ROY J. SCATES 1929 ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY OF A DETROIT MICHIGAN AREA LAWMAN DETAILING UNCOUNTABLE VIOLENCE AND CRIMES IN THIS SUPERB PROHIBITION ERA FIRST PERSON ACCOUNT
WAYNE COUNTY DETROIT MICHIGAN 1929 Good+ Manuscript
On offer is a sensational 1929 manuscript relic of a fascinating and interesting historical time in American history being a Prohibition Era diary handwritten by renowned police officer, Roy J. Scates, who worked for and at the Wayne Co. Jail in and around Detroit Michigan in the 1920's under Sheriff Ira Wilson. With prohibition in full swing and the Great Depression just beginning and gangsters and mobsters running rampant, this diary has everything one could ask for concerning the state of criminality and crime in 1929 in the great city of Detroit. Al Capone was famous in the 1920's and Bonnie and Clyde from 1930-1934. Organized crime was in full swing in 1929. We note an early newspaper clipping tipped in sets the tone: "113 Unsolved Killings, Chicago District. Chicago and Cook County has 113 murders committed in 1929 which remain unsolved, it was disclosed here today. Of these crimes, there has been no clue to any of the gangster killings. Outstanding among the murders of this type were the notorious "St. Valentines Day" massacre of seven of "Bugs" Moran's crew, who were bullet-riddled after they had been lined up with their faces to a wall in a garage." "The Purple Gang" was also terrorizing Detroit in the 1920's. Another article says "State arrests costs are high. Total of 49,473 prisoners charged to Michigan at $1,965,370." Adding further depth to the handwritten narrative are several newspaper articles pasted to the pages of the diary, most having to do with the different cases he was working on. An extraordinarily violent time in American history, one is still shocked at the amount of violence in this diary on almost a daily basis. The diary opens up with a gun battle on January 9th which ends up killing several. Other crimes: car accidents, rape, beatings, grand larceny, forgery, stolen airplane, murder (lots of those), fugitives, robbery, armed robbery, kidnapping, "body attackment", desertion, gambling, worthless checks, non-support, bastardy, pick pockets, house raids for booze and gambling, drunk and disorderly, raids on "sporting houses", dog bites, suicides, holding a wife prisoner, court martial's, minors escaping from juvenile facilities, transporting liquor, army desertion, and so much more. He also transports lots of prisoners and goes out on patrol. Officer Scrates does a superb job detailing his arrests and warrants with over 1 ½ pages of named persons alone. The list of crimes is prodigious. There are only 19 blank pages, all the rest have entries. Sometimes he only writes "at the office" or "at home" but most of the entries are detailed. Here are some snippets: 1929 "January 9th, At 7:30 P.M. accompanied Chief Deputy Dunn, Mark Baker, Tom Dunnigan to the corner of 21st and Eureka Rd. where a gun battle was staged later on the evening (10: 00 P.M.) resulting in the death of Ambrose Haggerty and the wounding of Deputy Thomas Dunnigan. Dunnigan taken to the Wyandotte General Hospital with a bullet in his lungs. A real estate man by the name of Ralph A. Wood received word that his wife Mae Grace Wood intended to have him murdered to collect his life insurance which amounted to $100,000. This murder was attempted, resulting in the death of Haggerty who came to the Woods real estate office to kill Woods. The car bearing 3 accomplices escaped at the time amid a fusillade of bullets but was afterwards picked up and two of the accomplices arrested. Haggerty, Ambrose L, age 27, 1240 W. Forest Ave. was the name of the man who was the accomplice of William Thompson and Taylor Pierce. This man was slain at Woods real estate office at Eureka R. and 21st St. Wyandotte. Taylor and Pierce were arrested along with Mrs. Wood, later…This case later thrown out of court with no prosecution at a great cost to Wayne Co." "January 30th, 2:00 P.M. On telephone call from Charles Shaller, a real estate man and Spec. Dept. of New Boston, stating that Dr. Grandfield of that place, on this date, had received a threatening letter demanding that the sum of $5,000 be left at the corner of New Boston Rd. and Willow Rd. and that Grandfield should bring it in his car at 7:30 P.M. on this evening. Accompanied by deputies, Moore and Aggee met Grandfield and concealed ourselves in his car and took a package of paper wrapped in a marked $100 bill and drove to the place named at the appointed hour. No one came to collect the money. Arrived home at 12:15 