Brace of Burglars

Have you documented, photographed,  and insured your valuables?  Do you have an inventory of your treasures, old and new? If not, maybe you should reconsider. Aside from fire and natural disasters, theft is also a threat to your possessions and your peace of mind.

Last week I learned of a recent theft that effected my mother. She thought her neighborhood was safe from crime. I am sure her great-grandparents thought the same, and her 3x great-grandparents. One family line, all victims of a brace of burglars.

Case File #001

Incident Type                           BURGLARY

Address of Occurrence          TUCSON, ARIZONA

Type of Premise                       RESIDENCE

Occurred                                     WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2015

Weapon or Objects used      WINDOW CUTTING DEVICE

Method of Entry                       UNLAWFUL          Burglary type     NIGHT (6 P.M.-6 A.M.)

Items Stolen                              ASSORTED JEWELRY

Victim                                           JEAN HYDE

Suspects                                      LOCAL TREE TRIMMER

While on a recent trip to a granddaughters wedding in Colorado, my mother’s house was burglarized and her complete jewelry collection stolen. My mother loves beautiful jewelry and had collected a cabinet full of treasures.  The pieces included valuable antiques inherited from her mother, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers.  According to the local police in Tucson, this was a professional job. The thieves left no fingerprints and used a glass cutter to gain access via a back window. They  quickly ransacked the house, tipping over furniture, emptying drawers and wreaking havoc. The most likely culprit is a local tree-trimmer hired by a neighbor. During a conversation, the “tree trimmer” thief learned that my mother was out-of-town, and that night the house burglars struck. The “tree trimmer” did not return to finish his work the next day. When the neighbor heard about the crime, she researched the name of the “tree trimmer” and found he had a rap sheet for previous burglaries. The value of the jewelry is more than monetary.Each piece holds a memory for my mother, especially the pieces she received as gifts and the ones she inherited. Unfortunately, the jewelry was not photographed nor inventoried, nor insured. If you are reading this, then please make sure you have your valuables documented.


Incident Type                           BURGLARY

Address of Occurrence         550 S. 26th STREET, OMAHA, NEBRASKA 

Type of Premise                       RESIDENCE

Occurred                                     TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1890

Weapon or Objects used      UNKNOWN

Method of Entry                       UNLAWFUL       Burglary type     NIGHT (6 P.M.-7 P.M.)

Victim                                           CLINTON DELOS ORCUTT/ANNA DUTTON ORCUTT

Items Stolen                              TWO WATCHES AND CHAINS, SEVERAL PAIRS OF                                                BRACELETS, A DIAMOND PIN, ASSORTED JEWELRY

Suspects                                       PROFESSIONAL BURGLARS

A portion of the stolen jewelry from case #001 were pieces my mother inherited from her great-grandmother, Anna Dutton Orcutt. Anna was also a victim of jewelry theft. I found a newspaper article dated February 13, 1890 on that details the incident. Although I would like to reprint the entire article, the copyright laws do not allow for reproduction, nor complete transcription.  The article is titled, ” A NEAT BIT OF WORK, How Two Burglars Robbed Mr Orcutt’s Residence.”  A brace of burglars raided the jewelry in the house of Mr. Clinton Orcutt. [1]  Mr. Orcutt returned home about 7 p.m. and noticed that the gas light in his wife’s room was turned down, and thought nothing of it. His 11-year-old daughter Anna Ri had a playmate over and as they went upstairs they noticed the extinguished hall gas lights, but thought nothing of it. They simply went to the next level and turned on the electric buttons. Then the family  noticed that Mrs. Orcutt’s room was ransacked and left in a state of confusion. The thieves stole $600.00 worth of jewelry.  Today the jewelry value would be about $16,000.

The local police ascertained there were probably two thieves. They entered the occupied house through the rear door, hid in the rear hallway, slipped upstairs and  accomplished their task in about fifteen minutes.  While one stood watch,  the other hastily plundered the room tipping over furniture and emptying drawers. When they heard Mr. Orcutt driving up, they put out the main hall lights and exited by the front door. The burglars unfastened a window opening on the front porch,  but nearby police patrols deterred them from using that exit. Recent thefts in the neighborhood prompted local police to mount extra patrols. In fact, during the robbery a patrol was only half a block away.

It isn’t known if the police caught the culprits. The Orcutts resided in an upscale neighborhood and it is easy to understand why they were targeted. Clinton Orcutt was a fairly wealthy man, a business man and banker. Like his father, Daniel Orcutt, he was an ambitious man.

Clinton Orcutt’s  home depicted in Early History of Omaha-Omaha Illustrated. [2] He lived on 550 S. 26th Street, with his wife and four of his five children from 1887-1905.

Home of Clinton and Anna Dutton Orcutt. Photo taken 550 S. 26th Street, Omaha, Nebraska.


 CASE  FILE #003

Incident Type                           BURGLARY

Address of Occurrence         PARK STREET, GUILFORD, CONNECTICUT 

Type of Premise                       RESIDENCE

Occurred                                     WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 1837

Weapon or Objects used      UNKNOWN

Method of Entry                       UNLAWFUL       Burglary type     NIGHT (6 P.M.-6A.M.)

