May 1930 (Chicago) Seven children at the Harvard school were scratched and nipped about the arms yesterday by a stray dog with which they had been playing. one was seriously Injured. The dog, described by' witnesses an overgrown pup, was believed to have become excited when the children started mauling it. 'Policemen IL J. Cavanaugh and Walter Howard of a, Gresham flivver squad chased it for an hour before capturing it. The owner was identified as Henry Trenton.
Julian Edwin Adderley (September 15, 1928 – August 8, 1975) was a jazz alto saxophonist of the hard bop era of the 1950s and 1960s. Adderley is remembered for his 1966 soul jazz single "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy",a crossover hit on the pop charts (it was also covered by the Buckinghams). He worked with trumpeter Miles Davis, on his own 1958 Somethin' Else album, and on the seminal Davis records Milestones (1958) and Kind of Blue (1959). He was the older brother of jazz trumpeter Nat Adderley, a longtime member of his band.
Ralph Pierce was a well-known personality among Chicago’s connected class of politicians and power brokers and newspaper people. He was a gray haired, glib conversationalist, a dapper dresser who gave the impression of being a successful, conservative businessman.
Of course he wasn’t any of those things he so skillfully projected. He was a lifelong, master criminal, who had been arrested dozens of times for crimes ranging from suspicion of murder, labor racketeering, election fraud, kidnapping, pimping prostitutes and of course gambling. Yet he was never convicted of a felony. For thirty years, Ralph Pierce was one of Chicago’s most important hoods.
He was likeable, approachable and generous because that was one of his jobs. That was how he got his information. If a cop was behind on his mortgage, Pierce’s friends passed along that information and Pierce paid off the mortgage. All the cop had to do was cooperate, to look the other way, to steal evidence, whatever Pierce needed him to do.
Pierce was born in 1899, one of three boys to a single mother, in Elgin Illinois. On November 25, 1910, 10-year old Pierce shot and killed his 14 year old cousin Walter Pease with a hunting rifle. Pease, Pierce and a group of other boys were target shooting. When a cold wind set in, they stopped shooting and built a fire to warm up. Sitting around the fire, Pease placed his rifle aside and Ralph picked it up, aimed it dead square at Pease’s temple and pulled the trigger. Pease died a few minutes later. The police wrote the killing off as irresponsible child behavior and no charges were filed.
Pierce, a WASP, worked his way up in the Italian and Irish dominated mob through violence. During the 1928 Chicago City elections, Pierce operated a Capone jailhouse at 1352 South Peoria Street where the mobs political opponents and their supporters were held until after the polls closed. Complaints were filed and Pierce was charged with one robbery, five assaults and five kidnappings but was acquitted on all counts. Pierce was already suspected in an armed robbery and was known to be a paid Election Day slugger for Judge Morris Eller.
It was Pierce who more than probably murdered the hustler Teddy Newberry on January 7, 1933. Born to poor immigrant parents on Chicago’s once heavily Jewish West Side, Newberry was a grocery delivery clerk in 1919 when Prohibition hit. His customers started asking him, jokingly, for beer and whisky deliveries. Within a year, Newberry, at age 22, was a full-fledged bootlegger.
A charming rogue, the various mobs allowed him to keep his little empire in tack even though it fell squarely between the O’Banion and Bloody Genna’s territory. Newberry outlived them both. He was said to be walking towards the garage on Clarke Street with Bugs Moran on Saint Valentine’s Day when Moran’s North Side gang was wiped out by the Mafia or the Chicago mob. When, in 1933, Capone was pushed from power, Newberry’s known dislike for Capone successor Frank Nitti and the powerful hood Murray Humphrey's, froze him out of the inner circle of gangdom.
Newberry was to be indicted for income tax evasion on January 8, 1933. He never showed up for court because on January 6, he disappeared. His body was found the next day in a frozen puddle of water on an empty Indiana road near the town of Chesterton. One bullet had been fired through his head. His platinum watch and gold belt buckle given to him by Al Capone, were gone. Sam ‘Golf Bag’ Hunt and Ralph Pierce, both noted gunmen who worked for Murray Humphrey's, were seen in the area where the body was found.
