Francis Joel Stratton-The Pomeroy Robbery
Updated: Feb 22
Stratton Family Lore-F. J. Stratton, A Series of Anecdotes
This is the first in a series of anecdotes about my great-grandfather, Francis Joel Stratton, 1816 - 1863. He was a farmer, a lawman, a physician, and a spy, all within 47 years. As a lawman he served in Rochester, New York as a town constable and as a deputy US Marshal for the Northern District of New York. As a physician he was president of his medical class and signed the proclamation that accepted the first woman graduate of a US medical school--Elizabeth Blackwell. As a spy he assisted LayFayette Curry Baker's secret service uncover Rebel spies in the Federal Government from 1861-1863.
Joel's biography from: Biographical and Genealogical History of Cass, Miami, Howard and Tipton Counties, Indiana. Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago, IL, 1898
“Francis J. Stratton was for some years in the USA secret service, until he was severely wounded, and then practiced medicine in Jeffersonville, Indiana, and for a time was surgeon in the penitentiary. He had formerly practiced in Preble County, Ohio, having moved to Ohio from New York, and it was in Preble county that he was married. On account of poor health, having been wounded through the lungs, he was obliged to resign his position as surgeon in the penitentiary, and through Secretary of State William H. Seward he received a good position in the patent office at Washington, D. C. He died there in 1863. In the early part of the Civil war he offered his services to the Union but because of his wound was unable to pass muster and was not accepted. Under these circumstances he did the best he could; he was active in relieving sickness and suffering among the soldiers in and about Washington. While in the detective business he succeeded in putting a stop to a large amount of work done by the Stephen Wing gang of counterfeiters, on the St. Lawrence river, in Canada, capturing the entire gang. The Stratton’s were intimate with the Seward and Lincoln families.”
[editor comments: The references to "USA secret service" and "detective business" actually referred to Joel's service as a US Deputy Marshal.
Reference to relieving sickness and suffering referred to Joel's volunteer service in the Patent Hospital in Washington City during the Civil War.]
The Pomeroy Express Robbery-The Other Story Tells the Story
The first anecdote features a disreputable role in the Pomeroy Express trunk robbery. The express trunk disappeared from the deck of the steamboat Utica in New York Harbor on December 13, 1843. At the time, my great-grandfather was a Deputy US Marshal and a City Constable in Rochester, New York. A Google search on his name linked him to newspaper articles about the Pomeroy robbery and I expected to find that he had solved the mystery—instead, I found that he was accused of lying to obtain an arrest warrant.
I wanted the whole story, so I gathered all the information about the robbery that I could find.
One article was a letter from Philo N. Rust addressed “to the public." Rust was the man my great-grandfather arrested using the perjured warrant. Rust’s report revealed the identity of the instigator of the misinformation. That account, along with other credible newspaper articles, tell the rest of the story in the Great Pomeroy Trunk Robbery.— William F. Stratton, December 2021.
—NEW YORK NEWS, Wednesday, December 13, 1843.
“—POMEROY TRUNK MISSING:
A Singularly Astounding Express Robbery.
—Three Thousand Dollars will be paid for the recovery and delivery of the contents to the undersigned of a black leather-back trunk, about 36 inches long and 18 inches wide with the edges sharp. It was iron bound with wood straps running along the top and bottom, also strapped with iron. It is believed to have been marked ‘Pomeroy & Co.’ or ‘P & Co.’ on the ends; the said trunk is supposed to have been stolen from on board the steamboat Utica on the 13th inst. It contained a number of checks, bank notes, and drafts, enclosed in packages in carpet bags, and directed to different brokers and banks in the city of New York.
The above reward will be paid in addition to all other rewards offered by other persons interested.
POMEROY & CO. 2 Wall Street, N. Y. New York. Dec. 16, 1843. D15 16”
—BUFFALO COMMERCIAL ADVERTISER. Buffalo, New York. Dec. 18 1843. Page 3.
"The Great Robbery—
The Albany Argus furnishes the following particulars of the recent great robbery of the trunk containing money and drafts, in charge of Pomery & Co.’s Express. Contrary to what is usual in like cases, later and fuller information show the robbery to have been greater than was at first reported:
The trunk was in the immediate charge of Amasa Copp, now interested with or in the employ of Pomeroy & Co. It was taken from this city by stage at 10 A.M., and received on board the boat at Coxsackie in the afternoon. Copp placed it on deck, and early in the evening retired below to his berth, and although it was suggested by Capt. Scott, that he should put it in a more secure situation, the landings being frequent, he declined to adopt the suggestion. At two in the morning, when the boat arrived, Copp left the trunk on deck unattended and without charge or notice to any one proceeded to Pomeroy & Co’s office, where he was understood to say the trunk was on board, and in charge of Mr. Riggs, assistant captain; thence, after deliberately going to sleep, he proceeded at 6 ½ A. M. on board the boat for Bridgeport, and returned to this city and Troy by the Housatonic train on Wednesday night.
The agent in New York thinking the trunk safe, waited until morning to send for it. The porter who accompanied Copp to the Bridgeport boat went immediately to the Utica for the trunk. But no trunk was to be found; nor could any of the officers or crew of the boat tell when or by whom it had been taken away. As soon as the loss was discovered, messengers were dispatched to Boston, Philadelphia, and to this city with intelligence.
On Thursday evening, when information of the loss of the trunk was brought to this city, by express from New York, several of the parties interested proceeded to Troy, where Copp resides, and subjected him to examination, which resulted in nothing beyond a declaration of ignorance on his part of any loss of the trunk, or of its whereabouts, but an admission of the carelessness and inexcusable indifference with which a trust of such magnitude had been discharged. He was not, we believe, taken at once into custody, but proceeded with some of the parties to New York.
The amount of cash and valuables in the trunk—(including the registered notes from the Bank Department, and the money and drafts from Troy) was probably not less than FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS. Of this amount, about $50,000 being cash, in bank notes of all descriptions and denominations, current and eastern funds, will be available to the robbers—the remainder being drafts payable to order, notes, and registered bank notes, unsigned, will not be available, payment having been stopped.”
The reward increased to $10,000 after Pullen & Copp, Drew, Robinson & Co., and The Union Bank added rewards.
As this was the largest loss in the short history of the express business, news of the theft spread quickly. Henry Wells (yes, that Henry Wells), Buffalo’s agent and a partner in Pomeroy Express, assisted in the investigation and wrote the following in a Buffalo newspaper:
“I see by the New York papers Mr. Copp, one of the firm of Pullen & Copp, now a messenger of ours between Albany and New York, has been robbed of one of our trunks and contents—In order to relieve the minds of those interested in Buffalo, I would state that no Packages from Buffalo or any place west of Albany, were in the trunk as it was the Sunday run. At present, I can throw no further light on the subject, than that Mr. Livingston, the resident partner in New York sent a steamboat to Albany and messengers in every direction. It would seem almost impossible for the robbers to escape detection. I shall leave for New York in the morning train, and will give you the earliest intelligence of this painful occurrence.
/s/ Mr. Henry Wells of the firm of Pomeroy & Co.”
New York City’s mayor took charge of the investigation. One detective was Ben Hays, son of New York City’s High Constable Jacob Hays, the most noted policeman in New York City’s early history. Ben was notorious for his flamboyance and for sharing his findings freely.
The mayor appointed a deputy to interrogate the courier, Amasa Copp, an early suspect after witnesses saw him leaving the steamship with two carpetbags.
Three others were questioned—D. D. Howard, James Banks and Philo Rust. Rust was proprietor of a Syracuse hotel and the brother-in-law of Amasa Copp. Rust and Banks were both long-time friends of D. D. Howard and were staying at Howard's Hotel.
Howard was cleared immediately.
Rust was briefly detained for questioning.
A search of Banks's room turned up a trunk full of gold coin. Banks refused to explain the source of the gold other than he had, “…an upcoming marriage with a mountain heiress, whom he desired to present with a little pin-money." Banks had a reputation as a prankster and gambler and sported an alias—Jem Baggs. Banks was briefly detained but not charged.
