Arthur Brisbane in 1921 recalled the 1888 Sullivan/Mitchell fight, mentioning the presence of the American criminal Billy Porter. In his contemporary coverage of the aftermath of the match, Brisbane mentions that an associate of Porter's, William Raymond, initially attempted to flee from the French police who rounded up the participants and spectators.
I wonder if William Raymond could have been Adam Worth, who used the alias Henry (or Harry) Raymond.
The June 27th Sun
article below mentions that Porter was associated with a fence named Johnson, who had lived in Piccadilly and owned a steam yacht. This matches what Inspector Byrnes said about Worth in the February 12th Sun
The Deseret News
, July 1, 1921, Page 4
by Arthur Brisbane
[...] For instance,
consider the last fight reported
by this writer for Charles A. Dana
between John L. Sullivan and Charley
Mitchell thirty odd years ago [March 10, 1888] on
Baron Rothschild's training quarters
near Chantilly in France.
The men fought with bare fists,
soaked in walnut juice to harden
their skin. They fought on muddy bare
ground in a cold drizzling rain in
mid-winter. They had long sharp spikes
in their shoes, to grip the mud. Once
mitchell drove his spikes into Sullivan's
instep, perhaps accidently, and
Sullivan uttered his famous remark of
mingled rebuke and self-restraint, "Be
a gentleman, Charley, if you can,
you --- --- ---."
No crowd and no gate receipts at
that real fight. It was fought under
London prize ring rules, each round
lasting until one man went down, with
at least one knee on the ground. [...]
Billy Porter, distinguished and
patriotic American bank burglar, who
had killed two or three men, and fled
to England, and subsequently died a
convict in the German salt mines,
stood just outside the ropes in John L.
He was neatly dressed, silk hat,
beautiful overcoat with velvet collar
and big pockets. Both hands were in
his pockets. Before the fight began
he tilted his hands upward and two
ugly little round points stuck up
inside the cloth.
"I am here to see fair play for
Sullivan," said Porter. "I suppose
you Mitchell men know what I have
got in my pockets."
The Mitchell men first class thugs,
and carefully chosen, knew well that
Porter had his two "guns" and would
use them. They behaved nicely, abandoning
their plan to break into the
ring, if things went badly for their
New York Sun
, March 11, 1888, Page 2
, Column 3
THE FIGHTERS ARRESTED
Some French Soldiers with Big Guns Capture the Tired Sports
PARIS, March 11, 5 A. M. Five carriage
loads of about twenty men were captured by
gendarmes after the fight. The carriages
were foolishly driving in single file back to
Creil, whence they had come, when they were
stopped on the road by three mounted
gendarmes who had been quietly waiting for
them to come back. The gendarmes drew their
sabres and ordered the coachmen to pull up,
and they, with French respect for the law
representatives, obeyed despite the commands
roared by their prize-fighting fares to go right
William Raymond, an American sporting
gentleman brought by William P. Porter,
determined not to be taken, jumped from
the carriage and made a break for the
woods. The gendarmes drew their pistols
and fired. Raymond came back.[...]
New York Sun
, June 22, 1888, Page 1
, Column 1
American Burglars Caught
LONDON, June 21.-- Billy Porter and Frank
Buck, well-known American burglars, both
with many aliases, have been arrested in this
city by Superintendent John Shore and officers
of his staff on a warrant for burglary committed
in Zurich. The prisoners have been
identified by Zurich officials. To-morrow they
Will be taken to the Bow Street Police Court
for extradition, for which there is sufficient
Billy Porter is well known all over America
as the partner of Johnny Irving, who was shot
and killed by John Walsh during a row in
Draper's saloon in Sixth avenue on Oct.
16. 1883. Walsh was killed at the same time,
and Porter was tried for killing him, but was
acquitted. Porter, who is 33 years old, is one
of the most skilful safe burglars in America.
In 1879 he and his pals secured $15,000 worth
of valuables from a Providence jeweller. In
the same year he escaped from the Raymond
street jail, Brooklyn, in company with Irving.
In 1884 be went to Europe with Sheeny Mike,
and they returned a year later with $25,000
each, the result of many burglaries in England,
France, and Germany. Porter was
arrested later for robbing the jewelry store of
Emanuel Marks & Son at Troy of $14,000 worth
of goods. He was acquitted on this charge, but
Sheeny Mike, who was arrested in Florida, was
convicted. Later, Billy Porter again went to
Frank Buck is best known as a clever bank
sneak. He has worked with Horace Hovan,
I. W. Moore, Johnny Price, and other notorious
bank sneaks. He was arrested in 1881 for the
larceny of $10,050 in securities from a broker's
office in Philadelphia. For this crime he served
three years in the Eastern penitentiary in
Philadelphia. Since 1885 he has spent a good
deal of the time in Europe.
