Citation
Women in the Colorado State Penitentiary

Material Information

Title:
Women in the Colorado State Penitentiary 1873 through 1916
Creator:
Benham, Marjorie A
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
ix, 168 leaves : ; 28 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
Department of History, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
History
Committee Chair:
Rich, Myra
Committee Members:
Noel, Thomas J.
Foster, Mark S.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Women prisoners -- History -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Women prisoners ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
Genre:
History. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
History ( fast )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 155-168).
Thesis:
History
General Note:
Department of History
Statement of Responsibility:
by Marjorie A. Benham.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
41462308 ( OCLC )
ocm41462308
Classification:
LD1190.L57 1998m B46 ( lcc )
365/.65/09788 ( ddc )

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Full Text
WOMEN IN THE COLORADO STATE PENITENTIARY,
1873 THROUGH 1916
by
Marjorie A. Benham
B.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 1990
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
In partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
History
1998


1998 by Marjorie A. Benham
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Marjorie A. Benham
/2

Date


Benham, Maijorie Alberta (M.A., History)
Women in the Colorado Penitentiary, 1873 Through 1916
Thesis directed by Professor Myra Rich
ABSTRACT
Two hundred ninety-nine women were incarcerated in the Colorado State
Penitentiary from 1873 through 1916. The woman were convicted of mostly nonviolent
crimes including fraud, embezzlement, larceny, conspiracy, forgery, burglary, arson, white
slavery and the violation of federal drug and immigration laws. Some women, of course,
vrere convicted of violent crimes such as abortion, assault, burglary, robbery,
manslaughter, and murder. By far the majority of women were convicted of some kind of
larceny.
The ftrst woman, Mary Salander, an abortionist convicted of manslaughter,
entered the prison in 1873, just two years after it was declared ready to house convicted
criminals. Mary Salander entered under the most primitive of conditions since the
Colorado penitentjaiyk like most other penitentiaries was built for the express purpose of
taking in male prisoners. Since the prison was intended for only male prisoners, there
were no provisions made for women, not even a prison matron on the staff. Women did
not have the luxury of separate cells until 1886 v^ien six cells on the second floor of a new
cell house were provided for them.
While most of the women prisoners were whrte married women between the ages
of eighteen years to thirty years who could read and write, indicating at least a aidimentary
education. Of course, there were many that were single and uneducated. The women
represented other racial groups as well, including Negroes, Hispanic, and one of Native
American descent. They came from all over the United States, as well as Canada,
Mexico, Europe, and Australia. Each woman has a story. Sometimes a woman's story
reveals the motive underlying the commission of a crime as in the case of Lizzie Desmond
whose addiction to opium was a driving force. And then there was Angelina Garramone,
whose apparent greed drove her to murder. It is the women's stories some interesting and
some not, that are important. For once they were convicted of a crime, these fallen
women became members of the forgotten population.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate^ thesis. I recommend its
publication.
tv


DEDICATION
To my husband, Charles and our children, Mickey, Cyndi, Chuck, Jr., and Chris for their
understanding and support while I was researching and writing this thesis.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT
My thanks to all those who helped in the research and writing of this thesis, especially to
the staff of the University of Colorado at Denver History Department Staff or their sport
and understanding. Particularly to Dr Myra Rich, for her guidance and patience during
these past few years, and to Dr. Tom Noel and Dr Mark Foster for their guidance and
suggestions. My thanks also to all others who have helped and aided in my research for
this thesis, the Colorado State Archives staff, including TerTy Ketelsen, Jim Chipman,
George Orlowski, and Jason Brockman; the Denver Public Library Western History staff,
especially James Jefferies; Cara Fisher of the Local History Center, Canon Crty Public
Library; Pat Kant of the Colorado Temtorial Prison Museum; Duncan O. McCollum, Oscar
D. McCollum, and 1astr but not least, the lady who wishes to remain anonymous, she
knows who she is.


CONTENTS
Figures...................................................... ix
CHAPTER
1.INTRODUCTION: WOMEN IN COLORADO...............................1
2. COLORADOS FEMALE CONVICTS..................................12
3. CRIMES AND OFFENSES COMMITTED BY ONLY A FEW WOMEN- 35
Crimes and Offenses Against Public Justice.............. 35
Forgery and Counterfeiting.............................. 38
Offenses Committed by Cheats and Swindlers and Other Fraudulent
Pereons................................................. 42
4. MORE CRIMES AND OFFENSES COMMITTED BY ONLY A FEW
WOMEN...................................................... 45
Crimes and Offenses Against Habitations and Buildings.. 45
Offenses Against Public Morality, Health and Police..... 51
Violations of Federal Statutes: Prisoners From Arizona.. 55
5. CRIMES AND OFFENSES RELATIVE TO PROPERTY................... 59
Robbeiy................................................. 59
Embezzlement............................................ 61
Larceny............................................. 62
Grand Larceny........................................... 68
Larceny From the Peison................................. 78
Larceny of Livestock.................................... 66
Receiving Stolen Goods.................................. 90
6. CRIMES AGAINST THE PERSONS OF INDIVIDUALS.................. 93
vii


Abortion........................................93
Assault............................................ 96
Rape................................................. 99
Manslaughter.........................................100
Murder...............................................108
7. CONCLUSION........................................119
8- INDEX OF WOMEN INMATES..................................126
NOTES.............................................................133
BIBLIOGRAPHY......................................................155
viii


FIGURES
Figure
2.1 U. S Origins of Women Prisoners, 1873-1916 .................................16
2.2 Foreign Origins of Women Prisoners, 1873-1916 ..............................17
2*3 Women Entering the Colorado State Penitentiary, 1873 Through 1916............19
2A Distribution of Women Inmates by County, 1873-1916............................,.23
2.5 Age Distribution of Women Inmates, 1873-1916................................ 28
2.6 Distribution of Crimes Committed by Women Prisoners, 1873-1916.............. 32
2.7 Crimes Committed by Female Racial Groups.................................... 33
IX


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION: WOMEN IN COLORADO
The fallen women of Colorado who found themselves convicted of crimes
punishable by imprisonment in the Colorado State Penitentiary between 1873 and the end of
1916 were the most desperate women in Colorado. Why did they commit the crimes that put
them there? Did financial problems lead them to commit the crimes for which they were
convicted? Many had little education or training and were single, divorced, or widowed with
no means of support other than what they could make at low paying jobs, such as
housework, cooking, domestic servitude, or laundry work. Some worked as nurses,
teachers, or seamstresses, which were considered respectable jobs, at least for middle-
class women during the Victorian era, but still very tow paying jobs.
It is conceivable that some of the women came from middle- and-upper class
society. Why did they commit the crimes for which they were committed? We may never
Know. Most, however, came from the working-class and poor women. Some found
ttiemselves in situations of action and reaction^ pertiaps even setf-defense. Others may
have been responding to spousal abuse, fear, greed, or the influence of alcohol or drugs, or
if they were among the poor and destitute, they may simply have been trying to get by.
Whatever their reasons for committing acts of crime, these women became part of a
^fofgotten population" once they entered the penitentiary.1
As early as 1861 the Colorado statutes stipulated that felonious crimes committed
by women would be treated the same as for men. However, when the Colorado territorial
legislature made provisions fora penrtentiary to be buiK in Canon City, they made no
separate provisions for women. BuiEt as a federal territorial prison for men, the penitentiary
1


was declared ready to receive prisoners in mid-1871. The prison consisted of one cell
house buitt to conform to federal regulations containing ^fourteen cells and one bathroom
with an iron tub and a stop sink" and was operated by an appointed United States Marshal.2
This, then is the environment that the first female prisoner, Mary Salander entered in 1873;
she had no privacy among all-male prisoners and guards.
The first mention of 'the female department* did not occur until 1886 when the
Warden's biennial report mentioned that women's quarters were in six cells of a newly built
two-story cell house that could be "reached by a gated stairway/ These six cells included a
bath and small kitchen and were located above the prison laundry and bathhouse "adjoining
the old wall.11 The warden also reported that material used for the Female Department was
valued at $315.83.3 In her history of the penitentiary, Ruth M. Stinemeyer states that before
this new cell house was built in 1884r women prisoners were naken care of in the cx>unty
jails/ However, beginning with Mary Salander in 1873t there were six women in the
Colorado penitentiary before 1684. In 1866 aa special guard (a female) was required to take
especial care of the female prisoners, the demand being made by a wholesome public^
opinion/4
In 1693 the Colorado state legislature appropriated ten thousand dollars for the
female department. The ten thousand dollars for the female department was designated for
the construction of a new cell house to be constructed by the male prisoners. Finished in.
1896 after another legislative appropriation of twenty-five hundred dollar the new two-story
cell house Boutside the prison and surrounded by a wall," contained forty cells.
Subsequently, another new cell house was built for the women in 1908,5
V\Aien the new cell house was finished in 1896t Warden John Clegtiom reported that
there were twelve inmates in the female department, then went on to surmise:


"while they are not employed in any industry other than the making of their
own clothing and keeping their department dean and neat, stitl with this
work in the sewing room, the laundry, the kitchen and other various worX
that is done to maintain deanliness and order, will give them ample
opportunity for inculcating habits of neatness and industry which wilt be
useful aids toward their reformation.06
Thus, the women were kept busy performing general domestic work Bin the prison
and the warden's residence."7 it was reported in 1904 that the women were being kept busy
keeping the ''prison in a state of cleanliness, doing the cooking and laundry work and making
underclothing for the male prisoners." However, the matron, Mrs< Sue Anderson, (The first
matron, Mrs. M. A. Jordan, apparently was hired during the 1895-1896 biennial reporting
term) lamented that:
uWhile work of this kind keeps them employed, it fails to teach them any
occupation that will be of benefit upon their release from prison.I believe it
would be advisable to provide some industry that would teach them to do
such work as would help them to earn an honest living after they are
discharged/
Although domestic work continued to be the main employment of the women in the
prison through 1916 they "were allowed to work in the flower and vegetable gardens," and
as a reward for good behavior they were allowed to participate in recreations such as
croquet. By 1914, the women could further their education by taking elementary reading and
writing dasses.
In 1872 the Colorado Territorial legislature bestowed upon the governor the authority
to commute the sentence of any prisoner whenever he judged it ^proper and advisable and
consistent with the public and the rights and interests of the condemned ,.by reducing the
penalty for the crime.9 Beginning in 1876. the women were rewarded in the same way as
the male prisoners; vrilh "good time" which allowed them to have as much as one month per
year deducted from their sentences. Of course they could just as easily lose any ugood time"
earned rf they for any reason were deemed to have misbehaved. Rules at the penitentiary
were very strict. Conversation between convicts was prohibfted. They could not write notes
3


to each other or ^exc^iange looks, winks, laugh with each other, or make use of any signs,
except such as are necessary to convey their wants."10 This then was the environment of
the prison between 1873 and 1917 when these women served time there.
The environment in Colorado through 1916 was that of movement, not only from
east to west, but also from mining camp to mining camp. The movement to Colorado began
with the 1859 gold strike in the Pikes Peak Region, which later became Colorado. Hordes of
men came to the Pikes Peak Region in their search for gold. Some gold-seeking men
brought their wives and families with them, but the majority of men came without women.
Rugged and rough communities sprang up seemingly overnight. Most of the new
communities were raw mining towns,, bustling with the business and recreation of gold*
seeking menP including a multitude of saloons. Men far exceeded the number of women in
frontier Colorado and prostitutes, who were associated with saloons and dance halls," were
upart of the service community of the town," at least until the towns gradually became more
settled and civilized as more women migrated westward.11
Known ttas civilizers" of the West, women were ^presumed to be dependent on male
labor_____" In mining towns and urban areas where the division of labor generally was
divided along the lines of gender, married women often supplemented family incomes by
raising and canning vegetables, taking in boarders, and other domestic seivices, such as
cooking, housekeeping, doing laundry, and sewing. Besides domestic work and prostitution,
women could pursue employment as waitresses, department store clerks, schoolteachers,
midwifes, nurses, dressmakers, stenographer5t writers, barbers, hairdressers,
photographersf and near the turn of the century, telephone operators. Some women in
Denver were professional musicians, physicians, lawyers, and businesswomen.12
Homesteading brought many families westward to the rural areas in Colorado and
other western states^ This labor-intensive occupation was undertaken by widowed women,


some who inherited homesteads from husbands, and single women. Even on the
homestead work divisions were along gender lines. Men did the plowing, planting and cared
for livestock while women did domestic chores such as cooking cleaning, laundry, along with
making clothing, raising and canning vegetables, and tending chickens. In rural situations,
men and women were more likely to share the tasks of helping neighbors and in establishing
communities by building schools, churches, and social groups."13
In Colorado, as in the east, family situations determined a woman's experience.
Marital status, age, the number and ages of children, and male support, all determined a
woman's position in life. Women everywhere were vulnerable to life's circumstances. If a
woman became widowed, divorced, or abandoned, she was subject to poverty. On the
frontierp a variety of acddents, such as mining accidents, ain away horses, a stray bullet
could leave a woman widowed and on her own. Widows and abandoned or divorced women
generally had to resort to "wage work1* and were forced to seek jobs as domestic laborers.
As early as 1764 organizations to aid women of poor families and widows had been
set up in New York. These "charitable benefactors distributed spinning wheels to needy
females11 or set up cloth manufactories to help women and children in need. In 1797 the first
female charity. The Sodety for the Relief of Poor Widows was organized by evangelical
women who made home visits, and offered oans to aid women. The Female Moral Reform
society was organized in 1834 to "abolish prostitution0 by helping women who wished to
leave that occupation. The Asylum for Lying-In Women had been organized to help poor
pregnant women who could supply references to the goodness of their character The
charitable benevolence of evangelical women moved westward in the 16705 along with
umiddle-class Protestant women." Denver women organized the Colorado Cottage home
under the sponsorship of the of the Colorado Woman's Christian Temperance Union in 1886
to help unmarried pregnant girls and women. Many of the Christian aid agencies were
5


motivated by the desire of middle-class evangelical women to instill in ail women the
Victorian gender values vriiich had developed in the east.14
Eastern gender values began to develop in the 1820s as middle-class men and
women began to attach the ideas of the home as a place of refuge from the "harsh and
competitive worid of trade;0 the center for the inculcation of morals and family affections.
The ideal became the ''woman at home, the man at work, and children under maternal
supervision or at school/ This so-called aCult of True Womanhood" relegated the Dwomen to
private life9 of home and church and put upon men the realm of public life. Thus, "Irue1
women were pious and pure ... in their world apart from the daily lives of men, tme1 women
formed deep friendships with other women."15 Historian Elizabeth Jamison questions
whether these ideals did indeed follow women westward. She maintains that uby virtue of
class or ethnicityP most western women did not fit the prescriptions of True Womanhood."
Women in the west apparently were freer at least to influence the public realm. Through
their relief work and other networking, along with the circumstance of the 1893 Silver Panic,
the women in Colorado, gained the right to vote. By 1914 Colorado women were joined at
the polls by women in eleven states (all except Illinois were western states), the Territory of
Ala^ca, and three western provinces in Canada* The Republican Party in Colorado was
quick to seek women for public office, as a result, Carrie Clyde Holly, an attorney from
Pueblo was elected to state House of Representatives where she introduced the bill raising
the age of consent from sixteen to eighteen yeais in cases of rape.16
While upper-class women were instrumental in the successful women's suffrage
campaign in Colorado, the success of the womens suffrage campaign was largely due to
the benevolent work of middle- and working-ciass women through the Woman's
Temperance Union and their efforts to relieve the poverty of unemployed and poor women.
The limited economics" experienced by these women with limited educations and the
6


resulting Unfitted occupational choices, reflect the types of crimes that were committed by the
women who found themselves committed to the Colorado State Penitentiary.17
Who were the women in the Colorado State Penitentiary between 1873 and the end
of 1916 on the eve of World War I? What crimes had they committed and why? Were they
primarily prostitutes and abortionists? Were they predominately white? Black? Spanish
American? Were they simply just bad women? Is it possible to discover the answers to
these questions and others? A look a"he earliest prison records was indeed enlightening.
Initially I thought that the majority of the few women who would have been confined in the
penitentiary were prostitutes and women convicted of performing abortions. Interestingly
enough, I discovered that were there more than just a few women, there were actually two
hundred ninety-nine female prisoners during this time period. However, if any of them were
prostitutes, they were not in the penitentiary on prostitution charges. While there were some
women in the penitentiary who were convicted of abortion, they were a very small minority.
The records show that over half of the women were charged with some form of
larceny. The remaining women were charged with such crimes as muider, burglary,
robbery, manslaughter, forgery, embezzlement, abortion, and bigamy among others.
Although slightly more than half of the women had been married, nearly two-thirds of them
indicated they were either single, divorced, widowed, or (iving separately from their
husbands. Ttius, the majority of the women were among the working class and poor women
in Colorado. Fewer than half of the women said they had either one or both parents living.
Even so, most of the parents lived outside of Colorado and probably were of little or no help
financially to their daughters. One-fourth of the women said both their parents were dead
while sixty-two women did not disclose infonmation regarding their parents. Thus, most of
these women could not expect financial help from erther a husband or parents. It would then
have been necessary for them to make the difficult decision to find gainful employment.
7


