Saturday, August 08, 2009

Alcatraz Prisoners

There were a number of early prisoners at Alcatraz Island that were arrested on charges of "sodomy" while in the military. Their arrests occurred in either Hawaii or Panama Canal Zone and, for some unknown reason, they were transferred to Alcatraz just after it was switched from a military prison to a Federal prison. It's inconceivable to me that these men, who were first time offenders and soldiers, were put into a maximum security prison. Here is the information as I have it. They are in order by the prisoner numbers.

#1. Frank Lucas Bolt - Frank was born in about 1907 in Virginia. The first record we have of him is dated April 21, 1910 when he was just three years old. The US Federal Census has no record of parents at his home in Hiawassim, Pulaski, Virginia. Instead he lived with a cousin, a seamstress for a private family, by the name of Ellen Kemp. Ellen was 37 years old, had married within the year (although her husband was also not present) and had never had children of her own. She, as well as her parents, were born in Virginia suggesting that the Bolt family had probably been in the state for some time. Also in the household was 16-year-old Mollie Childress who is listed as "companion" to Ellen. Such a relationship status is unheard of in a Federal Census record and was not one of the authorized relationships given to the enumerators to use. Mollie was also born in Virginia, was unemployed and was not attending school. She most likely helped around the house and with the raising of Frank.

On June 26, 1920 Frank is living in Pine Creek, Carroll, Virginia. He is no longer living with family, but is now the 12 year old servant of a 49 year old man named Charles Dorvane (the last name is difficult to read in the original record). Charles is listed as a widow, and although Frank is noted as his servant under "relationship", the occupation for both was given as "teamster". Although only 12 years old, Frank did not attend school that year and it seems that he did not receive a formal education during his childhood.

By April 15, 1930 he was in the army and a member of Battery "E", Ld. Coast Artillary and living at Fort Sherman in Cristobal, Panama Canal Zone. No additional information is given, census records were sparse when it came to military personnel, but this would most likely be the location were Frank was arrested for sodomy in 1932. According to the warden's notebook for Alcatraz, Frank's five year sentence began on Jan 24, 1933 in Honolulu. He arrived in Alcatraz from USADB Pacific Branch on June 19, 1934 with a parole hearing date of September 25, 1934. His minimum sentence was scheduled to end September 3, 1936 and his maximum date was January 23, 1938. He had no detainers and no prior criminal record.

On May 10, 1936, four months before the end of his minimum sentence, he was transferred to USP McNeil Island in Washington State. He had been at the countries most maximum security prison for just one month shy of 2 full years. Frank has the prestigious honor of being inmate #1 for Alcatraz Island, the first ever prisoner of the official national maximum security prison.

#4. Joseph Constantine Harrison - The 1930 US Federal Census list two men named Joseph C. Harrison at Schofield Barracks on Oahu Island, Hawaii. Both were born in West Virginia and only two years apart (1907 and 1909). Unfortunately, there is no way to know if this was a clerical error (and there was only one man) or if they were actually two separate individuals. However, in either case we know that Joseph was sentenced to five years in prison for sodomy on February 27, 1932 in Honolulu. He was transferred to Alcatraz from USADB Pacific Branch on June 19, 1934, he was 27 years of age. He had a parole date of October 28, 1933 which he clearly did not pass. His minimum sentence date was August 18, 1935 and his maximum date was February 26, 1937. Interestingly he was discharged two weeks early on July 29, 1935. He had no ditainers and no known prior criminal record.

#6 Clyde F. Hicks - Clyde Findal Hicks was born in Granville County, North Carolina on September 5, 1910. His father was Robert Lennis Hicks, a cropper at a general farm in Durham County (1920 US Federal Census), and his mother was Sallie Ann Crabtree. On April 13, 1930 he is listed as a soldier residing in Barracks #158 at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. On August 7, 1931 he was sentenced to six years in prison for sodomy with a parole date of August 7, 1933. However, it seems that he did not pass that parole for on June 19, 1934 he was transferred to Alcatraz. Although he wasn't as noisy as some other inmates, he was put into Lower Solitary on December 3 and 4, 1934 for "for conveying a note from one prisoner to another". Two other prisoners were put in Solitary that day, and stayed in much longer, for causing a ruckus and planning an escape. The note may have contained information concerning this plan. He had a minimum sentence date of August 6, 1937. Clyde, despite his solitary confinement, seems to have otherwise been on his best behavior, he was discharged on his minimum sentence date, August 6, 1935. He had no detainers and no known prior criminal record. A Clyde Hicks of Boonville, North Carolina married a girl named Mary Wolfe of Mt. Airy on December 19, 1936 by Minister C. W. Russell. The witnesses were the ministers wife and daughter. Clyde died in Durham, North Carolina on December 5, 1993 according to his Social Security record.

