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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - April/May 2005
A Thief in the Family

The Story of Alfred Bourdeaux, Son, Grandson, Husband, Father and Thief
John Edward Ernest, Esq.

Table of Contents

List of Exhibits
Foreword       How I Got Started
Introduction        Alfred Israel Bourdeaux - Some Questions

Chapter 1 Abraham Perret of Paris, France                       
               War and Immigration
               The Inducement
               The Voyage - Arrival in Hudson Bay
               The Trip to Pembina Station

Chapter 2 The Red River Colony
               Thomas Douglas, Fifth Earl of Selkirk.
               Life in the Red River Colony
               The Perrys Leave the Red River Colony

Chapter 3 Life at Fort Snelling, All is Well...for Awhile
               Forced to Move
               Forced to Move Again
               The Year 1849

Chapter 4 Charles Mousseau and Oliver Bourdeaux from Quebec, Canada
               Charles Mousseau.
               Oliver P. Bourdeaux
Chapter 5 Alfred Isreal Bourdeaux
               Alfred Bourdeaux - Husband and Father
               The 1880's
               The Depression and The Money Panic of 1893
               Alfred Comes of Age - Enters the Workforce

Chapter 6 A Short and Very Unsuccessful Life of Crime
               Alfred is Accused of Highway Robbery - 1901
               Alfred Again Accused of Highway Robbery - 1902
               Alfred  Convicted and Sentenced to Ten Years in Prison

Chapter 7 The Minnesota State Prison at Stillwater Minnesota.
               Some History
               The Prison Process/Prison Environment
               Stillwater Prison Made Famous, The Younger Brothers
               Prisoner # 819

Chapter 8 Those Prison Letters
               The Saturday Evening Post
               Does Alfred have Tuberculous?
               Letters to Former Employers
Chapter 9 Divorce, Parole and Death, 1908

Chapter 10      What Happened To:

               Mamie F. White
               Anna Walberg
               Detective Christopher Norbeck
               Warden Henry Wolfer
               Burton J. Merrill, MD
               Oliver and Sophia Bourdeaux
               Ida Allan Bourdeaux Dempsie

               Alfred's Children:
               Laura Sophia Corice Bourdeaux Leslie
               Janet Isabelle Bourdeaux Clark
               Oliver Allan Dwight Bourdeaux
               Joseph Oliver Bourdeaux



How I Got started

I started this research in 1987 after my mother Margaret Elizabeth Bell Ernest(nee Helen
Bourdeaux) died in 1986.  When I was growing up neither my mother nor her parents ever directly
mentioned to me that our mother was adopted.  When I was about 10 or 11 years old, I now
believe that I was allowed to discover that she was adopted.  One day up in our attic she handed
me, without introduction or explanation, an envelope containing some papers.  The envelope
contained three documents pertaining to the adoption of a Helen Bourdeaux by Jesse and Mary Bell
of Mason City, Iowa, but at that age I did not really understand their meaning.

I continued to believe that our grandparents were Jessie and Mary Bell, and my attitude has never
changed on this point.  I was, however, always curious about those adoption papers.  I believed
then and I still believe today that our mother had no interest in finding out anything about her birth
mother or the circumstances of her adoption.  I respected those wishes.

My mother also had in her possession a birth certificate that indicated that her parents were Jess and
Mary Bell of Mason City, Iowa and that she was born in Minneapolis, Hennepin Co., Minnesota on
22 November 1910.  After her death in 1986 and out of curiosity, I applied the following year to
the Minnesota Department of Health for my mother's original birth certificate.  I was informed that
because my mother was adopted, the original birth record had been sealed and that it would take a
court order to get a copy of that document. That process took seven years.

During that time, I tried a  number of strategies to find out about my mother's biological mother,
Laura Bourdeaux, with no success.  In 1992,  I contacted a genealogical records researcher in
Minneapolis who did uncover some inconclusive information concerning Laura.  She then
suggested that I should write letters to the Bourdeau(x) families living in the Minneapolis/St. Paul

At first I did nothing, as I did not think much of this suggestion because it assumed that (1) Helen
and her mother Laura Bourdeaux were residents of Minneapolis or Hennepin County., and that(2)
82 years later someone still living in that area would know about a child placed for adoption,
especially if the child was perhaps illegitimate.  However, several months later, I decided to write
letters to 20 Bourdeau(x) families living in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The letters were prepared
over a weekend and mailed on a Monday.

Several days later,  I got a telephone call from a Jerry Bourdeaux of Maple Grove, Minnesota. He
told me that, when he received my letter, "his hair stood on end."  He said that he was the family
genealogist for the Bourdeaux family of Minnesota and that he was only aware of Helen from a one
line entry that Laura Bourdeaux had written in a journal. He had assumed that Helen was born out
of wedlock based on a story handed down from a Bourdeaux relative, but he had never been able
to obtain any other information.

He was able to provide me with the Bourdeaux family genealogy. This is when I first heard the
name George Dempsie, however, Jerry's records only indicated that George was the second
husband of Ida Allen Bourdeaux.   According to Jerry, oral family history had it that Laura was
molested by her stepfather George Dempsie;  resulting in an illegitimate child and that he had
committed suicide the day before the birth of Laura's daughter Helen(my mother). Jerry and I are
descended from Alfred Bourdeaux and his wife Ida Allan.                         


Laura's father, my great-grandfather Alfred Bourdeaux, had many titles in his lifetime. He was not
only a son, grandson and husband, but also a thief and a convict. What makes a man a thief? If we
got to know Alfred, would we know why? Was it his nature and/or the environment that he grew
up in? Did Alfred think of what his parents or wife might say about his criminal activities or how
they might feel? Did he consider the impact on his family? Did he care? Did Alfred come of age at
the wrong time? After all, he was descended from the founding families of both Minneapolis and
St. Paul, Minnesota. Why would such a man become a thief?

How did Alfred explain to his wife Ida about being arrested for highway robbery in 1901?  What
did he say to his wife when he was subsequently convicted for highway robbery in 1902? What did
she say to him?  Could Alfred explain his criminal acts to his parents? We can never hear their
voices or know them, but we can get a sense of whom Alfred I. Bourdeaux was and how he felt
from letters he wrote, and letters written about him. From his prison files we have numerous letters,
some of which have been reproduced here.

Chapter 1: Abraham Perret of Paris, France

War and Immigration

Alfred's great grandfather, Abraham Perret, son of Abraham Perry and Judith-Madeline Tissot,
was born in Paris, France about 1776/1780 where he had been a watchmaker.  In 1814,
Napoleon was losing the war against the British and its allies, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Russia,
and Spain. Napoleon requested the French Senate to call up 120,000 conscripts for 1814 and
160,000 for 1815. Both Abraham Perret and Fanny Mary Bourquin, a French citizen,    in
order to avoid a war or conscription in France, they crossed the border into Switzerland. There they
were married.  Four of their children were born in Berne, Switzerland: Charles on 21 March
1816, Sophia in 1817, Fanny Mary Anna on 14 November 1818 and Lydia born 1819.

The Inducement

In Geneva, Switzerland, Captain de May Uziftorf , a captain in the British Navy and an agent of
Lord Selkirk, was recruiting settlers for Canada's Red River colony. At that time, Switzerland was
suffering from crop failures and excessive rains. The inducement took the form of an
"Advertisement and Prospectus." This brochure promised freedom of religion with a land allotment
set aside for the clergy. In that most of the colonists were either Huguenots or Catholics, religious
freedom would certainly appeal to them. The soil and climate was claimed to be inferior to none
and would be sold extremely cheap on account of its situation. In its natural state, the land made
excellent pasturage. The brochure promised  that within four years a small flock of sheep would
repay the cost of one hundred acres and the land would rise in price.

In an article in Harper's Monthly dated December 1878, concerning Switzerland, General Augustus
Chetlain stated that "the people wearied of struggles which resulted in their impoverishment,
listened eagerly to the story of a peaceful and more prosperous country."  Perret or "Perry", his
family and a considerable number of his countrymen from the Swiss and French cantons, emigrated
to Canada and the Red River Colony in 1821.

 The Voyage and Arrival in Hudson Bay

This group of immigrants numbered two-hundred persons,  nearly three-fourths of whom were
French or of French origin. Some were French Calvinists also called Huguenots.  In May 1821,
they assembled at a small obscure village on the Rhine near Basle, and in two large flat-boats or
barges, floated down the Rhine, reaching a point near Rotterdam where they boarded the ship,
Lord Wellington. Their course lay north of Great Britain and just south of Greenland (Latitude 620
44' - Longitude 740 16'). The ship "Lord Wellington" had made this trip before in 1818 when it
brought 69 settlers from County Cork.  Perret and his group arrived at Hudson Strait in August
1821, after a tedious, sad and most uncomfortable journey of more than four months. Several
children had died on the long trip, most likely including Lydia Perret who was only two years old
when the voyage began.

The Trip to Pembina Station

By 27 August, they were en-route to Lake Winnipeg. Embarking in bateaux, they ascended the
Nelson River which connects  Hudson Bay to Lake Winnipeg, a journey of about 400 miles.
During that trip, one of the party was accidently drowned. The party was greatly harassed with the
difficulties of the navigation.  The average daytime temperature was around 84  which brought on
swarms of mosquitoes and other flying insects. At  the end of twenty days, the colonists  reached
Lake Winnipeg on its northeastern shore. They continued on traveling south down Lake Winnipeg,
some  266 miles. After encountering all manner of discouragements they arrived at the mouth of
the Red River, at the southern end of Lake Winnipeg. There they learned that the locusts had
literally destroyed all the crops.

They proceeded up river (actually going south) thirty-five miles to Fort Douglas, then the principal
trading post of the Hudson Bay Company.  Governor Alexander McDowell and other officers
welcomed them and did what was in their power to supply their needs. However, they were by no
means able to furnish these settlers with supplies for the coming winter, as they had been promised.
They were forced to pitch their tents along the banks of the river, and outside the stockades of the
Fort. By then the daytime temperatures had fallen to 65 .  By scattering to different points and
struggling against great difficulties, they managed to survive.  However, the temperatures began to
fall rapidly and the nighttime temperatures were around 16  below 0 .  The emigrants first settled
at German Creek, but things were not good there. They then left that settlement and moved south
to the Scotch Colony at Pembina Station. Finally, the Perret family and others of the colony
settled in that portion of the Red River Colony near Pembina Station below the Canadian border.
Two children were born to the Perret Family at the Red River colony; Rose Ann in 1821 and Adele
on 15 December 1825.

Chapter 2: The Red River Colony

Thomas Douglas, Fifth Earl of Selkirk

 The Red River of the North is 545 miles long and flows from northeastern North Dakota into
south central Canada.  It is formed by the confluence of the Otter Tail and Bois de Sioux rivers in
southeastern North Dakota. The river forms the North Dakota-Minnesota boundary, and then
enters the Canadian Province of Manitoba where it empties into Lake Winnipeg.

Thomas Douglas, who had bought a controlling interest in the Hudson Bay Company, purchased
116,000 square miles of Company land in the Red River territory. This area, known as Assiniboine,
included what is now southern Manitoba and portions of northwestern Minnesota and northeastern
North Dakota. In 1811, Douglas brought in about 250 settlers, most of them Presbyterians from
the Scottish Highlands. These Scottish tenant farmers, known as crofters were displaced from the
Highlands of Scotland by the spread of large-scale sheep raising.  They established the agricultural
colony at the fork of the Red and Assiniboine rivers and called it the Red River Settlement.

 Life in the Red River Colony

The first years brought hardship and disappointment to the settlement. In 1813 the first wheat crop
failed, and in 1815 and 1816 the colonists were attacked by fur traders from the North West
Company, which regarded them as representatives of the rival Hudson's Bay Company. Both
companies were involved in a bitter fur trading war.  In June 1815, in an incident known as the
"Pemmican War," the Northwestern Fur Company captured and burned Fort Douglas, a Hudson
Bay Company encampment near the Red River settlement. Despite this and other setbacks, another
contingent of immigrants arrived in 1815. In 1816, the half-breed hunters, the Mitis, prompted by
some hotheads from the Northwestern Fur Company began a reign of terror culminating, in the
murder of twenty-one Red River colonists, including the governor, Robert Semple. A grasshopper
plague destroyed the Red River crops in 1818 and 1819.

However, despite the many serious problems, Lord Selkirk was still attempting to bring in more
colonists. Before they could arrive, Thomas Douglas, Earl of Selkirk died in 1820.  Settlers still
continued to arrive in the Red River area. This was the situation that Perret and his group faced
upon their arrival in 1821. However, settlers had also begun leaving the Red River colony in that
same year. In 1822, the administrator for the Selkirk estate had been shocked to find so large a
percentage of its population living permanently below the 49th parallel, on American soil.

The  main occupations of the Swiss immigrants had been mechanical; Abraham Perret having been
that of clock-making. However, they were not suited for the stern work of founding a colony in
the interior of North America. This was the first year of a normal wheat harvest; however, during
the next several years, the area around the Red River area suffered from severe drought,
grasshoppers, severe frosts and a major flood beginning on 22 May1826 which destroyed the Red
River Colony.  In addition the Indians continually caused trouble, raiding and stealing and
sometimes killing settlers.

It is interesting to note that the Minneapolis Times reported on 24 May 1902, the following:
     "Propositions for devising plans to aid in the prevention of floods in the Red River Valley
     are again being considered by the War Department. Senator Hansbrough of North Dakota
     spent the greater part of the afternoon at the department in conference with General
     Gillespie and Major Atwood on this subject. During the past fifteen years floods have
     caused the loss of millions of dollars in this valley. There is a general feeling among those
     who have suffered by these losses that the government should lend some aid for their
     protection. A report suggested that impounding the waters in the Red Stone and Traverse
     lakes might be feasible."
     Abraham Perry probably made the right decision to leave the Red River Valley.

