Stories about confidence tricksters were a staple of the early Washington newspapers. This particular con artist, a Mr. Taylor, was more literary than most. The following scam alert was published in the May 5, 1892 issue of The Kitsap County Pioneer, Sidney, Washington, and I believe I detect a bit of gloating over the misfortune of their rival local paper:
The “Galoot” is Here
“The following pedigree of a man who is a partner in a ‘write up’ of Sidney may interest those of our citizens who deem it proper to pay outsiders big prices to do what they could get at reasonable rates at home.”
“The following articles, clippings, &c., appeared in the Sidney Independent, under date of November 21, 1891:”
“PASS HIM ON.– The papers in Washington and elsewhere will do well to always keep a cold shoulder ready to turn on a long, lank, dark haired man by the name of Taylor, who follows the avocation of writing up towns and their industries and having the same published in local papers. He is a fluent writer and a smooth talker, and were it not for his proclivity for drunkenness, lying and jumping hotel bills, he would be a useful man in the literary world. The Herald and Sumner had a severe dose of Taylor last week, and we deem it but fraternal to warn others to have nothing to do with him.–Sumner Herald.”
“The same galoot took nearly two hundred dollars out of Slaughter last spring. The fellow was finally
escorted out of town to the tune of about fifty tin cans in the hands of boys. Pass him along.–Slaughter Sun.”
“The Oracle bit, too, last spring, and we have been ashamed of ourselves ever since. Owing to his foul and drunken abuse of that unoffending young man, our devil was compelled to drag his lankness out of the office into the snow at midnight prior to his leaving town.–Orting Oracle.”
“While this gentleman referred to has not yet arrived in Sidney, others of the same stripe have been here and pulled the legs of our citizens to the extent of a few hundred.–Sidney Independent, Nov. 21, 1891.”
“Comment on the above clippings is hardly necessary, but suffice it to say that the ‘galoot’ is here and the work of ‘pulling the legs’ of our citizens is being done with neatness and dispatch, and the Independent has sold its columns to the proposition.”
Shortly after this piece was published The Kitsap County Pioneer was absorbed by the Sidney Independent. Sidney later changed its name to Port Orchard. Also the town of Slaughter changed its name to Auburn. And perhaps, for professional reasons, Mr. Taylor changed his name as well.
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