Saturday, January 7, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: January 7

January 7, 1913 – Two boys, miles away from home and friends, accused of grand larceny in a strange court, without money or a place to turn for help, were sentenced to the St. Cloud Reformatory today by Judge Jelley, who, while expressing pity for them, found no other place to care for them.

The boys were Gordon Raymond and John Taylor. They said they were 18 years old, but appeared much younger. They confessed to robbing the United Motor Supply Company of goods valued at $21. There was also a third boy, but he escaped.

They said they stole to get food. Tears sprang to their eyes as they told of their lives. Taylor lost his mother in 1904 and his father in 1908. They lived in Nashville, Tenn., but the boys drifted to Buffalo, then to Detroit, and to Calumet, Mich., where he met Raymond. Raymond’s home life caused him to decide to leave. Neither had ever been in trouble before.

Having heard that work and money were plentiful further west, they move on. On freight trains they made their way to Minneapolis Dec. 23. They told Judge Jelley that they had pawned their watches and finally the chains to get money with which to buy food. Their search for work continued. They had a meal Christmas day and had breakfast the next morning. There was no money left for food after that and they planned the burglary.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “’When They Hunger Made Us Steal,” Boy Burglars Tell Judge. Strangers, They Can’t Obtain Work and Are Starving When They Commit Burglary. Judge Jelley Pities Crying Lads ad Sends Them to Reformatory.”; Jan. 8, 1913; p. 6.

St. Cloud Reformatory


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