Press enter after choosing selection

A Female Member

A Female Member image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

Womeii liave a weakness for counterfeiting. The first person ever executed for that crime was a woman. She was an English woman named Barbara Spenfer and was put to death in 1721 for making false shillings. She was strangled and burned at the stake. Curiously enough, her accomplices were acquitted. Naney Kidd was one of the most remarkable female counterfeiters ever known in this country. She belonged to a family of noted forgers. She carried on her nefarious trade for more than 30 years in Chicago, and was arrested there many times. Ou one of these occasions a lot of fiber paper was discovered on her person. Tho government officials were completely at a loss to kuow how she had obtained this. Finally she confessed that a chemical solution had been used to wash the faces of the notes and iake them perfectly clean. Thus she v'as in the habit of taking $1 bilis and changing them into larger denominadons. The governmeut authorities released her in return for this valuable information and for telling them what the solution was. However, they had her shadowed by detectives and finally caught her with $17,000 worth of counterfeit money in a bos. She was found guilty upon seven different indictments for counterfeiting and was sentenced to eight years in tlie state prison, where she finally died. One of the cleverest tricks ever played on Únele Saín wasinventedby a woman who lived in Philadelphia. Her plan was to take $10 and $20 goldpieces and with a small drill worked by steam power to bore out the insides and then refill them with some base metal, being very carofnl that they should weigh exactly the right amount when she had finished. This she accomplished by drilling through the milled edge of the coin, and then, af ter filling the hole, cover it with a little of the extracted gold. In this wa,y she made $7. 50 on every eagle and about $16 on every doublé eagle. The officials of the secret service say that this is the safest device ever invented for cheating the treasury. Counterfeiting is very apt to run in families. This, of course, is natural, as a father brings up his son or daughter to follow his profesaion. Women who would otherwise be good are of ten led into this sort of crime by marrying men who carry it on as a business. But sometimes it works the other way - women teach thcir husbands how to make false money. This is what happened when Ben Boyd married Mary Ackermau of Indiana. Her father was one of the most successful counterfeiters of his day, and his daughter had a thorough acquaintance with the art. Mrs. Boyd carefully taught her husband all the secrets of the trade, and he became one pf the most fanious forgers of tho age. They carried on the business with such a high degree of skill that they were not captured for years, and when at last the secret service Hawkshaws did run them down notT a single counterfeit plate, i:ote or coin was found in their possession. When their house was searched, $8,000 in good money was found. This small amount was iül the money they had accuinulated during all their years of crime. Of course the officers could not touch it. Af terward sufficient evidence was secured to convict them, and they were sent to prison. They both claimed to be converted whils in state prison, and after their release settled in Chicago, where they apparently lived au honest life. A case that annoyed the secret service very much was that of va woman who employed a clever dodge. She went to a large shop and selected a valuable shawl. To pay for this she handed the clerk a United States treasury note for $1,000. He took the money and disappeared, not returning for several minutes. When he carne back, she asked him why he had kept her waiting, and he confessod that he had taken the bilí to a bank near by to be sure that it was good. She pretended to be very angry and said that she would not' buy the shawl on any account and walked out of the shop. A little later in the day she returned and said that as she could not find any other shawl that suited her as well in the other shops she had decided to take it in spite of the insult offered her. She gave him the $1,000 bill, and, getting the shawl and the change, lef t the shop. The owner of the shop af terward discovered that the note he iinally accepted was a counterfeit. The first bill had been good, but on her return she gave him the false one, which was a wonderfully clever imitation. The secret service was much agita ted about this and several others of the $1,000 bilis which turned up, but they have since captured the plates. Practically every gang of counterfeiters ever arrested has had women associates. In the office of the secret service in Washington there is a large frame, 4 feet square, füled with the photographs of women who have either made or passed false money. Men almost always employ their wives or daughtcrs for the ■Duroose of ' 'shovins" their counterfoits.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News