Prohibition on the River

with Gregory A. Fournier, author of The Elusive Purple Gang

February 11th, 2021

Host: Ben Fogt

with Gregory A. Fournier, author of The Elusive Purple Gang

Prohibition On The River And The Purple Gang

2021, Ben Fogt

What's the Deal, Grosse Ile?



[0:00] This is episode 17 of what's the deal Grosse Ile the podcast exploring the people places history and events that may grow silly unique I'm your host Ben folk before I introduce today's topic let me warn you that this.

[0:14] Music.

[0:27] Reference connecting Grosse Ile to rum-running the smuggling of liquor from Canada into the US during.

[0:34] Detroit's most notorious mob the Purple Gang smuggled in hijacked Canadian liquor in and around Detroit.

[0:41] And some of that they sold to Al Capone Capone's gang in Chicago in the Purple Gang become tappable at Valentine's Day.

Because they make up the survivors of the most notorious gang event of the 1920s the st. Valentine's Day Massacre.

[0:58] I wanted to see if Grosse Ile had any direct connections to the Purple Gang my guests today published his book about the richest last year

and was happy to talk with me about the Detroit mom's rum-running and how Grosse Ile was

well today I'm very pleased to speak with Gregory a fornier

he's written a few books one in particular looks at the parts of Detroit seed your past we're going to sift through Detroit's gangster history and prohibitions connections to Grosse Ile thank you for talking with me today Gregory.

[1:28] You're welcome I appreciate the opportunity yeah well I reached out to you after seeing that you'd given a virtual book talk with the Royal Oak ply Barry.

And that book is about the Purple Gang so let's start with that how did you get interested in writing about the Purple Gang the kosher Nostra as you call them.

Wow I heard stories growing up from you know grandparents that people of that age and so the name was just a name to me but curious enough

we had a movie house in the Detroit area Bill Kennedy and Bill Kennedy showed the 1959 movie

the Purple Gang.

And it had Bobby Blake Robert Blake in it relatively young young man and when I saw the movie the first time you know I enjoyed the heck out of it but I didn't really know anything about the Purple Gang

and you know it was not a very good movie but I held my interest well you know.

[2:30] Go 50 60 years later.

[2:34] I had read a few books on the Purple Gang and really just had a hunger to find out more about them and I found out that a lot of the information that's out there.

[2:48] Is anecdotal and and folklore and everybody of an age seems to have a story about The Purple Gang and the Detroit area and can they all be true well

maybe maybe not these guys operated clandestinely it's hard to know who was with the the rackets and which

racket they were associated with I read several books and it just seemed to me the story was

so layered and complex

I'm the one here but boiling it down to the bare facts you see that there's just a skeleton of a story because so many documents have been destroyed

for whatever reasons families were embarrassed of of their sons and grandsons being in the rackets and so a lot of family

memorabilia pictures and so on where you know just all scooped up and held close within the families so I figured well

I'll see what I can find out

and there's a gentleman in the Detroit area who has written several books on the Purple Gang and they're very good books from the standpoint of facts and names and.

[4:06] But I found them just they didn't flow they just didn't seem to have a synergy.

Because what I wanted was was the story should not all the other maybe this maybe that and.

[4:20] And you know the beginning middle and end which was really only about a 10 year period for the Purple Gang 7 to 10 years depending on how you count it and then they were gone they disappeared

from the Detroit underworld there were still a few independent operators not going around but the mafia basically hit them and what's called the new partnership.

[4:46] Took over to get with the title a little bit the new partnership

was an effort after a gang where to consolidate the underworld in Detroit and the mafia factions in particular

and while that was going on there was a gang war in New York also

and the winners of that came up with one of the things was murder Incorporated it was an assassination Bureau but the name that you know to get away from the mafia name the name they

came up with was La Cosa Nostra so my book The elusive Purple Gang Detroit's kosher

Nostra is simply a play on words and if you try to think about it too hard

it'll give you a headache you know so it was a word by the way kosher Nostra a phrase that I did not invent I found it in a newspaper article.

[5:51] Going all the way back to the 1930s a reporter had used it and whether he coined it or not I don't know.

[6:00] It's a very Snappy phrase and it was appropriate for my book to stand out from other books on the topic I put that in as a subtitle

the piece it all together it's because the the Purple Gang was was where they mostly Jewish folks or where they all.

[6:17] Uh mostly but they have the Italians that worked with them they had polish they had Irish it was a very dare I say Democratic kind of work Arrangement that they had and

early on there was so much money to be made and everybody was making it and they're really there wasn't a problem but as time went on and the prophets got larger

the stakes got higher because of law enforcement and so on the cross that doing business often involved taking human life.

