Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Strange and Mysterious Deaths

During my research into the history of the Preston School of Industry I have found a few strange stories. Most of the stories I would usually find were connected somehow to violence, but these two were just odd. Call it unfortunate circumstances, call it mysterious, but in each case people died or disappeared under "strange" circumstances.


UNEXPLAINABLE DEATH IN PRESTON RESERVOIR

During my years of researching the Preston School of Industry's various history, I've come across many interesting stories. This particular story was about a man who met his fate at the Preston Reservoir, but he wasn't a staff member, nor was he a ward. In fact, Fred Downs was just a regular guy who happened to have been on a hunting trip with his two buddies George Gorman and Ed Tibbitts when he met his fatal ending. 

The group of men were coming from Sutter Creek, but decided to hunt for doves near Mount Echo, just northeast of the reservoir. Nightfall was coming, so Fred made his last kill for the night, but the dove fell into the reservoir. Seeing that it was beyond his reach, he decided to go in after it and wanted to take a little swim as well. His friends claimed that he had only got chest deep in the water, wading normally when all of a sudden he went under. 

There was no sign of distress, no sound, nothing. In a panic his friend ran to the man attending the reservoir, Mr. Henderson, who arrived "within seconds". Fred's friends claimed they couldn't swim and that is why they didn't go in after him immediately, however given the amount of time between him going under and Mr. Henderson arriving it was said that it was nearly impossible for him to have drowned so fast. They pulled him out of the water, but he died on the banks of reservoir, before the doctor could reach him. 

They didn't know whether he drowned, collapsed in the water from heart failure or had some sort of heat stroke, but Fred Downs died suddenly and unexpectedly on Monday, August 4th, 1902. He was well liked within the community of Sutter Creek, where he was raised. He was 34 years old, unmarried and it was said that his "He was a great favorite with all who knew him, and his sudden and untimely death would be deplored by all."


WARDS PERISH AFTER CAVE-IN AT PRESTON!!!

Tuesday, December 4th, 1928-

While digging a sewer ditch on the property of the Preston School of Industry, six boys were literally buried alive after a cave-in of the 16 foot deep trench. After being being buried for some time, four of the boys were successfully rescued, only sustaining minor injuries after being pulled out. Sadly, two of young men were crushed and perished while buried under the earth. William Reppert (of San Francisco) and Henry Hirstein (of Sanger) were the two wards who died, and upon a Coroner's inquest of the incident, it was decided that their deaths were "accidental.


AND WHAT ABOUT FRANK ALJERS?

The information I could obtain about ward, Frank Aljers (also known as Frank Alves), was that he died from an "abscess of the brain" due to a motorcycle accident on May 13, 1922. The question is, what was he doing on a motorcycle at the school? Was this some sort of work related project at the school gone bad? Could Frank have been attempting to escape on a motorcycle when he wiped out and crashed? There is not enough information on the circumstances of his death, but just enough to leave me wondering. He is one of the eighteen boys buried out back behind the Administration building at the Preston School of Industry. (I will keep this blog updated in the future and post more information as I obtain it.)



WHAT HAPPENED TO BILLY FORRESTER? 

In November of 1925, thirteen year old Billy Forrester, (boy on the left side of the photo), was paroled from PSI and literally vanished without a trace. Did he ever really step foot off the property at Preston? If so, where did he go? No one ever heard from him again. Even census records show no trace of him, although I could locate his parents numerous times, but no Billy.  

To learn why he was sent to Preston in the first place, check out his story here.



(© Copyright 2012-2015, J’aime Rubio, Originally published either on blog “Dreaming Casually” by J’aime Rubio, on my Facebook Page or in the book “Behind The Walls- A Historical Exposé of The Preston School of Industry” by author, J’aime Rubio.)

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission by the author/publisher, J’aime Rubio. 



More Violence At The Preston School of Industry


Preston has a bad reputation for brutality to the wards, but I can tell you, there was just as much brutality from the wards to each other and the staff. In this post you will read about different accounts at different time periods, but all relating to a violent incident. 

Whether it was a ward attacking a staff member, a ward attacking another ward, or worse, a staff member brutalizing the boys, there is plenty of evidence to show that this place certainly had its dangerous side.



ANOTHER WARD SHOT AT PRESTON

According the Ione Valley Echo, dated July 26, 1924, a ward from Company F, Ray Baker attacked and attempted to murder guard Thomas Dooley. While Baker was nearly choking Dooley to death, Dooley was still able to reach for his pistol and shot Baker, fatally wounding him. Although Baker was brought to the hospital for his injuries, he died within 10 minutes of arriving. Guard Dooley was later exonerated for any wrongdoing due to the circumstances of the incident.



