Tag Archives: Fort Leavenworth

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.

Source:

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.

Violations

Schwartz, W. B. - Violations, 1908

Violations:

(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.

Source:
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

LAWYER BECAME COUNTERFEITER; IN UNITED STATES PRISON
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

Source:

“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).

 

Letters Received

Schwartz, W. B. - Letters Received, 1907-1909

W. B. Schwartz also received quite a few letters from family during his time at Leavenworth. The letters were mostly from his daughters, sisters and brothers.

Source:

Letters Received, 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.

Letters Sent

Schwartz, W. B. - Letters Sent, 1907-1909

Most of the individuals on this list are relatives of W. B. Schwartz:

His daughters: Mrs. Portia Davis and Roberta Schwartz

Some of his siblings: N. F. Schwartz, Henry A. Schwartz, Mrs. Sophia S. Spring, Mrs. Sevilla Sheneman

A brother-in-law: Samuel Yeagerlehner of Upland, California

A few lawyers: Horace Smith, G. Otto, H. J. Everett and Joseph Kealing (the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted W. B.’s case)

Source:

Letters Sent, 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.

Fingerprints and Measurements

Schwartz, W. B. - Fingerprints

Fingerprints of William B. Schwartz, taken at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1906.

Schwartz, W. B. - Measurements

Body measurements and biographical information of William B. Schwartz, taken at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1906.

Source:

Fingerprints and measurements, 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.