New York Sun
, June 23, 1888, Page 1
. Column 1
PORTER AND BUCK ARRAIGNED
London, June 22. Billy Porter, alias Morton,
et cetera, the notorious American burglar,
who accompanied John L. Sullivan on his trip
and his colleague, who has lived
under many aliases, including those of Frank
Buck, Bailey, and Allen, were brought up at
Bow street police court this morning, on an
extradition warrant charging them with burglary
at a jeweller's shop in Zurich. It is
alleged that property of the value of £50,000
was stolen. The prisoners did not look at all
nervous or anxious, and appeared to take an
intelligent but not personal interest in the
proceedings of the court.
Buck, or Bailey, is of middle height, rather
stout. He has a red and shaven face, and his
bead is bald on top. with thick silver-gray
hair round the sides. He has the general
appearance of a benevolent and opulent paterfamilias.
Porter, although not quite so genial looking,
is not at all like Bill Sykes. He is of about the
same size as the other, but is younger, and he
has dark brown hair and moustache. Both
were dressed like respectable English citizens
--silk hats, black. tall coats, &c.
An English detective, who knew the prisoners
by sight, stated that he had arrested them
in the Cafe Monico last night. He also stated
that both of them had houses in the suburbs of
London, which were stocked with every kind of
burglars' tools and with so much jewelry and
other plunder that the police had not yet had
time to make an inventory of it.
Swiss witnesses were then called, and one of
them.an official in the Police Bureau of Zurich,
gave the particulars of the burglary. He said
that on the night of Sunday, April 30, two
thieves entered the open door of a large building
in the centre of Zurich, which contains a
dwelling house and jeweller shop, proceeded
upstairs, forced open the door of a storeroom,
and descended thence through a hole which
they made in the floor into the shop beneath.
From the shop window they carefully selected
everything of value, principally diamonds, and
retired with the plunder. They left behind,
however, the handles of two files and a piece
of oil-cloth for wrapping-up goods, which a
shopkeeper of Augsburg, whence the prisoners
departed on the preceding Saturday for Munich,
declared he had sold to them.
The magistrate remanded them until Friday
next, ordering the police to produce on that
day an inventory of the things found in the
prisoners' dwelling. The prisoners retired
with dignity and calmness to the seclusion of
I called on Chief Detective Shaw at Scotland
Yard to-day. He is a man of middle age and
heavy features and of pretentious manner. He
said it would be Impossible for THE SUN's
correspondent to see Porter, but there was no
questlon about the outcome of the trial.
"We have got in that safe," he said, pointing
to a thick iron box in a corner, " early £4,000
worth of the diamonds and jewelry that Porter
stole, and we have got him so tight that there
is no possibility of his escaping this time. His
term will be so long that it is not likely that he
will ever leave prison alive."
New York Sun
, June 25, 1888, Page 5
, Column 2
Billy Porter's Mishap
He Said He Had Reformed, but Soon After He Turned Up in Jail
London, June 24.--A few weeks apo I was
in the Chatham Hotel, Paris, when a dapper
and well-dresses man came to the table where
I was sitting, shook hands. and asked me how
New York wan getting along. His face was
familiar and his manner more so, but he was
quiet and thoroughly at his ease. He mentioned
the names of a number of men who are
more or loss known about town in New York,
and eventually it flashed across my mind that
he was Billy Porter, the bank burglar. I asked
him If that was so. You are as "right as a
trivet," he said, "but I am out of the business
now for good. I didn't find it out till I went to
prize fights over here, and that recalled me to
my old life. After that I threw away the old
impressions, and have given up that crowd
and everything connected with it tor good.
Straight buslness will do for me for the rest of
my life. I have been the subject of a good
many hard words, but I don't admit the truth
"Are you going back to America," I asked,
"to carry out your programme of purity?"
"No," said Porter, with a smile, "they are
not as fond of me in America as they might be,
especially in the better classes. I am going
to take life easy, and I think that Paris and
London will do."
He talked a little more about his life, and
then wandered away to join a crowd of men
who received him with the utmost cordiality.
He was evidently rather popular in Parts,
although I doubt if anybody had the least idea
who he was.