BOY STABBED AT SCHOOL

On February 7, 1912, ward # 1295, Frank Pimental, who was 20 years old, stabbed 14 year-old ward # 1266, Robert Robertson. The San Francisco Call misspelled Robertson's name and called him "Robinson," however this is the same boy. According to the papers, there had been an ongoing grudge between the two and that is what authorities believed led up to the stabbing (also mentioned "slashing") of Robertson. The newspapers also put into question why an older ward was mixed among the younger, less violent wards at the school.




SHARP WORDS CAN CUT, BUT RAZORS CAN DO WORSE

On March 21, 1911 just shortly after 7 p.m., an argument of harsh words between wards John Greenan and Floyd DeHaye turned into a violent physical altercation. Once it seemed as though fists weren't enough, Greenan decided to pull out a razor and slashed DeHaye's throat. Guards at the school were able to subdue Greenan and Constable John Kelly held him in the County Jail on charges of "assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit murder." DeHaye was sent to Hospital quarters and received several stitches to his throat but survived the attack.




PISTOL PACKIN' LADY

Although this photo is of a model in the 1920's showing the style of "pistol packing" for women of that time period, it reminds me of a story I found recently in my further research of the Preston School of Industry about an escape that almost was. You see, on the evening of July 4th, 1923, six wards from Preston (PSI) assaulted a group supervisor, tied him up and threw him into a closet. They got as far as the Colonial Building when the head cook (a woman) who was standing in the living room looking out the window when she saw the boys run by. She quickly pulled her pistol out from under her clothing, which she had strapped above her knee, not unlike this photo, and she quickly went out after the boys and even fired in their direction scaring them. It notified the rest of the staff there that the boys were going that direction and their escape was stopped. This was a lesson learned by the Directors and Superintendent there that more staff was needed, being that they had just laid off their Asst. Superintendant, 6 group supervisors and ALL of their parole officers shortly before this escape attempt. After this incident, they knew that the budget cut had been a terrible mistake!

DARKER SECRETS REVEALED

In his 1929 autobiography "Stealing Through Life", Ernest Booth touches on various aspects of his life, including his stay at the Preston School of Industry which started at the age of 17 in 1915. Ernest goes on to speak of horrid conditions and sexual abuse that was forced on the wards by older wards, and even worse, accusations of pedophilia that took place as well. In his book his account reads: "With fifty other boys I was herded into an ill-lighted basement each evening. There we sat, on benches for three hours, often deprived of all reading material, because some petty annoyance had, in reprisal, had been put upon the officer in charge of us. In the dormitories paederasty was nightly practiced. The night watchman seemed indifferent. For weeks he would do no more than chase an amorous older boy from the bed of some youngster. Then, waxing virtuous, he would deliver a tirade against all boys who even thought about such practices. While the boys stood at their respective bedsides, naked, he would walk about and lecture us on the evil of our ways."-- {"Stealing Through Life," Ernest Booth (1929)}


(© Copyright 2012-2015, J’aime Rubio, Originally published either on blog “Dreaming Casually” by J’aime Rubio, on my Facebook Page or in the book “Behind The Walls- A Historical Exposé of The Preston School of Industry” by author, J’aime Rubio.)

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission by the author/publisher, J’aime Rubio. 




The Tyrannical Rule of Superintendent O'Brien

The Tyrant Emerges -May 20th, 1897 

Newspaper Clipping
Dr. Edward Stephen O’Brien's reign was the start of a terrible legacy that was rumored to have lasted throughout many decades even after he had been long gone. That legacy was cruelty. From the very beginning of his days at Preston, O’Brien ruled over the boys with an iron fist, literally. Rumors and gossip spread around town of his terrible temper and lack of self-restraint. By November of 1897, O’Brien had earned the title of “Tyrant.” Seven people which included employees and wards, filed petitions and affidavits with the Governor accusing O’Brien of “awful brutality” and “torturing the wards.”

H.R. Bernard, the Board Secretary for Preston stated this about O’Brien, “He who cannot govern himself, must not expect to govern others.” Bernard went on to accuse O’Brien for mismanaging the school and having an“uncontrollable temper.” He also claimed that O’Brien’s “egotism persuaded himself that he is indispensable and harbors under the hallucination that, as he expressed it, he is a ‘stone wall’ and ‘cannot be removed’.”