Newberry’s favorite saying was “He must have done something. They (The Mob) don’t kill you for doing nothing and he had done something. According to gangster Roger Touhy, Mayor Anton Cermak had a deal with Newberry to push the syndicate out of Chicago and replace them with Touhy’s gang. Newberry, said Touhy, was Cermak’s man on the street and chief dealmaker to the underworld. However, Newberry was probably murdered for informing on Mafia narcotics dealers who worked under Frank Nitti’s protection . When he died, police found telephone numbers to the local narcotics bureau in his office as well as contact information to known narcotics informers. A war veteran, Newberry was buried with full military honors.
In 1935 Pierce was arrested as the probable killer of motion-pictures operators' union boss Tommy Malloy and as one of the murderers in the gruesome killing of Estelle Carey in 1943. (She was tied to a chair beaten and finally set afire) In both cases, the charges against him were dropped due to lack of evidence.
His reward for being an efficient killer was to move up in the mob. He was assigned to be Murray Humphreys body guard and in a short time was promoted to Humphreys top aid. Humphreys was born Llewellyn Humphreys and was a major power behind the Chicago mob. A Welshman, Humphreys began with the mob as a labor enforcer for Al Capone. But wasn’t just another goon. Humphreys was different. He seldom used foul or abusive language. He wanted to be seen as a cultured man a “Gentleman hood.”
Asa young man he worked to edify himself and to distance his outward persona from the gangster that he was. He learned what to wear and when to wear it. He practiced his diction and improved his vocabulary. He was a dapper, short man who adored expensive and well-made suits. His elegant traits inspired a new generation of Chicago hoods who tried to mimic his style, the soft tone of voice, his slow, nasal diction, which was void of any emotion when ordering a hit or a beating. In turn, Hollywood made hundreds of films based on smooth talking, cold as ice underworld characters that they watched flood into tinsel town from Chicago during the late thirties and early forties. Humphreys was slicker and far smarter than most other hoods, and he skyrocketed through the ranks to become the Syndicate chief political fixer. Humphreys was born to a large, working class family of Welsh immigrants on Chicago’s near North side. In the early 1920’s, Humphreys and his partner Fred Evans, they first met in Messinger’s Restaurant, hijacked a series of Capone beer trucks. Capone had Humphrey’s brought before him and after a conversation put him to work on one of his crews.
By 1930, the Humphreys was rich. When the government looked into his birthplace, with plans to deport him, he bought an oversized American flag and placed it in front to his palatal home on South Bennet Street. The property was filled with first edition songs from the Irish poet Thomas Moore whose verse he liked to sing aloud to his family. He also purchased some very valuable first edition Dickens.
After Capone went to jail, and the press started to look for someone to call the Boss, they focused on Humphreys who was shrewdly led the media to Frank Nitti’s doorstep.
At first, Pierce was mostly running vice operation south of Roosevelt Road, since Humphreys, terrified of being called a pimp, distanced himself from his massive vice operation on the south side. Humphreys and Pierce, both technically employed by the Bill Poster union which they ran, were arrested together in February of 1930 at the Paxton Hotel at 1430 North LaSalle, on suspicion of robbing a private bank of $1,000. The cops found a stash of small arms in the room which, of course, Humphreys and Pierce denied knowing anything about.
Pierce was arrested in 1945 for questioning in connection with the murder of James "Red" Forsythe (Better known as Red Fawcett) in a South Side tavern at 2462 East 37th Street (It’s a vacant lot today) on May 26, a long time underworld hoodlum who was probably the real killer of corrupt Chicago newsman Jake Lingle.
His killers waited until Forsythe walked away from his wife to make a phone call before they fired two shot gun blasts into his forehead. The shot gun used to kill Forsythe was the same gun used to murder gangster Danny Stanton and the sensational killing of James Ragen.
At around the same time Pierce was a co-investor with Sam "Golf Bag" Hunt in a series of floating casinos across the south side.
