Casefile Clues

10 June 2013

A Boston Account of the 1902 Troutfetter Arrest

It has been a while since we've written about Philip Troutfetter the member of the Trautvetter clan who got himself in a little trouble while on his jetsetting ways.
undated photo of Philip Troutfetter, courtesy Kansas State Historical Society

But it is not often I find mention of my relatives in the pages of the Boston Globe, so we thought we'd share this item from 1902. This is the first reference to his arrest that I have located in a Boston newspaper. Previous items have been from papers further removed from the actual location of his arrest.

The transcript that follows comes from the Boston Globe, 10 April 1902


Caught at last.

Troutfetter arrested in this city today.

Was wanted as a witness in Cuban postal fraud cases.

Charge is larceny from Western woman.

Sheriff is coming from Colorado Springs.
Much-wanted man was cashier of a Federal-St. restaurant.
                Phillip A. Troutfetter, whom the war department was at one time very anxious to secure as a witness against Rathbone and Neeley in the Cuban postal frauds, was arrested this noon on a charge of larceny preferred by a woman of Colorado Springs. Troutfetter has been for nearly a year acting as the cashier of a Federal-st restaurant, and he was arrested at the desk by Inspector Abbott and Supt. Leith of the local Pinkerton agency.
                For over a week Chief Watts and Supt. Leith have been gathering information to confirm their suspicions that the man known here as A.P. Taylor was the Troutfetter for whom the sheriff of Colorado Springs has been searching since the summer of 1898. This morning Sheriff A. B. gilbert telegraphed the necessary proof and requested the arrest, stating that an indictment had been found and that he would come to Boston at once for the prisoner.
                Troutfetter is 36 years old, and, according to what is written by the authorities of Colorado, he was for several years acting as a broker in Colorado Springs, doing a general mining business. Among his customers was Emeline Baker, who had $5000 to invest.
                She gave Troutfetter the money in a lump sum on April 3, 1898, authorizing him to invest it in whatever securities he considered the most desirable.
                It is alleged that Troutfetter did not make the investment as instructed, but kept the money. A short time afterward he placed his business in the hands of his brother and left. By the time Mrs. Baker appreciated that her money was gone it was impossible to find the missing broker.
                He was supposed to be in the west, but it seems that immediately after the United States took control of Havana, Jan 1, 1899, he went there. He became acquainted with Neeley before he went to Cuba, and they were very close friends.
                When Neeley secured the position in the postal department under Rathbone be placed Troutfetter in a subordinate position. The two were companions, and it is said that Troutfetter was so closely associated with Neeley that he knew all about the latter’s fraudulent transactions in the Cuban Stamps that were being redeemed.
                When discovery was threatened Troutfetter is said to have been with neeley when the latter attempted to destrou, and did succeed in burning much of the evidence against him. In the publicity following the arrest of neeley, Troutfetter became prominent, and then the Colorado authorities endeavored to obtain his arrest.
                The war department was equally desirous of having him where he could be summoned to testify against Rathbone and Neeley at the trial, but when they wanted him he could not be found. He was later traced to South America.
                He returned to this country a little over a year ago, and his presence in several cities of the middle west and in New York was known to the Pinkerton men, but before they could get the authority to make the arrest Troutfetter disappeared.
                Although it is said that $5000 was given to Troutfetter by Emeline Baker he has been indicted for the lareeny of only $1500.
                When arrested this afternoon he said that he had transacted some business for Mrs. Baker, but that the matter was an old one.
                “I thought it was settled long ago,” said he.
                He was arraigned in the municipal court and held in $2000 for examination April 17, in order to give Sheriff Gilbert time to reach here with the requisition papers.
Troutfetter is unmarried, and said that he only intended to remain in Boston a short time. 

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Long-time readers of the blog will know that Philip was eventually exonerated of the charges brought against him by Baker. Troutfetter was born in Warsaw, Hancock County, Illinois, and is a first cousin to the author's great-great-grandfather.

Maybe there are some records in Boston of his arrest, but that will have to wait. It is not often one encounters a relative quite as colorful as Philip.
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