Newspapers of the day sensationalized everything and different versions of the same facts spread throughout the country. Most misinformation was directed at Banks and Rust.
A story in the New York Courier & Inquirer reported that witnesses had seen Rust and Howard conversing with Copp onboard the Utica an hour before its arrival at New York, although neither Rust nor Howard was ever aboard the Utica.
The same newspaper erroneously reported that Copp, Howard, Rust, and Banks departed on the Housatonic Railroad immediately after the robbery. The facts are that Copp departed alone with the up-river express boat the morning of the theft, Howard departed by rail the next day on a business trip to Washington City, and Banks and Rust departed later that week by train to Syracuse.
—NEW YORK DAILY HERALD. New York, N. Y., 10 JAN. 1844
"The Pomeroy Express Robbery.—
The mysterious robbery of the trunk under the charge of Mr. Copp, seems to be thickening on every side. But of all accounts we have seen, the most perplexing and contradictory are those published in the newspapers as coming from Buffalo, Rochester and the western part of the State. We have already published an account of the arrest of Mr. Rust, the Proprietor of the Syracuse House, and also of Mr. Banks—their transportation from Syracuse to Buffalo in the dead of night, and their discharge on account of no evidence appearing against them. Yet it seems very strange that in the Courier and several other papers, statements have been made and particulars given not only implicating Mr. Rust, but persons of the most respectable character in this city—we allude to the Messrs. Howard of Howards’ Hotel. At the very first moment when we heard of these statements we discredited them altogether, and every new development, and every new fact this is affirms, more and more, that first impression of unbelief. Indeed it would appear from the statements of the Courier and other papers, that these rumors and reports have sprung from a common source, for they bear an identity, and there is a common mystery respecting the origin and circulation of them, which probably Mr. Rust and Messrs. Howard will endeavor to dispel, and discover the true authors in a few days.
We have heard a great many particulars about this business, and the movements of these gentlemen, but we cannot communicate it at present. But it is expected that Mr. Rust himself will soon be here, as in a letter received last evening, and addressed to a daughter, who is at a boarding school in this city, he states that he intended to be here in a few days, and mentions that he was arrested without a shadow of reason or law. In some quarters it is stated that all this affair about Mr. Rust, originated in an attempt at a hoax; but that is indeed a very criminal sort of way to create humor and fun, and if so will, it is hoped, be properly punished. Other rumors bring into the drama a female named Leggett, who is represented as the most extraordinary character in her line in this country. She has, it seems, been often employed by forgers in this and other States to counterfeit the signatures of different individuals, and succeeds, it is said, to a very remarkable extent. It is very probable that all the affair about Mr. Rust was originated by the real culprits, in the hope of giving a false scent and covering their own misdeeds.
Another story was in circulation last evening that the Mayor and police authorities have been in secret session, examined some persons. The fact simply was, that the younger Mr. Howard, on his return from the West, had been requested to call at the Mayor’s office, and was privately examined relative to the trunk; but nothing implicating himself of any one, was elicited.
At present the whole affair is a greater mystery than ever. Copp is now with his family in Troy, and has given up the express business altogether. Some suppose the trunk was taken long before the boat reached the city. In relation to the arrest and discharge of Mr. Rust, we annex the following statements, which are conclusive as to his innocence:
To the Public.—We, the undersigned, citizens of Syracuse and Auburn, having received information tending to involve Mr. Philo N. Rust, of said village of Syracuse, in participating, either directly or indirectly, in the late robbery of the Trunk of Pomeroy & Co. do hereby certify, that we this day proceeded to Rochester (where we ascertained the rumor upon this subject had originated) for the purpose of investigating the whole matter, with the sole and entire view, on out part, of forming the best judgement in our power with regard to the guilt or innocence of Mr. Rust, from such an examination. That on our arrival at Rochester, we proceeded to ascertain the facts, so far as it was possible to do under the circumstances; and from such examination, the undersigned (being all citizens of Syracuse and Auburn, who went to Rochester for this purpose) have no hesitation in expressing our decided opinion, that the suspicions against Mr. Rust are destitute of any foundation whatever, and that the rumors upon this subject had their origin in an attempt, which we understand was partially successful to impose upon the credulity of certain weak-minded individuals, who, under the expectation of receiving the large reward which had been offered for the recovery of stolen property, easily fell into the …. which had been artfully set for them. We therefore take great pleasure in assuring the public of our entire confidence, not only of the innocence of Mr. Rust in this case, but our unwavering conviction, derived from a long and intimate acquaintance with him that he is incapable of either committing or being accessory to a criminal of dishonorable act.
J. G. Forbes, M. D. Burnett, Daniel Dana, Samuel Larned, Andrew H. Van Patten, Samuel White, E. W. Leavenworth, C. L. Elliott, W. W. Teall, Horace Butts, P. Outwater, jr., Amos Underwood, J. B. Burnett, W. B. Wood, J. M. Sherwood. Dated Rochester Jan. 6, 1844.
To the Public—Mr. Philo N. Rust having been arrested upon suspicion of being, in some way, implicated in the late robbery of Pomeroy & Co, appeared before the Police Justice in this city to answer the complaint. The District Attorney stated that the first intimation he had received of the issuing of a warrant was after the cars arrived in which Mr. Rust came, that he had since examined the matter, and if he had been consulted prior to issuing the warrant he should not have advised it, and declined entering upon any examination, He also stated, in substance it was due Mr. Rust to say there were no facts within his knowledge to justify the issuing of the warrant.The counsel of Mr. Rust insisted upon an examination of the production of affidavits or other evidence upon which the warrant issued; that it might be seen upon what evidence so gross a charge rested. The District Attorney replied that there were no affidavits made, and as no one was willing to appear as complainant or prosecutor, the Justice decided that he could do nothing more, and discharged Mr. Rust. The undersigned citizens of Rochester deem it due to the occasion and to the individual to make this statement and to express not only their confidence in the entire absence of any well founded suspicion against Mr. Rust but their regret, to use no harsher term, that any respectable individual should be taken from his residence and transported through the country upon so grave a charge, not only without evidence of guilt, but without evidence justifying suspicion of offense.
Isaac Hills, F. M. Haight, Elisha Johnston, H. K. Jerome, H. L. Stephens, Hamlin Stilwell, Henry Campbell, Saml Richardson, Lewis Seely, Wm Kidd, Chas, J, Hill, A. Kingsbury, Samuel B. Chase, D/ R. Barton, John E.Patterson, Joseph Strong, Simeon Traver, Jas. Chappell, Wm. Chappell, Geo. B. Hannahs, Cornelius Fielding, L. R. Jerome, Luther Baker, Josiah Sheldon, H.A. Brewster, C. C. Lunt, Charles Wilder, Samuel Campbell, E. S. Beach, h. Humphrey, F. A. Stewart, I. F. Mack, Isaac Moore, H, Scrantom, Joseph Putnam, John Dana, Amos, Sawyer, John Wright, Wm J. Southerin, C. E. Bristol, J. M. Patterson, Jacob Wilkinson, Isaac M. Hall, Thomas Hart, J. Packard, Lemuel Thompson, Robt Haight, Hiram Bumphrey, Henry Fox, J. W. Kerr, Aaron Hitchcock, George Smith, jr. Dated Rochester, January 6, 1844.
On this subject the American of yesterday thus remarks:—
A reputable citizen, for aught that is known to the contrary, has been arrested as a robber, without any affidavit, and, so far as appears, upon the mere caprice, suspicion, or revenge of some individual unnamed! and published throughout the country, with all sorts of details, as a robber, a gambler, and the keeper of a house of resort for all sorts of unprincipled men. The Courier of this morning has a long account of the supposed misdeeds in this matter, of Rust, and of the bad company he habitually entertains, and the Journal of Commerce also presents like facts as connected with this robbery. These could not, one would think, all be invented; and yet, if accurate, or in part accurate, these would or should have been known and put forth in evidence when Rust reached Rochester under arrest. But not a particle of accusation was made. Either, then, as we said at the beginning, a most cruel wrong has been done to Mr. Rust by the arrest—or, through a corrupt connivance, the evidence upon which this arrest was made, has been withheld, and the party been discharged. This must be elucidated. As the matter now stands, Mr. Rust must be deemed an innocent and much injured man."
