J. E. Slinkey in 1868
A detailed breakdown of John E. Slinkey's action-packed year. At the beginning of 1868, he was known by his birth name of J. E. Schlinke, but circumstances had him advertising himself as Slinkey by December.
April 7, 1868
Daily Morning Call, San Francisco, California, April 7, 1868, page 1, column 1:
A HEARTLESS WRETCH---For the last few days, a broker has been negotiating for the purchase of the lodging house, No. 212 Second street, on behalf of a poor widow who had disposed of all her valuables in order to raise the $1,600 purchase money, and succeeded in buying, so he told the widow, the good will and furniture for that sum. At about ten o'clock yesterday morning, the broker and the woman went to the house to pay the money and get the bill of sale---the poor widow hopeful, and full of bright anticipation to be able to support herself and two little children, and the broker with the heart of a scoundrel, for he took the money from the hands of the woman, under the pretense of paying it over, in the adjoining room, to the party in possession of the property, and left for parts unknown. The widow is disconsolate, and almost broken-hearted, while the Police have as yet obtained no clew of the scamp.
Daily Evening Bulletin, San Francisco, California, April 7, 1868, page 3, column 3:
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MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE---Several days since a widow lady named McQuestion, from Gilroy, came to this city with her two children, and over $1,700. She determined to purchase a lodging house, where she might earn a living and give her children the advantages of a school. With this object in view she applied to Messrs. J.B. Cone and J. E. Schlinke, real estate agents, and negotiated with the latter for the purchase of a house, No. 212 Second street, and to bind the bargain she paid last week $100 deposit at the office.
Yesterday morning she brought a purse containing $1,630 in coin, and gave it into Schlinke's hands. They then left the place and proceeded along Second street, to take possession of the premises and pay the purchase price. When near Mission, on Second street, Schlinke told Mrs. McQuestion he wished to go up into a house there to see a friend, and would soon rejoin her. She remained at the door. He did not come, and she finally went up to inquire for him, when the lady told her he had gone by another door leading down to Mission street. She hastened around to that street, but could not see him; then ran to the house that she had bought, but he had not been there. She then hastened back to the office and told Mr. Cone what had occurred, He, believing Schlinke to be honest, thought there was some mistake about it, and so hurried to the house which they had bought for her. He had not been there, and Mr. Cone was then convinced there was something wrong; he accordingly informed the police, and officers started at once in pursuit.
Schlinke disappeared about 11 1/2 A.M., and it was ascertained that he had visited the room of a female on Clay street, opposite the Plaza, at noon, from which place he could not be tracked, nor had he been heard of since. The officers visited his rooms on Sutter street and found all his effects there, trunk, new suit of clothes, etc. He left at the office several letters from Willie Edouin entrusting money to him for deposit and investment on his account, also a note from R.S. Nichols in the County Jail, asking Schlinke to visit him and assist him to procure bail. It is stated that Schlinke is a native of Australia, and that he came from that country in the same ship with Nichols. [Nichols in March had testified that he arrived two years earlier in June.] He is reported to have led a rather fast life here for one in his circumstances, but was energetic and active in business, and supposed by his friends to be perfectly honest. The poor woman lost all her money by the act and is excessively grieved and mortified by it.
April 8, 1868
Daily Morning Call, San Francisco, California, April 8, 1868, page 3, column 1:
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THE LODGING HOUSE SWINDLE---The circumstance referred to in yesterday morning's CALL, in a paragraph headed "A Heartless Wretch," is under the cognizance of the Police. The facts are as follows: Last week Mrs. McQuestion, a widow from Gilroy, negotiated with the firm of J.B. Cone & Co., real estate agents on Montgomery street, for the purchase of the furniture and good will of a lodging house at No. 212 Second street.
On Saturday last, Mrs. McQuestion paid one hundred dollars to bind the sale, and took possession of two or three rooms in the house. Monday she called to complete the bargain, get a bill of sale of the furniture, and pay the balance of the money. J. E. Schlinke, Mr. Cone's partner, had assumed to attend to the matter himself, and he started with the woman to go (as she thought) to the house, to have their principal, the owner, sign the bill of sale, which Schlinke had all made out. Mrs. McQuestion brought with her from Gilroy something over seventeen hundred dollars. The earnest of one hundred dollars paid on Saturday to bind the bargain, left something over sixteen hundred dollars in her purse. This she had handed to Mr. Schlinke just before arriving at the house.
