December 0004


Here’s an entirely genuine document. It’s an article from the New York Times, of November 30th, 1896. I’ll find out some more about this evident ancestor of mine, and report back to you. 




"So far as Chinese Inspector Scharf’s charges against Deputy Collectors apply to this port, said Collector James T. Kilbreth yesterday, "they are utterly frivolous." 

The charges referred to by Mr. Kilbreth were published in yesterday's NEWYORK TIMES. John Thomas Scharf is Chinese Inspector, and is stationed at New York and his business is to see that no Chinese get into the United States in violation of the immigration laws and of the Chinese Exclusion act. He specifically charges that the 

Deputy Collector at Malone. N. Y. in the Lake Champlain district, and the Deputy Collector in NewYork City, had admitted Chinese in violation of the law. The Deputy Collector of this city, he charges, admitted ten alleged partners of the interpreter of the railroad—Canadian Pacific— without having before him the testimony of two credible witnesses, as required by law.

Collector Kilbreth differs very materially from Inspector Scharf as to his understanding of the duties of the Deputy Collector in New York and as to the significance of Mr. Scharf s own evidence in the matter.

In the first place," said Mr. Kilbreth, " no one who knows Mr. Scharf would attach any importance to any charge that he makes. He is totally irresponsible, and frequently makes the most serious charges upon no substantial ground. I think Mr. Scharf means well, but he has no judgment and no discretion. He makes these charges, therefore, without reflection and investigation; and over and over again his statements have been proved absolutely unworthy of credence. 

“The Government, at least the Treasury Department, which has charge of these matters, knows all about Mr. Scharf's character. I have had occasion to show the falsity and absurdity of his accusations in several cases; and his reputation for inaccurate and irresponsible charges is well understood. Assistant Secretary Charles S. Hamlin has evidently sent me the Inspector's report, in which he makes these charges, merely as a matter of form. Their value is fully appreciated. 

“Two or three years ago Inspector Scharf made similar charges against the same Deputy Collector in this port, Daniel Hawthorne. Mr. Hawthorne has charge of the Marine Department, which gives him supervision of Chinese immigration. At the time to which I refer, Chinese Inspector Scharf charged Mr. Hawthorne and others with admitting Chinese in violation of the laws. The charges were fully investigated and proved utterly false. Mr. Scharf told me afterward that the accusations were entirely groundless, and that he had been made a catspaw of by other persons. One of the men Mr. Scharf preferred charges against sued him for libel, and the Inspector got down on his knees and begged off. 

“So much, for the man. Now, as to these specific charges, Mr. Scharf shows clearly in his charges that he does not understand the duties of the Deputy Collectors at Malone, (or other places on the border,) and at this port. He says Deputy Collector Hawthorne admitted the “alleged family of the Chinese interpreter” and “alleged partners of the interpreter of the railroad” without such, testimony as is required by law. The fact of the matter is, that whatever responsibility attaches to the admission of Chinese at the Canadian border rests upon the Deputy Collector at the place they are admitted. The Deputy Collector who has charge of the Chinese immigrants in this port has to do only with such Chinese as reach here by sea, this being then the place where they enter the United States. "Whenever the Chinese come here from Canada, Deputy Collector Hawthorne has nothing to do with them and no responsibility for their admission into the country. 

“The law requires white witnesses to the statements of the Chinaman seeking admission. For instance, in the case of a Chinaman stating that he was the partner of a firm of Chinamen in Mott or Pell Street, it would be the duty of the Collector who admits him to require from him such testimony as provided for by the laws. We are not expected to furnish such testimony for the Deputy Collector at Malone or elsewhere. Upon him alone would rest the whole responsibility, but Mr. Scharf attempts to put it also upon the Deputy Collector of New York. 

“It frequently happens that when a Chinaman states to a Deputy Collector at Malone, say, that he is the partner of a firm in this city, the Deputy Collector will write to us, asking if it is true. Deputy Collector Hawthorne will then send an Inspector to the firm to make inquiry. If the firm says that the Chinaman is a partner, the Inspector so reports to Mr. Hawthorne, who, in turn reports what the Chinese firm has replied to his inquiries. That is all. It is merely an answer to a letter of inquiry, and Deputy Collector ' Hawthome has nothing to do with admitting' the Chinaman, and is in nowise responsible for his admission. The Deputy Collector who does admit him, at Malone or elsewhere, assumes the entire responsibility. Mr. Scharf ought to know this if he doesn't. 

"As I said at first, I do not think that Mr. Scharf means any harm. He is merely irresponsible, and utterly lacking in judgment and discretion. Just such hasty charges as he makes against Deputy Collectors have been made against his own honesty and general character, and if they were believed, Mr. Scharf would be in a sorry plight indeed. No one pays any attention to his charges, and you can quote me as saying that, so far as they relate to this port, they are utterly frivolous.” 

Collector Kilbreth added that the special agents of the Treasury, who are expected here today, on their way to confer with customs officers on the New York and Vermont borders, are not coming to investigate Mr. Scharf’s charges

Spanish Poem Translation

.“Due to public demand” here is a translation of the Spanish poem published a few months ago:  

Cheap Shirts do not excuse Ecuadorian watches.

You came to see me,

But you found a shop with clothes on sale

And you stopped to chat and make jokes.

Eventually, you arrived with beautiful smiles and very happy.


I’ve been digging around on the New York Times collection of back issues, and found some strange and disturbing news about my ancestor. Here’s the report, from September 2nd 1882 

John Scharf, of No. 780, Third-avenue, Brooklyn, was detected selling adulterated milk. He offered Health Inspector Bartley $10 to hush the matter up and keep his name out of the newspapers. Eleven other milk-dealers were fined by Justice Fisher for selling adulterated milk. 

Is this a good background for a Chinese Inspector? Is it even a good background for an ancestor? Evidently I need to do some more investigating"


The Last Resting Place of the Low-Down Varmint

The last resting place of the Low-Down Varmint. This picture was taken on a day when that odd illusion of several suns in the sky was visible, which accounts for the strange lighting effects.