The Instigator—Caught In His Own Web!
Rust learned that on Thursday, Jan 4., US Marshal Clark Robinson requested that the mail agent between Auburn and Buffalo open any letters directed to either Rust or Banks. Robinson implied that such letters might disclose the secret of the express robbery. A similar request was confirmed by Rochester Postmaster Andrews.
Rust also learned that a woman from Buffalo with a reputation as an associate of counterfeiters and thieves had been in Rochester previous to Rust’s arrest and had knowledge of the conspiracy. She was seen with Marshall Clark Robinson who “loaned” her fifty dollars.
Rust made contact with the woman—Mrs. Leggett—who contributed information that led Rust to ask District Attorney Havens of Erie County to obtain from Sheriff Brown the grounds for the warrant used to search Banks luggage. Brown complied and revealed that, “The first information connecting Bank's with the robbery was from Marshal Clark Robinson.”
There was now ample evidence to lead Rust to conclude that US Marshal Clark Robinson was the prime source of the misinformation linking he and Banks to the Pomeroy Robbery.
It appeared hat the search of Banks’s luggage at the American Hotel and Rust’s arrest had been initiated as a diversion to engage the public with discoveries away from New York City, as well as to impress the Marshall’s brother-in-law, George Pomeroy.
Rust decided to confront Robinson at a meeting on the afternoon of Thursday, Jan. 11 in Rust’s room at the American Hotel.
Robinson was asked to help discover the grounds for Sheriff Brown's warrant. Robinson insisted that—“Brown would not disclose his sources,” and that they should, “make no further efforts in that quarter.” Robinson denied knowledge of the warrant, the search, or the existence of any suspicions against Banks; and, that, “He had not been to Rochester during the last week on any business connected with the Express robbery.”
When asked if he entertained suspicions against Rust. Robinson replied, “Not the slightest,” and that, “Rust is one of the last men in the State whom he should suspect of any such crime,” and, “if his certificate to that effect would be of any value it would afford him great pleasure to make one in writing.”
Rust informed Marshal Robinson that they had evidence that he was the author of the accusation and had originated the suspicion against Banks and ordered Rust’s arrest. Robinson’s demeanor changed as one disclosure followed another until he seemed overwhelmed. He admitted that he made the request to the Postmaster to intercept Rust’s letters, although he had just stated that he had never suspected Rust and had no knowledge of the means by which the arrests had been effected, He then restated his belief that, “No suspicion ought or could properly attach to Rust.”
Attorney for Rust, Mr. Forbes, remarked, “Robinson, however this case may turn out as respects Rust, you have a very serious account to settle with Banks, as you had no just grounds of suspicion against him."
"I had no grounds of suspicion, I admit, except that he was in New York, and left on the morning of the robbery,” replied Robinson. (ed. note: Banks left New York City four days after the robbery.)
Rust was informed by DA Havens that Mr. Henry Wells, a partner in Pomeroy Express, thought there should be a hearing since Rust was in the city, as was Mrs. Leggett, a primary source of information, and that a meeting was scheduled at his office at two o'clock to discuss such investigation. Havens assured Rust he would encourage the parties to consent that Attorney Forbes be admitted to the discussion and would send for him if the others agreed.
In that meeting Mr. Wells stressed the necessity of the hearing but that was successfully resisted by Robinson, who insisted it would— “Produce no benefit.” Robinson apparently intended to keep alive the suspicion—to prevent a legal exposition that would vindicate Rust.
Robinson continued to profess his sympathy for Rust and to denounce the conduct of Stratton. He declared that he intended to remove Stratton from office. He provided Rust with the following letter:
'Being the brother-in-law of George E. Pomeroy, of the city of Albany, one of the partners in the Express Agency in that city, and having taken an interest in the discovery of the money stolen from said firm in December last—I state that I understand the warrant issued at Rochester against Rust, for some supposed participation in the robbery in question, was obtained on the complaint of Stratton, who is one of my deputies, and that said Stratton stated, while at Syracuse, that he obtained said warrant on information derived from me, or was acting under my advice or direction—I wish to disabuse the public mind in this respect by stating that I have had no communication with Stratton, either direct or indirect, upon this subject; and that from my acquaintance with Rust for a number of years, I have no hesitation in saying, that he is one of the last men in the state whom I would suspect of any cognizance of, or participation in, such a transaction, as the robbery in question, nor do I believe that any just ground of suspicion exits against Rust in relation thereto.
CLARK ROBINSON, U. S. Marshal. Buffalo, Jan. 10, 1844.'
—BUFFALO COMMERCIAL ADVERTISER. Friday. January 12th, 1844.
“The Express Robbery. The New York papers, received by last evening’s mail, are filled with exaggerated rumors and statements respecting the arrest of Mssrs’s Rust and Banks for alleged participation in the robbery of Pomeroy & Co’s Express. It is not improbable that all parties interested in knowing the truth, will discover the error into which they have been led, before anything we can communicate will reach the city; but we deem it proper, nevertheless to state from an authentic source, that an investigation has been going on in this city for several days past, on Rust and his friends, having for its object the discovery of the agents by whom the arrests were caused, and the information upon which they acted, and that most abundant and conclusive testimony has been obtained to establish beyond question or controversy, the certain innocence of the gentleman so cruelly and injuriously implicated. We understand that an exposition will be published in a few days to this effect, which will show upon which slight grounds the public mind may be misdirected, and men of character may be involved in consequences of the most serious matter, without any fault of their own. We hope this business will turn out to be no worse than a stupendous mistake. At all events, the exculpation of Mssrs’s Rust and Banks will prove as complete as their most intimate friends and the public can desire.”
The Theft is Solved!
No new evidence emerged until January 16, 1844, when a clerk at the Bank of New York received a $500 bill that fit the description of a missing bill from the Pomeroy trunk. The clerk reported the deposit and identified one Mr. Lackner as the depositor.
—NEW-YORK TRIBUNE (NEW YORK, NEW YORK) · 17 Jan 1844,· Page 2
“Recovery of the Stolen Trunk!—
The stolen trunk of Messrs. Pomeroy &. Co. about which so much has been said and written of late, was yesterday recovered, together with most of its contents. The circumstances which led to the discovery and arrest of the robber, are as follows: A $500 bill on the Merchants' Bank of this city, was paid by a Mr. Lackner to Mr. Von Seht, a German merchant. No. 14 Cedar-st. who deposited it in the Bank of N. York, whence it was sent to the Merchants’ Bank for exchange, and there recognized as one of the lost bills, and the only one of the whole amount stolen which could have been positively identified.
This information was immediately communicated to Messrs. Drew, Robinson &. Co., who had left the date and number of said bill with the Bank.
Mr. Robinson immediately informed the Mayor of what had transpired, when Justice Taylor, Officer McGrath, and Mr. Clark, first Marshal of the Mayor, repaired to the house of Lackner, who resided at No. 32 Livingston-st. Not finding him at home, one of the officers remained to watch the house, while the others went in search of the villain.
He was arrested by Mr. Clark in Cedar street, near Broadway, about 5 o'clock, when his house was searched, and the trunk found in the basement of the building, containing part of the money; the balance, (excepting about $1,000, which is missing,) being stowed away in the bed, between the sheets. Those are the facts as given to us by one of the officers. The prisoner was partially examined, and remanded to the Tombs for a farther examination today, as we understand.
The despatch with which this thing was ferrited out, and the money recovered after the bill was identified, is worthy of notice. The bill was taken to the Merchants Bank at 12 o’clock, the prisoner arrested at 5, at 6 ½ the money was safely lodged in the hands of the officers.
