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Capt. George C. Parker

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"Capt." George C. Parker

Birth
New York, New York County, New York, USA
Death
9 Jan 1937 (aged 76)
Ossining, Westchester County, New York, USA
Burial
Ossining, Westchester County, New York, USA Add to Map
Memorial ID
View Source
"Well . . . if you believe THAT, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you."

If you've ever wondered about the history, and the personality, behind that phrase, read on. First is a newspaper account of his last arrest in 1928:

Brooklyn Bridge's "Seller" Sent To Sing Sing For Life

George C. Parker - who startled the world by "selling" the Brooklyn Bridge to a "hick" and, as a trustee [sic; trusty] 20 years ago, walked out of the Raymond Street Jail, fooling the guards by using the coat and hat of Sheriff Finherty [sic; Michael J. Flaherty] - was today sent to Sing Sing for life by County Judge Alonzo G. McLaughlin.

Parker, who is now 68 years old and gave his last address as 103 Quincy St., was not in his usual role. He was a little despondent and offered no fight when Assistant District Attorney William Kleinman prosecuted him on a charge of having cashed a worthless $150 check . . .

The swindler who years ago performed the epic of the confidence world by disposing of Brooklyn Bridge was a meek lamb as he faced Judge McLaughlin. He pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the second degree.

Parker has established a record of crime and prison sentences. His manner and means of deception were studied carefully by the underworld.

Twenty years ago on New Years Day, Sheriff Flaherty, who had just taken office, arrived at Raymond Street Jail to greet the workers and prisoners. He took off his overcoat and hat. Parker, a trusty then, donned them. One of the guards actually "salaamed" him as he walked unmolested out of the jail, bidding all a Happy New Year."

Published in the November 23, 1928 edition of the Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle
__________________________________________________________

To access Mr. Parker's Wikipedia page, go to . . . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_C._Parker

One of his many aliases was "William McCloundy"; here is the Wiki page for that name: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_McCloundy

Another website: https://racingnelliebly.com/strange_times/con-artist-george-parker-sold-brooklyn-bridge

And another: https://theirishmob.com/george-c-parker-the-man-who-sold-brooklyn-bridge

And another: https://nycwalks.com/blog/the-brooklyn-bridge-if-you-believe-that-i-have-a-bridge-in-brooklyn-to-sell-to-you

And: http://www.historynaked.com/man-sold-brooklyn-bridge

And: https://www.gangsterismout.com/2018/03/george-c-parker-brooklyn-bridge.html

And: https://catchthemifyoucan.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/george-c-parker-the-man-who-sold-the-brooklyn-bridge

And: https://www.security-faqs.com/george-parker-sells-the-brooklyn-bridge.html

And: http://obietacivillaw.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-man-who-sold-brooklyn-bridge.html

And: https://esnpc.blogspot.com/2020/10/bridges-bunco-and-basso-gullible.html?m=0

And: https://mylesdungan.com/tag/george-c-parker

And: https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/buy_sell_the_brooklyn_bridge ("William McCloundy", of course, was one of the aliases used by Mr. Parker as shown on the 1928 admittance papers to Sing Sing.)

And for those with access to the "historical" New York Times newspaper, this might be an interesting article: https://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/27/nyregion/thecity/for-you-half-price.html
__________________________________________________________

A short article in the June 29, 1928 edition of the Kansas City (MO) STAR reported the arrest of "Capt." George Parker for the illegal "sale" of the Windsor Hotel in Asbury Park, New Jersey. According to the article, Mr. Parker had never owned that hotel.

He was tried, found guilty and sentenced later that year, on Dec. 17, by Judge McLaughlin of Brooklyn, Kings County, NY for the term of his "natural life" for "grand larceny, 2nd degree" and "received" by the Sing Sing State Prison on December 20, 1928 where he resided until his death in 1937. Prior to this last incarceration, he had previously served 163 days in jail for his crimes.

