Pinkerton Report - Jan 17-19, 1891

Dublin Core


81/2 x 14"


Jan 21, 1891


MS020 1/8

Document Item Type Metadata


New York Jan 21, 91
Jos. M. Ives, Esq.
257 Main St.
Danbury Conn.

Our operative J.T. McM further reports.
Saturday Jan 17, 91
Today in Danbury.
I went to the Mayor’s office to learn the result of last night’s meeting of the Firemen on the question if they would accept the month asked by Fire Commissioners before which the question of a raise of salary could be settled. I did not see Mayor. I went to see Fire Commissioner McPhelemy at his place on White St. near Ives. I questioned him regarding the meeting and he said that the meeting had agreed to grant what the Firemen had requested. He had no doubt but that the salary would in that time be raised to a proper limit. I then had talk with him for over half an hour regarding information obtained
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and the probable result of the investigation. He said that it was true that there was a bitter feeling shown towards Mr. Meyers; he believes Mr. Meyers to be a man fully capable of performing his duties as Chief of Police. Before leaving Mr. McPhelemy’s place I had a glass of lager and cigar. I went to Police station to see Cap’t Keating to make an engagement to see a young man named Bert Cotrell that he said could give me some information. Cap’t Keating told me to be at the office at 2 pm and would meet me. It then being 12:30pm I went to the Hotel where I had dinner and changed my clothes, I having got quite wet during the storm in the morning. At 2 pm I returned to Cap’t Keating’s office and waited until 2:30 pm, but he did not come. I then went to telegraph office and sent message to Agency, stating “I cannot on account of engagement get away today, will leave tomorrow, answer.” I again went to Cap’t Keating’s office and met him, and then in company with him went to the residence of Bert Cotrell on River St. near White and Rundlet’s Shop. I met Mr. Cotrell, he is a young man about 20 years of age, quiet looking and lives with his parents who formerly lived on Ives St. next to Dillon’s place. He made a statement. He, in fact, knows nothing. I remained at the house with Cap’t Keating
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Until 5:15 pm when I left and went as far as Leley’s Saloon on Elm St near Main St.; here the Cap’t said I might get a spot on some of the men suspected. I went in and went to the bar where I had a cigar. At the time there was only the bartender and an old man in the place; none of them, the Cap’t said, were, but such as were known to be straight. I returned to Police Station with Cap’t who said he would go with me during the evening to Boliver Murry’s house on Main St. A man who was noticed going down Maple Ave. just before the fire at Reed and Beebe’s. I then returned to the Hotel, where I found the following telegram, “come in Monday with reports made out. Meyers statement is not full enough. See him at once. I want all he knows or suspects.”
After supper I went to Police station to meet Cap’t Keating, but did not find him. Not waiting for him, I went to New England R.R. depot. I made enquiry for Engineer or Fireman named Jennings. I could not find that there was any such person. I went to [Hura’s] Saloon where I met Porter and had a drink with him. I inquired if Stevens was in town. Porter said it had not yet been reported that he was, and that he did not think that he was. At 9:30 pm I returned to Hotel.
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Sunday Jan 18, 91
After breakfast I waited for Morris Meyers, I having requested him to come to the Hotel this morning. At 9:30 am Mr. Meyers came and remained with me until 12:20 pm. I told him I wanted him to tell me all he knew about the fires that had taken place and any suspicions, and the cause of such suspicions, with names and all circumstances.
He then made another statement; much of his time was taken up in repeating what he had previously told me. I had great trouble in getting out of him what he told me regarding Taylor and Reinheart; it struck me as if he was wanting to keep his suspicions regarding Taylor and Reinhart to himself and to work out that end. He also wished to impress me with the fact several times that he thought we had reached the end of the fires. Now that he had become friends with the Kohanza Social Club, he stated that the entire manner of the members had changed. I asked Mr. Meyers to have a bottle of Lager that I had in my room but he declined. I have seen him drink several times. After he left I went to dinner. At 2 pm, I met Cap’t Keating who came to the Hotel. He said this evening “I will bring you to a young man named Boliver Murry who lives just
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below the Hotel, and see if he can give us any information.” Cap’t said he had made enquiry of all that he could think of and had special watch put on some but he was still in the dark. I went to my room where I wrote out statement of Meyers. At 6pm went to supper. At 7pm I met Cap’t Keating and went to residence of Boliver Murry on Main St., a few houses from Hotel, on other side of street, but upon enquiry found that he was out. I then left with the Captain and after walking down for some time found Murry standing with several companions on South St. near Main. He is a young man about 28 years of age and what I should call a confirmed drinker. Upon questioning him he said that he had been drinking that evening and came to Osborns fire long after it had started and was standing at New England House when the fire started at Green and Beebe’s and he with the crowd ran down to it. Here at this fire he worked in laying hose. He did not know who could have done it, knows that he was not around there that night previous to the fire. I saw it was no use to spend time with this man, so leaving the Cap’t I went to Police station where I met Serg’t Waggoner. I questioned him regarding young Taylor and Reinhart. He said they both were perfect devils and would
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not hesitate to do anything no matter what it is. Both were hard drinkers, and both had hard names. Taylor lived on Balmforth Ave and Reinhart on White St. somewhere near No. 79.
Waggoner said he would not be surprised to learn that either or both of them were engaged in the business, but that he would stick to his first opinion and that was that Howard Stevens knew who it was that was engaged in the business and that John H. Ellwood could, if he wished, put his finger in the man. He would still continue to keep trace of Stevens and Ellwood until he was positive that he was wrong, yet he firmly delivers that he was right and as I had spoken of Taylor’s name he would also keep good watch of him.
Waggoner had questioned and made enquiries of Lobdell and Hack and had found that they knew nothing and that it was time wasted to spend talking with them.
“This Department has done,” said Waggoner, “all that it possibly can to get at the bottom of this affair. We have got friends on the inside of crowd at Engine at Social Club, who report to us every move made. Yet we fail to get anything on which to base any suspicion that will
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hold. Stevens is an inveterate liar and I do not think can tell the truth, yet he is cunning.

Monday Jan 19, 91
After Breakfast, I called at Mr. Ives store, then took the 9:05am train for New York, arriving at 11:25am. Reported at Agency, and received further instructions from Asst. Supt. Loader.
At 4:01pm, left New York arriving at Danbury, Conn. At 5:55pm and went to Turner House.
At 7:45pm I had telephone from Police Station. I went out and met Sergt Waggoner and he asked me to get into sleigh. He told me that a house had been robbed, Lady assaulted, bucked and gagged, and man got away. I did not go with the Serg’t as this was out of my line, but returned to Hotel. I did not make any inquiry tonight wishing to start in early tomorrow morning.
At 12pm I got telephone from station that an attempt had been made to fire Mr. Marrion’s house on Grand St. but was unsuccessful, that a special man had been put out there to watch the house. Also that Howard Stevens was in town tonight. It was too late to go out to make investigation, and too dark to accomplish anything.

Yours Resp
Pinkertons Nat. Det. Agy.
Robert A. Pinkerton
Exec. Sup. [Ensi.]





Pinkerton, Robert A. (Robert Allan), 1848-1907. “Pinkerton Report - Jan 17-19, 1891.” Pinkerton Detective Agency Danbury Fires Investigation Collection, MS020. WCSU Archives, 9 July 2019. Accessed on the Web: 25 Jan. 2020.


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