Crime, cultural transference, Current Events, justice, law, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Joe may be my favorite newspaper reporter…ever! He has a way of cutting to the heart of an issue, like a surgeon, in his commitment to the truth. Yet, he is gentle with those he opposes, (more likely those who oppose him), and has called us to be  our better selves. All this while maintaining a commitment to being a regular, stand-up guy.  In an age that mocks common sense, mom and dad, law and order, it’s a true pleasure to read anything Joe writes! He’s the friend who gives it to you straight when you’re kidding yourself; “Buddy, that’s B as in B, S as in S!”

 

Last week, on a Monday afternoon in broad daylight, a 42-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son found themselves surrounded by a group of six to eight males after she pulled into a parking lot at Mackubin Street and Charles Avenue to make a cellphone call. She believed the group to be juveniles. One of them…

via Soucheray: We are outraged and appalled — but by the wrong things — Twin Cities

 

What if we actually stood on our principles as parents? What if we actually laid it out plain for them? “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1 NIV Lord, hear our prayer, may we love our kids enough to lead them. May we love our neighbor enough to correct our own kid. Will You put the word “No!” back in our vocabulary in Minnesota!

* https://www.biblehub.com/ephesians/6-1.htm

Soucheray: We are outraged and appalled — but by the wrong things — Twin Cities

Quote
20th Century, Crime, History, Minnesota, Politics, Uncategorized

Humphrey Elected Mayor

images

1945
Hubert H. Humphrey is elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1945. For two terms he works hard to clean up city politics and extend civil rights. Minneapolis enacts the nation’s first fair-employment-practices law while he is in office.*

Minneapolis circa 1945 had its problems; many of them were already decades old. The Prohibition of alcohol through the 18th Amendment, in effect, became the graduate school for its street-level criminals, and seducer of many straight-appearing politicians from both major parties. For example, Kid Cann, a.k.a. Isadore Blumenfeld, went from pimping to becoming a godfather allied with Chicago and Genovese organized crime families. Kid Cann found his rivals in David Berman, “Big Ed” Morgan, and Deuce Casper. In the process, Minneapolis became a major center of bootlegged booze, gambling, brothels and unbridled corruption within its political class.**

Indirectly, one could argue that Socialists, Unionists, and Communists were tied to this process through their control over transportation and manufacturing. To demonstrate, the Teamster Trucking Strike of 1934 was the first time a sitting U.S. president, in this case, Franklin D. Roosevelt, openly took the side of a trade union in a labor dispute. His favorable view of Teamsters Local 574 and aggressive policing of union protests tipped the scales of public opinion away from the anti-unionist group Citizens Alliance and the business owners.**

Granted, being a trade union member did not necessarily make one corrupt. Yet, only a few strategically placed or bribed union leaders could, in effect, control the Port of Minneapolis and the lion’s share of traffic on the Mississippi. Highly organized unions lessened or eliminated competitors, and some of these competitors may or may not have succumbed to the influence of corruption from above through politicians, or from below through the mob.
Politically, the city hall of Minneapolis had been corrupted since 1900 irregardless which party was in power. Humphrey sought to resist the corrosive infiltration of Communists there, and even oust Communists from the DFL party during his tenure as mayor.** In 1947, he helped found the ideologically liberal, anti-communist Americans for Democratic Action. Perhaps his greatest accomplishments as mayor were in the sphere of on-the job civil rights. He started the Council on Human Relations prohibiting racial discrimination in the workplace, which seeded the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s.*****

Lord, now we move with You from eternity past into Your eternal present. Will you direct us to ponder and gain insights into this window of time? Will You guide our thoughts as to how this history has broken with You?

