Tag Archives: Fort Leavenworth

The Warden’s Reply

Schwartz, W. B. - 1915-03-05Letter transcription:

United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas
Carbon Copy for the Files

March 5, 1915

Mr. James A. Refferty,
Bureau of Investigation,
N. Y. City,

Dear Sir:

In reply to your letter of the 3d instant regarding the correspondence of William B. Schwartz while in this institution, I beg to advise that he received no communications from Julius Hochfelder. On June 18, 1906, however Schwartz received a letter from his brother H. A. Schwartz, Loudenville, Ohio. This may possibly be the H. Swarts you have reference to.





Letter from Warden, R. W. McClaughry, to Jas. A. Rafferty, Chief of Bureau of Investigations, 5 March 1915, William B. Schwartz, Prisoner no. 5476; Inmate Case Files, U. S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas, 1895-1931, Record Group 129; National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri.

Bureau of Investigation

Schwartz, W. B. - 1915-03-03Letter transcription:

Municipal Civil Service Commision
Of the City of New York
Municipal Building
Centre & Chambers Sts.
Bureau of Investigation
New York, March 3, 1915

Federal Prison,
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.


William B. Swarts (Schwartz), of Indianapolis, Ind., was convicted of counterfeiting, xxxxx November 26, 1906, and sentenced to serve five years in Leavenworth Prison.

Will you kindly advise the Bureau if your records show whether a Julius Hochfelder, or H. Swarts communicated in any way with the prisoner while under your care.

I am anxious to obtain this information and would appreciated the courtesy of an early reply.


Jas A. Rafferty
Chief of Bureau of Investigation

Recd. H. A. Schwartz, Bro.
From Loudonville Oh.
June 18-1906


Letter from Chief of Bureau of Investigation, Jas. A. Rafferty, to Warden, R. W. McClaughry, 3 March 1915, William B. Schwartz, Prisoner no. 5476; Inmate Case Files, U. S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas, 1895-1931, Record Group 129; National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri.

Curious Events

Schwartz, W. B. - 1910-08-15 Letter from Warden, p. 1August 15, 1910.

To the Chief Post-Office Inspector,

Washington, D. C.

Sir: –

December 14, 1906 I received into this penitentiary one William B. Schwartz, sent from Indianapolis, Indiana by the United States District Court of Indiana to be imprisoned four years in this institution for counterfeiting. He was discharged on expiration of sentence December 25, 1909, and he returned to Indianapolis. Since that time he has tried to get into correspondence with a number of prisoners here who are supposed to have some money and to secure fees from them.

Not long ago, the Department of Justice had occasion to make investigation of some contraband correspondence that was going on between some of the guards of this prison and outside parties, connected with an attempt to smuggle morphine and other drugs in for the use of the prisoners. One of the prisoners in our charge is one named James Manuel, who has some money in the hands of banking institutions in Oklahoma from whence he was sent. One or two of the guards got him to sign checks on this bank account, which they succeeded in collecting and for which they brought in contraband articles to him. The investigation connected with these cases brought out the facts that a prisoner named James Albert Rhodes #6252 was carrying on this correspondence through a guard who was promptly dismissed.

Schwartz, W. B. - 1910-08-15 Letter from Warden, p. 2[page 2]

Chief P.O.I. #2.-

Rhodes’ active partner on the outside was a woman known as Nellie Dove, or Nellie Cain, who had been a partner with Rhodes in some counterfeiting operations in Colorado; had been convicted with him in the United States Court and had served a sentence of one year and a half, or such a matter, in the State Prison of Colorado as a United States Prisoner, while Rhodes was sent for the same offense for five years to this prison. As soon as she was released she sought to get into communication with Rhodes, with whom she is very much infatuated.

