Tuesday, May 22, 2018

David John Abel: Long Criminal Career

David John Abel was born 2 Dec 1910 in Asotin, Washington to Leora Betha Zimmerless 1884-1972 and David Jesse Abel 1873-1928. In the records I searched Leora was called Ethel, his father on some records show John David Abel, but a Family Tree has his middle name as Jesse.

Davids Mother Leora Betha Zimmerless

Leora And David had 13 children I know of:

Elmer Abel 1897-
Minnie Abel 1902-1984
Thelma Myrtle Abel 1904-1988
Ida Velma Abel 1905-1978
John David Abel 1910-1992 *
Madress L "Madge" Abel 1912-1991
William Henry Abel 1915-2006
Norman A Abel 1916-1960
Violet L Abel 1919-1982
Manford Byron Abel 1921-1987
Martha GAy Abel 1923-2000
Roberta Margaret Abel 1926-2008

This list may not be 100% accurate. Both his parents were married multiple times.

David John Abel was married at least twice, his first wife he married 27 Jul 1930, in Garfieled, WA. Gladys M Dickinson.
I believe they divorced according to his prison record which states divorced. His second wife he married 25 Jun 1969 in Clark, WA, She was Gretchen A Chapman.

I found one child that was on a prison record listed as closest relative. Delores M Kelly living in Idaho.

David John Abel's criminal career started in 1926 and went to at least 1950.

22 July 1926 he was #4283 for forgery and placed in the Washing State Training School in Chehalis, WA (Reform School). He continued his behavior for almost the rest of his life. He was placed his first time in Prison on 1 May 1932 as Inmate #2325 in Walla Walla State Penitentiary For Grand Larceny. He was in the Idaho State Prison at least twice, Folsom State Prison in California, Oregon State Prison, Montana State Prison.

He was pardoned once in Idaho. Here are his prison records I found, I will place them in order of years.

1932 Inmate #4036 Asking for a Pardon Idaho State Prison

1940 Inmate # 6108 Idaho State Prison asking for a Pardon

1934 Inmate #  Montana State Prison 3 year sentence

This list's most but not all of his criminal career

1948 Inmate # 7249 Folsom Prison at age 36

I notice as I was researching that none of the family trees have any of his criminal records attached. They either don't known or don't want others to know. I personally would attach everything, I am not going to live forever and I would want my family tree as complete and accurate as possible. I do have a criminal in my tree and his mugshot and criminal record are attached. I am not ashamed.

David John Abel died the 3 Nov 1992 in Pomeroy, GArfield, Washington at the age of 81.

His FAG # 153177953 He is buried at Pomeroy City Cemetery

May he rest in peace the demons are gone.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Henry Rhoads Meeks "Bud": Robbery & Escape

 This story is right out of a true western movie, with outlaws like Butch Cassidy who was a friend of Henry Rhoads Meeks known as "Bud" and on occasion ran together.

Elmira Ann Mecham and Henry Rhoads Meeks
Henry Rhoads Meeks was born 9 May 1869 in Utah to Henry Rhoads Meeks Sr 1840-1921 and Elmira Ann Mecham 1844-1919.

On the 12th day of July, 1896, at 2 o’clock in the afternoon Henry Meeks age 26 with three men rode into the town of Montpelier,  Getting away with some $7,000 in cash.
Cassidy’s later success as a train robber and resourceful dodger of the law makes it obvious that he was the brains behind the Montpelier bank robbery. The escape from the posse was by a ploy Cassidy would use later after a train robbery near Price, Utah, on April 1, 1897. In both cases Cassidy had staked out extra horses on the escape route so that the horses of his pursuers were outrun by fresh mounts. Henry Meeks claimed to be with on the train robbery according to newspaper accounts.
Idaho State Prison Record

Idaho State Prison Mugshot

He was one the third child of 10 known children born in the Meeks family.