Yesterday morning, on my arrival in London,
I learned that this accomplished character
was in the hands of the police, and
with the aid of letters of introduction from Inspector
Byrnes, who ranks, by the way, with the
three or four Americans who are really known
in Europe, I succeeded in seeing Mr. Porter
again. He was in precisely the spirit that
might have been expected. There was not the
slightest change in his demeaner since I saw
him in Paris, but I felt rather nonplussed. I
could not get rid of the memory that while he
was talking to me in the Chatham Hotel he
had, as is alleged, concealed about his person
or in his room a very great many thousand dollars'
worth of diamonds which he had just
stolen in Munich.
"The whole thing is cooked up," he said,
"and I will come out of it in good shape. but
I cannot talk about it as you will readily understand,"
glancing around at the prison officials
The case has not aroused the slightest interest
in England outside of police circles. It is
the general impression that this time the noted
crack is bagged. He is guarded with a degree
of vigilance that precludes all chances of escape.
New York Sun
, June 27, 1888, Page 3
, Column 7
Two American Burglars
Billy Porter and Frank Buck Will be Taken to Switzerland
Their Daring Robbery of a Jewelry Store--Back in England With $20,000 Worth of Plunder--Buck Weds an English Girl
London, June 20. It is certain that the,
Swiss authorities will obtain the extradition of
Billy Porter and Frank Buck, the American
burglars, who were arrested here a few days
ago on a charge of burglary committed in
Zurich. Porter had been shadowed from the
time he arrived in England, in 18B7. The jewelry
robbery at Munich was the most daring
in the annals of the German police. The
robbers forced a side door, cut through two
ceilings, and descended into the jewelry shop by
means of a rope ladder. They left the ladder
in the shop, together with a piece of linen,
which was afterward found to be identical
with a piece of linen found in Buck's house,
and in which some of the stolen jewelry was
wrapped. With the jewels was found a letter'
"Have left you something to go on with."
Buck tried to conceal in the waistband of his
trousers a large packet of loose diamonds.
Both dressed stylishly and frequented American
resorts in London. They were on friendly
terms with Bond, the famous bank burglar,
and a receiver of stolen goods named Johnson,
who owned a steam yacht. The latter formerly
lived in Chambers. Piccadilly, paying a rent of
£300 yearly. Recently he took a mansion at
Not long ago Porter, Buck, and Johnson had
a carouse in Porter's house at Chelsea. Getting
into a fight. Johnson hit Buck on the head
With a fender[???], and Buck floored Johnson and
trampled upon him, smashing his nose. They
were arrested, but each declined to make a
charge against the other. Subsequently the
three men had another carouse, when all were
arrested and fined in the Bow Street Police
Court for drunkenness. On that occasion,
Johnson gave an assumed name.
Porter was present at the fight between
Mitchell and Sullivan, and was the man at
whom the gendarmes fired when the spectators
were trying to escape after the fight.
recently married a respectable English girl.
He bought a fine house in Walham Green, and
purchased a pair of horses and a carriage.
Superintendent Shaw cleverly recovered a
portion of the Munich plunder, consisting of
800 unset stones, bracelets, rings, and other
articles of jewelry, and $4,500 in English and
French bank notes. The total vulue of the
booty recovered is about $20,000. In each
house were found loaded revolvers, disguises,
superb sets of burglars' tools, and scores of
suits of clothes and hats suitable for every
country in Europe.
New York Sun
, June 30, 1888, Page 1
, Column 3
News of the Old World
Billy Porter and Buck Taylor Again up in Court
London, June 29.--Billy Porter, alias Morton,
&c., and Buck Taylor, alias Francis Bailey
Allen, were again brought up at Bow Street Police
Court to-day under an extradition warrant
charging them with burglary at Munich, particulars
of which were glven in THE SuN last
Saturday. The case to-day was tried by Magistrate
Slr James Ingham, an attenuated and
very old man. The prisoners were dressed as
last week, but did not look quite so fresh and
calm. Porter in particular looked anxious.
The proceedings consisted entirely of an
examination of the jewelry and other goods
found in the houses of the prisoners. The
former included several envelopes containing
a hundred and more loose diamonds, an envelope
full of gold and diamond scarfpins, lots
of gold watches and chains, rings, bracelets.
&c., the total value being about $20,000. A
casket of valuable jewels was also produced
which had been placed by the prisoners at a
Among the other articles found were a heavy
flat piece of iron with a hole in it known as a
"safe persuader," two loaded revolvers, and a
quantity of ammunition, a lot of shirts, collars
and cuffs, which. it is rumored, are to have an
important bearing on the prosecution, and a
piece of coal such, the police say, as thieves
carry for luck.