Life was sparse in the Red River Colony as import of goods was expensive. Goods ordered one
year might arrive 24 months later. Furniture consisted of packing box beds, topped with straw
mattresses, covered with Hudson's Bay blankets or buffalo robes, three-legged stools, open
cupboards, tables, and, of course, a spinning wheel. Wooden utensils were used as cutlery, wooden
trays as pots and pans. An iron pot was always boiling in the open fireplace. In the loft above the
living quarters, wheat would be stored in one corner, barley in another and oats in a third. And in
the fourth corner were the shelves for the cheeses, dried fruits, candles, buffalo sinews, and other
essentials. Many families had two roughly rounded stones called a "guren" for grinding wheat into
flour. There was little social intercourse between the east bank and the west bank of this Colony.
What the constant battle for food, shelter and clothing didn't do to discourage social life, the babel
of languages - English, French, Gaelic, Orkney,  Indian, did.

In the Fall of 1826, more than 440 survivors of that flood arrived at Fort Snelling where they were
not welcomed by the U. S. Military. The Army was shocked and surprised at the arrival of
hundreds of gaunt Scotch, Irish, Swiss and French Canadians who considered the Fort their
destination. Since Colonel Snelling had neither authority nor desire to colonize the Reservation,
most of the refugees went on down the Mississippi. Perret/Perry, his family and other families left
the Red River Valley for Fort Snelling the following year, a trip of more than 700 miles.  They
came down the Valley to Lake Traverse, and then down the Minnesota River.There was already a
cart road from Pembina Station to Prarie du Chien in southwestern Wisconsin, with Fort Snelling as
a way-post. They arrived at Fort Snelling, near the Falls of St. Anthony on the Mississippi River,
in June,1827

Chapter 3: Life At Fort Snelling
A Very Very Short History of the Evolution of Minnesota and Hennepin County
The country that was to become Minnesota, west of the Mississippi, was secretly ceded to Spain by
France in 1762. In 1774, that same area became part of the Province of Quebec and by 1784
became a United States Territory. The Northwest Territory was created in 1787 and became part of
Indiana Territory in 1800. The northwestern section of the future state (Minnesota) remained
English until 1800. The northeastern section of Minnesota, which was Indiana Territory, became
part of Illinois Territory in 1809 and Michigan Territory in 1818. It became Wisconsin Territory in
1836.  In 1838 the area west of the Mississippi became Iowa Territory. The area that included Fort
Snelling was part of Clayton County, Iowa.

The first American military post was the primitive cantonment New Hope near Mendota,
established in 1819 by Colonel Henry Leavenworth, commander of the 5th United States Infantry.
The post, renamed Camp Coldwater, was moved to higher ground in the spring of 1820. Shortly
thereafter, it was replaced by a permanent stone fort originally called Fort St. Anthony, but
renamed Fort Snelling in 1825. The site chosen was near the confluence of the Minnesota and the
Mississippi Rivers.

Fort Snelling was one of the first American settlements in this region and a few squatters soon
settled around the fort. This area west of the Mississippi river had been designated as "unorganized
lands." In June 1827, the first immigration commenced to arrive in the country. They were from
the Red River Colony in the Hudson Bay Territory. While Minnesota became a territory in 1849,
most of Minnesota territory remained Indian domain into the late 1860s. Hennepin County was
created in 1852 with Minneapolis as the county seat. In 1858 Minnesota became a State.  By 1850
Minnesota Territory had a population of 6,077, but by 1860 the State of Minnesota had a
population of 172,023.

Prosperity Comes at Last, All is well -  For Awhile

 Perry had brought with him a number of cattle. He and his family settled a mile north of Fort
Snelling at Camp Coldwater(Cold Spring) on the west side of the Mississippi River, started a farm,
and prospered. Two more children were born to the Perrys at Fort Snelling: Josephine born 1830
and Annie Jane born in 1832. Mary Ann Perry was a midwife for the women at the Fort. It was
said that Abraham Perry and Joseph Renville owned more cattle than all the rest of the families

During these eleven years of prosperity, Abraham Perry purchased land from the Federal
Government as a "cash entry" sale at $1.25 per acre.

 80 acres on 10 July 1832 ,Certificate No.5377. Aliquot W =NW, Section/Block 22/, Twp.
 4-N, Range 11-E, Meridan Michigan-Toledo Strip, State MI, Oakland County.

 40 acres on 10 November1834,Certificate No.7854 Aliquot SESW, Section/Block 15/,
 Township 4-N, Range 11-E,  Meridian Michigan-Toledo Strip, State
 MI, Oakland County, Michigan.

 40 acres on 23 November 1835, Certificate No.9918. Aliquot NENE, Sec/Block 35/, Twp.
 2-N, Range 11-E, Meridian Michigan-Toledo Strip, State MI, County Oakland

 80 acres on 14 August 1837, Certificate No. 23071. Aliquot NESE, Sec/Block 2/, Twp. 5-
 N, Range 9E, Meridian  Michigan-Toledo Strip, State MI, County Oakland
  Aliquot SENE, Sec./Block 11/, Twp. 5-N, Range 9E, Meridian  Michigan-Toledo Strip, 
 State MI, County Oakland.

These lands were purchased according to the provisions of the act of Congress of the 24th of April,
1820, entitled "An act making further provision for the sale of the Public Lands."

Forced to Move

Owing to the arbitrary and tyrannical power of the U.S. Army, under the command of Major
Plympton, who was now in charge in the "unorganized lands," Perry and others were driven from
their homes in the spring of 1838, due to the enlargement of the Military Reserve of Fort Snelling.
Plympton looked upon them as intruders competing for important resources such as firewood and
forage. On 16 August 1837, Perry and others sent to President Martin Van Buren the following

 "The undersigned citizens of the settlement near Fort Snelling, beg leave to make known to
 you the interest they feel in the contemplated purchase of the Sioux lands, in this vicinity. In
 1804, a treaty was made by General (Zebulon) Pike with the Sioux Indians, under which he
 purchased a certain portion of their country, extending from the Falls of St. Anthony to the
 mouth of the St. Peter's River, and the prevailing opinion has been, until very recently, that
 this treaty had received the sanction of Government. It was under this impression that the
 undersigned settled upon the lands they now occupy as part of the public domain. They were
 permitted to make improvements and retain unmolested possession of them for many years
 by the commanding officer of the post, and the other officers of the Government employed
 here, who believed the land belonged to the United States, and that the settlers were only
 exercising the privileges extended to them by the benign and salutary laws which have
 peopled the western country with a hardy, industrious and enterprising class of citizens.

 The undersigned will further state that they have erected houses and cultivated fields at their
 present places of residence, and several of them have large families of children who have no
 other homes. All the labor of years in invested in their present habitations, and they therefore
 appeal to the President and Senate of the United States for protection. If a treaty should be
 made at Washington, as we have heard suggested, and the lands we now occupy be
 purchased from the Sioux for a military reservation, we ask that a reasonable and just
 allowance be made us in the treaty for our improvements."

This memorial was signed by Louis Massie, Abraham Perry, Peter Quinn, Antoine Pepin, Duncan
Graham, Jacob Falstrom, Oliver Cratte, Joseph Bisson, Joseph Reach, Louis Dergulee, and others.
Col. Samuel C. Stambaugh, sutler at Fort Snelling, was empowered to present it, and represent the
settlers in any negotiations, and reference was made to Gov. Henry Dodge for the truth and justice
of the statements. This memorial was referred  to a Congressional committee where it remained.

Forced to Move Again

However, despite their protests, they were forced to move to the Fountain Cave site, on the east
side of the Mississippi, which was a cruel blow to Perry, who was no longer young. In 1840, Major
Plympton extended the military boundaries of the Fort to the upper levee to what is now Seven
Corners in St. Paul, which included the Fountain Cave site. The families were again ordered to
move. They received several days notice but did not move. On 6 May, Perry and his family were
planting their garden when a detachment from the Fort arrived. Deputy United States Marshall Ira
B. Brunson gave them an eviction notice. Perry looked on helplessly while the soldiers carried out
their belongings, then destroyed their home. It turned out years later that the enlargement of the
military reserve at that time was unnecessary.

This time, the Perry's moved to the site of Lambert's Landing, where Pierre Parrant, their former
neighbor, was already established in business. Perry made a claim there and built his house where
City Hospital now stands.

Abraham Perry - The Year 1849

There was a culmination of many things that had been happening in the Minnesota Territory. The
Congress on 3 March 1849, established the territorial government of Minnesota. The City of St.
Paul was established as the capitol of the Minnesota Territory on 3 March 1849.

Almost completely broken by his ill-fortune and the loss of his herds, Abraham Perry and his wife
Mary Ann moved in with their son-in-law, James R. Clewett. Soon Perry's health took a turn for
the worse, and he died in May at the age of 73 years.. His wife, Mary Ann, died in 1859 at the
residence of another son-in-law, Charles Bazille.  Perry could also be proud in that the marriage of
his daughter Rose Ann Perry to James Clewett on 2 April 1839, as being the first marriage
performed under the law in St. Paul.

During the month of May, more than seventy new buildings were erected. Lots which were the other
day considered quite remote, were now right in town. The river trade was Saint Paul's lifeline. In this
year, river traffic started bringing settlers in by the hundreds, and eventually by the thousands. Once
Minnesota was considered a Territory with Saint Paul as its Capitol, it began to grow even faster.
Steamboats replaced Indian canoes and steamboats later became barges, making trade more efficient
and bringing even more traders and settlers. On Wednesday 20 June, three steamboats arrived at St
Paul, within a few hours of each other. The "Dr. Franklin No. 1", the "Cora" and the "Senator,"
each bringing a goodly number of passengers for the Territory and a large amount of freight.

John Greenleaf Whittier said it best, when he wrote:

          Behind the squaw's light birch Canoe
          The steamer rocks and raves;
          And city lots are staked for sale
          Above old Indian graves

          I hear the tread of pioneers
          Of Nations yet to be-
          The first low wash of waves, where soon
          Shall roll a human sea

          The rudiments of Empire here
          Are plastic yet and warm,
          The chaos of a mighty world
          Is rounding into form.

Had Abraham Perry been alive in June, he would have read in the Minnesota Pioneer dated 7 June
1849 an article titled "Annals of St. Paul" It had this to say about him:

          "The first house that was built, or the first claim taken, near St. Paul was at the Cave,
          some two miles above it, by a Swiss family of the name of Perry, who had emigrated
          to this country by the way of the Red River Valley British Possessions, north of St
          Paul some seven hundred miles. They had originally resided some eight or ten years
          previous, near the Fort(Snelling); but as soon as news of the ratification of the Sioux
          treaty was known, he made his claim at the Cave while others settled near Perry".

Perry would have been gratified to learn that others recognized him as a founder of St. Paul.

Another article in that same newspaper on page 1 titled "Lord Selkirk's American Settlement" would
have been of great interest to Perry. It was an extensive article extolling the progress made in the last
thirty years in the Red River area. The first paragraph summarizes the story as follows:

          " This settlement formed some thirty years ago, on the Red River, in the British
          possessions, north of Minnesota Territory, by a few Scotch Highlanders, sent out by
          Lord Douglas, Earl of Selkirk, appears to have surmounted all of the trials and
          severities of such an enterprise in an inhospitable region, and to have become a
          considerable and thriving colony, with schools, churches, and other means of
          prosperity and growth. Its early history is characterised[sic] by great trials and
          sufferings, and for many years the issue seemed doubtful."

Chapter 4: Charles Mousseau and Oliver Bourdeaux From Quebec, Canada
Charles Mousseau

Alfred's maternal grandfather was Charles Mousseau who was born 24 October 1806 in Montreal,
Quebec, Canada.  Charles left Montreal at age twenty-one traveling with sixty men in the employ of
the Hudson Bay Co. Trained as a carpenter, Charles arrived in Prairie du Chien(prairie of the dogs),
site of Fort Crawford, in 1826, where he remained three months. After a trip of five weeks, Charles
and thirty other men arrived in Fort Snelling in the spring of 1827.  After Charles arrived at the
Fort, he assisted in construction of the buildings at the Fort, doing the necessary carpenter work and
making the doors, sash, windows, etc. He remained at the Fort for seven years, assisting General
Sibley as interpreter and trading with the Indians, he being able to talk the Sioux language fluently.

On 3 February 1835, Charles married Fanny Mary Anna Perry, daughter of Abraham Perry/Perret
and Fanny Mary Ann Bourquin. They made their home at Mendota, which is south of St. Paul on
the East side of the Mississippi.  Charles, who was a carpenter and painter, built a house for Col.
John H. Stevens in 1849, the first house to be built on the site of the City of Minneapolis.  Charles
and his family lived on Lake Calhoun from 1849 to 1855.  The land claim they occupied is now
Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.

On 1 August 1853, Charles purchased 110 acres of land in Ramsey County from the Federal Land
Office in Stillwater, Minnesota,  a "cash entry" sale at $1.25 per acre.  There were three parcels
purchased under Certificate # 173:
        Aliquot 3, Section 4, Township 28-N, Range 22-W, Meridian 4th PM-1831 MN/WI,
       Minnesota, Ramsey Co.
        Aliquot 4, Section 4, Township 28-N, Range 22-W, 4th PM-1831 MN/WI,
       Minnesota, Ramsey Co.
        Aliquot SENE, Section 4, Township 28-N, Range 22-W, 4th PM-1831 MN/WI,
       Minnesota, Ramsey Co.
The Mousseau family moved to the corner of First Ave. North and Third St. in Minneapolis, which
they occupied as their homestead for many years. Charles Mousseau was one of the first settlers in
downtown Minneapolis.  The Mousseau family consisted of Henry, David, Anthony, Mary Anna,
Mitchell, Sophie, Ellen, Paul, Sophia and Minnie. Charles died 21 February 1882 and is buried
in the family plot in St. Anthony Cemetery in Minneapolis in Lot 64 on St. Anthony Avenue. Other
family members are buried there also.

