Bucholz and the detectives

Another true adventure from the pen of Allan Pinkerton

image found here

(Reading between the lines, I think there may have been some shenanigans in the jail cell. See if you agree…..)

One sunny day in August 1878, there descended from the train at South Norwalk, an old German man, accompanied by a much younger one of the same nationality. The old gentleman was not prepossessing in appearance. He wore a wretched-looking coat, and upon his head a dingy, faded hat of foreign manufacture. His shoes showed frequent patches, and looked very much as though their owner had performed the duties of an amateur cobbler.

not this old man (found here)

The real estate agent shrugged his shoulders as the newcomer entered his office, the old man looked like a beggar. But instead of asking for charity, the visitor desired to make a purchase of land. The young man who accompanied him was discovered to be his servant, and the old gentlemen, in a few words, completed a bargain in which thousands of dollars were involved.

Roton postcard found here

The land in question was a farm of nearly thirty acres, situated upon Roton Hill. A few days after this, the old gentleman, whose name was John Henry Schulte, formally entered and took up his new abode. It was occupied at this time by the Waring family who had been tenants under the previous owner, and arrangements were made to continue their residence in the farm house.

The servant to the old gentleman was a fine looking fellow, with clean cut features and prominent cheek-bones. His blue eyes were large, his complexion clear and bright, but his mouth was stern and his teeth were somewhat decayed. It was a matter of surprise that a young man of his appearance should occupy so subservient a position under such a singular master. Such was William Bucholz, the servant of Henry Schulte.

image found here

The disposition and habits of the master were regarded as eccentric and were subject for comment and speculation among the gossips. Miserly and penurious, the supplies for his table were provided by himself and prepared by Mrs. Waring. In this regard the utmost parsimony was shown, consisting of the cheapest items he could find. All food was carefully locked up in his room, and doled out to the servant for cooking with a stinting exactness painfully amusing to witness.

small food found here

Schulte was in the habit of making solo journeys to New York; William would meet him upon his return and the two would then walk home. One day, after a visit to the metropolis, he brought with him a large iron box which he consigned to the safe keeping of the town bank, promoting more gossip.

still from the 1927 film Metropolis found here

William Bucholz did not possess the morose disposition of his master and he made acquaintances in the village. In response to questioning, he would relate wonderful stories about his master, of large sums of money which he daily carried about his person, and of  wealth still in Germany.

On the second day after Christmas, Henry Schulte told William he was going to spend the day in New York on business. That evening William met his master off the train and the two men proceeded upon their journey home.

image by Caspar David Friedrich found here

Sometime later the Warings heard a startled cry; the voice of a man in distress. Their door was thrown open and Bucholz  fell fainting upon the floor. Upon examination it was discovered his face was bleeding, and the flesh appeared lacerated as though by a sharp instrument. 

“What’s happened William?” cried Samuel Waring. “Oh, Mr. Schulte has been killed! We were walking through the woods, and just as I was about to climb over the stone wall, I heard him call out, ‘Bucholz!’ ‘Bucholz!’ It was dark, I could not see well, and as I turned around a man sprang out and hit me in the face. I jumped away and then I saw another one on the other side of me and ran for help. Mr. Schulte is lying dead out there in the woods. We must go find him!” 

Bucholz and Waring roused the neighbors and went in search of  Schulte. Their flickering lanterns fell upon the prostrate form of a man who was clearly dead. Those glassy eyes, with their look of horror; that pallid, rigid face, with blood drops upon the sunken cheeks, told them too plainly that the life of the old man had departed.

image found here

They at once went to the village and after informing the office of the coroner of the sad affair, they proceeded to the drugstore to have the wounds on Bucholz’s face dressed. These were found to be of a very slight character, and a few pieces of court-plaster dexterously applied were all that was required.

Victorian court plaster found here

The coroner took charge of the body, and the physician who accompanied him made an examination into the cause of  death. Upon turning the body over, two ugly gashes were found in the back of his head, one of them cutting completely through the hat which covered it and cutting off a piece of the skull, and the other penetrating several inches into the brain, forcing the fractured bones of the skull inward.

