Tag Archives: Indianapolis Sun

On Way To Prison

Schwartz, W. B. - 1906-12-13


Eight men sentenced to terms in the United States prison at the last term of the federal court started for that institution at Fort Leavenworth, Kas., Thursday, in charge of United States Marshal H. C. Pettit and Duputies Dave Rankin and Tom Martin, leaving the city at 11:45. The prisoners are William Schwartz, the Indianapolis attorney, sentenced for four years for counterfeiting; John row, one year for making false affidavit as to pension papers; Theodore Linninger, three years, for passing counterfeit coins; Theodore Englebert, of Richmond, one year for taking money from a letter, as an employee of the postoffice; Judson Sturtevant, three years for robbing a postoffice; Alexander Rusilla, one year for counterfeiting; Napoleon B. Livingston, one year for impersonating a government pension officer; Clarence Robertson, one year for forging a money order.

Mrs. Gustave A. Consman, of Terre Haute, true to her husband, who is serving a term in prison for embezzlement, called at the marshal’s office before the officers departed with the prisoners, and entrusted to them a package intended to make her husband’s Christmas brighter.

“On Way to Prison,” Indianapolis Sun (Indianapolis, Indiana), p. 2, col. 6; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 16 April 2014).

Schwartz To Prison

Schwartz, W. B. - 1906-11-27Schwartz to Prison.

William B. Schwartz, the Indianapolis attorney, who was indicted on a charge of coining and passing counterfeit dollars, entered a plea of guilty, and was given a $10 fine and costs, and five years in the United States prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kas., at hard labor. Schwartz pleased his own case, and gave the judge a written appeal for clemency. Judge Anderson was not inclined to show mercy. After Schwartz stated that he had been an attorney for 18 years, the judge replied: “After 19 years as a lawyer you deliberately turned and violated the laws of the country.” He then fixed the sentence.

“Schwartz to Prison,” Indianapolis Sun (Indianapolis, Indiana), 27 November 1906, p. 1, col. 5; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 7 April 2014).

Jail Plot Exposed (Part 7)

Schwartz, W. B. - 1906-09-20, p. 8 (4)

“The men are well treated,” he said. “Their food is good. It is utterly false that Edward Franklin, the night turnkey, has been intoxicated. I know he has not touched a drop in ten years. As to the complaint about the filth, they are expected to clean their own quarters. I announced to them in criminal court, where some of them were arraigned, that none would get a bite to eat until the cells were thoroughly cleaned.

“Yes, Judge Alford asked me about the complaint, and I showed him the evidences of the plot to escape. They made the complaint in order to escape punishment.”

Inspection of Ward.

County Commissioner McGregor and a representative of The Sun visited the jail Thursday, inspected the United States ward, and talked to the prisoners, who were house-cleaning very industriously, by applying streams of water from the hose to the cell floors. They said they were required to mop the floors every morning, but complained that there was a thorough cleaning ordered only once in about three weeks.

“Everything in that letter was true,” said Attorney William B. Schwartz, the counterfeiter, looking through the bars “Our bed-clothing is full of vermin, which is the worst things we have to bear.”

Prisoners Were Beaten

“Is it true that Jack Blake and L. Knauss were seriously beaten because they did not wish to sign the letter” he was asked.

“They were not hurt,” Schwartz replied, smiling, but he admitted they had been punished by the “Kangaroo court.”

Knauss cried when asked about his experience. “The ‘Kangaroo court’ said that I could not have a cot unless I paid for it,” he said, “and after the first night I had to sleep on the floor. They beat me up when I refused to sign the letter of complaint. I was whipped with a strap. Boys, it wasn’t right.”

Court Must Be Stopped.

Sheriff Sourbler is taking strenuous measures to break up the sessions of the court. John Smith and a prisoner named Greeley, two officers of the court, have been confined with the negro prisoners as a punishment, but the men in the dungeon are thought to have been the ringleaders.

Commissioner McGregor suggested to the sheriff that a garbage can be provided for the prisoners and that the cells be washed out oftener. Otherwise, he thought the prisoners had no right to complain, and will so report to Judge Alford.

“Jail Plot Exposed,” Indianapolis Sun (Indianapolis, Indiana), 20 September 1906, p. 8, col. 3-4; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 7 April 2014).

Jail Plot Exposed (Part 6)

Schwartz, W. B. - 1906-09-20, p. 8 (3)Meals for Sunday.

“At this meal the sirup is not diluted. The dinner meal is served at 2 o’clock in the afternoon and is the same as any other day, with the addition of boiled potatoes. No supper is served Sundays. The condition of the table and cutlery used by the prisoners, so far as filth is concerned, is in keeping with the other surroundings. Apparently no attempt is made to removed the corrosive and rusty substance from the cutlery, which time and inattention allow to accumulate.

