Bert and Flo partners in crime…

708338When I first started researching my father’s family history, (many, many moons ago), I wrote to a relative (I forget who) asking what they knew about the family. The response I received contained what little information they had to share, along with a mention of memories of my great grandmother Gert not speaking to one of her sisters. Something to do with politics. Now I am wondering if maybe it was something else entirely.

Carrie Rosa and John Cain had, along with several daughters, six sons (in order of birth):
William b1879
George b1882
Albert (Bert) b1887
James b1889
Henry (Harry) b1892
Milton b1894

While doing research in Oconto County newspapers, I ran into several articles in which Bert Cain was the subject, and not in a good way. In fact a few of the Cain brothers were showing up in the newspaper regarding some crime or other they had committed.

James and William* were caught using dynamite to catch fish in the Oconto River in 1915. I don’t know how, or if, William was punished, as there was no judgment found with his name on it, but James was charged $5.00 and spent 30 days in jail. (This was the only time William showed up in court.) James, however, was convicted in 1922 of being in possession of privately manufactured liquor. This time he paid a $200 fine and spent 90 days in jail. Ouch! Milton, the youngest, was always trying to get into saloons when he was underage and was fined twice for his attempts, once in 1912 ($2.00) and again in 1915 ($1.00).

Now to Bert.

Before I dove into the rabbit hole of my latest newspaper research I didn’t know much about Bert. I knew his wife’s name was Florence ____; they never had any children together, that I am aware of; and in 1955 he committed suicide with a shotgun blast to the head. I can say with certainty that I now know a lot more.

Bert and Flo owned/ran a drinking establishment called Swamp Saloon in the Town of Little River, in Oconto County for many years.

The first time he shows up in trouble in the newspaper was in 1920. He was on trial for manslaughter.

newspaper_cainbertmanslaughter copy

All told he paid a fine of $750 for killing someone.

The next time Bert shows up in court is in 1921. He was arrested and charged with selling liquor in violation of the National Prohibition Act, which had been passed in 1919.

newspaper_cainbert_RacineJournalNews1921_06_14p12

Another arrest occurred in 1925. Again for selling liquor. On the face of things this seems pretty innocuous, just another violator of prohibition. (The prohibition act, while enacted basically good intentions, was a farce that didn’t really address the problem of alcoholism and domestic violence, which was the actual intent. It merely made scummy mobsters rich.) The saloon was most likely closed during the trial, along with others.

newspaper_cainbert_prohibition

In reading over the case file I wasn’t really expecting much of interest to show up, after all it was just another case of illegal liquor sales, but boy was I surprised.

It appears that Bert and Flo, while never being charged as such, were also ‘procurers’ or pimps. They conveniently provided prostitutes for interested ‘clients’, and took a part of the ladies’ profits, renting the rooms in their ‘hotel’ for the use of the couples. Below are clips from the court case regarding their prostitution related offenses:

court_cainbert_10418OcontoSeries36 copy

court_cainbert_2

court_cainbert_3

There was no judgment in this case as it was the preliminary hearing to decide whether or not to proceed to trial. Bert and Flo probably pled guilty and paid the fine. They didn’t serve any time in jail as far as I can tell.

In 1931 Bert was again in court for the same reason, as seen in this amusing newspaper article:

newspaper_cainbert_SheboyganPress1931_10_01

I could find no case specific to this time period for Bert. Again, it doesn’t appear that he actually went to jail for any of these offenses, and probably paid another fine.

Bert and Flo continued to operate their saloon until 1933 when an unfortunate and terrifying event occurred:newspaper_cainbert_ODNW1933_03_16p1

The article mentions a daughter Leona [age 17], this would be Florence’s daughter from a previous marriage. This incident didn’t stop Bert and Flo though, they continued to operate drinking and eating establishments as shown in this Billboard magazine news clip from 1941:

magazine_cainbert_newnightclub

As to their prostitution related activities, the length of time of their involvement is not clear. I can find no record of either Bert or Flo being brought to court for them, at least in Oconto County.

