What’s a Yegg?

Below is a May 6, 1909 Bellows Falls Times newspaper clipping. Yeggs were a criminal gang of burglars and safecrackers. The arrest was made in Bellows Falls.

1909 Bellows Falls Times newspaper clipping. Photo provided

“Charles Cadwell of Chester was placed under arrest in the Hotel Windham on Thursday evening by Sheriff J.H. Kiniry of Windsor on a charge of arson. On Monday he was given a hearing before Justice F.H. Holmes in Windsor and held in $3000 bonds to appear at the county court.

“The circumstances leading to his arrest here are interesting. Last fall the farm buildings of Mr. Goodrich of Chester were set fire to and burned to the ground. The loss included tools, 17 head of cattle, two hogs, a mule, hay and hens. The only clew to the setting was tracks of a large footed person, and as Cadwell had been arrested on complaint of Goodrich for killing deer out of season and fined $100 for the offence, he was suspected of setting the fire, as it was alleged that he swore vengeance on Goodrich at the time of the deer incident, about two years ago.

“The Vermont authorities secured the services of a detective from the Wood Morgan agency of Boston. The detective arrived in Chester with two hounds and posted as a sportsman and took up his residence with the hotel man. Naturally he got acquainted with Cadwell and they had many good talks about hunting and dogs, as Cadwell was fond of them. The detective was invited to take up his abode with Cadwell, which he did, and they soon became fast friends.

“The detective began to have large amounts of money sent him, and this interested Cadwell, who when answered in regard to the same was told that the detective was a yegg and that he made barrels of money. Cadwell became more interested and soon wanted to join the band of yeggs, who were to hold a meeting in this town last Thursday evening. Cadwell accompanied the supposed yegg here and went to room 10 in the Windham hotel, where Mr. Woods of the detective agency was posing as the head of the yegg gang.

“When Cadwell and the detective entered Mr. Wood handed the detective a large roll of bills as his share of some business the gang had accomplished. He was interested in the conversation and wanted to join the gang and when it was proposed to rob the Chester bank he was not satisfied with one but wanted both the Chester and Ludlow banks robbed in one night.

“Previous to the entrance of Cadwell and the detective from Chester Sheriff James H. Kiniry and State’s Attorney E.R. Buck of Windsor, had secreted themselves in the bath room which lead from room 10. The transom was open, but a fine piece of cotton was over the opening. Sheriff Kiniry and Mr. Buck were in their stocking feet and stood on chairs so they could easily hear what was being said.

“The supposed yegg meeting continued and when it was suggested that Cadwell be admitted to the gang Mr. Wood opposed on the question of his bravery and suggested that possibly Cadwell was only getting into the gang so that he might peach on them when the opportunity showed itself. Cadwell was indignant and protested that that was not his intention. Mr. Woods asked him what he did that showed that he had the necessary sand to belong to such a gang and to help do such deeds.

“Cadwell was apparently anxious to prove his stability for he went on and is said to have stated that 25 years ago he robbed a man in Hartford of $200; that three years ago two men were stopping at his house and while they slept he hitched a sponge or some other material on the end of a pole, saturated it with chloroform, pushed it through a broken pane of glass in the window so that it was just above their noses and succeeded in putting them to sleep so that he robbed them of $400.

“He also told that last fall he went to a farmer’s buildings, set them afire, destroying 17 head of cattle and other property. When asked how he accomplished the last act he said that he left his house by the way of the window and cut across lots, entered the barn and set fire to the hay and then went back the same way he came.

“Mr. Woods discredited this story and asked him how they should know he was so daring and why they should believe such yarns. Cadwell said he was willing to take his oath that what he had told them was true.

“The conversation had occupied about two hours’ time and as Cadwell vouched for his stories Sheriff J.H. Kiniry turned lock in the door and suddenly appeared before Cadwell, covering him with a monster revolver and said, ‘Hold up your hands or I’ll bore you.’ He is a monster in build and the handcuffs that the sheriff put on his wrists were hardly large enough and fastened in the first catch.”

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