Hunt was born Samuel McPherson Hunt In May of 1930 Hunt was arrested as a member of a shotgun squad that kidnapped and wounded a man.
Hunt was found at the scene with a discharged shotgun in a golf bag and he was driving the getaway car carrying the victim when he was arrested. When asked what he intended to do with the guns he answered “Shoot peasants” meaning pheasants. The case was, remarkably, nolle prossed by the State on April 10, 1931.
Emulating Capone, he preferred to be called “Mr. Hunt” by his underlings and newspaper people. Hunt was the suspected killer of Hymie Weiss. Like Pierce, he was arrested many times and was suspected in dozens of murder but was never successfully prosecuted including an incident in 1942 when Hunt was involved in an automobile accident. An argument followed and the driver of the car was shot and killed. Hunt was wounded. He and his driver, Hy Godfrey, were indicted but after four trials, they were found not guilty on January 11, 1943. He died of natural causes, 1954.
Pierce was technically employed by Laborers Local 714 although he was the virtual boss over the South side rackets in the 1950s, meaning he earned millions of dollars each year. Although the Pierce-Hunt combine operated independently on their limited investments on the south side, they still paid a sizable tribute to Murray Humphrey's. Pierce had been operating on the largely black southside since at least 1934. After prohibition, Murray Humphrey's established a vast gambling empire on Chicago’s South Side that included a vast network of wire-rooms, hundreds and hundreds of bookie joints and several large casinos. Pierce took the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Wards as his own kingdom and hired black gangster Osborn Fraser, John Womack and James Robinson to run the day to day operations for him.
In late 1932, Humphreys opened The Truck and Transport Exchange (TNT) “The biggest and most extraordinary team racket ever forced upon Chicago commerce,” a federal report read.
TNT was actually started by Red Barker who brought Humphreys into the business as a partner. It was a simple scam, enormous in its scope. Every truck driver who drove into the city of Chicago paid TNT a tribute. “On almost every consignment of goods that are moved through the streets of Chicago”
TNT charged $10 signing fee and earned $40,000 per month from truckers who were forced to join. The big intercontinental bus companies, which were owned by the railroads, were the only ones powerful enough to resist Humphreys. Otherwise, TNT brought in $40,000.00 a month. Another $100,000 was leveled on coal business by Marcus “Studdy” Looney on Humphreys orders. Humphreys was also president of the Cleaners and Dryers Institute. Control of the Dry Cleaners was a valuable asset since cleaner were allowed to have the chemicals needed to process heroin and cocaine.
Borden Milk, which was unionized but not with Humphreys, and ran hundreds of delivery trucks, held out and Humphreys declared war on them. On May 3, 500 pounds of explosives stolen from a construction site. In the next two days, seven bombs were set off in a Borden’s lot, destroying 65 Milk trucks.
That night Humphreys and Pierce and others escaped to Hot Springs, Arkansas to avoid arrest. But they were back by May 8, to call a strike at 108 of the city’s 200 coal yards. Chicago’s State’s Attorney Courtney vowed that he would do everything he could to break the strike but did nothing. The federal government, however, was watching and moved in federal teams to bust TNT’s power.
On June 27, 1933, Humphreys was indicted for defrauding the government by not paying tax from 1930-1932. To fled to Mexico for 16 months but returned in 1934 to face charges. Convicted, he was sent to Leavenworth “While I’m down here” he said, “I intend to study English and maybe a little geometry” His first wife, Mary, half Irish and American Indian, flooded the warden’s office with letters on his behalf, prompting an early release. She was there at the gates waiting for him when he was released. He openly shared mob secrets with his wife and openly sought her advice on syndicate issues.
In 1940, while Pierce was still running numbers on the south side, Frederick Evans, Humphrey’s business partner and “The mobs mystery man and the new Jake Guzak” was indicted along with Humphreys, Paul Ricca and Louis Campagna for conspiracy to seize control of the Chicago Bar Tenders Union and its treasury.
