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The New York Times, September 19, 1908

Captured After a Pistol Fight on a Train in Which Prisoner and Officer Are Shot.
Notice Posted by Mark Twain Notifying the Next Burglar Where to Find the Plated Ware.

Special to The New York Times.

DANBURY, Conn., Sept. 18. - Mark Twain's home at Redding, "Innocents at Home," was visited by two professional burglars last night. The wakefulness of Miss Lyons, the humorist's private secretary, was the undoing of the bold crooks, who were captured after a fight on a New Haven train.

Mr. Clemens today posted this notice on the door of his house:

Notice: To the Next Burglar:

There is nothing but plated ware in this house, now and henceforth. You will find it in that brass thing in the dining room, over the corner by the basket of kittens. If you want the basket put the kittens in the brass thing. Do not make a noise - it disturbs the family. You will find rubbers in the front hall by that thing which has the umbrellas in it - chiffonier I think they call it, or pergola, or something like that. Please close the door. Yours truly,


Miss Lyon the humorist's secretary, was aroused about midnight by the sound of breaking glass in the lower part of the house. She went softly down the stairs to find a flood of light in the dining room and that the sideboard, with its solid silver, was missing from its customary place in the room. Cautiously slipping along in the shadows to a point where she could have a view of the garden, to which her attention had been called by an open window in the dining room, Miss Lyon saw two men forcing the doors and drawers of the sideboard, which they had carried out, apparently in the hope that they would not be interrupted in their work. Without giving the burglars any cause for alarm Miss Lyon summoned Mr. Clemens and the butler and then telephoned for Deputy Sheriff Banks, Harry Lounsbury, and several neighbors.

Before any of them reached the scene the burglars had fled with their booty.

Following the awakening of Miss Lyon and her discovery that burglars had been at work, search of Mark Twain's place was made by Mr. Lounsbury, the Deputy Sheriff, and neighbors, and on the lawn some distance away was found the empty drawer.

Mr. Lounsbury and Deputy Sheriff Banks found peculiar footprints, which they followed to Bethel.

Mr. Lounsbury discovered the men on the train in the smoking car. He attempted to engage them in conversation and asked them if they lived in Danbury. The men replied vaguely. Mr. Lounsbury said he noticed that both men's shoes had rubber heels, which it was said would correspond with the tracks in the roadway. When the train arrived at Redding Mr. Lounsbury got off and notified Banks that he believed the men they were after were the two to whom he had been talking. Banks boarded the train, and when an attempt was made to arrest the burglars one ran out of the car door and jumped off and the other showed fight and drew a revolver. He fired four shots, one of which struck the Sheriff in the leg, and one, the last in the struggle, hit the burglar himself in the head.

A passenger jumped into the fight and subdued the burglar with a club, cutting his head open. The burglar who jumped was found under a bridge in Brookside Park.

A physician was called and the wounds of the Sheriff and of the injured robber were attended to.

Later in the morning the men were taken before Justice Hickerson for a hearing. Mr. Clemens, his daughter, Miss Clara, and Mr. Wark appeared at the hearing. The men had taken only the solid silverware and this was all recovered. The plated ware they had evidently discarded.

The hearing was held in a small room of an old-fashioned house. Justice Nickerson sitting at a little table. The witnesses and the prisoners occupied the same settee. Mr. Clemens had on his white suit.

The prisoners described themselves as Charles Hoffman, aged 30, of South Norwalk, and Henry Williams, aged 40, no address. Both men were held for the Superior Court. Other counts of assault, resisting an officer, and carrying concealed weapons were lodged against Williams. He was the wounded man. They were taken to the Bridgeport Jail this afternoon. Later they were taken before Judge William Case of the Superior Court. Williams was charged with burglary, and held under $5,000 bail. Besides the burglary charge, a second charge of assault, with intent to kill, was entered against Hoffman, and his bail fixed at $7,500.

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IN THE CLUTCH OF CIRCUMSTANCE, my own story by a burglar

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