Posts Tagged ‘bootleggers’

“Three Go For Trial In Train Hold-Up Case,” Toronto Star. November 15, 1918. Page 04.

John Lett, Walter Lett, and Gordon Dougal Committed on Story to Detectives.

On their own admissions as given to Detective Mitchell after being cautioned, John Lett, Capt. Walter Lett, and Gordon Dougal, were committed for trial by Col. Denison in the Police Court to-day. The Crown submitted that it was not a case for bail, and the trio remain in custody.

The men are the alleged conspirators in the hold-up near Sunnyside on October 23 when $20,000 was stolen from messengers of the Canadian Express Company.

‘John Lett, when cautioned,’ Detective Mitchell testified, ‘admitted holding up the two messengers at the point of a revolver, taking $20,000, and jumping off the train at Sunnyside, with the money.’

‘Where was it, in a box or safe?’ queried the colonel.

‘Safe, I think,’ replied Mitchell.

‘He admitted throwing a parcel of it away in the High Park district. I later accompanied him there and found the package. It contained $9,000.’

Walter Lett, the detective continued, admitted going to Barrie the day before the arrest and receiving $1,000 from John Lett, knowing it to have been stolen. He further admitted that his brother had come to his farm at Jordan and had told him of the proposed hold-up. He further said that the day after the robbery he came to Toronto to look for John, his brother.

What Dougal Says.
Gordon Dougal admitted, after being cautioned, that John Lett and he met the night prior to the robbery to discuss the robbery. It was arranged then that Dougal was to meet him the morning of the robbery at Sunnyside, which he admitted leaving the house to do. The meeting did not take place. He further admitted after arriving at the Union Station he had a telephone message from Lett about 8 a.m. – a hour after the robbery. Lett told him that he had got the money. Lett said that he was phoning from a church and wanted to know why Dougall didn’t meet him. He told him he had got the money and had hidden it under a rock pile.

In the church the police a black club bag, which belonged to Williamson, the Canadian Express messenger. The bag contained $99.90 in silver and papers belonging to the company.

Cross-examined by Frank Denton, K.C., counsel for the Letts, Detective Mitchell replied that the admissions included references to another man.

‘Did not the admissions allege that this man was the brains behind the hold-up – that he prompted John Lett and Dougal?’ ‘Yes.’

‘Was there any admission that Dougal was to get any of the money?’ asked Mr. W. K. Murphy, counsel for Dougal.

‘That was not suggested.’

‘If the Crown Attorney of the other court wants the other man he is able to get him,’ Col. Denison commented.

Find Reservoirs
The crocks of exhilaration cached beneath the sidewalk belonging to Mrs. Annie Portchuk, Adelaide street west, did not waste their sweetness on the desert air. According to police evidence in the Women’s Court to-day, they formed the reservoir from which the pop bottles which the lady retailed at $3.50 per, were filled. This marks the second time within the week that the Porichucks have moved in court circles. The record of to-day’s visit includes the fine, $200 and costs or three months.

Murdock Henry had a clothes sideline. He pleaded guilty to-day to augmenting his wardrobe with some $50 worth of garments to which he had no right. Most of these, the police stated, had since been recovered. The colonel was told that the quick change of costume set had been Henry’s first bad break. The colonel gave him the right to don the becoming Jail Farm uniform for the next 15 days.

Found guilty of defrauding Mrs. Dorothy Whitaker, wife of a soldier overseas, out of five $100 Victory Bonds, and of stealing an automobile the property of Jas. O’Leary and Ed. Murphy, W. F. Grimwood goes to the Ontario Reformatory.

Mrs. Whitaker stated that she had given him the Victory Bonds, 1917 issue, last November to put in a safe in the Bank of Montreal. She had since asked for them and couldn’t get them. In connection with these, Mr. S.N. Gibbons testified to having sold a motor car to Grimwood for $700. ‘In part payment for this, I received four 1917 Victory Bonds from Grimwood,’ Mr. Gibbons said. Mrs. Whittaker further remarked that she had given Grimwood $1,700 in Government pay checks and her own savings. This she gave him, she said, to invest in the Mossop Hotel, which he told her he was to convert into a club.