The case collapsed when George Mclane, business agent for the union, refused to testify against the mobsters when he was called as a witness for the state. Somehow, Humphreys put the fix in with Mc Lean who took the witness stand during the trial and changed his entire testimony. Years later, Humphreys unknowingly told an FBI microphone “I’m gonna tell you something. When Courtney was States Attorney and all of us guys got indicted and Nitti was holler’n like hell, we broke through and we got to the assistant state’s attorney and we got the witness and let me tell you, I had the jury too, just in case”
In 1948 Pierce was indicted for his role in the massive shakedown of the Hollywood Unions although he was later acquitted of all charges brought against him.
Alexander Louis Greenberg had been a witness against the mob in that case, as was his Brother-in-Law Izzy Zevin who was one of the bagmen in the scam. Greenberg went way back with the mob.
A self-taught financial expert, Greenberg put the mobs money in real estate and service industries where cash flowed quickly. He invested the Outfits money, and the money of the top bosses in banks and loan companies. Some mob funds were handed off to lawyer Abe Pritzker who built the Hyatt hotel chain. Greenberg brought in an army of young lawyers and accounts with clean criminal records to front for the his hundreds of front companies which ranged from paper production forests, a bank in Dallas Texas, massive luxury hotels in Mexico, plus ownership of all the ice machine in Las Vegas,
During the Hollywood extortion trial in New York in 1943, Pierce walked over to Greenberg and said, loud enough for the entire court room to hear “You piece of shit. We’ll take care of you” but they never did. Greenberg served a purpose to the outfit as a front man and money manager and, the bosses figured, his testimony against them didn’t do much actual harm.
Greenberg and his wife were the owner on record of the Seneca hotel at 200 East Chestnut Street, a 16-story luxury property, although they actual owner was LA lawyer to the Stars Sidney Korshak who started as his career working for the Outfit.
The Greenberg’s were also owners of the Canadian Ace Brewing company. Ace was originally called the Atlas Brewing Company. Before that it was called the Manhattan Brewing Company once owned by Johnny Torrio, head of the Chicago mob before Capone and Northside gang leader Dion O'Banion. Greenberg changed the name to Canadian Ace when he and hoodlum Joey Fusco took over in 1943. Gus “The Greek” Alex, the Outfits other primary fixer and its first non-Italian leader, Tony Accardo and Jackie Cerone (who would also lead the Outfit one day) were on the books at Canadian Ace as beer route salesmen.
Among his many other crimes, Greenberg had taken $110,000 from Frank Nitti for safe keeping against IRS investigators. Nitti told his wife that should something happen to him, that Greenberg was holding on to the cash to her get by with. Then Nitti committed suicide and Greenberg apparently thought that the money was his. Nitti’s wife asked him for the money, but he refused to give it to her, so she went to Paul Ricca, the Boss and complained. Remarkably Greenberg still held out. It was just time for him to go. He knew too much and had lost his fear of the Outfit.
On December 8, 1955, Greenberg and his wife Pearl, left a south side rib joint, the Class Dome Hickory Pit restaurant at 2724 S. Union Avenue. (It’s a private gym today) As he opened the car door for his wife two men rushed across the street towards them. Greenberg held up his hands in front of his face and screamed “No!”
The men fired two shots and ran. Greenberg chased them. One of the men stopped, turned and fired several more shots causing Greenberg to staggered crazily across the curbing, took a few more steps, and fell dead in the intersection. He was hit four times, once over the right eye, once across the chest, once in the left arm and one shot into his groin.
In 1959, Frederick Evans, Murray Humphreys top lieutenant and sometimes business partner was taken out of the picture and Ralph Pierce was promoted to Humphreys top guy.