From the nature of the wounds the physician declared that they were produced by an axe. In the inner pocket of Schulte’s coat, evidently overlooked by the murderers, was a yellow envelope containing twenty thousand dollars in German mark bills, and about nine hundred and forty dollars in U.S. government notes. His watch had been wrenched from around his neck and carried off, while by his side lay an empty purse and some old letters.

German money found here

Meanwhile, Bucholz, returning home with his friend, had thrown himself upon the bed with Sammy Waring, and during his broken slumbers frequently uttered moaning exclamations of  fear. In the morning he arose feverish and unrefreshed. 

A rumor passed through the village, and was eagerly accepted as the solution of the seeming mystery. It appeared that several people on the night previous had observed two foreigners, who had reached the train depot at about ten o’clock. They seemed to be out of breath, as though they had been running a long distance, and in broken English, had inquired when the next train was to leave for New York. They were told there were no more trains running to New York that night. This information seemed to occasion them considerable annoyance; they walked up and down the platform, gesticulating excitedly.

suspicious types found here

Soon after this an eastern-bound train reached the depot, and these same individuals, instead of going to New York, climbed on board. They took seats quite apart from each other. The conductor recollected that they did not present tickets, but paid their fares in cash. He also remembered that they were odd and acted awkwardly. They both left the train at New Haven, and from thence all trace of them was lost.

Meanwhile the coroner made arrangements for an inquest. William Bucholz described meeting Mr. Schulte at the depot and their journey home. “I had not walked very far when I heard him call from behind me. Turning around I saw a man on my right about six paces away; at the same time I heard a noise on my left, and received a blow upon my face. I was frightened so I ran for help.”

image found here

The State’s Attorney took over, and his questioning of  various witnesses soon showed he had formed a theory, and the assumption of Bucholz’s guilty participation in the murder of his master was unfolded. 

Bucholz was returned to the Waring house upon the conclusion of the testimony for the day, in the charge of two officers of the law, who were instructed never to allow him out of their sight.

cartoon found here (click to enlarge)

Meantime action was required in regard to the effects of which Henry Schulte was possessed at the time of his death. It was discovered that his only living relatives consisted of a brother and nephew, who resided in Prussia; they too were apparently wealthy and extensive landowners.

Shortly after this the German Consul arrived to take charge of the remains, and to make arrangements towards having them sent to Europe. The iron box which had proved such an object of interest was opened at the bank, and was found to contain valuable securities and investments which represented nearly a quarter of a million of dollars.

image found here

It was at first supposed that the murderers had failed in their attempt to rob as well as to murder, or had been frightened off before they had accomplished their purpose. The finding of twenty thousand dollars upon his person seemed to be proof that no robbery had been committed, and friends of Bucholz pointed to this as proving his innocence. An examination of the accounts of the murdered man, however, disclosed that a sum of over fifty thousand dollars had disappeared, and must have been taken from him on the night of the murder.

Remember this; Bucholz, physically worn out, had retired with Sammy Waring that night and had not left the house at all. If he had committed this deed he would still have the money, but the house was thoroughly searched, and no trace of it was discovered. 

image found here

The evidence was considered by the jury who returned the following verdict: “That John Henry Schulte died from wounds inflicted with some unknown instrument, in the hands of some person or persons known to William Bucholz, and that said William Bucholz has a guilty knowledge of said crime.” Before nightfall the iron doors of the jail closed upon him, and he found himself a prisoner to be placed on trial for his life.

Leaving the young man in this distressing position, let us retrace our steps, and gather up some links in the chain of  testimony against him.

19th century surveyor’s chain found here

It will be remembered that he had been placed in the charge of two officers of the law who accompanied him wherever he went, watching his every move. Bucholz developed a talent for spending money which had never been noticed in him before. He became exceedingly extravagant, purchased clothing for which he had apparently no use, and seemed to have an abundance of funds with which to gratify his tastes. He displayed a disposition for dissipation, smoking inordinately, and indulging in carriage-rides, always in company with the officers, whose watchful eyes never left him and whose vigilance was unrelaxed.

 Meanwhile, the German Consul-General was an interested party in the recovery of the money which had disappeared. Also it was at this time that the services of my agency were called into requisition, and the process of the detection of the real criminal was begun.  

image found here

That this eccentric man should have moved to a land of strangers and lived the secluded life he did was a mystery which I resolved to become acquainted with. I considered this necessary to guide me in my dealings with any suspects who might be found.