Elmira Ann, Henry Jr. and Mary Elceta Meeks

Elmira Ann Meeks (Nuttall) 1866-1927
Lydia Elizabeth Meeks 1868-1868
Mary Electa Meeks (Jones) (Lipsey) 1871-1928
Samantha Louise Meeks (Wortz) 1873-1948
William "Billy" Charles Meeks 1875-1952
Louis "Lute" Edward Meeks 1877-1953
Jonathan "Jock" Josiah Meelks 1879-1945
Joseph " Cul" Culbert Meeks 1881-1959
Bringham Lafyette Meeks 1883-1950
Marion James Meeks 1886-1951

They were all Mormons.

Mary Electa Meeks 

Samantha Louise Meeks

Louis "lute" Edward Meeks

Jonathan "Jock" Josiah Meeks

Joseph "Cul" Culbert Meeks and familyu

Bringham Lafayette Meeks and wife Martha Thompson

Marion James Meeks

As I was digging for more information I found a newspaper clipping stating Henry "Bud" Meeks escaped from prison. He was eventually captured but what it didn't tell me was he had gotten injured and had a leg amputated, I found that in a later newspaper clipping. See below.

The Idaho Statesman (Boise city, Idaho) 25 Dec 1901, Wed Page 5

Meeks, the Montpellier Desperado and PAl of “Butch” Cassidy, Makes a Dash for Liberty’’’’’Three Determined Guards on the Trail.

Henry Meeks, alias “Bob” Meeks alleged pal of “Butch” Cassidy the notorious train robber, sentenced form Montpelier for robbery, escaped from the penitentiary at 1:30 o’clock yesterday afternoon and has not been captured. Meeks was sent up for 35 years by Judge Standrod on September  7, 1897, but his sentence was reduced to 12 years by the board of pardons last August.
The prisoner’s dash for liberty was the most daring that has ever occurred at the penitentiary, and while it is believed his freedom will be of short duration, his method of escape shows the desperate character of the fugitive, He was a sem-trusty at the penitentiary and in the first grade, and had he remained in prison he would received his liberty in December 1904.
Meeks, with six other prisoners, were engaged in some repairs at the hog house outside the prison walls, and while assisting another prisoner to unload a wagon made his escape. He unhitched one of the horses of the team and without waiting to remove the harness gave the animal its “head” and made a break for liberty. His daring escape startled the other prisoners and it required some 20 minutes for them to regain their senses and give the alarm to the authorities.
The prisoners are permitted to carry short bladed knives, and Meeks came into good service after his escape about a mile from the penitentiary, he cut the harness from the animal and left it on the road where it was later discovered by one of the guards. The finding of the harness gave the prison officials the first clue to the direction the escaping prisoner was traveling and may ultimately lead to his recapture. Meeks is unarmed and if he is apprehended before he secures a gun he will be taken into custody without a fight. He is known, however, as a desperate man, and with equal chances with the guards would take his chance of getting his man.
Selam, the horse that Meeks made his escape upon, is one of the best animals in Idaho, and this knowledge was enjoyed by the prisoner.
Warden Arney has notified all the surrounding towns of the prisoner’s escape and photographs and a description of the fugitive will be sent all over the country.

The Escape
The escape of the prisoner was the most daring ever made at the penitentiary. Meeks aandand six other prisoners under guard Burns were at work at the hog house on the prison reservation. Convict George Eden drove up with the prison team to the root house, and Meeks was sent to help him unload the contents of the wagon. When he was completed Meeks walked up to the front of the team and deliberately unhitched Selam from the wagon. Meeks then jumped astride the animal and made his dash for liberty. Several of the prisoners saw him depart but utit was Convict Eden who first gave alarm. He informed Clerk Robert Tschudy that Meeks had got away. A general alarm was sounded and the guards started in pursuit.

Guards In PersuitPursuit

Guards Fulton, McKinlay and Turnkey Donnelly too the trail 20 minutes after the alarm was sounded that Meeks had escaped. The guards were mounted on three fast horses, and armed with a Savage rifle and two Colt revolvers. Meeks took a northerly direction and after traveling for a distance of about a mile, he turned to the left, taking the well known Hillman Trail.Along this trail, the harness which was on the animal when the fugitive started from the penitentiary was found, it having been cut from its fastenings, The harness was returned to the prison and immediately a guard followed in pursuit along the Hillman Trail.
After the finding of the harness the first reliable information received by Warden Arney of the prisoner was at. Guards Fulton and Donnelly had discovered his trail and followed it to the ridge of the mountain, two miles this side of the Delhl Mine. He returned east and then south at the ridge of the mountain, but a heavy fall of snow covered the trail and stopped further pursuit by the guards. At this point the direction in which Meeks was traveling indicated that he was going towards the river.
The two guards found unmistakable evidence along the trail that Meeks was saving his horse, appreciating the fact, no doubt, that the animal was they only thing that could carry him to liberty. At several places along the trail it was found that he had dismounted, leading his horse. Guards Donnelly and Fulton returned to the city late yesterday afternoon, finding further pursuit useless on account of the snow. After securing fresh horses they again took up the chase, going up the river last night.