Fred Evans was born in 1898 in St. Louis, Mo. Evans was said to be a college graduated with a degree in architect and engineering. In 1923, Evans operated a chop-shop garage at 1214 Jackson Boulevard, in Chicago (Now a parking lot for DePaul University) with Murray Humphreys. They moved the operation to 311 Curtis Street a year later and operated under the name Evans and Company. In 1947, it was reported that Evans was trying to take over the city’s dry cleaning industry, starting with the Ruby Cleaners, 2801 West Montrose Avenue, in Chicago. Otherwise, from 1934-1937, he used the Equipment Loan & Discount Corporation as his front. (Later merged with the Security Discount Co., at 1000 North La Salle Street)
Evans was an understudy to Murray Humphreys. Sauvé and educated by mob standards, for a decade Evans was an up and coming promising member of Humphreys so-called “Connection guys” the Non-Italian members of the Chicago operation. During the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, Humphreys, Evans and Capone were partners in the popcorn concessions. Evans was highly regarded for his insights by Nitti, Ricca, and Accardo. He was indicted with Louis Romano and Thomas Panton in 1940 on a charge of conspiracy in the bartenders' union scandal. Evans slipped out of the case without a conviction.
On August 1, 1959 the bosses decided he had to die. By 1959, Evans was worth millions of dollars. Among the massive operations he ran were the Industrial Garment Service. He also owned five other large laundry businesses and two luxury hotels in Los Angeles. But all was not well. In 1949 the IRS went after Evans in a big way and they stayed focused on him for the next decade. In 1959, the government started leaking information about Evans to the press. Now the mob was watching him. Three weeks before his murder, Evans’ office was burglarized. Evans saw the end coming and started working with the FBI as an informant.
Chicago reporter George Murray reported: “The governing body of the Syndicate [Outfit] sat in judgment of Fred Evans in a kangaroo court. The records snatched in that office burglary on August 1, 1959, were scrutinized by men who understood every accounting entry. Murray Humphreys, as Evans’ sponsor, was asked if he wanted to advance any valid reason why the sentence of death on Fred Evans should not be carried out. Humphreys passed.”
On August 22,1959, Evans was executed as he walked from his office at 5409 West Lake Street by two armed with pistols. They shot him once in the head, once in the throat and once in the heart. “The shots to the throat may well have been to ensure he would do no more talking to the FBI,” FBI agent Bill Roemer wrote.
Pierce became Humphreys intermediary to the mob, politicians on the take and crooked cops. That position made him extremely powerful within the Outfit and in the city of Chicago. Pierce, through Murray Humphreys, was aligned to mob controlled politicians John D'Arco and Pat Marcy of the First Ward. For the right price, Pierce, working through D’Arco and Marcy, had enough political clout, if the money was right, to fix virtually anything from murder cases to assault. Pierce was also close to Mob Sam Giancana who disliked Pierce’s boss Murray Humphreys. Super boss Tony Accardo made Pierce the Chicago Outfit guy in charge of comps for any American hood visiting Chicago. He also ran a sort of Mob counter-intelligence service. Humphreys understood that information was vital to the success of his operations and his intelligence network across Chicago, especially within the police department, was staggering. It was Humphreys, watching the massive mob developments in Las Vegas in the early 1950s, ordered Johnny Roselli, the Chicago mobs point man on the west coast, to keep him abreast of everything that was happening out west no matter how trivial it seemed. In the early 1960s, an FBI report said that Humphreys and Pierce were attempting to “locate someone who can manufacture equipment which will scramble or garble their conversations so that their conversations cannot be monitored by someone outside the room.” Of almost none of those precautions mattered because by then Pierce was already starting to cooperate with the Bureau as an informer.
In the meantime, Pierce was a feared man in the mob. In 1971, Ross “Old Soddy” DiMauro, a high-volume bookmaker who also dabbled in real estate out of the mobs Omaha branch, received a three-year prison term for criminal contempt of court after refusing to answer questions of a federal grand jury concerning his dealing with Pierce. DiMauro refused to cooperate even after he was promised full and complete immunity. His sentence was later reduced to probation.
His official address was 5020 Marine Drive, which, in those years, was a parking lot. He had no telephones listed in his name and declared that he was a an oil speculator for a made up corporation called Steelco in Casper Wyoming. Pierce was the owner on record of Chicago’s Del Prado Hotel, at 5307 Hyde Park Blvd, for decades the Del Prado was one of the best addresses in the Midwest. One of its permanent residents was a gambler named Irving Vine.
