Jimmy Logue

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Illustration of Jimmy Logue from 1895 newspaper The Daily Star

James E. "Jimmy" Logue (1837 - October 4, 1899) was a Philadelphia based burglar who is thought to have stolen an accumulative of more than $300,000 over the course of his criminal career. He mostly targeted homes and shops but also occasionally banks and spent time in and out of jail. In brief announcements of his death in 1899, he was referred to as "the notorious bank robber".[1][2] He is perhaps better known for the disappearance of his third wife, Joanna, who was later discovered to have been murdered by her nephew, Alphonso Cutaiar.[3]

Early life[edit]

Jimmy Logue was born in Philadelphia in 1837 and began stealing when he was a teenager. According to him, it came naturally to him and he told his physician on his death bed that "It was born in me. I couldn't help it."[3]

His real name was alternately claimed to be James E. Logue,[4] William Casey,[5][6] and Henry Greyson, the latter of which he can be found recorded as on the 1880 census in the Eastern State Penitentiary.[7]

It was said that Logue's mother, Mary Logue,[8] owned a large piece of property later in life [9] but she claimed that while pregnant with Jimmy, his father was spending all their money on alcohol and not providing for their family and so she had to steal money from his pocket while he slept. She believed this was the reason thievery seemed inherent in Jimmy.[10] Logue later attempted to use this as a defense in court.[11][12]

Criminal Life[edit]

1852 was Logue's first conviction for larceny when he was about 15 years old. He served his time in the House of Refuge.[13]

In 1871, Logue was captured by police along with James Hanley and John Jenkins while committing a theft on Girard Ave during a parade in Philadelphia. Later, while being taken to be identified by witnesses, he broke free of his guards but was recaptured. He was also accused of stealing jewelry worth $50 from the residence of William H. Furman on N. 12th Street during the parade and of being involved in a theft in December of the previous year during which $6,000 worth of jewelry was stolen from a store on N. 5th Street owned by Henry Gerlach. He was initially committed to jail for 90 days and then his bail was set for a total of $5,000.[14] He was later sentenced to 7 years in prison[4] and a few months later, while serving his time in Eastern State Penitentiary, his friends petitioned for his pardon,[15] which failed. Logue was not released until 1877.[4] During his arrest, the police attempted to have his photograph taken for the Rogues Gallery but Logue refused and made it so difficult for them that they eventually gave up. When asked why they didn't force Logue to sit still by holding him by the ears, an officer responded, "It's as much as a man's life is worth to meddle with Logue. He may be out in a month, and I didn't want a bullet in my back."[9]

Much like how Logue's photograph was probably taken, a scene in Newgate Prison, London, where a prisoner, being held down by police, is compelled to sit for his photograph, to be placed in the "Rogue's Gallery".

After his release in 1877, Logue was again captured on November 2, 1879 during a burgarly of a safe in a "segar" (cigar) store on Chestnut Street with another man claiming to be Richard Osbourn, later identified as John Irving.[16] A police officer by the name of Entriken spotted them in mid-robbery and after recruiting Officer Keenan, they blocked the front and back exits of the shop and Entriken confronted them as they attempted to leave by the front entrance, unaware that anyone had noticed their robbery in progress. Osbourn/Irving was apprehended by Entriken but Logue fled by the rear entrance and climbed a fence to reach Broad Street through an alley, where Keenan spotted him and gave chase, firing his revolver at Logue but missing. When Logue turned onto Drury Street, he was captured after a fight with Keenan in which the officer hit Logue on the head with his club several times. Several burglary tools were found in the cigar shop, which had been used to break open the rear door and the safe. The shop owner, Mr. Portuondo, claimed there was about $1,000 in notes missing from his safe but the money was never found. It was assumed that an accomplice had gotten away with it before the officers had come upon the store but Logue claimed he had dropped it in the store when surprised by Entriken. It was believed that Logue was also responsible for a number of other robberies which had taken place recently in Philadelphia, including that of a pawn shop two weeks prior.[17] During the bail hearing, Logue was named as Henry Greyson, it being believed that Jimmy Logue was an alias. His bail was set at $3,000 and his accomplice's was set at $3,800, the additional $800 for being caught carrying a concealed deadly weapon.[18] At the same hearing, an attempt was made by unknown persons to free Logue from the court house but their effort was thwarted by an officer. On November 10, Logue and Irving were both sentenced to 3 years and 9 months after they pleaded guilty.[19]

Prior to his recapture in November, Logue had committed a robbery in February in Boston, during the time his third wife disappeared.[4] He was also involved in the Dexter Bank robbery in Maine during February 1878 and was connected to robberies of the Corn Exchange National Bank, the Norristown Bank, the Catholic Beneficial Savings fund in which $3,000 was stolen, and of many other crimes New York and Massachusetts, in addition to Pennsylvania.[20] He was also thought to have been involved in the attempted robbery of the United States sub-treasury in Philadelphia.[21]