As the Living Word of G-d, we ask You, Jesus, to guide us into a study of Your thoughts on corruptions past before we deal with the corruptions of Humphrey’s day. In Your conversation with Jeremiah about the Temple You point, like always, to the root problem.
“They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me.”
And…
“You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me, declares the LORD.” ****** Jeremiah 9:3,6

Just as You were waiting for the people of Jerusalem to recognize You as their ultimate source, we have failed to acknowledge You in the Minneapolis of the 1940’s. Will You have mercy on this offense towards You? Where it applies, will You forgive our attempt to get life out of the lies of: organized crime, unionism, liberalism, socialism, communism, and the defilement of our legal system, police, and local government?

Some of us believed the mafia was a superior provider, protector, and keeper than You. We today acknowledge that the crimes of the dons of Minnesota: Kid Cann, Berman, Morgan, the Baldy Gang and other organized criminal operation were against You, and Your family; will You forgive? Will You restore the heritage of their victims, and bring restitution to the innocent? We gangsters believed loyalty was the highest virtue, but didn’t see our own betrayal of the persons, places and things of the Almighty! Let’s listen again to Your words spoken through the mouth of Hosea over 2700 years before our crimes.
“I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely.” ******* Hosea 14:4 NIV

Some of us believed that the deck was stacked against us as laborers, that we had no power, and that we needed the collective bargaining of the union to make things right. We today acknowledge these beliefs and misbeliefs as sins. Where we failed to call on the Shop Steward of the Universe, we will never know what resolutions You had in mind for us. Will You forgive us this slight to Your omnipotence?
“Be merciful to those who doubt.” ******** Jude 22 NIV

Some of us believed that we could be saved through the arms of our political “ism”, and failed to acknowledge You as “I AM”. We have verbally maligned our neighbor, for whom Christ died and rose again, and have no fear or are even consciously aware of this incredible insult to You. We have played our neighbor’s judge, over and over again, to the tune of “the ends justify the means.” We were both cognizant, and not cognizant of this affront to Your Justice. We have let our political enemy live in our heads, and our well-being and physical bodies have paid the price. I AM, will You forgive us these and other unnamed offenses to You in this era?

We give thanks for the efforts of Humphrey to end an age of destruction and corruption. He pointed to a higher ideal, and at least a partial recognition that our value is more than skin-deep. For this, we commend HHH and his physical and figurative children. Will You bless them to complete the work of civil rights by recognizing the G-d of Civil rights? Will You bless us to acknowledge You so that human rights won’t be as corruptible as human beings? Maranatha!

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organized_crime_in_Minneapolis
*** https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2008/07/remembering-truckers-strike-1934/
**** Iric Nathanson (May 23, 2011). “‘Into the bright sunshine’ — Hubert Humphrey’s civil-rights agenda”. minnpost.com.
***** Delton, Jennifer A. (2002). Making Minnesota Liberal: Civil Rights And The Transformation Of The Democratic Party. 978-0816639229. p. 103.
****** https://biblehub.com/jeremiah/9-1.htm
******* https://biblehub.com/hosea/14-1.htm
******** https://biblehub.com/jude/1-22.htm

Standard
20th Century, Crime, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Dillinger Escapes!

200px-gangster055

placeography.org

Mar 31, 1934
Notorious bank robber John Dillinger escapes authorities by blasting his way out of a Lexington Avenue apartment house in Saint Paul. Four months later “Public Enemy No. 1” is killed by federal agents in a gun battle outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago.*

“What made them do it?” This is a common question that the law-abiding portion of society has of the criminally minded. To better investigate, let us lay out some of what is known in the days leading up to this infamous Dillinger event.

