Saturday, May 20, 2006

Fleenor Recaptured!

May 20, 1907
Los Angeles

Night jailer O.L. Gilpin thought the man in the drunk tank looked familiar—and indeed he was. Despite passing himself off as George Thompson, it was our old friend James G. Fleenor, otherwise known as the “barefoot burglar,” who walked out of a San Francisco jail en route to serving a prison term at San Quentin and hopped a freight train to Los Angeles.

“I was fair about the whole thing,” Fleenor told The Times. “When the officers left here I told them I would escape, but they were not bright enough to realize I meant what I said. When they placed me in that cell in the San Francisco station, I walked about and inspected it. Awaiting my time, I pried open the door.

“Walking out, I met an officer and he stopped to talk. I was in an awful hurry but I did not let him know it and after he had talked to me for a minute I walked out of the driveway, took a car and went directly to the railroad yards. The first freight train I saw pulling out I swung onto.”

Fleenor denied that he returned to Los Angeles because of a woman, Mrs. B.J. Byres of 1669 Tennessee St. “She is attractive, but has figured in police circles before, they say,” according to The Times.

Officer Ray Robbins saw Fleenor at 1 a.m. Sunday on Santa Fe Avenue near 9th Street and found him carrying a roll of blankets and two iron bars. Fleenor pretended to be drunk, but Robbins ran him in for stealing the blankets.

Fleenor tried to escape from officers as the patrol wagon pulled into the Central Station on 1st Street, but he was captured at 1st and Broadway and offered no further resistance.

Placed in the drunk tank with 100 others, Fleenor attracted Gilpin’s attention. Gilpin pulled Fleenor’s mug shot and handed it to him.

“Did you ever see that man?” Gilpin asked.

Fleenor shook his head.

The Times said: “Gilpin grasped the Negro’s hand and shook it, saying: ‘You are pretty smooth, old boy; but I know you, Fleenor.’ ”

Upon being notified that Fleenor was in custody, Sheriff Hammel said: “I am the happiest man in Los Angeles tonight.”

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mullen in Bad Plight

May 18, 1907
Los Angeles

William Mullen, a black strikebreaker for the Pioneer Truck Company, was delivering a shipment of lumber when he realized that he had lost some of his load and retraced his route to look for it.

At the Southern Pacific railroad crossing at Alameda and 2nd streets, Mullen noticed some lumber leaning against a shack belonging to a railroad flagman named Caulfield, who was presumably white. Mullen asked Caulfield if there was more of his lumber inside the shack and Caulfield said no.

Mullen challenged Caulfield, knocked him to the ground and began kicking him when Patrick Connelly, a union teamster for the Water Department and also presumably white, intervened, although it’s unclear whether he was trying to stop the fight or to aid Caulfield.

With one blow, Mullen knocked Connelly to the ground and as he fell, Connelly struck his head on a rock and died.

The Times said: “ would seem that William Mullen was very much surprised at the result of his blow. He appeared to be wondering at it still while the story was being retold yesterday.”

There’s no photograph of Mullen, and The Times’ description is problematic to say the least: “The big Negro’s eyes rolled restlessly during the proceedings. He seemed perplexed as if the story told by various witnesses was strange to him in some respects. The death of the man he is accused of killing remains, perhaps, incomprehensible to him.

“The testimony yesterday indicates that the defendant is bad-tempered and brutal, and that he was careless in a little scrimmage which took place on May 14 at 2nd and Alameda streets and also that his strength was a dangerous possession for such a man.”

Mullen was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. Bail was rejected for Mullen pending his appeal, despite a petition to the court stating that he supported 14 people and that Pioneer Truck Company was ready to rehire him. His conviction was upheld in 1908 and he apparently served his term at San Quentin.

* * *

Henry Flynn, a butcher, pays a fine of $250 ($5130.89 USD 2005) in lieu of 250 days in jail for beating a horse to death. The jury recommended leniency because the horse balked.

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Your Loyalty Is Flattering

Now aren’t you nice? Two weeks after the Dahlia books went back to their cave deep beneath the Nevada Test Site, people are still visiting.

Shout out to:

Hon Industries, Muscatine, Iowa (


Tohono O'odham Utility Authority

Tigerville, S.C. (

Enclave Apartments, Jacksonville, Fla. ( 20 hours., 23 minutes, 40 seconds

Disney ( Windows 2000? Upgrade!

Googlebot (

Adelphia subscriber in Fullerton, Calif. ( 49 visits!

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

To the Moon Alice!

May 17, 1907
Los Angeles

The Le Canns continued their spat in court after Mrs. Le Cann showed Judge Chambers a piece of skin she said was torn from her lip when her husband, Fred (also listed as Ferdinand), shoved her as she was calling the police.

“He threatened to kill me and I’m afraid to death of him,” she testified.

The husband cross-examined the wife (apparently that’s how things were done in 1907), demanding: “Who gave you those diamond earrings you were wearing that day?”

Mrs. Le Cann refused to answer and the quarrel resumed until it was squelched by the judge in dismissing the case.

In the meantime, Charles Richmond was fined $40 ($820.94 USD 2005) for beating his 18-year-old wife and is facing a trial June 5 on charges of disturbing the peace.

“The husband cross-questioned his wife yesterday while she was on the witness stand. He tried to make the woman admit that he has been kind and attentive to her,” The Times said. “She was poorly dressed and seemed to fear the man. She declined to testify in his favor and the court found Richmond guilty.”

* * *

Anna Larson of Boyle Heights pleads not guilty to slashing a burro with a knife... J.W. Church is fined $10 for speeding after he struck stenographer K.M. Spooner with his auto at 3rd Street and Broadway... M.J. Lester is fined $10 for beating his son Rial, 13, so badly that he was covered with welts and had to be treated at the Receiving Hospital. The Times identifies Lester as being black.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Mason Opera House

Those Sporting Ladies!

Los Angeles
May 15, 1907

Curious neighbors noticed recently that a large number of well-dressed women have been taking the streetcar to the end of the line at 54th Street and South Central Avenue while still others are arriving in automobiles. Upon investigation, Patrolmen Walsh and Murphy discovered that the women are gambling on horse races at a bookie joint set up next to the Ascot Park billiard parlor in a vacant lot surrounded by a high board fence.

Owners J.W. Carr and W.J. Murphy restricted the clientele to women, so police had a difficult time obtaining evidence, but finally officers raided the place and found 50 stylishly dressed women playing the ponies.

“The proprietors of this little scheme were pretty foxy. If there were any drinks served—and you can bet there were a few—they were served by trusted employees. No men were found within the enclosure and none was allowed in with the exception of a few regular employees of the place. It made it hard for us to secure evidence,” one officer said.

The Times said: “The officers took occasion to tell the women present that they had no business to be wasting their husbands’ money and scored them roundly for frequenting such a place. Then they announced that they were not going to detain the women and there was a rush to get out of the place.”

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