However, for working class and poor women in Denver, employment was not always
plentiful. Emily French, for example, a divorced woman trying to find work in Denver in
1890, found nothing available."18 In 1890 there were smany thousand single working
women11 looking for worlc in Denver where 'Yewer than a third11 of the city's widows and
divorced women worked, compared to over half of widows and divorced women employed
nationwde in 1890. aUnIike eastern cities, Denver had almost no factories or mills; one of
the few was A. Z. Soloman's sweat shop where Emily worked for a week making men's
suits; she called it 'awful* work/19
According to the "Cult of True Womanhood" il was believed that women were the.
.weaker, gentler sex whose especial duty was the creation of an orderly harmonious private
sphere for husbands and children... .R Historian Nell lr\4n Painter maintains that women
who were employed outside the homeH... challenged the assumption that women were
naturally and exclusively homemakers.1'20
Accordingly, it was believed that once tfa woman stooped to crime her degradation
was greater than that of vicious male offenders and especially so if she had been led into
delinquency by prostitution.1121 Historian Anne M. Butler points out that each female convict
was described: as following an evil life yielding to temptation,1 having a 'highly strung
temperament/ or entering a ^hame shadowed motherhood/ Moral weakness, a rejection of
religion, and shallow maternal values explained women's crimes.,. / Butler goes on to say
that Criminologists insisted that female crime stemmed from the natural interioilty of women
gone haywire, a situation in which the supposed goodness of woman lost its moral compass
and turned to heinous and distorted unwomanly, nonmatemal instincts.^22
Although Elinor Myers McGinn and Ruth M. Stinemeyer both did comprehensive
histories of the Colorado State Penitentiary, no one seems to have studied the woman who
served prison tennis in the Colorado State Penitentiary. Both Me Ginn and Stinemeyer
8


focused on male convicts, only incidentally mentioning the women housed there. Fred
Hanison studied territorial prisons, only briefly mentioning the location of the first federal
prison located in Colorado.23 A few historians have studied female miscreants, notably, Ruth
M. Alexander who studied adolescent girls in New York, L Kay Gillespie who studied women
on death row in the United States, and Anne M. Butler who tackled the problems of women
confined to men's penitentiaries in the west.24 Justice in Colorado was the topic of Anne
Curtis Knapp's thesis, "Making an Orderly Society: Criminal Justice in Denver, Colorado
1858-1900tn in which she discusses the development of a criminal justice system and the
enforcement of law and order in Colorado.25 So far as I have determined, there are no other
studies specifically of women in western state penitentiaries.
This thesis is a study of the women incarcerated at the Colorado State Penitentiary
between 1873 when the first woman entered the prison, until the end of 1916. The female
population at the prison changed significantly on the eve of the United States1 entry into
World War lT even though changes in the female prison population began in the latter quarter
of 1916, possibly a result of the Mexican Border Wars. The majorfty^of women entering the
prison after 1916 during the War years were not Colorado residents convicted of violations of
state laws, but federal prisoners sent to the Colorado State Penitentiary from southwestern
bolder states, especially Arizona. The federal prisoners were most frequently charged with
crimes such as the violation of federal drug and immigration laws.
The second chapter will discuss the prison population, the demographic issues
relating to the women, and the transient nature of the women. The succeeding chapters will
explore the types of crimes oommitted, the Colorado statutes, and the women who
committed those crimes.
As wth any piece of historical research, this study has had its share of obstacles,
the records being a primary dcutty. While they are public records, the court records are
9


not easily accessed unless a case number is known. Wrthout adequate indexes to the court
oases, the case numbers are neatly impossible to find. Some records are missing for one
reason or another, and otheis have been burned. The women's penitentiary records are
readily available since most are housed at the Colorado State Archives. Prior information
indicated that all the names of women prisoners in the Prisoners Record were entered using
red ink, which would have made it very easy to find all of them. However, nothing is ever
quite that simple. In actuality, the names of women prisoners were not entered in red ink
until 1916, and then only sporadically. Thus, in orderto compile the most complete listing of
the women possible, it was necessary to rely upon what one thought were feminine names
as well as listed occupations that were presumably acceptable women's workr names of
spouses, and descriptions. In contrast, however, the names of women prisoners were
entered in red ink from the beginning in the Prisoners Register. They were that ist as long
as the person entering tt)e names remembered to use red ink. As a result, the extraction of
female prisoners' names for the purpose of this study, was a rather long, time-consuming
task. As always in tasks of this nature, it is extremely easy to bypass a woman, especially if
her name was entered as initials only, which fortunately did not happen often. The records
show that initials were used mostly for the male prisoner^1 names.26
Two other drfficuKies in distinguishing the women from the men were the names
themselves. Names such as Matilda, Delva, Gtovanna, Jessie> Avice, Prudence, Antonia,
Burdette, and Pearl would indicate the feminine gender. Willie, Jesus, William, and Carroll
would generally denote the male gender, while Alpha and Mayfield give no indication to
gender though one might assume they were the names of males. Fortunately, the prison
photographs tell the true story of gender, at least when the photos exist. The photographs
show that Delva and Giovanna were ment as were William, Antonia, Burdette Carroll,
Prudence, an Avice, a Pearl, and a Jessie. Alpha, Mayfield, Willie, and at least one Jesus
10


were definitely women. Unfortunately, the prison photo collection is by no means complete.
Even though the earliest photos were taken in 1877, photos of women apparently were not
taken until 1864. Thus, photos of the female prisoners before 1864 are missing making it
necessary to rely upon other documents to determine gender. During this time period, many
women had their pictures taken either in the studios or in their homes. Thus, prior to the turn
of the century the Denver police "seldom had to take a mug shot of a woman suspect
because her picture could always be found in her rooTTL*27 That s probably the source of the
photograph of Georgiana South, arrested in Arapahoe County in 1892. While most of the
photographs of the women show them dressed in the blue gingha prison garb, Georgianas
photograph was obviously taken in a studio.
Photos of Tenado and Matilda are among the missing; however, they are both listed
with the male prisoners in Warden John Cieghom's "Record of Prisoners at the Colorado
State Penitentiary from it's origin-June 1871 fB28 thus, they will not be included in this study.
Along with the confusion caused by mixing the genders in the use of names, one must also
factor in the misspelling of names. For example, in different records, Giovanna was found
spelled "Giovanno/ Antonia spelled as aAntoniovB which indicates that human errors caused
some of the confusion, and of course, there is always the problem of interchanging letters as
in Trancis* and Trances." By the gleaning of names and information from three or four sets
of recordsthe list of women in the Colorado State Penitentiary should now be complete and
relatively accurate.
11


CHAPTER 2
COLORADO'S FEMALE CONVICTS
Two hundred ninety-nine women served time in the Colorado State Penitentiary
from 1873 until the end of 1916 when the female prison population began to change. In late
1916, the federal government began to bring women from the southwestern border states to
the Colorado penitentiary. These women, mostly Mexican, had been charged with violating
federal laws. Some of the most interesting information about the female convicts in
Colorado concerns the demographic data provided by the prison records. An examination of
the demographic data available reveals where they were bom, which Colorado counties sent
them to the prison, their marital status, age, occupations, the crimes for which they were
convicted, and their race.
Few of the women in the Colorado State Penitentiary through 1916 were native to
Colorado. Most were bom in the mid-western, southern, and eastern United States and had
migrated to Colorado while others origmated in Europe, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and
Australia before making the trek to Colorado. A few originally came from western states
such as California, New Mexico, Alaska, Utah, and Wyoming.
Two hundred fifty-three (84.62%) of the women ware bom in a variety of states
throughout the United States including 10.37 % in Missouri, 7.36% in Kentucky, 5.35% in
Pennsylvania, 7.02% in Illinois, and 6.35% in Colorado. Annie Crowe, Minnie Gentry, Luiu
Hill, and Myrtle Ford were among the thirty-one women bom in Missouri. Lake County
committed Annie Crowe to the prison for four years in 1884 on a larceny charge. Minnie
Gentry was convicted of larceny jn Arapahoe County in 1891 and sentenced to a term of
three years in the prison* Pueblo County convicted Lulu Hill of larceny in 1905 sentencing
12


her to a two to three year term. In 1914 Myrtle Ford was convicted of robbery and grand
larceny and given a one to two year sentence in Denver County.
Arapahoe County sent the first of nineteen women bom in Colorado to enter the
prison, Emma Gunther. Emma was charged with larceny and entered the prison in 1891.
Julia Martinez, another woman bom in Colorado, entered the prison in May 1913 after being
convicted of bigamy in Pueblo County. When Pearl Ebert entered the penitentiary in
February 1906 charged with murder, she indicated that she had been bom in Decatur, lov
However, when she reentered the prison in April 1911 as Margaret Miller, she listed her
birthplace as Colorado. Then there was Myrtle Black, who upon entering the prison in 1694,
convicted of grand arceny in Pueblo County, asked where she was bom just said Mdon*t
know29
Lizzie Thompson, Maud Sullivan, Beatrice Davis, and Maheatha Mizerwere among
the twenty-one women bom in Illinois. Lizzie Thompson, bom in Chicago, was sentenced to
a one-year term in the penitentiary June 2,1892 in Arapahoe County for larceny. On April 4,
1894, Maud Sullivan was convicted of larceny and conspiracy in Arapahoe County and
sentenced to serve six year^ for her misdeeds. Beatrice Davis, also deemed guilty of
larceny was convicted September 27,1913 in Las Animas County, Davis1 father was living
in Springfield, Illinois at the time of his daughters incarceration. Maheatha Mizerr a United
States prisoner sent to the penitentiary for violation of federal drug laws, was one of a group
of women sent to the prison from Arizona in 1916. Maheatha's mother was listed as residing
in Pueblo, Colorado at the time.
The only woman bom in Alaska who found herself incarcerated in the Colorado
State Penitentiary during the time period 1873 to 1917 was Carrie Fong Sing. She also was
the only Eskimo woman in the prison during this time period. Came was one of the United
13


States Prisoners sent to the penitentiary in 1916, but there is no indication of where she was
convicted of manslaughter, aKhough her husband, John Aplarank lived in Nome, Alaska.30
Forty-six, or 15.38% of the women were bom in foreign countries including ten in
Old Mexico, eight in England, six in Canada, four each in Ireland and Germany, with the rest
having been bom in Australia, Austria, Cuba, France, Wales, Scotland, Sweden, and Italy.
The immigrant population in Denver included approximately 6% Germans, one-half percent
Italians, between 4.6 and 5.4% Irish. According to Anne Knapp, the Irish made up about
31.7% of the people arrested during the years 1886 to 1892. Italians "frequently comprised
2.5% or 3% of the police's prisoners," while "other minority groups had no where near the
per capita arrest rates of the Italians and the Irish.1' Knapp maintains that while
^Scandinavians, the French and the English, as well as blacks and Chinese showed up in
the arrest records in near equal proportion to their numbers in local society/ the Mexicans
seem to have '"stayed almost completely dear of Denvers criminal justice system*"31
Beginning in 1916 and into thel920s, a number of women were sent to the Colorado
State Penitentiary from Arizona for federal offenses. As in several other western states, the
Colorado State Penitentiary was originally built as a federal territorial prison. When the
United States government transferred control ofthe prison to the Colorado Territorial' ^
government in 1874, provisions were made for violators of federal laws to oontinue to be
housed there for a fee of Hone dollar per day for each person so imprisoned." Since most of
these women were of Mexican descent.Jtmay be possible their incarceration viras a result of
the intervention ofthe United States in the Mexican Revolution, which started in 1910 and
continued intermittently until 1920. However, border conflicts with Mexico had gone on since
the signing ofthe Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo in 1848. By 1916 on the 6ve of United
States involvement in World War I, white Americans living in that southwestern part ofthe
United States were demanding tighter federal control of Mexican nationals crossing the
14


border even while railroad companies and agricultural employers were actively recruiting
Mexican workers. The seven federal female prisoners sent from Arizona to the Colorado
State Penitentiary before 1917 included Carmen Lopez, Maria Louisa Montiel, Maria
Sequeiros. Maria Macias, Refugio Jiminez, Ysjdra Valdez, aad Jesus Campuzano, all of
whom were bom in Mexico. All except Jesus Campuzano, who had been convicted of
perjury, were convicted of violating federal immigration laws. All seven of these women
were sentenced to prison for one year and one day.32
However, there were a few women bom in Old Mexico who had served time in the
prison before the Mexican border wars escalated to the point of American intervention.
Francisca Basquez was twenty-nine years old when she entered the prison on June 29,
1910. She was convicted of two counts of burglary in Otero County and sentenced to a one
to one and one-half year term in the penitenttary. Basquez was paroled in June 1911 and
discharged the following October. Sawahawana Diaz, a housewife, was convicted of grand
larceny from Pueblo County in July 1915 and sentenced to a term of one to four years in the
penitentiary. Sawahawana was paroled in June 1916 and discharged in September 1918.
The first woman of Mexican descent to enter the prison, Juana Maria Gonzalez, was not
bom in Old Mexico, but in Moro, New MeWco, She stated that her occupation was doing
housework. Gonzalez was convicted of larceny in Huerfano County on January 24,1877
and entered the prison the following month fora one year sentence.33
Eight of the two hundred ninety-nine women in the Colorado Penitentiary from 1873
through 1916 were bom in England. They induded Margret Casey, Georgiana South, Sarah
Gillisr Mae Murrell ^wo terms), Lizzie Desmond, Madeline Le Royf and Mary E. Barry*
Margret Casey was the flist woman bom in England to enter the prison. She was admitted
to the penitentiary on December 23,1883, sent from Arapahoe County She had been
convicted of Uassault to commit mayhem" and served a one-year tenn in the prison.
15


/ X/////// ///
Saran Gillis was oon^cted of receiving stolen goods m Arapahoe County in June
1889 and sent to the prison to serve a one and a half-year term. Her sixteen-year old son,
Robert was convicted at the same time of burglary and sentenced to one year in the
penitentiary. They served simultaneous tenms and were discharged on the same day,
February 25.1891 Sarah did not return again, but son Robert continued his ife of crime
and served three more terms in the prison, all for robbery.
Bom m7 miles from London, Eng.," Mary E. Barry spent nearly a year in the
penitentiary before being "Remanded to Teller Co. by Order of [the] Court"1 on March 7,
1902. She had been convicted of grand larceny in Teller County and sentenced to three to
five years in prison. Another Londonrte, Mae Murrell, was convicted and sentenced to one to
two year? in prison in Denver County in 1906 for larceny and burglary. Mae already had
Figure 2.1 U. S. Ort9in& of Women Prtsorhdrs 1673-1916
SBBIPB3 EDJJ MquriN
16


served a term in the Jefferson City, Missouri prison as May Williard. Her husband, John
C. Murrell (also known as Harry C. Merrill) was in the Denver city jail when Mae entered the
prison September 30f 1906. He entered the Canon City facilKy nearly two weeks later on
October 12,1906 M
Paris, France was the birthplace of inmate Louise Bonnette who was convicted of
larceny and burglary in El Paso County in March 19,1896 and May Deleski (Mary De
Lyska), a widow and housekeeper convicted of larceny in Arapahoe County June 22,1896.
Mr^..R, Johnson, a trained nurse bom in France, signed her name as Mrs* eonie Renee
Johnston when she entered the prison in 1913 from Denver County. Other female inmates
bom in foreign countries include Maggie Montgomery, bom in Cuba; Nellie Bauer, a
17


schoolteacher from Australia; and Fannie Bogdonovich, bom in Austria, who was doing
^kitchen work/35 Figure 2,1 illustrates the origins and number of women prisoners bom in
the United States and figure 2.2 illustrates the number origins and of women prisoners bom
in foreign lands who were in the Colorado State Penitentiary from 1873 through 1916.
The two hundred ninety-nine women entering the Colorado State Penitentiary
between 1873 and 1917 were sent there primailly from the urban and mining counties of
Colorado with only a few conning from rural counties. However, eleven of the two hundred
ninety-nine women were sent by the slate of Wyoming, one by the territory of Alaska, and
fourteen by the federal government from Arizona, Kansas, and Utah.
The first woman inmate in the Colorado State Penitentiary arrived in 1873 while it
was still a territorial pnson. Mary Salander was sent by Boulder County where she had been
convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a term of three years. Salander "was probably
a great challenge to the administration1' since 'the practice had been to confine women in
jails,.. and not send them to prison."36 Salander was pardoned nearly five months later
and released. Two years passed before the next female inmate arrived in 1875. Nellie
Perry, a twenty-eight year old widow, was convicted of larceny in Fremont County on May
10,1875. Like Mary Salander Perry was pardoned five months after she entered the prison.
In 1877, Juana Maria Gonzalez, the first woman of Mexican descent to enter the prison,
arrived from Huerfano County where she had been convicted of larceny. Gonzalez was
pardoned four months later. Another two years went by before Mary J. Sheldon entered the
penitentiary in 1879. She was sent there by Gilpin County, for alleged larceny. Sheldon
served sixteen months of her eighteen-month sentence. Three years after Mary Sheldon^
arrival, the next two women entered the prison. Mo>[ie Gonman arrived in October 1883 for a
one-year term for larceny from Lake County. Margret Casey, entered the prison in
18


December 1883 for assault from Arapahoe County sentenced to one year in the
penitentiary.37
After this sporadic initial entry of women into the penitentiary and with the exception
of 1887 when not one woman entered the prison, the number of women entering the prison
gradually increased each year through 1916. In 1893, thirteen women entered the prison,
the highest number to that point Was it coincidence that 1893 was the year of the silver
bust and the resulting panic, as financial depressions were then called? Possibly, but more
than likely the panic was the cause for the increase since ten of the thirteen women were
convicted of larceny and one of robbery. Nine years later in 1902, another high peak was
reached when fourteen women entered the prison. Three years later, the prison received
Okvab 1873^1916
^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^


nineteen women. And ten years after that in 1915, the numbers of female prisoners was
again on the rise when eighteen women were committed. The upward trend continued in
1916 with twenty-two women committed to the prison. The growing number of female
prisoners entering the prison is graphically illustrated in Figure 2.3.
Two hundred ninety-nine women in the Colorado State Penitentiary from 1873
through 1916 the numbers are misleading to some extent, considering that seventeen of
the women served multiple terms but were counted by individual terms. Each woman was
given the next consecutive number when she arrived whether it was her first, second, or
third arrival. Usually, there was a reference made in the record books to any previous
inmate number a returning woman might have had.
Mollie Ford entered the penitentiary in January 1885 to serve a one-year sentence
for larceny. Released in December 1885, she returned in 1688 under the name of Mary
Ford to serve a two*year sentence for the same crime.len Smith also entered the
penitentiary in January 1885 sentenced to three years in the penitentiary for receiving stolen
goods. After being returned to Lake County for a new trial January 25,1886, she returned
again in September 1890 sentenced to a five-year term for grand larceny. Mable Cook
entered the prison in August 1890 to serve one year for grand larceny. She was released
June 29f 1891 then returned again two years later in January 1893 to serve a three-year
sentence for larceny. Ida Jones arrived at the prison for her first term in November 1890 to
serve a fifteen-year sentence for second degree murder She was released August 13p 1899
only to return again three years later in 1902 for five to ten years on a charge of larceny.
Hattie Miller was the only woman to serve more than two terms at the prison in
Canon City, She served three terms, first entering in 1910 to serve from one to one and a
half years, charged with lorgery and uttering.,T That isp making or forging a false document
then publishing1* or ^passing" that document aas [a] true and genuine" document with the
20


intent to prejudice, damage or defraud any person* or corporation. Hattie was paroled, then
released in 1911.In 1913 she returned to serve a four to seven year term for ttiree counts of
passing fictitious checks. She again was paroled then discharged in January 1915. Hattie
was back in prison in April 1915 charged with grand larceny to serve another one to one and
a half-year sentence. Angelina Garramone began serving her first term in January 1911,but
while still in prison she was convicted of muTder and returned, sentenced to life
imprisonment in January 1912.38
Like Mollie Ford, four other former convicts returned using difTerenl names. Jennie
Sylvester arrived for her first term in February 1893 charged with larceny and returned in
June 1895 as Jennie Eaton, again charged with larceny. The other three changed their
names completely. Lillie Ott was committed in 1890 for her first term of one year and four
months for grand larceny. She was discharged February 2t 1892 then returned in October
1892 as Laura Kinlan to serve one year for larceny. Tn 1906, Peart Ebert entered the prison
to serve seven-to-eight years for perjury. Pearl was paroled November 1910 but returned in
April 1911 as Margaret Miller In 1902 Grace Franklin began serving her first term of three to
five years for larceny. In 1908 Grace returned as Minnie Harris after being convicted of
larceny-
The women were sent to the prison from twenty-nine Colorado counties, Wyoming,
Arizona, Kansas, Utah, and Alaska. The urban counties of Arapahoe, Denver, and Pueblo
sent by far the largest number of women. Arapahoe County* which until 1902 included the
city of Denver, sent 18.39% or 55 women, while Denver County (after 1902) and Pueblo
County sent the largest percentages, each sending 19.73% or 59 women. El Paso County
sent only 13 women or 4.34% while Lake County, one of the Colorado mining counties, sent
25 women (8.36%), and Las Animas County, another mining county sent 12 or 4.01% of the
21


women. The other tvwnty-three counties sending convicted women to the prison from 1873
through 1916 sent a combined total of 50 women, or 16.72%.
Different counties returned some of the women serving rnuHiple terms to the prison.
Angelina Garramone, for example, was sent first by Denver County for forgery, then
convicted of murder a year later in Jefferson County she was returned for her second term
while still serving time for the first offense. Annie Lee Tresize, oiiginally sentenced to serve
two years for murder in Gunnison County, returned for her second term from Arapahoe
County charged with larceny. Another of the women, Margaret Keller, was committed to the
prison by Denver County for larceny n 1914, then returned as a federal prisoner from the
slate of Utah in 1916 for "scheming to use the United States mail for fraudulent purposes."40
The remaining 9.69%, or 29 women included 10 (3.34%) wonnen sent from the state
of WyomingP while one woman was sent from Alaska. Eighteen (6,02%) of these twenty-
nine women were federal prisoners, 4 of whom were from Colorado with others sent from
Arizona, Kansas, and Utah. Alpha Hendrickson was the first of the four federal prisoners
from Colorado. Convicted in Arapahoe County of ^embezzling tetters from the United States
Post OfTjcen on May 16,1899, she entered the penitentiary on August 21,1899 to serve a
fifteen-month sentence. Mrs. J, A. Lovejoyr alias May Seymour, entered the prison
December 12,1908 for fifteen months after being convicted on December 5,1908 of Tive
counts of altering and passing forged United States notes11 in Denver County. Mae Krrudsen
and Claudine Stokes were both committed to the prison by the "District of Colorado^ Mae
Knudsen anived at the prison to serve a sentence of one year and one day on July 29r 1912
for^passing, uttering, and publishing counterfeit coins." The prison received Claudine
Stokes on April 7,1915 to serve a term of two years for two counts of falsely altering and
presenting money orders,1so sent from the District of Colorado,11 she was sentenced to
two years at the penitentiary on April 6t 1915. Twenty-three year old Claudine was known
22


