after him, one of which brought McCallom to the ground with the exclamation of “Oh!”

Gilbert then reentered the cabin and commanded Root, who had been a silent witness to the tragedy, to take a light and ascertain if McCallom was killed, saying: “If he ain’t, we’ll wait for him till daylight and


Root took a candle and left the cabin and began to search for McCallom, whose quivering body he found forty steps from the cabin door, bleeding profusely from a wound in the left side of his neck. He convinced himself that the wound was fatal and announced the fact to the murderer, who coolly departed from the scene of his crime, being soon lost to view in the darkness. Root notified one of McCallom’s brothers, and the two rode to town as stated, leaving the body as they found it for official examination. Gilbert is still at large. McCallom was a single man and came from Tennessee, the cabin in which the murder occurred being his property.


Festive Footpads Foster Their Foul Filibustering.

Thomas Dillon Stopped on East Fourth Street—Another Gives the Pads a Reception on Eleventh.

Thomas Dillon is floor manager at the Odeon dance hall on State street. He lives at 208 East Fourth street, about a block and a half above THE DEMOCRAT office. His business keeps him out until 4 o’clock in the morning, when the dance house closes its doors. About that time yesterday morning Mr. Dillon quit the Odeon, walked up State as far as Harrison avenue, down Harrison avenue as far as Fourth, and up Fourth on his way home. He had just crossed Poplar street and passed beyond the circle of the street lamp on the corner of Fourth and Poplar when three men surrounded him as suddenly as if they were moulded out of the darkness around him.

Dillon kept his hand steadily on his revolver, thrust away in the side pocket of his overcoat, and stopped. “What time is it?” asked one of the fellows, whose face the darkness completely concealed. Dillon suddenly raised his pistol until it was on a level with the breasts of all three, and exclaimed: “I guess, gentlemen, you have made a mistake as to your man. My advice to you is to get away from here just as soon as you know how, or I’ll be tempted to blow your brains out.”

This display of coolness on the part of Dillon was what the pads evidently had not expected, and, seeing that the stranger completely had the drop on them, they politely stepped aside and allowed him to reach the door of his house unmolested.

A few hours earlier, citizens living in the vicinity of the Sisters’ hospital were awakened by the reports of firearms in the street. A man named William Horton, a miner, who occupies a small shanty on Eleventh street, got up to see what caused the disturbance—the shooting being directly in front of his door—and saw a man standing in the middle of the street with a revolver in his hand, which he had evidently been firing. The two got into conversation, and the man with the pistol explained that he was a laborer for the D. & R. G., and was on his way home from the city to join his gang when two or three men approached him in the darkness and commanded him to hold up his hands, one of them wielding a club in his face. He threw up his hands, carrying with it his pistol, a small Smith & Wesson, seeing which the fellows fled incontinently up the street. He then fired several shots after them, but with what result does not appear.

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