We don’t know how much of this activity Gertrude was aware of. But my guess is that it is this brother and sister-in-law whom she didn’t much associate with.

  • This is a link to the court hearing for James and William, with testimony. Makes for some interesting reading.
Advertisements

August 6, 1944 William Shepard to parents…

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1944_08_06_p01

1704 W. Broadway
Enid, Oklahoma
August 6, 1944

Dear Mother & Dad:

It has been several weeks since I have written. Have been very busy. As a f’rinstance I flew 18 hours last week. I am now finished with my first phase. Tomorrow, monday, I start instruments, radio and night flying.

I am getting fatter than a pig. I weigh 190# now. I eat to darn much. I was turned down for fighter pilot because of heigth so It dont matter so much. Ill try next for attact aviation. If the war keeps on at the rate its going Ill never

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1944_08_06_p02

get any combat experience in Europe, Well It’ll be at least 6 months yet.

Kenny sure is growing. He is much taller and heavier. He is pestering me now. Ill be happy to get him and Susan home. I know he is anxious to see his trains. Thanks ever so much for getting them. He also enjoys his tinker toys. Goes to church sunday also. Some  boy. Sue is also growing. Her head is almost healed.

Lois has been having a few headaches lately. I think that she needs her glasses refitted.

It has been unbearably hot lately 100 to 105 daytimes. Thank gosh it can’t last much longer. Ill be here in Enid until September 7th, or 8th.

Ill probably go either to Waco Texas

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1944_08_06_p03

or to Altus, Oklahoma. Ill get multi-engine training.

Lois & I have been getting out a little now. We have a  crowd here. Pennochle playing deluxe. We went out last night & saw ‘Gaslight” with Ingrid Bergman & Chas Boyer. It was O.K.

Well Ill close & wish you good fishing. I don’t get to write much so Ill try & get another letter out in a week or so.

Have a good time in Canada.

Love
Bill

July 15, 1944 William Shepard to parents…

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1944_07_15_p01

1704 W. Broadway
Enid, Oklahoma
July 15, 1944\

Dear Dad:

Everything is going fine so I thought that I would write a letter. This finishes my second week here in basic. I have had about all the actual flying I will get. From now on its instrument flying and cross-country and night work. Im getting along fine.

The weather here is hot as blazes although we have a cool place to stay. I fly 6 days a week. It is a pretty long day but I dont have to study evenings. We go swimming a lot. K. W. likes it fine. Sue is beginning to. Ill be happy if we can always find as nice a place

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1944_07_15_p02

as this to live in. Enid is a bit smaller than Muskogee but better laid out. The air base is 4 miles south. We take turns driving. I have a B card and need it too. The oldsmobile only gives 12-14 miles to the gallon. It needs an overhaul. On a trip I get 16-17. It is a club coupe and we can pack all our belongings in a rear seat & put the matress in them. The trunk is empty when we move. It is nice and roomy well Ill close and mail this Ill write again soon.

Your son
Bill

June 10, 1944 Lois Shepard to in-laws…

 

301 N. 26th St.
Muskegee, Okla.
June 10, 1944

Dear Dick —

Have expected to hear from you again. Haven’t gotten the Saturday mail yet – so maybe there will be a few letters from home today. They have been few and far between.

The news of the invasion was a relief wasn’t it. I’m afraid it will take a while but I’m glad it has started. We got as a car – the ’39 Oldmobile $700. It needs a little work but much better than the Studebaker which is still advertized for $300 now & has to be sold by Sunday. That was just a story to get rid of the thing quick. The car we have has loads of space to pack things. It is a coupe – & no seats in the back but room behind the front seat for Bills & my trunks & a place for Kenny to sit. We could even fix a bed back there for them. Then the trunk is plenty roomy also. It is black & looks very nice. Radio-heater-clock. Tho they all need a little work done on them.

