Affirms Moyer Story (1907)


Pinkerton Declares Miners’ President Served Time in Joliet

Special to the Washington Post

Chicago, Ill., May 11.–There is no doubt in the mind of William Pinkerton, head of the detective agency, that the Moyer who served time in Joliet and Charles H. Moyer, president of the Western Federation of Miners, now on trial for the murder of Gov. Frank Steunenberg, are one and the same.

He declared his office has had the facts regarding Moyer for nearly a year, and believed they had them carefully concealed for use, if necessary at the trial. The man who gathered Moyer’s record is Detective James McPartland, the one who extracted the confession from Orchard implicating Moyer, Haywood, and Pettibone in the conspiracy to murder. All the necessary evidence to prove that Charles H. Moyer and “Moyer, the Cowboy,” are the same is in his possession.

“I am surprised that the story has become public,” declared Mr. Pinkerton, “for we have been very careful to keep the knowledge we have gained a secret. The story cannot be used in the trial as competent evidence unless Moyer is placed on the stand, or unless character witnesses are called. With the story public, his attorneys are, of course, forewarned, and may render it valueless to the prosecution.”

The most convincing proof of the identity of the two men is shown in a picture obtained from Moyer’s sister, at Boone, Iowa, which shows Moyer and a woman, who has been positively identified as a sister of John Keating, who was arrested with him and also sentenced to Joliet.

During Moyer’s stay in Chicago he was known as the sweetheart of Keating’s sister, and the picture would tend to prove the truth of the report. According to the Pinkertons, the president of the Western Federation has a bullet wound in his hand, the same has “Cowboy Charlie Moyer.”

Diligent inquiry at Rockford, the mining town in South Dakota where Moyer says he was working during 1886, fails to locate any one who knew him. The earliest history of Moyer in the Black Hills was in 1890, and it is said that he was one of the leaders in the Annie Creek strike of 1893, when an English mining company closed up its business and left the country because of labor troubles.

Source: Affirms Moyer Story, The Washington Post, Washington, District of Columbia, 12 May 1907, p. 12.

For more information on John Keating’s two prison sentences, see his entry in the Joliet Prison Convict Register Index, by Illinois Trails History & Genealogy.

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