The original scan for this article is at: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83025121/1912-07-26/ed-1/seq-6/.
The Hawaiian Gazette, July 26, 1912, page 6:
"Kenneth Gordon, Aviator" Turns Out to Be Plain Peter Grimes
Swindler of First Order, Who Is Wanted Now for Old Game In Tacoma.
Remember "Aviator Kenneth Gordon," the chap who suddenly leaped from the obscurity of a small hotel room in Honolulu into the prominence measured by one's fame as an aviator? The chap who was to win more fame by circling over Diamond Head in Schaefer's new biplane, and assist the army and navy maneuvers, and make all Honolulu tingle with his exciting maneuvers as a man-bird. That was Kenneth Gordon, aviator, as Honolulu know him and saw him pictured in his head-gear with ear flaps to keep out the wind, with puttees and the general makeup of an aviator, seated in the seat of the Gus Schaefer's biplane as it rested on the floor of George Well's garage. "Kenneth Gordon, aviator," rose no higher than that seat and the biplane never left the floor, and then just as suddenly, his fame collapsed, because he passed some bogus checks on local cafes. He was arrested but turned loose when friends paid the amounts.
"Kenneth Gordon," without batting an eye, said he was a misjudged man, but he never gave his questioners much insight into his past life. It is well that he did not, for the police of several places might have cabled to Honolulu that they would like to meet Mr. Gordon again.
It now appears that "Kenneth Gordon, aviator," was never an aviator and that his full name was and is Peter Archbold Gordon Grimes, just plain Grimes--of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where he was a drug clerk. "Kenneth Gordon" sounded better than Peter Grimes. It was more picturesque, more of the matinee idol's type of soubriquet, and certainly looked better when hitched to "aviator," than plain Peter Grimes. So when he had issued in series of checks which amounted to about $50 and for which he had no funds deposited in the Scranton bank, Peter Grimes departed one night by the light of the moon.
He was next heard of on Christmas Island where, according to his tale, there were only six white men including himself--and no banks. Next he was in Shanghai; then Hongkong and finally after visiting all the cities, he crossed the Pacific to San Francisco. He was just as impecunious as over and just as much in need of American dollars as when he left Scranton. He posed as a rubber grower of the Far East and on the strength of his elastic estates, borrowed money from the women he met aboard and particularly from one hailing from Columbus, Ohio. He wooed the lady from Ohio, also, and the day the steamer arrived in San Francisco they were married.
That was sometime in December, 1910, or January, 1911. He was unsuccessful in making deals in San Francisco but finally became connected with a publication known as the Telephone Herald. He was sent to Los Angeles and the manager of that branch woke up one day to find that he had been well mulcted by Mr. Peter Grimes, then traveling under one of his several aliases. He promised to make good and gave a check. The payee was asked not to go to the hank until a certain hour, he was there on the dot, and the check was returned through the teller's window with the statement that there were no funds.
"I have that check yet," said W. O. Phillips, yesterday, for he was the manager of the publication. "He lit out and was supposed to have drifted down here. Yes, that's Peter Grimes or Kenneth Gordon, as he calls himself," when shown a picture of the "aviator." Why, he couldn't run an automobile, much less fly an aeroplane. He could run automobile bills though. He left his wife in San Francisco, and then came down here and had a little fun with the Honolulu people. I suppose he got the best of everybody he knew."
Still Passing Checks.
When Kenneth Gordon left Honolulu it was to go to unknown parts. But he has continued his little game of getting something for nothing, for the Tacoma Ledger of July 10, has the following story about Mr. Gordon's experiences in the Northwest:
"On a charge of having cashed a bogus check at the Y. M. C. A. for $25, in payment for rooms obtained there during the Montamara Festo, James K. Gordon, said to be the manager of Capt. J. V. Martin, the aviator who failed to make his scheduled flight into the Stadium last week, is being sought by the Tacoma police. George G. Calkins, social secretary for the association, swore out the charge yesterday after making a fruitless trip to Seattle in search of Gordon. Captain Martin's manager gave his name as James Blair while in Tacoma, but Calkins says he is the man who asked him to pass the check.
"Gordon engaged rooms at the Y. M. C. A. last week, saying he and a party of friends wished a quiet place to sleep. The next day, Wednesday, he paid for the room, handing Calkins a "counter check" made out to James K. Gordon for $25. He endorsed the check with the name of James K. Smith, but Calkins did not notice the discrepancy at the time.
"Monday Calkins received the check from the bank marked "no funds." The secretary made inquiries and found that Gordon accompanied Captain Martin to Seattle, where flights were to be made during the Potlatch. Calkins went to Seattle yesterday and saw Captain Martin, who told him his manager's name was Bair. Captain Martin told the Y. M. C. A. secretary he know Blair had spent time in the city jail, and Calkins, upon visiting the Seattle police rogues' gallery, says he identified a photograph as that of "Gordon." Calkins could not find the manager in Seattle, so returned to Tacoma and swore out charges against him. Gordon, or Blair, has not yet been arrested."