In 1883, Logue was again captured during a robbery of a jewelry store of 3rd and Arch streets in Philadelphia in which $1,500 worth of jewelry was stolen. Several accomplices were apprehended as well, including Samuel Terrence, Lewis Edwards, "Big Buckey" Donnelly, and Frank Starr.[22] The group were later released due to lack of evidence against them,[23] however, Logue was convicted later that year for a robbery in Reading, PA and served three years in Berks County.[24]

In 1886, Logue was once again arrested, this time for the robbery a grocery store on N. 13th St. and bail was set at $2,000. After a long struggle, Logue was subdued enough to finally have his photograph taken for the Rogues Gallery, though his features were distorted presumably by motion blur.[25] He served another six years in the Penitentiary.[13]

Not long out of jail, Logue was arrested again in 1892 when he was charged with the burglary of several residences and held in bail for $1,000.[26] After being acquitted of at least one of the crimes he was charged with, he was sentenced to only ten months in Moyamensing Prison.[24]

In 1896, Logue was accused of assault and battery by his daughter-in-law Matilda Logue. Though acquitted, the judge warned him to stay away from Matilda and Logue agreed by saying, "A burnt child never plays with the fire."[27]

Logue was a known associate of several other thieves in multiple cities, such as Jimmy Hope, Billy Porter,[17] George Mason, and Peter Burns, who was briefly believed to have run off with Logue's third wife, though later found to have gone to Italy alone.[4] Peter Ehrenberg, aka Peter Pretzels, was known as Logue's "bruiser", delivering beatings to anyone Logue instructed.[18] Logue was also associated with James Martin, aka "Curly" Harris, who was accused of the murder of James Riley, aka John Davis.[28] Logue evaded capture many times because he was allegedly in league with certain detectives, though the man who claimed this to be true, Detective Taggerty, died in an insane asylum.[20]

It was believed that at some point before he was 40 years old, Logue had spent some time in the West where he racked up a sizable sum and invested it in a relative.[18]


On January 20, 1861, Jimmy married Mary Jane Andrews[29] and lived with her for two years before they separated but never officially divorced. In an act of bigamy, he then married again, to another Mary (whose maiden name was Gahan[4]). Mary had an illegitimate son named Alphonso Cutaiar Jr., who eventually became a barber. Jimmy set his stepson up with a barber shop and used it as a cover for his own source of criminal income.[4]

On February 15, 1870, Jimmy's second wife Mary died.[30] Just before the start of one of his trials in 1871, Jimmy was married to Mary's sister, Joanna, before being sentenced to seven years in prison. He was released early 1877, at which point he bought a house at 1250 North 11th Street in Philadelphia where his wife and stepson Alphonso resided with him.[4][31]

An article from 1881 claimed that Logue had children who were cared for by a lawyer while Logue was in jail for three years from 1879 cigar shop burglary.[21] One of these children was a son named Percy.[32]

Disappearance and Discovery of Third Wife[edit]

In February 1879, Jimmy traveled to Boston to complete a job with fellow thief George Mason but when he returned to his home in Philadelphia, he found Joanna was gone. Cutaiar claimed that Joanna had declared she was leaving permanently and then rushed to the railroad station before he could escort her there. Jimmy searched across the country for her but eventually gave up and left their home in the hands of Cutaiar, who later sold it.

Fourteen years after Joanna's disappearance, the owners of 1250 North 11th Street were having the floorboards fixed when a skeleton was discovered beneath them.[33] Personal artifacts, including an inscribed ring, found with the skeleton confirmed it to be Joanna's. Though Logue was initially suspected, proof that he had been in Boston during the time of Joanna's disappearance exonerated him. When faced with the knowledge that he was the only other person with access to the house during the time of her disappearance, Cutaiar confessed. He tried to claim her death was an accident and his improper disposal of her body done out of fear but the court did not believe him, mostly due to Joanna's missing jewelry and bonds, which Cutaiar stole.[4]

Cutaiar was initially sentenced to death but it was later commuted and served his time in the Eastern State Penitentiary. In 1904, a pardon was attempted but a judge denied it, saying that Cutaiar was lucky to not receive the death penalty.[34] Sometime between 1910 and 1920, Cutaiar was released from prison.[35][36]


