Don’t Cross A Fargo Man

August 10, 1907
Los Angeles 

Brockway and Brown, conman and his captor

It was three years ago this week that dapper "Edward K. Earle," clairvoyant medium, tricked J.D. Brown, now 78, into handing over $1000 which he had earmarked for purchasing property at the Devil’s Lake Indian Reservation. "Earle" advised against the investment, but blessed the sum and told Brown he must wear it close to his breast for a full day. But the envelope was neatly switched, and when it was opened, the $1000 was gone.  After Brown’s money took a walk, he came to his senses and insisted he must have been hypnotized to have so foolishly placed his money in a stranger’s hands.

But "Earle" miscalculated when he robbed Brown, for the man had means and nothing better do with his days than to follow the trail of the sneaky psychic. Brown has personally traveled 4,000 miles and detectives have logged another 6,000 in the search. Along the way, Brown fell in love with the Los Angeles climate, and moved his family here–all the while continuing his pursuit as detectives shared the latest sightings of the slippery "Earle," whose true name they reported as Charles Brockway.

But so much time had passed without success that Brown’s ardor for the hunt was dimming… until, that is, his daughter Zoe M. May met a familiar-looking fellow on Spring Street in June ’06. With this news old J.D. eagerly gathered a list of every medium in Los Angeles, then staked out their premises. And one marvelous day he was rewarded with a glimpse of his nemesis as the man, now called "Edward Fay," left his suite in the Hammond Block, 120 1-2 South Spring Street.

A friend back in Fargo found the old warrant drawn on "Earle," and Brown provided a sum sufficient to extradite the con artist. A month passed and papers arrived with local authorities, who promptly arrested the man. He vows to fight extradition, and hopes to return to his business, answering three questions for the princely sum of $1 (and, if past experience is anything to go by, obtaining handsome tips from his more credulous customers before changing his name and fleeing).