Two offenders against the O.T.A. got docked $300 and costs or three months in as many minutes. Harry Hurd was a retailer. He kept the bowl flowing on the broad highway. He that ran might drink, if he stopped and paid $1 for the quencher. John Parker added to the H. C. of L. He likewise retailed. His wee deoch and doris cost $5.50 per. Art Penn both makes and sells. ‘He has his own labels and makes a profitable business of it,’ said the Crown Attorney. Fined $800 and costs or five months.

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“Garson Farmer Faces Charge Of Harboring,” Sudbury Star. August 21, 1918. Page 03.

Dominion Police State Edward Martell Is Hiding Cousin.

The first charge of harboring a deserter to be laid by the Dominion Police at Sudbury was read in Monday morning’s police court, against Edward Martell, Garson township. He is charged with harboring John Martell, his cousin, a deserter from the C.E.F. The case was adjourned until Saturday morning next. It is understood that the court is prepared to take a lenient view of the case providing that in the meantime Pte. Martell, the deserter, is delivered to the military. B. Boutet appeared for accused Monday morning and entered a plea of not guilty.

While this is the first charge of harboring to be instituted by the Dominion Police, there have been many instances where prosecution could have been started for harboring, aiding and abetting. Flagrant cases have been known to the police, in which the mothers of the offenders have played important parts and it was mainly for this reason that no action was taken.

More shooting is reported from Garson township in addition to that which took place and is daily taking place in Blezard township. The Dominion police last Thursday went out to the Edward Martell farm in Garson township and while making enquiries at the farm house were shot at by some one, presumably John Martell, the deserter, who was concealed in the barn. He later made good his escape to the bush and is still at large.

The Ontario Temperance Act is no respecter of persons. It may happen that Luigi Augustini, hard working man and the father of five young children, one of whom is very sick, may have to go to jail for three months. There is, however, another side to the story, that of Chief Brown, of the municipal police.

The hardship plea failed to move the court Monday morning when Augustini was fined $300 and costs. A few days ago one Koski, up on a drunk charge, disclosed the source of his supply, a case being later found buried beside the Augustini residence. The plea that some one else had buried the case beside the house was also put forth, the possibilities of which were dwelt upon eloquently and at some length by Mr. J. A. Mulligan, counsel for accused. Magistrate Brodie also turned a deaf ear to this plea.

But all’s well that ends well, and there is a chance now that kind friends will come to the rescue of the poor, hard-working Augustini and pay his fine, the authorities having agreed to a recess until Saturday next.

A pretty, young French-Canadian girl of eighteen summers, Cecile Gatien, who originally hails from Montreal and has been in these parts but two weeks, was found in a house Saturday night with three Austrians. Provincial Constable Grassick was out that way on another mission Saturday night last when three autos in front of the house attracted his attention. All lights had been darkened on the autos and he was unable to secure numbers as they scurried away. There is a suspicion that they were licensed jitneys. Several complaints about the house have been made to the police.

Two of the men came from Murray Mine and for that reason the charge of leaving their place of residence without the permission of the police failed. The magistrate held that as there was no registrar at Murray Mine, and as Stobie and Murray are in the same municipality, this charge could not succeed. The third young foreigner, however, come from Garson, which made $10 and costs difference.

On a charge of being frequenters of a house of ill fame and three men pleaded guilty and paid $10 and costs.

The young girl pleaded guilty to being a keeper, her counsel asking a week’s remand, which was granted. She has a lover, a young Italian, it is understood, who is willing to go to the altar with the erring girl, and in case the marriage materializes the leniency of the court for a chance to make good will be asked.