Prison Record
Henry Meeks prison record has been one of best since the day he arrived there he has been a model prisoner, and recently he was promoted to first grade. He was known at the penitentiary as a semi-trusty, but the guards never relinquished a close watch on him. He was good natured and jovial and quite popular among his fellow prisoners. That he should attempt to escape when he only had a few years more to serve was a surprise to the other prisoners. He would have been released December 6, 1904.

Warden’s Statement
Warden Arney when seen at the penitentiary yesterday after Meeks escape, said he was not prepared to place the responsibility for the prisoner getting away. Guard Burns, he said, was on duty at the time, and claims that the man was on the opposite side of the hog house and could not be seen by him.
“I am now making an investigation into the matter,” said the warden “But before it is completed I do not care to make any statements. I will say, however, that I am making every effort to apprehend Meeks and I belive it is impossible for him to escape recapture. The guards who are after him are able to take care of themselves, and think they will get him in the next 24 hours.”
At 12 o’clock midnight, Warden Arney had received no new information and retired for the night.

Towns Notified
When the news that meeks had escaped was communicated to Warden Arney he at once prepared plans for the prisoners recapture. All towns within a radius 100 miles were notified of the escape and furnished with a description of the fugitive. At Meridian, Star and Emmett, a posse was soon organized and the surrounding country was being searched for some trail but up to a late hour last evening no information was received from those points. Warden Arney also had several hundred pictures of Meeks printed and these will be mailed all the country.

Sentence Reduce
Meeks sentence of 35 years was commuted to 12 years on August 13, 1901, by the board of pardons. This action was largely upon the testimony of several people who attested their belief in the man’s innocence. Letters were received from E. C.  Gary, cashier of the Montpelier bank, Joseph Jones, special agent of the Oregon Short Line Railway, and Alfred Budge, county attorney for Bear Lake County.

Early Life
Henry Meeks is descended from a good Mormon family, who crossed the plains in the early days with Brigham Young. He first saw the light of day at Venable, Utah, and grew to young manhood in that state. He then left the family fireside, and rumor says he fell into a gang of outlaws and became one of their most active members. The leaders of the band of outlaws were McCarty and “Butch” Cassidy, and their depredations extended from the Gulf of Mexico to the British boundary. Meeks associations with their operations has been denied, but the authorities of both Montana and Utah have classed him as a daring individual, who is capable of committing any crime from robbing a bank to that of holding up a train. If the fugitive convict was with the gang at the time of the Union Pacific robbery, he did not travel with them to Jackson’s Hole, their rendezvous after the crime was committed. He must have separated from the band, for he said to have appeared in Idaho a short time later.

