The Grafters Club

The Blacklist


Charles M. Fegenbush ("The Baron")


AKA: Fegen-Bush, Fagan-Bush, Fagenbush

In 1898, Lou found himself the victim of one of his associates, Charles Fegenbush. Thinking he was financing a stock swindle, Lou gave Fegenbush and John Weaver $1000 in hopes of a ten percent return. When the check disappeared, and Fegenbush insisted he didn't have it, Lou went crying "bunko" to the cops — who couldn't believe their ears.

John Weaver had approached Lou, wanting seed money to pull a con. Lou obliged, but the con never materialized, and neither did his money. Also involved were C. A. Waldo, and Charles M. Fagen Bush.

Fegenbush was apparently quite busy at the turn of the century, often working in concert with partner Harry DuBois. Wire fraud, fake mining stock, even a mail swindle involving toy watches in boxes of salt were their stock in trade. The Baron was apparently good at bribery too, getting the police chiefs of both Chicago and New York in hot water for fixing his and other arrests.

New York Times, June 24, 1897: Fegenbush is picked up for an outstanding Denver warrant for forgery. Police find he is in the midst of a scheme, with three secretaries busily typing letters on fake letterhead to various businesses. The letters are meant to make the recipient believe he is about to come into possession — mistakenly — of a valuable watch, and that he will only need to pay $2.50 to the postman to get away with it. The box, however, when opened would only contain salt and a cheap toy watch.

New York Times, June 30, 1897: It is revealed that Fegenbush is also "badly wanted" in Montana.

Salt Lake Tribune, July 5, 1898

A Notorious Baron Behind Bars on Serious Charge.
"Baron" C. M. Fegen-Bush and one J. A. Weaver, the latter claiming to be manager of an electric belt company, were arrested and charged with stealing $1000 from Lou Blonger. Early in the afternoon Blonger engaged in a personal encounter with Weaver in the Boston block. Fegen-Bush was not present, else he, too, would probably have received rough treatment at the hands of the irate saloonkeeper.
From the facts thus far brought to light it seems that Blonger, Fegen-Bush and Weaver were engaged in the mining business, Blonger furnishing the cash, Fegen-Bush contributing his experience and Weaver his wits.
Fegen-Bush has always had large ideas in the money-making line. He does not trifle with small transactions. The selling of mining stock is his long suit. Lately he told the saloonkeeper of a great scheme of legally converting engraved paper mining stock into soft money. Weaver was to act as their agent. The other day Blonger put up $1000, being promised $1100 in return for his investment, and the cash was, according to stipulation, to be converted into a cashier's check at the Western bank and placed in escrow. Weaver, it is claimed, got the cashier's check, and when he was called upon yesterday to account for it, it is said, he declared that he had paid it over to a third party whose whereabouts he was unable to disclose.
The investigation of the affair, which will be resumed today, is expected to reveal extensive operations on the part of Fegen-Bush. It is claimed that under his direction stock in numerous phantom mining concerns has been issued and much of it sold to purchasers who were innocent of what they were buying. The "baron" has been trouble a score of times, but has always escaped conviction.—Denver News.

Washington Post, October 22, 1900: Fegenbush and Harry DuBois are arrested for a wire scheme they pulled in Chicago: three marks, ten grand.

New York Times, November 22, 1900: Fegenbush and Harry DuBois are arrested on the Chicago charges, again, this time in New York. Must have jumped bond. Cost of doing business.

Chicago Daily Tribune, February 19, 1901: Fegenbush and DuBois busted for a mining stock swindle.

The series of events described above were recapped in a 1901 article following their arrest on Denver stock fraud charges.

Harry Dubois

Harry Dubois, Con Man; His Record

Chicago Daily Tribune, May 12, 1901

Harry Dubois, arrested by detectives Halpin and Hogan while he was endeavoring to dispose of some shares in a bogus mine to Bernard Berlizheimer, 457 La Salle avenue, will have a hearing on May 17. Tomorrow the detectives will go before Judge Smith and request him to forfeit, on a previous case, Dubois' bond of $4000 and begin the prosecution of the bondsmen, one of whom is missing, while the other is reported to be dead. The city was searched yesterday for some trace of "Barrett," who was reported to be operating with Dubois in the deal with Belizheimer, but no clew to his whereabouts was learned. Dubois is considered by Detective Halpin to be one of the most dangerous confidence men in the country. Last September he disposed of 60,000 shares in the Ward Consolidated Gold Mining company to Mrs. Laura G. Fixen, 430 La Salle avenue, obtaining $3,000 from her. She discovered the shares were worthless and notified the police. Dubois and Charles M. Fegenbush were arrested as fugitives from justice in Washington, D. C., on suspicion of being the offenders. Detective Halpin went after them, but the prisoners were released before the papers arrived, the Judge informing the officer that "the proper way to do business is to have your papers on the grounds when an arrest is made." Halpin returned home disgusted, but was relieved three weeks later to receive word announcing the arrest of the men in New York. This time he was successful in securing them. They were brought back to Chicago and released on bond. Fegenbush decamped, but Dubois remained and appeared in court. He was permitted to go free on the same bond and followed his partner out of town. Since then the Chicago police have been looking for him. Dubois recently fleeced Warren Springer out of $8,000 on mining shares. In the Berlizheimer deal, which he was negotiating, he offered shares in the Basil Duke mine, which he guaranteed would advance from 20 cents to a price that would net a good profit, as a valuable vein had been discovered. George H. Dubois, or Harry Dubois, as he is known from New York to San Francisco, is 39 years old. He is 5 feet 7¾ inches in height, and weighs 167 pounds. He has operated under the names of Dubois, Wilson, William Davidson, H. L. Adams, and W. F. Harris.

In September of 1901, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported that Chicago chief of detectives Capt. Colleran was under investigation for allegedly sabotaging the arrests of several Chicago fugitives, including Fegenbush, by destroying evidence and stalling the necessary paperwork.

An article from 1897 has Fegenbush getting the New York chief of detectives O'Brien in trouble for the same thing.

In January of 1902, Fegenbush is arrested yet again on the Chicago charge, bilking a woman out of $3000, and brought back to Chicago.