Bunco Artists in Richmond, 1870–1920

Sharpers, Snatchers, Swindlers, Flimflammers and Other Con Men

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SKU: 9781476666921 Categories: , Tags: ,

About the Book

Richmond in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was home to a lively underworld of tricksters, swindlers, confidence men and thieves. The former Confederate capital’s under-staffed police force and dense population—large numbers of immigrants and the very poor—accommodated the enterprising criminal. Newspaper reports of the day offer a glimpse of a wide variety of crimes and misdemeanors, often with a bit of humor or pathos. Based on reports from the proceedings of the Police Court, this book provides a portrait of Richmond—then the most congested city in the U.S.—during the “Golden Age of the Con,” when gamblers, hustlers and frauds plied their trades across the country.

About the Author(s)

The late Harry M. Ward was William Binford Vest Professor of History Emeritus at University of Richmond. He was the author of 21 books, including college-level textbooks on Colonial America and the American Revolution, military biographies and studies of social aspects of the Revolution.

Bibliographic Details

Harry M. Ward
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: 37 photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6692-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2617-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
1. River City 5
2. Resurrectionists 10
3. Clairvoyants 19
4. Plungers 35
5. Confidence Men 47
6. Money Sharks 53
7. Fakir Paradise 59
8. “Shoving the Queer” 77
9. Larceners 83
10. Footpads 93
11. Cracksmen 99
12. Dips 103
13. Suspicious Characters 109
14. “American Nobility” 118
15. Narcoticists 127
16. Kidnappers 133
17. Fugitive Felons 142
18. Forgers 148
19. Embezzlers 156
20. Impostors 164
21. Drummers 174
22. Postal Robbers 184
23. Railway Disrupters 190
24. On Board Troublemakers 195
25. The “Big Train Robbery” 199
26. Gold Brick Caper 204
Glossary 213
Chapter Notes 217
Bibliography 230
Index 233