Figure24 Distribution of WomerNnmies by County, 107W916
0 10 20 X 40 SO 60 7D
Nurrber
by four aliases: G. R. Stokes, Dora Gamey, Edna Gamey, and ma Gamey. She was
described as having dark brown eyes, dark brown hair, and a dark complexion with ua large
red nose,11 Her father, John Stokes lived in Minnesota, although Claudine was bom in
Illinois. She was discharged from the penitentiary on February 15,1916.42 Figure 2.4
illustrates the distribution of the female prisoners whence they came, excluding the counties
of Garfield, Gilpin, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Kiowa, Lincoln, Mesa, Montezuma, Otero, Rio
Grande, Routt, and San Miguel counties from which only one woman in each was convicted.
One hundred fifty^two (50.84%) of the two hundred ninety-nine women were
married, eighty-seven (29.1%) were single, twelve (4.01%) divorced, and twenty-three
(7,69%) widowed. Twenty-four women did not disclose their marital status. Of the one
hundred fifly^two married women, fifty-four (35.53%) listed husbands living somewhere other
JMI1 =
EON^es-uno0
23


than the counties in which they were convicted* Two husbands were as far away as
England, one was in Washington, and others were in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico,
Utah, South Dakota, Kansas California, Minnesota, Oregon, Nevada, Missouri, Wyoming,
and Illinois. Three of the women's husbands were serving terms in federal prisons in
Kansas and Washington state while their wives were in the Colorado State Penitentiary
while twenty-six, or 6.69% of the women and their husbands were serving simuKaneous
terms in the Colorado State Penitentiary. Several of the women's husbands although living
in Colorado, resided in counties other than the one that committed their wives to prison.
Eight of the women said they did not know where their husbands were living, and the
husband of Mary Nolte was in the insane asylum in Pueblo.
Clara Humphery was convicted of murder in Pueblo County on December 23,1902
while her husband, Joe Humphry (also spelled Humphery) was living in Washington, D. C.
Tillie Williams' husband, Henry Williams was living in England at the time of her incarceration
in the penitentiary in 1893. Tillie was sentenced to a term of ten years for conspiracy trom
Arapahoe County, Selma Work's husband^ John Thameywork was living in Birmingham,
England when his twenty-five*year old wife was sentenced to one to two years in the
penitentiary for grand larceny from Denver County November 14,1915.
The three women whose husbands were in prisons outside of Colorado were all
federal prisoners. Mts. A. J, Lovejoy, alias May Seymour, was convicted of "uttering &
passing forged & altered U: S. notes11 in Denver and given a fifteen-month sentence in the
penitentiary on December 5,1908. When she entered the prison, her husband, Albert
Rhodes was serving time at the Leavenworth, Kansas penrtentiary. William H, La Point was
serving time at Me Neill's Island in the stale of Washington when his wife Dora was
imprisoned in Canon City jn 1916 convicted of ^uttering and having in possession counterfeit
coins," Ruth Bell was convicted of violating federal drug laws in Arizona and sent to the
24


Colorado penitentiary in November 1916. Her husband, Charles Bell was at that time also
incarcerated at Mg Neilts Island as a federal prisoner.
Although the husbands of severa of the women resided in Colorado when their
wives were incarcerated in the Canon City facility they were living in counties other than
those that sent their wives to prison. When Mary Kafford and her father-in-law, J. J. Kafford,
were convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in Lake County on February 13,1884, her
husband, Hans Kafford was living with his brother T. W. in Central City in Gilpin County.
May Me Kissock was convicted of larceny in Arapahoe County in April 1897 while her
husband was living in Pueblo, Pueblo County. David Hendrickson was living in Park
Hampton in arimer County when his wife, Alpha H, Hendrickson was convicted in Arapahoe
County of embezzling letters from the United States Post Office in 1899. Andrew Dalpers,
the husband of Dora Dalperswas living in Leydon in Jefferson County when Dora entered
the penitentiary May 21str 1905 having been convicted of grand larceny in Denver County.
And Pearl Eberts husband, Paul G. Grlhom was living in Gilmaa, Eagle County when Pearl,
also known as Margaret Miller, was sent to the prison from Teller County in 1906. Although
Mary Nolte's husband, William Nolte was living in Pueblo County where she was convicted
in 1908, he was a patient in the state insane asylum in Pueblo,43
Some of the women either did not know, or did not wish to divulge their husbands'
addresses. It is not surprising that the women did not know their husbands1 address,
particularly if the men had deserted them. When asked the address of her husband in 1902,
Florence Thurman defiantly answered Hdo not know." When Allie Briggs entered the prison
charged with bigamy in 1907 from El Paso County she did not know if her husband, Burney
Briggs was ^living or not." When Laura BrocKway entered the prison in 1907 from El Paso
County, the record keeper entered the comment: "Don't know where husband is, ran away
and left her" When asked if she was married and if so, what her husband's address might
25


be in May 1907, Della Hubbard answered that yes she was married but she had aquit him."
United States prisoner from Arizona, Jesus Campuzano said that her husband, Luis Basso
was in Mexico, but Bdont know address." The situation of Jesus could have been enforced
separation from her husband due to conditions of war particularly rf her husband was a
participant in the Mexican Revolution.44
As one might expect, the ages of the women in the penitentiary between 1873 and
1917 varied more than did their places of birth. The question was how young was the
youngest woman? How old was the oldest woman? Crime does not seem to have many
limits when it comes to age, although the law in Colorado during this time did make some
distinctions concerning how old a girl had to be before she could be sent to the State
Penitentiary.
In 1881 the state legislature made provisions to establish a State Industrial School
for errant boys at the Mold school of Mines building and grounds at or near the crty of Golden,
in the county of Jefferson______0 Although the school was primarily for boys, the stipulation
was made that aAII the provisions of this act concerning boys shall be equally, [and] in like
manner, applicable to girls_____n This proviso for girts, then, allows for the application of the
stipulation in Section 14 of the act to girls as well as boys:
'"when any boy under the age of sixteen years, and over the age of seven
years, shall be convicted of any offense known to the aws of this state and
punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both* except such as may be
punishable by imprisonment for life, the court of justrce may
sentence such boy to the state industrial school______n 45
By 1887 there were enough girls at the industrial school to warrant provision fora
separate State Home and Industrial School for Girls uat or near Denver, Colorado.1* And
further, uall giris under the age of eighteen, who shall be convicted under the laws of the
state ... shall... be committed to said school."46
26


Although the law specified that girls under the age of eighteen sfiould be sent to the state
industrial school for offenses not serious enough to be punishable by life imprisonment,
exceptions were made. Three girls under the age of eighteen were commrtted to the prison
during the yeare 1873 through 1916. he youngest was sixteen-year-old Emma Davis, a
Negress bom in Chattanooga, Tennessee, convicted of larceny in Las Animas County on
September 16r 1904. Davis1 parents, Anderson and Jennie Servrer lived in Pueblo. She
was paroled August 5tht 1905 and discharged March 10t 1907. Seventeen-year-old
Tomicita Brown was convicted of larceny in Pueblo County in October 1905. She was
sentenced to a two to three year term at the penitentiary and was paroled on July 30,1907.
Brown's mottien Isabel Vialpando was living in Trinidad at the time her daughter went to the
Canon City prison. Another seventeen-year old girl, Maria Louisa Montiel, bom in the
Republic of Mexico, was among the federal prisoners sent to the Colorado penitentiary from
Arizona. She listed one parent, Joaquin Montiel whose address she didn't know. Montiel
was convicted of violating federal immigration laws and sentenced to a term of one year and
one day on June 16r 1916.47
During the time period,1873-1917, the age group with the highest number of women
was the tv/enty-five year old group virith 20 (6.68%) women. Sixteen women were in the
twenty-one year old group, while there were 15 (5.01%) women in each of the 18,23, 26, 27,
28, and 29-year old groups. Overall the average age of the women was 297 years. Figure
2.5 illustrates the age distribution of the women inmates rather dramatically.
The eldest women incarcerated at the Canon City factlrty during the 1873-1916-time period
were sixty years old. L Carrie Johnson, a physician, was convicted of murder in Pueblo
County on January 23,1904. She originally was sentenced to a term of fifteen to twenty
years but on July 18,1907 her sentence was commuted to four to twenty years. The R
Mercer, a music teacher bom in Michigan, was given a life sentence for her crime on
27


Figure 2,5 Age Distfibution of Women Inmates, 1875^1916
February 8,1915. She died in prison December 5th, 1925.
The two hundred ninety-nine women who were part of this study listed forty-five
different occupations including ^donH know0 and snone.n As might be expected, many of the
women (66 or 22.07%) listed their occupation as ^housewife." Forty-nine (16.38%) women
said they did housework and 34 (11.37%) were housekeepers. Fifteen or 5,01% said they
were cooks. One woman, Mary Salander, admitted she was an abortionist and one, Annie
Gordon, admitted to being a prostitute, although those were not the charges that sent them
to the penitentiary.
Among the other occupations listed were 3 music teachers,1 school teacher,1
farmer, 7 servants, 2 actresses,1 performer and dancer,11 nurses (though not all of the
nurses would have had formal training since at least one of them, Amelia Allison, said she
could neither read nor write), 2 physicians,1 chiropodist, 3 in the hotel business, and 1 in
real estate. Sixteen women listed some foim of needlework, such as seamstress, tailor, and
lace maker as their occupations. One woman, Mayfield Earle, said she was a "working
28


woman" and Dora Pitt was a fortune teller48 Nineteen or 5.68% did not list any occupation.
Fifteen other occupations were isted including abortionist, housemaid, chambermaid, dining
room girl, dishwasher, domestic, and domestic servant In the middle of the nineteenth
century, the domestic occupations servants, housemaid, housekeeper cook. etc.-
constituted the most available employment opportunities for women. They were howevert
notthe most desirable since they lowered the socia status of white women who accepted
those types of jobs. Women who needed employmenti but still wanted to maintain a good
socia status looked for employment as schoolteachers, nurses, dressmakers, tailors, and
the like, even though the pay for these occupations was also very low.
A contemporary gentieman in New York estimated that to live comfortably during the
late nineteenth century, a family of four needed a minimum of $200 a month. A teacher
might make $250 a year plus room and board, Mln 1888, women made an average of $6 a
week and servants commonly worked 10 to 15 hours a day;" and ttA stenographer earning
$753.25 a year [neariy $61A2 per month or $15.27 a week] estimated that her salary let her
save a little money___1149 Waitressing became a new, but respectable employment
opportunity for women during the mid-to-lale-nineteen hundreds. ^Waitressing was
strenuous work, notorious for long hours, low pay, and backbreaking and bonetiring labor.950
The first woman to enter the penitentiary, Mary Salander was the only woman to list
her occupation as an abortionist. Charged with manslaughter, Salander was convicted in
Boulder County on March 12,1873 and sentenced to three years in the penitentiary. Stie
was pardoned by Governor Samuel H,bert August 8,1873 and released. Abortion was an
occupation considered unacceptable for women by Victorian standards, especially since it
was illegal not only in Colorado, but in most other states as well. Nonetheless, there was no
other alternative form of birth control other than abstinence and many women resorted to
abortion to end unwanted pregnancies. Thus, an abortionist performed what seemed a
29


necessary service to women, especially those who had their hands full raising an already
sizable family. ?-
Blanche Libbie, convicted in Lake County of grand larceny in April 1896, was an
actress as was Maggie Montgomery from La Plata County. Georg iana South, a thirty-seven
year old English woman was a chiropodist someone "who treats foot ailments" and
qremoves corns.Carrie Johnson and Catherine D. Fitch both said they were physicians.
Dollie Finn was a clerk, Marguerite Silcox was a stenographer, and Belle Warden said she
was a hairdresser. Annie Cunningham said she aDonno" her occupation. Cora Willis was a
rooming house keeper. Annie Snow was a lacemaker, Dora Pitt a fortune teller* and Annie
Gordon admitted to being a prostitute.51 Proslitulion was an occupation that many women
went into because it could be more lucrative than the respectable job:
^When a school teacher earned less than $5 a week, a prostitute could
reportedly make over $100 a nigh! less her fees to authorises and the
madam's or saloon owners split. More realistic studies indicate that the per
transaction income ranged in price from 25 cents to $1 for crib prostitutes,
$10 at a brothel, and $5 to $50 at the best parlor houses. Most women
averaged four to ten transactions a day.1*52
Many women, particularly those who were divorced, widowed, or had been deserted
by their husbands, trying to support themselves and their children often usank into poverty
and oblivion"53 or into crime. It was not unusual for a poor woman with children to support to
resort to theft in order to acquire the means to feed and clothe her family. Women left alone
^without many skills or a good education, without savings or support from her husband.. /
were" forced to seek work,"54 Illiteracy exacerbated the problem of earning a living.
Although the majority (84.28 % or 252) of the two hundred ninety-nine women who entered
the Colorado State Penitentiary before 1917, could read and write, 13,37% (41) could do
neither. The literacy of six of the women was not listed and one woman could read aa little,11
but could not write.55
30


Although some of the women committed the crimes for which they were convicted
because they were illiterate and destitute, not all of them commrtted their crimes for those
reasons. When the women committed their crimes in the company of their husbands or
another partner, it is difficult to determine which of the two may have been the instigator
Colorado law specified that:
qA married woman acting under threats, command or coercion of her
husband, shall not be found guilty of any crimes or misdemeanor not
punishable vnth death t provided it appears from all the facts and
circumstances of the case that violent threats, command or coercion were
used_____^
Since they were convicted of the crimes for which they were accused, it would seem
that these women were at least willing partners in crime. At least they did not prove
otherwise.
Forty-eight, or 16.05% of the women were convicted of larceny; 54 (18,06%) were
convicted of larceny from the person; and 54 (18.06%) of the women were convicted of
grand larceny. Twenty-one (7.02%) or the women were convicted of murder,13 (4.35%)
were convicted of manslaughter, and 13 (4.35%) had been convicted of robbery.
It is not clear how the race and ethnic backgrounds of the women influenced the
crimes the women committed or the sentences they received. Only white women committed
some crimes such as arson, confidence games, conspiracy, embezzlement, false pretenses,
fraudj and white slavery. Even though all the other crimes were committed by black women
as well as white and Mexican women, white women committed the majority of the crimes.
This does not hold true with the federal prisoners brought to Colorado from Arizona,
the majorfty of whom were Mexican along with two black women. All except one of the
seven Mexican women from Arizona were convicted of violating the federal immigration law
while the other was convicted of peijury. The two black women in the group were both
convicted of having violated federal drug laws.
31


Altogether the female prison population, 1873-1916, was comprised of 175 or 58,53% white
women,103 or 34.45% black women,16 or 5.35 % Mexican women, which includes one
woman who was German-Mexicanr with 1 Eskimo woman,1 Native American-Negro
woman, and 3 women whose race could not be determined. Annie Snow and Mary Sheldon
were both described as having a 'dark11 complexion with black hair and black eyes. Thus,
they could have been either black or white, or even Hispanic. Many women who were of the
white race were described as having qdarkB complexions with black hair and black eyes, as
were several of the black women and some of the Hispanic womens Lultilarfc had a
Rgre26QarthinolQ1rTesCfcrTTitlBdty WJTBntosorefs, 1873-1916
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32


ucoppe complexion with "dark brown eyes and "black" hair, A few black women were
described as having brown eyes. Lulu was probably a black woman; although "copper" might
have described a Spanish or Native American-descended woman as well Sometimes race
could be determined if the woman had hazel or gray eyes, but the most reliable method of
determining race was from the prison photographs. Unfortunately, erther no photographs
were taken of the three women in question, or they have been lost. Photographs were not
taken of the female prisoners until 1684 and many of those after that time are missing.57
33


Figure Z6 illustrates the distribution of crimes committed by the women and Figure 27
shows the comparison of crimes by racial groups. In this studyp there has been no
distinction made between Negro, Mulatto, and Black since these women are all of African
descent, they are usually referred to as either Negro or black.
The crimes committed by the two hundred ninety-nine women included in this study
fall into seven different categories. They are the categories under which the earliest
Colorado Statute books divided them: crimes and offenses against public justice; forgery and
counterferting; offenses committed by cheats and swindlers and other fraudulent persons;
crimes and offenses against habitations and buildings; crimes and offenses relative to
property; offenses against the public morality, health, and police; and offenses against the
pei^ons of individuals. In addition, violation of federal crimes must be added to the list of
categories of cnmes that the women committed. It was the federal drug and immigration
lavtfs that the women from Arizona are supposed to have violated.
34


