July 7, 1945 William Shepard to Lois and parents…

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1945_07_07_p01

July 7, 1945

Dear Louie & Dick & Dad & Family,

Had a pleasant trip out, arriving without any delay at 11:00. I have the week-end off before starting training again. It seems as if I was wrong about giving over right away. We will be here 10 weeks and then it will be a while before any-thing happens. Ill tentatively advance the date to the 1st of October.

I stepped off the plane into a pile of sand. That is Tucson, a big pile of sand. The base is real nice the food is out of this world. Ill probably weighed 250# by the time I leave here.

The radio has caused some comment and I’ve been offered $40 for it already. It sure works good out here. I can get a dozen

letter_shepardw_to_shepardwr_1945_07_07_p02

s dotations.

Tell herman that I looked for trousers and they had no 38″ waists. The PX is very small here.

P.S. Davis-Monthan field was named after two tucson boys killed in the last war. A bit out of the ordinary in names for a field.

P.P.S. They will never name a field after me.

 

Advertisements

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.

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