Oliver Philip Bourdeaux
Alfred's father, Oliver, was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on 15 October 1850 and came to the
United States, on or about 5 March 1870. His parents were Pierre Bordeau and Sophia Paine who
had three other children, Peter, Isreal and Marie. Alfred's Uncle Peter was killed in a tragic
accident. Oliver's application for a marriage certificate was filed in Hennepin County, Minnesota
on 7 October 1875 and he and Sophia Mousseau  were married on 17 November 1875 in
Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota by Rev. James M. Gohit, a Roman Catholic priest.

Chapter 5: Alfred Israel Bourdeaux

Alfred, the oldest of Oliver's thirteen children, was born in Minneapolis on 23 August 1876. He
was the grandson of Charles Mousseau and great grandson of Abraham Perry. His mother was
Sophia Mousseau, daughter of Charles Mousseau and Fanny Mary Anna Perry.  He attended
common schools and from his many letters we can say that he could write and spell very well.
Alfred grew up in a  rapidly growing city with a large influx of immigrants. Flour milling, lumber
and railroads were principal industries in Minneapolis, a port city located on the upper Mississippi

The year Alfred was born, the population of the United States was 46 million, and there were thirty-
eight states and  35,000 miles of railroad track.  Passengers and freight traveled regularly by rail
from California to New York.  Ulysses S. Grant was President, Alexander Graham Bell patented the
telephone, the Battle of Little Bighorn had took place in June when Sitting Bull and his Sioux
followers slaughtered General Custer and his  troops.  This was the year of the great Centennial
Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Alfred Bourdeaux, Husband and Father
At the age of 18, Alfred married  Ida Alfretta Allen, age 17, daughter of William Joseph Allen and
Eliza England, on 17 January 1895, in Minneapolis.   She was born on 21 June 1877, in

Alfred and Ida  had four children: Laura Sophia Corice (my grandmother) who was born 6 October
1895, Oliver Allen Dwight born  26 November 1896,  Jeannette Isabel on 14 March 1898, and
Joseph Oliver on  25 January 1900. All four children were baptized in the Episcopalian faith. Ida
Allen Bourdeaux was baptized at All Saints Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minnesota on 10 July

As he entered adolescence, Alfred grew very handsome and he wanted to be a male model. His
prison record described him as 5 ft 6in. in height, weighing 137 lbs., had an erect posture and was
very muscular.  He worked for three months for the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts, posing for
artists.  He went to Chicago for a short time to pursue the same kind of career. In his early years,
he was involved in amateur boxing. Clearly he had aspirations.

The 1880's
During this time Minneapolis was experiencing its greatest growth. Railroads were pushing out
across the prairies in every direction; immigration from Europe was pouring into the Northwest by
the fifty thousands, sending the City's population of 46, 887 in 1880 to 142,740 in 1887; a gain of
three hundred percent in eight years. Minneapolis was no longer a village.

The Depression of 1893
An economic contraction began in January of 1893 and continued until June 1894. The national
economy then grew until December 1895, but it was then hit by a second recession that lasted until
June 1897. Farmers were the most likely to be in debt. In Minnesota, for example, farms were
mortgaged to 44% of value. Debt covered a comparable proportion of farmland in most mid-western
States and a declining economy brought foreclosures and tax sales. Because of new agriculture
techniques and improved transportation which increased productivity, the output of staples had
fueled a rapid expansion of farm products. Foreign competition was fierce and farm prices fell
dramatically. The unemployment rate exceeded 10 percent for more than five years. This depression
was accompanied by violent strikes and political upheaval.  Business contraction shaped the decade
that ushered out the nineteenth century. Slowing investment in railroads and dropping prices in
agriculture was an additional deflationary influence. Benjamin Harrison was elected president in
1889 defeating Grover Cleveland and it was under the Harrison administration that the highly
protective McKinley Tariff was passed. However these were not the only problems.

The Money Panic of 1893
It was one of the worst in American history. The problem was that the money supply was fixed in
the short term. This was due to the fact that American money had to be backed by either gold or
silver. The Federal Government did not have a mechanism, such as the Federal Reserve Bank, to
expand the money supply in the short term. When the economy began the downturn in 1892,
individuals began withdrawing their money from banks as deposits were not insured as they are
today. As a result, many banks had a liquidity problem. Most of, if not all, of their deposits were
invested in loans. In that most loans were of a fixed term, the banks were usually cash poor; that is,
the loans could not be called to provide additional liquidity. Substantial withdrawals caused the banks
to become insolvent and depositors reacted in panic. Banks failed at a rapid rate, wiping out the cash
assets of many thousands of families. The loan assets of the banks were frequently sold for as little
as $.10 on the dollar.

By the end of 1893, business failures in the United States numbered 15,242. Between June and
December 1893, 8000 businesses,360 banks and 156 railroad companies failed.  A further 318
railroad companies, controlling 33% of the nation's track, went into receivership. Investment,
commerce, prices, employment, and wages remained depressed for several years. In the United
States in1890 there had been only 42 bank failures, but in 1893 there were 503 bank failures. In
1895, the year Alfred Bourdeaux married, the unemployment rate in United States was 13.7 percent
and in 1896 the rate increased to 14.5 percent.  The depression remained severe in 1896, making
economic conditions a crucial issue of the Presidential election. The sitting Democratic president,
Grover Cleveland, was wildly unpopular because of the depression and lost the Presidential election
to William McKinley.

Following the panic of 1893, the United States was plunged into a severe economic depression. In
response to growing economic distress and mass unemployment in the winter of 1893-1894, Jacob
Sechler Coxey, a populist leader in Massillon, Ohio, proposed a recovery program. Congress should
enact a large increase in the amount of legal tender currency in circulation. This project, he argued,
could be financed through the issue of government bonds. The extra money could be spent on
public works, thereby providing jobs for the unemployed.
To bring his plan to the attention of Congress and the public, Coxey decided to send Washington a
"living petition"a vast army of the unemployed.. Coxey and Carl Browne of California formed an
organization called the "Commonweal of Christ," and left Massillon on Easter Sunday, March 25,
1894, leading an "army" of 100 followers. They hoped to attract a further 100,000 en route and to
arrive in the capital for a massive demonstration on May Day. In the event, Coxey arrived in
Washington on April 30 leading an army of 500. He and the other leaders were arrested and the
army rapidly disbanded.

In addition to the money problems, times were difficult in Minneapolis as well in the latter part of
the 1890s for other reasons, given the nature of the local economy (railroads, flour milling, lumber).
Minneapolis was a major transportation center, combining railroads and river transportation, a major
break-in-bulk point. Business construction in Minneapolis  had peaked in 1892 in reaction to

Beginning in 1890, a new group of immigrants had been pulled to the upper mid-west,  those
basically without financial means to purchase property but eager to fill the employment opportunities
in the new industries and in the transportation systems.  The lower classes were mostly affected
due to the combination of labor surpluses, the virulent attitude against union organizing and the
seasonality of agriculture and related businesses.  Minneapolis laborers were alternately underpaid,
underemployed and unemployed.  Too frequently in Minneapolis, a husband's low and irregular
wages could not keep food on the table; many men squandered slim resources on drinking.  And
some men turned to crime to supplement their income.

Albert Comes of Age -Enters The Workforce
All was not well in Minneapolis in 1895, the year Alfred was married. In the ten years that elapsed
from 1880 to 1890, the city had changed from a sprawling frontier town to an integrated
metropolitan center. Minneapolis had enjoyed a period of physical growth and civic improvement
unparalleled in any other decade of its history.  The increasing concentration of capital, the rise of
the city as an industrial and commercial center, the expanding retail trade, and the general
accessibility of the region, all combined to make Minneapolis capable of physical expansion to an
unlimited degree.  The consideration(money) on real estate transfers rose from $4,500,000 in 1880
to $27, 500,000 in 1883.  However, the boom of the 1880s began to fade by 1890.  The ominous
cloud of the oncoming depression of 1893 was already beginning to cast its shadow on the spreading
city beside the Falls of St. Anthony.

In 1895, Alfred was living with his parents at 2526 Pleasant Ave. He began supporting his family as
a common laborer working for Bedbury & Company. By 1896, Alfred and his new wife Ida had
taken up residence at 4121 Aldrich Ave. N. He was then working for the C. A. Smith Lumber
Company. In 1898, he and his family was living at 2556 Lyndale Ave. So., still working as a laborer.
However, in 1899, he and his wife and children were living with his parents at 2526 Pleasant
Avenue. By 1900, Alfred and family were living at 503 25th Avenue S. W. He was employed as a
"flour checker" with the Chicago Great Western Railroad (C.G.W. Railway), a job he held for three
years.  In 1902, when Albert was first arrested, he lived at 220 West 29th St., still working as a
flour checker. In the six years prior to 1902, Alfred had held eight different jobs, some for only a
few months.  His longest held job of three years was working for the Chicago Great Western Rail
Road, the job he held at the time of his first arrest in 1901.  Of the six years prior to his conviction,
he is recorded as having worked for only 53 months.

Oliver is Bankrupt
Unfortunately, Alfred could get no financial help from his father Oliver. On 7 November 1899,
Oliver Bourdeaux  filed for voluntary bankruptcy (Case No. 412), and he had to forfeit all of his
property except that protected by law. On 9 November, he was adjudged bankrupt. On 18
December 1899, a notice appeared in the Minneapolis Tribune wherein it states that, "Oliver has
surrendered all his property and rights to property." At that time he owed more than $700 to
creditors. Oliver lived at 2526 Pleasant Ave at the time. He was also to keep his house and personal
property valued at $845. However, he was broke. In addition Oliver still had nine of his thirteen
children at home.  He still had a job as a teamster. His fortunes had improved by 1905. He was
working as a foreman at the National Milling Company. It was too late to be of help to Alfred.

Chapter 6: A Short and Very Unsuccessful Life of Crime

Alfred is Accused of Highway Robbery
His first known robbery occurred on Saturday 24 May 1901. It was a day of fair weather with
nighttime temperatures around 450. More fair weather was in the forecast for both Wisconsin and
Minnesota. The Minneapolis Times front page had only routine political news but it did report that
the flooding in the Tennessee River was receding, leaving twelve dead.
It was late that Saturday when Miss Anna(ie) Walberg was on her way home from work as a
domestic at 2701 Portland Avenue, located in an area of elegant homes. She stated that Bordeaux
got off the same(street) car, followed her several blocks and then robbed her.  He stepped up to
her without saying a word, struck her in the face, disfiguring her and knocking out a tooth.  Then
while he choked her, he seized her purse containing $.20 and a pocket book. valued at $1 for a total
of $1.20. Annie secured a good view of her assailant's face.Twenty-two days later on Saturday 15
June,  at 5th and Nicollet in downtown Minneapolis, in a dense crowd, Annie spotted her assailant.
She stepped up to him(Alfred) and as she pointed her finger at him saying "You know you are the
man who assaulted and choked me!"

Detective(Christopher) Norbeck and Patrolman Pat Ring were close at hand and they took the
suspect into custody.  Alfred was locked up on a charge of Grand Larceny in the First Degree. On
Wednesday 19 June 1901, Anna Walberg filed a complaint against Alfred Bordeaux listing the items
stolen.  Annie had told her story and proved to the officers that she was certain he was the right
On Monday 8 July 1901, a Grand Jury was held wherein Alfred Bordeaux was charged with
"Robbery in the First Degree". On Saturday 15 June 1901, he was charged with Highway Robbery.
Anna Walberg and Christopher Norbeck were the only witnesses. On Wednesday 10 July 1901, an
indictment was issued against Alfred. On Thursday, 11 July, Alfred's Aunt Minnie Mousseau
Bachus and John Butle posted a Bond of $300.

The Victim, Anna/Annie Wahlberg/Walberg
Anna Wahlberg was born in Sweden in March 1877 and came to the United States in 1889.  In
1900 she was working for Charles A. Langley where she was a servant in that household, located at
1714 Irving Drive but did not live there. Annie lived with Darius Morgan, a lawyer at 1937
Kenwood Parkway in Minneapolis.  In 1901 she was working as a domestic for Thomas A.
Jamieson, a real estate agent, who lived at 2701 Portland Avenue. At that time Alfred was living at
220 West 29th St., not far from the Portland address. Anna was 24 at the time of the assault.

On Monday 17 June, Anna Wahlberg filed a complaint against Alfred. On Wednesday19 June, a
hearing was held wherein Alfred's bail was increased to $1000. Subpoenas were issued to Anna
Wahlberg, Mr. Gould, Mrs. Emma Gould and Mrs. McClure. The following day, June 20th, the
complainant, Anna Wahlberg testified on behalf of the State.  The hearing was continued the
following day.  Officer Patrick Ring testified on behalf of the State and Frida Grondahl, Ida
Bordeaux, Emma Gould and Harry McClure testified on behalf of the defendant.

On Monday 24 June 1901, Alfred was indicted by the Grand Jury charged with Robbery in the First
Degree.  The indictment stated that Alfred Bourdeaux
        "did willfully, unlawfully, wrongfully, knowingly and feloniously rob,
        take, steal and carry away  from the person and possession of one
       Anna Wahlberg one pocket book of the value of One Dollar and Twenty
        Cents in lawful money  . . . , by means of force and violence . . . : That
       Alfred Bourdeaux did then and there beat and strike the said Anna
       Wahlberg, and did then and there and thereby inflict grievous bodily
       harm and injury upon the person of the said Anna Wahlberg."

On that charge Alfred pled "not guilty." On Thursday 24 July, the Court set a trial date for Tuesday
 9 September 1901.

The trial actually took place on Friday 27 September 1901 and lasted three days. Alfred testified that
all the evening of the day in question until after 12:00 clock, he was waiting at a milliners shop on
Seventh Street while she finished hats for his wife and children. The milliner in question
corroborated his testimony. On Monday 30 September 1901, Alfred Bourdeaux was acquitted by
the jury.