CHAPTER 3
CRIMES AND OFFENSES COMWIITTED BY ONLY A FEW WOMEN
Crimes and offenses committed by only a few women, that is fewer than twenty
women convicted of a particular crime, fall into the categories of crimes as laid out in the
early Colorado statutes: crimes and offenses against public justice, fopgery and
counterfeiting, and offenses committed by cheats, swindlers and other fraudulent persons.
Crimes and Offenses Aoainst Public Justice
Crimes and offenses against public justice include perjury, conspiracy, and false
personations. Accoiding to the Colorado statutes a person guilty of perjury was subject to
be "punished by imprisonment for a term not less than one year, nor more than fourteen
years." Peijury was defined as false testimony deliberately given under oath in a court of
law.58 Seven, or 2.34% of the two hundred ninety-nine women in the Colorado State
Penitentiary from 1873 through 1916 were convicted of perjury. Six of the seven women
were white women and one was of Mexican descent sent to the Colorado State Penitentiary
from Arizona on a federal peijury charge. Five of the seven women, Bessie Galbraith,
Rachel M. Leavelle, Ella Holsen, Margaret Miller, and Jesus Campuzano (the only flJe5us" in
the prison found to be a woman) were married; onep Frances Pudney was single; and the
marital status of one, Mabel Fisher, was not revealed. Among the five married women,
Bessie Galbraith's husband was with her in the penitentiary. Rachel Leavelle was convicted
in the same county where her husband resided. Jesus Campuzano said she did not know
the address of her husband, just that he was somewhere in Mexico* Margaret Miller did not
35


disclose the address of her husband and Ella Holsen's husband was living in New Orleans,
Louisiana.
Bessie Galbraith and Frances Pudney were both convicted of peijury on March 6r
1899 in Pueblo County. They, together with Bessie's husband Hugh, who was convicted at
the same time on the same charge, entered the penitentiary on March 9(1899.59
tie interesting thing about these two women is that they were sentenced to a five-
year term in prison and were pardoned by Governor C. S. Thomas Bessie Galbrarth on
December 28,1899 and Frances Pudney on March 12,1900. Bes^e's husband Hugh was
sentenced to two and one-half years in the penitentiary. The governor pardoned him on
August 8,19. Could that mean that Frances Pudney and Bessie Galbraith were the
instigators of the perjury they committed? Perhaps Hugh Galbraith was an unwilling
partner60
Ella Holsen, also known as Ella Hosmer, was convicted of perjury in Pueblo County.
On March 28f 1908 she was sentenced to a one to one and one-half year term in the state
penitentiary. She was paroled on March 6V1909 after serving neariy a year of her sentence
and discharged on July 21,1909,61 -
In 1899 the Colorado Legislature passed an actio Authorize and Regulate the
Paroling of Convicts," which decreed that after the passage of the act, any convict sentenced
to serve time, other than life, in the state penitentiary, that the court
imposing the sentence shall not fix 3 definrte term of imprisonment, but
shall establish a maximum and a minimunn term for which said convict may
be held in said prison. The maximum term shall not be longer than the
longest term fixed by law for the punihment of the offense of which he [or
she] was convicted, and the minimum tenn shall not be less than the
shortest term frxed by law for the punishment of the offense of which he [or
she] was convicted.
The legislature further authorized the Governor to determine and issue a parole to
any prisoner that had served the minimum time of his or her sentence, ''provided that any
36


convict who shall make an assault vrith a deadly weapon upon any officer, employee or other
convict" in the penitentiary ushal1 not be eligible to parole under this Convicts on parole
were still ain the legal custody and under the control of the Penitentiary commissioners,
subject to any rules or regulations the commissioners prescribed, the violation for which the
parolee could be returned to the penitentiary to serve out the rest of his, or her, sentence,63
In 1876 the Colorado legislature passed an act designed to promote and encourage
better discipline in the penitentiary. The law stipulated that every convict who obediently
performed the duties assigned to him, or her, dunng theterm of impiisonment would be
entitled to a deduction of time from his, or her, sentence proportioned to the length of the
sentence given; "forthe first year, one month; for the second year, two months; for the third
year, three months, for the fourth year, four months; for the fifth year, five months, for the
sixth and each succeeding year, six months.1164 The problem was that any good time could
be forfeited if the prisoner violated* or purportedly violated, any of the prison rules and
regulations at the rate of two days for the first offense, four days for the second and eacli
subsequent offense. In 1909, the egislature provided additional good time for inmates who
were engaged in Vork connected with said penitentiary the outside the walls" of the prison,
"known as Irusly prisoner/ and who shall be employed on the ranches or gardens,... or
any other work without the walls of said prison ...8 the extra good time not to uexceed ten
(10) days in any one calendar month,^
Jesus Campuzano was the last woman to enter the prison before 1917 on a peijury
charge. A federal prisoner from Arizona, she was sentenced to one year and one day in
prison. Jesus arrived at the Canon City prison on November 30f 1916 after being sentenced
in Arizona on November 20r 1916. Jesus was discharged on September 8,1917 along with
four other women, all federal prisoners, who had been sent with her from Arizona.66 1
Conspiracy is another offense against public justice. The Colorado Statutes of 1861
37


and 1889 describe conspiracy as the act of two or more people agreeing, in any manner, to
commit an illegal act< Six women at the Colorado State Penitentiary before 1917 were
charged with conspiracy, one of whom was convicted of conspiracy along with larceny from
the person. Of the Six women all white one, Maud Sullivan was single; another, Cora
Williams, was a widow; one other, Sarah Brooks did not reveal her marital status; and three,
Mary Kafford, Tillie Williams, and Annie Watson were married.
Mary Kafford was convicted in Lake County of ^conspiracy to murder along with her
father-in-law, J. J. Kafford. They each were sentenced to two years in the penitentiary on
February 13r 18B4. Mary and J. J. were both released from prison on November 17,1885
after serving neariy two years.67
Sarah Brooks was convicted of conspiracy in Pueblo County and sentenced on June
27,1889 to a two-year term in the penitentiary. Sarah was pardoned on May 23_ 10 by
Governor Cooper and released the next day. Sarah's son, B. Herbert Brooks was also
convicted of conspiracy in Pueblo County, He also was sentenced to a two-year term in the
prison just two days before Sarah. Herbert Brooks was an eighteen-year old derk. He was
discharged from prison by Border of the Supreme Court" nearly a month after his mother was
released.60
Forgery and Counterfeiting
Colorado statutes describe forgery and counterfeiting as the act of falsely making, or
altering uany record, or other authentic matter of a public nature" such as a deed, lease,
check, bank note, coined or uncoined gold or silver, contract, letter, receipt for money, "or
any other thing real or personal/ It is also forgery or counterfeiting to receive money, to let,
lease, or convey Hany goods, chattels, lands,... or other estate, real or personal/ with the
intent to damage or defraud any other person or business. To Hutter, publish, pass or
38


attempt to pass as true and genuine, or cause to be uttered, published, passed ... any of
the above named false, altered, forged or counterfeited matter with the intent to
prejudice, damage or defraud another person1* or business is also forgery and counterfeiting.
Forgery and counterfeiting were punishable Bby imprisonment fora term of not less than one
year, nor more than fourteen years."69
Thirteen of the two hundred ninety-nine women who were part of this study were
convicted of either forgery or counterfeiting. As previously noted, the numbers are
misleading since one of these thirteen women returned to the prison a second time on the
same charge; thus, there were actually twelve different women convicted of forgery and
counterfeiting. Four of the women were federal prisoners, at least three of whom were
convicted in Colorado, There is no indication of where the fourth federal prisoner was
convicted. All thirteen women were white women. Among the thirteen white women, Mae
Knudsen, was the only single woman. Only Mrs. L. A. Heister was divorced. Mayfield Earle
was the only widow. The marital status of Claudhie Stokes, was not Isted.ght of the
thirteen women were married Alice Chapman, Mrs. J. A. Lovejoy, Hattie Miller (two terms
for forgery), Angelina Garramoner Alberta Revelle, Dorothy Reckard, Dora La Point, and
Dorothy Drury. Three of the married women were convicted in the same county as their
husbands resided, Hattie Miller (both convictions), Angelina Garramone, and Dorothy Drury,
Alberta Revelle was convicted In Denver County while her husband lived in Routt County.
The husband of Dorothy Reckard entered the prison with her and the name and residence of
Alice Chapman's husband was not recorded. The husbands of two of the married women,
Mrs. J. A. Lovejoy and Dora a Point were n prisons in other states,
Hattie Miller was charged with forgery & uttering" in Denver County. She was
convicted and sent to Canon City to serve a one to one and one-fourth year sentence,
arriving there on March 24r 1910. She was paroled in February 1911 and discharged on
39


April 30r 1911 Hattie returned for a second term in the prison on September 21,1913
charged with grand larceny from Denver County. She was paroled the second time on
August 21,1914 and released on January 11t 1915. Hattie returned on April 4,1915 fora
third term in the prison. She was the only woman during this time period to serve three
terms in the Colorado State Penitentiary. Again sent by Denver County, Hattie was charged
with three counts of Dfictitious check writing11 and sentenced to four to seven years in the
prison. Hattie Miller was for a third time paroled then discharged on December 30,191971
Angelina Garramone, the first of two Italian women to serve time in the penitentiary
from 1873 through 1916, was convicted of forgery and uttering" in Denver County. She was
sentenced on January 14r 1911 to a five to eight-year term. Angelina was accused of foiling
the name of Giovanni Yocavette to a deed selling a lot in the ''Viaduct addition" to her for the
sum of $1.Yocavette valued the lot at $2r000 and was planning to sell it to someone else
when he discovered his name had been forged on the deed. During the course of the
investigation into this real estate dealing, the deputy district attorney, Omar Garwood,
claimed to have found four, and possibly as many as ten, other similar dealings, all with the
same four persons, Guiomi Yovodetta, Salomena Yovodetta, Carlo Fame, and Mary F.
Fame, named as wKnesses tottie sale. According to one newspaper article,
Garramone's influence among the poorer class of Italians is said to be very great, and
Attorney Garwood declares that she has quite a reputation as a fortune teller and dealer in
the occult arts generally."72
Angelina uFor several years was engaged in the rea estate business. By giving
forged deeds she swindled Italians out of a sum of money estimated at $60,000." Angelina
Garramone was serving her sentence for forgery when she was returned to Denver to face
charges and trial tor murder in the Jefferson County court.73
40


Mrs. L. A. Heister was convicted of forgery in Chaffee County and sentenced on
August 5,1913 to two to four years in the Canon City prison. She was accused of forging a
payment of $20 claimed "to have been made and executed by the School Board of School
District Number Five of Chaffee County Colorado* to Walter Shelton on December 10,1911
for aBooks from the Herrick Book & Stationery Co." Then again on October 26,1912, Mrs.
Heister allegedly forged another warrant on the Chaffee County School Board in the amount
of $25 to H. S. Kroft for "wood furnished to [the] District.Mrs. Heister was accused a third
time of forging on March 26,1913 a "paper writing purporting to have been made and
executed by the school Board of School District number five of Chaffee County, Colorado.
For the payment of money to one Frank Dolan ..." on March 26,1913 for Tainting and
repair work on School House." This warrant supposed to have been written by Mrs. Heister
was in the amount of $75. Mrs. Heister was paroled on May 11,1915 after serving nearly
two years in the Canon City facility then discharged on September 29f 1916.74
Dorothy RecKard (also spelled Reckerd) was convicted of two counts of forgery in
arimer County, She was sentenced to a one year to fifteen months temvin the penitentiary
on August 5,1915. Dorothy Reckard was paroled on July 10,1916 and released on
September 15,1916. Her husband, James, sentenced to three to five years for the same
charge, was not paroled until August 7,1917. He was returned for violating his parole on
January 6,1918, paroled again on September 21,1918 and released on December 26,
1918. Dorothy had a bscar on right side of neck from knife cut; [a] scar on right leg near
groin from [a] bullet wound; [and a] scar on right foot from [a} pitchfork wound,11 It would be
interesting to know if she was careless and clumsyT unlucky, or if she had been subject to
physical abuse either as a child or as a wife/5
41


Offenses Committed bv Cheats and Swindlers and
Other Fraudulent Persons
Offenses committed by cheats and swindlers and other fraudulent persons include
the crimes false representation, false pretenses, and fraud. Any person who obtains credit,
"money, goods, chattels or any valuable thing" by falsely representing his or her own net
worth is a cheat, swindler or fraud. In other words, anyone who obtains anything of value by
cheating, tricking, or deceiving another is guilty of fraud/6
Nine of the two hundred ninety-nine women in the state penitentiary from 1873
through 1916 were convicted of some form of fraud. Again, the numbers are misleading.
One of the nine women was convicted of fraud two times. Thus, there actually were eight
different women convicted of fraud including Jeanette Price, Mrs. W. W. (Anna) Wheeler
(two terms), Anna E. Gilbert, B. M. Beard, Minnie Trafton, EfTte Wilson, M. E. Lytlef and
Margaret Miller. All except three were convicted in Denver County. Jeanette Price was
convicted in Arapahoe County before Denver became a separate county; E M. Beard was
convicted in the state of Wyoming, and Margaret B. Keller was a federal prisoner convicted
in the District of Utah. They were all white women. Three of them, M. E. Lytle, Margaret B.
Keller, and Anna Gilbert were single. Three were married, Mrs, W. W. (Anna) Wheeler (two
terms), Minnie Trafton, and Effie Wilson. The manta! status of Jeanette Price and E. M.
Breard was not listed.
On December 28,1901 Jeanette Price was sentenced in Arapahoe County District
Court to one to two years in the state penitentiary for ^obtaining money by talse pretenses."
Jeanette entered the prison January 11,1902 and was discharged from the penitentiary on
October 1,1903T7
Mrs. W. W. Wheeler (also Known as Anna) was charged with ^confidence gaming11 in
Denver County. She was sentenced to six to seven years in the penitentiary on November
42


27,1909. She was ureleased by order of the court" on February 12,1911.Anna returned
six months later for a second term on August 22r 1911 charged with false pretenses, again
from Denver County. Her second sentence of one and a half to two-years was commuted to
eight months fourteen days to two years on March 19t 1912. Anna L. Wheelerwas paroled
on April 2,1912.7B
E. M. Breard was sent to the Colorado State Penitentiary from the state of Wyoming.
Western prisons sometimes opted to board their prisoners in the prisons of neighboring
states if their own facilities became overcrowded. This solution was often less expensive
than building more space in their own system. Whatever her reasons for doing sor Wyoming
sent ten female prisoners to the Colorado State Penitentiary from 1873 through 1916. Thus,
E* M. Breard served her sentence of one year and one day for Obtaining [a] money order
under false pretenses" in the Canon City, Colorado prison. Sentenced on February 11,
1915, Breard entered the prison on February 15f 1915. The governor of Wyoming pardoned
E* M, Breard on July 17,1915 after she had spent five months in prison.79
In 1861,when the Organic Ad for the new Territory of Colorado was being drafted,
the Governor was vested with the power to "grant pardons for offenses against the laws of
the United States, until the decision of the president can be known thereon."60 In 1893, the
Colorado Legislature created the State Board of Pardons whose duty it was to "investigate
all applications for Executive clemency, and lay all the facts before the Governor with its
recommendations as the action to be taken."81
Margaret B. Keller was sent to the Colorado penitentiary as a federal prisoner from
the District of Utah. Convicted of "devising [a] scheme to defraud by use of [the] U. S. mail"
she was sentenced to fifteen months in prison on January 27,1916. This was Margaret's
second term in the prison. On January 24f 1914 in Denver County she had been sentenced
to one and one-haKf to two and one-half years in the penitentiary for "larceny as bailee."
43


When she entered the prison for her first term in 1914, Margaret's husband, J. D. Keller
resided in Denver. However, when she entered for her second term, Margaret apparently
was divorced since she indicated that she was single. In Colorado, a felony conviction was
reasonable grounds for divorce. Margaret was paroled from her second term on January 27,
1917.
Thirteen women were convicted of crimes and offenses against public justice,
thirteen were convicted of forgery and counterfeiting, and nine were convicted of offenses
and crimes committed by cheats, swindlers^ and other fraudulent persons, a total of thirty-
five women who were imprisoned for crimes committed by only a few women. All except
one of the thirty-five women were white women. The exception was Jesus Campuzano, a
Mexican woman sent as a federal prisoner from Arizona. Twenty of the thirty-five women
were married and could have been either middla-or woilcing-ciass women. Since the
husbands of four of the married women entered the prison wth them, it is easy to speculate
that they were probably among the poor people in Denver.
44


CHAPTER 4
MORE CRIMES AND OFFENSES COMMITTED BY
ONLY A FEW WOMEN
Crimes and offenses against habitations and buildings, offenses against
public morality, and violations against federal statutes were alt categories of laws committed
by twenty-seven or fewer women from 1873 through 1916. Only forty-four women or 14.15%
of the two hundred ninety-nine women in the Colorado State Penitentiary prior to 1917 were
convicted of these three categories of crimes. Twenty-seven women were convicted of
crimes or offenses against habitations and buildings, including arson and burglary nine
women were convicted of committing crimes and offenses against public morality,ncluding
bigamy and white slavery; and eight women were convicted of violating federal drug and
immigration statutes.
Crimes and Offenses Against Habitations and Buildinas
Arson and burglary are the only two major crimes defined as crimes and offenses
against habitations and buildings. Anyone who intentionally or maliciously bums, or causes
to be burned, any building or other property is gutKy of arson. Conviction of arson resulted in
being sentenced to sa term of not less than one year nor more than ten years* in the state
penitentiary.f the burning of a building or other property should cause the death of anyone,
then of course, the person, or persons responsible, would be charged with murder and
sentenced accordingly.63 Only one woman was convicted of arson between 1873 and 1917.
Anna Day, a widow of Scotch-lrish descent was convicted of arson in Pueblo
County June 10p 1911 and sentenced to one and one-half years in the penitentiary. Anna
45


entered the penitentiary June 10,1911. She was paroled October 22,1912 but was
returned for violation of her parole December 8f 1912. She was released April 18,1913.M
Twenty-six or fifty-nine percent of the forty^four women studied in this chapter were
convicted of burglary or burglary and some other crime such as larceny. Burglary was
described in 1861:
aEvery person who shall, in the night time, vrilfully and malidously and
forcibly break and enter, wilfully and maliciously, without force, (the doors or
windows being open) enter any house * or other building, with the intent
to commit murder, robbery, rape, mayhem, larceny, or other felony, shall be
deemed guilty of burglary and upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned
for a term not less than one year, nor more than ten years.
Fourteen women were guilty of committing burglary. Five of the fourteen women
were black-Willie Wadet Lizzie Guinn, Lizzie May, Della Hubbard, and Maria Love; eight of
the women were white, Emma Lee, Gertie Tobanf Sarah Williams, Leora Green, Sarah A.
Price, Mary Nolte, Mayme Foley, and Kitty Stone; and one woman, Francisca Basques was
Mexican. Six of the fourteen women were single, one was divorced; one was a widow, four
of the women were married, and the marital status of two was not revealed. Of the four
married women, one was separated from her husband, two were convicted in the same
county where their husbands lived, but the husband of one was in the insane asylum, and
the husband of another was in prison with her.
Lizzie Guinn was convicted in El Paso County September 27> 1901, Sentenced to
one year in the penKentiary, she entered the facility September 28r 1901^ Lizzie's sentenced
was commuted to two months by Governor Orman October 16f 1901 and she was released
November 12,1901.86
Five of the women were convicted of burglary in Pueblo County, Emma Leer Della
Hubbard, Maria Love, Mary Nolte, and Kitty Stone. Oella Hubbard and Maria Love were
both convicted of burglary in Pueblo County May 4f 1907 and they entered the penitentiary
46


together May 9t 1907. Maria and Della were both paroled April 16T1908. Maria was
returned May 23t 1908 for a parole violation. Della was discharged September 11,1908 and
Maria was discharged October 8,1908
Fifty-six-year old Mary Notte was bom in Germany. Mary's husband, William Nolte
was in the Pueblo insane asylum. Convicted August 25,1908 of burglary in Pueblo County,
Mary was sentenced to one to one and one-half*years in the penitentiary.88 It was said that
Mary Notte (also spelled 'Nulty11 and "Nolty") did feloniously, willful, maliciously,
burglariously and forcibly break and enter into the dwelling house of one Frank Conley...B
on West 14th Street in the city of Pueblo on October 11,1905 and stole uone suit of men's
clothes, of the value of Ten Dollars ($10.00)__" Mary was convicted August 25t 1908 and
entered the prison in Canon City September 5,1908. She was paroled August 10,1909 and
released December 26,1909
Gertie Toban was convicted of burglary in Pitkin County October 17,1902 and
sentenced to one year to fourteen months in the penitentiary. Gerlie was accused, along
with Ollie (Oliver W.) Holmes, of breaking and entering into a Colorado Midland Railroad
refrigeration car and stealing "one case of eggs, one box of butter and one box of soap of
the value of $18*90... ttthe property of J. F. Crawley, Grant and Groscurth, and Mrs. Felix
Kenny August 3,1902. The judge, John T. Shumate, endeavored to explain to the jury the
importance of determining the credittlity of the testimonial evidence presented in the case,
all of which was ciroumstantiaL Perhaps he suspected that one or more of the witnesses
might have given false testimony. The judge carefully explained to the jury that since Gertie
Toban had not testified in her own behalf that did not constitute guilt on her part. Even so
the jury rendered a guilty verdict and Gertie entered the penitentiary October 23t 1902.
In an effort to recover the court costs of $238,60, the Pitkin County Sheriff, P. Frank
Irving, rounded up Gertie's belongings and announced a public auction to be held January 5r
47