03/03/34 – Dillinger escapes from jail using a wooden gun, and steals a Sheriff’s car.**

03/06/34 – Dillinger robs bank in Sioux Falls, SD. with Baby Face Nelson and others. The heist nets them approximately $49,500.**

03/07/34 – The Department of Investigation, (FBI), because in stealing and transporting a sheriff’s car he commits a Federal crime.**

03/13/34 – Dillinger robs bank in Mason City, IA. with gang, and is injured in shoulder. The theft yields about $52,000.**
03/14/34 – Dillinger is treated at home of Dr. Nels Mortenson at 2522 Fairmount Av. St. Paul, MN.**

03/16/34 – Dillinger arrives in Chicago and attempts to obtain divorce from the husband of his girlfriend Billie Frechette.**

03/19/34 – Frechette delivers sums of money and wooden gun to Audrey Hancock and Dillinger’s father.**

03/20/34 – Dillinger and Frechette rent apartment together in St. Paul, MN.**

03/30/34 – Dillinger and Frechette host a raucous party at the Lincoln Court apartments which lasts most of the night.**

03/31/34 – The caretaker tips off the Department of Investigation, (FBI), and Dillinger and Frechette escape after shoot-out. Dillinger receives wound in the left calf.**

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 ESV ***

What shall we pray for this tragic event, and the transgressions of John Dillinger? Lord, we give You thanks that You are the author of the law of life that has set us free from separation and death. You are the Good Father that waits for all prodigal sons and daughters to stop rebelling, turn around, and come back home.

You are the only proper Judge of all humanity, whether those who do justly, or those who live in defiance. Your character is not defiled by our hatreds, or limited to our finite vantage point of our neighbor’s life. Give us humility and wisdom to watch this event with You, and to receive Your Rhema Word for ourselves and our state.

To open, Your Word tells us that we become both what we practice, and what we think about.
“Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to the one who searches for it.” **** Proverbs 11:27 NIV
“As someone thinks within himself, so he is.” Proverbs 23:7

Dillinger’s calendar is a portrayal of some of his thoughts and actions just for the month of March 1934. His actions betray a mind almost singularly set on crime, and personal gain. He thinks of self and worships self. He even steals a “marriage” with Billie from her husband in prison?!

Will You forgive any in our society in his day that idolized him as a folk hero? Will You forgive those who capitalized on his notorious contempt for for the law; even using him to sell their brand of cars? Will You forgive the press of his day for their greedily hyping and sensationalizing his story to sell more newspapers? We traded our scruples to be participants in his defiling story; they sold it, and we, the public bought it. Why are we such passive thinkers and indirect participants in crime? Have mercy on us!

Will You release us from the curse of worshipping an antihero like Dillinger in Saint Paul, and throughout Minnesota in the present? We idolize thugs in the music business, and our youths have become more cruel. We venerate icons of technology, though they betray our privacy for gain, and have become voyeurs. We steal from our neighbors and employers with liberality, and vote for politicians who steal our liberty. By the Authority of Jesus Christ, we break the spirit of the Antihero over our society!

Show us a better way in the future! Bless us to report crime in ways that do not honor or popularize or capitalize on the worst actors in our culture. Bless us to receive Your thinking about those committed to lawless thinking that leads them to lawless actions. May we practice “meditating on Your laws day and night” like King David! May we agree with Your thoughts, spoken through the prophet Micah;
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” *****

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** http://www.johndillinger.com/index.php/timeline/march-1934
*** https://biblehub.com/romans/8-2.htm
**** https://biblehub.com/proverbs/11-27.htm
***** https://biblehub.com/micah/6-8.htm

Standard
20th Century, Crime, History, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Gangster Kidnappings

unknown

Jun 15, 1933 to Jan 17, 1934
The brazen kidnappings of prominent businessmen William Hamm (June 15, 1933)and Edward Bremer (January 17, 1934) by the “Ma” Barker gang put an end to Chief O’Connor’s hands-off crime policy in Saint Paul. Both men are returned unhurt after large ransoms are paid.*

In the Prohibition Era of our largely blue-collar city of Saint Paul, there was an empathy and a real motive to look the other way at bootlegging. Physically, the city is located on the Mississippi River, and is the first big stop downstream from Canada. There’s a plethora of natural caves, which made effective stealth warehouses for the product. One also wonders if its populace, mostly of the Catholic regions of Europe, did not share the same moral objections to beer and whiskey of their dry Protestant counterparts in Minneapolis?