For Alfred, 1902 would be a year of substantial distress, even without a coal strike. Newspaper
headlines almost daily chronicled the Pennsylvania coal strike. On 12 May 1902, 140,000 coal
miners struck in western Pennsylvania in pursuit of an eight-hour day, a 20 % pay raise and Union
(UMWA) recognition. Mine owners tried to starve the miners back to work, however, the strike
held. In October, President Theodore Roosevelt intervened to protect the nation's coal supply.
With winter approaching, the nation was faced with a severe coal shortage. President Roosevelt
threatened to place the mines under Federal control unless owners agreed to binding arbitration.
While the miners went back to work, the strike was not settled until 22 March 1903.  President
Roosevelt had made unprecedented use of presidential powers and public opinion was solidly behind

Alfred Again Accused of Highway Robbery
 On Saturday 7 June 1902, Alfred allegedly robbed Mrs. Mamie F. White, at night and on the street,
of  $3, 1 diamond ring weighing nearly a karat valued at $65, 1 Opal ring valued at $7, and 1
Chatelaine bag, a total value of $78. Two other rings she wore on her other hand were not found
by the highwayman. He was arrested and chose to remain in jail rather than get out on bail. Alfred
was indicted by the Grand Jury on Tuesday 24 June 1902 and charged with Grand Larceny in the
First Degree.  Mamie F. White(the victim), J. E. Rentz (a jeweler), Herbert Wimperis and Oscar
Hicks were witnesses examined before the Grand Jury.  Hovey G. Clarke was the Foreman.

Mrs. Mamie F. White, The Victim
Mamie was the wife of Rollin E. White, the proprietor of the Minneapolis Baking Company. She
was born in Buffalo, New York, 8 January 1867, the daughter of John Lehrman and Christine
Swank.  She was 35 years old at the time of the robbery. She and her husband and her father, John
Lehrman, lived at 2553 Dupont Ave. S. in Minneapolis.

Newspaper Tells it All
The Minneapolis Times dated Sunday June 8, 1902, page 3, had the following story:
                    Beats and Robs Plucky Woman
  Highwayman, After Viciously Assaulting Mrs. Mamie White, Strips Off Her Jewels
  Mrs. Mamie White, 2553 Dupont Avenue S. Wife of Rollin White, proprietor of the
  Minneapolis Baking Company, was brutally assaulted and robbed of her jewels at 11
  o'clock Saturday night by a lone highwayman in lonely hollow at Twenty-sixth street and
  Emerson Avenue, when she was on her way home. After beating her almost into
  insensibility, the ruffian attempted an assault upon the plucky little women but her
  screams frightened him off. The highwayman, as a last effort tried to hurl Mrs. White's
  body into a deep ravine that lies close to the sidewalk on the left side of the roadway.

  Mrs. White had been to the Elks' carnival with some friends. She generally returns home
  on the Lyndale line, but last night rode out on a Harriet car. The distance from Hennepin
  Avenue to her home on Dupont lies along a lonely route lighted with but one flickering
  gasoline lamp. When Mrs. White neared Emerson Avenue she saw a figure of a man
  coming toward her.  He was whistling and she thought of no harm coming to her. When
  within three or four feet of me, said she last night, as she lay in bed suffering pain, he
  jumped upon me like a panther. He struck me in the face as I fell and as I went down he
  pounced upon me. The blows rendered me partially unconscious but I screamed and he
  struck me with his fists again in the face.

  He grabbed my chatelaine bag and demanded my watch, but I told him I had none. I had
  my gloves on and he asked where were my rings. "I told him I had none but he tore my
  gloves off and then tore my rings from my fingers. The highwayman must have either
  kicked me or held me down with his knees for my body is a mass of bruises."  Mrs.
  White's eyes are nearly closed and are badly discolored. Her face is swollen to twice its
  normal size and her body is so badly bruised that she is unable to move in bed but has to
  be turned by her nurse.

  Mrs. White is a small women. She fought of her assailant from the very first but he rained
  so many blows upon her face and body as to make her no match for his brutality. "He
  asked me if I were a domestic or a married women. When I told him that I was a married
  women, he apologized for hurting me." Mrs. White dragged herself to her home a block
  away. He husband and father hurried out into the darkness and scoured the immediate
  vicinity for any trace of her assailant, but they could find none.

  The matter was reported to police headquarters and two detectives at once went out on
  the case, but no arrests have yet been made. Mrs. White says she scratched her assailant.
  Mr. White has found something belonging to his wife's assailant that may aid in his
  identification if caught. Mrs. White is one of the prominent spiritualists of Minneapolis
  and believes when she has fully recovered her strength and mentality she will be able to
  materially aid the police in finding the highwayman. Her injuries are such that she may be
  confined to her bed for several weeks.
Well, Mrs White was half right with respect to what her husband found, which turned out to be a
button. However, what was more important was the opal studded ring that her assailant stole from
her. The Minneapolis Times told it all.
   The Alleged Assailant of Mrs. Rollin White Has Been Identified 
  Mrs. Mamie White, wife of Rollin White, proprietor of the Minneapolis Baking
  Company, who was so brutally beaten and robbed of her money and jewels last
  Saturday night near Emerson and Twenty-Sixth S. has positively identified Fred
  Bordeau as her assailant. There are other circumstances that point very strongly to
  the conclusion that he is the guilty party. Yesterday (Tuesday) forenoon, Bordeau
  walked into Rentz Brothers manufacturing jewelers, in the old Plymouth building and
  left an opal studded ring to be repaired.
                      Ring Was Identified
  Last Christmas Mrs. White had left the same ring with Rentz Brothers to be mended
  and the settings tightened. A member of the firm recognized the ring as Mrs. White's
  ring as soon as Bordeau deposited it for repairs. Mr. Rentz told Bordeau that he
  could not fix it for him right away, but to call for it in an hour. At the appointed time
  Bordeau called and was arrested. Detectives Hicks and Mealey took Bordeau to Mrs.
  White's residence for identification. The injured women, looking from her bedroom
  window, saw Bordeau and exclaimed to her nurse and husband that that was her
  assailant. Then Bordeau was brought face to face with the women, and she heard
  him speak, she positively identified him. In the struggle which ensued between her
  assailant and Mrs. White, she tore a button from her assailant's coat. The button in
  her possession and those on Bordeau's coat tally, and there is one missing from his
                   Mrs. White Fed Bordeau Family
  An interesting feature of the affair is that Bordeau and the White family have resided
  in the same neighborhood for several years. Mrs. White says that during one winter
  she provided food for Bordeau's wife and family when the husband was either
  unable or unwilling to provide the same. She had known Bordeau's wife since
  girlhood and feels keenly for her and her four children. Bordeau, as a boy, figured in
  local fistic circles as a very clever and promising youngster, and was seen in many
  matches. During later years he has been engaged as an art model in a number of art
  clubs and at the public library.

On Wednesday 25 June 1902, Alfred was indicted by the Grand Jury and charged with Grand
Larceny in the First degree. The indictment stated that Alfred Bourdeaux;
  "did wilfully, unlawfully, wrongfully, knowingly and feloniously take, steal and carry
  away from the person of Mamie White in the night-time of said day, Three dollars,
  genuine, lawful and current money of the United States of America, of the value of
  Three Dollars, one Diamond Ring, of the value of Sixty-five Dollars, One Opal Ring,
  of the value of Seven Dollars and One Chatelaine bag of the value of Three Dollars,
  in all of the value of Seventy-eight Dollars, a more particular description of said
  property being then and there the property of, in the lawful possession of and on the
  person of the said Mamie White; with intent than and there had and entertained by
  him, the said Alfred Bordeaux, to deprive the said Mamie White, the true owner of
  said property, and to appropriate the same to the use of him, the said Alfred

Alfred Pleads Guilty
On Wednesday 25 June 1902, in the District Court in Minneapolis, Alfred Bordeaux, the former
prizefighter, pled "not guilty" to the charges of Grand Larceny in the First Degree. The trial date was
set for Monday June 30th . It rained that day and the daytime temperature was 73 . The Ringling
Brother's circus was in town and they pitched their tents at  Blaisdale and Twenty-Fifth Street while
more than 5000 people watched. 

However, Albert was not going to have much fun that day in the Court before Judge David F.
Simpson. He changed his plea of "not guilty" to a plea of "guilty" to the crime of Grand Larceny.
In Court with him were his wife and four children. She wept when the court imposed sentence, but
the children seemed entirely unaware of their father's fate and "prattled as if there were no solemnity
attached to the occasion." Alfred then stated to the Court that he did not have a revolver, was a
professional model, was not addicted to the use of intoxicating liquors, and had not been in the habit
of gambling.  He was sentenced to ten years in prison.

On that same day the court issued its judgement, as follows:
  "It is considered and adjudged that you, Alfred Bordeaux, as punishment for the
  crime of  grand larceny in the first degree, of which you have been convicted in this
  cause, be confined at hard labor in the State Prison at Stillwater, Minnesota, for the
  term of ten(10) years, or until you shall have been thence discharged by due course
  of law or by competent authority." The Court then  issued a Warrant of Commitment
  commanding the Sheriff to deliver into the custody of the Warden and for the
  Warden to receive the body of Alfred Bourdeaux.
The Minneapolis Tribune for Thursday 3 July had the following page1 headline:


       "Jack the Slugger' of Minneapolis Gets Maximum Sentence"

Judge Simpson took the view "that a maximum sentence would be none too much and that the
convicted man had been in such business before, although a jury had acquitted him." The article also
stated " In court with him was his pretty wife and  four handsome children, the eldest not more than
six years of age.  Two were golden haired twin girls, as pretty as pictures.  They were well
calculated to work on the sympathies of the court."

These Criminal Cases - Some Questions
In his first trial, Alfred testified that the evening in question until after 12:00, he was waiting at a
milliners shop on Seventh St. while she finished hats for his wife and children. The milliner in
question corroborated his testimony. However, he had failed to mention this at the time of his arrest
on 15 June, or at any time prior to trial on 27 September. Was this to prevent the alibi witness from
being interviewed prior to trial? It would seem that if Alfred had an alibi at the time of his arrest, this
fact should have been made known to the Police or the Prosecutor. Why go though the bail process,
Grand Jury process and a trial if he had an alibi?

However, at the end of the second trial, Judge Simpson said "the maximum sentence would be none
too much and that the convicted man had been in such business before." Why was reference to the
first trial brought up? Was Judge Simpson the Judge in the first trial? If so, did he smell a rat? Did
he not believe the alibi witness in the first trial? It appears the Jury did believe the milliner. Was the
Judge correcting a bad verdict by the jury in the first trial? Did the milliner commit perjury? Who
would lie for Alfred?

In the letter from Charles Huntress to Warden Wolfer dated10 June 1907, Charles Huntress wrote:
  A year before he was sent up to serve his recent sentence, I endeavored to be of some
  service to him when he was under trial for highway robbery.  At that time I believed him
  innocent, the victim of circumstances, and although he was aquitted[sic], subsequent
  revelations point to a strong probability that he was guilty. What were the "subsequent
  revelations" ?

Chapter 7: Life at The Minnesota State Prison at Stillwater

Some History
Alfred's term of imprisonment was to be at the Minnesota State Prison at Stillwater. The Stillwater
Prison, as it was generally known, is located about 28 miles east of Minneapolis(today about a 40
minute drive) in Washington County in the St. Croix Valley on the banks of the St. Croix River
which forms the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The construction of the first prison was
completed in 1853 with a three-story prison house with six cells and two dungeons for solitary
confinement, a work shop and office. However the prison proved inadequate as there were many
escapes. The local newspaper, Stillwater Messenger, added its bit on 10 February 1858: "Our
Penitentiary is a great humbug. There is no security about is a cheat, a swindle, a disgrace".
Between 1860 and 1867, the number of state prison inmates increased from four to fifty-two. This
overcrowding made necessary the construction of a three-story cell block In 1870, the original prison
was torn down and a new prison was erected in its place housing 158 prisoners. It also was a disaster
as there were many escapes, shoddy workmanship and incompetent management. The Stillwater
Prison was surrounded by a 1000 acre farm for the raising of food and dairy cows.

Two fires in early 1884 were major catastrophes. A new prison was completed in 1886 with 582
cells and ample shop room and equipment to employ more than 500 workman. The prison
population at that time was only 387. However, the new prison was described as "damp, poorly
ventilated, roach infested and a disgrace." "Bed bugs are so numerous", complained one inmate,
"they drive the average prisoner wild with pain and annoyance." The air is foul and the stench is
almost intolerable." Alfred would spend his time in this prison environment, as a new modern facility
would not be built until 1909.

The Prison at Stillwater  Made Famous
 Long before Alfred was incarcerated in 1902, Stillwater Prison had  gained notoriety when three of
the most famous outlaws of that time were imprisoned there.  This imprisonment was the result of
the Great Northfield Minnesota raid.  The gang was at that time composed of(Thomas) Cole(man),
Robert H. and  Jim Younger, Frank and Jesse James and others.  The Youngers had heard that
General Benjamin Butler and his son-in-law A. A. Ames had a lot of money in the in the First
National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota.  Mr. Ames had been the carpet-bag governor of
Mississippi after the Civil War. He was not well liked by Southerners.
The James Gang arrived in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the middle of August 1876. They spent a
week in Minneapolis gathering information about the bank.  The Gang spent another week in St.
Paul also looking for information as to the amount of money and how the bank was guarded. On
Tuesday 7 September 1876, the great raid took place.  It was a disaster. The James Brothers
escaped.  The Younger brothers were captured, convicted in Rice County District Court and sent to
Stillwater Prison for life.  After serving his time in prison Jim Younger became a farmer. Jim
committed suicide in the Reardon  Hotel in St. Paul, Minnesota 19 October 1902, not long after
being paroled from prison. Some say over a woman. Bob Younger died in Stillwater prison of
consumption(tuberculosis) in 1889 and Cole Younger was paroled on 14 July 1901.