None of the unsigned sheets of the Union Bank have been recovered and possibly they are now in circulation somewhere.
Several packages of the bills found are supposed not to have been opened at all. and some had been exchanged for gold. The missing thousand dollars, it is thought, were paid for goods, which are now in this city.
Lackner is a German about 30 years of age, and, as he says arrived in this country in June last: has since been to Milwaukie, V. T., where he has a partner and purposed to establish a store, and whence he returned about seven weeks ago, with the intention of purchasing goods in this city and transporting them to Milwaukie by wagons.
He was married on the 5th of the present month and doubtless thought the acquisition of his ill-gotten plunder would not come amiss in setting up in the world; though he had not yet applied it to that purpose, the house in which he was found being quite an ordinary one and occupied by several families besides his own. He is an ugly customer; and on his arrest evinced a decided disposition to quarrel with the officers.
The detection of this wholesale robber and the recovery of the money, will rejoice the hearts of many, and will soon place the guilt where it belongs and relieve the innocent from unjust suspicion.”
Additional drama occurred when officers arrived at the NY City Jail—the infamous Tombs—where they found Lackner in his cell hung with his own tie.
—BIWEEKLY COURIER AND NEW YORK EXPRESS, January 21st, 1844.
"POMEROY ROBBERY— More Libel Suits.
(Includes a letter from Northern District of New York’s U. S. Marshal Clark Robinson)
“—We were politely waited upon yesterday morning by our old friend Sparks— who we are happy to find has survived the political persecution of a certain high functionary and is now a Deputy Sheriff-and served with a writ at the suit of Philo N. Rust for an alleged libel on his character in giving publicity to the fact that he was arrested as a suspect in robbery of the Pomeroy Express. The attorneys on record are Forbes and Sheldon; and, as we understand that other editors have been treated likewise, we cannot but think that upon the whole it would have been quite as well for Rust if he had counseled with the gentleman employed by Banks instead of those who remind one of the old saying of a word and a blow— the blow coming first.
Let us examine the facts of this case upon which are grounded this suit for an alleged libel. We first find in the Albany Argus and other northern papers, an account of the arrest of Rust and Banks on suspicion of being concerned in the Pomeroy’s Trunk. This we copied as an item of news, with the following remarks:
"We have heard in connection with this statement from the Albany Argus, a great variety of rumors, most of which are so entirely groundless that we will not even mention them. It has been said however that Rust and Banks (who is a citizen of Washington) came down the River upon the same boat which brought the stolen trunk, and that they returned on the morning of the robbery by the Housatonic Railroad. This we know to be entirely a mistake. Banks had been in the city, at the Astor House, several days; and, Rust intended to leave the city the day before the robbery— and would have done so but for the persuasion of a friend who wished him to visit Sing-Sing with him on private business, which he did. Unless, therefore, the arrest has been made on other grounds than this (of which we know nothing) it cannot lead to any discovery."
On the same day, a gentleman of unquestioned veracity called upon us and said he traveled in the cars from Syracuse to Albany with a person who had been appointed a special Deputy Sheriff and was then on his way to try to arrest Copp. So much for our motives and authority for our publication.
It may be proper here to say, that we (the responsible editor) arrived from Philadelphia on the day alluded to, and knew nothing of the publication until it was made; but we should not have hesitated making it if we had been present, nor would we, under similar circumstances, hesitate as to the course to be pursued.
Among other things our account says-
“Rust, we understand, is a brother-in-law of Copp and has been for sometime greatly addicted to gambling. His house at Syracuse is said to have been a place of common resort for gamblers, sharpers, and unprincipled men.”
This was given us as part of the story which warranted the suspicion and arrest of Rust on so grave a charge; and is just what would have naturally been published in relation to any similar account, when such stories had been circulated against the suspected party. In relation to the character of Banks no charge whatever was made, except that it was alleged he had been arrested by the U. S. Marshal at Buffalo by reason of his suspicious character. This, we are happy to say, was an error; and we are assured too, by those who are acquainted with Banks, that he is a gentleman of unimpeachable character. We have only to repeat that we never heard of him until this transaction took place; and of course, we are most willing to believe that he has been grossly and wickedly slandered.
Of the charge of being a gambler made against Rust, we can only say that we published it in connection with the other facts furnished us; as they have been found to be false so far as regards his connection with the Robbery, but we believe true as relates to his arrest, we shall when called upon, most cheerfully retract it, as we have not the slightest grounds for entertaining the opinion that it is well-founded.
In conclusion, we would simply observe that the publication was made with all due caution and with good motives; while we sympathize with the parties who have suffered this great injury under circumstances which still remain unexplained and in connection with which, there appears to be an impenetrable mystery, we do not think that we are in any way censurable for our publication. Under similar circumstances we should pursue a similar course; but this does not cause us to regret the less, that we in common with so many of the press should have been the innocent means of circulating reports injurious to the characters of Rust and Banks.
We have received the following letter from the U. S. Marshal at Buffalo; and are assured, in addition, that Banks has never been arrested, although he was subjected to the mortification of having his trunk searched. Where, how and why, all the falsehoods in relation to this proceeding?”
'Marshal's Office, Buffalo, January 12, 1844
Jay Watson Webb, Esq.: Sir-My attention has been called to an article in the Courier and Enquirer, under the editorial head of the 9th instant, in which I am represented as having arrested Banks for the Express Robbery. In justice to that individual, I wish to state that no such arrest was made by me or under my direction, nor have I ever heard that Banks had been arrested by any person for the offence in question. I regret that your informant should have thus improperly used my name in this transaction. Very respectfully your obd’t serv’tCLARK ROBINSON, U. S. Marshal'"
Deputy Marshal Stratton and Marshal Robinson each lost his job as a result of this debacle. Deputy Marshal Stratton resigned and Marshal Robinson was removed from office November 25, 1843. The perjury charge against Stratton was referred to a grand jury but was not prosecuted. Stratton continued as a Rochester Town Constable until he left that position to enter Geneva Medical College in Fall, 1846.
January 27, 1844
“In the affidavit of Stratton, I am represented as coming from Buffalo on Tuesday morning, 2 Jan., with Banks, and that Banks left the cars at Churchville about 12 miles west of Rochester, with the view of entering the city in the evening, in a private conveyance. It is also asserted that instead of passing on to Syracuse in the train of that day, I had remained over until evening—was present at the theatre that night—showing my presence in Rochester during the afternoon and evening of that day.”
“The negligence of Stratton is apparent as I remind the reader that Banks and I came in the cars together to Rochester Jan. 2; that the usual compliment of passengers were in the cars and a crowd of people at the usual place of alighting in the principal thoroughfare of the city; that we remained in Rochester about one hour and went in the most public manner to the railroad depot to take seats in the eastern train for Syracuse and departed in the presence perhaps of one hundred persons and in the company of a number of passengers, many of whom were acquainted with me—and we arrived at Syracuse at about ten o’clock on 2 Jan.—these facts were all ascertained by Stratton to his satisfaction before he reached Syracuse with the warrant and he knew all this before he left Rochester on Thursday noon, 4 Jan.”
“I call attention to the testimony of Deputy Sheriff Stewart, a credible person, who stated that the declarations of Robinson regarding his connexion with the transaction and with Mrs. Leggett are false. I have no reason to suppose that Stewart was conscious of the bias and sinister purposes to which he was lending his aid and countenance.”
“When Robinson returned to Buffalo in the cars with Mrs. Leggett he purchased refreshments for her at Attica and on their arrival al Buffalo hired a carriage to convey her to her residence and paid for it.”
I have related a true history of this matter, consistent with the facts I have gathered. It is not reasonable to believe that Mrs. Leggett contrived the story without aid or direction. Motive cannot be found—neither revenge on two strangers, nor to extract money from those on whom she could impose her silly tale. The money she received was a sum barely sufficient to defray the expenses of her journey to Rochester and back. The chief inducement remains with herself and the principal instigator.”