Bill had to fly this morning as it rained

[pg. 2]
Thursday all morning. He will be home at noon today tho. He had O.D.[?] Wednesday of this week, so we thot we’d have the whole weekend & here he has to fly this morning. Bill had his 40 hr. check then 40 hr. re check – he’s still in – tho he had me worried again. I refuse to worry any more.

Sue is taking her morning nap but it is about time for her to get up & I’ll have to get the kids cleaned up as we’ll have to take them to town with us.

We wanted to go out tonite but Sat. nite is the only nite Mrs Kelly goes out so we’ll have to wait. Maybe tomorrow nite.

Sue is awake so I’ll close –

Love
Lois.

Fred W. Hamm vs. Carrie Hamm…

3126324382_e3ddcb7502_z

Julia Caroline (Carrie) Amundson and Frederick Wilhelm Karl Emil Hamm about 1903.

It is a miracle.

I have finally found proof that Fred Hamm and Carrie Amundson were married! All I can say is keep on trucking with newspaper research and the story will out. And, as usual, I wasn’t even looking for this, I was actually trying to find out what happened to Fred’s daughter Margaret, whom he had with Emma Steinbach.

I finally cracked the nut on Margaret, but this beats all. There in the July 28, 1910 issue of the International Falls Press newspaper was a notice for a summons to court for the case of  Fred W. Hamm vs. Carrie Hamm. Further investigation gave me a divorce date in July of 1910 in Koochiching County, Minnesota.

Now I know why I couldn’t find their divorce record earlier, I only knew of two possible counties to research: St. Louis in Minnesota and Taylor County in Wisconsin. Neither had any record of a divorce for them. It didn’t occur to me to check the county where he lived with Emma in Minnesota.

 

newspaper_hamm_courtsummons1910

Fred had left the state by 1909ish and went to Montana for a very short while, probably to just disappear (he is in the 1910 census there which was taken in April). By July of 1910 he was back in Minnesota, in Koochiching County, where he was divorced from Carrie. Notices had been appearing in the paper since March.

The case file is very short. There is a complaint and a judgment, just 6 pages.

judgment

But these 6 pages give me the vital information I have been looking for these many years. Julia Caroline Amundson (I finally have her proper name)  and Frederick Wilhelm Karl Emil Hamm were married on the 24th of February in 1903 at Moose Lake, Carlton County, Minnesota.

Because the notices for the court case were appearing in the International Falls paper, I had serious doubts that Carrie would be in court, she lived in Duluth, and she wasn’t. I don’t currently know if any of these notices were appearing in the Duluth papers. However, from the complaint submitted by Fred, maybe she wasn’t going to appear regardless.

V
That on several occasions, since the marriage of plaintiff [Fred] and defendant [Carrie] the defendant in this action left the home of plaintiff, without any cause, and plaintiff sought her and brought her back. That on October 20, 1908, or about that date, the defendant disappeared from the home of plaintiff, leaving him and the little child above named, and has ever since that time, and still, is living apart from plaintiff and their child. That defendant has ever since the date last mentioned wholly deserted and abandoned plaintiff and kept her whereabouts unknown to plaintiff or their child, and has never returned to the home of plaintiff or to the home of plaintiff’s parents where the child of plaintiff and defend is being cared for and provided for. [So, Myrtle is now with her Hamm grandparents in Medford.]

VI
That defendant seems to possess no love for her child, the issue of the marriage of plaintiff and defendant, and has wholly disregarded, without any cause or provocation, her duties to her husband and child, and has wholly abandoned each of them since October 20, 1908, and has and still does concealed herself from them and kept her whereabouts unknown to them.

This was definitely a marriage with problems, and I believe that some of what Fred is accusing Carrie of is true.

When Fred appeared in court in November of 1908, after having been arrested for non-payment of child support, the newspaper article mentioned that Fred was complaining about also paying for support of her son John Gustafson, who had been living with her parents before they died. I find no evidence in later records that Carrie took care of her son John. And, Carrie does not appear to have made much effort to keep in contact with her daughter Myrtle after she was given to her Hamm grandparents to raise in Medford, Wisconsin. Admittedly, this supposition could be false. I just don’t have enough evidence to know how exaggerated the accusations are, and probably never will.