[6:50] There was a real bloodbath from the 1925 in particular

through 19 31 and 33 prohibition ended so that took a lot of the motivation out of the smuggling business and little by little

things return to normal and so the reason that I wanted to talk with you it actually ties into that so the purple gangs main business was was rum-running right

that's where they made their greatest prophets with the Purple Gang in particular they were more into the hijacking and of the business and they did eventually get a group of people called the little Jewish Navy

and they suited up with a bunch of speedboats and then they were importing a lot of the

the liquor themselves they had the river divided up to stay out of one another's weigh in on when I talk about one another.

[7:49] Hello backstory the East Side Mafia basically control things from Belle Isle of into Lake Sinclair and beyond that was the easy side Mafia the West Side Mafia.

[8:02] Pretty much controlled the the river traffic from the Rouge River.

[8:09] I think what's the name of that River the Rouge River sure and going all the way down

Grosse Ile but probably Monroe as well okay that was a far field and so that was the West Side Mafia those two groups are going to have a gang war in a few years sure

that is going to make this partnership Detroit partnership a new reality and in between

from you know the river erosion going up to the Lyle was Purple Gang territory and they.

[8:43] Within reason respected each other's boundaries for quite a while okay

when I think of that of course being new to the Detroit area really I think of those as a north-south thing and I can see if you live in Detroit it's really an East-West thing so

yeah and you know confusing to be when I first heard about it because the

the West Side gang that includes Hamtramck which I don't think of being tied up connected to down river at all yeah it sure was it was connected because the King Khan in Hamtramck was Chester Lamar I.

[9:16] And Lamar he had interests in Wyandotte that involves some speakeasies you know the typical stuff that

a drugged on you know would have as a business but

part of his Downriver operation was organizing the family Stills you know the backyard

basement garage Stills that produced in a pure alcohol

and he had a people he go around and collect it pay people cash for it remember that much of this period is the Great Depression

and there weren't that many jobs jobs like like with covid just evaporated and

people could make money if they were in cahoots so the law was unpopular and I read one writer said that Stills in Downriver

worst popular as televisions are today and I think that's hyperbole I think I probably.

[10:20] You get the point there were lots of those Stills and that and that's a whole other part of the story The Cutting of the liquor and

how to age it and you know all of that sorry

and so if I understand right you wrote about they would import liquor from from Canada and then and then dilute the homemade stuff

yeah to blend in and add was it cold call Terror was one of the coloring and

aging elements coal tar and there were other things I am sure that

and then filled up very Philip used bottles and and sell those with forged documents right well they aren't Purple Gang controlled the

label liquor label printing.

[11:11] Racket as well for all the gangs and they made lots of money on prohibition that wasn't just on the liquor.

And then they'd make government stamps replicas of the Canadian government stamp tissue oh yeah this is this is bonded Royal Crown Crown Royal liquor or any of the other

sure good Canadian Brands and so they you know one way or another take the old label off they put the new label on and it looked like the real thing

in in Grosse Ile ties into this just a little bit because it's in the river and so

I think we've got sort of a history of being either a landing point maybe or a hiding space

yeah both both and to focus this and Grosse Grosse Ile for a minute because it wind up was the epicenter in Downriver but I took a couple of notes and.

[12:07] When after the

Volstead Act took over because Michigan had prohibition three years before Ohio they had Ohio the Detroit Ohio funnel.

And people would just go take their cars go down to you know 30 miles down to Toledo fill up

and come back and the roads were the Dixie Highway I think was M50 and Telegraph the north-south m-52 I believe

and so all the liquor was just coming right up through Monroe and then in

Wyandotte where a lot of times it was stored in houses basements and burns until the roads were clear and then they'd load the trucks up again and you know take a minute.


Grosse Ile as you all know lies to the east of the Mainland a little bit and so you were out of the mainstream as far as the car traffic

and as far as the railroad traffic because there were whole train cars that would be filled with cases of booze

this is before the Volstead Act and 93rd 1920 all right so come on across from there come on Bryan High all okay yeah

by car and by train there are five different railroads that have their sightings and you know all the railroad tracks that are job.

[13:31] Hard escaping here loosen your teeth when you drive over them it's been that way you know since ice was first driving over them in the 50s

a lot of the cars sidecars that you know they just let the freight cars kind of sit there and then these guys would know which one they needed to get into.