Bernard continued to state an account that would then be the start of many stories to come, which inevitably earned the school the title “Preston School of Scandal.”

ACCOUNT:

“ I was called upon one evening to report immediately to the Superintendent’s office, and rushed in to find Dr. O’Brien wildly excited and beating A. Ascensio over the head and face with a cane, which he soon broke. He continued his blows with the part left in his hand. Which was also broken a moment later from the force of the blows.
Then the Doctor grabbed a pole about four feet long and proceeded to belabor the yelling lad over the body. The force of the blows was terrific.

I have also witnessed a rough and tumble fight on the front portico of the administration building between O’Brien and a 16 year old lad from Ione……. Each pummeled the other for some time, until a blow from O’Brien cut the lad’s face. The boy was allowed to go, but later Mr. Phillips, an officer of the school and Deputy Sherriff was sent after the boy whom he brought back and was taken to the Superintendent…..O’Brien became brave and threatened the boy that if he ever dared to speak to him in Ione that he {O’Brien} , who had just handed the revolver to Phillips, would blow a hole in him that a team could run through”- H.R. Bernard's Affidavit.

Another account was recorded by Amador County Physician, E.E. Endicott on 11/14/1897 that reads:

This incident, among many others of a similar nature, came under my personal observation while in professional attendance at the said school, and serves to confirm in my mind, as I believe the of many citizens of Ione, the serious charges now appearing in the daily press…
A youth by the name of Nick Hamilton, in an endeavor to escape, had sustained a sprained knee. When called in to attend the injured lad I found him lying in the hospital suffering great pain. I examined the knee and found it badly swollen and inflamed. Dr. A.L. Adams of Ione had also examined him and confirmed diagnosis. Treatment was at once instituted with a view to relieving the suffering boy, when the Superintendent appeared and desired to examine the injury.

He rudely grasped the boy’s limb, and to our astonishment began vigorously flexing, extending and rotating the limb, heedless of the yells of pain emanating from the tortured boy, his only reply being “LIE STILL, I’M BOSS HERE!!”- E.E. Endicot, M.D.'s Affidavit.


Copyright: J. Rubio
One note I like to make right here is that this boy, Nick Hamilton died six months after this story was published in the paper. His cause of death according to the Biennial Report states he died from “pulmonary tuberculosis” and that he was kept “isolated” from all the boys. Yes, I guess anything is possible, but wouldn’t that be the perfect excuse to keep him isolated?  It also says they used “strict antiseptic precautions” to avoid contamination with the other wards. Perhaps he wasn’t sick at all, and this was a terrible punishment for his story leaking out to the press. By him being kept isolated there was no way for any of the other boys to know whether he was really sick or not. 

Remember, he had been there a while and had they known he had tuberculosis upon arriving there they would have kept him isolated all the time. Maybe the poor boy didn’t survive O’Brien’s torture, so they made an excuse that he died from tuberculosis. His body was never claimed, so he was laid to rest in the cemetery behind Preston.  Two more witnesses P.J. Glas and J.J. Harlon stated that O’Brien “flogged a boy until his flesh peeled from his back.” He also “lashed” another boy until he“exhausted him to the ground.”

Sadly, although so many came forward to testify against O’Brien for his misconduct and vicious cruelty to the boys, he was exonerated. According to the December 18th edition of the 1897 newspapers, the headline read “Dr.O’Brien Has Been Vindicated.” It was obvious there was some sort of payoff and cover-up on the part of O’Brien and his friends in high places. Even the Governor himself couldn’t seem to have anything done to O’Brien despite his very best efforts.

In regards to the entire investigation, The Board of Trustees for Preston ruled in favor of O’Brien, completely exonerating him of the charges of cruelty and unnecessary severity to inmates. The vote passed 2 to 1, being that Trustee Tyrrell voted negatively towards O’Brien. Unfortunately, O’Brien got off without so much as a slap on the wrist and even threatened to sue the State if they alleged any more wrongdoing. He was asked to resign on good terms to avoid any further scandal and he agreed as part of the stipulations of his investigation.

I am a firm believer that you reap what you sow in life and death. I also believe that when justice is not served, for whatever reason, that it will be left in God's hands to judge those who are guilty of horrible crimes upon meeting their "maker." With that being said, I have recently tracked down the grave of Preston's 2nd Superintendent, Dr. E.S. O'Brien. Although I feel that what he did there was completely horrible and wrong, again, he has paid for his sins in death and I respect the graves of all people, good or bad. At the same time we do not have to forget the horrible legacy he was made infamous for. At least we can do that much to remember the boys he affected during his reign at the Preston School of Industry. (Check out E. S. O'Brien's grave HERE).

