MAN FROM DEADWOOD WAS AN EASY MARK. ~ Went for Ride With a Stranger, Who Borrowed His Money and Also His Purse to Hold It.

June 18, 1908

Went for Ride With a Stranger, Who
Borrowed His Money and Also
His Purse to Hold It.

John Martin, a young farmer who arrived here yesterday from Deadwood, S. D., bound for Voland, Kas., is the easiest picking a confidence man ever had. He was not only "trimmed to a finish" by a "con" man yesterday, but was left at Thirty-fifth street and Troost avenue with a broken buggy belonging to E. Landis, 415 Wyandotte street. After "holding the bag" from 4 until 8 o'clock waiting for his new found friend to appear in another rig, John walked clear to police headquarters and led the horse.

Martin is 33 years old. When he arrived here he had $11.70 and a ticket to his Kansas home. While wandering about in the North End, he met a man who told him he was a horse trader, with a valuable string of ponies and he hired Martin to work for him. The man gave martin the lovable name of "Darling Smith," but said that he used the name of Milligan, after his stepfather.

After hiring Martin, "Darling's first move was to take his railroad ticket and leave it. John did not know where -- "but I was to get the money on it next week," he said. Just before noon Smith borrowed $5 of Martin's $11.70. After lunch they met by appointment and Smith had a rig in which he invited Martin for a ride, saying that it was "one of many." They drove to Electric park and on the way Smith informed Martin that he would have to use another $5 bill until tomorrow. That left Martin $1.70. In the park they took in all the concessions and John Martin was introduced to wonders he never believed existed -- the merry-go-round, shoot-the-chutes, the tickler, scenic railway and all.

Before they had proceeded far, in fact, just after they had had their pictures taken with "Darling Smith" on a burro and Martin by his side, Smith touched Martin for $1 more, leaving him with 70 cents.

"After he'd done that," said John Martin at police headquarters last night, "He borrowed my pocketbook with the 70 cents in it, saying he wanted to use it to carry his change. He was afraid he'd lose it, he said."

That last touch left John Martin of Deadwood, bound for Voland, completely strapped.

"And," Martin said, "I had a quart of good whisky, which I bought in Deadwood to take home to Pa -- paid $1.25 for it, too -- and when that feller Smith found I had it he said we'd better drink it. We did, or rather, he did, as he got the most of it."

On the way home from the park Smith was giving Martin an exhibition of fancy driving with one of his "trained" horses. He collided with a large wagon and smashed the right front wheel. Martin was left to watch the rig, while Smith returned to the city to get another vehicle. It was not until he had held the bag or rather the nag four hours that Martin began to wake up and take notice. He put the buggy by the roadside and started to town, asking all whom he met if they knew "Darling Smith."

The police have a good description of Mr. Smith and are looking for him. Mr. Landis, whose rig the "con" man had, took pity on Martin last night, and took him to his barn where he was given a bunk for the night. Landis said he might give Martin a job "until he gets on his feet and becomes a little wiser."