Victim                                           REVEREND AARON DUTTON/DORCAS DUTTON

Items Stolen                              6 SILVER TABLESPOONS, 3 TEA-SPOONS, 1 PAIR                                                    SUGAR TONGS MARKED D.S., 6 TEA-SPOONS, 1                                                      CREAM SPOON, 2 SALT SPOONS MARKED D.D., 5                                                  TEA-SPOONS MARKED S.W.S, 1 IVORY HANDLED                                                  SILVER BUTTER KNIFE, 1 PURPLE AND WHITE                                                      COTTON TABLE COVER

Suspects                                     UNKNOWN

Two days ago I discovered on another theft of family valuables. [4] This time it effected Anna Dutton Orcutt’s grandparents, a decade before her birth. Anna’s grandfather was Reverend Aaron Dutton of Guilford, Connecticut. He was an esteemed clergyman and highly respected in his community. He lived in Guilford with his wife and 7 children.

On the night of September 20, 1837 his house was broken into and the family silver stolen. Several of those pieces his wife inherited from her parents. The spoons marked S.W.S. were from Dorcas Dutton’s father, Samuel William Southmayd. the spoons marked D.S. were from her mother, Dorcas Southmayd. It was a great loss to the family. Aaron Dutton promptly posted an advertisement in the local paper, The Connecticut Herald, New Haven, requesting information. He offered a generous reward for the recovery of his stolen silver. It isn’t known if he was successful.

Home of Reverend Aaron Dutton and Dorcas Southmayd Dutton, Guilford, Connecticut

Home of Reverend Aaron Dutton and Dorcas Southmayd Dutton, Guilford, Connecticut


The lesson from this journey into the past is that we are all vulnerable. However,  you can take steps today to ensure the safety of your treasured family heirlooms. If you haven’t documented them, photographed them, or insured them, start now.

© 2015 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Sketch 1

Name: Reverend Aaron DUTTON
Parents:   Thomas DUTTON and
Spouse: Dorcas SOUTHMAYD
Children: Mary DUTTON, Dorcas Southmayd DUTTON, Thomas DUTTON, Samuel William Southmayd DUTTON, Aaron Rice DUTTON, John Southmayd DUTTON, Anna DUTTON, Matthew Henry DUTTON
Relationship to Kendra:

  1. Reverend Aaron DUTTON 1780-1849
  2. Thomas DUTTON 1812-1885
  3. Anna Dorcas DUTTON 1841-1899
  4. Edith Marion ORCUTT 1879-1964
  5. Anna Jane BEATON  1907-1998
  6. Jean Ann HYDE
  7. Kendra HOPP SCHMIDT

Genealogy Sketch 2

Name: Anna Dorcas DUTTON
Parents: THOMAS DUTTON and
Sarah Maria WHITING
Spouse: Clinton Delos ORCUTT
Children: Louis DeForest ORCUTT, George Dutton ORCUTT, Edith Marion ORCUTT, Anna Ri ORCUTT, Jane Clare ORCUTT
Relationship to Kendra: Third great-grandmother

  1. Anna Dorcas DUTTON  1841-1899
  2. Edith Marion ORCUTT  1879-1964
  3. Anna Jane BEATON  1907-1998
  4. Jean Ann HYDE
  5. Kendra HOPP SCHMIDT
  1. Omaha World Herald (Omaha, NE)
    Date: Thursday, February 13, 1890  Volume: XXV Issue: 135 Page: 5
    2.Omaha Illustrated- Early History of Omaha.
    3.Clinton Delos Orcutt (1840-1905) Home at 550 S. 26th Street, Omaha, Nebraska. Photo taken 1904. Digital image, photocopy of original, scanned in 2011 by Kendra Schmidt, privately held by Karen Kenagy. Photo depicts the home of Clinton Orcutt on the occasion of his the society debut of his daughter Jane Clare Orcutt.
    4. Conncecticut Herald (New Haven, CT) Date: Tuesday, October 10, 1837, Volume: XXXV Issue:41 Page:4.
    5.Reverend Aaron Dutton (1780-1849) Home at Park Street, Guilford, Connecticut. Photo taken 2011. Digital image, photocopy of original taken by Kendra Schmidt. Privately held by Kendra Schmidt. Photo depicts the home of Reverand Aaron Dutton and his wife Dorcas Dutton as it existed in 2011.

About treeklimber

An interest in history and travel lends itself to a passion for genealogy. The more I research, the more I realize there is to discover. It is a never-ending puzzle.
This entry was posted in My Family Ancestry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Brace of Burglars

  1. Karen Kenagy says:

    This is a great article Kendi. Guess what I will be doing this weekend.


    • treeklimber says:

      How did you see it so quickly? I tried to post it on FB but am having trouble getting it to appear the way it is supposed to. The photo describing the post won’t appear. Thanks for the support and have fun taking photos.


  2. kmatransportation says:

    Thank you Kendi. This makes me so upset. Why the heck would ANYONE tell a stranger that a house was vacant. What ignorant neighbors. I am at a loss for words I can only imagine how grandma feels. Though the items belong to grandma I to myself as well you, Karen, Mike, Kim and mom I’m sure feel this  a direct theft again you/myself. All the history all the sentiment the items in which once belonged to our decedent’s passed down generation after generation and although the may or may not have been passed down to me or the rest of my cousins the thought that because of some selfless individuals who never considered the not only the financial repercussions of their actions but also they just took a piece of family history and it ended August 12th 2015  .  It really really saddens me. Perhaps from this we can learn to better protect our precious items so that one day we will be able to pass down our treasures from generation to generation. I have a watch and a necklace my brother once wore. Though the may not be worth much in value their worth to me is priceless. It’s a part of a loved one that we as humans hold on to that signifies a piece of them to give comfort to ourselves that just a little piece of them remains with us.. 😥

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone


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