Statement of William Bartram

Dublin Core


81/2 x 14"


Bantram discusses Frank Gaylord known as “Nasty Gaylord”; there is a possibility he is behind the fires due to his access to oil and waste.




MS020, 1/2

Document Item Type Metadata


Statement of William Bartram
Made at Danbury Conn.
Saturday, January 31, 1891
I am gateman at White St. Crossing for New England RR in this city. I am personally acquainted with Frank Gaylord known as “Nasty Gaylord” have known him for quite a number of years, I knew him to work for the Housatonic RR drying sand at the Engine House for that road.
Gaylord is employed here to fire three switch lights between here and the Fair Grounds, he has been employed here about 2 months, each of his lights take one half pint of oil each night. He has now a one gal [gallon] can that he gets filled one week once, and the next week twice. When he first took the place he brought his lamps from the switch post to the shanty to fill them, but he complained that they were too heavy, and so he got a can, and now fills or has it filled at shanty with oil. He takes the can home and when it is empty he comes and has it refilled. He also is given a quantity of waste with which he cleans the glass in switch lamps. As I said he first brought his lamps to the shanty where we keep the oil and filled them there. [page break]

[Bartram page 2]
Then he complained of it being too heavy a task to carry them up to the fair ground. I gave him a can to keep his oil in, he used to come twice a week but I told him that he could not use all that oil. So now he comes about every four days, quite a number of times. I have had to speak to him about the quantity of oil he was using, but once he said that he had to build a fire to warm his hands when up the track and again he said he fell and spilled the oil, when comes I generally go to the shanty which is at the end of the depot platform and get the oil and waste for him, but if I am busy I give him the key and let him get it himself and in that case I would not know how much he did get either of oil or waste. He tells me that he keeps the oil and waste at home. He got waste the day before yesterday, and I noticed that he got quite a quantity of it. He does not get any matches from this company at all as the company does not furnish them. Mr. Hogan once gave him five cents to buy a box of matches.
When these fires were taking place I and Mr. Hogan spoke of this very boy. He lives as you very well know in the very heart of the fire district.
I must say one thing of him, and [page break]

[Bartram page 3]
that is that he has done his work while here in a proper manner, and no fault can be found with him. He is a most powerful liar, and for the truth of that see Mr. Stiles the store keeper on White Street.
It would be a very easy thing for him to get more oil than he is supposed to take. The oil that he gets is kerosene oil, not black oil. The nearest place to get that is at Brewster’s. He is supposed to have his lights lit by five p.m.
The only keys to the oil shanty are one in my keeping, and one in the keeping of the section. He may have been to the shanty five or six times since he has commenced to work here but he is and always has been hanging around here. He is generally very dirty and is queer in his actions.




“Statement of William Bartram.” Pinkerton Detective Agency Danbury Fires Investigation Collection, MS020. WCSU Archives, 9 July 2019. Accessed on the Web: 18 Feb. 2020.


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