Abe Rothschild






Abe Rothschild, alias Joseph Jaeger, alias Henry Smyth, etc., was  both a shrewd swindler and a hardened criminal. His record reads  more like fiction than a plain detail of facts. The offenses upon which  he was finally convicted were committed in Missouri in July, 1894.  His arrest was effected at San Lorenzo, Cal., September 30, 1894, by an  inspector attached to the San Francisco division, on the charge of  using the mails in conducting a scheme to defraud. Rothschild's latest  swindling operations were the boldest of the kind ever brought to the  attention of this Department. Having learned the name of a business  man of high commercial standing in some particular town, he would forge  an order in his name on some wholesale dealer for goods to be shipped  to the place in which the aforesaid merchant resided, or to some other  locality where, as the writer alleged, he was about to open a "racket  store." As a rule, these orders were promptly filled and the goods  shipped as requested. 

Rothschild would then assume the name of the aforesaid " business  man " and have letters addressed to him under this name at the place  to which the goods were to be shipped. If the place chanced to be  one at which the "business man" proposed to open a " racket store,"  Rothschild would appear upon the ground a couple of days in advance of the arrival of the goods, and by the receipt of letters through the  post-office and frequent inquiries at the express and freight offices  would succeed in establishing his identity sufficiently to make it easy  for him to obtain possession of the goods upon their arrival. He would  then disappear, carrying his plunder with him, which usually consisted  of diamonds, jewelry, or other articles of small bulk, which could be  readily transported with his ordinary baggage. 

If the goods were ordered sent to the place where the bona fide business  man actually resided, Rothschild, upon his arrival, would at once  inquire at the post-office for mail, and when told that the most prominent  business man of the town bore the same name he feigned great  surprise. He would then call upon his namesake, form his acquaintance,  and receive from him the letters which he had caused lo be mailed  and which, naturally, had been delivered to the bona fide businessman  with his regular mail, and the contents of which had greatly puzzled  the local merchant. Rothschild had a suave and agreeable manner, and  his knowledge of the contents of the letters which had mystified his  namesake so clearly identified him with the transactions relating to  certain goods which he expected would arrive by the next morning's  express that he was enabled to secure the custody of the goods without  arousing suspicion. His biggest haul was made on March 13, 1895, at  Swainsboro, Ga., where he secured $4,400 worth of diamonds. 

Soon after his arrest in California it was determined to transfer  Rothschild to Missouri for trial for the offenses committed in that State.  The prisoner, however, succeeded in escaping from the deputy marshal  at Little Rock, Ark., November 12, 1894. He subsequently operated  in several States and Territories and was traced through Mexico and  Cuba back to the United States, and was finally rearrested at St.  Marys, Ontario, March 25, 1895, while receipting for express packages.  After much vexatious delay he was extradited and finally landed in jail  at Moberly, Mo., on July 20, 1895. At his trial he was ably defended,  but on March 12, 1896, he entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced to  four years' imprisonment in the Missouri penitentiary. At the expiration  of this sentence he will be taken to Georgia for trial at Swainsboro.  Abe Rothschild is 45 years old and the son of a wealthy Cincinnati  banker and jeweler. In 1877 he killed "Diamond Bessie" Moore near  Jefferson, Tex. Just before his arrest for that offense in Cincinnati, he  attempted suicide and shot out his right eye. Upon his recovery,  he was taken to Texas, narrowly escaped lynching, was indicted for  murder in the first degree, tried, convicted, and sentenced to be hanged.  The case was reversed by the supreme court and was in abeyance in  the Texas courts for four and a half years, and he was finally acquitted.  He confesses that his defense in his murder trial cost $35,000, and that  the true story of his acquittal would create a sensation even at this late  date. 

Some years later, while connected with a wholesale house in New  York City, he was involved in a business failure in which the liabilities  aggregated $750,000. He was arrested for fraud in connection therewith,  but escaped conviction. He then embarked in a career as a gambler  and race-horse sport, and was known at the New York, London, and  Paris courses. Reverses finally overtook him, and seven years ago he  became a professional criminal. According to his own confession, there  are over two hundred criminal charges against him in the United States,  distributed in every State and Territory, and he has committed crimes  in Canada, Mexico, Cuba, England, and France. 

In his own defense he claims that his schemes were always original, and while he secured large sums of money, his victims were always  wealthy and were confined to express companies, railroad companies,  banks, and large business houses. he has been frequently arrested,  but by the liberal use of money, with which he was usually well suppied,  always managed to escape conviction until his recent sentence in  the Missouri court, he attempted to purchase his release from the  inspector who first arrested him in California, and has tried to bribe  every jailer who has had him in custody since.

Annual Reports. Report of the Postmaster-General. Miscellaneous Reports‎ - Page 664