P.M." "February 19th, Investigation arrest of Lutie H. Conley by Detroit Police at request of his wife at Heflin Ala. RFD #6. Conley was arrested February 5th at 954 E. Vernon Highway on warrant for wife desertion from Ala. At this time he was living with a colored girl named Willie Mitchell at above ward place. Conley is a white man and a jeweler at Wright and Kays." "March 20th, 9:30 A.M. Case of Kenneth Davis of Denton arrested December 12th, 1928. Charge Statutory Rape". Complainant, Meldred Newton. Dismissed on request of Asst. Pros. Atty. before Judge Keidam. Afternoon spent in vicinity of the Hettie Bristol School, Redford Township in effort to pick up the drive of a blue Chevrolet Lic. No. 152-450 or 132-400 which had been seen in that locality and whose driver had been trying to get young school girls to ride with him. Interviewed several of them and took description of man. Each girl had a different description to give to us." "March 24th, Answering call from Wayne Co. Jail at 7:00 P.M. Drove to Schoolcraft Rd. ½ mile west of Telegraph Rd. 2 blocks S. of Schoolcraft Rd. Redford Township and fond a Healy Monoplane No. C5716 wrecked and lying on the ground near the plane a lifeless man lay face downward. Identification papers on his person gave the name of John Ralston age 29, 1636 Scotten Ave. Post mortem held on the body at the Co. morgue at 10:20 P.M. Coroner Earl Dr. Ryan. Death caused by cerebral hemorrhage following fractured skull. The other occupant of the plane was Walter Lawrence Knudson, age 28, 8024 Wykes St. who was piloting the plane. Died later at the Highland Park General Hospital." "May 20th, On duty at Wayne Co. Jail. 4:00 P.M. to 12. Drove to 1760 Wabash Ave. S. of Mich. Ave. on warrant from Sheriff Lyon, Cedartown, Polk Co. Ga for Tobe Watson, age 24 wanted for "seduction". At this address they claimed Watson had moved to 1758 (next door) same St. A woman at that address claimed that Watson was at work to the Chev. Motor Co. Holbrook Ave. At the Chev. plant found that Watson's no. was 11609 but he was not at work on this date. He will be arrested by the plant police as soon as he returns for work on his money." "May 29th, 4:06 A.M. received call from Wayne Co. Jail that a man by the name of Sol Rickards, a real estate man of Plymouth had reported to Charles Stone, a Plymouth policeman (Plym. 440) that he had been at the corner of Telegraph Rd. and Warren Ave. at 1:30 A.M. and had seen a car speeding west on Warren Ave. and had heard shooting in it. Claimed that it stopped at Warren and Gully Rd. and possibly dumped out a corpse. I drove down and searched the premises around this place but found nothing. Believe it to have been the back firing of a car." "June 13th, Investigated breaking and entering of Bert Punches, Territorial Rd. 1 ½ miles No. of Plymouth. Punches claims he was robbed of a patent on model of a rifle which he was perfecting for the U.S. Government, also some bows and arrows which he makes. Found he told another man 4 weeks ago, he lost this same gun. Accompanied Zegler, Superintendant of Livonia Township and Deputy Wofran to Rec. Hospital with Della Tomlin, age 34, an insane person who resides S.W. corner of Schoolcraft Rd. and Farmington Rd. Livonia Township. Husband Roy Tomlin accompanied us." "July 9th, Worked on case of Richard Munegar. Recommendation issued by Asst. Pros. Atty, Gage for warrant charging involuntary manslaughter. Judge Schemanski. Drove out and secured information for Asst. Pros. Atty. Gage relative to escape from Detroit House of Correction of Betty Daniels captured some time ago. Examination before Judge Schemanski, 2:00 P.M. July 15th, 1929. Telegram from William Huster, States Atty., Cumberland Maryland, that James Burkhart, age 16, had ran away from that place and was supposed to be staying in an abandoned coaling station along the M.C.RR, 10 miles north of Detroit…" (July 18th through July 28th are blank as he's on vacation.) "July 29th, 11 A.M. Boy, 5 years old, picked up, lost, by L. H. Schoenthal on Telegraph Rd. South of Plymouth Rd and brought to my house. Child was too young to tell where he lived but claimed he left home this morning to go with 5 other boys to the Burns Flying Field. Found boys name was Merlyn Plask and lived on Memorial Ave. 3rd house N. of Plymouth Rd. West side. Schoenthal's is an agent of Novelty Lighting Co. 2480 E. 22nd St. Cleveland Ohio and lives at the Richmond Leland Hotel, Richmond Ind. I returned boy to his parents." "August 23rd, Served Chancery Summons and injunction on John Pizatte, 2959 Evaline Ave. on allowing Hugh Dillon to move onto a store at that address. Walter Duda, age 