Men Lost Their Breakfast.

“The occasion of this complaint is the outcome of a long series of the abuses embodied in this letter, and brought to a climax by the further unbearable treatment of the night turnkey in depriving all men in the United States ward of their breakfast, without the slightest provocation, and after he had repeatedly, and without cause, threatened to make life unbearable for all men in this ward. There are men here who are actually starving, unreasonable as it may seem, and unless something is done for the relief of these men the outcome will be serious, in some cases where the men are fit subjects for the hospital.

Ready to Make Affidavits.

“We, therefore, beseech your honor to cause such investigation as you may deem necessary and proper to verify the truth of these statements and to effect a long needed reform.

“Respectfully submitted by the prisoners of the United States ward who stand ready to make affidavit to these and more serious abuses.”

After reading this letter in commissioners court, Thursday, Sheriff Sourbler declared it to be a tissue of lies from beginning to end.

“Jail Plot Exposed,” Indianapolis Sun (Indianapolis, Indiana), 20 September 1906, p. 8, col. 3; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 7 April 2014).

Jail Plot Exposed (Part 4)

Schwartz, W. B. - 1906-09-20, p. 8 (1)JAIL PLOT EXPOSED

(Continued from Page One.)

“Honorable Sir: We, the undersigned beg to submit for your consideration, the following grievances of mistreatment as prisoners confined in the United States war of the Marion county jail, to-wit: First, we wish to call your attention to the fact that the prisoners are refused the proper means of maintaining personal bodily cleanliness, owing to the nonprovision of soap, towels and hot water.

Complained of Vermin.

“Many are compelled to sleep on the bare, damp concrete floor without bedding of any description. Those of the prisoners who are provided with bedding are without one exception reeking with vermin. The blankets furnished are not only filled with vermin, but are positively filthy. The men must use these to protect themselves from the cold, from which they suffer not a little because of lack of sufficient covering. The officials as a whole are indifferent to the requests of the prisoners for the chemicals furnished with which to spray their bedding themselves. The bedbugs, together with the vermin make sleep next to impossible.

Demanded Medical Aid.

“One of the most inhuman acts of injustice which the prisoners are forced to bear and suffer is being compelled to use the bedding of men afflicted with unmentionable diseases, which one is liable to contract at any time. These same men and others suffering from various complaints brought on by lack of food and long confinement have had to wait for days before medical aid could be obtained. This applies not only to the county prisoners, but to the United States prisoners as well. Men who have money to purchase articles of food necessary to regain and maintain their health are refused the same when there is a man who is kept purposely to purchase such articles as the prisoners may be able to pay for, and as the statues provide for under section 6, 118 R. S. of 1881, which is still in force. Even food brought here by wives, mothers and friends has been refused the prisoners for which it was intended.

“Jail Plot Exposed,” Indianapolis Sun (Indianapolis, Indiana), 20 September 1906, p. 8, col. 3; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 7 April 2014).

Jail Plot Exposed (Part 3)

Schwartz, W. B. - 1906-09-20, p. 1 (3)Ringleaders in Dungeon.

After the sheriff discovered the kangaroo court, Monday, he sent Thomas McDermott and J. A. Hardin, well known as robbers, to join De Vall in the dungeon. He had reason to believe that these three men had come into possession of weapons and tools with which to manage an escape, but they denied this charge.

Fearing that a serious plot was on foot, Sheriff Sourbler secured a Winchester rifle and patrolled the United States war Tuesday night. Wednesday night, the sheriff, with a force of deputies, made a thorough search of the ward, and learned that their fears were well founded.

In the cells of the three dungeon prisoners were found two revolvers, saws and other tools sewed in the mattresses on the cots. The prisoners had manufactured clubs from the broken, wooden parts of cell cots, and had hidden the bludgeons under the bedclothing. A large numbers of these clubs were found.

May Be Other Weapons.

The sheriff believes there are other tools and weapons yet concealed and he will discipline the three suspected men until they confess. A careful inspection is now being made of the bars in the various cells, as it is feared some sawing already has been done.

The communication sent by the prisoners to Judge Alford is a most remarkable document to emanate from the jail. It was written by William B. Schwartz, attorney, who has been acting as “prosecutor” in the “Kangaroo court” conducted by the prisoners. Sheriff Sourbler suspects that the letter was carried form the jail by some attorney who interviewed his clients at the jail. In fact, the sheriff believes it is possible that the weapons and tools might have been carried to the prisoners by a visiting attorney. The “round robin” is as follows:

Piece of Jail Literature.

“Indianapolis, Ind., Sept. 17, 1906 –
“To the Hon. Fremont Alford, Judge of the Criminal Court, Indianapolis, Ind.