“I hope I have succeeded in unveiling the hidden sources and stamp of this strange and nefarious transaction. I believe enough is ascertained to satisfy the public, that any acts of mine do not justify the extraordinary attack employed against me. I trust enough is known to remove every suspicion which by any means, in connexion with this affair, has been excited to my prejudice and disadvantage.”
“It is due both to Banks and me to add a word respecting our relationship. It has been remarked in the newspapers, that I have been a sufferer on his account. Perhaps he could say the same. I was introduced to Banks two or three years ago in New York, as a gentleman engaged with a firm at the South, in one of the most extensive stage and mail contractor establishments in the Union. In 1842, he went to Buffalo to take charge of the Western Hotel in that city; and I saw him occasionally, as he passed and repassed, or stopped at my house as a guest. I never heard a syllable in disparagement of his character and standing, until after the search at Buffalo. I never suspected him of being a gambler or “black-leg,” and have no reason to believe that he was ever addicted to play. I know that his associations have been respectable, and that he is recognised as a gentleman, wherever I have had any knowledge of his intercourse in society. In detracting from his claims as such, I believe as much injustice is done him, as there is when his name is coupled with an infamous crime.“
“I cannot conclude this communication without returning my warmest and most grateful acknowledgments to my friends and to the public press, with a few exceptions, for the sympathy and kindness they have manifested for me during the whole period of this severe and harrowing trial. I feel deeply indebted to the delicacy and caution of the latter, in withholding and discrediting the storm of evil and exaggerated reports which, for several days, were poured with unmitigated fury upon me. I have also to express my sense of the liberality of the Auburn and Syracuse, and the Rochester and Auburn railroad companies, who refused to accept any compensation for conveying myself and the friends who accompanied me to Rochester, to that city and back, on the 6th Instant. From all I continued to receive assurances of continued confidence and respect, amidst the fiercest assaults of my slanderers.”
PHILO N. RUST.
Syracuse, January 27, 1844."
Afterword—Where is The Mystery?
"Half-Past Twelve.—We have seen His Honor, the Mayor, who is in excellent spirits. He was busily engaged in writing letters to Albany, Troy, Buffalo, Rochester, and to other places, announcing the discovery and the arrest of the thief.
We were shown the bill which led to the discovery. It is a five hundred dollar hill, letter B, number 6, dated July 1st. It is perfectly new. It was the only note, out of the $14,000, of which there was any positive description.
We learned from His Honor, that the information given before him on the morning of the robbery was correct in every particular. The testimony given by Westchester, the Greek, and the other steamboat runner, whose name we did not recollect, was, that on the morning of the robbery a man of the height, size and description of Lachner came down by the Albany boat, and had with him a small hair trunk and a buffalo skin— that he was driven to the house of Schwartz in Washington-st. and quarreled with the driver of the cab whether he should pay him a quarter or one shilling—and the driver then noticed that the man had rings in his ears.
After depositing the trunk and buffalo skin in Schwartz’s bar-room, he said that he had left his umbrella on board the boat and started to find it. The Greek (as the runner is generally known) met him as he came off the gangway of the boat with the very identical trunk, and helped him to carry it to his cab, and drove him to Schwartz's house, for which he received a half dollar. The man did not bring the trunk into the bar-room but left it in the entry, and the barkeeper states that, after his return the second time, he observed that, not being able to find the umbrella he would take the buffalo skin and again search the boat. The man left and did not return again until late for his trunk.
It has been fully ascertained that on the very morning, the time tallying exactly with the testimony of the Greek and of the bar-keeper, a man was seen crossing the Park with a trunk on his shoulder and something like a buffalo robe under it. And here is corroboration that Lachner was the very man. The hair trunk and buffalo skin were found on the premises where Pomeroy’s trunk was discovered—and the prisoner Lachner has rings in his ears. Such circumstantial testimony is conclusive. The Mayor does not think that the prisoner knew what the trunk contained when he stole it. Nor does he think that any other persons were concerned in the robbery.
How this man could have so long escaped the vigilance of the Police is most strange, when the description of his person was so minute. So accurate was the testimony given by Westchester, the Greek and the other runner, that persons laughed at the Mayor for taking any notice of it, such was the general character of the parties—But, as his Honor observed, testimony from any quarter, under such circumstances, was not to be neglected or despised—and so it turns out.
Such is the history and issue of this singular affair."
Was there ever any mystery in the theft of the Pomeroy Express trunk? The above news report asks that question:
“How this man could have so long escaped the vigilance of the Police is most strange, when the description of his person was so minute. So accurate was the testimony given by Westchester, the Greek and the other runner, that persons laughed at the Mayor for taking any notice of it, such was the general character of the parties—But, as his Honor observed, testimony from any quarter, under such circumstances, was not to be neglected or despised—and so it turns out.”
The thief was observed leaving the boat with the trunk, a detailed physical description of the thief was obtained and that information was known the day of the theft, but it does not appear that significant lead was pursued. It seems that the real mystery occurred in the west side of the state—in the other story of the Pomeroy Robbery.
I remain unsure about why my great grandfather lied to obtain the arrest warrant.
It is clear that his informant, Moore, was acting under Marshal Robinson's direction, as was Moore's informant, Mrs. Leggett.
Was my great grandfather simply mislead by Moore, with the urging of Marshal Robinson? Did he buy the story that Rust and Banks were robbers (thieves)? Was he part of a larger conspiracy?
It remains my mystery.
Additional information, especially if you want more detail on the testimony of the "conspirators."
Itemized list of stolen property in the trunk
“There were twenty-one packages and letters in the trunk, from banks, brokers, &c. In this city, as follows:Three packages from Washburn & Co. addressed to Drew, Robinson & Co. N.Y., containing $27,017 in cash; a draft for $31; a letter from the N.Y. State Bank addressed to O. J. Cammann, Cashier of Merchant’s Bank, N.Y., enclosing drafts to the amount of $29,552, and a letter from the Albany Exchange Bank, addressed to John L. Fish, cashier, containing drafts to the amount of $9,510. Eleven packages from the Banking Department, containing registered bank notes for the Tradesman’s Bank, N.Y. amounting to $25,000, and the Union Bank amounting to $131,000; also $2,000 of the Farmer’s Bank of Malone; $1,100 of the James Bank; $1,800 of the New York Stock Bank, and $128 of the Hamilton Bank. One package from the Canal Bank, containing $6,147 in cash, addressed to Pepoon, Hoffman & Ten Broeck, N.Y.; and a letter addressed to G.A. Worth, President of City Bank, containing $45,569.90 in drafts. One package from the Albany City Bank, addressed to Bank of the State of New York, containing sight and time drafts to the amount of $47,075.78. One package from Mechanics’ and Farmers’ Bank, addressed to Pepoon, Hoffman & Ten Broek, containing $2,783 in cash; and two letters to the Merchants’ Bank and the Manhattan Company, containing drafts amounting to $17,769.27. One package from a broker in this city, addressed to Jacob Little & Co., N.Y., containing cash $1,400. The Bank of Albany and the Commercial Bank had neither money nor drafts in the trunk. Pomeroy& Co. and the banks offer a reward of $3,000 for the recovery of the trunk and contents. Beside these the Evening Journal says there were sundry packages from Brokers and Banks in Troy, containing from twenty thousand to thirty thousand dollars in cash, and a large amount in drafts."