Schlinke told her he wanted to go into another house to see a friend, and that he would be out again immediately. He went in, ascended a flight of stairs, and disappeared. After waiting some time for his return, Mrs. McQuestion became impatient and went in after him. There she learned that Schlinke had descended by another flight of stairs, affording egress from the building by a back way, and nothing has been seen of him since. The Police are after him. Mrs. McQuestion had removed to San Francisco with a view to engaging in the business of keeping a lodging-house, to enable her to educate and support her child, and she is thus robbed of all her little means.
Schlinke is a native of Australia of German descent. He came to San Francisco some eighteen months ago, and engaged in the paper business, on Second street. He was burned out, and about six or seven months ago he bought an interest in the Real Estate and General Business Agency of J.B. Cone & Co. He is a smart, well-educated, and plausible young man, and had won the confidence of his partner in business, as well as of their patrons. The only exceptionable part of his open conduct was a weakness for frail women. It is said that he is a defaulter to a new Lodge of Red Men to the amount of about eighty dollars, which he had in his hands temporarily, a Secretary of the Lodge. Those who are best acquainted with his private life couple his sudden disappearance with some kind of complicity with the Nichols & Bixby forgery cases.
April 8, 1868
Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, April 8, 1868, page 1, column 2:
Where is He?—A Mrs. McQuestion came to the city from Santa Clara County a week ago for the purpose of placing her two children in a school. She had in her possession some $1,700. She negotiated with one J. E. Schlinke, a real estate agent, for a residence on Second street. To bind the bargain she deposited $100 at the office. On Monday she entrusted to his care $1,650 in coin; he having the cash made an excuse to get rid of her, and has not been seen since. He was subsequently traced to the Plaza, on Kearny street, but has not been seen since. The man’s chamber, on Sutter street was searched, and his trunk found, and some clothing. The missing man has been very intimate with theatrical characters, and sundry letters from Willie Edouin, containing money, and also notes from other parties, have been received at headquarters. The accused may be innocent, but the evidence against him now is rather to the contrary. We learn that J. B. Cone is a loser also, but to what extent he does not know yet, as Mr. Schlinke kept the books, and received and paid out all moneys. Mr. Schlinke was the Secretary of the Order of Red Men, and took away about $80 of money belonging to the Order. Since his departure several letters have been found and handed over to the detectives, one of which was from a brother in Australia, and, beyond doubt, the nature of the news some of these letters brought had much to do with his recent conduct. Some of the letters were written in German, and some in English.
April 9, 1868
Daily Evening Bulletin, San Francisco, California, April 9, 1868, page 3, column 3:
THE ABSCONDING BROKER---Nothing further has been heard of J. E. Schlinke, who disappeared several days since with $1,730 in gold belonging to Mrs. McQuestion. Chief Crowley has offered a reward of $250 for his arrest and the recovery of the money or the amount of the reward. Schlinke is 24 [?] years old, but looks younger; born in Adelaide, Australia; German descent; height, five feet six inches; weight 130 pounds; light hair, blue eyes, fair complexion, smooth face; full, high forehead, small pointed chin; stands erect; dressed, when last seen, neat and stylish; silk hat, heavy beaver frock coat, turn down shirt collar; wears two rings, one a carbuncle, on middle finger.
April 11, 1868
San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser, San Francisco, California, April 11, 1868, page 1, column 1:
“J. E. Schlinke, the real estate agent, who absconded with $1,650 of a widow’s money, was secretary of a wigwam of the Improved Order of Red Men. What a state of depravity must have been his before he was improved. There is some comfort in the fact that he also took away with him some $80 of the Order’s “wampum.” On page 16, column 1: “One Schlinke obtained possession of $1,600 belonging to a widow and bolted. There are said to have been a number of women in his case."