Here is another interesting newspaper article I found recently regarding the non-support case in 1908:

newspaper_hammfred_1908MNchildsupport

 

According to this newspaper version of events, it appears that my great great Aunt Lydia, was named as a source of contention in the marriage as early as 1908.

The judgment for divorce was entered in the record on July 19, 1910 (Court date was the 12th). Fred went on to marry two more times. Carrie never married again, and spent the rest of her life in Duluth working as a laundress or house cleaner in local businesses and private homes. They had been married for 7 years.

I am quite happy that I can finally mark this question off my list of things I want to know.

Whatever happened to baby Margaret and other tales of woe…

I have made sporatic attempts over the last few years to find out what happened to Fred and Emma Steinbach Fischer Hamm’s daughter Margaret Dorothy, with no luck. (Margaret was my grandmother Myrtle Hamm’s half sister.) And the fact that she is a she has made it harder. Recently I made another stab at solving the mystery by using the Minnesota Newspaper digital hub, where more and more Minnesota newspapers are being digitized. It was there that I learned something new about Fred and Emma, and, using that information, was able to, probably, solve the mystery of Margaret.

Apparently, when Fred married Emma in 1912, she brought two boys from her previous marriage into this new family: Herman and Martin Fischer.  This discovery was made when I found the attached article from a Minnesota newspaper.newspaper_hammfred_fatalshootingMN1913

The article tells the story of how Herman Fischer, age 11, was accidentally and fatally shot by his younger brother Martin, age 9.

While Fred had been a ner’do well in life, he also had his share of tragedy. He lost two siblings when he was young, a brother and a sister. His first child with Carrie Amundson, Amelia, died just over the age of 1. His youngest son, Clarence, was only 8 when he was killed in a car accident caused by his wife’s brother (this would be his third wife Emma Paugel Hamm Hamm*), and his eldest son Raymond died in Africa during WWII.

Herman wasn’t Fred’s son, but the loss of a child in the family, and in such a manner, would have been shocking, and devastating, none-the-less.

Sadly, the fate of Margaret Dorothy Hamm appears to be no better, as she seems to have died at the age of 18, in 1933.

Using clues from Ancestry.com regarding Emma, and now knowing about her two sons from her marriage to Fischer, I have been able to determine that Emma, after her divorce from Fred in 1918, was married to Charles Green for a while and then later Sam Dougherty. (She died in 1947 as Emma Dougherty.) In the 1920 census I found Emma living with Charles Green, along with her son Martin, and daughter Margaret. Both mistakenly listed with the surname Green. Margaret, however, appears to have kept the Green surname. Martin after that census stayed a Fischer. So it was with these new clues that I was able to find Margaret in FindaGrave, where she is buried with her mother and step-father.

Until I get her death registration, cause of death at this time is unknown.

Below is the only identified picture of Margaret in the family collection.

3215414829_9d063d448a_z

 

*NOTE: Emma Paugel married George Hamm, Fred’s brother, and had several children with him. Then she ran away with Fred, and her children, and divorced George. She married Fred about 1930. So she is Emma Paugel Hamm Hamm. Not a typo.

Would you like a little shave with your surgery?

 

Most of my ancestors had pretty traditional jobs like farmers and merchants, some were in specialized trades like doctor, blacksmith, or weavers. So I was quite intrigued when I came across a barber.

When we hear the word barber today we, of course, think shave and a haircut, maybe even a little tooth pulling, if jokingly recalling rumors of old.

Ellis Barron is one of those ancestors I ran across while trying to fill in some of the surname lines in my Fay tree. Frankly, there isn’t all that  much we do know about him. But, his probate includes an inventory taken of his estate when he died in 1676. In this inventory is found barber’s instruments:

record-image_3QSQ-G9DL-FPX4

Of course the first thought that pops in my head is Sweeney Todd and his lady friend’s nasty meat pies. But that is the stage. However, in real life these barbers did engage in some pretty gross practices along with, yes, tooth extractions, there was: blood lettings, enemas, wound surgery, boil lancing, and digging out hangnails, ingrown hair or nails. Apparently they even preformed the service of castration.