(Continued on Page 8, Col. 3)

“Jail Plot Exposed,” Indianapolis Sun (Indianapolis, Indiana), 20 September 1906, p. 1, col. 1; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 7 April 2014).

Jail Plot Exposed (part 2)

Schwartz, W. B. - 1906-09-20, p. 1 (2)Judge Alford Prompt.

“I am in possession of a communication from the jail, which, if a part only is true, needs investigation. I have so many cases for trial I cannot investigate it now, but I ask the board to hear evidence and report your finding to me, or report the facts. I do not know that there is any truth in it, but we can not all just treat it with contempt unless we find that the complaints are untrue, and I now ask this board to aid me in the matter.”

County Commissioner John McGregor immediately went to the jail and decided that the complaint of the prisoners was unfounded, except that the sanitary condition of the cells was not as good as might be.

Tip as to Coming Trouble

Sheriff Sourbler received private information last Monday that all was not well in the United States ward, where the most intelligent and desperate prisoners in the jail are confined. He found that some of the cleverest men in the gang had formed what is known as a “kangaroo court,” where prisoners who did not side with them in their schemes, were tried, convicted and disciplined.

Albert De Vall, charged with rape, one of the most dangerous members of this self-constituted court, made a daring attempt to escape from the jail last week, and was successful in dashing to the basement before he was caught and overpowered. For this he was placed in the dungeon.

“Jail Plot Exposed,” Indianapolis Sun (Indianapolis, Indiana), 20 September 1906, p. 1, col. 1; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 7 April 2014).

Jail Plot Exposed (Part 1)

Schwartz, W. B. - 1906-09-20, p. 1 (1)


Bludgeons, Revolvers and Saws Found By Sheriff.



Investigation Disclosed Serious State of Affairs, Said to involve Many Clever Criminals, Who Were Placed in Dungeon.

A most desperate, carefully prepared and widespread attempt at jail delivery by a gang of the smartest prisoners ever held in the United States prison ward of the Marion county jail, has been discovered by Sheriff Edward Sourbler, who now has a set of ugly saws and files, two revolvers and innumerable clubs, the latter made from dismantled cell cots, to show for the seriousness of the plot.

In order to escape the penalties of discovery, the sheriff believes, the ring-leaders of the plot, who are horse-thieves, safe-blowers and other criminals of the worst type, induced Attorney William B. Schwartz, who is being held on a charge of counterfeiting, to draw up a ‘round-robin” complaining of alleged scandalous management of the jail. The leaders secured the signatures of 58 prisoners, addressed the ‘round-robin’ to Judge Fremont Alford, of criminal court, and it was smuggled to the postoffice. Judge Alford received the letter, Thursday, and sent the following notice to the county commissioners:

[to be continued] 

“Jail Plot Exposed,” Indianapolis Sun (Indianapolis, Indiana), 20 September 1906, p. 1, col. 1; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 7 April 2014).

Cline Gives Bond

Schwartz, W. B. - 1906-05-23CLINE GIVES BOND

Clarence D. Cline, of Indianapolis, arrested, Tuesday, by Detective Chauncey Manning, as an accomplice of W. B. Schwartz, arrested on a charge of making and passing counterfeit coin, waived examination before Commissioner Young, Wednesday, and was bound over to the federal grand jury in $500 bond, which was given. The man was released.

“Cline Gives Bond,” The Indianapolis Sun (Indianapolis, Indiana), 23 May 1906, p. 1, col. 3; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 4 April 2014).

Makes Coin Molds

Schwartz, W. B. - 1906-05-22MAKES COIN MOLDS


Schwartz Put Under $1,000 Bail on Charge of Making Spurious Half Dollars.

William B. Schwartz, the Indianapolis lawyer under arrest for counterfeiting, was given a hearing before United States Commissioner Young, Tuesday, and was committed, in default of $1,000 bail. Schwartz made a complete confession at the hearing and wept as he told how he had been tempted to take to counterfeiting as an easy way of getting money. He said he had made and passed about 100 pieces. About half this number has been taken up by the detectives. He said that when he was absolutely in need of a little money he would get rid of a few of the half dollars and then would not attempt it for some time. He has never had a large law practice and his Income from his business was small. Developments of an interesting nature are looked for. The man was finishing one of the coins by an electric process when arrested. He says he has no confederate outside the city.

The prisoner is strong and healthy. The brass molds with which he made the coins molds he made himself, indicate his mechanical ability. He has two daughters who are said to be supporting themselves. His wife is in an insane asylum. The molds were said to be perfect pieces of workmanship. The authorities regard this one of the best catches made recently.

“Makes Coin Molds,” The Indianapolis Sun (Indianapolis, Indiana), 22 May 1906, p. 8, col. 4; digital image, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 2 April 2014).