Hayden middle of the night they'd open it up unload it lock it back up and send it on its way

and then the cars would distribute the liquor throughout town and throughout all of Downriver and a lot of the liquor you know went right up to Detroit as well because they had many more people and an insatiable

thirst for it in fact I learned a new phrase just trying to Bone up on the topic a little bit yesterday

a lot of the bars and speakeasies and blind pigs were called thirst parlors.

[14:26] Wow what an old-fashioned term that is thirst parlors and that's just what they were and The Thirst was insatiable for the liquor.

Getting you know back to Grosse Ile a couple of the interesting things grow seal was.

And there I think five islands and Grosse Ile now but today every island has a different name sure

it's right next to Sugar Island and some other Island Rhode Island and yeah well

why Blanc Island the white was which detroiters not as Bob Lowe Highland right and then the Canadian Mainland with Amherstburg sure.

[15:10] For a couple of hundred years at least.

That was a smuggling route during the Underground Railroad that was one of the most popular.

Routes for people to go over to Canada and that's why Amis Berg has such a rich history

of Underground Railroad homes and there's animals they even have a museum to it yes I've been there and I'll tell you what a nice town

what a nice Town younger Amherstburg is someday we'll get to go back.

Yeah wow I hope so I have publishing friends in Windsor and they've been very helpful to me and I found that it seems like the Canadians

did a much better job documenting their prohibition period

then in America and a lot of my resources for this book are written by Canadian authors sure in fact they even have a drama that happens on a bus that you

take around from from site to site and they reenact things there some songs that are sung and somehow some gum plates that happen.

The border cities tour.

[16:26] I think is what it's called this one is the Run Runners to rumrunners tour well yeah it's kind of the same thing and their tours of the border cities absolutely and Hammer spur I don't know if there was much south of them Amherstburg

as far as the docks where all these boats would pull out and get loaded with liquor but there were

lots and lots of them all up and down from Walkerville where Hiram Walker Brewery distilleries and breweries.

Up there and you know the other part of Ontario I think was service pretty much by Toronto Buffalo and so on like that they got their liquor from Toronto.

[17:09] Where if you look at the map can you.

Look across you know you don't even need binoculars you can look across the Detroit River and you can see the distilleries and breweries and if in the winter it ices over you could walk.

[17:24] Most people didn't you could take cars old jalopies they cut the roofs take the doors off to reduce weight but only because of all the weight that

they're putting with cases of generally it was liquor but beer as well kegs of beer but liquor had lot more profit margin to it and sometimes.

These cars would break through the ice and so if they tore the doors off the cars

they gave him a better chance to jump out and not go down with the ship

and I think a picture of that Saint cover your book yeah and that picture was taken in Lake st. Clair okay I've seen where people said it was.

[18:06] Elsewhere but it's documented to be up in Lake st. Clair

if I could while I'm thinking about it during the winter was made it easy for people to get across

I've read where they said well the river used to totally freeze over but then I've seen other accounts and pictures where it was not totally frozen over and there were a number of strategies to get across

and I'm not going to go into those right now because I want to talk about north and south of the Detroit River Lake st. Clair you get up around there you know the Great Lakes current is you know

pretty slow

so you go to the great lakes and they freeze over and that's where a lot of the winter bootlegging traffic took place and that's true on the other end of the Detroit river which show it would be Lake Erie

which was almost like the Dead Sea it just sitting there and that would and it wasn't that deep either that would freeze over.

[19:04] Again that's what made smuggling on grassy Island

Sugar Island and the Grosse Ile Islands that's what made them so attractive to the Bootleggers they had lots of places to hide the alcohol their boats and they

you know had a lot of times inside information about when trip patrols would come by or they pay the boat crew

not to be somewhere at a particular time so that the the Moose could go across now the police

weren't particularly authorities weren't happy with the new law either

as prohibition went on they were sitting ducks I mean they've got Uniforms on easy to spot and so on and they didn't get paid that much so for a lot of them it was beyond the take and have some money to bring home and for whatever

or refuse and be killed

and you know that's not much of a Hoffs Hobson's choice and most reasonable yeah most people tended to.

[20:15] Want to do whatever was the least what they perceived to be the least risky for them and a lot of people were caught in the crossfire and killed and so it got to a point where the public was scared to death and especially

around Grosse Ile area because this is later on in the story but it doesn't

matter in 1930-31 the government finally

came up with a lot of money to buy a new Fleet of Coast Guard ships and they had boats smaller boats that I forget what the

column but they had 15 boats and 12 of them.

