Introducing Charles Cull, Confidence Man

According to the New York Times of October 3, 1860:

Charles Cull was tried for obtaining money under false pretences from Mr. John F. Gilman, a resident of Maine…Mr. Gilman formed the acquaintance of Cull on board the Stonington boat, bound to this City. He rather liked Cull, and, being a stranger in Gotham, placed himself under his guidance. Cull, not unwillingly, took him in charge, and undertook to exhibit unto him the huge animal with the extensive trunk. Passing along some street, Cull bethought himself of his need to change a bill for $100, that amount, when unbroken, being not very eligible as a tender for a small sum for refreshments. Accordingly he went into an establishment, which he said was a bank, but came out much chagrined at finding it was past banking hours. What was to be done? A man with a hundred-dollar bill in his pocket in want of small change for drinks for himself and friend! A ridiculous position to be placed in, and perplexing, moreover. Could not his new Maine acquaintance oblige him with smaller bills — a twenty or so, a few tens and fives? Unfortunately the gentleman from Maine had not so much money about him, but having $30, he concluded that twelve shillings would see him through the night, and the next day he could easily be at the Bank before closing hours. So he gave $28 50 to Cull, and received from him the $100 bill, on “The City Trust and Banking Company.” Cull having succeeded in obtaining small bills, suddenly recollected that he had a little business to transact round the corner, but he would be back in a few minutes. Mr. Gilman by-and-bye became of the opinion that there were just twenty-four such minutes from midnight to midnight, or from noon to noon, and he became not unnaturally inquisitive about the value of the $100 bill. Inquiry demonstrated that it possessed no value at all. His poor recompense was his good luck in meeting subsequently with Cull and giving him into custody.

Recorder BARNARD briefly charged the Jury in the case, and then finding himself too unwell to remain longer on the Bench, quitted the Court, while Judge RUSSELL was sent for to receive the verdict. The Jury, after a short absence, found Cull guilty. Sentence was deferred until it could be passed by the Recorder, who tried the case. No other business was done.

A brief article from the New York Daily Tribune of  July 4, 1861, reproduced in full, shows that Cull failed to learn his lesson:

“A well dressed man, calling himself Charles Cull, was arrested yesterday, charged with swindling Mr. John Milleman of Weathersfield N.Y., out of $50 by the confidence dodge. It appears that Cull met Mr. M. at the Hudson River Depot; and, having introduced himself, informed him that he was going to Dunkirk, and as Mr. M. was going to Buffalo, proposed that the should travel together. This arrangement was acceded to by Mr. M., and the twain started for the Exchange Hotel. On their way, a confederate of Cull’s met them, and, presenting a small bill to Cull, asked for payment. Cull handed him a bogus $50 bill to take the required amount from, but the confederate could not change it. Mr. Milleman was then applied to, and gave good money for the bill. Cull and the confederate then decamped, but Mr. M., becoming suspicious, pursued Cull, and arrested him, with $48 of his money in his possession. The prisoner was taken before Justice Kelly, and locked up for trial. His confederate escaped.”

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