To continue the narrative, its people were comfortable with playing dumb to Johnny Law if it meant lucrative cash jobs working for the gangs, and if it kept St. Paul a “wet” city. Civic leadership, allegedly, were on the payrolls of major gangsters from Chicago, and were apt to play it cool if the gangsters kept a low profile. Apparently, this unspoken agreement between Chicago crime and St. Paul police began decades before the Volstead Act.

“This collaboration began in 1900 with the Layover Agreement, an unofficial contract between criminals and Chief of Police John O’Connor.
In exchange for tip-offs about FBI raids and protection during their “layover” in the city, the gangsters first agreed to check in with the St. Paul police when they were in town. Second, they gave a portion of their gains to the police department. Finally, they agreed to commit no crimes within the city limits, though Minneapolis was fair game.”**

unknown-1

During the era of the Great Depression, Hamm and Bremer would likely stand out as targets for kidnapping. Mr. Bremer was affiliated with banking, and Mr. Hamm with brewing. Though very different personalities, Hamm being an affable sort and Bremer more shielded type, both men were visible leaders from noteworthy families in Saint Paul.

Ma Barker also led a prominent family known as the Barker-Karpis Gang. “Though her children were undoubtedly murderers and their Barker-Karpis Gang committed a spree of robberies, kidnappings, and other crimes between 1931 and 1935, there is no evidence that “Ma” was their leader or was even significantly involved.” What is apparent, however, is that she stuck by her sons and their associates throughout their criminal careers.

Alvin Karpis, the probable real leader of the gang, later said that Ma was just “an old-fashioned homebody from the Ozarks … superstitious, gullible, simple, cantankerous and, well, generally law abiding”.**** He concluded that,
‘The most ridiculous story in the annals of crime is that Ma Barker was the mastermind behind the Karpis-Barker gang. … She wasn’t a leader of criminals or even a criminal herself. There is not one police photograph of her or set of fingerprints taken while she was alive … she knew we were criminals but her participation in our careers was limited to one function: when we traveled together, we moved as a mother and her sons. What could look more innocent?’ *****

So we come to You, Jesus, to watch and pray over this event. What do you want to reveal to us today through it? What blessing can come from an enabling mother, this gang, the corruption of police, and the crime of kidnapping?

We ask forgiveness for these past offenses to You in our city and state. Will You forgive Ma Barker for being an enabler of her criminal sons, and the impact of their crimes to our city? Will You forgive us today of similar co-dependence within the families of Minnesota? Give us grace to face our failures as parents, commitment to stand by our kids going the wrong way, and love that affirms them, yet calls out their sin. Will You bless our present and future mothers of Minnesota, and especially the relationships with their sons?

We acknowledge to You the damage done to innocent lives through the willful actions of the Karpis-Barker Gang. Will You bring restitution to all who suffered their crimes, as well as the heritage of the Bremer and Hamm families? Conversely, will You cut off the curses passed down to any generation of the Karpis or Barker clans?

How we need Your healing for our men, and especially our men enticed into gang life!
We acknowledge to You that we have not followed Your laws to honor our fathers and mothers, or practiced proper diligence in the raising of some of our sons. We have driven them away at times: from our families, from schools or job training, from the Church, and, most painfully, from You! Jesus, Son of David, have mercy!

Though we try, we have failed them somehow as: sons, husbands, fathers, and friends. Protect and shield our sons from the enticement of a life of crime, and the arms of surrogate families in the underworld. May these vulnerable boys find a good man to call out their holy masculinity. May they forgive their fathers’ offenses, and break with the spirit of vengeance.

We remember to You how we have subtly yielded to the Enemy in St. Paul, by looking the other way. Our police, it seems, were corruptible because they were internally incomplete. It is hard to bribe a content man. You have said, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely–be content with your pay.”******* Have mercy on these policemen past, and free those similarly tempted in the present. We ask Your protections over Minnesota’s police both now and forever; be their shield and very great reward!