To the inhabitants of his previous home in Hagen, the story of his past was well known. Many of the old men could remember when he was as gay a lad as any in the village, and had joined in their sports with an unrestrained disposition.

image found here

It was at one of the May Day festivals that Henry had met the beautiful Emerence, daughter of the local brewer, and the course of their true love for a time flowed smoothly.

But in the village there lived a wild, reckless young man by the name of Nat Toner, who spent his time drinking at the tavern with other idle fellows who hailed with delight his stories of adventure.

image found here

Nat was a bold, handsome fellow, whose flashing black eyes and careless manner played havoc with the hearts of the young girls of Hagen, and many a comely maiden would have been made happy by a careless nod of greeting from this reckless vagabond.

Not so with Emerence Bauer. She shrank from the uncouth manners of handsome Nat; stories of his extravagances filled her with loathing. To Nat Toner the aversion manifested by Emerence only served to create in him an uncontrollable longing to possess her for his own.

One evening as Henry was passing the tavern, he found Nat and his companions in the midst of a wild and noisy revel. Henry would have rode on, but Nat, spying his rival, insisted upon his stopping and drinking some wine, which invitation Henry reluctantly accepted.

Nat filled his glass, and rising to his feet said: “Here’s health to pretty Emerence, and here’s to her loutish lover.” Saying which he threw the contents of his glass in the face of the astonished Henry who sprang to his feet and with one blow planted firmly in the face of his insulter, laid him prostrate upon the floor. 

more unusual glasses here

Nat struggled to his feet, and drawing a murderous-looking knife from his bosom, plunged at his assailant. Quick as a flash, the iron grip of Henry Schulte was upon his wrist, and with a wrench of his left hand the knife was wrested from him and thrown out of the window. 

A few days later, Emerence was walking towards a stream where she was to meet Henry. Turning her head, she saw a shadow so distinctly traced that she had no difficulty in recognizing it, the newcomer was none other than his enemy and hers, Nat Toner.

image found here

Emerence turned to flee from the fiend before her. But, alas, too late! A murderous weapon came down with a heavy crushing sound upon that fair, girlish head, and she fell lifeless at the feet of the madman who had slain her. He lifted up the body of the unfortunate girl and threw it from the bridge into the rippling water beneath. When Henry Schulte came walking along the bridge that led to Emerence, he saw in the bright reflection of the moon, the figure of his murdered love lying in shallow water.

image found here

No words were needed to tell Henry of the author of this crime. He knew the murderer, and resolved upon the course to be pursued. Immediately after the funeral rites had been performed, and the body of  fair Emerence  placed in the ground, Henry disappeared. 

Some weeks later a party of hunters discovered the lifeless body of Nat Toner, with his pistol by his side and a bullet hole through his head. No one knew whether, suffering the pangs of remorse, the miserable man had put an end to his own life, or whether the wound was planted there by the man whom he had so dreadfully wronged.

image found here

After this Henry’s character changed. He became suspicious of all, imagining his life was in danger, and there was a conspiracy to murder him for his money. Nothing occurred to justify these thoughts until the morning he was awakened  by a party of gunners passing his home. One of them (a nephew of Henry’s, the son of his elder brother), knowing his weakness in regard to being assassinated, and from a spirit of mischief, took aim and fired through the window of his uncle’s bedroom, then laughingly passed on.

The terrified old man was convinced his nephew had tried to take his life and immediately booked passage to America. Henry Schulte arrived in New York and together with one servant made his way to the Crescent Hotel. This servant, Frank Bruner, went to the bar and joined a group sitting around the table. His job was distasteful to him, and he was anxious to make inquiries in regard to a change of position from the locals drinking at the bar.

New York bar found here

While they were talking, a young man entered and joined in. William Bucholz was an inmate of the hotel, having arrived from Germany in July. Here he distinguished himself principally by leading a life of dissipation and extravagance. Now, having spent all his money,William was compelled to seek work. On meeting Frank Bruner, the servant of Henry Schulte, and learning of the old man’s eccentricities and wealth, he encouraged Frank to leave this distasteful employment, and offered himself instead as an applicant for the vacant position. 