Marshal Stratton's affidavit and testimony at perjury hearing
The Basis of The Deputy Marshal's Lie! On Saturday morning, January 13, Rust, Banks and Marshal Robinson departed on the same train for Rochester. On their arrival, Robinson was presented a letter from Stratton offering his resignation. Stratton declared that he intended to publish a statement regarding the arrest and expressing his conviction of Rust’s innocence. Robinson asked Rust to consent to the restoration of Stratton to office upon that statement being published. Rust declined the proposal, adding that he wanted no further communication with Robinson. Later that day Rust received a copy of Officer Stratton’s sworn affidavit: The affidavit stated that on Jan. 3, Stratton appeared before Justice Buchan and swore: That he employed Gilbert H. Moore, of Rochester, as a spy on counterfeiters. That Moore called late on Monday night, Jan. 1 and informed him that Mrs. Leggett, who was engaged in counterfeiting and well known to the police, had arrived in Rochester and he had obtained her confidence. That Mrs. Leggett had disclosed to Moore, on an oath of secrecy, that she knew the persons who had stolen the money of Pomeroy & Co. and that these persons were Rust, Banks and Copp. That Rust and Banks were on board the steamboat on the North River at the time the money was taken and that Rust got the trunk and carried it to the Astor House in New York. That Rust and Banks came west and after a short time at Syracuse went to Buffalo carrying the Union Bank bills. That, in Buffalo, Rust called on Mrs. Leggett and engaged her to fill up the Union Bank notes and furnished her with the sheets; that the object was to put the notes into circulation in the Western States. That Mrs. Leggett, being afraid to fill up the sheets at Buffalo, had come to Rochester for that purpose, by agreement with Rust. That Mrs. Leggett showed the sheets to Moore and that Moore exhibited one of the notes to Stratton—a sheet of the Union Bank of New York. That he could not retain the sheet because Moore had to return the same to Mrs. Leggett to prevent her suspicions. That Mrs. Leggett had communicated to Moore that Banks and Rust would come from Buffalo to Rochester the next day and would bring the money with them to deposit the same with one Stevens in Rochester. That on the next day, Rust came in the cars from Buffalo but was unable to locate Banks. Stratton believed that Banks had come off the cars at Churchville about 12 miles west of Rochester and that Banks would come into the city in the evening in a buggy and Stratton believed the money was in possession of Banks. That on Rust’s arrival at Rochester Rust put up at the Eagle Tavern and that a deputy Sheriff had come from Buffalo on the track of Mrs. Leggett and was watching her by reason of some suspicious circumstances that had occurred at Buffalo. That he had watched them as well as he could but lost track of Rust in the forenoon of Tuesday. He had inquired at the Eagle Tavern and had been told that Rust had left that day in the cars for Syracuse. At the Railroad Depot Stratton was informed that Rust had not left in the cars for Syracuse. Stratton believed Rust was concealed in the city until Banks arrived in the evening, when, after depositing the money, they would cross over to Pittsford or some other stopping place on the railroad and then go on to Syracuse. That he was confident in his belief because he had been informed that Rust had been seen to look into the Theatre on Tuesday evening where Mrs. Leggett had gone and that Rust immediately came out and went off in a hack towards Cornhill. That on Wednesday, 3 January, he had been informed by Moore (and believed) that Rust had seen Mrs. Leggett the day before in another room for a few minutes and had told her that it would not do for Rust to be seen speaking to her since a Rochester bulldog was watching him and that he would have to be off and after he was safely away he wanted her to come to his house at Syracuse where he would procure a room for her and she could sign the notes without detection. That Moore told him that Mrs. L. now knew where the money was, but he was afraid to question her too closely lest her suspicion might be raised, but he would find out in the course of the day. That Stratton wished to start for Syracuse to be there before Mrs. L., and if she stopped at Rust’s house, he wished to be armed with some authority by which he could act on an emergency, and therefore prayed a warrant for Rust’s arrest—which was accordingly issued by the Justice. These detailed, contrived facts revealed the plan to accuse Rust and emphasized the recklessness and cruelty of those engaged in the plan. Rust noted that Stratton had sworn to one material fact—that Moore had exhibited to him one of the unsigned sheets of the Union Bank, and that he could not retain the sheet because Moore had to return the same to Mrs. Leggett to avoid suspicion. Stratton had repeated this statement to others. Rust also recalled that the day that he had arrived in Rochester, on Saturday, Jan. 13, Stratton stated that he had never seen the sheets in question and the Justice was mistaken in his recollection that he had sworn to any such fact. Satisfied that Stratton had lied to obtain the warrant and stated the same lie to others, Rust entered a perjury complaint against Stratton. —THE ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT. 1844-Jan-17. "F. J. Stratton's Examination. EXAMINATION OF OFFICER STRATTON ON A CHARGE OF PERJURY.—Francis J. Stratton, the officer who arrested Mr. Rust, was taken into custody yesterday afternoon on the complaint of that gentleman, on a charge of perjury in making the affidavit to procure the warrant. The testimony contains a full history of the movements which led to the extraordinary arrest. The particular charge which constituted the perjury, consisted in the declaration of Stratton, made before the magistrate, that he had actually seen some registered bills of the Union Bank of N. Y., obtained from the Pomeroy trunk. Justice Buchan—the magistrate who issued the warrant testified that Stratton came to him on the 2nd of January and stated that a person named Gilbert H. Moore, who was in his employ as a spy upon counterfeiters, had discovered the perpetrators of the Pomeroy robbery, and that he had revealed to him the whole matter, and showed him one of the Union Bank sheets. Also that Moore to avoid suspicion had to return the bills to the person from whom he obtained them; that he had several conversations with the defendant and that he always understood him to affirm that he had seen the bills. This fact was the basis upon which he issued the warrant, and he felt certain that Stratton had sworn positively upon this point. The oath was administered some hours previous to issuing the warrant at the office, and the blank was filled out at the dwelling where the substance of the former examination was recapitulated. Slight minutes of the testimony were taken at the time which were afterwards reduced to regular form. The blank was filled out on the spur of the moment just as the eastern train was leaving. Gilbert H. Moore—testified that on Monday morning, the 1st of January, he came to Stratton's room at Morton’s, and communicated all the information he had obtained in reference to the robbery. He stated that he had become acquainted with a woman—Mrs. Leggett—then staying at the U. S. Hotel, who had revealed the whole affair to him. She said her business here was to sign some $60,OOO in bills of the Union Bank. A portion of these bills she had, which were obtained from Banks in Buffalo. A person unknown had called at her house in that city, and engaged her to sign the bills. A day or two after, Banks called, bringing two blank sheets with him, and made arrangements to sign the whole lot, but that in consequence of some excitement among the police officers in reference to searching Banks’s baggage, it was not considered safe, and they concluded to do the business at Rochester. She expected to receive the sheets from some person at Batavia, but did not. She desired Moore to procure a private house where she could sign the notes with safety. With Rust she pretended to be well acquainted, having often staid at his house—she having also seen him at Buffalo.—She had always considered him “one of their sort of folks” as he had been engaged in counterfeiting for years. With reference to the robbery she told Moore that Rust & Banks had taken the trunk from the boat and carried it to the Astor House. The next day, however, she said the Howard House. The trunk, papers and drafts were destroyed. The current money and registered sheets were sent west, and that the sheets were then in the city. Copp, she said, was privy to the robbery. Rust and Banks she expected next day in the cars. In consequence of the presence of deputy Sheriff Stewart, of Buffalo, whom she supposed was watching her, she left the U. S. Hotel and took rooms at Morton's, after deceiving the deputy as to the time of her intended return to Buffalo. After she came to Morton’s, she told Moore that Banks had called upon her, and that Rust was in town and had sent her word that some cf the Rochester bull dogs were watching her.