A fascinating collection of US police records for ten Irish immigrants arrested 100 years ago has come to light.
Dubbed an Irish ‘rogues gallery’ in reports, the collection of cards were auctioned in 2014.
The Irish Times reported that the cards record the men’s place of ‘nativity’ as Ireland and offer fascinating insight into their lives.
The paper says the criminal investigation cards were created between 1902 and 1912 in various US cities.
The cards contain mugshots, crime details and personal details about the men arrested in California, Nevada and Washington.
Occupations listed for the Irishmen include laborer, nurse and elevator operator. They were arrested for minor crimes, mostly theft.
E.C. Reiley, a cook charged with forgery in Nevada, received the longest sentence of two and a half years.
The paper reports that many of the police officers who handled the cases were themselves Irish.
In one example, officers named O’Connell and McPartland charged David Coughlin, a plasterer aged 45, with petty larceny in San Francisco in June 1910.
The report adds that information about the men’s weight, height, hair color and distinctive marks, scars and moles proves that the 21st century fashion for tattooing was very common among Irishmen a century ago including initials, anchors and the Claddagh ring.
The report says Harry McCarthy, a 27-year-old blue-eyed nurse was charged with robbery in San Francisco in July 1910 and had extensive tattoos included one depicting a ‘dagger piercing flesh’ and another of a ‘horseshoe, horse inside jockey cap wreath, anchor and whip’ and ‘clasped hands & hearts.’
Police noted that John Douglas, a 33-year-old cook arrested for ‘vagrancy’ in Seattle in October 1913, had a wrist which was ‘stiff and crooks in.’
Charles Barker (35), an elevator operator in San Francisco arrested for burglary in the city in 1908 by a Detective Sullivan, was described as having ‘hairy breast & arms.’
He was sent to the California State Prison at San Quentin for two years.
*Originally published in June 2014.