So now I was in possession of the facts in the history and murder of Henry Schulte. Meanwhile back at Bridgeport things were happening…..

In the jail there was one person who held himself aloof from the rest, declining to make acquaintances or friendships, and this was a quiet man named Edward Sommers. He avoided his fellow prisoners, maintaining a reserve which induced respect.

NOT this Edward (Elgar found here)

But there appeared to be some almost unaccountable feeling of personal attraction between Bucholz and this newcomer, for they soon quietly, almost imperceptibly, drifted into a friendship for each other seemingly as profound as it was demonstrative. 

One day, as they were sitting together, Bucholz opened a German newspaper, glanced at its contents, then threw it on the floor, burying his face in his hands.

image found here

Sommers picked up the discarded paper and read the article Bucholz pointed out. It was in regard to a statement he made at the time of his arrest. In explaining the large a sum of money in his possession, he had declared his sister had sent it to him from Germany. This statement was discovered to be untrue, and was the basis of the article in question.

“This looks rather bad for you, William,” said Sommers, sorrowfully.

“It does look bad,” he replied, “but I didn’t say that I received any money from my sister. I never said anything of the kind.”

They ate their breakfast in silence. At visiting time, Samuel Waring was announced as desiring to see the prisoner, and together they went into his cell. He reported that a man working in the fields adjoining Schulte’s farm had discovered a watch lying upon the ground, which had previously been hidden by snow. This watch was identified as the murdered man’s.

antique watch keys found here

The watch was found not far from the road along which Bucholz  had traveled on his way to give the alarm. Another link had been forged in the chain of evidence that was being drawn around him. 

While these events were transpiring, I was following up the two suspicious individuals who had made their mysterious appearance on the night of the murder. It will be remembered that their actions attracted attention, and that, after inquiring for a train to New York, they had taken one going in the opposite direction.

more unusual train stations here

I ascertained that they were two respectable Germans who had come to Stamford to attend a frolic at the house of another friend who lived nearby. They had left the house under the impression that by hastening their steps they would be in time to catch the train home. They had consequently run to the station which accounted for their breathless condition. They had then inquired for a train from New York, and not to that city, and upon being informed that no further trains from that direction would come that night, they had indulged in an extended altercation. When the train did arrive, contrary to their expectations, their ill feelings had not subsided, and they sat sullen and apart on their journey home.

This destroyed the theory that foreign emissaries had been employed by the relatives of the deceased in order to secure his wealth; and so that glittering edifice of speculation fell to the ground. A visit was also paid to the hotel where Bucholz had first met Mr. Schulte. The barkeeper was talkative, and said when Bucholz entered the employ of Mr. Schulte he had left unpaid a bill for board and that his trunk had been detained in consequence. After the murder he had visited the hotel in company with the officers who had him in their charge, paid his bill and taken his trunk away. 

From this person it was also discovered that a mail package, evidently containing some money, had been received at the hotel, addressed to William Bucholz. It purported to come from Germany, but an examination of the seals disclosed that the package had been manufactured in the city, and had been designed to give credence to the story of Bucholz having received money from relatives in Germany. There were too many suspicious circumstances surrounding the package to successfully deceive anyone. This package was the subject of discussion in the German paper, whose comments had produced such a marked effect upon the prisoner when he read it.

image of returned post (1938) found here

Meanwhile Edward Sommers succeeded in having his bail reduced and was released from jail. He was then able to work more successfully in the interests of his new best friend when freed from the restraint of  prison. 

The following week he returned to the jail and was warmly welcomed by his incarcerated friend. Sommers had called upon the Warings who still resided at the Schulte farmhouse but told him of their intention to move.

Bucholz started suddenly, as though the information conveyed an unpleasant surprise.

“You must not let them move, Edward,” he exclaimed with fear in his voice. “That will never do.”

“I cannot prevent it,” replied Sommers. “They will do as they please. Besides, what has their moving got to do with us?”

“Everything, everything,” exclaimed Bucholz. “The money must be got. Oh, Edward, do not betray me, but one of the pocket-books is in the barn.”