Montpelier Robbery
The history of the Meeks case is one of the most exciting in the criminal annals of the state. On the 12th day of JUly 1896, at 2 O’clock in the afternoon, three men rode down the main street of the town, their horses going at an easy lope. Arriving in front of the Bank of Montpelier the men alighted, tied their horses and went into the bank.
At the door they met Cashier Gray and urgently but politely invited him inside. Getting into the bank, two of the men ordered the employees to come out from behind the counter and line themselves up against the wall. They did so, and one of the men heavily armed stood guard over them. Another one of the highwaymen stepped outside the door and watched the street, the other going inside the counter and securing $7000 in cash.
After securing the cash from the bank the daring trio walked out in the street, mounted their horses and were soon riding like the wind out of town. The news of the robbery spread rapidly, and poses were sent in every direction but without result, the chase finally being abandoned.
In June of the next year suspicion attached to Meeks and he was taken into custody. He was tried before Judge Standrod and convicted. He was given a sentence of 35 years, and was brought to the penitentiary, arriving here September 7, 1897.
Meeks friends
When Henry Meeks, alias “Bob” Meeks, was arrested his friends rallied to his support but the prosecution weaved a chain of circumstantial evidence about him that resulted in the jury returning a verdict of guilty.
There were many people in the town of Montpelier who openly stated after the trial that Meeks was a victim of circumstances and did not commit the robbery. Others contended that he was known to have been associate of a gang of daring crooks, and his conviction was a good riddance to the country. Meeks at his trial, while declaring his innocence of the crime charged against him, made no effort to prove to the jury his whereabouts at the time the bank was robbed. It was intimated during the trial and after Meeks conviction that he had been mixed up in the Union Pacific robbery in Wyoming, but, discovered and that he might get a big sentence for the train robbery, he kept silent and made no effort to prove an alibi.

The next newspaper article is about Meeks capture

Taken Into Custody by Guards Donnelly and Fulton on the Boise River. WAS IN CAMP SOME MILES ABOVE MORE CREEK Guards succeed in Trailing Him Without Difficulty--He Surrenders Without Without Making a Show of Opposition Tells Why He Attempted to Secure His Freedom. Henry Meeks, alias "Bob" Meeks, the convict who escaped from the penitentiary Tuesday, was captured at 10 o'clock yesterday morning by Guards Donnelly and Fulton, at a point on the Boise River 10 miles above More Creek. Meeks was in camp when the guards came upon him and he surrendered to the officers without a fight. When surprised and ordered to throw up his hands, he was. a meek desperado, and complied with his pursuers' request. The fugitive had succeeded in stealing provisions and robes from a camp en route and when arrested was prepared for a long campaign. HIS CAPTURE. At 5 o'clock yesterday morning Guards Fulton and Donnelly took up the trail of Meeks, which had been abandoned by them the evening previous. They went up the Boise River, and had only traveled a short distance before they discovered the same telltale tracks of Meeks horse which they had encountered on Monday evening. They followed the trail without much trouble and after crossing More Creek bridge the rest of the journey was quite easy. Fulton and his companion followed the desperado’s trail and after crossing the river they were satisfied that the fugitive’s arrest was not far distant. They had only traveled about a mile when the curling smoke from a fire on the bench attracted their attention. It was only a few minutes later, old Selam, the penitentiary horse was recognized. The man hunters reigned the horses, and within 40 rods of the smoldering fire they discovered Meeks fast asleep. His features were obstructed from view being plied without a murmur. He jumped his feet as the guards approached as Donnelly started to dismount the prisoner started to drop his hands. Fulton tthe second guard, thought he was about to reach for his gun, and gave a command to keep his hands in the air at the peril of his life. ''That's all right" he said, "I am not armed so boys you need not be afraid.”, “ I have had ten or twelve men of all nationalities chasing me, and this quickest I was ever taken in. Donnelly approached the convict cautiously and after placing the handcuffs on him he was soon en route home the penitentiary. Old Selam, the horse that attempted to carry Meeks to liberty, recognized the two guards, and acknowledged their presence by kindly nods and continued neighing. The animal was attached to the buckboard that brought Meeks to town, and prisoners were all glad to see the when he reached the penitentiary. GUARDS' EXPERIENCE Guards Fulton and Donnelly were exhausted yesterday when seen at the penitentiary after their hard campaign "Meeks made no fight," said Guard Fulton, "and when placed under arrest was a most docile prisoner. We asked him on our return trip why he attempted to escape but he had nothing to say. WARDEN JUBILANT Warden Arney was quite jubilant over Meeks' capture when seen at penitentiary yesterday. "I am glad Meeks has been recaptured, for the effect it will have on the other prisoners," said the warden. "I am equally glad that we have Selam back. He is a noble animal and It would be a pity to have the horse knocking around among those who would not appreciate his worth. Meeks says he was good the 'thoroughbred,' and I believe he was, for he shows It. When I told Meeks I was going to have him for horse-stealing he said, "Warden, don't blame you. You have been very good to me, and perhaps you didn't deserve the treatment I gave you.'" MEEKS TALKS "Why did I escape? Well, that's easy," said the 'prisoner yesterday in his cell. "I saw what I believed was a good chance to get away, and availed myself of the opportunity. I knew old Selam, and if anybody could give me freedom it was he. So I took the long chance. It's all off now, and I suppose I will have to take my medicine for the effort that failed. No, I have no complaint to make about treatment while in inmate of the penitentiary. The warden and his assistants have been very kind to me, as well, as to the other prisoners, and what more can a poor outcast expect? I tell you it's hard, 'old man, to time for something you never done, and it rankles in a fellow's breast. But what can you do? Liberty is sweet a man isolated and dead to the and when the feeling comes over you, even with death staring you in the face a lost soul is willing to take the big chance. I took it, but I failed. I am now satisfied, and I will take my punishment like a man." DONNELLY AND FULTON The two guards who successfully trailed Meeks are to be congratulated upon their successful capture. Both the officers worked against great odds and their sleuthing ability is to be commended. Warden Araey paid the men a high compliment when he yesterday, "Good work, and nobly done.” The Idaho Statesman, 26 Dec 1901, Thu, Page 5