—Moore told her she had no cause for fear. She then told him that Rust had made an appointment with her at the Theatre, and she and Moore went there in the evening, where she told him that Rust and Banks came in and stayed about 15 minutes. Next morning, after the visit to the Theatre, she went out after breakfast, and staid till 11 in the forenoon. Upon her return she told Moore that “she had a mind to get mad. Rust must be a fool to suppose that she would follow him all over the country. He had got frightened, and left the city in a private conveyance the evening previous, after the Theatre was out, and had taken the sheets with him.” She expected to meet them next day near Canandaigua. Rust and Banks had left word for her to follow them in the next train. She asked Moore whether she ought to do so, or return west, as she had not funds sufficient to remain long far from home. This was on Wednesday, Jan. 3d. Moore immediately came to Stratton and told him all these circumstances. He also stated that he told S. at this and other times that he had actually seen the sheets of the Union Bank bills. But when questioned under oath he said be never saw any bills whatever, and that he only told Stratton so to make the story a “little stronger.” He made this same assertion afterwards to others, but retracted it in the broadest manner under oath. On Thursday Jan. 4th, she wrote a letter to Rust, and gave it to Moore, open, requesting him to fold, address and mail it. Instead of so doing he look the letter to Col. Paine’s office where it was sealed and put in the P. O. The woman took the cars west the same day. The above is the substance of the information communicated to Stratton previous to the arrest of Rust and Banks. The examination was adjourned to this day (Wednesday) in consequence of the absence of witnesses. For the complainant J. G. Forbes of Syracuse and F. M. Haight of this city. For defendent W. S. Bishop.—Daily, of Wednesday." Another news story reported: “ …Testimony also alleged that Stratton had told Col. Stevens, of Rochester, that he had seen this sheet; that it was a sheet of the Union Bank of New York, duly countersigned at the Comptroller's office; and that when Col. Stevens suggested that he must be mistaken, that it was probably a sheet of counterfeit bills of this bank, Stratton replied that he could not be mistaken, as he was a judge of counterfeit money, being much in the way of detecting counterfeiters. Postmaster Andrews told Rust that such a letter had been mailed to Rust at Syracuse. Rust sent an express for the letter and it was found in the hands of Rust’s clerk unopened. The letter follows, et literatim, &c. 'Rochester, Jan. 5, 1844. > Rust Sir You will perhaps be Disapointed that I have not colm myself Instead of sending this, but you must no that I have ben from holm now on expense longer than I intended when I left. I think therefore that it will be proper to return holm as that will of course alay all suspition and, when I receive a line from you, I will have my baggage ready and come fourth with and as the cars leave in the morning before light I shall steel a nice march on them right as soon as you receive this. > Yours with due esteem 39381T' Moore identified it as the referred letter but denied that he said that Mrs. Leggett wrote it—although he admitted that the direction was in his hand writing.” —THE ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT. 1844-Jan-18. "The Pomeroy Robbery. EXAMINATIONS CONCLUDED. Yesterday morning Mr. Philo N. Rust appeared before the police Magistrate and made affidavit that he was arrested on the morning of Jan. 5th, on a charge of having participated in the robbery of the Pomeroy trunk; that such arrest was made in consequence of a conspiracy against his character by some person or persons not precisely known; and, he asked the court to examine witnesses to ascertain the guilty persons. Mrs. Leggettt, whose revelations as testified to by Moore in his examination on the Stratton case, are the chief causes of the arrest was called and sworn. She testified that on Sunday Dec. 31, she went to the Buffalo jail to see a sick friend. There she heard Sheriff Brown and his Deputy Stewart conversing about the search of Banks’s trunks which had taken place a short time before at the American Hotel. Brown told her that he suspected Banks in consequence of information received from New York, and that after they had searched his baggage, Mr. Rust came forward and offered to open his trunks for their inspection, but they declined. She heard nothing further of the robbery in Buffalo except some slight talk about the search. She had contemplated coming to Rochester for a week and started the next morning. At Batavia deputy sheriff Stewart came on board the cars, but she did not hold any conversation with him, except to exchange a word about her baggage.—Shortly after her arrival here, she became acquainted with Moore, and had since slight conversations with him concerning the search of Banks’s trunk, during which, when asked if she thought Rust guilty, she remarked that she thought “Rust was a man that ought to be able to live without stealing.” She never gave Moore the least information of the participation of Rust and Banks in the robbery, for she had none to give, nor did she say she had any communication with them while here or saw them at the Theatre. She had read the statement of Moore’s evidence as published in the paper, and that part of it which related to herself in connection with the alleged disclosure of the robbery was totally false. She also affirmed positively that she never said that a portion of the money was at Stevens’s grocery. “Clark Robinson called to see her at the Morton House. Rust and Banks names were not mentioned while he stayed. She saw him afterwards at the Eagle Hotel, where she went to tell him that she was going home, he having, the evening before, engaged to carry a letter for her to Buffalo. She accordingly went home in the cars the same day. Robinson and the deputy Sheriff went in the same train. She swore positively that she received no money from Robinson or through him or any person while here, but paid her own expenses down. Never said she had received money from Stewart to come down. She had heard Wells of Pomeroy’s Express speak of the robbery but did not recollect the conversation. Never told him she' knew or pretended to know who committed the robbery. She saw Moore at Buffalo a few days after the arrest of Rust. He did not tell what he came for. He spoke of Rust being there to clear his character. (Several parts of this witness’s testimony was directly contradicted afterwards by Stewart and Moore.) Gilbert H. Moore—Testified in addition to what had formerly stated, that he was present at the interview at Morton’s, between Robinson and Mrs. Leggett. She asked him to lend her $5—he took out his wallet, and after examining it, said he had none to spare, but could procure her some if necessary. Moore was then questioned as to his movements at Buffalo, to which place he went after the arrest of Rust, in company with Messrs. Wesley and Van Rensselaer of Albany, for the purpose of obtaining some further information from Mrs. Leggett. He did not give a very minute account of his operations there. Mrs. Leggett seemed at first suspicions. He had one two interviews with Clark Robinson, but the particulars of the conversation held with that gentleman and Mrs. L., he could not remember, told him something about having seen Wells, showed him an order from that gentleman to ride free over the railroad, and also a letter, in which he had inclosed her $5 in money. Wells told him, wished her to procure one of the bills, in order that people might not suspect that Express Co. had robbed themselves. At the first interview with Robinson he was unwilling to converse on the subject, and seemed to harbor suspicions against him. At a subsequent interview he was more communicative, and told Moore that she had just drawn up and signed a paper exculpating Rust from all participation the robbery, and said he thought he could conscientiously say he thought Rust innocent, and that it was due to that gentleman to say so publicly. J. W. Stewart—late deputy sheriff of Erie county said that he was informed by the sheriff the time Bank’s trunks were searched, that Leggett had been applied to to sign some of the bills. He saw Mrs. L. on Sunday, Dec. 31, at the jail, when the sheriff, jailor, and police justice and two or three others were present. They seemed to be in consultation about her coming to Rochester. Money was given to her for that at that time. (This is in direct contradiction of Mrs. L.’s testimony.) She was to leave on the cars next morning Jan. 1st. Stewart started for Batavia in a private conveyance with instructions from the sheriff that if Mrs. Leggett received any package, box or bundle at Batavia or Rochester, to seize it immediately and bring it to him. He got on board the cars at Batavia, and came to the city, and, although Mrs. Leggett testified to the contrary, he had several conversations with her—and made arrangements to a have a letter left for him in the post office, if she changed her accommodations. He returned to Buffalo, and reported the state of affairs to the sheriff, when it was decided that he should immediately return to this place and be accompanied Mr. Robinson who would be less suspected, he having business here.—When they arrived here they found a letter in the post office from Mrs. Leggett telling them that she had lodgings at Mortons. Stewart was present at the interview between Robinson and the woman at the Eagle, she asked for money, and Robinson, having any to spare, Stewart gave her some. (Mrs. L. sworn positively that she received no money from any person in this city.) Mr. Rust’s counsel having heard that Moore, on his return from Buffalo, had given Col. Paine a very minute account of his movements in that place, which account differed in some respects from the statements made under oath.