Bucholz then drew a sketch, showing the hiding place of the money under the flooring of the first stall.

renovated barn found here

The reader is no doubt by this time fully aware of the character of Edward Sommers. He was a detective, and in my employ. After obtaining the information as to where William had secreted the money, Sommers and a trusted operative went to the barn and found at once the place where the pocketbook was hidden.

The German Consul was notified and given the package to open. It contained four thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven dollars in U. S. money. This was but a small portion of the stolen money, and Edward Sommers was directed to return to Bridgeport to cajole Bucholz for more information.

On his next visit Sommers related to his friend: “I heard that the Schulte estate has been sold, and that the new owner will tear it down. He bought it on speculation and expects to find Schulte’s money.”

“My dear Edward, you must get the rest of money—it is in the barn also. In one corner there is a bench, and under this bench there is a large stone. Dig beneath and there you will find it.”

Texas Prison Rodeo found here

Sommers did so and immediately located the missing wallet. The contents were again counted in the presence of the German Consul. Gold pieces were found to amount to one hundred marks. There was also a pocket-book enclosed in a wrapper and fastened with sealing-wax. It contained two hundred and four thousand marks, in one-thousand-mark bills—or nearly fifty thousand dollars. 

image found here

All this occurred in May, but the trial would not take place until September. It was necessary that the utmost secrecy should be maintained,  especially so far as William Bucholz was concerned.

The visits of Edward Sommers to the jail must be continued.  To Sommers this experience was a trying one. Bucholz was extravagant in his demands, and required the choicest delicacies that could be procured. In fact, he became so importunate and so ridiculous in his fancied wants, that Sommers was compelled to emphatically refuse to gratify his wishes.

image found here

The trial of William Bucholz for the murder of Henry Schulte began in September, and a ripple of excitement pervaded the city. Frank Bruner identified the watch as belonging to Henry Schulte. He testified to the conversations which took place between himself and Bucholz before he had left the service of Mr. Schulte, and also that the old gentleman had called upon him on the morning of that fatal day, telling him of his intention to dismiss Bucholz and requesting Frank to come back to him instead.

On the third day, after the examination of two unimportant witnesses, Mr. Olmstead arose and said: Call Ernest Stark.”

Remember Koo Stark? She’s not related to Ernest

The prisoner and his attorneys had never heard the name before, and no uneasiness was manifested upon their faces, but when Edward Sommers stepped on the witness stand, a change came over them, wonderful to behold.

Under examination, Ernest/Edward told his story. He detailed the various experiences of his prison life and of his intercourse with the prisoner. He related the admissions which Bucholz had made to him, and testified to the influence which he had gradually acquired over the mind of the accused man.

He graphically described their intimate conversations, and detailed at length the finding of the victim’s money, hidden in the places to which Bucholz had directed him. 

“Gentlemen of the jury, how say you? Is the prisoner at the bar guilty or not guilty?”

Without hesitation the foreman replied: “Guilty of murder in the first degree.”

William Bucholz fell back in his seat, and bowing his head upon the railing, sobbed wildly.

The trial was over. Justice had triumphed, and the murderer would pay for his crime.

The mystery of the murder of Henry Schulte had been judiciously solved and once again Pinkerton’s Detective Agency had triumphed over an assassin.

image found here

Published in: on February 16, 2012 at 8:51 pm  Comments (49)  
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49 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What a thrilling story and all the better for being true. Excellent work nursemyra.

    A chain by the way, is an olde English measurement of distance. It is 22 yards. A cricket pitch is the length of one chain.

    • I did not know that. Thanks Nick.

  2. “This information seemed to occasion them considerable annoyance; they walked up and down the platform, gesticulating excitedly.”

    There are many phrases like this that are very foreign to contemporary American English which makes references and descriptions a bit comical and obtuse.

    • I love that sort of writing

      • I prefer their grasp of grammar to your own Carl. Don’t you find such sentences posses a certain fluidity and sophistication – sadly lacking these days?

        The King

  3. i wonder what Mr. Pinkerton could have done with the OJ Simpson case… suspect that the trial would have taken even longer than it did! oy!