April 12, 1868
Daily Morning Call, San Francisco, California, April 12, 1868, page 3, column 2:
SCHLINKE ARRESTED---John Emil Schlinke, who a few days ago, ran away with $1600, the property of Mrs. McQuestion, (the circumstances of the case were related in the CALL at the time of the occurrence,) was arrested last evening, about five o'clock, in Watsonville, by Constable Byrd. He was travelling under the assumed name of J. E. Saunders. Only $120 was found on his person. He will be brought to this city today.
April 13, 1868
Daily Evening Bulletin, San Francisco, California, April 13, 1868, page 3, column 4:
Arrest of Schlinke---Recovery of the Money Taken by him.
Last week, we published an account of the sudden disappearance of a Mr. Schlinke with $1,730 in gold, belonging to a widow named McQuestion, for whom he was acting as agent in the purchase of a house on Second street. Immediately upon his leaving the police were informed of the matter, and Chief Crowley set his detectives at work. Officers Lees and Watkin learned that he had, during the same afternoon, gone to a house on Clay street, opposite the Plaza. They went there, but were told he had gone. They watched the house all night, but he was not seen, and the next day they heard that he had gone to San Jose. Mr. Watkin started at once for that place, but at first, got no trace of him. The fugitive, however, sent back a bunch of keys belonging to his former partner, Mr. Cone. He gave them to the officers, and it was then known that he had actually been in San Jose.
The Chief was determined that no effort should be spared to capture him, and Mr. Watkin was telegraphed all necessary instructions and information. In addition, a reward of $250 was offered for the apprehension of the man and his likeness and a full description of his person were sent to every part of the State. Mr. Watkins obtained information of a man who had gone in the direction of Santa Cruz, the description of whom tallied with that of the man he was after. He obtained a team and went after him, traveling through the mountains, a great part of the distance in a dark and stormy night. He finally overtook the person at a lumberman's camp, but he proved not to be Schlinke.
Mr. Watkins returned to San Jose the same night, made inquiries of stage drivers and travelers coming in from all parts of the country, and again started on the chase. The roads were in a rough condition, but the detective followed close every trace he could get, and with relay teams scoured the valley in every quarter, and ranged along the foothills, but could obtain no further clue. He procured parties going to Santa Cruz to watch for him there, and telegraphed to Constable Byrd at Watsonville a description of Schlinke. At last he came to the conclusion that his game might have returned and sought the interior through Livermore's Pass. He therefore went up there and was examining that part of the country when he was informed of Schlinke's arrest at Watsonville Saturday. He then came down to Haywood and returned to the city yesterday, covered with mud from head to foot, and looking in other respects as if he had experienced one of the hardest detective hunts on record. When it was known that Mr. Watkins had gone up to Livermore's Pass Mr. Fuller was sent to San Jose, and every precaution taken by the Chief and Mr. Lees to capture Schlinke should he double on his track and come back to this place. Constable J. D. Byrd of Watsonville telegraphed Chief Crowley that he had caught the fugitive there, and would start for this city with him. He met Mr. Fuller at San Jose, and they came up with the prisoner yesterday.
Mr. Byrd states that on Saturday he had been away from home, and on his return about 3 P.M., his brother told him a man was in town who was very like the one described in the Bulletin and other papers, and at the same time gave him a letter from Chief Crowley containing the fugitive's photograph. Mr. Byrd soon after met a gentleman who had also read the description and had seen the person spoken of by Byrd. The latter showed him the likeness, when the gentleman said it did not resemble the man Mr. Byrd, however, determined to satisfy himself and went to the hotel.
The prisoner was there, sitting in a chair, reading a paper. Mr. Byrd was certain on the first glance he was the man; but he wished to make no mistake and waited till he saw the carbuncle ring, which was a point in the description furnished him. It was the same. He then went to him and told him he would like to see him at his room. Schlinke said "all right," and led the way to his room. There Mr. Byrd produced the photograph and asked him if he had ever seen that man. He thought he had, but it was not his own likeness. Byrd then told him his business. Schlinke said his name was J. E. Saunders. Mr. Byrd said if he was really J. E. Saunders he could easily prove it and asked him to give any names of persons who knew him as such. Schlinke gave two or three names and then objected to enumerating any more. He asked Byrd if he intended to arrest him, and when he replied in the affirmative he said he should hold him responsible; still maintaining that his name was Saunders. Mr. Byrd arrested him, and when on the road to San Jose his prisoner said he was Schlinke, the man the officers had been chasing, but they had not proved that he stole the woman's money.