1903 at the Pitkin County courthouse* Gertie's belongings included: aOne wooden bedstead,
springs and mattress; one dresser; one settee; two mgs; one piano stool; one extension
table; one rocking chain six chairs; one cupboard: one wash stand; one dock/ All the items
were sold for the sum of $32.10. For his part in the burglary. Ollie Holmes was committed to
the state reformato^ for a period of one year Gertie was paroled September 26,1903 and
discharged November 13,1903.90
Teller County sent three women charged with burglary to the Colorado State
Penitentiary during the period 1873 through 1916. AH three, Sarah Williams, Sarah A. Price_
and Leora Green were white women. Sarah Williams and Leora Green were both convicted
of burglary on December 22,1903 and sentenced to two to three years in the penitentiary.
Sarah Williams and Leora Green entered the penitentiary together on December 26,1903
and were paroled July 23,1904. They were both released June 16(1906.91
Denver County convicted Mayme Foley May 23,1913 of burglary and sentenced her
to one to one and one-half-years in prison. She entered the penitentiafy May 25,1913 and
was paroled April 25k 1914. Mayme was retumed to the prison December 20t 1914 for a
parole violation,^
The only Hispanic woman charged with burglary from 1873 through 1916; Frandsca
Basques was convicted of burglary in Otero County June 23v 1910 where she signed her
name Trancisca L. Vasques." She entered the penitentiary June 29,1910 and was paroled
June 1,1911. Frandsca was discharged October 19,1911.93
Twelve of the twenty-six women convicted of burglary were also chained with
larceny and receiving stolen goods. Three of the twelve women, Louise Bonnette, Bridget
Hamson, and Rose Rivers, were single; eight (actually seven) were mamed Marguerite
Silcox, Lizzie Davis, Mae Murrell (served two terms for burglary and larceny), Lottie Mulligan
Shirey, Ollie Barger, Bell Ward, and Mayme Stockly; and onet Vina E. Curtis, was a widow.
48


All the women except two, Lizzie Davis and Bell Ward were white. Among the seven
married women, two, Marguerite Silcox and Lizzie Davis, were convicted in counties different
than the residences of their husbands, and the husbands of four, Mae Murrell Lottie Shireyt
Mayme Stockley, and Bell Ward, were in the penitentiary with them.
Mae Murrell was convicted of burglary and larceny September 26,1906 in Denver
County after being caught shoplifting in a Denver department store. Mae already had served
a term in the Jefferson City, Missouri prison as May Williard before entering the Colorado
penitentiary September 30,1906. She had escaped the Missouri facilrty in 1901 uby
dressing herself in men's clothing."94 Mae*s husband, John Murrell, alias Harry C. Murrell,
had also served time in the Jefferson City, Missouri prison where he had escaped from a
road gang. He was in the Denver County jail when Mae entered the Colorado penitentiary.
He was subsequently on convicted of robbery October 11,1906 and entered the Colorado
penitentiary October 12,1906 about two weeks after Mae. She was paroled September 11,
1907 but was returned October 30,1907t probably for a parole violation, and then
discharged August 18,1908.
"Mae Murrell Imprisons Matron; Escapes" and aNotorious Shoplifter Walks out of Jail
Under Policeman's Eyes After Locking Mrs. Doney in Ceir read the Rocky Mountain News
headline on Wednesday, December 7P1910. Mae had been arrested the previous Friday
after she had taken a Sealskin coat valued at $140" from the home of Mrs. Anna Crouch
where she had stayed for three days. Mae had returned to Denver in the autumn of 1910
after being released from the insane asylum in Pueblo" where she had been confined on a
l^ea on insanity in lieu of serving a term in the penitentiary. A number of unsolved burglaries
had taken place in the Denver area all with the same sequence of events: a tall, blonde
woman renting a room for a few days who then disappeared after which it was discovered
that items of expensive ladies clothing were missing. When finally apprehended, Mae had
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fur coats and other "women's finery" worth over $400 in her room. She told the police that
she had already sold some items for about $400. Then she told the police that they would
not have caught her had she not fallen 'Yorttie white powder [cocaine] again." Then she told
them that she had taken items not only from Mrs. Anna Crouch, but also Mrs. F. Alexander
and Mrs. Clara M. Breedon, as well as others who she could not remember
According to the newspaper accounts, Mae, aa notorious confidence woman and
shoplifter," with a national record had had a "successful and spectacular criminal career"
which began in St. Louis. She had started her life of Grime in St Louis in company with
Harry Munrell probably about the time she married him ten years earlier. She was convicted
of shoplifting from a St. Louis department store in 1899. According to the accounts, Mae's
"photographs show her to have been a girl of remarkable beauty. She was then a stunning
brunette." That was before she had acquired her cocaine habit. Besides her time spent in
the Mstate insane asylum/ Mae had also served time in the Pueblo County jail for larceny
between her two terms in the Colorado penitentiary.
Mae returned to the penitentiary just over two years after being discharged from her
first term on December 22,1910. Convicted again in Denver County of the same crimes,
uburglary and larceny/ Mae was sentenced to a term of twato five years. Mae's husband
John Murrell was in the Iowa penitentiary having fled Colorado after having shot and
seriously wounding Patrolman Henry Barr" vrfien caught in the act of burglarizing a store
building in West Denver^ in 1907. Mae died in the prison hospital October 10,1911.95
Lottie Mulligan Shirey, an eighteen-year old housewife, was convicted along with her
husband, W. H. Shirey, of burglary and larceny March 14,1907 in El Paso County. Lottie's
darit brown hair had been cropped to a very short boy-cut. Her husband, W, H, was a
former railroad brakeman whose legs were paralyzed he "walks on [his] hands," Both
Lottie and W, H. were sentenced to a term of two to three years in the penitentiary. Lottie
50


was paroled December 23T1908 and discharged September 13,1909. W. H. Shirey died in
prison December 3P1907 just nine months after they entered the Canon City facility.96
Lottie's husband had worked for the railroad which was the kind of job "where thousands of
men daily worked and died. Between July 1888 and June 1889 railroads employed 704,443
men, of whom 20,028 were injured and 1t972 were killed on the job.n Lottie's husband
apparently was one of the unfortunate njured who could no longer work and could not get
workmen's compensation since such insurance for on the job injuries did not exist at that
time.97
Offenses Against the Public Moralftv. Health and Police
Offenses against the public morality include crimes such as bigamy, gaming, and
white slavery. Surprisingly enough there were four women or 1.34% of the two hundred
ninety-nine women in the Colorado State Penitentiary from 1873 through 1916 convicted of
bigamy. Five women or 1.67% of the women were convicted of white slavery. None of the
women were convicted of gaming during this period of time.
Bigamy is the situation of a person having two or more wives or husbands atthe
same time knowing that4he former wife or husband is still living and they are not divorced.
The penalty for such a relationship in Colorado in 1861 was either a fine of not more than
two thousand dollars or imprisonment for up to two years. Any single person who married
someone they knew was already married and not divorced if convicted could be fined up to
five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than one year.96
Only four women, Lulu Young, Hattie C. Jones, Allie Briggs, and Julia Martinez,
were convicted of bigamy in Colorado from 1873 through 1916. Interestingly, neither Lulu
Young nor Hattie C. Jones disclosed any information conceniing their legal husbands other
than the last name of Hattie's husband, Mr. Jones. Thus, we do not Know who they may
51


have been even though it is not surprising that the women might not know the whereabouts
of their husbands, particularly if the men ran off and left the women. That apparently was
the case for Allte Briggs who said that she didnt know if her former husband, Bumey Briggs
was dead or alive. While Julia Martinez indicated a husband,ee Sanchez living n New
Mexico, it is not clear if he was her legal husband or the man she had most recently mamed.
Lulu Young was the first woman found guilty of bigamy in Colorado and sent to the
Colorado State Penitentiary. She was convicted in Pueblo County April 29,1904. Lulu's
husband W. E. Young resided in Puebla Sentenced to a two to three month term in the
penitentiary, Lulu entered the prison May 1,1904. She was released July 13,1904.39
Hattie C. Jones, alias Hattie Brown, was convicted in Rio Grande County June 2,
1905. Hattie's husband, Isaac Hk Dexter, was convicted the same day as sher charged with
^marrying a married woman." She entered two signatures, one as Hattie De)der and another
as KHattie C. Jones.1* Hattie was sentenced to an eight to ten month term in the penitentiary
and entered the prison June 3,1905. She was paroled January 24,1906 and released
February 28,1906. Her husband, Isaac, a fifty-five year old rancher was sentenced to
eleven to twelve months in prison. He entered the penitentiary with Hattie and was released
April 23,1906.100 It is interesting that Isaac's term was three months longer than Hattie's.
Allie Briggs, allias Allie Garvin, was convicted in El Paso County April 2,1907. Allie
said she didn't "know iT her husband, Bumey Briggs was "living or not." She was sentenced
to a term of one to one and one-fourth year^. Allie entered the penitentiary April 3,1907 and
was paroled March 9,1908. She was released May 6V1908.101
Julia Martinez was convicted in Pueblo County April 24f 1913. Julia, of Mexican
descent was a Colorado native. Her husband, Lee Sanchez resided at the Pueblo
Canderillo Martinez in New MexiGO. She was sentenced to a one year to one and one-third-
52


year term jn prison. She entered the penitentiary May 7,1913. Julia was paroled April 7_
1914 and released July 7,1914.102
In Colorado as early as 1889, it was illegal to "entice any unmarried males or
females of good repute, under the age of eighteen years, to any house of ill-fame or to any
assignation house, or to any other house of ill-repiite_" The punishment for this offense
was a paltry fine of anot less than one hundred dollars, nor more than one thousand dollars/
or imprisonment In the county jail for not less than thirty days nor more than six months, or
both_____"103 In 1909 the law was revised to read:
BAny male or female person, over the age hteen years, who shall
procure, encourage, persuade, induce or I upon any female person of
previous chaste character to have sexual intercourae for hire, with any male
person other than himself shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and upon
conviction thereof shall be punished by imprisonment in the Penitentiary for
not less than one year nor more than five years."104
This ^prostitution biH" approved April 26,1909 was sponsored by Pueblo Senator,
David M. Campbell. It targeted pimps and was "popularly called the Campbell White Slave
Law.0105 Two years previously by a special act of the United States Congress, a commission
of three members from the House of Representatives, three Senators, and three people to
be appointed by the United States President was created to investigate the importation of
foreign girls and women for the purpose of prostitution. The commission found that B,the
importation of women for immoral purposes, commonly known as the "white slave traffic"
disclosed the fact that this business is regularly carried on between some European
countries and the United States ....11,106 Beginning in 1908 or 1909, organizations, such as
the Societies of Social Hygiene and the Chicago Women's Club, instituted an educationaJ
program to educate the American public about white slavery and the rampant selling of girls
and women, both American and foreign, into prostitution.
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"The white slave market of today [1911]is the traffic in girls for immoral
purposes. They are sold into disreputable lives with or without their consent
and they are held also slaves by the conditions which surround them.
These conditions range from forcible detention to ingenious deception with
disragement, shame and disease as intermediary stages/107
The federal White Slave Act, also know as the "Mann Bill" was passed into law June
25,1910. By 1915 nearly every slate had outlawed brothels and the soliciting of sex7108
Five women or 1.67% of the two hundred ninety-nine women serving time in the Colorado
State Penitentiary from 1873 through 1916 were convicted of white slavery* All were white
women and all were convicted after 1914. - ......--
Jessie B. Alexander was the first woman convicted of vt^iite slavery to enter the
Canon City facility. She was convicted in Denver County February 14,1914 and sentenced
to a one to one and a half-year term in prison. Jessie entered the prison Febaiary 15,1914
and was paroled January 23,1915. Jessie was discharged June 7t 1915.109
Florence Jones and her husband, William T. Jones, were convicted of "procuring [a]
female minor child to have illicit sexual intercourse0 in Hueffano County February 19,1914.
They were both sentenced to four to five years in the penitentiary. Eighteen year old
Florence and her husband, Wi[liamP a thirty-seven year old coal miner, entered the
penitentiary February 20f 1914. Although the date of Florence's discharge was not entered
into the record, they were probably discharged February 5,1917 as that date appears to be
when William was released.110
Trixie Gauhan was convicted of white slavery March 29,1915 in Denver County.
She was sentenced to a one to two year temrt in the penitentiary. Trixie said she was a
housewife, but in truth, Trixie ran a house of prostitution in Denver. A prostitute named
Mabel Fisher was one of her girls. Could this be the same Mabel Fisher, who said she was
a waitress and was convicted of perjury in Denver a few weeks later on April 10,1915?
Pertiaps Mabel's perjury was related to the white slavery charge against Trixie. Trixie
54


entered the penitentiary April 4r 1915 and was paroled March 9f 1916 and discharged
December 24,1916.111
Violations of Federal Statutes: Prisoners From Arizona
Women sent to the Colorado State Penitentrary from Arizona committed all the
violations of federal drug and immigration statutes from 1873 through 1916. Although the
discussion of some federal prisoners will be found throughout this thesis, the federal
prisoners discussed in this section were convicted of federal drug and immigration crimes
committed by women in the state of Arizona. During this period of time. 1873 through 1916,
the crimes involved may have been related to border confrontations between the United
States and Mexico. Although Colorado had a drug law, it did not make the selling, the
possession, or the use of drugs illegal. Instead it provided for the treatment and cure of
habitual drunkards, but included any person Vho has acquired the hab'rt of using morphine,
opium or other narcotics to such a degree as to deprive him [or her] of reasonable self
control/112
The federal government's Harrison Act of 1914 was the most stringent drug law
passed in the UnAed States to that time. It Brequired records of all transactions in cocaine
and opiates, although it made liberal exceptions for weaker patent medicines.11 In essence, it
made the use of narcotics, or drugs, illegal The problem with the law was that qmany
women had become addicted to opiates in the form of laudanum in Ionics/ Those who
tinued to use opiates became criminals after laudanum was no longer available to them
legally." A new Colorado drug law was voted to take effect in January 1916,113 even though
no woman was convicted of the Colorado law prior to 1917. The two women, both black,
convicted of violating federal drug taws were Maheatha Mizer and Ruth Bell. Maheatha
Mizerwas single and Ruth Bell was married although her husband was in prison.
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Maheattia Mizer was convicted of violating the Federal Drug Laws and sentenced
November 23,1916 to one year and one day in prison, Ruth Bell was convicted of violating
the federal drug laws and sentenced November 20,1916 to a one year and one day term in
prison. Ruth's husband, Chaiies Bell was a federal prisoner in the Me Neill's Island,
Washington prison* Ruth Bell and Maheatha Mizer entered the Colorado State Penitentiary
together November 30,1916. Ruth Bell was discharged from the prison September 8t 1917
and Maheatha Mizer was discharged two days later.114
The women charged with violating federal immigration laws were all Mexican women
who were bom in Mexico. Their violations occurred while the Mexican Revolution was still
being fought. At the time, United States citizens living in the southwestern border area were
demanding that the United States government control the number of Mexican workers from
crossing over the border even though representatives of railroad and agricultural businesses
were actively recrurting workers in Mexico. The raids of the Meccan General, Francisco
Villa, inside the United States border towns only tended to exacerbate the problems between
Me^dco and the United States.115
Six women, Maria Sequeiros, Maria ouisa Montiel, Carmen opez, Ysidra Valdez,
Maria Macias, and Refugio Jiminez, were convicted of violating the federalimmigration laws
in Arizona and incarcerated in the Colorado State Penitentiary for one year and one day.
Four of these women, Maria Esquires, Maria Louisa Montiel, Ysklra Valdez, and Maria
Macias, were single. Carmen Lopez was a widow, and the marital status of Refugio Jiminez
was not recorded. It is rather curious that these women were charged with violations of the
immigration law, since the new law with literacy restrictions and the head tax raised from
$4.00 to $8.00 per person was not passed by congress until May 1917. The border patrol
had been fairly lax in enforcing the 1885 law which 'strictly prohibited the hiring of foreign
workers by Americans prior to their emigration/ A1903 revision allowed the recruitment of
56


skilled labor dif labor of the like kind unemployed can not be found in this country,0 Another
revision of the Immigration Act in 1907 levied the $4.00 head tax on aliens entering the
United States with the purpose of not admitting any emigrants who were penniless and
would become burdens upon the society. However, even the head tax adid not apply to
aliens from Mexico, Cuba, Canada, and Newfoundlands Thus, until passage of the 1917
Immigration Act, there were few legal restrictions on the entry of Mexicans into the United
States.116
Maria Sequeiros and Maria Louisa Montielt the first two women to enter the
Colorado penitentiary on violation of federal immigration laws were sent to Colorado from
Arizona in the summer of 1916. Maria Sequeiros was sentenced May 15,1916. She
entered the Colorado penitentiary July 1,1916. Maria was released from prison March 14r
1917.117 Maria Louisa Montiel at age seventeen was one of the three youngest women sent
to tfie Colorado State Penitentiary. She was convicted June 16,1916 and entered the
Canon City facility July 13r 1916. Maria Louisa was released from the prison April 5,1917.116
The remaining four Mexican women charged with violation of Unrted States
Immigration Laws entered the Colorado State Penitentiary together along with Maheatha
Mizer, Ruth Bell, and Jesus Campanuzo November 3Q,1916. And they were all released on
the same day, September 8r 1917. Jesus Campanuzo was the only federal prisoner
convicted of perjury sent to the Colorado State Penitentiary from Arizona.
Carmen Lopez, Ysidra Valdez, Maria Macias, and Refugio Jimenez were all
convicted of violation of the immigration laws November 20,1916 somewhere in Arizona.
None of these four women could read or write and they all had the same occupation -
housework. Carmen Lopez was returned for a second term January 9t 1920 for Entering
the U. S. after being deported as a prostitute/11d
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Forty-four women were committed to the Colorado State Penrtentiary from 1873
through 1916. Twenty*seven women were convicted of crimes against habrtations and
buildings; ame women were convicted of offenses against public morality, heaKh, and police;
and eight women were convicted of violations of the federal drug and immigration laws -
more crimes committed by only a few women.
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CHAPTER 5
CRIMES AND OFFENSES RELATIVE TO PROPERTY
Robbery, embezzlement, larceny, and receiving stolen goods are all crimes relative to
property. Most of the crimes committed by women fall into this category. One hundred
eighty-one or 60.54% of the women imprisoned in the Colorado Slate Penitentiary from 1873
through 1916 were convicted of some type of larceny, including grand larceny and larceny
from the person. Another 4.68 % of the women were convicted of robbery and 5.68 % of
some combination of larcenyr larceny from the person, grand larceny, robbery, and
embezzlement. The 1868 Colorado law specified that *No person convicted of larceny, or of
buying or receiving goods, or other things by larceny, burglary or robbery, shall be
condemned to the penrtentiary, unless the money or value of the things stolen, bought or
received, shall amount to five dollars.0120
Robbery
Robbery is the forceful taking of something valuable, such as money or jewelry, from
the person of another Anyone found guilty of robbery could be apunished by imprisonment
for a term not less than three years nor more than fourteen years."121 Fourteen women in
the Colorado State Penitentiary during this time period had been convicted of robbery. Nine
of the fourteen women were convicted only of robbery. Four of the nine women, Fay Love,
Susie Bums (who returned fora second term charged with the same crime), and Bertha
Bird, were black women and five, Grace Springer, Clara E. Moberlyr May Wilson, Nellie
Douglas, and Doily Finnr were white women. Five others were convicted of robbery along
with some form of larceny. Two ofthe womenEmma Anderson and Lena Brown were black
59


and three, Rose Bums, Myrtle Ford, and Theresa Willard were white. Myrtle Ford, Lena
Brown, Theresa Willard, and Susie Bums (second term) were single. Seven of the women,
Grace Springer, Clara Moberly, May Wilson, Nellie Douglas, Rose Bums (first term), Emma
Anderson, and Fay Love, were manied. Bertha Bird was a widow, and Dolly Finn's marital
status was not registered.
Susie Bums was convicted of robbery in Arapahoe County May 16,1901. She was
sentenced to three to four years at Canon City. Susie was paroled November 23,1903 and
discharged November 6 or 16,1904 "and held as No. 6009/ Susie had been returned to the
penitentiary March 22,1904 to serve a five to six year sentence once again charged with
robbety, this time from the new Denver County. Susie was paroled a second time on June
1,1908 and discharged on June 20,1908.122
Bertha Bird was convicted of robbery in Huerfano County October 16f 1907. A cook
by trade, she entered the penitentiary on October 17f 1907. Bertha had a "bullet mark on
[her] left breast, [and] one on [the] right [breast] shot went in at left and out at right/
Sentenced to a two to three year term, Bertha was paroled July 17f 1909 and discharged
April 9,1910.123
Clara E. Moberly was convicted of robbery from La Plata County. She was
sentenced to three to four years in the penitentiary December 11,1903. Her common-law
husband, L. D. DLouB Moberly was convicted of robbery on the same day as Clara, but he
was sentenced to a five to six year term. Clara entered the penitentiary December 19t 1903
six days after her husband. She was paroled on June 27t 1906 and released February 9t
1907.124
Nellie Douglas was cx>n>ricted of robbery in Alaska on August 11,1916. Information
on the back of Nellie's photograph lists the S. District of Alaska11 as the place of her
conviction. Thus, she probably was a federal prisoner. Nellie was sentenced to three years
60