    • I wondered that last time the Nurse had a Pinkerton story.He was a long-winded sod!

      • Lordy, yes! You have no idea how much editing on my part went into this story.

  4. An, the Pinkertons win again. Talk about dedication.

    • Pinkerton always gets his man.

  5. That Pinkerton was a deviously evil bloke, wasn’t he.

    • Very underhanded with his tactics

  6. Quite a tale Nursie!

    • you should see what i left out…..

  7. Before we try and judge guilt or innocence, let’s take a step back and consider whether there’s a better way to gesticulate than excitedly.

    • Haha… you really crack me up GG

  8. small food or giant hands ? :)

    • Did you click the link beneath the image? Lots of small food

  9. This sounds like the synposis for a really good movie. o_o

    • It could definitely be a movie. whether or not it would be a good one is an entirely different story.

  10. upon his head a dingy, faded hat of foreign manufacture

    Those battered bowler hats get everywhere….
    Sx

    • I’m rather fond of a bowler

  11. Wow…what a story.

    • That has to win the longest story NM has ever posted. My eyes are buggy from reading it..haha

      • you’re right bearman, it is. Even longer that the last Pinkerton tale. I try to edit them down and only post one every month or so.

  12. What fun it must have been to work for Pinkerton. It was a quarter detection work, three-quarters acting and dissembling.

    You speculate on whether there were any “goings on” in the jail. “Intercourse with the prisoner,” is a delightfully ambiguous phrase, although with far more innocent connotations in the late C19th.

    • Yes, i know it had a different meaning back then. but it’s fun to speculate :-)

  13. Damn, it’s tough making good, loyal friends in prison…

  14. LOVE the grumpy face of the man in the first pic.

    *SMOOOOOOOOCH*

    • that’s Mr Pinkerton!

      • He reminds me a bit of Eddie Marsan playing Inspector Lestrade in the new Sherlock Holmes movies…

  15. Loved this post – naturally, as a fan of detective stories.

  16. Wow, this is a long one! Fascinating! Where did you find that picture of an elderly Hitler? And that returned post pic is funny. I’ve never had a problem mailing a dead rabbit…as long as it’s wrapped securely.

    • the source of the Hitler photo is beneath the image

  17. Pinkerton relies on disguises and jailhouse confessions too much. I bet CSI could have cleared Bucholz! It was those two gesticulating guys that done it. Bucholz saw them hide some of the loot and…

    Maybe I just hate Pinkerton because he was a professional strike-breaker.

  18. stories like this always bring a tear to my eyes…i love happy endings

  19. Excellent tale!

  20. i applaud your work, but i’m on life support…..

    • The next post comes with free oxygen

  21. I wonder if these are the same Pinkertons mentioned frequently in Deadwood? Fascinating, sordid story, meanwhile.

    • Yes indeedy. Same guys.

  22. Johann Heinrich Schulte, von Hagen; Emerence Bauer (there maybe a name Emerencia, but I never have heared it before; maybe a spoiled “inocentia”); Nat Toner – that sounds not very German. Nathaniel is not a common first name.
    Hagen is a city in the Ruhrgebiet, far from “Prussia” – of course the Rhineland became Prussian in the 19th century, when the Norddeutsche Bund was formed, Northern German Federation. For a foreign observer all Northern Germany may be “Prussia”.

    The whole story with Schulte’s dead love etc. for me sounds a bit like “Groschenroman”, penny novel if this word exists: From careing country boy to iron hearted capitalist.
    Wonder what the Warings knew. The killer must have taken an axe – surely Waring’s – to the place in advance; and should have taken it back? Buchholz then dug some holes in their barn, wonder whether this went so unnoticed. Anyway, they seemingly were not tried as complices.
    Wonder when Pinkerton planted the starke Ernst into jail …

    Totally unrelated: Regarding Mendl, he has nice entry in the Oxford biographical dictionary, sadly I could not copy the text when I saw it, just wanted to say this.

  23. I wondered about Nat Toner’s name too

  24. Great story! And love the cat cartoon (of course).

  25. The Pinkertons are cocksuckers.

    • welcome to the Gimcrack Al. Did you come via tetherdcow.com?

      • I usually come via Trixie or Dolly.

      • haha


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