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“Blind Piggers As Road Makers,” Toronto Star. July 23, 1910. Page 07.

They Are Doing a Lot of Fine Work in the North, These Prisoners.


Have Lots to Eat and They are a Contented Lot – They Bet on the Fight.

Special to The Star.
Cobalt, July 22. – Road-making by ‘blind piggers’ and other short term men is working to perfection. Not only are roads being built that bever would have been constructed if free labor had been employed, but the men are losing the sallowness and the furtiveness inseperable from the trade of whisky peddling in prohibition areas.

There are five guards watching 48 prisoners, and if these guards have revolvers or rifles, certainly the prisoners never know it. Dr. Reaume determined to test the innate decency of human nature, and he has been justified. They have to work, certainly, but no harder, not half as hard, as most of the pioneers in the North Country.

It was inevitable that some of the Wilder spirits should first of all try to get away, but they were speedily caught. One of these, considering the conditions under which they were working, had only about three more days to serve when he broke away. He was caught and now he is serving a year at Kingston. The other man was dealt with just as severely. Since then there has not been the slightest attempt at insubordination. If the men did want to get away they could as far as the railway, there to be taken by Chief Caldbeck or some of his henchmen.

The majority of them are short-term prisoners absolutely without any criminal record. It is necessary in this north country where all the elements of a wide open American border town are assembled, to deal with mere rowdiness and small offences with far far more severity than in the cities. And in consequence many of these men, if they had sinned in Toronto as they have here, would merely have had to pay a fine. Often the incarceration within the gloomy walls of the North Bay jail transformed a weak and erring man borne down by temptation into one with a deep and abiding hatred of society. The taint and the sullenness of the cell lay upon them, and they came back into the world thrice as dangerous as they went in. Yesterday one of these men who had just finished his enforced task on the road came into a local newspaper office and complained he had been detained one day longer than he thought was right. Is it possible to conceive of a man cowed by the ordinary prison rules doing such a thing?

Brown and Strong.
These men go north pale and in ill health, they come back browned and strong and upright. They are taking the keenest interest in their work. One of them, an ex-policeman convicted of forgery, has developed a genius for bridge building and he is swaggering along the grade of the road being constructed through the wilderness with a foot-rule sticking out of his pocket, possibly a far more useful member of society than he has ever been in his life before. They all live under canvas and the idea of a chain gang s simply too foolish to be considered. Men the Government are employing are eating with these prisoners, and all the difference between them is that one is working for the Government, and incidentally the good of his health, and the other is getting paid for his work. The ‘convicts’ are already beginning to growl because they are not being paid. They believe that they are doing just as good work as the hirelings. Some of them provide obdurate, it is true, but they are coaxed into doing their daily stunt by means almost laughable in their mildness.

One of the really tough men on the gang is now feeling what it is like to live on bread and water again inside four walls at Matheson. Here’s a man who might easily under other circumstances be knifing or gunning and he is merely sent to Coventry and into his own society for a few days to recover from his sulleness.

Plenty to Eat.
The men have all they want to eat, not roast turkey or ice cream certainly, but plain, wholesome, food and good. And they are all given tobacco to chew or smoke as their tastes incline.

The other day when Inspector Caldbeck went through just after the Jeffries-Johnson fight the gang quit work to hear the news. There was hardly a man there who had not a wager on the event, and that night there were all kinds of IOU’s passing from hand to hand, due in a month, two months or three months’ time as the term expired.

And the North wanted roads. All the appropriations had been made for the year without any proper provision for the betterment of the trail into Porcupine. And the North was preparing to be very sore indeed about it, for if any camp has refrained from wildcatting and sat down in sober sweat of the brow to make good that camp is Porcupine. To find themselves as they were now, cut off from the main source of supplies, without any prospect of improvement would have lost Sir James Pliny many friends.

So, the making of the country’s roads by the ‘blind piggers’ is double felicitous in result.

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