For more information on Superintendent O'Brien and the rest of the Preston School of Industry's history, please keep reading my blog, and check out my book, "Behind The Walls" today! 

(© Copyright 2012-2015, J’aime Rubio, Originally published either on blog “Dreaming Casually” by J’aime Rubio, on my Facebook Page or in the book “Behind The Walls- A Historical Exposé of The Preston School of Industry” by author, J’aime Rubio.)


All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission by the author/publisher, J’aime Rubio. 

Unbelievable Stories (Various)

This post will reflect on some of the craziest sounding stories, but I can assure you, they did happen. Some are quite disturbing while others are just downright cruel. It just goes to show you that there was a lot of injustice going on then, just as there is today. It also shows you that both violent and non-violent boys were thrown together which often led to one thing, the callousing and desensitizing of the kinder and often times, weaker boys. The newspapers of the times used to remark that if you weren't a criminal going into Preston, you certainly would be upon your release. Such a sad thought, isn't it?



BOY SENT TO PRESTON FOR STEALING FLOWERS!

According to the Sacramento Daily Union (March 18, 1895), a boy by the name of William "Billy" Banning was sentenced to 8 years confinement at the Preston School of Industry for stealing Camellias out of a lady's yard! Yes, you read that right. Because he picked some flowers out of the garden of Miss Hurd of P Street (Sacramento) he was sentenced by Judge Davis to spend 8 years at Preston.---- Unbelievable, right? Believe it!!


HATCHET WIELDING WARD ATTACKS ATTENDANT

According to the San Francisco Call dated July 27, 1909, a Native-American ward, Albert Journey attacked one of the Preston School of Industry's Supervising Attendants, J. Strawn with a hatchet while working in the kitchen. Although Strawn was banged up, he was able to ward off the blows in order to avoid serious injuries. Journey was subdued by the other wards who witnessed the attack until help arrived.




WARD STEALS GUN FROM BAKERY!! ATTEMPTS TO SHOOT DRILLMASTER DURING ESCAPE


According to the Amador Ledger dated March 11, 1910, Captain William H. White, who was drillmaster and held the rank of Major, narrowly missed being fatally shot by ward Eugene Griffin, when he and his accomplice, fellow ward Albert Brown attempted their escape at Preston. Griffin had stolen a revolver from the bakery shop and after being chased by White, he fired behind him barely missing White. Brown and Griffin were later caught and the newspaper states that the school had no intentions on keeping them so it was more than likely they were sent to the State Prison for the remaining term of their sentences, and any other time added for their attempted escape.




FIGHT AT FOOTBALL GAME LEADS TO DEATH OF WARD

In December of 1924, after a fight between wards Edgar Hough and Leland Price started during a Saturday night football game at the Preston School of Industry, the boys were thrown in the basement as a punishment, where the fight again resumed. Somewhere in the tussle, Price was knocked down or slipped, and his head cracked the concrete floor, fracturing his skull. He slipped into a coma and died the next morning.

For more history on the Preston School of Industry, please keep reading my blog! 


(© Copyright 2012-2015, J’aime Rubio, Originally published either on blog “Dreaming Casually” by J’aime Rubio, on my Facebook Page or in the book “Behind The Walls- A Historical Exposé of The Preston School of Industry” by author, J’aime Rubio.)


All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission by the author/publisher, J’aime Rubio. 

The Mystery Surrounding Herman Huber's Death

Copyright: J. Rubio
Tucked away and forgotten in the old Masonic Cemetery adjacent to Sacramento's Historic City Cemetery, sits the small and humble grave of a young man known as Herman Huber. Not too many people know about Herman Huber or the story of his death, while at the Preston School of Industry. 

Contrary to many people's ideas, he was one of the few wards who was actually shot and killed on the property. You see, most people assume that Sam Goins was shot at Preston, but he wasn't. They also think a lot of people were killed at Preston, not counting deaths by natural causes. There really wasn't that many, only a handful that I have uncovered.  Unlike the stories of Anna Corbin or Samuel Goins, Herman Huber's death has been pretty much ignored over the years. To my own knowledge, I was the first person to even mention his story, since the days the story made newspaper headlines.