He had $125 in his possession, and had deposited the remainder at San Jose under the name of J. E. Saunders. This morning he was prevailed upon to give a check for the amount so the money can be brought here. He says he has got into a bad scrape, and that he was led to take the money by a letter which he received from his brother in Australia, in which he said unless he soon received a sum of money from him he would peril liberty and life to get what he wanted. He, however, insists that he did not intend to take the money till he reached the door of the house through which he escaped to Mission street; that he was sorry for what he had done in less than an hour after he took the money. The Chief and his detectives are deserving of great credit for the diligence and skill with which they prosecuted the hunt for him. They arranged everything so completely that his capture at some point in the State was only a matter of time.
April 14, 1868
Daily Morning Call, San Francisco, California, April 14, 1868, page 1, column 4:
The Case of Schlinke---John Emil Schlinke, the young man who suddenly disappeared with a widow's money, whose arrest was mentioned in Sunday's CALL, was brought up from Watsonville by Constable J. D. Byrd and Officer Fuller. He deposited the greater portion of the money in a bank in San Jose in the name of J. E. Saunders, but when arrested, he managed to destroy the bank-book. Yesterday he was prevailed upon to give a check for the amount deposited, so that the money can be brought here. He says he had no idea of taking the money until he reached the door of the house through which he made his escape. Last evening a charge of grand larceny was entered on the books against him.
April 29, 1868
Daily Evening Bulletin, San Francisco, California, April 30, 1868:
Indictments by the Grand Jury.—At 3 P.M. yesterday the Grand Jury in the County Court reported the following indictments: […] John Emil Schlinke, grand larceny;
July 26, 1868
Is daughter Lilian born this day? Her 1937 death certificate says so, but there are discrepancies on the year in other documents.
October 13, 1868
Married to "Christiana Dern" by Justice Oscar T. Shuck in San Francisco. Notice appears in the Daily Evening Bulletin on October 15, 1868. Was Christina Dern one of the "frail women" Schlinke was said to have had a weakness for? Was she the woman living on Clay Street that he reportedly visited before skipping town?
November 14, 1868
Daily Evening Bulletin, San Francisco, California, November 14, 1868, page 3:
Indictments Dismissed— […] The case of Emil Schlinke, who is under indictment for stealing eighty-one $20 gold coins and one $10 gold piece from Mrs. McQuestion, on the 24th of April last, could not be proceeded with to-day, as the complaining witness was at San Jose.
December 23, 1868
John Emil is back on his feet with a new name by year's end, as a series of ads in the San Francisco Chronicle, page 4, column 5, testifies:
$175. HORSE AND EXPRESS Wagon for sale; together with harness, almost new; offered at a bargain, as the owner has no more use for them; the horse is broken to saddle and harness. Can be seen daily at 11 A.M. or 3 P.M. at the office of J. E. SLINKEY & CO., 639 Market street.Updated 15 August 2017.
$650. FOR SALE---THE Furniture of a private dwelling house of 7 rooms, on O'Farrell st; frame building; rent $40. Also, a house of 9 rooms on Howard street; price $500. Apply to J. E. SLINKEY & CO., Real Estate and Business Agents, 639 Market street opposite Montgomery.
$5,500. HOUSE AND LOT FOR Sale, 25x75, on Natoma street near Second; house is rented at $80 per month; terms easy. Apply to J. E. SLINKEY & CO., 639 Market street.
$175. FOR SALE---A HORSE and express wagon for sale; horse broken to saddle and harness; will be sold at half the value, as the owner has no more use for them. Can be seen daily at 11 A.M. or 3 P.M. at the office of J. E. SLINKEY & CO., 639 Market street.
FOR SALE---THE FURNITURE OF a lodging-house of about fifty rooms; centrally located; frame building; rent $200; rooms light, airy and all occupied; pays $250 per month. Apply to J. E. SLINKEY & CO., Real Estate and Business Agents, 639 Market street opposite Montgomery.