Volume One - 10 Prison Files CD

This CD contains the following Leavenworth federal prison files:

1 - Moses Harmon, No. 22

Moses Harmon’s life was complicated by one problem. He was born in the wrong century. Being an advocate of women’s rights in the late 19th century wasn’t just unpopular; it could threaten your liberty. Harmon was the publisher of a newspaper called “Lucifer the Light Bearer” Within the pages of his paper he attacked the state of marriage. Without equal rights for women he argued, it was nothing less than sexual slavery for women. One issue published a letter that described a rape within marriage. Harmon was charged with mailing obscene material under the Comstock Act and became the twenty-second inmate to serve a sentence at Leavenworth.

2 - William Pearce, No. 493

In March of 1909, notorious outlaw William “Driftwood Jim” Pearce was about to be released from Leavenworth at the expiration of his sentence. A prison official sent out a letter warning the Kansas City Chief of Police of the desperado who might soon be walking his streets. The official described him as “a skilled house and Post Office burglar and gun shooter of national fame…He is a bad egg.” Indeed, Driftwood Jim was the leader of the first successful escape from Leavenworth in 1898. He and three other men took two guards hostage and used them as shields during their escape. Pearce remained on the loose for two years until he was arrested for robbing another post office. He was returned to Leavenworth to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

3 - Oberlin Carter, No. 2094

Oberlin Carter was a West Point graduate and Captain in the Army Corp of Engineers. He was court-martialed for defrauding the U.S. Government of nearly two million dollars (nearly fifty million today) while he was the harbor engineer in charge at Savannah, Ga. His fall from grace made national news, and Carter spent the rest of his life trying to clear his name.

4 - Frank Grigware, No. 6768

In 1934 a man named Jim Fahey, was cited in Canada for trapping out of season. Fahey was fingerprinted and disovered to be Frank Grigware, who had broken out of Leavenworth Peniteniary twenty-four years earlier. Grigware’s story reads like a real-life “Les Misérables” with Grigware in the role of Jean Valjean. In 1909 he was convicted with four other men of robbing a Union Pacific train outside of Omaha. Grigware’s conviction was controversial because he was the fifth man convicted in a four man robbery. Some believed he was naïve and unaware of his companions activities, while others thought he was involved all along. Grigware was sentenced to life in prison and sent to Leavenworth, but six months later he and five other men stormed a supply train with fake revolvers carved from wood. They forced the engineer to ram through the west gate of the prison. All five were soon captured except for Grigware who escaped to Canada, and led an exemplary life where he became a husband, father and even mayor of his small town until his arrest over two decades later. He was never extradicted and lived the out the rest of his days in Canada.

5 - Roy Tyler, No. 12276

Tyler was one of one hundred fifty Buffalo Soldiers who in 1917 marched to Houston to confront police after a rumor spread that one of their men had been shot and killed by white officers. The resulting “Houston Riot” left fifteen civilians and four soldiers dead. Fourteen of the rioters were executed but Tyler escaped with a twenty year sentence at Leavenworth for “Mutiny and Assault to Murder.” Tyler was a gifted athlete who played in the Negro Leagues upon being paroled in 1924. In 1929 Tyler was sent to prison again after he was convicted of robbery.

6 - William Haywood, No. 13106

William “Big Bill” Haywood was a labor leader and prominent member of the Industrial Workers of the World (known also as “the Wobblies”) during the early 20th century. In 1917 over one hundred Wobblies were tried under the Espionage Act of 1917 for “conspiring to hinder the draft, encourage desertion, and intimidate others in connection with labor disputes.” He was sentenced to twenty years. A childhood accident cost Haywood his right eye. For the rest of his life he insisted on being photographed from his left profile. His Leavenworth mug shot is the only known photograph of Haywood with his entire face visible. Haywood was temporarily released while the case was appealed in 1921. He fled to Russia where he lived until his death.

7 - C.T. Doreums, No. 15302

Doreums was a surgeon convicted of several counts of aiding and abetting pharmacists to sell morphine and cocaine, a violation of the “The Drug Act.” Sent to Leavenworth on June 13, 1920, he was sentenced to two years, but the President commuted his sentence about six months before he was to be released.

8 - Robert Stroud, No. 17431

The “Birdman of Alcatraz” was never allowed to keep birds there; he bred his canaries at Leavenworth. Burt Lancaster and the “Birdman” movie made Robert Stroud famous, but the mythology it created couldn’t be more removed from the real man and his life. Stroud was a killer who stood trial three times for murder. One day in 1916 Stroud rose from his seat in the lunchroom, walked over to guard Andrew Turner and plunged a knife into his heart in front of everyone in the room. While he admitted to stabbing the guard, he calmly explained that he shouldn’t be charged with a crime because he did nothing wrong

9 - Joe Huffington, No. 32527

In 1920, Huffington was chosen by Imperial Wizard William J. Simmons of Atlanta to start an official Indiana chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. The chapter in Indiana became the largest Klan group in the entire country with an estimated two hundred forty thousand people for the Indianapolis chapter alone. During May 1929, Huffington was sentenced to two years after being convicted of violating of the Dyer Act. (taking a stolen car over state lines). He was eligible for parole in less than a year, but his sentence was commuted by President Hoover. His “First Friend” during parole was a judge in Indiana and his listed position was with the American Christian Association in Indiana. He served less than eight months.

10 - Samuel Caldwell, No. 53861

In 1937 Caldwell had the distinction of being one of the first marijuana offender sent to federal prison. He was arrested while attempting to sell his contraband and had on him six marijuana cigarettes and just over seven ounces of marijuana. He received a four year sentence. The judge in his case stated that marijuana was the most heinous of all drugs and would not allow the possibility of parole. Caldwell did have a long criminal history, including: writing fraudulent checks, carrying and possession of liquor, running a disorderly house, violating city narcotic law and burglary.

-- descriptions by Stephen Spence

Each file download includes a wealth of information about the inmate (i.e., mugshot, admission summary, property lists, personal letters, release statements, etc.)

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