Herman Huber was received at Preston on December 6, 1910. There is no sort of notation as to what sort of crime or conviction he may or may not have had.
The enormous antique register book at the State Archives only reflects the word "delinquent" next to Herman's name on the list. Other wards entries usually depicted the crime and conviction for the reason they were sent to Preston. In Herman's case, it just says "delinquent." This has been a mystery I still have yet to uncover, as to why he was sent there at all. I could never find any archives stating that he had committed any crimes. It seems apparent that whoever sent him to Preston, wanted him to stay for four years being that his release date was written for August of 1914.

Herman's grandfather was of high society in Sacramento. William Ladd Willis worked for 13 years in the editorial department of the Record-Union and authored "The History of Sacramento."- There is no mention of him in any records besides the Census records where it shows him as being Willis' grandson and residing with his grandfather.   
SF Call 

On the night of October 17, 1911, around the time when staff was ringing the dinner bell, Herman Huber and another friend, John Kirrane made their escape under the cover of darkness. According to school officials, the night watchman French*, noticed they were gone and went after them.

J.D. French claimed that he shot his gun to warn the Superintendent that an incident was occurring and accidentally shot and killed Huber. Another ward, Ernest Reed, who was paroled that very week, claimed that he witnessed French shoot Huber deliberately. He also came before Governor Hiram Johnson and claimed this and told of the harsh treatment wards were subjected to on a daily basis.

"The boys who would incur displeasure of the officials at the school, are confined to insanity quarters, flayed on their bare back with a heavy strap and given a bread and water diet, with more water than bread."--


In my book, Behind The Walls, I offer a look at the possibility that Herman Huber's attempt to escape was actually a farce. As I have previously documented in both my Dreaming Casually blog and my book, there was a point system at Preston and if you received all your points, or credits you could parole early. One of the ways to earn all your points at one time and parole was to snitch on someone escaping.  Of course technically the reports state that this "system" was not used until the beginning of 1912, given the fact this was late in the year of 1911 and the fact I have found so many inconsistencies in the Biennial Reports, it wouldn't surprise me if this "system" wasn't already being used there.
Copyright: J. Rubio

Either way, the guard was exonerated on all charges and it was noted that he was just "performing his duty" on the job. We will truly never know what happened that night that Herman Huber was shot and killed on the grounds of the Preston School of Industry.  His family is not buried next to him, leaving Herman forever alone and forgotten.  

To read more about Herman Huber and the rest of the Preston School of Industry's history, please keep reading my blog and check out a copy of my book, "Behind The Walls" today! 

(*some papers noted his name as J.D. French or R.W. French)




(© Copyright 2012-2015, J’aime Rubio, Originally published either on blog “Dreaming Casually” by J’aime Rubio, on my Facebook Page or in the book “Behind The Walls- A Historical Exposé of The Preston School of Industry” by author, J’aime Rubio.)

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission by the author/publisher, J’aime Rubio. 


What Happened To Joseph Morgan?



One story that had basically been overlooked prior to my researching and documenting Preston's history, due to it being buried in the archives, is the death of Joseph Morgan. Morgan was a ward at Preston back in July of 1899. 

Sketch of Joseph Morgan (Newspaper Clipping)
One evening, Joseph Morgan and another friend Louis Siminoff escaped from Preston. Their plan had worked and they had made it as far as Sheldon, located near Elk Grove. When the staff realized that the pair was missing, Superintendent Hirshberg sent a group of men out to “fetch” the boys. H.H. Budd and Raphael Blair met up with James Carroll, James Kelly and a dog that tracked the escapees down to the farmlands. When the men approached the land where Morgan and Siminoff were hiding they all split up.

James Kelly and Raphael Blair found the boys behind a haystack. Siminoff freaked out and remained hidden while Morgan tried to run away. H.H. Budd hollered not to shoot the boy, which testimony from Siminoff confirms this. Yet, both Blair and Kelly shot with their Rifle and Pistols. One of the bullets from the gun James Kelly was using, hit Morgan through the chest and into his lungs.
He was fatally injured, bleeding to death while Kelly handcuffed him a second time. You see, when Morgan had escaped he was handcuffed. He managed to get one of his hands out of the cuffs but one was still attached to his wrist. As he lay there on the ground, coughing up blood until he died, they still had the audacity to cuff him again.
An inquest was held in Elk Grove, and witnesses were questioned. The newspapers headlines read “Unwarranted Killing Of The Reform School Lad-Bitterly Denounced.” District Attorney Baker filed murder charges against Kelly and also held Major Raphael Blair accountable as well. This would be the first time that someone would actually be held accountable for the wrongdoing they did to a ward from Preston.