[20:56] Were these fast speed Patrol boats okay and three of them were Coast Guard cutters

and the Cutters operated in Lake Erie but no matter what the government got the gangsters could afford and they bought better

in Faster boats but it got to a point of frustration for the Coast Guard in there was so much pressure on him because the Congress gave him a 13 million dollars whatever it was and they wanted results so

the Coast Guard became very aggressive and they started harassing pleasure boat owners.

[21:36] In fisherman and I grew up on that River

I've fished of light up and down that River and in particular around Grosse Ile and write a great while I fish in there it's got a Sandy Bottom anyway

another story and the Coast Guard

had machine guns mounted on the front of the boat and they started shooting at people all up and down the river a few people were killed they stopped a boat and then they board the boat and search it and threaten people and harass you know people who are out just you know for a

the pleasure Boat Trip after a couple of two three local people were killed on the shore from collateral damage

the Grosse Ile Yacht Club and other citizen organizations really started

complaining about the Coast Guard and how they're bunch of cowboys and they're shooting up the area and nobody's safe and

and they're rude to boaters and they've made the Detroit River up of you know a killing ground and not the.

[22:46] The Great Water Resource.

Detroiters and Michigan people were accustomed to that was one of the effects that we can you know connect to Grosse Ile and apparently.

A lot of

what well-heeled people on the island I guess and you know how it goes with a government and influence the more status you have the more money you have the more influence you have

the more satisfaction

you're going to get and the average person can complain and nothing happen so the Grosse Ile Yacht Club

really did a lot

to draw in some of these these Coast Guard people and a lot of the people on those those boats were newly trained

as well and younger and I'm going to use the word hot dogs you know they wanted to impress their their boss so

there were lots of bad things done on on both sides and I guess that's that's what happens when you deal with human nature sure.

[23:59] So speaking of bad things we talked about the Purple Gang and we talked about gross eels

ties to to Prohibition and and sort of white got the the Purple Gang going this leads us to why we're talking about this right before Valentine's Day so of course the purple gangs probably most notorious for their involvement with the st. Valentine's Day Massacre

in Chicago yes.

[24:24] When I got three large biographies of Al Capone because I really want to get down to the.

The bottom of it and you say.

[24:35] Wow wasn't there a lot of repetition and there was some repetition but each one of these books also had things that other books didn't have and.

So I tried to piece together the story about who was involved sure can.

[24:54] Then I gave my version in my book which I guess is as valid as any other author because they're all different but we do know.

Who's some of the people were through evidence

and not just anecdotal stories so if I could maybe take a couple of minutes but there's a big gang war going on in Chicago between Al Capone and George Bugsy Moran.

[25:22] The north side gang and Capone and his Southsiders.

[25:27] The northsiders were bumping off some of Capone's men and some of the bar keeps that sold Capone liquor and so on.

He'd had enough of it and he decided that

we need to and there's more to the story but I'm trying to simplify it that he needed to draw the whole gang together.

[25:51] As many of them as they could.

And then go in and Massacre them and that occurred on February 14 1929 I think yeah.

So The Story Goes Like This Capone who had a good affiliate relationship with the Purple Gang.

Either contacted a Bernstein how that happened who knows but Bernstein and Capone came up with this idea

that they were going to bait Moran with a truckload of Capone's favorite whiskey Old Log Cabin from a Quebec.

[26:29] Distillery and Uncut.

Hundred proof uncut now there were four or five other varieties of phony Old Log Cabin sold in America.

And they were the generate eat 86 proof you don't standard proof but they weren't Define 100 Proof fine liquor.

Bourbon it was and so a Bernstein contacts Moran and says hey our guys.

Hijack a load of Capone hola cabinets favorite bourbon and it's really hot and we got to move it would you be interested in picking it up for.

I don't know Seventeen gallon of dollars a case or some incredibly cheap value to sweeten the deal and Moran

needed the booze for his own organization and his speakeasies but he also wanted to stick it to Al Capone so bye

hijacking a truckload of his stuff would get the desired effect so they set the thing up

for Valentine's Day and our guys will drive the truck and have your guys there so we can unload it real quick as many guys as you can because we want to get into town and get out

there's okay so that Drew more of the members together to help unload this truck.

[27:51] Seven of them and one of them Moran was didn't happen to be there for the killing and I'll get to that in a minute so

number one a Bernstein help set it up and that's fairly well documented he sends three of his guys.

Torpedoes to Chicago and their Lookouts and they go across the street from the SMC Cartage company on North Clark Street.