In investigating the case, we found among her papers the enclosed two letters, – one written to her on July 6th by William B. Schwartz from Indianapolis. This is the same Schwartz that was here in prison; also one written to her July 14th, both having for their object the release of “Bert”, who is Rhodes above mentioned. They We also found two letters written to James Manuel, and these two letters are signed by Schwartz under the name of Geo. Manuel. It seems that Schwartz had been carrying on a contraband correspondence with Manuel through one of the guards who were discharged, and also getting money out of Manuel in various ways, and it had probably occurred to Schwartz that Mrs. Dove would be a good hand to operate through, consequently you will notice in the enclosed letters that he is conferring with her about Manuel. She wrote another letter to Manuel and was making quite free with him in the correspondence line when she discovered that Manuel was a black negro, there-upon, her ardor somewhat cooled and the deal is substantially broken up; but it has occurred to me that a careful inspection by officers of your Department, assisted by these letters, might

Schwartz, W. B. - 1910-08-15 Letter from Warden, p. 3[page 3]

Chief P.O.I. #3.-

show that Schwartz in using the mails for fraudulent purposes, and put a stop to his career in that line, as it seems one penitentiary sentence has not been sufficient to cure him.

I submit them therefore for your consideration, asking that if you do not find anything in the matter worthy of further investigation, that you will return these letters to me as I wish to keep them in the files for possible future use. There is no doubt that Schwartz is a thorough paced scoundrel and will be using every opportunity to practice fraud wherever it will bring him money.

I will be glad to co-operate with your officers and furnish them any further evidence that we may come across in progress of the investigation which is now being made by the Department of Justice.


Encls. 4.-


Letter from Warden R. W. McClaughry to Chief Post Office Inspector, 15 August 1910, William B. Schwartz, Prisoner no. 5476; Inmate Case Files, U. S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas, 1895-1931, Record Group 129; National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri.


Letter from Record Clerk

Schwartz, W. B. - 1910-01-11 Letter from Record ClerkCOPY

Jan. 11, 1910.
Major R. W. McClaughrey,
Warden, U. S. Penitentiary,
Leavenworth, Kansas,

Sir: –

Referring to Mr. R. V. LaDow’s letter of the 8th., inst., asking for information as to how William B. Schwartz, #5476, was discharged on Dec. 25th., 1909, instead of Jan. 9th., or later, I have to say that I find in figuring the date of sentence the clerk at the time took the date the Commitment was certified to (Dec. 11, 1906) instead of the date of the sentence Nov. 27th., 1906.

The mistake was discovered and corrected but evidently no corrected card was sent to the Superintendent of Prisons.

Previous to the ruling of the Attorney General, (July 1, 1906) that in the absence of any expression in the Commitment as to when the term of imprisonment shall begin, that is be construed to begin on the day of arrival at the Penitentiary, the time as figured from the date of sentence.

Having been sentenced Nov. 27th., 1906 for (4) four years, his full time would expire Nov. 26th., 1910. His good time term, Dec. 25th., 1909.

As to the $10.00, fine will say that as the prisoner was not commited by the Court, this Institution could not hold him for the payment of said fine.

Very respectfully,

Record Clerk

Letter from the Record Clerk to Warden Robert W. McClaughry, 11 January 1910, William B. Schwartz, Prisoner no. 5476; Inmate Case Files, U. S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas, 1895-1931, Record Group 129; National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri

Letter to Superintendent R. V. LaDow

Schwartz, W. B. - 1910-01-11 Letter to R. V. LaDow from Warden
January 11, 1910.
Mr. R. V. LaDow,
Supt. Prisons & Prisoners,
Washington, CD. C.

Sir: –

Replying to your letter of January 8, 1910, relative to the discharge of William B. Schwartz, #5476, beg to say, that I referred your letter to the Record Clerk, and enclose herewith his statement with regard to the case. I have also investigated the records and find that his statement is correct. The Record Clerk on duty at the time the prisoner was received, made the error of fixing the commencement of sentence at December 11, 1906. The mistake was evidently discovered and corrected by a future Record Clerk, but he omitted to send a corrected card to you. The short term of the prisoner expired December 25, 1909, and he was properly discharged on that date. The original card and the corrected one are also herewith enclosed for your information.