#9. Alan Whitney Hood - Alan was born in about 1909. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment on December 1, 1932 in Honolulu for sodomy. He was received at Alcatraz from USDB Pacific Branch on June 19, 1934 with a scheduled parole date of August 2 (for which he declined to file). His minimum sentence was scheduled to end June 28, 1936 and his maximum date was November 30, 1937. He had no detainers and no prior criminal record. On June 15, 1936 he was transferred to USP Leavenworth.


#10. Frederick Lasalle Hulme - Frederick was born in New York in about 1900. In the 1930 (April 15) US Federal Census, he is listed as a soldier living at Schofield Barracks Military Reservations on Oahu Island, Hawaii. His father is listed as being born in New Jersey and his mother in Nebraska. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment on November 24, 1930 in Honolulu on charges of sodomy and false enlistment. He was transferred to Alcatraz from USADB Pacific Branch on June 19, 1934 with a scheduled parole date of June 24, 1935. His minimum sentence date for release was July 28, 1940 (having lost 30 days good behavior while in Honolulu) and his maximum date was November 23, 1945. In December of 1935 the 30 days he had previously lost of good behavior were restored and on March 17, 1936 he was transferred to USP McNeil Island in Washington.

#12. Charles E. Johnson - born in about 1911, making him the youngest of those listed on this page. He was only 23 years old when he arrived at Alcatraz (when the photo above was taken). Like many of the others here, he was listed as living at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii in the 1930 US Federal Census. Charles was sentenced to five years in prison for sodomy on November 28, 1931 with a parole date of July 29, 1933 which he declined to file. He was transferred to Alcatraz from USADB Pacific Branch on June 19, 1934. He has a minimum sentence date of March 30, 1935 at which time he was discharged. He had an original maximum date of March 30, 1935 at which time he was discharged. He had an original maximum date of November 27, 1936. He had no detainers and no known prior criminal record.

#20. Angelo George Paris -Angelo George Paris - born Sept 6, 1900. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison (the longest sentence of all of those listed here) for sodomy on Jan 8, 1931 with a parole date of Feb 12, 1934, which was denied. His minimum sentence date was April 13, 1937 and his maximum date was Oct 12, 1940. He had 88 days of good conduct credits forfeited during his time in the military but 35 days were restored on Dec 21, 1936. Angelo's page in the warden's notebook is the only one that states the reason for transfer as well as other highly detailed information:

Reason for Transfer: Subject is a military prisoner serving 10 years for sodomy and was transferred here from the Army June 19, 1934. He is a moron and may not have wit enough to go straight but his confinement at Alcatraz will do a lot to constrain him. Former Institution Rule Violations: The report from Disciplinary Barracks rated him as "poor" showing reports for disobedience of orders , disorderly conduct, and forfeiture of eighty-eight days good time. (Was in solitary confinement on various occasions)

Criminal History:
2-6-22 ---- Arrested by PD Jersey City, N.J. Chg: Carnal abuse; no other data;
3-10-22 --- Arrested by PD Jersey City, N.J. Chg: Assault;
Sentence: 1 year in County Jail; no other data;
10-28-26 -- Arrested by PD Jersey City, N.J. Chg: Sodomy;
Found guilty of indecent assault; Sentence: -
1 year in County Jail; no other data;

Medical Exam: Syphilis secondary, Physically able for manual labor;
Neuro-Psych:- dull appearing man of low intelligence, lacking in ethical and moral sense; He is a married man of the Protestant religion and has a sixth grade education; Since early manhood he has been in conflict with the law because of his abnormal sexual traits; Is not especially interested in future; He had shifting occupational adjustment working as farm hand, clerk, timekeeper, trucker, etc.

