Sunday, November 26, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: November 26

November 26, 1904 – Orlin Kalderwit, alias Calderwood; John Kolb and Charles Hammond are held at the Minneapolis central police station on suspicion of being implicated in the murder of little Freddie King, who was killed at the time of the holdup at Mingo’s Saloon in Anoka County Tues. night.

Kolb, Kalderwit and Hammond1

The men were arrested at the Grand Central Hotel in Minneapolis shortly after 3 this morning by Detectives Crummy, Brown and Johnson, who, dressed as hobos, had been following them for several days ever since seven holdups in different parts of the city had taken place. The detectives watched the hotel from a building down the street all night. They had made arrangements with the night clerk to give a signal as soon as the men appeared, and about 3 a.m. they came to the hotel.

Four persons who were present at the time of the robbery saw the men this evening, and are positive in their identification, and three others at the central station tonight were almost convinced that the right men have been taken into custody.

At the station they were assigned separate cells and no person except Chief Conroy and the detectives were permitted to see them.

Kolb seemed to be on the point of breaking down, and it was the belief of the police it would not be a long time before he gave in and told the whole story.

A full-dress lineup was held tonight in the central police station cell room. The three men were attired in the clothing that had been found near the scene of the robbery and murder, and the men were forced to walk and talk and give the commands that the robbers used at the time of the holdup. The witnesses were brought in two or three at a time and given every opportunity to view the prisoners.

The identification of Kalderwit was most positive. He was dressed in the duck coat and sweater found near the scene and this clothing has been positively identified as belonging to him.

In the case of Hammond, the tallest of the three and the man who is said to have shot the little boy, the identification of a number of witnesses was equally positive. He wore the new blue overalls, a slouch hat and had a red handkerchief about his face.

Kolb wore a cap pulled down over his eyes and had a blue handkerchief over the lower part of his face. He was the most nervous of the trio, and is expected to be the one who will tell the story, if any of the men confess.

A revolver found on the Great Northern tracks Friday morning has been identified by William Welsman as one he sold to Kalderwit the Saturday night before the homicide.

When questioned as to their whereabouts on the night of the saloon murder, the men told the same story to police: they had “knocked about town” on the night of the murder and had returned to their rooms at the Grand Hotel about 1 a.m.

They asserted they had not been in the vicinity of the holdup at any time.

Orlin Kalderwit, the oldest of the trio, has a prison record. He was sentenced to the penitentiary from Minneapolis by Judge Simpson on the charge of robbing gas meters and served time. A year ago he was arrested in St. Paul in connection with the murder of a man at Brainerd, but was dismissed because of lack of evidence.

He has been under surveillance by the police on several occasions since his release from the penitentiary, but has not been convicted of any charge.

John Kolb and Charles Hammond claim to have come from La Crosse. Neither has done time, but they have been arrested on several occasions and at one time suspected of a saloon holdup. No serious charge has ever been made against them.

The trio seemed to have money shortly after some of the recent holdups, but never any large amount for a long period. It was this fact that directed the attention of the police to the men.

Kalderwit and Hammond are suspected of holding up a saloon in New Brighton two weeks ago and securing $110; the little revolver and masks found in their rooms today at their hotel correspond with the paraphernalia that played an important part in the new Brighton holdup.


The revolver found on the Great Northern tracks was identified by J. H. King as the one that was placed in his face just after his son was killed. Although excited, he was able to describe a peculiarity in the make of the barrel before the weapon was shown him by the chief of police.

G. E. Cummings, who was one of the victims of the holdup, is positive in his identification of the men. He happened to be in the central station when the men were being taken to the office to be questioned.

Kalderwit, he was positive, was the man who wore a blue handkerchief over his face, and he is said to have been the man who shot E. J. Mingo, the bartender.

Hammond, he says, wore a red handkerchief over the lower part of his face and did most of the shooting. It is Conner’s claim that Hammond was the man who killed little Freddie King.

Freddie King and his siblings3

Kolb had a sweater muffler pulled up over his face for a mask and stood near the door with revolver in hand. He did little shooting and appeared to be somewhat frightened. He helped search some of the men who were lined up.

Late tonight Detectives Crummy and Brown secured a new 38-calibur bulldog revolver from James Holden, a boarder at the Grand Central Hotel, who purchased it from Kolb Friday night for $2. He also secured a box of cartridges.

Three revolvers were used at the Columbia Heights robbery and the little boy was killed by a 38-caliber weapon; E. J. Mingo, the bartender, was shot by a bullet of similar caliber. The weapon Kalderwit purchased was of 32-caliber and there is a bullet hole made by this gun in the screen at the saloon.

Today Kalderwit told police that Kolb had a revolver and late this evening the police found the man who had purchased it from him after he had peddled it about the hotel.

The Anoka County grand jury does not meet until March and unless a special term of court is called, the men will have to wait until then for trial.

Saint Paul Globe; “Minneapolis Police Arrest Trio for Columbia Heights Murder. Detectives Run Down Ex-Convict and Two Companions and Prisoners Are identified as the Hold-up men by Several of their Victims—Stories Told by the Men Under Arrest Conflict.”; Nov. 27, 1904; pp. 13 & 24.

1Saint Paul Globe; Nov. 27, 1904; p. 13.

2Photo taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain Nov. 26, 2017, as long as acknowledgement included.

3The Minneapolis Tribune; Nov. 24, 1904; p. 1.

Nine-year-old Freddie King was killed and bartender Edward J. Mingo shot in the head by masked men who held up a saloon in Columbia Heights; see Nov. 22, 2017 blog.


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