He said he had lived his entire life in New York state and the last 35 years (since ca. 1893?) in his home - an apartment building - at 103 Quincy St. in Brooklyn, NY. (Note: a search was made of the United States and New York State census records from 1900 to 1925 for a "Parker" living at that address but to no avail. Perhaps he was using one or more of his many "aliases" as shown on the admittance record to Sing Sing State Prison from 1928, posted on this memorial. A search was also made of the database "U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995" on the Ancestry.com website using the "exact" address of "103 Quincy" and time period 1890-1930 but this yielded only 4 "hits", none of which reflected any of the names or aliases reported as being used by Mr. Parker; the names were "John N. Thurlow," "Mary Heutborn," (or "Heuthorn"), and "M. Isabelle Halliday." The years involved were 1912-1913. Perhaps "Mr. Parker" was mistaken about his home address, as well?)

And, though the handwriting is unclear, his "nearest relative" and "address" is shown as "Sis. Mrs. A Stedman Sa." One of his married sisters, perhaps? She can't be a nun because of the "Mrs." And I can find no reasonable geographical location with the abbreviation "Sa." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SA; "Staten Island" would, of course, be abbreviated as "SI." - https://www.allacronyms.com/staten_island/abbreviated (Could "SA" stand for a neighborhood in Brooklyn? - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Brooklyn_neighborhoods)

He said he was born on March 16, 1860 in New York City, had graduated from high school, had served in the U.S. Navy, had four brothers and three sisters, was the father of five children, and that both his parents were natives of Northern Ireland. He was identified as a "real estate operator" (!) and attested to being a Christian Scientist who attended church on a "regular" basis.

1900 United States Federal Census

Name: George Parker [This is most probably NOT our Capt. Parker.]
Age: 40
Birth Date: Mar 1860
Birthplace: New York, USA

Home in 1900: Brooklyn Ward 16, Kings, New York
Ward of City: 16
Street: South Fifth Street
House Number: 344

Sheet Number: 9
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation: 67
Family Number: 219
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Head
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: Nellie Parker
Marriage Year: 1888
Years Married: 12
Father's Birthplace: New York, USA
Mother's Birthplace: New York, USA
Occupation: Book Keeper

Months Not Employed: 0
Can Read: Yes
Can Write: Yes
Can Speak English: Yes
House Owned or Rented: Rent
Farm or House: H
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members Age Relationship
George Parker 40 Head
Nellie Parker 41 Wife
George Parker 9 Son
Alfred Parker 5 Son

1930 United States Federal Census

Name: George Parker
Birth Year: abt 1860
Gender: Male
Race: White
Age in 1930: 70
Birthplace: New York
Marital Status: Widowed
Relation to Head of House: Inmate
Home in 1930: Ossining, Westchester, New York, USA
Map of Home: Ossining, Westchester, New York
Institution: Sing Sing State Prison
Attended School: No
Able to Read and Write: Yes
Father's Birthplace: Northern Ireland
Mother's Birthplace: Northern Ireland

Able to Speak English: Yes
Occupation: Helper
Industry: cell blocks
Employment: Yes

Death • New York, State Death Index, 1880-1956 (FamilySearch.org)

Name George C Parker
Death Date 9 Jan 1937
Death Place Ossining, Westchester, New York, United States
Death Place (Original) Ossining, New York, United States
Entry Number 3956
_____________________________________________________________

U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995

Name: John Thurlow
Residence Year: 1913
Street Address: 103 Quincy
Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Occupation: Insurance
Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1913

U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995

Name: John N Thurlow
Residence Year: 1913
Street Address: 52 Gates av [Gates Ave. is one street to the SE of Quincy St. in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn]
Residence Place: New York, New York, USA

Occupation: Insurance
Publication Title: New York, New York, City Directory, 1913

U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995

Name: Mary Heutbora
Residence Year: 1913
Street Address: 103 Quincy
Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1913

U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995

Name: M Isa Hajley [ name actually shown as "M. Isabelle Halliday."]
Residence Year: 1913
Street Address: 103 Quincy
Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Occupation: Belle
Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1913

Here is the Find A Grave memorial for the above "neighbor" of Mr. Parker.

Note: there is, or was, a "103 Quincy" address in Passaic, New Jersey.

U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995

Name: Henry Parker
Residence Year: 1907
Street Address: 103 Quincy
Residence Place: Passaic, New Jersey, USA
Occupation: MacHinist
Publication Title: Passaic, New Jersey, City Directory, 1907

Could either of these gentlemen be George's brother-in-law?

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/174815269/arthur-stedman
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/156755671/arthur-g-stedman
"Well . . . if you believe THAT, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you."