Angelo was discharged April 13, 1937 with transportation furnished to Trenton, N.J. There are several men named Angelo Paris that lived in the United States between 1900 and 1940 however the vast majority of them are clearly not our Angelo Paris. There is however one possible match. On April 5, 1924 a man named Angelo George Paris (the same full name as ours) married a Miss Evelyn Ethel Wright (1909-1997) in Bellows Falls, Windham, Vermont. The couple had at least two possible children - Clayton in 1924 and Chester in 1926. At first glance it seems that the only matching information here is the name and approximate age. The fact that this family lived in Vermont, was a primary reason to assume that he was not the same individual. However, records of a genealogist studying Evelyn Wright notes that Angelo married a 2nd time (date not given) and had a daughter named Dorothy who was born in Jersey City, NJ. At the moment we do not know her birth date but her son is noted as having been born in 1939 giving an approx birth date for her of 1920 when Angelo was 10 years old. We have not yet confirmed this information, however it does make the possibility that these two men, both named Angelo George Paris, both approx the same age, both living in Jersey City, NJ in the 1920's - are one and the same.

#21. William G. Payne - born circa 1905. He was sentenced to five years in prison for sodomy on November 16, 1931 with a parole of July 17, 1933 which he declined to file. He was transferred to Alcatraz from USAPB Pacific Branch on June 19, 1934. His minimum sentence date was March 15, 1935 and his maximum date was November 15, 1936. He had no detainers and no known prior criminal record. He was discharged upon expiration of his sentence on March 15, 1935.

#23. Leo Prokopf - born Jan 19, 1907 in Altenbruch, Germany. His father was Ludwig Prokopf. He seems to have lived his entire early life in Altenbruch, as he also gave that city as his last permanent address. When he was 19 he resolved to move to the United States. He received his visa (#41670) in Stuttgart on September 23, 1926 and boarded the SS Derfflinger in Bremen, Germany on October 23, 1926, arriving in New York City on November 3. On the ship manifest he noted that he was a "Baker" and planned to join his cousin, Alma Stadler, in Milwaukee. He gave her address as 1753 5th St., Milwaukee. His physical description at that time was given as 5'9", fair complexion with brown hair and blue eyes.

Alma Stadler was born in Wisconsin in October 1899. Her father was Frank Staddler, a tinman, born in Germany in July 1860. Her mother was Amelia, born in Germany in February 1868 and immigrated to the United States in 1882. She also had several siblings, all born in Wisconsin - Amelia, born March 1889; Frank Xavier, born January 28, 1892 in Milwaukee; Theresa "Tessie" born March 1896; and Rose born 1902. In 1920 Alma was working as a stenographer in a law office and her sister Rose was working as a dental assistant. This was Leo's family in America, whom he had probably never met before arriving in 1926.

On April 15, 1930 he is listed in the US Federal Census as a member of Battery "C", 2nd Coast Artillary at Fort Sherman Post, Cristobal District, Panama Canal Zone. He is listed in that record as age 23. According to the Social Security Death Index he died in Nov 1976 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His social security was issued in Wisconsin before 1951, his Social Security number was 398-09-4752.


He was sentenced to five years in prison for sodomy and escape on January 12, 1934. He was transferred to Alcatraz from USDB Pacific Branch on June 19, 1934 with a parole date of September 12, 1935 which he did not pass. His minimum date of sentence was September 22, 1937 with a maximum date of January 11, 1939. He had no detainers and no known prior criminal record. He was transferred to USP Leavenworth on August 8, 1936.

#54. John Golebrowski - convicted of sodomy. His name has also been spelled Goleboski.

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These first criminals - with the exception of Angelo Paris - seem to be far less violent with little to no previous criminal history. The following prisoners are a different story. Some seem to have been extremely violent and a much higher caliber of criminal. Fewer of these may have been homosexual.

#72 Charles Richard Krug - convicted of sodomy.

#76 Louis Zuckerman - convicted of "sodomy & assault".

#111 Hubert Alexander Grindle - convicted of "sodomy & manslaughter". Hubert was born in Ohio in about 1904. His father was also from Ohio, his mother from Indiana. On April 5, 1930 he is already a prisoner at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He listed his occupation as "Cook", this may have been his work detail while in prison. LaFayette Thomas was listed on the same page.

#149 LaFayette David Thomas - convicted of "sodomy & manslaughter" and was considered to be an escape risk as he had previously escaped from Fort Mason on July 1, 1927. LaFayette was born in Indiana in about 1907. His parents were both from Kansas. On April 5, 1930 he is back in prison, according to the US Federal Census of that year, he is an inmate at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He gave his occupation as "Shoe-maker". This may have been his work detail while in prison. He was put into Lower Solitary from January 22 to 25, 1936 for "verbal attacks made to officers". According to graffiti in Alcatraz, he had left his prisoner number "#149" in Cell 51, Cell block A.