And there were a couple of boarding houses across there so Phil kewell is brother Harry and a third man Eddie Fletcher all Purple Gang people

are the Lookouts and they take turns and the boarding houses that there are.

You know separated by a building so they're they're seeing the street from you know at an angle so you can look at the intersection on each side you know so they have a good vantage point and these guys came in they said they were truck taxi drivers and they worked at night and they weren't around much and

and they paid in Van in advance so the landlady's took the money.

[29:00] Later on it was those two landlady's who looked at mug shots.

And pick these three guys out there were two different land ladies and they did this separately.

So you know there was corroboration so we know that Phil Key Well Harry kewell Eddie Fletcher and a Bernstein were all involved.

[29:21] For sure there was another affiliate member part-time member who was the key person in all of this and that was Fred killer Burke

and Fred was a machine gunner in World War 1 he was a big guy.

And to hold a machine gun with a full canister of bullets

was very very heavy and it was hard to handle because once you pull the trigger it just you know spit those bullets out and

it had a tendency for the barrel to shoot upwards so you had to be skilled and he had to be big to be able to

wrestle with that gun Burke was that way he was a machine gunner on a tank Convoy in World War 1 saw a lot of action

saw a lot of death

and kills a lot of people and he was pretty much indifferent to it he was probably the most dangerous man in all of the prohibition period but I'll finish this story first so

he was one of the machine Gunners a friend of his from St Louis the Name Escapes me at the moment.

Was the other machine gunner that were Burks Guns by the way.

[30:40] And then there were two other people that could have been Tweedledee and Tweedledum everybody has different ideas of who these people

were and and ex-cons and cons in prison.

Who's like to talk so they can go out drink a coffee eat a donut smoke a cigarette and talk to a report or something and so everybody had a story not reliable.

[31:01] So the other two guys had long overcoats on one had a machine gun I'm sorry a sawed-off shotgun under his Overcoat the other guy.

Had a an automatic pistol that was rigged up with the clip and so on and then the two cops

each had this machine guns they line the guys up and you know that part of the story it caught them down pretty bad in the meantime.

Kewell the Kiwa brothers and Fletcher there in their car they're heading back to Detroit and they thought that Bugsy Moran was in there too as one of the

people that got killed somebody showed up late was the same size as Moran it was very cold in the morning had his coat up Overcoat with the collar up and a fedora pulled over his head librarian cago

it's called yeah

Wendy very blustery this guy comes a couple of minutes after everybody else well that's when they called in the hit squad that was waiting all of these guys are waiting in a Cadillac and

and drove up the cops went in.

[32:10] Told everybody up against the wall then the other two guys came in and the overcoats and then they opened up and killed the seven men.

[32:20] Somebody who happened to be out on the street at that time saw the two cops come out with the machine guns looking like they had arrested two people.

The guys in the overcoats their accomplices had two guns on false flag situation get them into the car they jump in the car bang they take off.

[32:41] Well who knows 10 minutes 15 minutes later the real police show up and there

looking for Witnesses and and people are telling them oh yeah a couple of you guys they rested young people just do not it's what.

Nothing like that happened.

[33:00] One of the women though said she says one of the cops he's a big guy real big guy and he was missing a front tooth hmm.

And the police you know who the detectives who knew about such things that that's Fred killer Burke.

[33:17] No proof but I mean it's good yes huh.

Yeah and but it took a couple of years a couple more years before the police were able to subdue Burk and prove

scientifically that he was one of the gunmen.

[33:34] Yeah and you were about that extensively in there yeah it's against things and if I could talk just about Burke from in it.

[33:43] Why he's the most dangerous man during prohibition period and people would argue that Al Capone was but I mean

my opinion is that three of the major murders Massacre type during the prohibition were the MLF Lori's apartment massacre in Detroit.

Were three guys were cut down with someone with the machine gun

The Saint Valentine's Day murder seven people cut down with the machine gun and a third murder in New York Frankie Yale.

Was bootlegging Kingpin in the New York mob and why he was being hit.

Have that information the top of my head but somebody decided that he needed to be hit and Burke was chosen for the job

and it's been scientifically proven and he wasn't man or a gunman in two of the shootings and the gunman.

[34:47] Gun Man and the third shooting how did they do that well people in Chicago were tired of the Bloodshed was bad for business

some companies real big company that I the name is escaping me put lots and lots of funding into a crime lab at the I believe Northwestern University her you know University of Chicago

the nation's first scientific modern crime lab.