This newspaper article came as a surprise to me because they never mentioned he was hurt when they captured him.

Bob Meeks at Home

Bob Meeks, sentenced to thirty-five years for robbing the Montpelier bankis nursing several broken bones at his home near Fort Bridger, this county. When Meeks escaped from the insane asylum at Blackfoot, Idaho, last August he sustained a broken shoulder as the result of a fall from a second-story window. This bruise has cost him no end of suffering since; and he now presents the appearance of a decrepit old man. Lou Meeks, a brother of Bob, was in the city this week and was quite bold in proclaiming the whereabouts of his brother. He says the prisoner rode horseback for about five hundred miles with his broken shoulder. The feat was also accomplished with but one leg, as it will be remembered that Meeks suffered the loss of a leg while attempting attempting to escape from the penitentiary. He is now a total physical physical wreck and the officers claim that it would be inhuman to again put him behind the grated bars. The officers of this county who were serving at the time of the Montpelier robbery were instrumental instrumental in securing Meek's arrest. When he received a sentence of thirty-five years, however, they at once attested their disapproval by openly declaring that the sentence was far too severe. Previous to his arrest Meeks was a fine physical specimen and was considered a man of daring nerve. His aged father and two brothers are ranchers near Fort Bridger, where Bob has spent many happy years. After his leg became amputated the prisoner became insane and was confined to the asylum at Blackfoot.  The insanity plea, however, was evidently a ruse, as events since prove.- Evanston News.
Clipped from The Caldwell Tribune, 07 Nov 1903, Sat, Page 1

I found no newspaper records for the news of his leg being amputated, But what a story, makes me wish I was related so I could add this to my Family Tree.

Mary Electa, Henry Rhodes Jr, Samantha Meeks

William Meeks 1815-1877 Henry Meeks Jr Grandfather

Mary Elizabeth Rhoads-Meeks 1820-1899 Henry Meeks Jr Grandmother

Henry Rhoads Meeks Aka "Bud"

In the end he spent the remaining of his days with his family finally dying 22 Nov 1912 in Evanston, Wy. As far as I know he never married or had any children. He just left a legacy of an Outlaw. 

Here's a Youtube of Butch Cassidy


I wish I had an outlaw in my tree, I do have a convict but I love this story. I can imagine riding the trail with the dust flying up in my face from the horses hoofs while out running the posse behind us, to the piano playing in the saloon and kicking back with my buds. The brothels and the excitement of having that money and spending it on tobacco and a good horse, maybe a new gun. Oh my was I ever born in the wrong era.

Until next time happy treasure hunting.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Chester E. "Chet" Hardesty & James W Starr Get Grand Larceny for stealing horses

Chester E "Chet" Hardesty

Inmate # 725
Crime: Grand Larceny (Stealing horses and sheep)
Received: 7 Nov 1899
Term: 45years
Age: 25
Occupation: Laborer

 He was married to Daisy Marsh (1894-1955) in Silver City, Id 22 Jun 1898

Father was Henderson Lafayette Hardesty (Hardisty) Born 6 MAr 1843 in MO, died aft 1889 in WA.
Mother was Mary Paulina Wilson Born 6 Feb 1848 in Clackamas County, OR, died 20 MAy 1930 in Spokane, WA.