#183 Walker Harris Wiggins
- convicted of "sodomy, assault, theft and escape." Walker was born in Texas in 1908. In the 1930 US Federal Census, he is listed as a soldier in the 12th Field Artillary, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Bexas, Texas. He was 22 years of age. His parents were both born in Texas.

#365 Harold June - convicted of "sodomy & attempt to commit sodomy" on a "Govt Reservation".

#475 William Burman - convicted of "sodomy, assault & attempted"

#664 Leray Dohrman - convicted of "sodomy, assault & attempted escape" from ESP Leavenworth

#731 Thomas Cartwright - AWOL, sodomy, disobeying officer - army prison - conditional release 1953.

#732 Robert Cummings - sodomy, assault (Military) & attempted escape (Civil) from Chillicothe Army prison

#1055 Kethel Osborne - The only personal information that I have found, so far, on Kethel, is that he was African-American. An army prisoner, he was charged for assault, disobeying officer & sodomy. On October 27, 1955 he filed an appeal against E. B. Swope, warden of Alcatraz. "The application alleges he had exhausted his administrative remedies in the military practice and therefore he is entitled to have considered his contention that he had been tried by a general court martial, a member of which previous to the trial had "threatened" Osborne, "promising to find him quilty, irrespective of the evidence", and hence he has been denied due process and the military court was without jurisdiction to try him. Johnson v. Zerbst, 1937, 304 U.S. 458, 467-468, 58 S.Ct. 1019, 82 L.Ed. 1461.

On February 6, 1964 Kethel filed an appellant suit against J.C. Taylor, warden of Fort Leavenworth, regarding the calculation of his good behavior and whether calculations should be based on army regulations or civil. The appeal was denied on March 2. The record gives a history of his time in prison. - "Appellant was in the United States Army and on active duty when he was court-martialed and sentenced to a dishonorable discharge and to be confined at hard labor for three years. While serving this sentence in military custody he committed another offense, was court-martialed and sentenced to confinement for six months at hard labor. Later he was convicted of a third offense, this time by a general court-martial, and sentenced to confinement at hard labor for eight years. The total sentences were eleven years and six months. After the general court-martial appellant was transferred from the military prison to the Federal Prison System and ultimately to the United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth.
"

#1063 Daniel Catalano - assault to commit sodomy & sodomy - army prisoner

#1209 Robert Radcliff - sodomy & assault - army prisoner

#1269 Joseph Bright - murder, rape, assault with Intent to commit sodomy (military) & attempted escaped (Atlanta) - army prisoner

#1293 Severo Reyes - rape, sodomy & assault with intent to commit bodily harm (5 counts), theft, threatening with violence & fraternization - army prisoner.

#1298 William Jenkins - armed robbery, sodomy on "Govt Reservation". Transformed to Washington DC Jail 1963

#1307 Derotha Flynn - assault & sodomy - army prisoner. The only record that I can find of anyone by this name - was one DeRotha Lee Flynn, born November 11, 1931 and died July 14, 2008. There is a great deal of additional information on his family from his obituary, but as I'm not sure that he is the same person, I will omit it here.

#1429 Henry Harris - rape, sodomy & robbery - army prisoner

#1561 Paul Benson - sodomy (Alaska) - army prisoner

4 comments:

Paco833 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paco833 said...

Hi ran across your Alcatraz blog. Very interesting take. I've been doing reasearch for a novel about Portland,Oregon rackets 1950-60. Another history researcher asked me about Alcatraz inmate #1439 L. Fred Talbot. He waas in for a prob violation and tax evasion round the same time as Mickey Cohen. The name is bugging me. Ive heard it somewhere...where??? Do you have any info?

Ed Eberle
www.distantplanet.net
beach833@gmail.com

Lorne Armstrong - 222830 said...

The early military convicts on Alcatraz were already there when it was a military prison. When the prison was transferred to the Department of Justice in 1934, those men were left behind because they were disciplinary problems. So sodomy alone would not get a person sent to Alcatraz when it was a federal prison.

Gata Nonymous said...

How can I find out more about Hubert Grindle inmate #111 ? He's my father's uncle and they didn't talk about him much.