They hired a guy who was a Munitions expert in World War one and worked in New York

and ballistics research and he discovered that every gun leaves a fingerprint I don't know what else The Telltale.

Marks on it that are different than any other gun even in the same gun

model with bullets from the same box of cartridges when you shoot them there are different marks.

[35:42] That are made lots of research and study on that and so when Burke ran away he was trying to escape from the police for two or three years he made a narrow Escape

was not able to get his machine guns so when the police got to the place they had two guns they sent the guns to Chicago.

And they were able to tell that yes the two got the two machine guns that they had were from the st. Valentine's Day Massacre so they they had killer Burke cold on that one.

[36:17] Because the Detroit police want to find out about mellow Flores and there was a machine gun used there.

They sent some of their bullets to Chicago or I or maybe Chicago came to Detroit I forget how that that happened

once again they found out that one of those machine guns was the machine gun used in the Miller floor he's massacre in Detroit

and not to be outdone the crime people in New York had this unsolved Frankie Yale machine gun murder.

So they packed a bullet up in Cotton wrapped it up sending it in a box and that proved also to have the the signature

of killer Burke's machine guns so those are three of the most notorious murders during the prohibition period and there were all committed by the same man

yeah and that technology is the source of so many TV shows since then.

[37:14] Oh yeah CSI and in Sierra yeah all those all and you know they make it look good on television but I'll tell you

you know Murder is never nice and neat especially gang type murders and

on TV they tie it all up and they got 47 minutes to fill in a 60-minute hour yeah and they do quite well at it

but that's not how it works in real life usually and even though DNA has helped immeasurably

DNA also has its limits sure if you're not in the system doesn't help sure.

[37:56] So they found all this evidence how did they finally catch up to Burke he was caught in Missouri where he had lived his true.

And for police there's a whole story to that but he gets caught down in Missouri and taken back up to Michigan for st. Joseph Michigan for a trial for killing a cop

and to cut to the chase when he goes for arraignment he admits that he's guilty

and it freaked everybody out because they know it's going to be a big case we're going to have to have extra security the jail and Barren County is not just a brick building and they're afraid that gangsters are going to break him out and when Burke knew where he stood with organized crime because he

double-crossed a number P of people he knew he was safer in prison and he was on the street they sent him to Marquette prison

and he was in there for a good number of years don't know eight or nine years he worked in the woodworking shop he was like a foreman

and one morning you show up for work and he had died of a heart attack in bed well that's the end of killer with no drama to that.

[39:12] Well I'm sure there was drama for him because there were Purple Gang people and Marquette as well I'm sure the gang and Burke had a falling out

there was an opportunity to send him to Jackson he said no I don't want to go there because I wouldn't last a week place is full of Purple Gang.

Sure but there were Purple Gang numbers up in Marquette as well

so those are all the questions that caused me to notice your talk when it popped up on on Facebook a couple weeks ago I've watched that talk and I'll link to it in the episode notes

I'm actually halfway through your book The elusive Purple Gang and I'll have links to that in the episode notes to and you they can take a look at all those so one of the parts that sticks out to me probably because I just read about it last night

is the part about Louis Bartlett I believe and the attempted assassination of Henry Garvin and inspector for the police force.

I found that really interesting could you read a little bit from from your book about that.

[40:10] Yeah and that part was interesting to me because it within the newspaper articles from the Detroit times this was a running story so I was able to follow it like that.

Human interest story sure because the anti prohibition

people and the the general public were tired of all the Carnage and solo is this case.

Was an example of the collateral damage.

[40:43] Done to her so golden haired 11 year old Louis Bartlett walking on her own to Keating school was hit by stray shotgun pellets meant for inspector Garvin

to Neighborhood women mrs. JS tolton and mrs. Clara layered were the first to reach the Bartlett child lying bleeding on the snow-covered sidewalks.

It's lard the young girl to her home.

Louis could tell police investigators when they showed up was that she had heard shots and felt a couple of burning pains then oops

Louis was rushed by ambulance to the same Hospital inspector Garvin was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital

emergency room doctors found shotgun pellets in Laurie's body one in her upper body too in the arm and one in the back of her head lodged near her spinal cord which was life threatening.

Crime scene investigators found 29 bullet and shotgun pellets embedded in the porch and exterior of the house where Garvin and Bartlett were shot

meanwhile a shotgun pellet that endangered Lois's Bartlett's life was removed from the base of her skull a spokesman for Receiving Hospital told reporters that the eleven-year-old was recovering nicely

her mother added so the Press I spent night and day at my daughter's bedside she is all my husband and I have.

