Monday, July 07, 2008

Mahon's, importers of fine goods and busters of deadly crime syndicates.

MAHON'S Limited
Women and Children
Millinery. Tailoring.
MAHON'S Limited
Halifax Canada
Ok, so I did look up all the stuff for this post like two weeks ago, and then I didn't write it. Now I can't find it so I had to do it all over again. This is part of the reason that the posts are behind a bit. There was relative good amount of stuff.
First off, there does appear to have been a listing for Mahon's on Birmingham and Spring Garden, selling office supplies. However, I can't find them in the phone book. I didn't physically go downtown to look. (I was downtown, I just never went down Spring Garden. Plus I forgot.) So since I can't find a current listing for them I will assume they are closed.
I did find this, which is a cool photo of the ladies who worked for Mahon's some time between 1914 and 1918. They are all dressed up for a concert for the Belgian Relief Fund. According to this page, "Mahon Bros. Limited was founded in 1873 as a dry goods and general notions business. It was located in its early days at 97-103 Barrington Street, at the corner of Prince."
I also discovered, according to that they lost two cases of merchandise when the Parisian went down in the harbour on March 27, 1905.
In 1909, a member of the staff got married, and her wedding made the paper:
Sounds like a nice wedding.
Finally, and my personal favourite, I found this article:
1904 October 7
Early Telephone Scam

Five of the
Family Now Under Arrest
Halifax, N.S. Oct. 3 — For the past three months Halifax
merchants have been victimized by two young girls, Hazel and Irene Gray, aged 18
and 16 respectively, whose home is at Prince's Lodge, by a very ruse. They would
telephone into the city from Bedford or Rockingham to various stores using names
of residents of repute in the vicinity and have goods sent out on the suburban
train and dropped off by the on-train baggage master at Birch Cove or some other
small unstaffed station. Residents of Bedford and vicinity have received bills
which were repudiated and the merchants commenced to think something was
Today Mahon Bros. and G.M. Smith, leading dry goods stores,
received orders for goods to be sent to Birch Cove station, the name of Mrs.
Kerr and Mrs. Gorham being used. The firms had heard rumours of what had
happened to other city firms and before sending the goods consulted the chief of
police, who put Detective Power on the case and he in company with two other
officers went out on the train, bogus parcels being sent along and put off at
the station as directed.
The police then laid in wait and in a short time two girls came
and took the parcels. The police then jumped out, but the girls ran screaming
into the woods and were finally captured, but not without a desperate fight. The
prisoners were brought to the city and locked up. Both are handsome girls and
come of most respectable families.

The arrest on Monday of the two young Gray girls on the
charge of victimizing City merchants, caused a mild sensation yesterday, Oct.
6th, when it became known who the parties were. Several of the merchants who
lost goods held another conference with the police yesterday and as a result
warrants were issued and three more arrests were made. Those who were taken into custody yesterday were Alfred Gray aged 19, Daisy Gray aged 22 and Mabel Gray.
This makes five members of the one family arrested for complicity in the affair.
In addition to the firms previously mentioned as having been
victimized, several other business men called on the police yesterday and
reported that they had lost goods. E. Wright, grocer on Campbell Road recently
received a rush order by telephone for a case of baked beans, the person stating
that a lady intended giving a bean supper to some friends. The goods were sent,
but no money was paid. Maling & Co. on Barrington Street also sent out roast
beef and beefsteak on a telephone order. J.J. O'Brien, hair dresser sent out two
costly pairs of switches. They were taken to the party at Bedford by one of Mr.
O'Brien's staff only to find that the person did not order them and in
consequence they were not delivered. It is thought that a lot of the goods has
been sent out of the City, to another relative of the family.
From information obtained by the police it is alleged that
Alfred carried on operations with the aid of a boat on Bedford Basin, taking
delivery of the goods from his sisters after they removed them from the station
platform, and then taking them to a place of safety. All five persons were
arraigned in Court yesterday afternoon and remanded until Friday morning for
trial before Stipendary Fielding. The prisoners have been released on
[Eastern Chronicle, Friday, 7 October 1904, page 8]

ICS Comment:In the original newspaper article, the store
names were spelled Mahone Bros. and Mailing & Co. On 1 September 1998, I was
told by Mr. W.J. Phillips, of Halifax, that his recollection is that the correct
spellings are Mahon Bros. and Maling & Co. Bill Phillips grew up in Halifax,
and he has personal memories extending back to the 1930s. The Eastern
Chronicle's typesetters and proofreaders lived in or near New Glasgow, and
likely were not familiar with these Halifax store names; errors in spelling
could easily have occurred. In the above, I have used the spellings suggested by
Bill Phillips.
I took it from Nova Scotia's Electronic Attic, and I took the info from this site:
So Mahon Bros was part of a sting operation that resulted in the apprehesion of two "desperate" criminals. What I find interesting is the naming of a minor in the news report, which never happens these days. I also like how simple the crime is. Can you imagine ordering stuff on credit over the phone, then having it delivered to an unmanned train station for you to pick up? And the arrest caused a "mild sensation"? Wow! Teenagers stealing stuff! Who'da thunk it?
I guess it just goes to show you how much times have changed. We don't trust people enough to leave anything unattended. We can't leave our cars unlocked, and heaven forbid Fedex leave the parcel on the step. I don't know if it is the times, or if it is just because Halifax is so much bigger these days, but it really makes me kinda sad.
***Also, seriously, I don't know why the spaces between my paragraphs on this post keep disappearing. Sorry for the wall of text folks, but I keep editing it and it keeps not happening.***

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