Following are some excerpts from an extensive article which appeared on the front page in the St.
Louis(Missouri) Republican(reprinted from an article which first appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer-
Press, dated Monday Morning 27 November 1876:
  "The three Missouri bandits and cut-throats, Cole, Jim and Bob Younger, made their last
  appearance in St. Paul yesterday - at least it is hoped that we may never look on their ugly
  mugs again."
  "The train containing their unhung carcasses  . . .  "
  " They merely looked at the villains as they sat in . . . "

After the Civil War, Jesse and Frank James and the Younger Brothers came to Indian Territory on
their way to robbing the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota in 1876.  Belle Starr known as
the Outlaw Queen and the most notorious women of all Indian Territory, (Oklahoma) lived about 35
miles east of Lenna at Hoyt in the western part of the Choctaw Nation.  She attracted many
outlaws to the area including the Younger Gang. Cole Younger was the father of Belle's first child,
Pearl Younger.
 The Process, Alfred Bourdeaux, Prisoner #819
He entered Stillwater Prison on 9 July 1902 at age 25.  In his initial interview, he indicated that he
had held at least eight jobs in the past several years.  He also indicated that the reason for his
downfall was poverty.  He was described as 5ft and 6 1/2 inches tall, stout build, 137 lbs.,
complection[sic] florid and eyes light chestnut. His wife and family currently were living at 220 West
29th Street, in Minneapolis.

Incoming prisoners such as Alfred were considered  "fresh fish" by other prisoners.  Alfred, in
handcuffs, would have entered a room known as "between the gates" where his commitment papers
will be examined, the deputy warden sent for to receive him.  Memos would be sent to various
department heads to advise them of his arrival and the reason for his imprisonment.  The deputy
warden would have marched Alfred through to the large cell house which contained 664 cells. A
receipt would be made out for all of his belongings of intrinsic value.

The next move, and one that was the decisive reminder of his future status in this world, would be to
the bathroom where he took a bath and  put on a second grade uniform, there being three grades in
all.  This uniform consisted of a black and grey suit and cap. Alfred would be entitled to write two
letters a month, draw a ration of tobacco weekly and see visitors once a month. Alfred would eat
with other second grade prisoners in their own dining room.  Alfred would then be given a
regulation haircut and a shave. Alfred the proud has been supplanted by Alfred the convict.

In 1902, prisoners were separated into three grades; First, Second and Third. When first
incarcerated they were put in the Second grade. By good behavior and observance of prison rules in
six months, they might be advanced to the First grade. If in any one month, a Second grade prisoner
received two demerits, the prisoner is put down into the Third grade and he must behave so that his
record is free from demerits to get back into the Second grade. Prisoners of the different grades
were recognized by the clothing they wear. The first grade received more privileges and the Third
grade received less than the Second grade.

Alfred was then conducted to the deputy warden's office where he was weighed, asked many
questions, instructed as to the rules of the prison and measured according to the Bertillon system,
first adopted in the United States in 1887.  Alfred was then fingerprinted, a system recently
adopted by the Minnesota State Prison. Alfred was then sent to the medical department and was
given a through physical examination.

The Prison Environment
As a new inmate, Alfred was most likely assigned to the twine factory.  There he was instructed as to
the shop rules and his duties, and how best to get along with the least possible trouble.  At lunch time
he was marched to the dining room.  For a "new fish" the rules were confusing.  No one was
allowed to talk and had to learn the "silent method" to ask for food.  If Alfred wished bread, he must
hold up his right hand; meat,  his fork; soup, his spoon; vegetables, his table knife; coffee, his cup,
and for water, he is to hold up his cup inverted.

At the end of the day's work, Alfred was marched to his cell (#569) where he was handed his
supper in a tin dish.  After roll call, Alfred could do as he wishes and Tea was passed around for his
evening meal. He would note that his cell's dimensions are 5' by 7' and contains one Bible, two cups,
one small mirror, one cuspidor, one spoon, one face towel, one dish towel, one piece of soap, one
comb, blankets, sheets, pillow cases, mattress, bedstead and springs, one wooden chair, one
earthenware water jar, one electric light, one small shelf and one library catalog. He would receive a
copy of the prison newspaper called The Prison Mirror, which was started by inmate funds in
1887.  He was also entitled to use the Prison library which had about five thousand volumes at that
time. Every cell in the prison was scrubbed and whitewashed every day. The corridors were also
scrubbed every day. The prison was built of iron and stone. There was no wood in the prison except
for the window frames and the top part of some of the stairs.
Alfred, at age 25,  did not have any conception of what he would endure in the coming months.  He
would think about his loss of liberty, his wife and four children and their support, and his parents.
He would think about his failures, that he was never very successful at any of the many jobs he held
and that his criminal career was a disaster. Upon release, he would forever be known as Alfred
Bourdeaux, the "ex-convict."  Also, there would be no escape from this prison. During Warden
Wolfer's administration, there were only one escape in those eighteen years. Alfred had the privilege
of seeing Warden Wolfer once each month, who adjusted all differences of opinion between the
prison staff and the prisoner.

Chapter 8: Those Prison Letters

On 27 December 1902, Warden Wolfer received a letter from Alfred's mother, Sophia:
"Mr. Wolfer
  Dear Sir   could I send a Xmas box containing handkerchiefs fruit cake & candy.
       If so ples[sic] be kind enough to let me know as I wish to send one to Alfred Bordeaux.
       respectfully yours
                 Mrs. O. P. Bordeaux"                        
On 29 December1902, Warden Wolfer responded:

"Mrs. O. P. Bordeaux,

       Gen'l Delivery, Minneapolis, Minn.
Dear Madam:-

  Replying to your inquiry of the 27th, beg to say that the rules do nor allow prisoners
  to receive candy and cake at the State Prison, or in fact, any other kinds of
   eatables, such as fruit etc.; except during the time friends are visiting the inmate.

  I enclose a copy of printed rules herewith for your information.
                 Yours Very Truly,"
For 1903, there was no correspondence in Alfred's prison record. However, in 1904 there was a
flurry of correspondence.  Prison regulations allowed him a monthly interview with the warden.  In a
letter dated 10 July, Alfred complained to Warden Wolfer that he had failed to keep his appointment
on 4 April. In that meeting Alfred had wanted to draw up an application to be presented to the
Board of Pardons.  According to the prison newspaper, the Mirror, the Board of Pardons was to
meet on the following Monday.  However, Alfred had only served  two years of his ten-year

The Saturday Evening Post
Alfred had ordered the Saturday Evening Post and on 27 August, 1904, the Prison sent to the
Grumiaux News and Subscription Co. of St. Paul, Minnesota, a list of subscriptions for prisoners
who had ordered newspapers and magazines. The cost of a one year subscription for the Post was
$1 per year.  On 12 October, Warden Wolfer notified Grumiaux that Alfred had not received his
Saturday Evening Post.  The Warden also stated the service provided by Grumiaux had been very
poor.  On 13 October, Grumiaux responded that an immediate adjustment would be made.  Mr. N.
H. Atchinson, Manager at Grumiaux, stated that he had resigned from Grumiaux and would be
taking over the office and that he will provide much better service in the future.

On 1 October, C. W. Marty, Assistant clerk at the prison, notified Alfred that his subscription to the
Saturday Evening Post would commence immediately.  However, Alfred still did not receive the
Post and sent a note to Mr. Marty to that effect and advised him that he had spoken to the Warden
on 14 November ( interviewing day) about it.  On 9 November, Albert complained that he still had
not received the Saturday Evening Post and that the old subscription had expired on 24 September.
On 16 November,  the Warden again sent a letter to Mr. Atchinson advising that the subscription
had been renewed three months ago and  that Alfred Bordeaux had not yet received his Saturday
Evening Post, and demanded that immediate action be taken. On 18 November, Warden Wolfer
received the following letter:
  "Dear Sir: In reply to your complaint regarding the Cleveland Plaindealer and the Sat.
  Ev. Post, I would say that I am no more in Mr. Grumiaux employ and shall refer the
  letter to him at LeRoy, New York.  He acknowledged your earlier complaint and
  assured me it would receive prompt attention. As the order came through me I would
  ask you to let me know if it is not fixed up and I will see that you do not lose anything
  by it.  I have been disgusted with his business methods and expect to enter a suit
  against him within a week or so.  His St. Paul office is closed.
  In regard to the enclosed bid, I shall be pleased to fill the order and assure you the
  service will be far better than heretofore.  The St. Paul Public Library again favored
  me with a $600.00 order.  Awaiting your further favors, I am
                      Yours truly   
                           N. H. Atchinson, Manager, Western News Co."

On 23 November 1904, Warden Wolfer sent the following letter to the Women's Magazine:

"Women's Magazine
St. Louis, Mo
  I enclose herewith ten cents in stamps for which please send to A. Bordeaux, #819, c/o Box
I, Stillwater, Minn., The Women's Magazine for one year.
                                                                             Yours truly,
                                          Henry Wolfer, Warden"

Also on 23 November, Warden Wolfer sent a letter to Mrs. Ida Bordeaux at 1705 Clinton Ave.,
Mpls, Minn. enclosing a money order for $1 per request of A. Bordeaux, #819, requesting
acknowledgment to Albert.

On 15 January 1905, Alfred wrote the following letter to Warden Wolfer:
  "Dear Sir,
  I earnestly request that you see to it that hereafter I receive my paper, Saturday
  Evening Post.
  My subscription was renewed thro[sic] you on August 1st(1904) to take effect Oct.
  1st.  It did not take effect so I saw you on Nov., 14.
  You directed Mr. Marty to write the paper Co. to ascertain why and wherefore and
  report the result to you.
  Altho I have been three-and-a-half months without my paper I have not lost my
  cheerfulness in the matter.
       With hope and respect I am "confidentially  
                                Your obedient slave,
                                     Alfred Bordeaux, Reg. 819."

On the following day, January 16, the warden sent the following letter to Mr. Atchinson:

"Dear Sir:
  On Aug. 16th, we ordered the Saturday Evening Post from you for Alfred Bordeau,
  #819.  On Oct. 12th we wrote you that the paper was not coming to which you
  replied that the matter would receive immediate adjustment.  On Nov. 16th we wrote
  you again about not receiving the paper, to which you replied that you had
  refered[sic] the letter to Mr. Grumiaux of LeRoy, and that if the matter was not fixed
  you would see that we did not lose anything by it.  The matter has not been fixed up,
  so please remit us $1.25 by return mail and we will order the paper elsewhere."

It appears that Albert did eventually get his Saturday Evening Post.  In a letter dated 6 March 1907,
Warden Wolfer renewed Albert's subscription to the Post by sending $1.10 directly to the
newspaper located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Does Alfred Have Tuberculosis?
On 16 May 1905, the minutes of the Board of Control(Parole Board) indicate that Alfred Bordeaux
#819 had  an audience with the Board. He complained  that he had tuberculosis and that the work he
was required to do was too hard for him, but that he had made no previous complaint to the
Warden. His complaint was referred to the Warden for investigation by the Board of Control.

 On 17 May, the Deputy Warden, J. S. Glennon wrote the following letter to Warden Wolfer:
"Dear Sir:
  In regard to Alfred Bordeux, # 819, who claims he has consumption and that the
  work he is required to do is too hard for him, that he has made no complaint to the
  Warden, I will state that Dr. Merrill wanted me to give Bordeaux something to do
  outside.  I put him in the floating gang, who unload hemp, fixed the railroad tracks,
  and do general work about the yard.  Bordeux acted in a very mean spirit and was
  not required to do much as I had instructed the officer to give him the lightest part of
  it.  I will state that since that time while unloading hemp out of the cars, one of the
  bales was carelessly let go and fell on Bordeux and the officer, injuring Bordeux's
  neck somewhat.  He has been laid up and has not done any work for two weeks or
  since the accident.  The Doctor states that there is nothing serious about it, but he
  thinks that Bordeux is putting on a great deal.

On 25 June, Alfred wrote to Warden Wolfer, the following letter:
  "Dear Sir:
  On your interviewing day of May 8th I explained to you that my work was detrimental to my
  improvement.  You said you would look the matter up.
  I have been put to the same work again and am growing worse.  The first time on going to
  work I weighed 160 lbs.
  After an interval of eight weeks, only two of which I worked, I weighed only 142 lbs.  My
  lungs are very sore, my cough is growing worse and at times have been spitting up blood.
  I earnestly request that you look into the matter and let me know your decision."

On 29 June Warden Wolfer forwarded Albert's letter on to Dr. Merrill asking him to look into the
Dr. Merrill responded on 30 June 1905 stating that Alfred Bordeaux was tubercular and that he had
ask the Deputy Warden to give Alfred light work outside.  Alfred complained about what he was
asked to do.  The Doctor further stated that Alfred's weight on admission was 137 lbs. and his
weight on 24 February 1905 was 120 lbs. and his weight on 22 June  was 141 3/4 lbs.  The doctor
further stated that they have no record of Albert ever weighing 160 lbs. as he claims.  On 10 July, J.
S. Glennon, Deputy Warden, wrote to the Warden Wolfer reiterating what Dr. Merrill had said. He
suggested to the Warden that "Bordeaux is putting on a great deal."

