This article traces the fate one photographer who decided to make money the easy way ... John Lamborn of Glouster Ohio, copied from an article in the Athens Ohio newspaper on 21 October 1897.
Lamborn is Nipped
Glouster Photographer Arrested for Having a Counterfeiter's Outfit
Half of a Bogus Ten Dollar Bill Found in His Possession -- Says He Made Plates for Another Party -- Taken to Chillocothe for Trial
A counterfeiting scheme was nipped in the bud here Monday afternoonn, and John Lamborn was arrested and placed in the county jail, charged with having counterfeit money and apparatus for making it, in his possession.
John Lamborn is a resident of Glouster where for a number of years he has been conducting a photograph gallery. Though his gallery has been located in that city, he has been conducting a sort of photographic itinerancy in different parts of Athens county. For some time he had his artist tent pitched at Albany, and last week removed his outfit from that place to Athens, where on Mill street his tent is now located.
When arrested, Lamborn had in his possession a valise containing several plates, photographs, half of a ten dollar bill and a small supply of ink. The plates showed considerable ingenuity in their workmanship; the bill was a fair product of the engraver's skill, and was a very creditable imitation of the gunine article.
It has been definitely learned that Lamborn had been engaged several months in perfecting his counterfeiting scheme, but it is almost positively known that none of the bogus bills have been put into circulation. But had not the scheme been nipped when it was in its inception, it would have been only a question of time when an attempt, at least, would have been made to float the conterfeit money.
Like the majority of the schemes to defraud the people, Lamborn's was circumvented and exposed because of undue confidence placed in others. As long ago as August he was evidently working to perfect his counterfeiting apparatus, and he was probably on the point of manipulating his scheme when the props were knocked from under it.
The man of whom Lamborn made a confident was John Koon, a barber now located in Athens on Court street, but formerly engaged in the same business at Corning and Glouster. While at Glouster, Lamborn and Koon became acquainted, and the intimacy of their acquaintanceship led Lamborn to divulge his scheme for making counterfeit money.
Koon's father, Eli Koon, lives at Plain City, Madison county, and while on a visit to his home sometime ago, Koon informed his father of the scheme Lamborn had in view. The elder Koon cautioned his son to be careful or he'd become implicated in the counterfeiting business. The son replied that he would not become entangled in the meshes, and that he would wait till Lamborn attempted to float the spurious money, inform upon him and receive a large reward.
About a week ago John Koon left Glouster where he had been located and went to Plain City to visit his father. While there Lamborn wrote a letter to Koon from Athens. Before the letter reached Plain City, however, Koon left and came to Athens. In the meantime the epistle had reached its destination and was received by his father, Eli Koon, who opened the letter and read it. The missive contained some reference to the counterfeiting scheme, and also a request for five dollars which, as Lamborn said, he wanted to use in billing Athens for his photographic business.
Fearing his son would become implicated in the counterfeiting game, the elder Koon boarded the first train Monday for Corning where he believed he would find his son. Learning that his son was in Athens, he walked from Corning to Glouster, and after having Lamborn shown to him, boarded the Ohio Central train that reaches Athens at 3:11. As a remarkable coincidence Lamborn boarded the same train, having purchased a ticket for Athens. Lamborn was evidently laboring under considerable strain, for he scrutinized every one that entered the car with lynx-like keenness. When the train reached Athens, Lamborn left his valise in the car, and stepping on the platform looked in every direction to see if the coast was clear, for from his un-natural actions it was plain that he anticipated trouble when he reached this city. Satisfying himself that the way was open, he re-entered the car, and getting his valise started at a brisk walk up town.
On the train with Eli Koon was Commissioner Dupler, and the two walked up the street from the depot together. In the course of the conversation between them, Koon incidentally remarked that Lamborn who was just ahead, had enough in his grip to send him to the penitentiary. This naturally aroused Mr. Dapler's curiosity, and plying one question after another he elicited the story of John Koon's transactions with Lamborn.
The authorities were at once notified, and twenty minutes after Lamborn struck the town he was arrested by Marshall Dean in the barber shop where Koon was at work. Lamborn when arrested showed not a little nervousness, and when his valise was opened and examined and the contents found as above stated, he said he was making the plate for John Koon, for which he was was to receive the sum of fifty dollars. The valise in which the counterfeiting plates were found belonged to Will Koon, brother of the one who first knew of the scheme. Young Koon when interviewed said that parties at Albany were also implicated in the work, but Lamborn denies the statement. He was taken to Chillicothe Wednesday morning by Deputy United States Marshal Harness. There he will be tried before the United States Commissioner.
Lamborn is about thirty-six years of age and has a wife and family at Glouster.
An article a week later describes John Koon's arrest as as an accomplice, but his release after a hearing that cleared him of those charges. We found no references to Lamborn's trial.