If you've ever wondered about the history, and the personality, behind that phrase, read on. First is a newspaper account of his last arrest in 1928:

Brooklyn Bridge's "Seller" Sent To Sing Sing For Life

George C. Parker - who startled the world by "selling" the Brooklyn Bridge to a "hick" and, as a trustee [sic; trusty] 20 years ago, walked out of the Raymond Street Jail, fooling the guards by using the coat and hat of Sheriff Finherty [sic; Michael J. Flaherty] - was today sent to Sing Sing for life by County Judge Alonzo G. McLaughlin.

Parker, who is now 68 years old and gave his last address as 103 Quincy St., was not in his usual role. He was a little despondent and offered no fight when Assistant District Attorney William Kleinman prosecuted him on a charge of having cashed a worthless $150 check . . .

The swindler who years ago performed the epic of the confidence world by disposing of Brooklyn Bridge was a meek lamb as he faced Judge McLaughlin. He pleaded guilty to grand larceny in the second degree.

Parker has established a record of crime and prison sentences. His manner and means of deception were studied carefully by the underworld.

Twenty years ago on New Years Day, Sheriff Flaherty, who had just taken office, arrived at Raymond Street Jail to greet the workers and prisoners. He took off his overcoat and hat. Parker, a trusty then, donned them. One of the guards actually "salaamed" him as he walked unmolested out of the jail, bidding all a Happy New Year."

Published in the November 23, 1928 edition of the Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle
__________________________________________________________

To access Mr. Parker's Wikipedia page, go to . . . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_C._Parker

One of his many aliases was "William McCloundy"; here is the Wiki page for that name: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_McCloundy

Another website: https://racingnelliebly.com/strange_times/con-artist-george-parker-sold-brooklyn-bridge

And another: https://theirishmob.com/george-c-parker-the-man-who-sold-brooklyn-bridge

And another: https://nycwalks.com/blog/the-brooklyn-bridge-if-you-believe-that-i-have-a-bridge-in-brooklyn-to-sell-to-you

And: http://www.historynaked.com/man-sold-brooklyn-bridge

And: https://www.gangsterismout.com/2018/03/george-c-parker-brooklyn-bridge.html

And: https://catchthemifyoucan.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/george-c-parker-the-man-who-sold-the-brooklyn-bridge

And: https://www.security-faqs.com/george-parker-sells-the-brooklyn-bridge.html

And: http://obietacivillaw.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-man-who-sold-brooklyn-bridge.html

And: https://esnpc.blogspot.com/2020/10/bridges-bunco-and-basso-gullible.html?m=0

And: https://mylesdungan.com/tag/george-c-parker

And: https://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/buy_sell_the_brooklyn_bridge ("William McCloundy", of course, was one of the aliases used by Mr. Parker as shown on the 1928 admittance papers to Sing Sing.)

And for those with access to the "historical" New York Times newspaper, this might be an interesting article: https://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/27/nyregion/thecity/for-you-half-price.html
__________________________________________________________

A short article in the June 29, 1928 edition of the Kansas City (MO) STAR reported the arrest of "Capt." George Parker for the illegal "sale" of the Windsor Hotel in Asbury Park, New Jersey. According to the article, Mr. Parker had never owned that hotel.

He was tried, found guilty and sentenced later that year, on Dec. 17, by Judge McLaughlin of Brooklyn, Kings County, NY for the term of his "natural life" for "grand larceny, 2nd degree" and "received" by the Sing Sing State Prison on December 20, 1928 where he resided until his death in 1937. Prior to this last incarceration, he had previously served 163 days in jail for his crimes.

He said he had lived his entire life in New York state and the last 35 years (since ca. 1893?) in his home - an apartment building - at 103 Quincy St. in Brooklyn, NY. (Note: a search was made of the United States and New York State census records from 1900 to 1925 for a "Parker" living at that address but to no avail. Perhaps he was using one or more of his many "aliases" as shown on the admittance record to Sing Sing State Prison from 1928, posted on this memorial. A search was also made of the database "U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995" on the Ancestry.com website using the "exact" address of "103 Quincy" and time period 1890-1930 but this yielded only 4 "hits", none of which reflected any of the names or aliases reported as being used by Mr. Parker; the names were "John N. Thurlow," "Mary Heutborn," (or "Heuthorn"), and "M. Isabelle Halliday." The years involved were 1912-1913. Perhaps "Mr. Parker" was mistaken about his home address, as well?)