Inmate #214
Crime: Grand Larceny
Received: 30 Jul 1889
Age: 21

James W Starr was born 1873 in California

Inmate # 724
Crime: Grand Larceny
Received: 1899
Term 4 years
Age: 26
Occupation: Farmer 
Discharged: 6 Jan 1903

James W Starr Idaho Prison Record

James W Starr Idaho Prison Mugshot

Boise City, Idaho
Sat, Nov 4, 1899 – Page 5
James W Starr was married to a Hattie M Harris on 3 March 1923 in Kootenai, Id, a possible death date for him of 12 Nov 1927 age 54 in Kern County, CA.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Cornelius B Murphy Saloon Keeper and Murderer

Cornelius B Murphy was born 22 Feb 1858 in Kentucky. While in his 40's he was a saloon keeper in Owyheo County, Id.

In early of 1899 Cornelius B Murphy shot and killed one Joseph Shields and was tried by jury and found guilty.

Inmate # 726
Crime: Murder in the 2nd Degree
Received: 7 Nov 1899 Owyheo County, Id
Term: 15 years
Age: 42
He was Catholic

Cornelius B Murphy Prison Record

Cornelius B Murphy Prison Mugshot

He was discharged 13 Apr 1905

His record shows he was 5'8 1/2 " tall 198 lbs Grey eyes and a boot size of 6 1/2

He died on 22 Mar 1934 and is buried in the Kohlerlawn Cemetery in Nampa, Id

Here's the only newspaper clipping I found.

Here's some more Prison/Pardon records I found on Ancestry

Cornelius B Murphy Death Cert
It states on his death certificate he was widowed, I never found a marriage record or any document with his wife on it. I would assume his father was also Cornelius Murphy. I found no Family Tree or any other information.

So why did he shoot Joseph Shields, I guess we may never know. Sad I always want to know the rest of the story.

Friday, May 18, 2018

William B McGraw Idaho Prison

William B McGraw was born 5 Jul 1859 in Louisville, Kentucky, to Benjamin Ellis McGraw (Unknown Dates) and Mary Anne Mariah Hogue 15 Jun 1833-14 Aug 1907. He was one of four children to this marriage.

He married Fannie Winstead and they had one child, Ida L McGraw born 1 Feb 1890 in Harlan, Ky she died 9 Nov 1985 in Middletown, Ohio and was married to Oxford Lee Downing (1886-1974) on 15 Oct 1903 in Wellington, Ky.

William B McGraw's Daughter

In early 1900 in Latah, ID William B McGraw was tried and sentenced for the rape of Florence Cartwright because she was under legal consent. Here's his story.

Lewiston Daily Teller 27 Jan 1900 Page 1

William B McGraw was Inmate #737
Term: 15 Years
Crime: Rape
Received: 19 Jan 1900 

William B McGraw Idaho Prison Record

William B McGraw Idaho Prison Mugshot

He asks for a pardon and here's the newspaper clipping I found.

Idaho Statesman 12 May 1901 Page 6

Seems he may have been innocent, but he lost everything. In the census records I found he states he is single and a carpenter. Did Fannie divorce him? She stays in Kentucky with her daughter and I found no divorce record or that she re-married. In Census records William states he's single and there is no record he ever married again.

William B McGraw's mother re-married after the death of his father and has two more children with James Burden 1793-1888

Here are William's known siblings:

Annie Elizabeth McGraw (Wells) born 1850
Marcus Luther McGraw 1854-1928
Charles T McGraw 1866-1912

1/2 Siblings known:

Zelma S Burden (Nichols) 1869-1930
George Thomas Burden 1872-1921

William B McGraw at age 70 is living in Caldwell, ID in Odd Fellows Home

He died 4 years after living in the Caldwell, ID Odd Fellows Home at age 75 years old, notice his census and death record state he was single. We may never know the truth beyond this but I am moved by the newspaper clipping that states he was innocent. I researched Florence Cartwright and found nothing on her not even a 1900 census.