On 3 September, Alfred wrote again to the Warden:
  "Dear Sir,
  I ask you for the privilige[sic] of making an application, with help at your office, to the
  October meeting of the Board of Pardons.
  I wish to ask for a conditional pardon on grounds that will practically imbody[sic] those made
  in my previous application.
       Respectfully yours,
            Alfred Bordeaux     #819"

Again on 31 December 1905, Albert wrote again to Warden Wolfer:
  "Dear Sir,
  I wish to say that my transfer on Dec. 20 to the cell-house from hospital was not justified.
  The fact that I weighed 164 lbs., a gain of 44 lbs. in ten months, and that my lungs were
  improved did not justify my transfer.
  I still have consumption.  The conditions of the cell-house are very detrimental to my lungs
  and I am already growing worse.
  I ask you and expect you to have me transfered[sic] to the hospital and to remain there
  until[sic] my lungs are entirely well.
       Respectfully yours,
            Alfred Bordeaux #819"

On 16 February 1906, Warden Wolfer wrote to the Cell House Keeper, Mr. T. W. Alexander,
asking him to change A. Bordeaux's  cell to one that is light and airy due to Albert's lung trouble.
On the following day Mr. Alexander, Cell House Keeper, notified Warden Wolfer that he had
transferred Albert to Cell # 295 in No. 4 gallery on the Southside. As a result of this transfer several
letters were exchanged regarding this issue. On 26 February 1906, Warden Wolfer received a letter
from Alfred's wife Ida acknowledging receipt of the $1 "sent by the request of my husband."

On 1 March 1906, Warden Wolfer received a letter from Dr. Merrill, advising him that repeated
examinations of Alfred's sputum during the past year has failed to give the tuberculosis bacaili[sic].
The doctor further stated that he had taken Bodeaux off of the hospital diet as he was not in need of
it.  He said that Bordeau during the times that he has received care and attention, he has never
expressed appreciation but constantly found fault.

On 6 March, Warden Wolfer sent the following letter to Alfred:
  "After hearing your case and reading the reports by the physician, the Board of Control
  requests me to inform you that in their judgement you have received your proper treatment
  and have no reason for complaint."

 On 10 August H. R. O'Brien sent the following memo to the Warden:
  "Dear Warden - A. Bordeaux No 819 seems very anxious that T. B. Bacillus be found in his
  sputum.  George Cote saw Joseph White hand Bordeaux a box in all probability some of
  White's sputum."

On 2 February 1907, Warden Wolfer received the following from Mrs. Ida Bordeaux:
       "Dear Sir.
  I hereby return the check sent to me by you and request you kindly return it to Mr.
  Bordeaux.  I also have to request that no more letters be forwarded to me from him"

On 7 February, the Warden advised Mr. Goldsmith the Night Turnkey that should A. Bordeaux
#819 should write any more letters to Mrs. Bordeaux that they should be sent to the Warden's
Letters to Former Employers
 In June  1907, Warden Wolfer wrote to several of Albert's former employers, as follows:
  "Dear Sir:
  Alfred Bordeaux who was committed to this institution on 9 July 1902 from Hennepin
  County under sentence for ten years for the crime of Grand Larceny in the First Degree has
  made application for Parole under the laws of this State.
  This man claims that you are acquainted with him and can tell us something regarding his
  history and character.  If this is the case, will you kindly furnish us with any information you
  can that might be of interest in considering his application for Parole.
            Thanking you in advance for the favor of an early reply, I am   
                                          Very truly yours."
Mr. Frank T. Moore of the Saxton Heating Company stated that he knew nothing of Alfred
Bordeaux.  Dr. Edwin Phillips said that he was personally acquainted with Alfred Bordeaux before
he went to Stillwater .  He had a faithful wife and beautiful children which he provided for until he
formed bad associations.  Mr. Will Watson of the Cedar Lake Ice Company stated that he had
nothing to say in favor of letting him out and that the Warden should use his own judgment.  Mr.
Robert Koehler of the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts had the following to say in his letter to
Warden Wolfer dated 20 June 1907:
"Dear Sir:
In reply to your letter of yesterday I would say the following:
  Alfred Bordeaux was frequently employed at our school as a model in the life class.
  His general physical development making him a very desirable model.  He was
  generally reliable in keeping his appointments - but he was not liked by any of the
  students owing to certain repulsive traits in his character, which were strongly marked
  in his features.  It was no surprise to anyone to learn of his arrest and conviction and
  I should hardly feel warranted to employ him again at this school.  Though personally
  I believe in encouraging anybody who seriously desires to reform.Of his life and
  occupation outside of the hours he was employed here I know nothing"

On 21 August 1907, Mrs. Mamie White wrote the following to Warden Wolfer:
  "Dear Sir: I have been informed that the prisoner, Fred Bordeaux, who has been
  serving a term for the past four years, for an attempted assault and highway robbery
  upon(me) the writer is being considered by the board of pardons for pardon, which I
  am worried greatly about, as he made a statement before going to Stillwater, that
  when he got free I would not live.  I fear he will carry out his threat - I hope the
  Pardon Board will consider my asking a further protection and let me know what
  they will do in the matter, for he is a dangerous man to be at liberty. 
  I still hold two other indictments against him, therefore, I feel he ought to serve his
  full term which is ten years.  Hoping this meets with the approval of the Board, - I
                 Very Sincerely - Mrs. Mamie F. White"

Chapter 9: Divorce, Parole and Death

Alfred had now been in prison almost five years. On 31 March 1907, he wrote the following letter to
his attorney, Charles Huntress:
  "Dear Sir,
  I received a note from Ida the first of February stating that she did not wish to receive any
  aid or correspondence from me.
  I wish to ask you to do all you can to prevent Ida from getting a divorce.  My time for parole
  is only three months away.  If she is prevented for these three months I am satisfied.
  Once I am out, Mr. Huntress, she will have to come back to me or I will get a divorce.  If I
  get a divorce I shall certainly get the children and I intend she will never be allowed to see
  My relatives and friends have always wanted me to leave her.  They blame her for my being
  here.  They have diserted[sic] me since I have come here, because I still cling to her.  I could
  of had a lawyer and stand trial if I would have promised to give her up
  I can do nothing while I am here but once out she will have no grounds for action.  So to see
  how important it is to prevent her doing anything in the short time I have left. 
                                          Alfred Bordeaux"

On 10 June 1907, Charles Huntress wrote the following to Warden Wolfer:
"Dear Sir:
  You are doubtless aware of the contents of the enclosed letter, written to me by Alfred
  Bordeaux, one of your prisoners. But the misrepresentations contained therein are so gross
  that I am impelled to ask you to give the letter a little more of your time.
  I wish to direct your attention to Bordeaux's statement about his relatives and friends. 
  The fact is that they have always urged Mrs. Bordeaux to stick to her husband.  Another fact
  is that she had nothing to do whatever to do with his getting into prison it was his own evil
  doings and nothing else that landed him there.
  I wish you to note also his threat about divorce, and not allowing her to see her children.  He
  knows that would strike a tender spot in her heart, for he knows that she cherishes more than
  the usual Maternal affection for her children, and has struggled almost beyond human
  strength, to provide for them, since they were born
  Bordeaux either wrote that letter, as a grandstand play, for your eyes, or he really thinks me
  as friendly to him as I was before I became aware of his hopeless depravity.
  A year before he was sent up to serve his recent sentence, I endeavored to be of some
  service to him when he was under trial for highway robbery.  At that time I believed[sic] him
  innocent, the victim of circumstances, and although he was aquitted[sic], subsequent
  revelations point to a strong probability that he was guilty.
  When he was earning fair wages his family was suffering for the necessaries of life, while he
  was squandering his income in criminal sport.
  The majority of his nights were spent away from home, his confiding Wife believing the
  specious lies he told her to account for his absence.
  Some of the meager home furnishing, which Mrs. Bordeaux had no reason to believe was
  acquired otherwise than honestly, were, she has since learned, stolen property.
  His letters to his wife while he has been in prison, many of which have read, do not evidence
  any contrition on his part, his greatest regret seemly to be that he was apprehended in his evil
  I am now convinced that my that my former confidence in Bordeaux was misplaced, and that
  for him to be at large would be a menace to society in general, and to his Wife in particular,
  and all acquaintintances[sic] with whom I have conversed would feel unsafe had he his
  My only interest in the matter is Humanitarian sentiment for the Wife, and children, and
friends of all concerned.
                 Yours truly,    Charles Huntress"

On 14 June1907, Warden Wolfer acknowledged the letter, thanking Mr. Huntress for informing
him. On 3 July 1907, Warden Wolfer notified Alfred that his application for parole has been
postponed for a future meeting of the Board of Parole.

On 7 August 1907, Alfred wrote the following to Warden Wolfer:
       "Dear Sir,
  I complain to you for what in my opinion his neglect of proper medical treatment on the part
  of Dr. Merrill.
  I have consumption.  I have had nine hemorrhages of my lungs between August 1 and
  August 8th.  I cough most of the time, spit up much pus or matter and at times some blood. 
  I have no appetite, eat almost nothing, have fevers and sweats.  I am very weak and growing
  weaker.  Have lost considerable in weight and am now below 137 lbs., the weight at which I
  entered the prison. 
  All these facts I have told Dr. Merrill except that I have not been weighed.
  I have ask to be transferred to the hospital, have ask for the hospital diet, both were denied
  All that has been done for me is to put me in the park and give me medicine to stop
  hemorrhages of my lungs.
  I ask of you warden that I be transferred to the hospital, given the hospital diet, and such
  further treatment as my condition may require.
  I respectfully request that you give this matter an early consideration as I believe a delay will
  result seriously probably in my death."

On 12 August 1907, Dr. Merrill wrote the following to Warden Wolfer:
  "I do not consider at the present time that he has tuberculosis.  I do not think that he
  is in any immediate danger, or that he is much sick at present.  I can cheerfully claim
  that Bordeaux has had the best of attention and care under the Medical Department
  at all times.  That in fact he has had more favors and attention to then his problems
  or physical condition would require.  He has been given the benefit of the doubt at all
  times.  In the past as now, he has been of a sour and seerly[sic] disposition and never
  evidenced  the least show of gratitude for what has been done for him.                
  Very truly yours, B. J. Merrill"

On 14 August 1907, Alfred wrote a lengthy letter to L. A. Rosing of the Board of Control advising
him that he has consumption.  He further stated that Dr. Merrill refuses to admit that he has
consumption.  Alfred also stated that Dr. Merrill "is and has deliberately, knowingly and intentionally
neglected to give me proper treatment."  Alfred further stated that "I am sinking so fast that if not
cared for within several days my chance for recovery is gone.  This is radical but it is the true."
Alfred requested an interview with the Board of Control at their next meeting at the prison.

On the same day, Dr. Merrill wrote again To Warden Wolfer:
  "Dear Sir: I examined Alfred Bordeaux a few days ago.  I could not find any
  evidence of lung tuberculosis.  I put him out in the Park a short time ago preparatory
  to examining his sputum etc. An examination of his sputum was made about the same
  time and many tubercle bacillus were found.  A second examination a week later
  failed to give germs.  The Sputum in the first examination was brought in by
  Bordeaux himself.  The second specimen  was obtained by having Bordeaux sit in the
  Hospital and expectorate in the presence of Dr. O'Brien.  In the meantime George
  Cote, a convict in the Park, informed me that Bordeaux had obtained a specimen of
  Sputum from Joe White, another Park man whose Sputum is well laden with
  tuberculosis germs.  Our own examinations physical and microscopic would tend to
  confirm Cote's information.  A four-day test taken in all morning and evening
  indicates that the Sputum has been normal.  Another negative as to his having an
  acute tuberculosis.  As to his having hemorrhages - we have no evidence but the
  word of Bordeaux himself.  His weight August 12th 1907 was 135 lbs.  His weight
  before admission July 9th, 1902 was 137 lbs."

On 18 October 1907, Alfred had his monthly meeting with Warden Wolfer, the minutes of that
meeting are as follows:
  "Alfred Bordeaux, No. 819.  To see dentist.  Wants to know the date of his
  discharge.  Asked about the divorce proceedings his wife is instituting against him.
  Warden told him to write to the Clerk of the District Court and ask what the records
  are and he could find out whether degree has been granted or not.  Wanted to know
  how many marks he has.  Asked if he could get a job teaching school this fall.
  Warden told him that was for the Deputy and Professor to decide.  Wants to be
  examined by the insanity Board- -says he is insane.  Warden told him he doesn't
  think there is any insanity about him."  In the interview with the Warden on 27
  December, they discussed the January meeting of the Parole Board.  Alfred
  complained about his catarrh trouble.  The Warden told him to go see the doctor."

In a letter to the Warden dated 12 January 1908, Alfred stated the following:
  "Dear Sir,
  Wished to say that I have not received the usual notice as to what action the Board of
  Control took in the matters I had before them at the January 8th meeting.
       This is probably a clerical error will you please send me notice of action taken.
                           Very respectfully, A. Bordeaux No. 819"

In the monthly interview with the Warden in February, Alfred talked about his condition and about
parole.  Warden told him to go and be a man and put himself in line for parole . . .  Wants to get
outside work.  Warden told him the place he has now is the best place for him. Warden also told him
to let medicine alone and see if that wouldn't help him.

On 25 February 1908, Dr. Merrill wrote to Warden Wolfer the following:
  "Dear Sir: Tubercular bacilli have been detected  four times in the first Month in A.
  Bordeaux's sputum.  He has become tubercular during the past few months.  He is at
  present in the Park and on hospital diet.  Under his present condition I would
  recommend his discharge from Prison if it is possible."  On 4 March 1908, Albert
  was informed by the Warden that his application for parole has been granted and that
  he would be released as soon as possible.  Warden Wolfer on March 5th notified
  Alfred's father Oliver that Alfred would be released on March 6th.  Alfred signed his
  Parole Agreement on the same day."
Alfred was required as a condition of parole to send a monthly report to the Warden.  The report
had 18 questions that Alfred was required to answer many questions such as his income,
expenditures and other questions regarding his situation.

On 22 June, 1908, Warden Wolfer who had apparently received a letter from Alfred, responded as
  "Dear Sir: Your letter of the 19th about getting into the Tubercular hospital at Walker,
  received.  I do not know just what proceedings are necessary or whether it will be
  possible for you to gain admission to that institution.  I would suggest that you call on
  the County Physician of Hennepin County for information about the necessary
  application for admission."