— Called that gentleman to the stand. Col. Paine, after stating that he had from the commencement acted in the capacity of legal advisor to one of the parties engaged in this matter, and had been made acquainted with all the circumstances before the arrest, but that since the affair had become public he considered himself absolved from all obligations of secrecy—said that Moore came lo him after his return, and gave a very full and minute account of his movements in Buffalo. He said after his arrival there he proceeded to the House of Mrs. Leggett. She at first seemed suspicious but afterwards became more confidential and during the course of his stay explained her position which she said was a spy upon counterfeits for the Buffalo police. He then endeavored to induce her to make public all she knew concerning Rust and Banks. She said she had been offered $400 by Wells if she would put him in possession of one of the bills and showed him Well’s railroad order, and that if she obtained the money he would share with her. He told Paine that at the first interview with Robinson he seemed suspicious and they did not understand each others position. That afterwards they came (over a bottle of wine) to a perfect understanding. Robinson said that he had signed a paper, endorsing Rust’s character, and that he meant to use every endeavor to make Rust believe that he was his friend, while at the same time he would spare no exertions to reinstate Mrs. Leggett in Rust’s favor, in order that she might procure one of the bills. Robinson, it seems, was of the opinion that Rust and Mrs. Leggett had formerly been intimate, which, according to the assertions of both, was not the fact. Col. Paine thinks Moore told him that Mrs. L. said that Robinson was the originator and concocter of all the movements against Rust. To effect his objects, he asked Moore to cooperate with him. This is the substance of the statement made by Moore to Col. Paine, as that gentleman avers, after his return from Buffalo. Moore’s account, under oath, was far less minute. The object of Mr. Rust, we understand, in instituting this inquiry in this form is to find out, if possible, the originator of the scheme to destroy his character. Who are the guilty persons and who have sworn falsely, the public must judge for themselves. The whole subject is to be presented to the next Grand jury." —NEW YORK DAILY HERALD, New York, N.Y. 23 Jan 1844. Tue Page 1. "CASE OF MRS. LEGGETT AND THE POMEROY TRUNK.— This woman was arrested in Buffalo on the 17th, taken to Rochester, and examined there on the 18th inst. relative to her accusations against Messrs Rust and Banks. We take the following report of the examination from the Rochester Advertiser of the 19th. P. N. Rust, Sworn—Was arrested on the morning of the 4th inst. Pomeroy’s trunk—conspiracy by which he has been charged with stealing, &c, several engaged in it. Asks that an effort may be made to discover conspirators. G. H. Moore objected to being sworn except under advice of counsel. Mrs. Leggett, sworn—Had a conversation in Buffalo New Year’s, in regard to the robbery, with different ones; went to jail Sunday, 31st December, to see a sick woman; saw or overheard Sheriff Brown talk about a search which had been made of Mr. Banks at the American Hotel; asked him what the search was about; said some officer in New York sent up word, causing suspicion of Mr. Banks; that Mr. Rust offered to have his baggage searched, but it was not; asked if witness ever saw Mr. Rust; had seen him at tavern in Syracuse; don’t remember whether they asked if witness knew Banks; had no conversation with any body else that day on the subject; left Buffalo on Wednesday morning for Rochester; stayed at Mansion House night before; had been calculating to come week before; had no conversation with any body at Buffalo on the subject; don’t recollect having any conversation about the robbery coming down from Buffalo; deputy sheriff Stewart came on the cars at Batavia; had no conversation with him; did not want any; had no conversation with Moore in this city about the robbery, except to relate the excitement in Buffalo in consequence of searching Bank’s baggage; witness said to Moore that Mr. Rust was able to live without stealing; did not say to Moore that she had conversation with Rust and Banks about the robbery; gave Moore no information about the robbery; knew nothing about it; did not tell Moore that she saw Rust in the theatre; saw Rust when he got out of the cars, and so told Moore; did not tell Moore anything about the money being in the house of a Mr. Stevens in this city; does not know Stevens; knows that Moore’s story, as far as relates to her, is false, so far as it relates to Rust and Banks; saw Clark Robinson at Morton House on Wednesday eve; sent for him by Mr. Moore; Robinson had previously sent two notes to her, but did not get them; at the interview with Robinson nothing was said of the robbery or of any person supposed to have been engaged in it; saw Robinson after that at the Eagle Hotel, it was on Thursday morning; on the previous night R. Said he was going home, and would carry a line to her son. Concluded to go home herself, and so told Robinson next morning at the Eagle; went on to the cars at 2 o’clock for Buffalo; lives on Washington street, Buffalo; went home in a carriage with others, when got out of cars; gave a shilling for passage; Robinson did not pay her fare; did not receive any money from Clark Robinson while in Rochester or at Buffalo, or from any person through him; paid expenses down; Stewart was in the cars going to Buffalo, but did not speak to him; Robinson said his business at Rochester was about a steamboat; did not tell any body that I received seven dollars from Stewart for expenses down; don’t recollect anything said to Wells about the robbery; never said she know anything about it; the robbery or the money; if did say so, made wrong pretensions—never said so; saw Moore at Buffalo last week; Moore came to witness’ house—conversed about Rust coming to Buffalo to clear up his character. G. H. Moore, Sworn—Was present at Morton House when Mr. Robinson was in Leggett’s room. She asked Robinson for money; did not give her any. Asked R. to lend her five dollars; asked if her credit was good for that. Robinson said yes. Took out his pocket book; had five or six dollars in it. Said should not have much left after paying bill; would give her the balance if any left. Put money back; amused themselves in imitating signatures; don’t know which imitated best; Mrs. L. Did not tell witness she had received money while in Rochester from any person; had conversation with Mrs. L. in Buffalo last week about the robbery; not a great deal; can hardly tell what was said; nothing about it on the evening he called on Mrs. L.; don’t think the subject was scarcely talked of next day; was scarcely mentioned till Thursday forenoon; told Mrs. L. I must go home tomorrow morning; witness said his business required him to go on to Chicago; would go; Mrs. L. asked, what is that business? Is it to catch Banks? Witness made no reply. Nothing more said at the time on the subject; said something that afternoon; don’t remember what it was; Mr. Wells name was lugged in, but how, cannot say; Mrs.L. did not tell witness how she came to originate the story; said she had conversed with Wells on the subject before she came to Rochester; Wells had made her a handsome offer if she would show him on of those blank sheets or get one for him; Wells would indemnify against all harm if she would do so; asked witness’s advice whether she had better do so or not; witness refused to advise her. John W. Stewart, Sworn.—Was Deputy Sheriff up to Jan; saw warrant issued for search of American Hotel for the Pomeroy money; was present at the search; warrant issued on Deputy Sheriff by Brown’s complaint; did not know on what information Brown made complaint; thinks Brown told witness the Mrs. Leggett had been applied to to sign some of the blank notes which were in the Pomeroy trunk; could not be mistaken in regard to the person meant by Mr. Brown; came to Rochester on 1st of Jan.; took cars at Batavia; left Buffalo on Sunday afternoon in private conveyance; came to Rochester at the solicitation of Brown, who said Mrs. Leggett was going east, and he supposed would get some of the blank bills; saw Mrs. Leggett in the Jailer’s office on Sunday about noon; heard talk in the jail about the bills; thought Mrs. L. might make communications which would lead to recovery of the bills; was told bye Mr, Brown what led to the inference about Mrs. L.’s knowledge of the subject; heard her say in the jailer’s office the she had no money; think she received some money from some of the persons in the jailer’s office, some six or seven dollars; thinks Brown said he had borrowed money to give her; thinks was in the office when money was paid; witness was to take cars at Batavia and seize anything that might. Be given to Mrs. L. on the road as the property or contents of the Pomeroy trunk; had no conversation with her except at the U. S. Hotel, when she told witness he was watched; went home and returned on Wednesday, with the intent to see whether Mrs. L. got any baggage on the way or at Rochester; when witness went home, told Mrs. L. to leave a line at post office for witness, to tell where she was; got a letter from her; has not the letter; it simply stated that she was at Morton House; had slight interview at Eagle on Wednesday with Mrs. Leggett, at Mr. Robinson’s room; all that was said was that we had better all go home; had made up minds that was no use staying; Mrs. Leggett said she had not money enough to pay her bill; Robinson had but eight dollars, witness about the same; gave her five dollars; witness tried to get something specific from Mrs. Leggett, but could get nothing."