[42:12] Eleven days after the shooting.

Detroit superintendent of schools Frank Cody visited Louis in the hospital awarding her a promotion certificate from sixth grade level be

to 6th grade level a the conscientious student was worried about missing school work since she had been in the hospital

the visit was intended to relieve Lois is concern and rest your mind about promotion she thanked superintendent Cody for the certificate.

I'm glad I passed she said and one last bet inspector Garvin left the hospital to recover.

And the comfort of his home lowest Bartlett was still confined to a hospital bed on Friday January 24th 1930

more than three weeks after her shooting Louis Bartlett was able to sit up and receive some school friends at her bedside for the first time.

Lowest spoke of her desire to see her Persian kitten snowball.

Gathered around her in the hospital room where a brightly colored french-style a plush dog and a bowl of goldfish the inspector had given her.

Lois said she spoke with inspector Garvin over the telephone and told him she was happy he had recovered enough to go home and Express gratitude for the many flowers he had sent her.

[43:28] And then you note later on that but when she's older that she mentions to the Free Press that that was all well and good but it didn't help down the road.

[43:39] I can read that too if you want in 1958 it was July 29 1958 feature story whatever happened to the little girl cut down by gangs guns

provocative title huh yeah Louis Bartlett

Alfred now she's married was interviewed by journalist Riley Marie 39 year old Louis lived with her husband and son in Dearborn Township

she told Marie that the city of Detroit paid for a five-week stay at Receiving Hospital and the police passed the Hat giving her a gift of 256 dollars.

Quote that's despite the fact that my Surgical and Medical Bill since I was discharged from the hospital have cost us nearly three thousand dollars shotgun pellets affected my eyesight hearing

my arm making it hard for me to pick up anything heavy

nine months ago I underwent abdominal surgery to remove more pellets and she live until December 28th

2001 she lived with pain all those years

but so she became a media story that oppose prohibition and a lot of times there were oblique references in the newspaper to her yeah yeah

yeah Jen one route there too much and danger her further sure whenever anything came up about collateral damage from a gunfight Lois's name came to mind yeah.

[45:06] Well thank you for sharing from the book you have you have by my count three other books that you've published yeah real quickly Zug Island a Detroit Riot novel

and that talks about me thrown out of Eastern Michigan University for drinking and having to get a job in January hmm somewhere well.

The auto factories and the suppliers are all shut down for change over at that time of the year.

[45:35] So where do you go to get a job while the Michigan Employment Commission on Biddle Avenue that's where so I went there I was 18 years old

and place is packed with people and how great for me I won't get it

a job you know about I was wrong and I found out that the steel mill is always hiring suckers and I needed the money and more than anything else I needed to get out of the house because my mom

was not amused I'm not gonna have any lounge lizard living in my house

and so it's a work there and it happened to be 1967 and by July you know the Detroit Riots broke out and I was working downtown and got to see a lot

now the tanks the half-tracks I had machine guns pointed at me driving to work.

[46:29] Having my car turned upside down to make sure that I didn't have as a or Molotov cocktail I had a Volkswagen it trunk in the front and I had two six-packs

of soda bottles that

you know I want to get my two cents apiece or whatever they were five cents in those days yeah man I they gave me a whole lot of trouble because they were sure that you know I was going to

thumb up with gasoline and make molotov cocktails out of them

it's also the experience left a definite impression and yes I wrote about it and because I want to change some of the things about my my family.

[47:08] Just you know you have to sometimes simplify a story to tell the story without bogging it down

and so I made some changes here and there but everything in there about the riots and about Detroit Suburban racism which was very very pervasive and vocal

all of that was fodder for that book and it's done very well I've got a couple of people taking a look at it that might be interested in making a movie or a TV show out of it

and then the second book I wrote

my goal was to write one book one and done but I found out that I really enjoyed it and people seem to enjoy the book and I got some pray you know you get a little encouragement and yeah.

[47:56] You know that's it's then you end up with a podcast yeah right yeah.

Terror in Ypsilanti is about serial killer John Norman Collins and that case was so obscured by a book written five years after the event

we're talking 67 through 69

that it didn't have any real hindsight and it just basically told the police and the prosecutors version of the story and left much to be desired and change the names of the victims and

gave cover to the murderer by changing his name from John Collins to John Armstrong hmm.

So it confused people who even grew up there and who knew the story well what I felt there was a void there I wanted to know the truth I had read the other books

I'm not going to mention it I read the other book three competitor three times over about a 25 30 year period each time I was less happy with it.