And, though the handwriting is unclear, his "nearest relative" and "address" is shown as "Sis. Mrs. A Stedman Sa." One of his married sisters, perhaps? She can't be a nun because of the "Mrs." And I can find no reasonable geographical location with the abbreviation "Sa." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SA; "Staten Island" would, of course, be abbreviated as "SI." - https://www.allacronyms.com/staten_island/abbreviated (Could "SA" stand for a neighborhood in Brooklyn? - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Brooklyn_neighborhoods)

He said he was born on March 16, 1860 in New York City, had graduated from high school, had served in the U.S. Navy, had four brothers and three sisters, was the father of five children, and that both his parents were natives of Northern Ireland. He was identified as a "real estate operator" (!) and attested to being a Christian Scientist who attended church on a "regular" basis.

1900 United States Federal Census

Name: George Parker [This is most probably NOT our Capt. Parker.]
Age: 40
Birth Date: Mar 1860
Birthplace: New York, USA

Home in 1900: Brooklyn Ward 16, Kings, New York
Ward of City: 16
Street: South Fifth Street
House Number: 344

Sheet Number: 9
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation: 67
Family Number: 219
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Head
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: Nellie Parker
Marriage Year: 1888
Years Married: 12
Father's Birthplace: New York, USA
Mother's Birthplace: New York, USA
Occupation: Book Keeper

Months Not Employed: 0
Can Read: Yes
Can Write: Yes
Can Speak English: Yes
House Owned or Rented: Rent
Farm or House: H
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members Age Relationship
George Parker 40 Head
Nellie Parker 41 Wife
George Parker 9 Son
Alfred Parker 5 Son

1930 United States Federal Census

Name: George Parker
Birth Year: abt 1860
Gender: Male
Race: White
Age in 1930: 70
Birthplace: New York
Marital Status: Widowed
Relation to Head of House: Inmate
Home in 1930: Ossining, Westchester, New York, USA
Map of Home: Ossining, Westchester, New York
Institution: Sing Sing State Prison
Attended School: No
Able to Read and Write: Yes
Father's Birthplace: Northern Ireland
Mother's Birthplace: Northern Ireland

Able to Speak English: Yes
Occupation: Helper
Industry: cell blocks
Employment: Yes

Death • New York, State Death Index, 1880-1956 (FamilySearch.org)

Name George C Parker
Death Date 9 Jan 1937
Death Place Ossining, Westchester, New York, United States
Death Place (Original) Ossining, New York, United States
Entry Number 3956
_____________________________________________________________

U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995

Name: John Thurlow
Residence Year: 1913
Street Address: 103 Quincy
Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Occupation: Insurance
Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1913

U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995

Name: John N Thurlow
Residence Year: 1913
Street Address: 52 Gates av [Gates Ave. is one street to the SE of Quincy St. in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn]
Residence Place: New York, New York, USA

Occupation: Insurance
Publication Title: New York, New York, City Directory, 1913

U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995

Name: Mary Heutbora
Residence Year: 1913
Street Address: 103 Quincy
Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1913

U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995

Name: M Isa Hajley [ name actually shown as "M. Isabelle Halliday."]
Residence Year: 1913
Street Address: 103 Quincy
Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Occupation: Belle
Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1913

Here is the Find A Grave memorial for the above "neighbor" of Mr. Parker.

Note: there is, or was, a "103 Quincy" address in Passaic, New Jersey.

U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995

Name: Henry Parker
Residence Year: 1907
Street Address: 103 Quincy
Residence Place: Passaic, New Jersey, USA
Occupation: MacHinist
Publication Title: Passaic, New Jersey, City Directory, 1907

Could either of these gentlemen be George's brother-in-law?

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/174815269/arthur-stedman
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/156755671/arthur-g-stedman

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  • Created by: Tom Nelson
  • Added: Jul 1, 2021
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID:
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/229047420/george_c-parker: accessed ), memorial page for "Capt." George C. Parker (16 Mar 1860–9 Jan 1937), Find a Grave Memorial ID 229047420, citing Sing-Sing Prison Cemetery, Ossining, Westchester County, New York, USA; Maintained by Tom Nelson (contributor 47054245).