We end by thanking You for Your eternal justice! You are our advocate within our broken families, though they may seem beyond hope. You bring us back to our Everlasting Father, no matter our state of lawlessness. You used the Catholic priest Lucien Galtier to rename the city of L’oeil de Cochon, so named for the alleged bootlegger and first resident of St. Paul, Minnesota; Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant. “Pig’s Eye, converted thou shalt be, like Saul; Arise, and be, henceforth, Saint Paul!”
*******

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** Sharon Park “Gangster Era in St. Paul, 1900–1936”. http://www.mnopedia.org/gangster-era-st-paul-1900-1936
***, **** Paul Maccabee, John Dillinger Slept Here: A Crooks’ Tour of Crime and Corruption in St. Paul, 1920-1936, Minnesota Historical Society, 1995, p.105.
***** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_Barker
****** https://biblehub.com/luke/3-14.htm
******* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Parrant

Standard
20th Century, Crime, government, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Politics

“Shame of Minneapolis”

por 12709 r2

Jan 1901 to Feb 1903
Dr. Albert Alonzo “Doc” Ames served four terms as mayor of Minneapolis. His fourth term began in January 1901 and ended with his resignation in August 1902 after a grand jury exposed the corruption in his administration.

In January 1903 McClure’s magazine published an article by nationally-known muckraking journalist Lincoln Steffens**** on the fight against corruption in Minneapolis. The story focused on Mayor Ames’ regime and how the work of the courageous grand jury led to his fall. He was convicted of bribery in February 1903.*

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
Jeremiah 29:7 NIV**

Minneapolitans living in 1901-1903 may not have been “carried into exile” like the children of Abraham, but they likely felt that Justice abandoned them. What does one do, when their hometown becomes corrupt? Even more accurate, what response should the public have when their leadership targets them for abuse, and opens the doors of the city welcoming crime?

Mayor Ames’ actions lead to the conclusion that he was single-minded in his pursuit of control, and hungry for bribery. He made his brother Fred chief of police. He fired law-abiding police and replaced them with unqualified and criminally-minded officers. He released criminals from jail. He accepted and encouraged organized crime of all kinds in return for payment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Ames

Lord, hear our prayer! Our forbearers failed to see the character of Mayor Ames, or those he appointed. Some of our citizens participated in activities that enabled corruption. Will You forgive these offenses?

Will You forgive the lust that welcomed and expanded prostitution in the city of Minneapolis? Will You forgive us our willingness to objectify women? Will You forgive us our impatience to find sexual oneness and satisfaction apart from a real relationship?

The “johns” have given themselves over to misogyny, and the prostitutes have given themselves to misandry in response. We have accepted money for the denigration of our bodies. We have divided our spirits with strangers. We have divided our minds by making judgements that it is fine to pay women for sexual abuse, and conversely, to accept sexual abuse in exchange for cash. Forgive us these misbeliefs that do not honor ourselves, others, or You. As Your child shown mercy for his own lust, I disinvite the misogyny and misandry welcomed into Minneapolis during Mayor Ames era, and invite Your Spirit to free us to accept ourselves as men and women, and so become able to love the other gender in the present and future.

Lord, we are also party to another form of misplaced affection; the love of money.
Gambling is the expectation of reward apart from work.*** In it, we participate in the self-injurious behaviors of excitement addiction and greed. Work informs our character with persistence, delayed gratification, and the reward that we produce or are part of a team that gives something of worth to society. We stunt our own growth by believing we should get something for nothing.