Eventually the case was adjourned till tomorrow
without much progress having been
made with it.
The court was enlivened by the presence of
the wives of both prisoners. Porter's wife, a
pretty girl, wore an elegant black mantle
trimmed with beads and lace. and a hat
trimmed with yellow roses. She did not appear
much affectced. Taylor's wife also wore
black, with a violet trimmed bonnet. She was
accompanied by her mother and baby. The
mother, who was weeping, held up his baby to
Taylor, who kissed it with a smile which
softened the hard lines in his face.
Porter's wife had a brlef interview with him.
Porter kissed her, and told her to cheer up, and
it would be all right.
The detectives predict a long term of servitude
in Germany for both.
The Daily News
, september 7, 1888, Page 7, Column 1
The Police Courts
BOW STREET.--The Munich Burglary.--Frank
Bailey, alias Frank Buck, and William Davis, alias
Billy Porter, were brought up on remand, under the
Extradition Acts, charged with breaking into a
jeweller's shop at Munich, and stealing therefrom
money and property to the value of 90,000 marks.--Mr.
Mead prosecuted for the Treasury; Mr. Besley defended
Davis; and Mr. Gill, bailey.--The case has
been already fully reported, and as far at the
magistrate was concerned, it was reduced to a mere
question of the nationality of the prisoners, ad, if
they were british subjects, he would be unable by the
obligation of the treaty to hand them over to the
German authorities.--Evidence on both sides having already
been given, and formally committed them to take their
trial in Germany under the Extradition Treaty.
New York Police Inspector Byrnes' dossiers on Buck, Porter and Worth.
Buck and Porter are said to be associates of Worth,
Professional Criminals of America
(New York: G. W. Dillingham, 1895), Page 56
by Thomas Byrnes
27. FRANK BUCK, alias "Buck" taylor, alias Buck Wilson, alias George Biddle
Forty-four years old in 1886. Born in Philadelphia, Pa. Married. Engineer. Stout build. Height, 5 feet 5 inches. Weight, 150 pounds. Light hair, gray eyes, light complexion. Three India ink dots on left hand, one on right hand. Bald on front of head. Generally wears a light-colored mustache.
“BUCK” is a very clever bank sneak. He has been working with Horace Hovan, alias Little Horace (25), since 1881. He has also worked with Johnny Price and other notorious bank sneaks.
Frank Buck, alias Bailey, alias Allen, etc., and Billy O’Brien, alias Porter, was arrested at London, Eng., on june 21, 1888, on an extradition warrant charging them with burglarizing a jewelry store on the Marionplatz, in Munchen, Germany, on April 29, 1888. It was alleged that property of the value of £50,000 was stolen.
Since 1885 he has spent a good deal of the time in Europe. Buck, Porter, Johnny Curtain and other fly American thieves have been engineered in Europe by Adam Worth (215), the American ex-thief, still under indictment in Boston for the famous Boylston bank robbery. Worth is a receiver of stolen goods in London, whose place is the rendezvous of all American thieves when they go to that city. He was formerly a bank burglar in this country, and has made a fortune out of his business.
Billy Porter was discharged from custody in London, on September 27, 1888. He proved that he was born on an English vessel, was an English subject, and therefore not extraditable.
Buck was sentenced in this case to ten years imprisonment, and ten years loss of civil rights and police surveillance, by the Judge of the Circuit Court of Munchen, Bavaria, on September 22, 1889. He was delivered to the German authorities by England on October 10, 1888, and was in prison there until his trial in September, 1889.
74, WILLIAM O’BRIEN, alias Bllly Porter, alias Morton.
Thirty-six years old in 1886. Medium build. Born in Boston. Married. Printer. Height, 5 feet 5 1/2 inches. Weight, about 145 pounds. Black, curly hair, dark eyes, dark complexion. Has fine set of teeth. Has the following India ink marks: Sailor, with American flag and star in red and blue ink on right arm ; star and cross on outside of same arm ; crucifixion of Christ, woman kneeling and man standing up, on left arm. He is a bright, sharp-looking fellow. Dresses well, and has plenty of nerve. Generally wears a black mustache.
This celebrated criminal is well known all over America as the partner of Johnny Irving, who was shot and killed by John Walsh, alias “John the Mick," during a fracas in Shang Draper's saloon on Sixth Avenue, New York City, on the morning of October 16, 1883. Walsh was killed at the same time, and Porter was tried for killing him, but was acquitted by a jury on November 20, 1883.