21, 7603 Geise Ave. escaped at 6:00 P.M. from Wayne Co. Jail. 5'10", 140 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes. Sentenced to 10 to 20 years. Jackson, robbery armed. Girls head and face tattooed on forearm." "September 15th, Took report of William Duperies, age 17, 15431 Mendota Ave. a W. U. delivery boy, No. 248 of Station at Fenkell and Livermore Ave. arrested for theft by Detroit police of Prec. 14, that Ralph Redmond, age 23, alias "FATS" who lives at N.E. corner of Hamilton Ave. and Pasadena Ave. weighs 200 lbs and is a member of the State Guard, and his partner Kenneth Chamberlain, age 20, of 15752 Kentucky Ave. are hold up men and thieves, having stole a canoe from some of the lakes and kept it for repainting in Chamberlain's garage. That Redmond carries a 45 automatic and Chamberlain a 32 automatic pistol. That they travel in Chamberlains Chev. Roadster, a dark grey color with a red wire wheel on the left side and chum around with a girl by the name of Dorothy Babcock, 14877 Griggs St. and also travel with a Russian named "Bill" who resides on Rosemont St. 4 blocks south of Warren Ave. The 3 men planned to rob the Brighton Bank some time ago." "September 21st, Worked on case turned over to our office by Ass. Pros. Atty. Davidson. A 30-30 Cal. Rifle was found in possession of 2 men named Wm. W. Burho (29) and Joe Weston alias Joe Western, alias Frank Stokes, alias Hunkie Joe, who were arrested by officer Foster of the Trenton police on September 18, 1929 at Trenton while driving a Chrysler 75 Coup, Ohio Lic. C-40-668. These men had been running liquor from Ecorse to Hudson St. and La Grange Ave. Toledo. Western's home is in Toledo and he is wanted there for shooting a prohibition agent on July10, 1929. Toledo picture No. 9032. Western escaped from Foster, driving away in his car. Burho is confined in Wayne Co. Jail on investigation. While in Detroit, Western lives in the vicinity of Forest Ave. Parks, gun expert claims that the bullet taken from the head of "Whitey Hall" found murdered in May was fired from the weapon found in possession of these 2 men." "October 8th, Worked forenoon on case of shooting of Demetrius Tolabera, 1479 E. Congress St. Detroit, which took place on Sunday October 6th, 1929. Afternoon took a prisoner named "Wild" to Pontiac to give testimony in a case being tried at that place. Wild had been sentenced in Detroit to 45 to 50 years for kidnapping. Was accompanied on this trip by Dunn, Perin, Pat Dunnigan, Baker, Bacon, etc. Also 2 state troopers. A rumor had spread that Wild would be liberated by some of his confederates who were at large. Returned home at 6:00 P.M. to voting booths and replenished cards to workers." "October 25th, Arrested and brought to court on charge of beating his wife, Peter Evanowski of Magnolia St. Sentenced to 30 days in Wayne Co. Jail. Drove to 120 Parson's St., Catholic Home and picked up Rose Diedzic, age 19 and confined her at the Woman's Detention Division Palace Heights. This girl is to be sterilized being of weak intellect and already having given birth to 3 children." "November 15th, Acting on a letter received by the Detroit times, accompanied by Dunnigan, Baker, Bacon and Chief of Police of Fordson, Brooks, raided a house at 10630 Eagle St. Fordson and took in for investigation the operator, Laura Warner, age 40. Jack Martin alias Hubbell, an Armenian. Dorothy Hudson, age 26, claims home in Chicago and an old man, an Armenian, who could not speak English. Letter stated that a young girl had been kidnapped and was held prisoner at this place." Here a just a few of the names mentioned: Peter Cruikshank, Roy Furtaw, Lennie J. Moore, Walter J. Hatten, Roy Moody, Paul and Dixie Hoosier, Betty Lindberg, Albert Maier, Wilbur La Beau, Otto Klanowski, Lutie H. Conley, William Cady, Abbott Keifer, Jack Bissell, Betty Shaw, Lydia E. Stebbins, Irene Bidwell, John Ralston, Donovan, James Ferrell, Raymond Allison, Harry Sledzinski, Earl Davidson, Angus Gringnon, John Reeves, Jack Watering, Earnest Mitchell, Joe Sowers, William Heath, John Teeter, Daniel W. Twadell, Jack Fiddler, Dorothea Boyd, George Boyd, Howie Boyd, Jenks, Clyde Bently, Jack Tiktimer, Sam Okum Ernest A. Atkinson, Phoebe Patterson, Joe Marlow, Royal H. Lucas and more. The diary is large measuring about 7" x 8 ½" and is 1" thick. There is also a black and white photo of Roy and a flyer showing him holding the gun that supposedly killed Jesse James. The flyer states that Roy was "the last of the remaining fast draw gun artists." Absolutely an outstanding relic of detailing crime at this important juncture in crime and criminality in America. Overall G+.