In 1962, Attorney General Bobby Kennedy put an army of IRS investigators, FBI agents Justice Department lawyers on the Murray Humphreys tail. One of the investigators discovered that Humphrey owned a luxurious home in Biscayne Bay, Florida but the property was deeded to Humphreys girlfriend and soon to be wife, a former $75-per-week dice girl Jeanne. (Betty jean Neibert)
The IRS determined that Jeanne couldn’t pay the $50,000 mortgage on the property nor pay for the half million in improvements to the property. Looking over Humphreys income tax return, the government decided that the house was also more than Humphreys could afford as well.
When the IRS spoke with Humphreys and asked about his girlfriend and the house, he claimed that Jeanne had contributed $50,000 to the home. To determine of that was true or not, the agents interviewed her former husband, Outfit bookie Irving Vine. Vine, 58, who lived at Pierce’s Del Prado Hotel, told the agents that Jeanie never had that sort of cash and agreed to testify to as much in court. The Outfit sent Pierce to talk to Vine, who more than probably paid off to Pierce, and urge him to reconsider what he had told the IRS, but he wouldn’t budge.
On May 6, 1963, someone who had a key to Vine’s apartment at the hotel, let themselves into his room. Waited for him to return and then killed him. Writer Ovid Demaris described what happened “Homicide detectives found Irving Vine lying on the floor, dressed only in blood-smeared shorts, his mouth and nose sealed with surgical tape, his legs also bound with tape, a shirt twisted loosely around his neck and a pillow covering his head. Three of his ribs were broken, his face was scratched, and his knees bruised, but the real damage was to the lower part of his body where savage tortures had been inflicted with an ice pick during a period of several hours. Death was due to suffocation.”
When Murray Humphreys died of a heart attack on November 23, 1965, Pierce took over complete control of Humphreys gambling operation. But by then, the Outfits take from the South side was declining rapidly and acting boss Sam Battaglia pressured Pierce to do something about it. But it was too late. With Golf bag Hunt and Murray Humphreys dead, Pierce’s political power was waning. The overall Chicago mob was now invested far beyond Chicago and the base of its Chicago operations….the working class….had started to move out to the suburbs in the mid-1950s. The once booming black south side was crashing fast, jobs were scarce, drugs were rampant, violent crime was on the uptick and as the crime rate increased street gangs rose to power.
By the mid-1960s, Pierce and the old time Chicago hoods with interests on the South side were finding it harder and harder to operate. Angelo Volpe, who started running gambling joints geared to blacks back in the late 1920s and managed to take control of the Windy City policy wheel, was set on by black hoods who eventually took most of his operations. At first, Volpe hired black gang members and to protect him on the day-to-day rounds of his policy operation but that work and finally Volpe threw in the towel.
Things weren’t any better for Pierce. One of his top lieutenants was nearly beaten to death by black street gangsters who ordered him to never again return to the South Side. For his own protection, Pierce brought on Charlie “Specs” DiCaro, an ex-truck hijacker as his bodyguard. DiCaro was also tied in with dope peddlers Mario and Chester Garelli.
It was about this time that Pierce, under pressure from all sides, more than probably became an FBI informant from about 1966 until his death in 1976, although towards the end of his life he couldn’t provide much information about the mob since he had been pushed to the sidelines in about 1971 or 1972.
Paul Ricca, who led the mob from behind the scenes until the late 1940s, had a son who was a drug addict. As a result Ricca outlawed narcotics’ sales by his men within Chicago. But that wasn’t the only reason. Ricca believed what Murray Humphreys preached; that the syndicate and the Mafia in Chicago stay out of direct drug sales since Humphreys was convinced that the mobs influence in legitimate circles would wane if they became involved with drug sales.