In prison and entered the Canon City facility on October 15t 1916. The photograph
information also revealed that Neilie ^vears glasses11 and she had 0Hypo-needle scars cm
both arms/ According to the Prisoners Register, Nellie Douglas* ^correct name ps] Nellie
Sinkler." She was discharged from the penitentiary December 3,1918.125
Embezzlement
According to Colorado law, anyone who converts or embezzles any money, goods,
property, or other valuable item for his or her own use, thus defrauding the rightful owner of
his or her own property is guilty of larceny and subject to the same punishment as for
larceny.128 Only two women, Alpha H. Hendrickson and Electra R, Beard, both white, in the
Colorado State Penitentiary from 1873 through 1916 were found guilty of embezzlement
Electra Beard was also charged with grand larceny and larceny as bailer
Alpha H. Hendrickson was charged with Embezzling letters from the (J. S. Post
Office" in Arapahoe County. A federal prisoner, she was sentenced to fifteen months in
prison May 16P1899 and entered the Colorado Penitentiary May 30t 1899. On January 22,
1900 President Me Kjnley pardoned Alpha and she was released five days later127
Electra R. Beard was convicted of embezzlingv larceny as bailer, and grand larceny
in Denver County. She was sentenced to a one and one-half year term in the penitentiary
and entered the Canon City facility on June 8^ 1909. Etectra was paroled October 8,1910
and released November 28,1911. 1911 is a fufl year after Electira's teirh in prison should
have ended; perhaps she was released in November 1910? Both, the Prisoners Record and
the Prisoners Register say 1911 and no date was listed on the back of her photograph.128
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Larceny
The Colorado Territorial legislature in 1868 described larceny as the ielonious
stealing, taking and carrying, leadingt riding or driving away the personal property of
another9 They also specified that the theft of articles from a house in the daytime and
stealing aftom the person of another8 "shall be deemed larceny/ Larceny also includes the
larceny of livestock, better known as rustling horses, cattle, and other livestock. In 1861,
larceny was punishable by a term in the penitentiary for a period of Bnot more than seven
years." In 1368, the punishment for larceny was revised to imprisonment "for a term not less
than one year nor more than ten yeare"129
One hundred sixty-nine, or 56.52 % of the two hundred ninety-nine women in the
Colorado State Penitentiary from 1873 through 1d16T were convicted of some form of
larceny. Forty-four or 26.62% of those one hundred sixty-nine women were convicted of
larceny or larceny plus another larceny-related crime such d$ robberylarceny from the
person, grand larceny, or recei\nng stolen goods. Twelve of the one hundred sixty-nine
women were convicted of larceny and burglary, and have been discussed in chapter 4.
Fifty-four or 31,95% of the one hundred sixty-nine women charged with larceny were
convicted of grand larceny. Another fifty-five (32.54%) women charged with larceny were
convicted of larceny from the person. Three of the women were convicted of receiving stolen
goods, and one woman was convicted of larceny of livestock.
Forty*four of the women convicted of some form of larceny, were listed in the record
charged with ordinary larceny or larceny in combination with another larceny-related crime.
The distinction between larceny, grand larceny, larceny from the person, and larceny of
livestock was not always made in the penitentiary records as they more likely were in the
court records. Thus, at least five of the forty-five women were actually convicted of grand -
larceny, one of larceny from the person, and two of larceny of livestock, and three of larceny
62


and receiving stolen goods. Among the thirty-three remaining women convicted of larceny,
fifteen were btackr sixteen were white, one was Hispanic, and the race of one could not be
determined. Nine of the thirty-ttiree women were single, one was divorced, six were widows,
sixteen were married, and the marital status of one was not provided.
The woman whose marital status and race was not recorded, Annie Snowf was
convicted of larceny in Lake County in 1891.Listed only as an "American/ Annie was
described as having a adar1cB complexion, Hb!ackB eyes and hair. She entered the
penitentiary on April 4,1891 to serve a one-year term.130
The nine single women included six black women, Laura Williams, Lucy Moore, Ollie
Green, Mary Ford, Belle Johnson, and Ida Mathews; and three white women, Mollie
Gorman r Nellie Hammel, and Myrtle Sterling.
Mary Ford was convicted of larceny In Lake County August 18f 1888 and sentenced
to two years in the penitentiary. Mary had already served a one-year term for larceny from
Pueblo County as Mollie Ford. When she was first convicted on January 1 .1665 Mary was
a married woman* She had been discharged from prison December 18,1885 only to return
on August 23,1886 for her second term and discharged May 13,1890.131
Mable Cook was the only woman convicted of larceny who was a Bgrass widow"
(divorced). Mable was convicted in Lake County on January 9r 1893. Sentenced to three
years in prison, Mable arrived at the penitentiary on January 12T1893. She was discharged
on July 2t 1895.
Six of the ttiirty-three women convicted of larceny were widows. This group included
two black women, Jennie Sylvester and Annie Thompson, and four white women, Nellie
Penyt Louisa Meiser, Lulu Robinson, and May Deleski.
Nellie Perry was sent to Canon Crty from Fremont County. The first of the one
hundred sixty-nine women to be convicted of some form of larceny, she entered the
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penitentiary May 11,1875. Nellie was indicted for taking aOne silk dress of the value of
twenty dollars one Rep dress of the value of fifteen dollars one sack of the value of ten
dollars one night dress of the value of three dotlais one scarf of the value of two dollars' all
belonging to Eliza Chamings. Then she took Done pair of gold eanings of the value of five
dollars one silk dress of the value of twenty dollars one satin dress of the value of twenty
dollars one water-proof silk dress of the value of fifty dollars0 from Anna Balman.
Furthermore, she took aone hair brush of the value of one dollar, one neck tie of the value of
one dollar, one gold brest-pin of the value of five dollars one gold and hair guard of the value
of three dollars" from Thomas Balman. Finally, she took ttone coat of the value of fifteen
dollars one pair of pants of the value of ten dollars one vest of the value of five dollars" from
N. Lancaster on April 13th,1875,
A warrant for Nelly's arrest was issued May 6th,1875. She was convicted of larceny
May 10r 1875 and sentenced to serve a on&*yearterm in the penitentiary.132 Nellie was
pardoned by Governor Routt October 20,1875 and discharged the following day.133
Louisa Meiser was convicted of larceny in Fremont County. She was sentenced to a
two-year term in the penitentiary April 5,1888. Louisa was accused of stealing Hone watch
of the value of fifty dollars, one chain of the value of twenty dc^iars of the personal pr|>erty
of Carrie P. Dawson." Louisa also stole a watch valued at fifty dollars and a chain valued at
twenty dollars from Lizzie Vaughn.134 The February 18r 1888 Canon City Recordt reported
the story:
cyclone of robbery struck Canon last Friday. Two gold watches and
chains were stolen in the afternoon of that day one from Mrs. Dr Dawson
and one from Mrs. J. B. Vaughn. It finally appeared that the guitty person
was a woman of foreign extraction, wtro had prowled into several houses
during the day in a suspicious manner, and it being learned that she had
gone to Pueblo a chase was instituted and she was caught and the watches
and chains recovered. Her name, as given, is Louisa Kaiser. She had a
preliminary examination before Justice of the Peace, A. H. Davisr on
Monday, who held her for appearance at district court. She is in jaiL"135
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A convicted defendant was responsible for paying court costs accrued during his, or
herT court case. Thus, the Fremont County District Court tried to recover court costs of
$18.25 in the case of Louisa by issuing an aExecution for Costs." The personal property of
aLouisa Maiser... one (1)ladies Gold Watch Chain and Charm ,. / was advertised then
sold Bat the front door of the Court house in Canon City on the 4th day of December 1889 ..
to the highest bidder for $18.25.136
On October 11r 1888, just six months after she entered the prison, Louisa was sent
to the insane asylum in Pueblo. She remained there until her release February 11,1890.137
Jennie Sylvester was convicted in Lake County the 16th of February 1892. Jennie
entered the penitentiary on February 19,1892 to serve a two-year sentence. She was
discharged November 9f 1893. Jennie returned to the prison two years later as Jennie
Eaton convicted of larceny from the peison in Arapahoe County on June 29,1895 and
sentenced to a one-year term in prison. Jennie was released from her second term in prison
on May 19,1896,13fl
Sixteen of the thirty-three women charged with larceny were married but not all were
convicted in the same community in which their husbands resided. Six of the manied
women were black, Annie Crowe, Mollie Ford (who returned as Mary Ford, a single woman
in 1888), Amanda Morgan, Minnie Harris, Susie Welch, and Minnie Gentry. Four of these
six married women, Susie Welch, Amanda Morgan, Annie Crowe, and Mollie Ford, did not
disclose the names and addresses of their husbands. Minnie Gentry was convicted in
Arapahoe County while her husband, Bob Ewings resided in Fort Worth, Texas and Minnie
Harris was convicted in Lake County while her husband, Robert Hams resided in Rocky
Ford, Otero County. Nine of the sixteen maiTied women, Avice St. Claire, Lizzie Thompson,
Jennie Priess, Nellie Lewis, Stella Packard, Grace Daniels, Margaret B. Keller, Madeline Le
Roy, and Nellie Peltier were white. Two from this group of nine women, Stella Packard and
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Madeline Le Roy, did not disclose their husband's residence. The husbands of two of the
wtirte married women, Avice St. Claire and Grace Daniels were in the penitentiary with their
wives. The husbands of three of the nine white women, Jennie Priess, Lizzie Thompson,
and Margaret Keller resided in the same community where they were convicted. The
husbands of the remaining two white married women, Nellie Lewis and Nellie Peltier, resided
in different communities than those that convicted their wives. The remaining woman of the
sixteen married women, Juana Maria Gonzalez, was of Spanish descent. She did not
disclose information about her husband or his whereabouts.
Avice St. Claire was convicted of larceny in Arapahoe County on December 23,
1884 and sentenced to 5 years in prison. She was not alone since husband, Charles G. St.
Claire, and eighteen-year-old son Frederick St Claire, were convicted on the same day of
related crimes. Avice^ son, Frederick was also convicted of larceny, but her husband,
Charles was convicted of receiving stolen goods. Charles St. Claire was sentenced to one
year in the penitentiary, while Frederick was given a sentence of five to six years in prison.
Avice was released January 2f 1887. Her husband was released November 2S,1885 and
Frederick was released December 31,1887.133
Forty-six year old Jennie Priess and twenty*four year old Lizzie Thompson were^
convicted of larceny as bailer" on June 2,1892 in Arapahoe County. LizzSe said that she
was a "dining room girT while Jennie did not disclose an occupation. Both women were
discharged April 22,1893.140 ~ : .:
The term, ^larceny as bailer," initially sounds like someone who provides bail money
to prisoners has been charged with larceny. However, in the Colorado statutes a "bailed is
described as a trusted person commissioned to deliver money or other goods. Thus, uEvery
person, officer, or servant, employed in any public department, station or office of the
government______who shall embezzle, steal, secrete or fraudulently take and carry away, any
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money, goods, chattels,bonds, bank bills.etc. upon conviction would be imprisoned
for at least one year, but not more than seven years*141
Margaret B. Keller was convicted of larceny as bailee0 in Denver County January
24,1914. Sentenced to a teim of one and one-hatf to two and one-hatf years in prison,
Margaret entered ttie penitentiary January 25t 1914. She was paroled December 22t 1914
and discharged September 28,1915.142
The Colorado statute describing larceny as bailee" reads very similarly to all the
other sections regarding larceny:
Hlf any carrier or other bailee shall embezzle or convert to his own use, or
make away with, or secrete with the intent to embezzle, or to convert to his
own use, any money, goods... or other valuable security which shall have
been delivered to fiimt or shall have come into his possession, or under his
care as such bailee,... he shall on conviction be adjudged guilty of larceny
and punished accordingly43
Madeline LeRoy was convicted of "information for larceny* in Arapahoe County.
Madeline was sentenced to one year in the penitentiary May 18,1900 and entered the
penitentiary May 27,190_ She was discharged on Apri17,191.
When Madeline, or any other defendant was convicted on information it meant that
she was held for trial based on testimonial evidence provided by witnesses rather than being
indicted by a grand jury. Whether to hold a person for trial on information versus indictment
was a controversial issue when the Colorado constitution was being drafted, delegates1
concerns centered upon three basic issues: the costs of grand juries, the reliability of
information used for preliminary examinations in the justice courts, and due process
protections for criminal defendants. The decision made in 1876 required that aH felony
cases proceed by indictment by a grand jury__q That decision, however, was revised in
1881 wtien it was decided that BinformationD in the justice court would be suffiqient to hold a
suspected felon for trial. In 1886 the grand jury system was Reinstated temporarily "144
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In 1891 the Colorado legislature passed a law which provided for the prosecution of
^crimes, misdemeanors and offenses by informalion." The act made it possible for the
courts to prosecute crimes wrth the information provided by the complainant in the case
rather than by indictment by a grand jury. The act required that all information had to be
given under oath to a judge with witnesses with the district attorney present to prosecute for
the state. A number of larceny cases were initially prosecuted in this manner with the
defendants who appeared to be guilty held over for trial by the district court. Most
defendants were held in the county jail to await trial unless they could pay the bail set by the
court.145
Juana Maria Gonzales was convicted of larceny in Huerfano County January 24,
1877. The fiist woman of Mexican descent to enter the penitentiaiy, Juana was bom in
MoroP New Mexico, She entered the penitentiary February 9f 1877 before there was a
separate Female Department. Governor Adams pardoned Juana on May 23,1877 after she
had served only four months of a one-year sentence.146
Grand Larceny
The ttieft of anything valued over twenty dollars is considered grand larceny,
punishable by imprisonment for at least a year, but not more than ten years.147
Grand larceny was the crime committed by fifty-four of the one hundred sixty-nine
women who were convicted of some form of larceny from 1873 through 1916. In addition
there were at least five women who were convicted of grand larceny although their
penitentiary record lists them as gurtty of regular larceny. Thus, the actual known number of
women convicted of grand larceny from 1873 through 1916 is fifty-nine or34 J% of all the
women convicted of larceny. Among the fifty-nine women convicted of grand larceny, twenty
were black, thirty-six were white, two were Mexican, and the race of one could not be
6g