Jimmy died penniless of oedema of the lungs on October 4, 1899 in the Philadelphia County almshouse,[1] and was buried in the cemetery of Church of St. James the Less[37] along with his beloved wife Joanna.[38] He'd given up robbery and repented his sins, though he never forgave his stepson and nephew for Joanna's murder.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Minor Events of the Week". The Broad Ax. October 7, 1899. p. 2. Retrieved April 3, 2015 – via Chronicling America. 
  2. ^ "Abbreviated Telegrams". Rock Island Argus. October 6, 1899. p. 1. Retrieved April 3, 2015 – via Chronicling America. 
  3. ^ a b c "Jimmy Logue is Dead", The Philadelphia Record, October 5, 1899
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Strange Story of Crime", Baltimore American, April 29, 1895
  5. ^ "A Noted Burglar Surrenders", The Sun, March 7, 1895
  6. ^ "Jimmy Logue Locked Up. Coroner Ashbridge Surprised by a Visit from the Old-Time Burglar", Philadelphia Inquirer, March 7, 1895, Vol. 132 Issue 66 p. 3, 1
  7. ^ "United States Census, 1880," index and images, FamilySearch.org, entry for Henry Grayson
  8. ^ "He Was Born a Criminal. Peculiar Defense Set up for Jimmy Logue.", Tacoma Daily News, July 10, 1895, Vol. XXV Issue 89 p. 1
  9. ^ a b "Open Doors to Correspondents. About Jimmy Logue some Account of the Man and the Story of His Capture", The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 12, 1871, p. 3
  10. ^ "Born a Criminal", Tacoma Daily News, July 12, 1895, Vol. XXV Issue 91 p. 2
  11. ^ "Pre-Natal Agencies Novel Defense Of Jimmy Logue, The Burglar. He Will Offer a Letter From", Oregonian (Portland, OR), July 11, 1895, p. 3
  12. ^ "Criminal by Inheritance Letter from Jimmy Logue's Mother Wetten on Her Death Bed", St. Louis Republic, July 10, 1895, p. 9
  13. ^ a b "A Career of Crime James Logue the Notorious Burglar Receives a Light Sentence". Philadelphia Inquirer, June 23, 1892, Vol. 126 Issue 175 p. 2
  14. ^ "Jimmy Logue. Another Haggerty Affair-Unsuccessful Attempt to Escape", Philadelphia Inquirer, May 22, 1871, p. 2
  15. ^ "Miscellancy", Patriot (Harrisburg, PA), August 2, 1871, Vol. IV p. 1
  16. ^ "Identified as an Old and Dangerous Criminal", Philadelphia Inquirer, November 7, 1879, Vol. CI p. 2
  17. ^ a b "Burglars [Neatly?] Captured", Philadelphia Inquirer, November 3, 1879, Vol. CI p. 2
  18. ^ a b c "Fixed This Time. the Robbery at the Chestnut Street Segar Store", Philadelphia Inquirer, November 4, 1879, Vol. CI p. 2
  19. ^ "Jimmy Loque Sentenced-His Attempted Escape", Philadelphia Inquirer, November 11, 1879, Vol. CI p. 3
  20. ^ a b "A Brace of Burglars", Cincinnati Daily Gazette, November 8, 1879, p. 2
  21. ^ a b "An Ingenious Scheme", New Haven Register, January 10, 1881, Vol. XLI Issue 7 p. 3
  22. ^ "Burglars At Work. They Rob a Jewelry Store--Arrest of the Supposed Criminal", Patriot (Harrisburg, PA), September 18, 1883, p. 1
  23. ^ "Jimmy Logue and His Gang Released", Evening Star (Washington DC), September 24, 1883, p. 3
  24. ^ a b "The Skeleton That of Johanna Logue Identified by a Brother, Who Recognizes the Gold Filling", Philadelphia Inquirer, October 18, 1893, Vol. 129 Issue 110 p. 2, 1.
  25. ^ "Photographed at Last. "Jimmy" Logue, Arrested for Burglary, Vainly Resists Having His Picture Taken", Philadelphia Inquirer, July 14, 1886, Vol. CXV p. 3
  26. ^ "Logue Held for Trial the Well-Known Burglar Faces Another Term in the Penitentiary", Philadelphia Inquirer, May 27, 1892, Vol. 126 Issue 148 p. 2
  27. ^ "Jimmy Logue is Free Acquitted of a Charge Preferred by His Daughter-in-Law.", Philadelphia Inquirer, September 12, 1896, Vol. 135 Issue 74 p. 3
  28. ^ "Killing of Riley by "Curly" Harris", Cleveland Leader, June 9, 1880, p. 10
  29. ^ Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985, Record of James Logue and Mary Andrews. Ancestry.com. (Originally obtained from Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 208.)
  30. ^ Mortuary Notice of Mary Gahan Logue, Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA), February 18, 1870, Vol. LXVIII Issue 127 p. 2.
  31. ^ "A Skeleton Mystery", Paterson Daily Press, October 19, 1893
  32. ^ "Cutaiar is Guilty", Philadelphia Inquirer, May 30, 1896, Vol. 134 Issue 151 p. 4, 1
  33. ^ "Story of a Crime". Rock Island Argus. J.W. Potter. April 29, 1895. p. 2. Retrieved April 3, 2015 – via Chronicling America. 
  34. ^ "No Pardon for Cutaiar", The Philadelphia Record, January 7, 1904
  35. ^ 1910 "United States Census, 1910," index and images, FamilySearch, Alfonso Cutiair, Philadelphia Ward 15, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; citing sheet 12A, family , NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375404.
  36. ^ "United States Census, 1920," index and images, FamilySearch, Alphanso F Cutaiar, , Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; citing enumeration district (ED) , sheet 14A, family 350, NARA microfilm publication T625, FHL microfilm 1821630.
  37. ^ "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915," index and images, FamilySearch, James Logue, 1899.
  38. ^ Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.