Specs DiCaro and the Garelli brothers believed otherwise. Pierce gambling operations fell apart and why the Outfit did nothing to get them back. The Garelli’s were part of one of two large dope dealing gangs that were operating in Chicago with permission from the bosses. The Garelli’s answered to then street boss Frank Infelice (As did hoods Frank Sarris, Ernest Brown, James McGarry and Robert Burks, al former gamblers) who oversaw dope distribution around the western suburbs, Chinatown and the South Side.
Chris Cardi and Albert Sarno, Outfit regulars ran a second group of distributors that covered the rest of the city and the outlying communities. Cardi, an ex-policeman and Sarno worked as musclemen and loan sharks for Joe Gagliano of the Elmwood Park faction, but they left that behind to become millionaires pushing junk. Eventually Infelice combine the two groups because the Outfit made him the direct contact to the New York connections…the Gambino Crime Family….who were importing the dope from Europe via Canada.
The Chicago Outfit made hundreds of millions of dollars distributing dope in the Midwest so who needed ten dollars gambling bets? So dope distribution replaced gambling as the South Side and Pierce was out.
Ralph Pierce died of a heart attack at age 72 in 1976 after being held in intensive care for five weeks in South Shore Hospital. He is buried in Oak Woods Cemetery.
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“On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars - Something good will come out of all things yet - And it will be golden and eternal just like that - There’s no need to say another word.” Jack Kerouac
”I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.” Jack Kerouac
“Grinding my teeth for lack of love, walking into a cathedral is like walking into a cold stove, like into a glove.”— Writing Poems is a Saintly Thing, Peter Orlovsky
There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.
We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.
To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.
You can do anything in this world if you are prepared to take the consequences.
Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.
Impropriety is the soul of wit.
The love that lasts longest is the love that is never returned.
Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five.
The tragedy of love is indifference.
In the early days of World War II the small fishing town of Pascagoula, Mississippi was chosen by the Navy to produce warships. Overnight, the town population leaped from 5,000 to about 15,000. Newcomers and strangers now roamed the town.
On Friday, June 5, 1942, Mary Evelyn Briggs and Edna Marie Hydel, who lived at Our Lady of Victories convent woke up to find a dark figure climbing out of their bedroom window. The two girls were unharmed, although each of them was missing a lock of hair. Briggs later described the man as “sorta short, sorta fat, and he was wearing a white sweatshirt.”
The newspapers dubbed the figure “The Phantom Barber”
A week after the first attack, the Phantom struck the home of David G. Peattie, shearing his daughter Carol’s hair. The Peattie’s lived on a well-lighted, busy main street. Mrs. Peattie was in the hospital at the time, the husband was away as well, and the children, 6-year-old twins, David and Carol, were being watched over by a Mrs. Walter Henshaw and her husband. Mrs. Henshaw heard a noise and woke her husband and together they went to investigate. They checked on the children who were both asleep but then noticed a print of a man's bare foot etched in sand on the white counterpane of the vacant bed by the window.
Carol Peattie suddenly awoke and felt her head, her long blond locks had been cut off along with a sizeable amount of the rest of her hair. Police arrived and once again the window screen was found to have been slit. However, the suspicion was that the Barber kept his victims asleep by placing a chloroform drenched cloth over their faces, but that seems highly unlikely, chloroform is notoriously difficult to work with.
The following Friday, June 13, 1942, someone broke into the home of Terrell Heidelberg and beat Heidelberg and his wife with an iron pipe as they slept. Terrell Heidelberg had his front teeth smashed out in the attack and his wife suffered a concussion. It happened so quickly that neither could describe their attacker.
The police quickly deputized six men and brought in bloodhounds to pick up a scent. The dogs followed a trail to a pair of bloodstained gloves in the nearby woods, but that was as far as they got. The police theorized that the assailant might have stashed a bicycle in the woods to make his escape.
Lucy Dolan, and William Dolan (Standing on right)
The final attack came on a Sunday night, when the hair of Mrs. R.R. Taylor was cut. She said "I was aroused by a noise about midnight I would judge. Then I have a faint recollection of something passing over my face, something with a sickening smell. I woke up later, violently ill."
