Bridgeport [CT]: 1867. Large folio, folded to 7 3/4" x 9 3/4".  pp, lined paper. Completely in ink manuscript. Very Good.
P.T. Barnum had executed a bond as principal guaranteeing William Howard Barnum's honest and faithful performance of his duties. "At the time the bond was executed Wm. H. Barnum was a lad and employed by the Bank to make fires, sweep the banking room, run errands and assist in assorting money. His salary was $50 a year." William Howard Barnum [referred to as Howard], the son of P.T.'s brother Philo, worked for the Bank as a Clerk and then was promoted to Teller and Bookkeeper. "He continued in this position about three years, when he began to embezzle the funds of the Bank." His new position of teller and book keeper enabled him to perpetrate the offences." On July 20, 1867 Nephew requested a leave of absence and promised to return the following Tuesday. When he failed to do so, the Bank discovered that he had embezzled a substantial amount of Bank funds.
Ives explains the history of P.T.'s involvement with the Bank. A Bank Director when he originally executed the bond, he resigned when he became insolvent in 1855. P.T. returned to the Bank as a Director in 1861, remaining as such since then. "He has however never taken any active part as Director and has seldom been present at their meetings." But he executed a new bond guaranteeing his nephew's faithful performance only a couple of months before Howard's disappearance. Ives suggests that, had the Bank been more diligent, it might have discovered the fraud when the amount stolen was relatively small.
The theft became news from coast to coast, with emphasis on William's relationship to the famous showman, and to his father's status as a Fairfield County sheriff. Several newspapers noted that "fast horses and fast women ruined him." A $500 reward was issued by Pequonnock Bank. The bank brought claims on the bond against P.T. Barnum, which were arbitrated. [THE BANKERS' MAGAZINE AND STATISTICAL REGISTER, Vol. II, No. 4, October, 1867, pp. 268, 666-7; The Daily Milwaukee News, July 31, 1867, p.4; New England Farmer, Boston, Aug. 3, 1867, p.3; The Waynesburg Republican (PA), Aug. 7, 1867, p.2; The Boston Globe, Jan. 29, 1895, p.3.]. Item #35377