Famous People

Today's Famous Person (September 28, 1741 October 1, 1788), often known by his title of Deacon, was a Scottish cabinet-maker, deacon of a trades guild, and Edinburgh city councilor, who maintained a secret life as a housebreaker, partly for the thrill, and partly to fund his gambling.

In 1774, his mother is listed as the head of household in their Edinburgh home on the Lawnmarket. The family (him and his brothers) are listed as "wrights and undertakers" on the Lawnmarket. By 1787 he is listed alone as a wright living at Lawnmarket.

By day, he was a respectable tradesman and deacon (president) of the Incorporation of Wrights, which locally controlled the craft of cabinetmaking; this made him a member of the town council. Part of his work as a cabinetmaker was to install and repair locks and other security mechanisms. He socialized with the gentry of Edinburgh and met the poet Robert Burns and the painter Henry Raeburn. He was a member of the Edinburgh Cape Club and was known by the pseudonym "Sir Llyud".

At night, however, he became a housebreaker and thief. He used his daytime work as a way to gain knowledge about the security mechanisms of his customers and to copy their keys using wax impressions. As the foremost locksmith of the city, he was asked to work in the houses of many of the richest members of Edinburgh society. He used the money he made dishonestly to maintain his second life, which included a gambling habit and five children by two mistresses, who did not know of each other and were unknown in the city.

He reputedly began his criminal career around 1768, when he copied keys to a bank door and stole 800, then enough to maintain a household for several years. In 1786 he recruited a gang of three thieves, John Brown, a thief on the run from a seven-year sentence of transportation, George Smith, a locksmith who ran a grocer's shop in the Cowgate, and Andrew Ainslie, a shoemaker.

The case that led to his downfall began later in 1788 when he organized an armed raid on an excise office in Chessel's Court on the Canongate. His plan failed. On the same night, Brown approached the authorities to claim a King's Pardon, which had been offered after a previous robbery, and gave up the names of Smith and Ainslie (initially saying nothing of our Famous Person's involvement). Smith and Ainslie were arrested, and the next day our Famous Person attempted to visit them in prison, but was refused. Realizing that he had to leave Edinburgh, he escaped to London and then to the Netherlands, intending to flee to the United States, but was arrested in Amsterdam and shipped back to Edinburgh for trial.

His and Smith's trial started on August 27, 1788. At first there was no hard evidence against him, although the tools of his criminal trade (copied keys, a disguise and pistols) were found in his house and workshops. But with Brown's evidence and Ainslie being persuaded to turn King's Evidence, added to the self-incriminating lines in the letters he had written while on the run, the jury found him and Smith guilty.

They both were hanged at the Old Tolbooth in the High Street on October 1, 1788 before a crowd of 40,000. According to one tale, today's Famous Person wore a steel collar and silver tube to prevent the hanging from being fatal. It was said that he had bribed the hangman to ignore it and arranged for his body to be removed quickly in the hope that he could later be revived. If so, the plan failed. He was buried in an unmarked grave at St. Cuthbert's Chapel of Ease in Chapel Street. However, rumors of his being seen in Paris circulated later and gave the story of his scheme to evade death further publicity.


Who is today's Famous Person?


William Brodie
Archibald Johnston
Edward William Pritchard
James Stewart






FEBRUARY
FAMOUS PEOPLE
SCORES

March 2

Judy Landers

Has Been Identified By:
Dame Sunny
Joan in Florida
Kiko in Japan
Jeannie in Washington
Donna in New York
Missy in Pennsylvania
Helen R in Pennsylvania
Danni in Connecticut
Lady Di
Ruth in Pennsylvania
Helen in Pennsylvania
Alex in New York
Gabi in Brazil
Kelsey in Louisiana
Carol in Delaware
Brandi in California
Michelle in New Jersey
Pat in Kentucky
Kate in Colorado
Donna in Iowa
Brett in Iowa
Harold in North Carolina
Dave in Virginia
Katrina in Delaware
Martha in Virginia
Neil in Pennsylvania
Lady Laura


Scores

2
Dame Sunny
Joan in Florida
Jeannie in Washington
Kiko in Japan
Carol in Delaware
Donna in New York
Missy in Pennsylvania
Ruth in Pennsylvania
Lady Di
Helen in Pennsylvania
Gabi in Brazil
Danni in Connecticut
Alex in New York
Helen R in Pennsylvania
Kelsey in Louisiana
Michelle in New Jersey
Pat in Kentucky
Kate in Colorado
Dave in Virginia
Donna in Iowa
Brett in Iowa
Brandi in California
Harold in North Carolina
Katrina in Delaware
Martha in Virginia
Neil in Pennsylvania
Lady Laura


March
Mystery Person

Has Been Identified By:
No One Yet


It Conquered The World

Has Been Identified By:
Dame Sunny
Jeannie in Washington
Donna in New York
Missy in Pennsylvania
Helen R in Pennsylvania
Danni in Connecticut
Ruth in Pennsylvania
Helen in Pennsylvania
Alex in New York
Gabi in Brazil
Kelsey in Louisiana
Carol in Delaware
Brandi in California
Michelle in New Jersey
Pat in Kentucky
Kate in Colorado
Donna in Iowa
Brett in Iowa
Harold in North Carolina
Katrina in Delaware
Martha in Virginia
Neil in Pennsylvania
Lady Laura


Movie Scores

2
Dame Sunny
Jeannie in Washington
Carol in Delaware
Donna in New York
Missy in Pennsylvania
Ruth in Pennsylvania
Helen in Pennsylvania
Gabi in Brazil
Danni in Connecticut
Alex in New York
Helen R in Pennsylvania
Kelsey in Louisiana
Michelle in New Jersey
Pat in Kentucky
Kate in Colorado
Donna in Iowa
Brett in Iowa
Brandi in California
Harold in North Carolina
Katrina in Delaware
Martha in Virginia
Neil in Pennsylvania
Lady Laura


March Rebus Puzzle #1

Has Been Solved By:
Dame Sunny
Jeannie in Washington
Carol in Delaware
Donna in New York
Missy in Pennsylvania
Ruth in Pennsylvania
Helen in Pennsylvania
Gabi in Brazil
Danni in Connecticut
Alex in New York
Helen R in Pennsylvania
Kelsey in Louisiana
Michelle in New Jersey
Pat in Kentucky
Kate in Colorado
Donna in Iowa
Brett in Iowa
Brandi in California
Harold in North Carolina
Katrina in Delaware
Martha in Virginia
Neil in Pennsylvania
Lady Laura


March Rebus Puzzle Scores

1
Dame Sunny
Jeannie in Washington
Carol in Delaware
Donna in New York
Missy in Pennsylvania
Ruth in Pennsylvania
Helen in Pennsylvania
Gabi in Brazil
Danni in Connecticut
Alex in New York
Helen R in Pennsylvania
Kelsey in Louisiana
Michelle in New Jersey
Pat in Kentucky
Kate in Colorado
Donna in Iowa
Brett in Iowa
Brandi in California
Harold in North Carolina
Katrina in Delaware
Martha in Virginia
Neil in Pennsylvania
Maryellen in Pennsylvania
Lady Laura