Biography of William G. Pengelly
Franklin County, Ohio Biographies





William G. Pengelly. - The work of William G. Pengelly, examiner and counsellor in handwriting and questioned documents, is nationally known among that group of men who have attained to recognized authority in that profession, and whose researches have added greater accuracy to an increasingly important modern science. Mr. Pengelly's services have been retained not only in numerous legal cases to decide doubtful or suspected documents and to determine the genuineness of legal signatures, but has been engaged many times by various state governments, by departments of the national government and by the British government.

Mr. Pengelly has been established as an expert in the science of handwriting and documents since 1895. He was one of the early authorities in America to recognize the study of documents and chirography to be very nearly an exact science, demanding thorough study of the elements from those which identify typewriting definitely to those which pertain to signatures and handwriting. The factors entering into the latter include the effects of alcohol and mental disorder as manifested in writing, use of the microscope and comparative signatures in determining true handwriting and an infinity of complex tests such as that for detecting chemical erasures, etc. Documents themselves, their age, and their identity, are subject to many tests, the study of contemporary papers and their reaction to the years, the examination of water marks and the determination of the paper's composition. Mr. Pengelly's researches have extended back to the earliest history of the written word and have included a study of the work of all his predecessors and contemporaries in the profession.

Mr. Pengelly has furnished decisions as proof in cases involving questioned documents and handwriting in the courts of New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Arkansas, Tennessee, and in nearly all counties of Ohio. The Ohio executive state departments and the state department of Michigan, the post office, war and justice departments of the United States and the intelligence department of the British Government have all at times retained his services. He is the author of various articles on handwriting and on safeguarding against forgery, some of which cover the whole field of the science from ancient times down to the present.

Mr. Pengelly has been a resident of Columbus since 1883, when he came here from his birthplace, Plymouth, England. From 1882 until 1915 he was an employe and official of the Capital City Bank of Columbus, filling successfully the positions of secretary to the president. It was as a banker that his interest was first drawn to the subject of fraudulent documents and handwriting, and with characteristic energy and thoroughness he pursued that study for years. He is now ranked among the foremost American experts.

Mr. Pengelly was born in Plymouth, England, in 1865, the son of James T. I. and Emmeline (Bond) Pengelly. His father was a warrant officer in the British Navy, descended from ancient families of Devonshire and Cornwall, England.

Mr. Pengelly married Miss Lunn, a daughter of the late Dr. Lewis T. Lunn, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

Mr. Pengelly was elected in 1899 a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and is a life member of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society, and was one of the founders of the old Northwest Geneological Society. He is a member of Free and Accepted Masons, Scioto Consistory, Thirty second degree, and Aladdin Temple.

From:
History of Franklin County, Ohio
By:Opha Moore
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka - Indianapolis 1930


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