October 15, 1903: Smooth-talking Gentleman Swindles Friends


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA

October 15, 1903: “Ikey is gone—another smooth guy, selling pictures and frames to our people for six months, working himself into the good graces of several unsuspecting, kind-hearted citizens.

David Hersh was the name he gave when he landed on our "virgin soil. His pictures were handsomely framed, and he took orders for many more. He thrived and lived in style, his easy manner willing him the confidence of many.

Recently, he conceived the notion of opening a gents’ furnishing store in town; but, unfortunately, he didn’t have quite enough capital. Since he was a good fellow and people trusted him, three newly-found friends loaned him $1,100 to start his dream.

It’s been two weeks since he left for New York to buy the stock for his store. Now his kind-hearted, unsuspecting “bankers” are left wondering whether the dividends on their investment will come as largely, as promptly, and as surely as guaranteed by the “cattle ranch brokers” recently roaming the area.

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