Letter from Warden Robert W. McClaughry to Prison Superintendent R. V. LaDow, 11 January 1910, William B. Schwartz, Prisoner no. 5476; Inmate Case Files, U. S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas, 1895-1931, Record Group 129; National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri

Letter to Warden

Schwartz, W. B. - 1910-01-08 LetterDepartment of Justice,
Office of the Superintendent of Prisons and Prisoners,
January 8, 1910

Mr. R. W. McClaughry,
Warden, United States Penitentiary,
Leavenworth, Kansas.

Dear Sir:

In your list of prisoners discharged during the month of December 1909 appears the name of William B. Schwartz, Register No. 5476. Your entry shows that he was discharged on December 25th ‘by expiration of sentence.” The Department’s records show that Schwartz was convicted at Indianapolis of counterfeiting and sentenced December 11, 1906, to imprisonment for four years and fined $10. That he was received in your institution December 14, 1906, and that his term began December 11. The original record card furnished by you shows his “short term” to expire January 9, 1910, which I figure now to be correct. This does not take into consideration his fine. If he did not pay his fine and his commitment required that he be held for non-payment, he would of course be held thirty days additional.

I should be glad to learn how you came to discharge Schwartz on December 25th instead of January 9th or later.

R. V. LaDow

Superintendent of Prisons.

Referred to Record Clerk U.S.P.
R. W. McClaughry


For more information on Robert W. McClaughry and R. V. LaDow, there are papers and books available online:

This book has information on Robert W. McClaughry and his methods while he was Warden at Leavenworth.


R. V. LaDow was the first Superintendent of Prisons. He served from 1908-1915. Letters and correspondence between LaDow and McClaughry can be found at the National Archives.

Letter from Prison Superintendent R. V. LaDow to Warden Robert W. McClaughry, 8 January 1910, William B. Schwartz, Prisoner no. 5476; Inmate Case Files, U. S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas, 1895-1931, Record Group 129; National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri

Letter from the Warden

Schwartz, W. B. - 1910-01-01 LetterLetter transcription:

January 1, 1910/
William B. Schwartz,
Attorney at Law,
Rooms 1-2 143 E. Washington St.,
Indianapolis, Ind.

Sir: –
I have read your letter of the 31st, to Louis Horthy, #6320, and he requests me to inform you that he has made other arrangements and is already represented by an attorney, and desires to go no farther with you in relation to his case, and that you mis-understood him if you understood that he wished to engage your service.


Letter from the Warden on behalf of Louis Horthy, 1 January 1910, William B. Schwartz, Prisoner no. 5476; Inmate Case Files, U. S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas, 1895-1931, Record Group 129; National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri.

Letter to Mr. Louis Horthy

Schwartz, W. B. - 1909-12-31 Letter

Letter transcription:

Indianapolis. Ind. Dec. 31, 1909
Mr. Louis Horthy 6320
Leavenworth Kas. U.S.P

Dear sir:

As requested I have employed a competent Atty. here, Mr. Morgan in connection with whom I am working, regarding your parole case and other legal matters in connection there with but as I will have to go to Mansfield and Loraine Ohio it will incur considerable expense. We would have to exact a retainer and expense fee of $100 and we will act promptly in your case. We can then advise you fully. You know that we fully understand all about your case.

We will write you fully as soon as I hear from you which you had better attend to at once

Yours Truly,
Wᵐ B Schwartz – Atty. at Law
Rooms, 1 and 2
1346 E. Washington St.
cr.of Morgan
Indianapolis, Ind.


Letter to Mr. Louis Horthy, 31 December 1909, William B. Schwartz, Prisoner no. 5476; Inmate Case Files, U. S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas, 1895-1931, Record Group 129; National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri.


Schwartz, W. B. - Violations, 1908


(1908) Oct 20 – Refusing to work – I told this convict to get a shovel and load cinders, he said he could not do it as he was not able to do anything, he would not try. (Stephenson) P117 Solitary 10 – a.m. Released 7-45 on Oct 22.