determined- The marita status of those fifty-nine women included: eighteen who were
single, two divorced, two widowed, thirty-two married, and the marital status of five was not
recorded.
Among the eighteen single women were nine black women, Emma Wilson, Georgia
Turner, Helen Lindsey, Lou Campbell, Nola Jefferson, Cora Lex, Lena Smith, Mamie
Shores, and Mary Johnson. There also were nine single while women, Mamie Blake, Mary
Clarkson, Ida Teter, Mamie Lord, Huldah Anderson, Mabel Manning, Annie Gordon, Fannie
Bogdonovich, and Cora Stevens. -
Nola Jefferson was found guilty of grand larceny in Arapahoe County and sentenced
to three years in the penitentiary September 21(1686. Although Nola said she was a
servant she may have been a Denver prostitute. She was arrested in Denver February 10,
1887 along with Cora Thomton and Jessie Talbott for posing for pornographic photographs.
Nola was released from prison March 16,1891 after serving two and a half years.
Nola Jefferson's associate, Cora Tiiomton was convicted of grand larceny in Lake
County four years later She was sentenced to the penrtentiary for one year August 20t
1891.Cora also was probably a prostitute even though she claimed to be a servant. Her
spouse, Georgia11 [George?] lived in "Granito" probably Granite in Chaffee County. The
town of Granite had been the courtly seat of Lake County before being incorporated into the
newly formed Chaffee County in 1680. Cora was released July 22,1892.
Mary Johnson was convicted of grand larceny in Chaffee County. She was
sentenced to a term of one to three years in the penrtentiary January 21T1910. When she
entered the prison1 Mary had a usaw mark on [her] left Knee/148 Mary Johnson and Lucy
Moore were accused of stealing $25 from Bessie E. Holt October 19f 1909. Lucy Moora was
acquitted by the jury, but Mary Johnson was convicted of the theft. Mary amved at the
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panttentiaiy January 22r 1910 and was paroled just under a year later December 24t
1910.149
On July 23,1903 in Chaffee Countyr Fannie Bogdonovich was sentenced to a term
of one to two years in the penitentiary for grand larceny. Fannie was charged with the theft
of $50 in silver money from Louis Castello on May of that year The Chaffee County
Sheriff, Charles Ankele, daimed to have first hand knowledge of the theft. Fannie, bom in
Austria, could neither read nor write. Fannie entered the penKentiary July 24,1903 and was
paroled July 21 r 1904.150
Two of the fifty-nine women committed to the Colorado State Penitentiary for grand
larceny were divorced. Both women, Blanche Libbie and Opal Burieson, were white. Two of
the fifty-nine women convicted of grand larceny, Mary Sheldon and Lillie OttT were widows.
Lillie Otl was whKev but the race of Mary Sheldon could not be determined.
Mary Sheldon was convicted in Gilpin County and was sentenced to eighteen
months in the penitentiary on March 24,1879. Mary was described as having a "dark"
complexion wrth ablackn hair and eyes. Unfortunately, there is no prison photograph to help
deteimine herrace. Mary was indicted for stealing around $138.85 worth of goods from the
home of her employer Rrchard W. Mosely on Febmary 4879. Included among the items
stolen were:
one (1)piece of white embroidery of the value of one dollar, one (1)piece
of white ruffling of the value of one dollar and fifty cents, one (1)small peari
handle knife [with] four blades of the value of one dollar and fiifty cents, one
(1)lace collar of the value of four dollars ... one (1)pair white kid gloves of
the value of fifty cents, one (1)white handkerchief of the value of twenty five
cents, one (1)steel hair brush of the value of one dollar... one (1)gold
finger ring of the value of one dollar... nine yards of dress silk of the value
of eighteen dollars and two Mexican dollars oFthe silver coins from Mexico
in the amount and value of two dollars,0 etc.151
When Richard Mosely was subpoenaed on March 20mf the court ordered
him to Bbring with you the portion of the pece of silk now remaining in your
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possession being part of the same i^ece alleged to have been stolen by Mary J.
Sheldon & now in court/152
When Mary Sheldon was arrested for the theft of the thirty-seven, or more, articles
from Richard Moselyr she apparently confessed to the crime. The judge in the case found it
necessary to instruct the jury "that if they believe from the evidence that the prisoner while
under arTest made any admissions which were obtained through hope or fear are
inadmissible and should not be considered by the jury/ However, the judge also pointed out
that if the defendant voluntarily confessed to the crime without fear or the promise of
clemency that could be considered if the prosecution had proved beyond a reasonable doubt
the circumstances regarding the theft, it would seem too, that Mary's own testimony did not
help her case, for the judge further instructed the jury:
"In considering the testimony of the accused you may take into
consideration, in connection with her testimony, her interest in the events of
this suit, that no evidence can be given is a contradiction of her statements
made upon the witness stand the oonsisiency or inconsistency of her
testimony with statements relating to the same matter made upon other
occasions, and the probability of the truth of her testimony considered in
connection with the other testimony in the case."153
The jury found Mary guiKy of the theft of articles in the amount of ^forty-five dollars
and seventy five cents/ $25,75 over the amount needed to make it a charge of grand
larceny rather than larceny. Marys attorney requested a new trial on her behalf. One of the
grounds for the request was that Richard Mosely had been allowed to testify concerning
evidence improperly admrtted by the court, which Mosely had already testified belonged to
Julia Crogan and not to Mosefy himself.
The request for a new trial apparently was denied since Mary was sentenced on the
same dayp Uardi 24,1879 to eighteen months in the penitentiary. She was discharged July
24t i860.154
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Thirty-two of the fifty-nine women convicted on charges of grand larceny were
married. Nine of the thirty-two married women were black, twenty were white( and two were
Mexican, Nine of the thirty-two manied women were convicted in the same county where
their husbands resided: Mattie Thomas, Amanda Hughs, Mary Moore, Ludy Lee, Mable
Cook, Many E. Barry. Leonora Pearce, Florence L Myer, and Hattie Miller Eight of the
women were convicted in counties different than the residences of their husbands: Lucy
Reed, Irene Davis, Genevieve Smith, Dora Dalpers, Lizzie Me Andrew, Beatrice
FenningsdorF, Fannie Sidewell, and Selma Work. Seven of the women, Belle Grose, Lizzie
Desmond, Mary Caffieii, Alice Walker, Jennie Smitti, Hannah Miller, and Anna Rer had
husbands who were in the penitentiary at the same time that they were there. Eight of the
women, Nellie Bauer, Ellen Smith, Ellen Walsh, Laura Dupont, Julia Summerville, Margarito
HuterasP and Sawahawana Diaz either provided no information or claimed they did not know
the addresses of their husbands.
Belle Grose, along with her husband Henry Grose, was convicted of grand larceny in
Paso County. Belle and Henry were indicted for "larceny and receiving stolen goods
along mth Charles Turner, Charles Andrews, and J. E. Hickman in a September 10,1885
theft of a trunk worth $15 along vrith the articles inside the trunk including a ladies silk dress,
a pair of slippers, baby dresses, ladies and childrens underclothes, and a gold bracelet,
estimated to be worth $75. The property of Mrs. Hannah M. Boyd, the trunk and its contents
were taken from the Denver and Rio Grande Railway depot in Colorado Springs.
Belle and Charles Turner were also indicted by a Grand Jury for the September 1,
1685 theft of various articles, including blankets, pantaloons, a shawl, a comforter, towels,
and table linens, all valued at $24 taken from the home of George Macklin in Colorado
Springs. In a third indictment Belle, again with Charles Turner, was accused of a June 1 r
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1885 theft of aa certain quantity of muslin/ some sheets, a couple of dresses, a bracelet, a
couple of pair of shoes, and other articles worth $47 belonging to Samuel Edwin Solly.155
The jury found J. E. Hickman and Charles Andrews not guilty of the charges. Belie,
her husband, Henry, and Charles Turner were all found guilty. Belle and Henry were each
sentenced November 16,1885 to three years in the penitentiary vrtiile Charles Turner
received a five-year sentence. Belle and Henry entered the penitentiary November 17,
1085, They both were released May 17,1888.156
Chaffee County sent Nellie Bauer to the penitentiary for grand larceny. She was
accused of stealing one hundred eighty-five dollars from Mike Mayrhofer May 15,1894.
Nellie, also known as Cora Weston, pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to one year
in prison August 30,1894. She entered the prison August 30t 1894 and was discharged
July 21,1895.1ff7 AHhough Nellie would have been considered a member of the white
middle^lass, her salary as a teacher would have been very low. While it is not known
whether Nellie stole the money from Mr. Mayrhofer from his home or his place of business, vt
might be interesting to speculate that Nellie may have been attempting to siioplrft.
Department stores began to emerge in eastern cities between 1660 and 1890 As
the big department stores became more prominent, and a place where more and more
middle-class women spent time shopping for clothing for their families and other goods,
shoplifting became a significant problem, not only forshopownei^, but also for law
enforcement agencies. Ttie aggressive-merchandising of the department stores, the central
focus of which was to create desire, made it drfficuit for many women not to succumb to the
temptation of shoplifting. Many of the middle-class women caught shoplifting in eastern
department stores had legitimate purchases in their possession. Thus, rt would seem that
shoplifting was a "budget-stretching device9 used by many of the women since the items
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they took Vas that extra something that they fett they could not afford or possibly could not
justify buying."158
Victorian vromen, as well as those before them and many after them, did not have
control over the money they spent. Though they may have had sufficient money for their
purchases, that did not mean they had freedom or control overspending.0 Although
husbands regularly
burned over a portion of their salaries to their wives, husbands still regarded
it as their own. It was Ifieir money.... women had to justrfy and accourrt for
everything that they spent, including ordinary expenses.... A woman's
allowance or pocket money was generally a gift bestowed, not something to
which she was entitled. Dismissed as 'pin money/ a woman's allowance
reflected the explicit power relationships within the family.0189
Middle-dass and wealthy women caught shoplifting usually could use either their
social status and contacts to their defense, or they could claim Kleptomania. Department
store managers were generally reluctant to prosecute a customer whose family was
prominent in the community and a probable return customer. The periodic clampdown on
shopliffing by the retail association and department stores created dilemmas for the
lawmakers. When charges were filed against a shoplifter who turned out to be an
upstanding, well-connected citizen, the department store manager would withdraw the
charges. Many judges felt the cases should be prosecuted. Even though the judges strove
to keep dass related prejudice out of the courtroom, it was often a losing battle. If the
charges were not mthdrawn by the store manager, middie-dass women found rt expedient
to claim kleptomania. In this instance the women were diagnosed by doctors as being
"fundamentally irrational,11 an unstable, sick woman who could not be responsible for her
actions because of illness and stress. 8When physicians suggested that the middle-ctass
shoplifter was inherently unstable, lawyers, judges, merchants, and newspaper reporters
were able to accept the diagnosis; ready to believe that many females were biologioally
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inferior ..Thus, when middle-class women stole, they were kleptomaniacs, but when
lower-class women stole from the department stores or from individuals, they were thieves
and prosecuted as such.160
Although Lizzie Desmond was probably a member of the middle-class when her
troubles began, it is doubtful that she had maintained that status by the time she was
arrested for larceny in Fremont Countyt Colorado. However, her story is much more
complex than simple shoptffting. Lizzie was a victim, not of Ideptomania, but rather of a drug
habit she never sought a common problem for women during this time frame.
Lizzie Desmond was bom in Keilhy, Yorkshire, England around 1871. Her parents,
Leo and Mary Ann Alcock still lived in England at Blockly, Worcestershire when their twenty-
six year old daughter was incarcerated at the Colorado penitentiary April 20,1897. Lizzie
was convicted of two counts of grand larceny in Fremont County April 2Qt 1897 and
sentenced to two years in prison- Lizzie, alias My Doet had been arrested along with her
husband, W. W. Desmond, who was found guilty of the same crime and sentenced to four
years in the prison at Canon City. The Desmonds were accused of stealing forty-one yards
of sik doth worth $40,50 from Frank Smith on the 13th of February, 1897, a handkerchief
worth $1 and Ha quantity of silk" valued at $25,40 from H. H, Snyder, also on February
13th.161
In an affidavit filed in court April 17th, Lizzie petitioned for three witnesses that she
believed could give evidence m her behalf. However, she was ^entirely without means and
is actually unable to pay the fees of said witnesses, that said witnesses are J. W. Dawson
and T. B. Moore practidng physicians at Canon City, Colorado . and Dr H. H. Martin of
Denver,162
Dr Martin testified that he, a practicing physician in Denver for ten years, had known
V .Lizzie Desmond, formerly Mrs_ C. C. Pierson.. / since the, .Spring of 1892.. .a and
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that he had .treated her professionally for her confinement which occurred about Aug 27
1892; at the time of her confinement it was a Jong tedious iabor, and the child was removed
with instruments and was dead at its birth. During the delivery she suffered a complete
recto-vaginal Fistula, and at the same time great injury to the sacral nerves."185
What all this means is that Lizzie had a very difficult, painful labor and delivery. Ttie
baby was probably too big for Lizzie to deliver on her own, thus, the delivery would have
been a forceps delivery. When the baby was pulled out of the mother, the baby tore into the
mother's rectum injuring the sacral nerve in her spine, which resulted in a flgreat shock to the
nervous system in general..,fl She probably lost a great deal of blood and vAh the severe
internal damage she would have been highly susceptible to infection. Lizzie remained in the
doctor's care for approximately another eight months, during which time she slowly regained
her health, although she continued to be in "a nervous and hysterical condFtion.n During her
eight-month illness, the doctor Vas compelled to administer powerful opiates, almost
continually.. .n to relieve the pain Lizzie experienced.164
In 1897, Lizzie returned to Dr. Martin for treatment of an opium habit she had
acquired while being treated with the opates. After examining his patient, Dr Martin
affirmed that indeed she was addicted to opium to the extent that he believed that she was
..unable to distinguish between right and wrong, and would not be in a condition to be he(d
responsible for any act which she might perform while indulging in such habit_ Dr. Martin
added that all the while he had known her, Lizzie was aa person of good character, and bore
a good reputation in the community in which she resided."165
The court instructed the jury that ff they found beyond a reasonable doubt that the
defendants did indeed take the articles as accused, then they must determine if, at the time
of the thefts,.. the defendants, were in such a condition of mind because of the long
continued use of opium as to [be] incapabJe of understanding that [the] act or acts
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were wrong and that they were in eolation of the laws of society/ The jury found both Lizzie
and her husband guilty as charged, but recommended the mercy of the court. Lizzie
Desmond was released from the penitentiary on January 11,1899* Her husband, W, W,
was released eighteen months later on June 10,1900.166
The class-status of the married white women prisoners in the Colorado State
Penitentiary is difficult to determine. This is especially true when they claimed to be
housewives. Being a housewife was the most accepted occupation for women until recent
years. It was, and stilt is, an occupation that transcends class-status. Unfortunately, many
middle-class women had the unfortunate misfortune to choose husbands that turned out to
be no-account losers, who either could notT or would not hold an honest job and turned to
crime for subsistence* aAs female identity is so often tied to the status of the men in their
lives, women often cross many thresholds of acceptable behavior in the name of 'iove.1
Unfortunately, the male of the couple often determines the couple's social status.... if the
male partner is involved in criminal activities,. the woman is likely to be as well/167
Women, under those circumstances, Hin the name of love" or otherwise, may have felt they
had little choice but to join th^r husbands in crime. Of course, in many husband-wife
crimes, it Is not always clear which member of the team was the instigator of the crime.
Mary CafReri and her husband, Charlie J. Caffieri (they both signed their last name
"Cafiere"), were convicted in Denver on November 10p 1906. Mary and Charlie were
charged with the theft of oriental mgs from two Denver establishments. Mary, a twenty-eight
year old housewife, was bom in Buffalo, New York. Her parents, John D. and Sarah S.
Webb were living in Norfolk, Virginia. Mary was sentenced to four to five years in the
penitentiary while Charlie was sentenced to six to seven years. Mary was pardoned July 4,
1907 after serving nearly seven months. Chailie, on the other hand, was not paroled until
September 20,1910.166 Since Charlie received the harsher sentence of ttie two, even
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though Mary^ sentence of four to five years was harsh compared to sentences handed
down to other women charged with their firet offense, the jury must have believed him to
have been the instigator of this crime.
Larceny From the Person
The 1861 Colorado statutes described larceny from the person as the ^private
stealing from the person of another, and from the house in the day time, shall be deemed
larceny0 and Hevery person convicted of larceny shall be punished by imprisonment for a
teim of not more than seven years/ In 1868 the punishment for larceny, including grand
larceny and larceny trom the peisont was revised to imprisonment foranot less than one
year nor more than ten years."1
Fifty-five women, or 32.54% of the one hundred sixly-nine women convicted of
larceny between 1873 and 1917, were contacted of larceny from the person. Among the
fifty-five women convicted of larceny from the person, thirty-five were black; seventeen were
white; one, Tomicita BrownP was Mexican; one, Irene Reedrwas Cherokee-Negro; and one,
Luia Clark, had a ''copper0 complexion her race coutd nol determined. Of those fifty-five
women convicted of larceny from the person, twenty-one were singte;two) Florence Long
and Aggie Goodall, were divorced; two, Mamie Cohen and LuJu Coliins, were widows; and
twenty-eight were married; and the marital status of two, Ida Jones and Jennie Lewis, was
not listed. Eighteen of the twenty^one single women were of African descent, one of
Mexican descent, and five were white.
Among the eighteen single, black women charged with larceny from the person,
three, Emma Davis, Frances Bailey and Abbie Wilson, were convicted in Las Animas
County, The youngest woman to enter the Colorado State Penttentiary was sixteen-year-old
Emma Davis. She was sentenced to a one to three year term in the penitentiary September
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16,1904. Emma entered the prison September 20,1904. She was paroled August 5T1905
and released March 10,190770
Six of the eighteen single black women convicted of larceny from the person were
sent to the penitentiary from Arapahoe County and Denver County. They induded Emma
Gunther, Jessie De Hone, Mary Haywood, Ida Jones, Maud St. Claire, and Pearl Smith*
Emma Gunther was convicted and sentenced to a four-year term in the penftentiary
on December 22,1891.This eighteen-year old woman was the first woman bom in
Colorado to enter the penitentiary. Emma entered the penitentiary on December 26,1891
and was discharged slightly over three years later on February 16P1895.
Emma was not alone when she entered the prison in Canon Crty. With her was
Laura Reed who also was convicted of larceny from the person on December 22f 1891.
Although she indicated that she also was a housemaid, Laura was actually a prostrtute
working in a prostitution crib in Denver. Laura was discharged from the prison February 16,
1895 along with Emma Gunther According to historian, Anne M. Butlert Laura was
subpoenaed to testify against Ida Jones during Ida's murdertrial in Denver in 1890.171
Ida Jones returned for her second term March 23,1902 having been oonvided of
larceny from the person irt Arapahoe County (soon to be Denver County) She was r
sentenced to a rather harsh five to ten year term in the penitentiary March 22,1902. Ida had
previously been convicted of second 1890. For that crime she was sentenced to fifteen years in the penitentiary then discharged
August 13t 1899 after serving eight years of her sentence.
The harshness of Ida's sentence could have been due to the fact that this was her
second offense. However, an interesting contrast is Annie Lee Tresize, a white woman
charged with the same two crimes in the same order. Annie was handed a sentence of a
mere two years for her murder charge and a sentence of only three years when she was
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convicted of larceny from the peraon. Thus, it is more than likely that that ldafs harsher
sentences were the result of racial bias, which was blatant in the Denver newspapers.
When Ida entered the penitentiary for her second termT she indicated that she was a
housekeeper However, she was a prostitute working in the Denver red-light district.
When she entered the prison for her second term, Ida was pregnant. Of ail the two
hundred ninety-nine women in the prison during the 1873 through 1916 period, Ida was the
only woman listed as pregnant when she arrived at the Canon City factlity. The birth of Ida's
child was briefly adcnowledged in the physician^ summary of cases treated in the prison
hospital: "obstetrics 1172
Although most western male-oriented prisons had no method for accommodating
the female biology, Ida was probably luckier than many women in her situation. At least the
Canon City facility had provided a separate cell house for women by the time Ida would have
her baby in that prison. Babies bom in prison were usually kept until they were six months
old then sent to live with relatives or given out for adoption, although in some prisons the
children stayed with their mothers throughout their terms of commitment. Ida's child would
have been about three years old when she was paroled December 30,1905. Ida was
discharged July 9f 1908.173
Virginia Moore was sentenced to two to three years in the penitentiary December