Mayor Ames opened our city to this form of greed. Will You forgive those who have loved reward apart from work both past and present? As Your son who has been shown mercy for his own hatred of work, I disinvite gambling from the city of Minneapolis. I invite Your Spirit into our labor. Let us receive the gifts of character in store for us! Let us be glad in how our work gives and serves and benefits others! Let the innovations of our work in Minnesota bring a better life to all humanity, and be a reflection of Your Mind and Muscle! Will You be our unfailing Justice?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**http://biblehub.net/search.php?q=jeremiah+29%3A7
***How does gambling affects the brain? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933850/
****An excellent article by Iric Nathanson about the man who brought Ames down; Mr. Lincoln Steffens. https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2013/12/goodwin-s-bully-pulpit-spotlights-shame-minneapolis

 

Standard
19th Century, Civics, Crime, History, Intercession, Jesus, justice, law, Minnesota

“Prison Mirror” Begins Publishing

unknown

Aug 10, 1887
The first issue of the “Prison Mirror,” the newspaper of the Minnesota State Prison in Stillwater, is published. Bank robber Cole Younger was associate editor.*

“The three Youngers – Cole, Jim and Bob – were part of the foiled bank robbery in Northfield on Sept. 7, 1876. During the robbery, the bank’s head cashier and a townsman were shot and killed. Several of the robbers were eventually killed, but two got away. It is believed that the elusive pair was Frank and Jesse James. But the Youngers were captured after a lively shoot-out with the law in a swampy area near Madelia.

The Youngers were charged with first-degree murder; they pled guilty and received life sentences at the Minnesota State Prison in Stillwater.

The brothers arrived at the prison on Nov. 22, 1876. They were addressed by Warden John Abbott Reed who assigned them numbers: Cole was inmate 699, Jim was number 700, and Bob was number 701. They were then processed like every other new convict and introduced to their new home.

The cultural side of prison life

The convicts also had access to a prison library, which Cole Younger oversaw. The library had about 6,000 volumes at the convicts’ disposal. Each inmate was given a library catalogue and was permitted to withdraw two books a week. If an inmate mutilated a book, however, he was denied further library privileges.

Music was a part of prison life, as the lockup had a band and orchestra. The inmate band was led by a citizen music teacher from outside the walls, and the instruments were paid for out of fees received from visitors, each of whom paid 25 cents to tour the prison. The band would play during drill time and on Sundays.

The Minnesota State Prison at Stillwater also had an institutional newspaper launched with funds raised – incredibly enough – by the inmates themselves. The Prison Mirror began publication in August 1887 with $200 seed money, $50 of it donated by the Youngers. In the first edition, Cole was given the “honorary” title of “Printer’s Devil.” By the second edition, he was assistant editor. By edition three, the editor had been paroled and Cole toiled on in anonymity, no longer receiving any editorial credit in the future editions.

Cole would occasionally submit items to be published in the Mirror, and he was mentioned in the paper periodically for his prison shenanigans.

The Prison Mirror is still published, and remains the oldest continuously published prison newspaper in the United States.

Warden Henry Wolfer took over command of the Stillwater Prison in 1892, and brought a radical new approach to prison management. Rather than punishing hardened criminals, Wolfer instead instituted ways to reform the convicts and try to mold them into useful citizens upon release. He did this by instituting educational classes so convicts could learn to read and write. He also allowed more “drill time,” or time outside in the yard. With these and other innovations, Wolfer quickly became known as the country’s leading prison expert.

Wolfer also saw that the old prison needed to be replaced. The limestone walls were crumbling, and the swamps were taking over the prison yard. Through Wolfer’s efforts, money was set aside for a new prison by the state legislature in 1905 and 1907. It was Henry Wolfer that helped design the state prison that is now in operation in Bayport.

It was during the construction of the new prison that W.C. Heilbron wrote his book, “Convict Life.” In 1910, a former Stillwater prison convict named John Carter wrote an article for Century Magazine entitled, “Prison Life as I found it.” This article seemed to be a response to Heilbron’s book. Carter didn’t portray the “modern prison” as rosy as Heilbron, but did give the warden credit for reforms. In his lengthy article, Carter suggested several things to make prison life more bearable for the inmates, such as allowing inmates to talk to each other and having a baseball field available for their use.