On 28 September 1908, Warden Wolfer wrote to Alfred's father Oliver:
  "Dear Sir:
  We have just received a letter from your son Alfred Bordeaux, in which he asked the
  question if we will receive him if he returns to the prison.  We have today answered
  his letter and send you a copy of it herewith.  We hope that it will not be necessary
  for him to come back here.  He is better off outside.  Please let us know how he is
  getting along and give us some information about the matter."
On 27 October 1908, Alfred notified Warden Wolfer that he has been in the St. Paul City Hospital
since Sunday night 25 October.  On 27 October, Alfred notified the Board of Control as follows:
"Dear Sir,
  For the benefit of the Board wish to say that as a paroled convict I am and have been
  in the St. Paul City Hospital since October 25.
  I request you to return me to the prison at Stillwater.  I have written the warden
  Wolfer but neglected to ask to be returned.  Awaiting your reply, I am respectfully

On 2 November, J. E. Bernard of the Board of Control wrote to Warden Wolfer:
  "Dear Sir: Referring to yours of Oct. 30th concerning Bordeaux, will say, I called at
  the hospital Monday noon last.  Was unable to see Dr. Aucher but learned that
  Bordeaux had been brought to the hospital on Sunday the 25th from the Camp on the
  West Side, where I understand tuberculosis patients are kept temporarily.  They were
  afraid he (Albert) would commit suicide at the camp.  Also says he wishes to return
  to the prison.  Says treatment at the prison is far better in every way then when he
  was in the Camp.
  Bordeaux can only speak in a whisper and cannot bear to hear any loud talk.  It seems to me
  that he cannot last much longer.  I do not think that it is desirable to return him.  He should
  stay where he is if possible.  I think if Chairman Langford wanted to get rid of him he would
  take the Case up with the Board."

On 26 November 1908, Alfred Israel Bordeaux, age 32, died of Pulmonary and Intestinal
Tuberculosis at the County and City Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota.  He is buried in an unmarked
grave in his parent's family plot in Hillside Cemetery in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Intestinal Tuberculosis
The Merck Manuel states the following:
   " Epidemiology: Infection occurs primarily by the aerosol route. Airborne droplets may
  remain infectious and suspended for long periods of time. They are small and reach the
  smallest airway without being trapped and removed by bronchial muscosal clearance
  mechanisms. In areas where bovine TB has not been eliminated, transmission may occur by
  ingestion of contaminated milk".

Alfred could have contracted intestinal tuberculosis from the milk from cows raised by the Prison.
Milk was not pasteurized at this time. In 1949, a law was passed in Minnesota making compulsory
the pasteurization of all milk for human consumption. Much too late for Alfred.

Did Dr. Merrill fail to diagnose Alfred's condition correctly?  It could well be that Alfred did not
have tuberculosis of the lungs initially, but did have tuberculosis of the intestinal tract. Certainly that
condition was recognized in that it appeared on the death certificate. How would a doctor in the
hospital discover it as an autopsy had not been performed.  Dr. Merrill only focused on the
sputum, which is a mucus produced by the respiratory tract. Was there a test for intestinal
tuberculosis? Was it Dr. Merrill's opinion that most prisoners faked illness to get out of work? Did
Alfred lie about his weight gain and loss? If Dr. Merrill had diagnosed Alfred's condition correctly,
would it have made any difference?

Alfred The Unfortunate
As Alfred was entering Stillwater Prison in 1902, the local economy had been improving by leaps
and bounds. Prosperity had became the norm in the City's industries as flour-milling expanded and a
host of new enterprises began to develop. Small businesses found the business and financial climate
of the city much improved.  Beginning in 1902, many new downtown buildings were constructed.
Theaters and department stores led the way. Also several municipal buildings were built. The City
Hall-Hennepin County Court House was completed in 1906, occupying an entire block and the first
Minneapolis Auditorium was built in 1905.  Alfred would never have the opportunity to share in
this progress.

Chapter 10: What Happened To:

Mamie F. White
Mrs. White separated from her husband sometime in 1908/09. The 1910 Census indicates that she
was married and living in her father's household at 520 Forest Ave., but indicated no husband. Her
occupation was listed as "Magnetic Healer and Masseur.  There is no record of a divorce. In
1920, Mamie F. White is  living with her father, and is listed as married but no husband in the
household. It appears that neither she or her husband remarried.  She died 14 January 1943, at age
76. Records indicate that she was a "Spiritual Healer."  She is buried along with her father in
Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.  Her husband Rollin E. White died on 30 June 1942, at age
81.  He is also buried in Lakewood Cemetery in the White family plot. It appears that Mamie and
Rollin never had any children. Mamie was survived by her brother Louis of Racine, Wisconsin.

Annie Wahlberg/Walberg
Anna name appears in the 1901 Minneapolis City Directory but not in 1902 or 1903.  No further
records(marriage or death) can be found for her in Hennepin County. In that her testimony did not
convict Alfred, was she afraid of what Alfred might do to her?  Did she subsequently leave the area?
Detective Christopher Norbeck
In the Spring and Summer of 1902, Detective Norbeck was involved in a huge and sensational
scandal involving both the Police Department and some City officials. Bribes were the main issue.
Norbeck was initially arrested, released and disappeared for a time. He subsequently reappeared.
Judge Simpson was the trial judge. In the trial, Detective Norbeck admitted that he bore false
testimony in the Gardner trial. Newspapers referred to Norbeck as "notorious". Norbeck testified for
the Prosecution, that he told the superintendent of police, Fred W. Ames,  that the Mayor had
ordered him to aid Gardner in collecting the graft from candy stores and assignation houses. The
superintendent of police had advised Norbeck , before he testified in the Gardner trial, to "stand
pat"if he expected to remain on the force. Detective Norbeck was not listed in the police roster for

Warden Henry Wolfer
Henry Wolfer, who took over Stillwater Prison in 1892, retired in 1913. When Mr. Wolfer was
appointed warden, he already had 28 years experience in another prison. Henry, who was born in
Michigan,  married Alice A.Suylandt in 1876 They had four children, Harry, Frank, Gertrude and
Charles. Henry's mother Sarah was living with them in 1900. He was Warden longer than any
Warden before him.  Henry Wolfer, during his 21 years as Warden, planned and saw to completion
what is acknowledged to be the greatest institution of its kind in the world.  Mr. Wolfer was a smart
business man, and he knew how to accumulate money and make it grow. In 1919, Henry Wolfer
and his wife Alice moved to California while still maintaining a home in St. Paul.  Henry was killed
in an automobile accident in California on 2 December 1919 at age 65. His wife Alice Suylandt
Wolfer died on 6 September1932 at age 76 and is buried in Stillwater, Minnesota.

Burton Jay Merrill, MD
Burton J. Merrill was born in Palmyra, Iowa in 1856, son of Philo G. Merrill and Sophia Merrill.
Philo was a farmer and he and his family lived in Grinnell, Poweshiek County. Burton Jay was listed
as a medical student in the 1880 Census. He attended highschool at Grinnell College and graduated
from Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York in 1881.His speciality was Forensic Pathology
but his type of practice was Allopathy.
He received his medical license in Minnesota in 1883 and  was hired by the Minnesota State Prison
at Stillwater in 1889. Dr. Merrill died 16 July 1920 at age 64 of heart disease. Dr. Merrill was a
member of the American Medical Association, a Washington County Physician and a coroner.  He
also was a professor of materia medica and therapeutics from 1886 to 1888 at the St. Paul Medical

Ida Allen Bordeaux Dempsie
After her divorce from Alfred on 13 January 1908, Ida Allen married George Dempsie on 31
August 1908, and went to live at 316 Nicolett Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. After her second
husband George Dempsie committed suicide on 21 November 1910, Ida lived with her daughter
Laura and granddaughter Helen(my mother).  As a child, Ida had suffered a head injury and had to
take drugs for the pain. Her family claimed, however, that her second husband George Dempsie
kept her drugged. In addition she was depressed due to the suicide of her husband and the birth of
an illegitimate granddaughter whose father was her husband.  On 18 April, 1913 Ida Allen Dempsie
was committed to the Rochester State Mental Hospital where she was found insane.  On 15 May
1913, at the age of thirty-seven, Ida died there and was buried in an unmarked grave in a cemetery
located on the hospital grounds. Cause of death was listed as General Paralysis of the Insane.

Oliver and Minnie Bourdeaux
Sophia Mousseau Bordeaux died on 15 August1909 in New Brighten, Minnesota and is buried in
Hillside Cemetery. The cause of death was listed as Diabetes with a contributory of Chronic
Nephritis. Oliver signed his Last Will and Testament on March 2, 1918. It was filed in Ramsey
County Probate Court on 18 March1918 and probated on 18 October 1918. All of his estate went to
his two youngest children Paul and Emily. The executrix of his estate as his daughter Isabelle Dolfay.
Oliver Phillip died of Carcinoma of the Liver on 17 March 1918 in New Brighton, Minnesota and is
buried with his wife and son Alfred in Hillside Cemetery.

Alfred Bourdeaux's Children      
Laura Sophia Corice Bourdeaux (my biological grandmother)
Laura was born 6 October1895 and baptized in St. Mary's Episcopal Church on 2 February 1896 in
St. Paul, Minnesota. Her god parents were Mr. and Mrs. G.F. Backus. (Minnie Mousseau). After
her father Alfred died, her mother Ida Allen ( Bourdeaux) married George M. Dempsie who
operated several photographic studios in Minneapolis, one being at 316 Nicollet Avenue.  Laura, at
age fourteen,  was allegedly molested by her step-father George Dempsie which resulted in a child
named Helen born on 22 November 1910.  George committed suicide the day before on November
21.  In April 1913 Laura gave Helen up for adoption.

Laura was married twice. Her first marriage was to Harry Phillip Goergen on 9 September 1918.
Harry and Laura applied for a Marriage License and they were married the same day by a Hennepin
Co. Court Commissioner.  Harry sued for and was granted a divorce from Laura on 26 May, 1921.
Court records indicate that she did not show up for hearings a number of times. She apparently kept
her first marriage a secret as her family did not have any knowledge of it.

Her second marriage was to Albert E. Leslie on 5 May1925. They were married by Clair E. Ames,
Pastor of the Linden Hills Congregational Church at 4452 Vincent Ave. So. in Minneapolis. They
were happily  married for 37 years.  Laura Bordeaux Leslie died on 25 December 1962 and is
buried in Ft. Snelling Military Cemetery next to her husband, who was a soldier in the First World
War. Cause of death is listed as possible Ventricular fibrillation due to Acute recurrent Thrombosis
due to Arteriosclerotic heart disease. No other children were born from these marriages

Jeannette Isabelle Marie Bordeaux Clark
Baptized in All Saints Episcopal Church in Minneapolis, Minn. by Rev. Alexander. God parents
were Isabelle Bordeaux, Ellen Dennis and Peter Bordeaux. Ellen Mousso Dennis. Peter Bordeaux
was probably Peter Louis Bordeaux who was a son of Peter Bordeaux who was the first husband of
Ellen Mousso. Peter Bordeaux was also an older brother of Oliver Bourdeaux. She married Bert J.
Clark 4 June 1919. Bert Clark was the President and Treasurer of the Surgical Manufacturing
Company. They had three children, John Burt, Malcolm David and Mary Jean Clark. Oral family
history says that Jeannette chose to shun her Bourdeaux family. Her children did not know anyone
in the Bourdeaux family. The reason is unknown. Perhaps she was embarrassed about her father and
her stepfather. When her sister Laura died, Jeannette Clark attended the funeral.

Joseph Oliver Bourdeaux
He was born 25 January 1900 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and died 4 November 1969. On 3 August
1920 he married Ruth Minikus. She died November 1930. They had four children, Raymond born 4
September 1920 and died 4 March 1986, Vernon born 3 July 1924, Charles Bourdeaux  born 28
January 1926 and Loretta Bourdeaux who was born 3 December 1928.

Oliver Allen Dwight Bourdeaux
Born 26 November 1896 and baptized in All Saints Episcopal Church in Minneapolis, Minn. by
Rev. Alexander. God parents were O.P. Bordeaux, Geo. Bordeaux and Sophia Bordeaux. On 9
January 1818 Oliver married Edla Thorson. They had one son named Douglas born 1 May 1924.
Edla Thorson was born 15 February 1897 and died October 1967 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Alfred Bourdeaux had suffered head injuries during his boxing career which when impacted by the
stress of marriage, children and unemployment, caused him to turn to violent crime and other
criminal activities.

Alfred Marries - Enters the Workforce - 1895 to 1899
We cannot say exactly when Alfred's problems began or when he started his life of crime. We could
say that before he was married and entered the workforce he probably had few problems as a
teenager who lived at home and went to school. Mrs. White, Alfred's second victim, stated that
Alfred was "a very clever and promising youngster." There was no hint of trouble here. In 1895, at
age eighteen Alfred married and became employed the same time. The next four years were
difficult. Ida immediately became pregnant with her first child and by 1898, they had two more
children. Even today, this would be a very difficult if not impossible situation for any teenage
parents with small children.

Moreover, during that time he had held at least seven jobs for a total of sixteen months of
employment. There was a severe depression at that time, with an influx of foreign laborers. Alfred
had no specific skills, making it more difficult to find a steady job or any job .He was a common
laborer among thousands like him.

He was probably under a lot of substantial stress trying to support his family. He may have been
angry at his inability to feed, house and clothe them. All this happened between the ages of 18 to 21.
He frequently moved during that period, probably because he could not afford rent. He would
certainly be anxious and depressed over that situation. Mrs White said that during one winter she
provided food for Bourdeaux's wife and children, when the husband was either unable or unwilling
to provide for them. Did Mrs. White suspect something?