28,1906 in El Paso County. Virginia entered the penitentiary January 10,1907. There is
nothing in Virginia's court record to indicate what went on during her trial. However, on
December 8,1906 her lawyer filed a motion for a new trial for the following reasons:
^Firet: That the verdid is not sustained by sufficient evidence.
Second: That the verdict is contrary to law.
Third: That the Court erred, in the lir^t page of the instaiction and
in refusing to exdude witnesses from room.
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Fourth: Irregularity in the questioning of the witnesses by the
prosecuting attorney.
Fifth: Newfy discovered evidence, material to the defendant, as
shown by the affidavits, to be submitted herewKh, of Virginia
Moora, Mrs. Kitchen, William Taylor, and A. P. Toombs.
Which evidence, the defendant was unable with reasonable
dtfjgence to have discovered and procured.
Sixth: Surprise, in this that witness for prosecution gave
evidence of testimony to the effect that defendant had worn
a wig to conceal her identity.
Seventh: That there was evidence improperly admitted for the
prosecution, and Evidence improperly excluded which was
for the defense/174
The motion for a new trial hints of possible racial prejudice in the case of Virginia
Moore, Apparently the motion for a new trial was denied since Virginia remained in the
penitentiaty until she died on September 21,1908. Although the wording of court
documents attempted to show no prejudice, racial prejudice was not lacking in Colorado.
Black persons, male or female, already had a mark against them when they came to trial *
that of color. In addition, their gender was another mark against black women* The 1661
Colorado statutes stated that uall free white male taxable inhabrtants of the temtory" were
eligible to serve on juries. In 1868, this was changed to state that Ball male inhabitants...
not being negros or mulattoes" could seive on juries.175 Thus, women of color were not
even judged by men of their own color hardly a trial by their peers*
Racial ^discrimination and institutional prejudice0 was not at all uncommon in most, if
not all parts of the United States during the nineteenth^century and well into the twentieth-
century, It was so much a part of the ^American culture* that in many areas of the country,
law enforcement agents were used by Caucasians and native-born Americans to carry out
systematic programs of racial discrimination and to subject entire classes of people to
campaigns of legal tenor" \AftiiIe the documentation for racial discrimination and
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harassment in the Denver police department is well documented, Knapp found that "most of
the injustices committed against the Chinese and the local black population were carried out
through informal channels and did not show up in the official records.'176 Except for the case
of Virginia Moore and the sentence extended to Ida Jones, the court and penitentiary
records have not indicated obvious discrimination in the court system.
Seven of the eighteen single black women convicted of larceny from the person
were convicted in Pueblo County. They were Amelia Allison, Lena Smith, Alice Dennis,
Bessie Smith, Bessie Day, Lula Clark, and Florence Smith. Lulu Clark is included here even
though it is not certain that this young woman with ^copper* colored skin was actually of
African descent.
Lena Smith entered the prison for her second term May 9_ 17. Previously she
was charged with grand larceny in Pueblo County and was sentenced to a two-year term.
For her second conviction, Lena was sentenced to a three-year term, again from Pueblo
County. Lena could neither read nor write. Elementary reading and writing classes were not
offered to women at the Colorado State Penitentiary until 1914, thus, Lena would not have
been taught these skills during either of her terms in the prison. Lena was discharged
November 9,1899.177
in 1896, Warden John Cleghom said:
Ihe crucial point in the life of a prisoner is at Ms drscharge from prison. He
has paid the penalty prescribed by law, and he goes out into the world
knowing not what fate w\\ assign him to. Some make firm resolutions to
master an evil passion, to battle with a popular vice, or to fight a ruinous
error, only to return to evil through inherent weakness. It has often been
said that the cause of discharged prisoners returning to crime ist they find it
difficult to find employment; that the money furnished them upon their
dischaige is exhausted before they can secure an honest means to otstain a
livelihood. Shortly after the beginning of my administration, I thought I could
be instrumental in some degree in ameliorating the condition in which the
men at this prison were being discharged, and I made it a rule to provide
them with suitable dothing] varied as to cut and color to make such an
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appearance that they may at least stand an even chance with the average
man as to securing employment/176
Since the laws applied to women equally as men, one would hope that Warden
Cleghom meant to include the women prisoners in his compassion for released prisoners.
Upon release prisoners were to be provided with a train ticket (after 1909, non-transferable)
back to the county whence he or she came, $5.00, and a surt of dothing.179 $5.00 and a suit
of clothing could not have lasted long even in the economy of 1873 through 1916.
Lulu ClarK a nineteen-year-old housemaid, was sentenced to one to one and one-
half years in the penitentiary November 23f 1907. She had a ^pper^ comple)don (race
unknown) with "dark brown" eyes and ablad(R hair. In the Prisoners Register it was noted
that Hher right name is Maude Waunita Jetmore.*180 Previously, in 1905, Lulu Clark had
been tried for Bassault to loll." Accused of attacking one Bell Pearson wrth a deadly weapon,
that is ua certain knife, razor or other sharp instrumentdeliberately, premeditatedly and of
her malice aforethought/ Lulu pled guilty to that charge and was sentenced to five months
in the county jail.181 She entered the state penitentiary December 3,1907 to begin sen/ing
her sentence for the 1907 charge of larceny from the person. Lulu was paroled November
17,1908 and discharged March 30,1909.182
Five of the twenty-six single women convicted of larceny from the person were
white. They were Maud Sullivan, May Allen, Theresa Willard, and Madge BerTy from
Arapahoe County and Jennie Stevens from Lake County.
The only single woman of Meccan descent convicted of larceny from the person,
and one of the three youngest women to enter the Colorado State Penitentiary, Tomicita
Brown, was sent from Pueblo County. Tomicita was only seventeen when she entered the
prison October 11,1905, Tomicita and an associate, Pete Frasques were accused of
stealing $105.00 in cash and a pocketbook valued al $1.50 from Thomas Haggerty on
September 8th, 1905. The two defendants bplead not guiHy...41 and uin default of bail in the
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sum of two hundred dollars each are committed to jaii/ Tomicita was found guilty and
sentenced to two to three years in the penitentiary. She was paroled July 30,1907.183
Twenty-eight of the fifty-six women convicted of Larceny from the person were
married. Of those twenty-eight women, nine were convicted in the same county where their
husbands resided. Seven of those nine women were black, Laura Reed, Annie
Cunningham, Ida Burt, Mary Martin, Beatrice Davis, Calandra flCalantha,> French, and
Gladys Smith. The other two, Edith Brown, and Edna May were white. Ten of the mamed
women were convicted in counties separate from where their husbands resided; five were
black, Maud Pleasant, Jennie Eaton, Annie Garrett, Bell Robinson, and Viola Brown; and
five were white, Laura Kinlan, May Me Kissock, Annie Trezise, Rose Lepore, and Lou
O'Neal. The husbands of four of the women, Annie Henderson, May King, Mabel Dalton,
and Lela Willow were in the penitentiary the same time as their wives. The remaining five
married women, Jennie Walker, Grace Franklin, Irene Reed, Mabel North, and Nellie
Randafi, provided no information concerning the addresses of their husbands. Ten of the
married women convicted of larceny from the person, Laura Kinlan, Maud Pleasant, Lou
O'Neal, Viola Brown, Annie Garrett, Rose Lepore, Bell Robinson, Jennie Eaton, May Me
Kissockp and Annie Trezise were convicted in Colorado counties separate from the
residences of their husbands.
Laura Kinlan was convicted of larceny from the person in Arapahoe County October
8,1892 while her husband resided in Otero County. She was sentenced to one year in the
penitentiary. Laura entered the penitentiary October 14,1892. This was Laura's second
term in the Colorado State Penitentiary, however. She had first entered the prison two years
before after being convicted of grand larceny in Lake County. Only then, in November 1690,
stie was known as Lillie Ott, a widow. Her first term was for one and four-twelfths years,
Laurar or Lillie, was discharged from her first teim February 2,1892, was married, then
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apparently separated from her husband and returned to the prison in October. Laura Kintan
was released from the penitentiary September 5T1893.184
Maud Pleasant was convicted in Arapahoe County December 23,1893 while her
husband, Charles Stewart was living in San Francisco, California. Jennie Eaton was
convicted in Arapahoe County June 27,1895 while her husband, Thomas Eaton resided in
Greeley, Weld County. Jennie had served a previous sentence in 1892 as Jennie Sylvester,
a widow. May Me Kissock and Annie Trezise were also convicted in Arapahoe County. May
was convicted April 13,1897 and sentenced to eighteen months in the penitentiary. At the
time of her entry into the penitentiary. May's husband, Ed Me Kissock was living in Pueblo,
Pueblo County. Annie Trezise was first convicted of murder June 15f 1897 vrfiile her
husband George Trezise lived in Ohio City, Gunnison County. Gunnison County sent Annie
to the penitentiary for her first term of only two years for murder July 10,14_ When she
entered the prison on July 4,1897 for her second term, Annie was sent there by Arapahoe
County convicted of larceny from the person, sentenced to three years. Lou 0'Naal*s
husband, William O'Neal was living in Sheridan, Wyoming when Lou was convicted of
larceny from the person in Pueblo County February 23,1903,1fi5
The husbands of four of the twenty-eight manied women convicted of larceny from
the person, Annie Henderson, May King, Mabel Datton, and Lela Willow, entered the
penitentiary with their wives. Annie Henderson entered the penitentiary August 21,1897
charged with larceny from the person for a one-year term. Her husband, Plunk Henderson,
entered the penitentiary five days later charged wth grand laroeny for a ten-year sentence -
the maximum sentence for grand larceny. Annie was released July 12f 1698 and Plunk was
paroled four years later on November 13,1902.186
Mabel Dalton and Lela Willow were both con^cted of grand larceny in Adams
County. Mable Dalton was convicted October 5,1914 and sentenced to a term of one and
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two-thirds to three years in the penitentiary. Mabel's husband Ray was convicted of the
same crime, larceny froin the person, on the same dsy and given the same sentence as
MabeL They entered the penitentiary together October 6,1914. Mabel was paroled March
26,1916 and Ray was paroled October 16,1915. Lela Willow and her husband Hany
Lamont were convicted of larceny from the person in Adams County July 1916 and
sentenced to a term of one and one-sixlh to three years in the penrlentiary. They entered
the prison together July 20,1916. They both were paroled June 18,1917* Lela was
discharged August 8,1918 and Harry was discharged Octobers, 1918.1B7
Larceny of Livestock
The theft of animals is ofTrciaNy the larceny of livestock, but more commonly known
as rustling, especially in teims of livestock such as horses and cattle. In Colorado, the 1861
statute describing larceny of livestock states that:
uEvery person who shall be convicted of stealing, taking and conveying,
leading, riding, or driving away, any horse, mare, gelding, colt, filly, jack,
mule, jennet, [or] neat cattle, of the value often dollars, belonging to
another, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not less than twenty
yeaisp or by death*106
In Xhe nineteenth and early twentieth century west it was fairly common to hear
about cattle rustlers and horse thieve^ but this type of theft is seldom thought of as
something women would have committed. Nonetheless, three white women, Louisa C.
Gifford, Lizzie Fry] and Lulu Hitl were committed to the Colorado State Penitentiary for this
crime- Louisa C. Gifford, a v^dow, was convicted in Jefferson County April 30,1886 and
entered the penitentiary May 5(1886. Mrs, Gifford Jived "mid-way" up the Mount Vernon
Canyon on the New York Ranch, which she purchased sometime in 1868." Louisa was
supposed to have been a member of an English Eari's family, the story was that she had the
papers to prove it along with a collection of "beautiful jewels." During her residence at the
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New York Ranch, the ranch became infamous for attracting the 'rougher element that
inevitably came with gold seeking hordes *1S9 Other questionable activity, such as the
susfricton of cattle rustling, contributed to the bad reputation of the ranch. It seems that
Louisa's neighbors, who called her a abad egg,* had noticed that stock with altered brands
had a way of turning up at the New York Ranch and avaded it as much as possible.190
Louisa, along with Chailes Reinbold and Eugene Tunis, was indicted for the
November 14,1885 theft of tvtrelve horses, including three from Mexander Rooney, two tirom
Jaokin Binder, three from Thomas C. Morrison, one from Fay A. Hoyt, and three from Laura
E. Charles. Another indictment was also issued against the three culprits Louisa C.
Gifford, Charles Reinbold, and Eugene Tunis for marking, branding, altering, and defacing
brands and markings on the horses.
The horses reported to have been stolen included one sorrel colored mare, about
two years old, branded with a J B on ttie left flank, worth $75 and one sorrel colored mare
coJt, about six months old, valued at $25 belonging to Joakin Binder. One bay mare, about
seven years old, worth $75, one bay mare, about two years old worth $35, and one iron-gray
colored mare, about two yeais old, all branded with an L on the left shoulder, belonging to
Alexander Rooney. One bay mare, about two years old, valued at $25, one bay mare, about
one year old valued at $25, and one hoise about eight years old valued at $100 belonging to
Laura E. Charles. One mare colt, about two years old worth $25 owned by Fay A. Hoyt.
And one bay mare, about seven years old, woftli $50, one bay horse, about four yeare old,
valued at $50, and one bay horse, about two years old, valued at $40 belonging to Thomas
C. Morrison.
The horses were taken from open range that included an area between Golden and
Green Mountain south to Bear Creek and north to Mount Vernon. According to witnesses,
the original brands on the horses had recently been branded over with brands belonging to
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Eugene Tunis and Louisa C. Giffoid, then driven from Jefferson County to Grand County.
Witnesses said they saw Chartes Reinbold driving a herd of approximately twenty-six horses
near Berthoud Pass. Presumably, the twelve stolen horses, or at least some of them, were
part of that herd. Court testimony of C. P. Hoyt hints strongly that Louisa Gifford was the
mother of Charles Reinbold, atthough he never mentioned her by name. Hoyt said that in
conversations he had with the defendant, Reinbold told him that he had not had anything to
do with any horses other than what had his own and his mothers brand on.B
On April 10,1886 in the Jefferson County District Court, Charles Reinbold and
Louisa Gifford filed a "motion to quash" on the grounds that the indictments did not charge
for any offense known to law, nor did they charge the defendants wrth either knowingly or
wiHfully" commitUng the crimes. Nor did the indictments show that neither of the defendants
had the "right of possession;" that isf the possibility that the defendants may have owned the
horses.1d1 Louisa may have been implicated in the crime as an accomplice since the judge
instructed the jury:
The court instructs the jury that if they betieve from the evidence that the
defendant Mrs Gifford directed her brand to be placed upon any of the
animals of Miss Charles described in the indictment or was present and
aided in it and that sucfi brand was actually placed upon said animals or
either or any of them and that said Mrs Gifford knew that said horse or
horses were not her own property then the jury will be justified in finding the
said Mrs Gifford guilty on the charge of branding horse or horses not her
own... / and further uif the jury believe from the evidenoe that the
defendant Reinbold drove any of the horses mentioned in any of the
indictments from their usual range knowingly or vnlfully and not being the
owner of said property or having the right of possession thereof himsetf then
they will be justified in finding said Reinbold guilty under that chaise and if
they further believe that the defendant Mrs Gifford counseled, advised or
assisted in such driving then they will be justified in finding her guilty
The judge went on to ex^ain to the jury that an accessory is someone who aids or
assists the perpetrator in committing a crime whether or not the accessory is present at the
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crime scene. An accessory then, is subject to the same punishment as if he or she had
actually taken part in the crime.
After instructing the jury, the judge explained the laws involved in the case to the
jury:
dLarceny is the felonious stealing] taking and carrying, leading, riding, or
driving away the personal goods of another Larceny shall embrace every
theft which deprives another of his money or other personal property-----------
and Every person who shall mark or brand, after or deface the mark or
brand of any horse, mare, coK... not his or her own property, but belonging
to some other person, with the intent to thereby steal the same, or prevent
the identification thereof by the true owner, shall on conviction thereof be
punished by confinement in the penitentiary for a term not less than one
year nor more than five years.. ,n also "any person or persons not being the
owner or owners, or having the right of possession of any animal.,. who
shall Knowingly or wilfully drive or lead or assist in driving or leading any
such ... animals from their usual range... may be arrested" and tried dand
if found guilty shall be punished as for larceny.
Interestingly enough, by 1885 the taw had been revised so that the punishment for
the larceny of livestock was not qurte so stringent as they had been in 1861. Both Louisa
Gifford and Charles Reinbold were found guilty of the theft of some of the animals, altering
or defacing brands, of driving the horses from their usual range, and of boarding animals not
their awn. The jury detenmined the value of the animals involved to be $100. Louisa was
sentenced to one year in the penitentiary.
According to historian, Georgina Brown, shortly after the trial, while both Mrs. Gifford
and Charlie Reinbold were out of jail on bond, the New York Ranch house was burned to the
ground. The insurance company became suspicious and sent an investigator who
suspected ttiat Mrs. Gifford's hired girl, Josie was the culprit. Josie was described as the
"'Calamity Jane' type.n Apparently, Josie admitted to having set the fire at Mrs. Gifford's
request. Josie then disappeared before a warrant for her arrest could be issued. Louisa
Gifford entered the Canon City prison May 5t 1586 and was released April 5,1887.194
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Lizzie Fry was convicted of Larceny of livestock in Pueblo County May 22t 1903.
Lizzie entered the penitentiary May 29,1903 for a three-to-five-year term. Her sentence was
commuted March 5P1904 to one to five yeais. She was paroled May 7,1904.195
By the time Lizzie Fry was convicted of larceny of livestock, the statute for the crime
had been revised once again so that any person found guilty of the charge should be
^punished by imprisonment for not less than one year, nor more than ten years, or by a fine
of not more that two thousand dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment, at the
discretion of the court.11 For branding or altering the brand on an animal not owned by him or
heiself, a person could be sentenced to a term in the penitentiary from one-to-five years.196
Lulu Hill was also convicted in Pueblo County of larceny of livestock October 21T
1905. Although not married,ulu claimed housework as her occupation and signed her
name Loula Hill."197
Lulu, and an associate, Pat Hill were charged wrth the theft of "one bay mare about
six year$ old, valued at $100.00, and om bay mare about five years old, of the value of
$100.00; one one^seated single Babcock Buggy of the value of $100.00, and one set of
buggy harness, of the value of $35.00, of the total value of $335.00/ the property of one M.
C. Bleeker1w >n the complaint made against the Hills, they were listed as May Hill and John
Doe. They were found guilty as charged. Lulu was sentenced to two to five years in the
penitentiary while Pat Hill was sentenced to four to seven years in the penitentiary. Lulu was
pardoned January 26,1906.ldS
Receiving Stolen Goods
Any person who knowingly received or bought stolen goods for his or her own gain
was deemed guilty of larceny. Upon conviction the guiRy person was subject to
imprisonment in the Colorado State Penitentiary fora term of not less than one year nor
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more than seven years." However, the law did stipulate that no person could be tried and
imprisoned for larceny or receiving stolen goods for any amount of stolen property worth less
than ten dollars. In 1868, the amount for stolen property in charges of larceny and receiving
stolen goods was lowered to five dollars.200
Six women of the one hundred sbdy-nine women oonvicted of crimes and offenses
relative to property were convicted of receiving stolen goods. Two of the women, Ellen
Smith and Mary Jackson, were black. Three of the women, Adria Valyire, Laura V. Donal,
and Sarati Gillis, were white, and one, Florence Hague was Hispanic. Two of the women,
Mary Jackson and Ellen Smith, were single; one, Florence Hague, was divorced; and three,
Adria ValyireT Laura Donal, and Sarah Gitlis were married. Two of the three married
women, Adria Valyire and Laura Donal, were separated from their husbands and one, Sarah
Gillis, provided no information about her husband.
Ellen Smith was convicted of receiving stolen goods in Lake County January 9,
1885. Since she was a "morphine eater," the bone in Ellen's nose was gone. Although Ellen
claimed to be a housekeeper, she was a prostitute on Leadville's Coon Row. Ellen had
been involved in a fracas there December 21 f 1880. According to the reporter, Ellen Smith,
Georgia Cox, Lizzie Archer, and Lou Campbell the BringleadersD were abold, bad women and
care neither for God, man or the Police Court,11201 Ellen entered the penitentiary January 17p
1860 for a term of three years. She was returned to Lake County January 25,1886 for a
new trial. She relumed again however, September 10,1890 charged with grand larceny,
sentenced to five yeare in the penitentiary. She was released June 1,1894.202
Florence Hague, convicted of larceny and receiving stolen goods in Las Animas
County September 6,1907, was sentenced to a term of one to two years in the penitentiary.
Florence, a thirty-five year old ^grass widow," was bom in Santa Fef New Mexico. Florence
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