A few months later, Wolfer responded to the article through an open letter in the magazine. Wolfer said he found Carter’s suggestions credible, and “with the completion of our new prison, we shall be able to correct most, if not all, of the defects mentioned by Mr. Carter.”

In 1914, the last of the convicts were moved out of the old prison in Stillwater and moved to the new quarters in Bayport. The Bayport prison is now 82 years old, and to Wolfer’s credit, the institution is still being used as a “modern prison.”

It was Warden Henry Wolfer who started the national reform movement in America’s prisons. It is not known whether Wolfer would have allowed the weight rooms and cable television found in prisons today.

William Heilbron’s “Convict Life,” written nearly 90 years ago, gives us a peek into what it was like to be behind the limestone walls of Stillwater Prison. The book is being re-published by the Stillwater-based Valley History Press. The new issue tells the whole interesting story in 190 pages. It is filled with photographs and information that will truly put the reader in the cellblock of the old state prison. The book also includes a chapter written by one of the most notorious outlaws to ever spend time behind the Stillwater walls: Cole Younger.”

http://www.stillwatergazette.com/articles/2008/09/24/news/news330.txt

Birth:
Jan. 15, 1844
Lees Summit
Jackson County
Missouri, USA
Death:
Mar. 21, 1916
Jackson County
Missouri, USA

“Post Civil War Outlaw. Today, Cole Younger’s days of outlawry evokes romance and even chivalry in American folklore. However, the romantic, loveable character portrayed is far from the truth. Cole was instead a heartless cold blooded murderer of not only peace officers and bank tellers but women and children. Cole first killed at 17, was wanted dead or alive at 18 and is credited with killing dozens including innocent bystanders. He was born near Lee’s Summit as Thomas Coleman Younger, the son of a prosperous livery and dry goods business owner into a family of 14 children. His father was robbed and killed by members of the Kansas Militia. Spurred on by many injustices attributed to federal authorities, he joined William Clarke Quantrill as a member of his Confederate raiders during the Civil War, participating in many daring and bloody exploits, including the infamous Lawrence, Kansas, massacre. He was 18 at the time, selected because he owned a revolver. Younger left Quantrill’s renegades and joined the regular Confederate Army attaining the rank of Captain and led his own company while serving in Louisiana and later California. At the close of the war, Cole returned home and went to work on his mother’s farm. He soon became a desperado, robbing banks, trains, stagecoaches and people with Jesse Woodson James at times then a gang of his own, a family affair, with many of his brothers. Cole Younger was friends with Myra Shirley (Bell Starr) who he knew from childhood and during flights from lawmen would sometimes hide out at the Shirley family farm. Bell would turn to crime herself. A fateful attempt in 1876 to rob the Northfield, Minnesota bank, severely wounded, Younger was captured, tried and sentenced to twenty five years in state prison at Stillwater, Minnesota. There he became a hero helping to protect women convicts during a disastrous fire. He founded the “Prison Mirror,” a newspaper intended to shed a ray of light upon the lives of those behind bars. Paroled and able to obtain a pardon at age 59, his first job was at the Peterson Granite Company in Stillwater making tombstones. He later teamed up with his old comrade Frank James to form a Wild West show. Finding religion, he went on the Chataqua lecture circuit speaking on the evils of crime and drink. He wrote and had published a badly embellished autobiography of his criminal past. With old age creeping ever closer, Cole purchased a house in Lee’s Summit enjoying the good life while sitting on his porch reading his ever present bible and talking with neighbors, reporters and friends. Impressionable youngsters began calling him “Uncle Cole.” His health steadily declined. He died peacefully in his own bed from Heart and kidney failure at the most unrealistic age of 72. His closely examined remains determined 14 bullets were still embedded in his body. After a well attended funeral at the Lee’s Summit Baptist church where he attended regularly, the last member of the James-Younger Gang was buried in the town cemetery next to his brothers Jim and Bob and their mother. There’s not much left of the old prison at Stillwater which was closed in 1914. During its time it held many notorious prisoners beside the Younger Brothers. The Warden’s house a 1853 stone building remains and is now a museum as well as a few workhouse buildings. This is where Bernard Casey worked as a prison guard, before becoming a dencecelebrated beatified priest, befriending Cole Younger with his counseling influencing him to lay aside his bitterness and lead a model life while incarcerated which he continued in his post prison life. Many plaques were erected marking locations of the Cole Younger gang robberies put up by proud gleeful towns in Missouri and Kansas. The house constructed by his father remains standing to this day. 8,000 acre Robbers Cave State Park located in Wilburton, OK is a popular tourist destination and contains the cave purported to be a hiding place of the James-Younger gang.”
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=1138