A Pattern of Behavior - What we Know
In 1899, Alfred went to work as a flour checker for the Chicago Great Western Railroad, the job he
held at the time of his first arrest in 1901 and again in1902. By 1901, the economy was improving
by leaps and bounds in Minneapolis as evidenced by the fact that Alfred now had a steady income.
Was it necessary to pursue criminal activities for money?  In the first case he got almost nothing, i.e.,
twenty cents. In the second robbery he got more, but he did not think it necessary to sell the opal
ring. He was probably having it repaired for his wife. So was money the issue here? Why did he rob
and beat only women?  His criminal activities made no sense because if he had a criminal mind with
reasoning powers, he would have been in it for the money and after the first disastrous  incident in
1901, would have taken a different approach.

As there is only limited evidence of his criminal activity, it is unclear as to other crimes he may have
committed, but had never been caught. If his purpose was to make money from his criminal
activities, he was a failure. He did not have a criminal mind and was not a professional criminal. He
did not use a weapon, only his fists, to intimidate his victims at a time when weapons were readily
In the first robbery in 1901, Alfred was unsuccessful and it should have occurred to him that if he
had to make money from criminal activities of this sort, he should try something else. However, he
got caught, was indicted, went to trial and had to convince or coerce someone to lie for him. Not
withstanding this lesson, Alfred tried it again next year with the same modus operandi and with the
same result. Did he lack the ability to reason correctly?

Of the two major criminal activities we know about, they make no sense. He attacked women who
would have much less money on their person then men. Both robberies took place on a Saturday
and at night and in the springtime. What was magic about that? Was that a tried and true criminal
practice? Was Alfred ashamed at what he was doing and would only do it at night? Random attacks
at night against women certainly would be less profitable then some other criminal activity. He only
got twenty cents from Anna Walberg. Later on we find out that some of his household furnishing
had been stolen. Of course we don't if he stole them or bought them from others who did steal
them. His criminal career was irrational if he expected to earn money from that activity.

Alfred was born and raised a Catholic. His extended family, the Perrys and Mousseaus, were also
Catholic and would have given him substantial support and as well as an example of what a Christian
should be. He was not raised in a criminal environment. Around the time of his marriage, he became
an Episcopalian. It doesn't appear that he had abandoned religion. However he was not  contrite for
what he did. Contrition would have been an element of his Christian upbringing. The letter from
Charles Huntress dated 10 June 1907, was very revealing:
       When he was earning fair wages his family was suffering for the necessaries
       of life, while he was squandering his income in criminal sport. The majority
       of his nights were spent away from home, his confiding Wife believing the
       specious lies he told her to account for his absence. Some of the meager
       home furnishing, which Mrs. Bordeaux had no reason to believe was
       acquired otherwise than honestly, were, she has since learned, stolen
       property. His letters to his wife while he has been in prison, many of which
       have read, do not evidence any contrition on his part, his greatest regret
       seemed to be that he was apprehended in his evil deeds.

Gleanings From Prison Letters
During his time  in Stillwater  Prison, he apparently was  on good behavior as there were no mention
in any letters that he had any disciplinary problems. Was this a time of peace for him? There was
probably no pressure on him, except from himself, to hold a job or support a family; a highly
structured environment. Did he once again revert somewhat to his moral upbringing?  He only
became upset when he thought he had tuberculosis and that his wife Ida was going to divorce him, a
normal reaction to such disturbing news. Most of his letters in prison were very rational and reveal
only some indication of anger or aggression. Other than that, he appears to have been a model

The letter from Mamie White to the Warden recalls her fear of Alfred's anger.

  "Dear Sir: I have been informed that the prisoner, Fred Bordeaux, who has been serving a
  term for the past four years, for an attempted assault and highway robbery upon(me) the
  writer is being considered by the board of pardons for pardon, which I am worried greatly
  about, as he made a statement before going to Stillwater, that when he got free I would not
  live.  I fear he will carry out his threat - I hope the Pardon Board will consider my asking a
  further protection and let me know what they will do in the matter, for he is a dangerous man
  to be at liberty. I still hold two other indictments against him, therefore, I feel he ought to
  serve his full term which is ten years.  Hoping this meets with the approval of the Board."

Would Alfred's threats be normal or would they be the result of anger?  Had a man been the victim
instead of Mamie, would he have made the same threat? He became very angry when Mamie hit
him. What was Alfred thinking when Mamie put up a fierce resistance? I think in this case, it would
have been normal to run away. There was no consideration by Alfred that someone might come
upon them and capture him. Or was it that " no women can hit me and get away with it". Was this a
challenge to his perceived male superiority or was he just angry?

The letter from Mr. Robert Koehler of the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts to Warden Wolfer
indicates that:  "he(Alfred) was not liked by any of the students owning to certain repulsive traits in
his character, which were strongly marked in his features."  I believe that Alfred had a anger
problem. This frequently shows up in facial features and attitude. How did he acquire this problem? 
In 1907, Alfred wrote the following letter to his attorney, Charles Huntress:
  "Dear Sir,
  I received a note from Ida the first of February stating that she did not wish to receive any
  aid or correspondence from me. I wish to ask you to do all you can to prevent Ida from
  getting a divorce.  My time for parole is only three months away.  If she is prevented for
  these three months I am satisfied. Once I am out, Mr. Huntress, she will have to come back
  to me or I will get a divorce.  If I get a divorce I shall certainly get the children and I intend
  she will never be allowed to see them. My relatives and friends have always wanted me to
  leave her.  They blame her for my being here.  They have diserted[sic] me since I have come
  here, because I still cling to her.  I could of had a lawyer and stand trial if I would have
  promised to give her up."

His remark about his getting a divorce and getting the children, the threat to Mamie White, were
angry statements rather than rational ones. He appears to have had unrealistic expectations and was
in denial of what he had done. Was he confused about his situation? Alfred had no grounds for
divorce, which would be adultery or abandonment. In no case in those days would he get the
children, being an ex-convict.  Very angry and irrational statements!

 Summarizing Alfred -  Analysis of Behavior
  From a criminal standpoint, the robberies of two women make no sense. Women were the
  least likely to have much money. After Alfred's first failure for which he almost went to jail
  for $.20 and had to get(coerce?) someone to lie for him., he tried it again. Did he not have
  the ability to make a rational judgement?  Was there an inability to make proper decisions?

  The assaults on those women were violent. Was Alfred so angry that he would abandon his
  moral code? Did he fail to understand that striking helpless women in such a cowardly
  fashion would bring substantial retribution? Certainly, very confused thinking.

  He appears to have been indifferent to human relations and not concerned what his family
  might think or of their embarrassment. In the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, there were still
  many descendants of Abraham Perry and Charles Mousseau, plus his parents and his
  siblings. Was he so depressed that he didn't care or was indifferent about this situation?

  He is described by Dr. Merrill as having a sour and surly(bad tempered and unfriendly)
  disposition. In another letter, Dr. Merrill stated that Bourdeaux during the times that he had
  received care and attention, had never expressed appreciation but constantly found fault.  He
  was described in Robert Koehler's letter to the Warden as "not being liked by any of the
  students owning to certain repulsive traits in his character which were strongly marked in his
  features." I find the statement by Koehler revealing in that Alfred was very interested in
  becoming a male model, but was obviously unaware of his personality change and how it
  impacted others.
What could have Caused this type of behavior?
There are numerous internet websites concerning anti-social behavior, crime, and mental illness
including irrational behavior, personality changes, depression, mood swings, and aggression. These
are some of the things we might say about Alfred. Many make references(hyperlinks) to head
injuries and the sports of boxing, soccer and football as a potential source of Alfred's behavior.
Many studies have been done and are continuing to be done on the effects of head injuries and anti-
social behavior, psychosis, mental illness and personality change. These are major issues today.

History of Boxing
The history of boxing is also the history of early America. The sport gained popularity after English
fighters came to the United States, looking for competition and money. America's first real
championship fight on 30 May 1880, took place in West Virginia, near the Pennsylvania and Ohio
borders. Joe Goss, considered the English champion faced challenger Paddy Ryan, from Ireland.
Ryan knocked out Goss in the 87th round and was then challenged immediately by John L. Sullivan
of Boston. In Mississippi on 7 February 1882, Sullivan defeated Ryan by a knockout  in the 9th
round. Sullivan spent the next five years making money off of the championship touring the country
and fighting exhibitions.

Sullivan's first real title defense took place in Chantilly, France on 10 March 1888. Charley Mitchell
who only weighted 160 pounds to Sullivan's 210 pounds, fought to a draw. In 1889, Sullivan
fought Jake Kilrain. For the first time, newspapers carried extensive pre-fight coverage, reporting on
the fighter's training. The fight took place in Richburg, Mississippi on 8 July 1889. In the 74th round,
Kilrain's manager threw in the towel and Sullivan's victory made him a true national hero.
Sullivan then focused on making as much money as possible outside of the ring. He spent 1890
touring in a stage production, Honest Hearts and Willing Hands, then he went to Australia to fight a
few exhibition matches. When he returned to America late in 1891, he offered to fight any
challenger under the "Marquis of Queensberry rules for a purse of $25,000 and side bets of
$10,000. James J. "Gentleman Jim" Corbett accepted the offer. Corbett defeated an old John L.
Sullivan in San Francisco, California on 26 June 1891. The Great John L. continued to fight until
Would Boxing Appeal to Alfred?
In the 1890s, Baseball was the only sport of any national significance. There was no national
football, basket ball or golf. When boxers began making money from that sport, it was considered a
rags-to-riches situation. Winning boxers could make more money in one fight than most other than
common laborers might make in a lifetime. Another factor was sports betting, as many thousands
were won or lost on the outcome of a particular fight.

 Instant wealth and fame! Winning boxers were sought after by promoters in order to make money
and fame for themselves and their fighters. Boxers traveled to many countries for boxing contests, a
life of fun and adventure. A fighter like John L. Sullivan, the "Boston Strong Boy," was the first
great American sports idol. Sullivan appealed to American manhood along with other fighters such
as Jack Kilrain, James "Gentleman Jim" Corbett and Charlie Mitchell. Was John L. Sullivan
Alfred's sports hero? Would this way of life also appeal to Alfred? I would think so.

Alfred entered manhood at a time when boxing was becoming very popular and probably was most
prominent on the front page of many newspapers and magazines. He had no particular skill, but was
very muscular. He liked showing off his body(narcissistic?). Did he relate to pictures of famous
fighters published in the newspapers? His father Oliver was a laborer and sometimes a teamster.
Well, there was a future there, but not a glamorous one for a person who was headstrong, impatient
and ambitious. What would appeal to a young man  more than the potential of instant fame and
fortunate. After all, Mrs. White had stated that Alfred was "a very clever and promising youngster."

Boxing and Mild Head Injuries
Boxing is one of the few sports in which the primary goal is to render the opponent unconscious, or
inflict damage. Symptoms include decreased ability to think clearly, changes in personality, and
decreased social skills. Findings indicate that amateur boxing is associated with neuropsychological
impairment and that head injuries are a serious problem for boxers.  Several of the major themes
that was noticed in the topics on "head injuries" is that the source of those head injuries, football,
soccer, boxing, where the head is involved in the sport, with boxing and football topping the list.

A mild head injury refers to brief losses of or changes in consciousness(awareness) following a blow
to the head. Such injuries rarely result in identifiable cerebral lesions, yet like moderate and severe
head trauma, can be associated with contusions(bruises), most commonly occurring on the frontal
and temporal lobes where boxers get hit the most. The symptoms of problematic mild head injury,
termed postconcussive syndrome are well recognized, such as headaches, dizziness, memory loss,
double vision, ringing in the ears, personality change, attentional deficits, and information processing
impairment. It has been reported that a lower rate of cognitive dysfunction and a little long term
disability, the possibility of lasting effects from relatively mild head injury is recognized. Research
has suggested  a cumulative effect: An individual ability to process information was reduced if he or
she had a prior mild head injury.

What has been labeled a "mild" closed head injury can be a significant traumatic brain injury which
impacts family, personal relationships, employment, and general well being. It can also cause poor
decision making, judgement and reasoning. Persons with head injuries are at risk of being
overwhelmed by overload. They may be less flexible in problem solving, having exhausted their
coping reserves. Other common psychological consequences are acting impulsively without
considering the consequences. Few recognize their own inappropriate social interactions. Some of
the symptoms of mild head injury are similar to those of depression.

With respect to mental health and crime there is increasing research on the association between
acquired brain injury and psychiatric disorders. These persons may experience a wide range of
disorders such as depression, anxiety, phobic, obsessive-compulsive, bipolar disorder or
Schizophrenia. It has been reported that people with a head injury were at risk of committing crimes.
There can be a latency between the head injury and presentation of psychotic symptoms, thus the
appearance of psychosis is often unexpected and puzzling.    

A mild head injury has been recognized as producing numerous "postconcussive" symptoms that
temporarily reduce an individual's ability to function. It is accepted that a head injury can change
your thoughts and memories and also changes in your emotions. Anger after a head injury is quite
different from "normal anger." Anger following a head injury tends to have a quick on' and a
quick off'. Basically you can be in a good mood until some small thing irritates you and suddenly
you get very angry. When Mamie hit Alfred, was this a "quick on" for Alfred?
The front part of the brain helps plan and control behavior. The front part of the brain is involved in
saying no. For example your boss says something to you that gets you really mad. Your first impulse
is to hit him. The No' part of your brain says don't do that- you are going to be fired- you are
going to jail. Alfred's "No" part of his brain was obviously not working with respect to his criminal

 I did not uncover any contradictions between what happens to a boxer with a mild head injury and
Alfred's behavior.
Sources: Internet keywords, "History of Boxing", "Crime Times", "Boxing and Head Injuries",
Mental illness and Brain Injury", "Head Injury", "Head Injury in Sports", "Psychiatric Times",
"Mental Illness", "Mood swings", "Aggression", "Schizophrenia", "Crime and Brain Injury",
"University of Florida", "John L. Sullivan", "Jim Corbett", "Cyber Boxing Zone", "Virtual
Hospital", "MADD" and "BoxRec"

Return to April/May 2005 Index page


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