Porter, or O'Brien, the last being his right name, began his criminal career early in life, and has been arrested in almost every city in the Union, and is considered second to no one in his business.
Gilbert Yost, burglar, mentioned in this record, died in the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City, Ind., on July 10, 1886.
After Porter's discharge for the Marks jewelry robbery in Troy, N. Y., in September, 1886, he went to Europe. The following is an account of some of his doings there. Billy Porter and Frank Buck, alias Bucky Taylor (27), was arrested in London, Eng, on June 21, 1888, charged with having burglarized a jewelry store at Munich, Germany, on April 29, 1888. Buck was taken to Germany, convicted and sentenced (see record of 27). The English authorities refused to surrender Porter as he was an English subject.
He was arrested again at Toulouse. France, in March, 1890, in company of Horace Hovan, alias Little Horace (see No. 25). They attempted to burglarize a bank there. When discharged in France (date not authentic) he was reported to have been rearrested and taken to Munich for the jewelry store robbery, and sentenced to twenty years imprisonment and banishment to one of the South Sea Islands, where it is said he died. This advice is dated London, Eng., October, 1890.
215. ADAM Worth, alias Edward Gray, and Henry Raymond.
BANK BURGLAR AND RECEIVER
The Liege, Belgium, police describe Worth as a man over fifty years of age, “speaking and writing very good English, speaking German and sometimes a little French with an English accent." A robust man, nervous, sanguine, bilious temperament. Short, dark hair, whiskers and mustache Russian style. Eyebrows very gray, mustache less so. Brown eyes. High, forehead. Large nose. Irregular teeth. His measurements, according to the Bertillon method, viz.: Height, 1 metre 61 cent. 5 millim (5 feet 3 3/4 inches). Largeness of head, 15 cent. 2 millim, etc.
ADAM WORTH is a noted receiver of stolen goods, who has been in London for many years. American thieves driven out of this country made it a point to look up Worth and get posted. As a “fence" Worth had accumulated a great deal of money. He was an expert bank burglar in this country before the United States became too hot for him. His first achievement was in 1869, when, with Charles W. Bullard, alias Piano Charlie, and Isaac Marsh as his associates, he plundered the vaults of the Ocean Bank. This robbery netted a large sum of money for the gang, but it was squandered within a year. Their second exploit was the robbery of a messenger of the Merchants’ Union Express Co. on the New York Central Railroad. Bullard and Marsh broke into the express car and gagged the messenger, while Worth and his confederates were on the train to cover the retreat of Bullard, who got off with $100,000. The burglars got off to Canada, and were arrested there, but Worth escaped.
Bullard broke out of the White Plains Jail, where he was confined, and his next operation was to hire a house next to the Boylston Bank in Boston. Worth joined him there, and together they cut through the side wall into the bank vaults and secured cash and securities to the amount of $450,000. They carried the plunder off to Europe, and Bullard opened the “American Bar,” a gambling café in Paris; but after a short career he was arrested and sentenced to a years imprisonment for keeping a gaming house. He returned to New York later and was captured and tried for the Boylston Bank robbery on November 20, 1869, for which he got twenty years. Worth made his home in London, returning occasionally to this country to visit an old sweetheart, and, it is said, that negotiations have been opened with representatives of the Boylston Bank by a lawyer so as to enable Worth to return to his native land. The only time Worth was arrested in New York City was for bloWing open the safe in Stiner's tea store in Vesey Street, several years ago.
Worth, alias Henry J. Raymond, the noted American bank sneak, resident for years in London, was sentenced in the Liege Assize Court at Liege, Belgium, March 21, 1893, to seven years imprisonment for the robbery of 60,000f, committed in Liege, October 5, 1892. Worth has been a member of a notorious band of American thieves, two of the members of which were tried at Liege in 1884 for breaking into the Modera Bank at Verviers. Worth, who was concerned in some of the most daring bank robberies of recent years, passed under various aliases, and was well known to the American police. He spent a considerable time in London, where he lived in extravagant style, and acted as the receiver of an international agency of thieves.
Pic of Worth
The earlier edition of Byrnes' book has pictures of Buck and Porter.
Professional Criminals of America (New York: Cassell, 1886)
by Thomas Byrnes
Pic of Buck
Pic of Porter
A German police bulletin regarding Porter.
Bayer[isches] Central-Polizei-Blatt, No. 81, October 20, 1888, Page 341