The barber-surgeon was a profession that had been around for a very long time, lasting into the early 1800s. If you are interested in learning more, here are two links to a little history of the barber and the barber pole, and I am sure you could find more:

http://wordinfo.info/unit/3364/ip:17
https://io9.gizmodo.com/5965741/how-barbers-became-surgeons

Ellis also had in his inventory a slave by the name of Shippio. It is thought that he might have been an assistant of Ellis’ in the barber trade, but we don’t know for sure. Shippio was given to Ellis’ wife, Ann, when he died and she willed the barber items to Shippio when she died. Other’s have tried to find out what happened to him, but nothing has been found so far.

… also the Negro servt I leave to my wife, and desire her to have a care of him that he may suffer no wrong …

So the next time I go to the dentist or doctor, I will be very thankful that they have the awesome skills they do to do their job right, so my hairdresser can just focus on my hair.

 

No date [aft March 1944] William Shepard to parents…

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1944_nodate_p01S.O.G.A.F.P.S.(P)
S.A.A.C.C.
San Antonio, Texas

Dear Mother and Dad:

Here I am again, in a barracks. All the fellows are swell. Its just as if I was a G.I. (dogface) again. We all live together, eat and march like O. C. S. Only it is easier. Not too easy. The meals are swell here. Best since Pendleton. Up at 5:15 and quit at 5:00 we also have plenty of calisthenics, running and sports.

Looks as if I would get through, at least I feel like it. Just saw “See Here Pvt. Hargrove” its a scream and the best army picture

 

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1944_nodate_p02

that I have seen. See you when you get the chance.

Tell Herman Ill write him soon. I hope to get some pictures of you all soon.

Well Ill close and give you a chance to write. Do. Give my regards to everyone

Love
Bill

A little side project…

I haven’t really been doing much genealogy lately. Which is also why I haven’t posted any thing other than letters on my blog for the last month or so. In the summer there is a tendancy to do less research, as I find I would rather enjoy the weather, way more than I want to sit inside and analyze data, and work on brick walls.

But I have started one project that has been on the back burner for a while, and that is scan in all the individual images from my ancestor’s photo albums. The whole pages are currently on my flickr site, but I wanted to scan the images separately. I have 4 of these albums and they are taking a tediously long time to scan, but each image will be at least 8x10ish in size and 600 dpi. I have also been uploading them to my flickr site in their own album as I go.

One and 1/2 albums are done. I will be working on this project over the next two weeks. Hopefully I can finish it, but as I said, it is taking a tediously long time.

So far this is my favorite picture:

36015809902_8dc87267c6_z

This is my grandmother Myrtle pouring tea for her friends at her outdoor tea party. Sometime in the 1910s. I think she looks adorable in this picture.

 

UPDATE: August 4th – ALL DONE! Well with those 4 albums anyway. I still have others to do. But one bite at a time.

April 29, 1944 William Shepard to parents…

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1944_04_29_p01

2413 Elgin Ave
Muskogee, Okla.
29 april, 1944

Dear Mother and Dad:

Ill dash you off a letter and eat. I awoke late this morning and have written a ream of letters.

It is still cool here. The wind is always blowing. I wont know how to fly in calm weather when it comes, if it does.

The flying is coming along O.K. I have 5 hours 40 min. now. I will probably solo when I get about 10 hours. It is so strict now that Ill be lucky to get through. If I should happen to wash out, Ill call Lois and have her come down for a short visit, as I will

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1944_04_29_p02

probably go overseas right away. If I don’t, then you folks can come down and bring K W and Susie. Do you think that would be okay? If everything goes as planned, you all will be coming out about July 1st.

No news of any importance so I’ll close.
All my love
Bill