This prisoner #5476 W. B. Schwartz has been reported the 2nd time in two days for refusing to do the light kind of work, shoveling cinders in carts. He was taken before Dr. Yohn who states he is able bodied and can do the work.
(signed) F. H. Limon [?] Dpy War-

(1908) Oct 19 Refusing to do work assigned to him. This man refused to do the only work that I could assign him to and give for his reason that he was not able to do this work (Dellinger) R116 Rep & Ex.

Violations, William B. Schwartz, Prisoner no. 5476; Inmate Case Files, U. S. Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas, 1895-1931, Record Group 129; National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri.

Lawyer Became Counterfeiter

W. B. Schwartz of Indianapolis, Inventor of Visible Typewriter

His fortune dissipated in an effect to perfect a typewriter which he had invented, and driven to desperation by the need of money to support an insane wife and two grown daughters, William B. Schwartz, a prominent attorney of Indianapolis, Ind., resorted to counterfeiting when his practice failed to bring in a sufficient revenue and now he is in the United States penitentiary to serve four years for counterfeiting. He is 47 years old. He arrived Friday morning with a bunch of convicts from Indianapolis, Ind. Schwartz was arrested last May and put up a pitiful pleas to obtain his freedom, but failed.

The product of Schwartz’s mold consisted chiefly of 50-cent pieces and they were the nearest perfect of any that ever came under the notice of the secret service men in Indiana. For over a year the spurious coins had worried the United States officers, both on account of their being difficult of detection and the trouble in ascertaining their source.

It was by mere chance that suspicion was directed toward Schwartz, bue [but] even then it was a year before the officers were able to obtain convicting evidence against the lawyer. In the meantime, while he had not grown reckless in putting the coins into circulation, the fear of detection had grown less and less, so that, when the officers arrested him in his office as he was bending over his desk engrossed in some legal work, the surprise was so great he gave a shriek, like a wild animal at bay.

His arrest was the culmination of all his woes, and for a moment Schwartz seemed on the verge of losing his reason. When told quietly that indisputable evidence had been obtained against him, there was little difficulty in getting the man to admit his guilt.

Coins in His Office.

A search of his office revealed a number of counterfeit coins, which it was almost impossible to distinguish from genuine. Schwartz had a method of taking away the “newness” by the aid of an electric battery. This he had fitted up at his office and he had just “finished” a run a short time before he was arrested. It was found later that he kept his molds, which were of his own workmanship, at his home where he cast the coins to be finished up at his office.

It is believed that Schwartz did not market his product in Indianapolis, but that he had dealings with large gangs of counterfeiters in other parts of the country.

At one time Schwartz was well-to-do, owned considerable property, had a good law practice and was well known in a wide circle of acquaintances. Then he became interested in typewriters. He conceived the idea of a “visible” machine and, after long labor and much expense, took out a patent and made an effort to market the product. He then found that the machine had many imperfections and drawbacks and he set about removing them. He was of a mechanical turn of mind and spent much time in his workshop. It was while thus engaged that the foundation was laid for his counterfeiting. In making patents for his typewriter he learned the art of making molds and one day one of his workmen jokingly remarked how easy it would be to make molds for counterfeiting coins. The workman showed him just how it could be done and they talked about it for a few minutes and then returned to the work in hand.

His Troubles Grew.

The typewriter business did not prosper, and about this time Schwartz’s wife became mentally deranged. He employed the best physicians he could find and sent her to sanitariums in an endeavor to cure her, and this expense, together with the losses he had sustained on his typewriter and the failure of his practice through inattention, made it necessary for him to give up his home. Still further pressed, he was forced to sell his patent, and it was not long until he did not know from one day’s end to another where the next day’s meals were coming from. It was then he turned to counterfeiting.

Schwartz’s wife is in an asylum and his daughters are crushed by the disgrace and shock of their father’s exposure. One of them said that had they known of his dire need for money they would have helped him in some way, but that he had always provided for them without complaint and that though they knew he had lost heavily in investments, they were not acquainted with his real need. – Leavenworth (Kan.) Times


“Lawyer Became Counterfeiter; In United States Prison,” Commercial Stamp Trade Journal 16 (January 1907): 7-8; digital images, Google (http://www.google.com : accessed 23 April 2014).