To read more about the death of Joseph Morgan, and the rest of the Preston School of Industry's history, please check keep reading this blog and check out my book, "Behind The Walls" today!--

(© Copyright 2012-2015, J’aime Rubio, Originally published either on blog “Dreaming Casually” by J’aime Rubio, on my Facebook Page or in the book “Behind The Walls- A Historical Exposé of The Preston School of Industry” by author, J’aime Rubio.)

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission by the author/publisher, J’aime Rubio. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Famous and Infamous Wards

Merle Haggard
The Preston School of Industry has a long list of famous and infamous people who spent time on those grounds. Some of the wards are well known in the entertainment industry, while others through their criminal history. Here's a few of those famous and infamous guys!



THE OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE AT PRESTON

Did you know that famous Country Music star, Merle Haggard did time at Preston (PSI) for auto theft back in 1954? In fact, he escaped from the Preston School of Industry less than two months after arriving (January '54) when he and fellow ward, Raymond Branch took off from the dairy ranch on the Preston Farm grounds. The two were later apprehended in Yolo County.






Allen Smiley
WHAT DOES BUGSY SIEGEL AND THE PRESTON SCHOOL OF INDUSTRY HAVE IN COMMON? 

Allen Smiley, Bugsy Siegel's right-hand man and eye witness to Bugsy's infamous murder, was actually once a ward at the Preston School of Industry. In fact, he was sent there in September of 1926 on burglary charges. Bet you didn't know that!







Rory Calhoun
FROM PRESTON TO HOLLYWOOD!

Birth Name: Francis Timothy McCown
Born: August 8, 1922
Died: April 28, 1999

Would you believe that long before Mr. Calhoun got his break from none other than fellow actor Alan Ladd, Rory Calhoun had been a ward and escapee of the notorious Preston School of Industry in Ione, California?


That's right! He had been arrested for stealing a revolver and sent up to the Youth Authority program. Not long afterwards, he escaped and robbed several jewelry stores also stealing a car...once he crossed state lines his case turned Federal. He spent 3 years in a Missouri prison and later was transferred to San Quentin until his 21st birthday.





Gerald Gallego
GERALD ARMOND GALLEGO & HIS TIES TO PRESTON

Long before convicted serial killer Gerald Armond Gallego ended up in the State Prison system, he was once a ward at the Preston School of Industry. By the time he was sent to Preston, he already had a criminal file inches thick. Born the son of a cop killer, Gerald Armond Gallego, Sr., who happened to be the first man to die in the gas chamber in Mississippi, it seems that the apple didn't fall too far from the tree.


In fact, by the age of 6 he had already been arrested on several sex offenses as well as burglary charges. By the age of 12, he was put on probation for burglary charges and later lewd and lascivious acts with a young girl that sent him to a reform school. It wasn't until 1962, when 15 year old Gallego was arrested for armed robbery with his brother that he was finally sent up to the Preston School of Industry where he remained for about one year.




Caryl Chessman
THE RED LIGHT BANDIT HAD HIS BEGINNINGS AT PRESTON

I had the wonderful privilege of speaking to a gentleman named Ed Bearden awhile back. He had come by the shop Daydreams and Nightmares for my book signing. Sadly, the Modesto Bee had erroneously quoted the date of the book signing and he was disappointed when he came by and I wasn't there, but he was excited to get my book. 

Dana at Daydreams & Nightmares was kind enough to get his phone number and I called him the next day. He used to work at Preston many years ago and he spoke of stories he heard back then when he worked there. One of the stories I hadn't even heard of, so I am going to share it with you (credit belonging to Ed, the gentleman who told me). Long ago, before he was known as the Infamous "Red Light Bandit" & Death Row Inmate, Caryl Chessman was sent to Preston as a youth (which he stayed two different times). He was reportedly so bad that they would lock him up in the tower. That is where he carved his name up there, doing solitary confinement. Now of course, I am really interested in learning more about this story so I will be doing my "digging" through the archives to see what I can find about Caryl and his stay at Preston. Sounds like another great story to me. I had never heard of boys being sent up to the tower prior to this, so this is certainly worth looking into for sure. 


(© Copyright 2012-2015, J’aime Rubio, Originally published either on blog “Dreaming Casually” by J’aime Rubio, on my Facebook Page or in the book “Behind The Walls- A Historical Exposé of The PrestonSchool of Industry” by author, J’aime Rubio.)

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission by the author/publisher, J’aime Rubio.