On Monday night, R. J. Anderson, head of the engineering planning department of the l shipyard, drove up to his beachside cottage t just as his wife and small daughter ran out the door, crying that someone was trying to break in a back window. Whether or not it was the phantom barber, nobody knows, as a search of the neighborhood proved fruitless.
The first rumor to spread was that the phantom barber was conducting a black magic hexing ceremonies. Workers at the shipyard, afraid to leave their families, stayed away from night shift jobs during the early summer. The US Army even modified its air raid blackout regulations, requiring lights out in the town at 7:oo PM instead of 9:00 PM
Two months passed before Police Chief A. W. Ezell said that he had arrested a 57 year old, German educated chemist named William A. Dolan, a wholesale cosmetic salesman, as the phantom barber. Dolan had moved from rural Lamar Mississippi to Pascagoula, some five hours away, possibly to look for work. Although it can’t be verified, Dolan was said to have run a pharmacy in New Orleans for many years, sold the business and retired with his wife to live in Mississippi.
Furthermore, the chief said, he was charging Dolan with attempted murder in connection with an assault on Terrell Heidelberg and his wife. Dolan, the lawman said, had a grudge against the Heidelbergs because Heidelberg’s father, H.P. Heidelberg, was a local judge who had refused to lower Dolan’s bail on a trespassing charge several months before.
The chief said that Dolan, a New Yorker by birth, had “German sympathies” meaning he was sympathetic to the Nazi cause and his motivation was to impair the morale of war workers. The chief said that he had several sworn affidavits from citizens who said Dolan had told them he was a Nazi. But the chief never produced the affidavits and it’s doubtful he ever had them in the first place.
One story spread that the FBI found a bundle of human hair behind Dolan’s house, some of which testing showed belonged to Carol Peattrie, the Barber’s fourth victim. Actually one of Dolan’s neighbors reported that he had illegally search Dolan’s property after Dolan’s arrest and found a bag of hair that he identified, somehow, of belonging to Carol Peattrie. The hair was never produced as evidence.
Dolan, who said he was a graduate of Harvard Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Heidelberg universities, insisted he was innocent. But he was tried and quickly found guilty of attempted murder in the Heidelberg attack and sentenced in November of 1942 to 10 years in prison. He was never charged with any crimes related to the hair snatching incidents, but in the eyes of the public he was the Phantom Barber. Dolan did have a long record of petty criminal acts and after Dolan’s arrest, the Phantom Barber attacks ceased.
In 1948, thanks to the relentless efforts by a newsman named James Ewing, Dolan was given a state administered lie detector test given inside the state prison and passed. He was also given a second test given in front of Mississippi Governor Gov. Fielding L. Wright and the state press corp.
The Pascagoula Sheriff at the time, Guy Krabs, testified on Dolan’s behalf and members of the grand jury that convicted Dolan also testified that they had since changed their minds and in 1951 Governor Fielding L. Wright granted Dolan a suspension of sentence and released him from prison. In 1953, Governor Hugh White granted Dolan a full pardon.
Dolan was last reported to be running a candy business in Bay St. Louis in Mississippi. On February 21, 1954, a William Dolan was buried in Bay St. Louis, Miss. The reports were that he drowned in the Mississippi River. His wife, with whom he was separated, identified the body through scars and markings on the corpse. However, that same day, a drifter named William A. Dolan was arrested in Sacramento, California for vagrancy. He was booked, fingerprinted and photographed. A report of the arrest was sente to the police in Mississippi who checked the finger prints on the corpse and found out the prints didn’t belong to Dolan. Dolan’s California booking photo was shown to his daughter who insisted it was her father while Dolan’s wife, Lucy, who was ten years young than him, said that the man in the photo wasn’t her husband but rather it was someone who may have killed her husband and assumed his identity.
That finding halted a $2,500 settlement to Mrs. Dolan for her husband’s wrongful imprisonment. (About $26,000 today) The Mississippi Legislature decided to withhold the payment if William Dolan was alive. Police in California were unable to locate Dolan after he was discharged from jail. And there the trail goes cold.