Lord, how can a victim of a crime forgive? How can a perpetrator of a heinous crime find peace, meaning to life, and a new identity? How can he forgive himself? It must be by the power of your blood! It must be through Your miracle of grace; Your example of freely given unmerited favor!
The life of Cole Younger is a powerful example of a man who once was led by his most base desires, and learned a new trade and a new path. Thank you for his life! Thank you for his faithfulness in establishing the “Prison Mirror”!
Our prison system seems to be an inevitable necessity in this fallen world. Those without self control must be restrained from hurting themselves and others. Victims need a sense of safety, others protection from sworn vengeance, and so we continue to “lock’em up, and throw away the key”.
But what of the spirits of both the offender and the offended? The offender seems to have the most to gain through forgiveness at first glance. If he is pardoned by the victim, or their family, he could still be in shackles, but his spirit is free.
But what does the victim gain by forgiveness? To once again breech the dyke holding back oceans of pain? To lose a loved one, or innocence, or a sense of justice, and again become vulnerable? This seems inhuman! Yet, Father, this is you command to us;
“Love your enemy?!”
Father, will You give us this gift, this miracle of forgiveness? Will You wipe the slate clean in the state of Minnesota between the perpetrators of crime, and their victims? This is especially difficult for those who received a terrible, unprovoked blow! Yet, Your standards remain the same?! Will you free the victims of crime from any self-made dungeons of unforgiveness stemming from the beginning of the prison system in Minnesota, through the present, and into the future? Will You give us Your ideas about justice?
Will You uphold the “Prison Mirror” and other ways that the incarcerated can form a new identity? Will You demonstrate Your power and restore faith and honor to the lives of all victims of Minnesotan crime? Will You free the land where the prisons lie, their grounds, gates, and bars from the poison of bitterness, fear, anger, rage, and discontent? When we offend our brother, we have offended his Creator! I ask this unmerited favor from You. Feed us so we don’t covet here in Minnesota! Feed us life so we are content, and crime is not attractive! Spiritus, have mercy!

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

Standard
19th Century, Crime, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota

Northfield Raid & James-Younger Gang Sep 7, 1876

firstnationalbankpostcard

The notorious Jesse James gang sticks up the First National Bank in Northfield, but leaves town without the money. Three outlaws are killed, three are captured, only Jesse and his brother Frank escape.

Cole Younger, along with his brothers Bob and Jim, had been robbing banks and trains with Frank and Jesse James and other members of the James-Younger Gang since the Civil War. After more than a decade of life as an outlaw, Cole’s exploits were halted by that fateful attempt to rob the First National Bank of Northfield. The Northfield Raid, as the robbery attempt has come to be known, has inspired endless speculation and multiple theories of the sequence of events and who actually participated.*

Lord, have mercy on those of us who sin by the filling of banks. Lord, have mercy on us who sin by emptying banks. Lord, will You forgive this offense against You, and the myriad of offenses caused by both our love of, or envy of others’ money? Will You set us free today from the bitter roots Minnesotans have towards banks, and those who commit economic crimes? Will You move us to a proper relationship with money? As individuals, towns, counties, states, and nations?

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!

Standard