And I said well

I'm looking for another new topic and I found one and that took me five years to write and just to cut to the chase on that one a Canadian and I love the Canadians like a Canadian background myself yeah

Canadian Media Company picked it up asked if they could buy an o two years of an option are I said sure.

[49:17] He see money then they just now January here I paid me another thousand for another year of option because they have their building a proposal for an 8 part mini series wow.

Pilot is being written

for the miniseries and the pilot is basically a what they call a proof-of-concept they maybe do 15 minutes of some very compelling aspect of the story and then they build the whole

promotional package around it and that's where I'm at right now and then and I'm going to be a script advisor on it

so that's a that's cool yeah never done that before that's the second book third book

but was a legacy project for the Ypsilanti Historical Society they helped me so much in the terror in Ypsilanti book.

[50:11] That one of the do sensor was wheelchair-bound told me a story one day that he and his other docent buddy

had two boxes full of documents about the Richard Striker Junior murder

in 1935 they had taken two or three years to put it all together and George did not have the.

I don't think he had the strength at that point to even attempt to write a book about it

so we asked me if I would do it and I was busy with you know Taryn Ypsilanti I said I can't do it right now but you know maybe in the future.

[50:50] When you're sick is George was the future it was you know a few months later and he died.

[50:56] And so a couple months after that I get a call from ifsta Lani and they asked if I would be interested they told me Georgia died and he asked somebody to get in touch with me about it again

the other dosent called me and he said would you.

Are you busy would you be interested and I said well you know next project is I want to write about is the Purple Gang.

Yeah out of respect for George and the help and and and because it was a just a compelling story I said yeah I'll do it it's a small book but

I pack it with facts and the Very incredible story because it talks about why you're tapping.

And that which was was new yeah at that time and Truth syrup.

Sodium pentathol yeah was used in that case and this is 1935 so 1935 yeah so you know

you research something you find out all kinds of sure interesting side matter and so I put that book together in my only regret with that book is that I didn't have more.

[52:08] Quality information to add to it and give a conclusion as to who killed seven year old Richard Striker but I think it's very clear to me and readers

the police the prosecutor just about everybody who the killer was

and that's what that book is about and actually that's just recently started to get some traction and starting to sell so I'm looking

forward to seeing seeing how that goes and like I said before we'll have links to all this and we'll make sure and then just spoke we talked about today The elusive Purple Gang and you also have a Blog

a Blog for analogy Dot

come I'll get you there what I love writing the most our blog posts nostalgic blog posts about Southeastern Michigan

if so any East and I've been writing posts about celebrities from.

1950s Detroit television but I right I have a post coming out next week on

father Gabriel Richard who is an important person in the history of Detroit that most people don't know who he is and he was one of the founders of as it turns out the University of Michigan.

[53:24] Very interesting man and Fort Wayne sometimes they'll do about Place events and I had the best time I did a two-parter

on someone who the 50 only TV the lady of charm she was the.

[53:44] Originator and Pioneer for all of the Martha Stewart's of the world well yeah and this woman

even though she was the lady of charm and you know I did that

house with furry thing she was a shrewd businesswoman and that woman made hand money hand over fist

people in Detroit just love that post the older people because I am

thought about her for 50 years yes I'd like to do that sort of stuff why I like posting and blogging.

Yes because I can endlessly revise it because yes I do make mistakes in spelling and other stuff there are people out there that are.

[54:31] More than happy to point that out to me and then I go back and I correct it night I have no problem with that I like it because of the instant gratification of it

I can write it it takes me 3 to 5 days to write a polio do the research metal over it right it type it.

And then bang I publish it right on the spot and I wait a couple hours and I hid it and you know almost

within a hundred hits of how a post is going to do because I know my audience that well green.

So I just I enjoy it so much I get the instant gratification and people like it and in these sad times that we live in

now I felt that it.

[55:14] That I had the opportunity to maybe cheer people up a little bit or to give them a distraction sure.

[55:22] Four five ten fifteen minutes

and so that's where I'm 480 posts and you're going to ask me I know if I'm working on a what I'm working on now yeah I tried to put together an Alex Karras biography and covid just kind of Knocked literally knock the legs out from under me

and I don't want it to be about his Sports career

or his television career our movie career although the I would mention those but those have been written about I want to write about the man and his daughter

asked me to write it and I worked on it

I ended up writing for five blog posts of what I could find but he had two families and

his second wife Sharon Clark the actress is rather all she lives in Sarnia so that's not too far across from Port Huron.

[56:14] But I

had a mutual communist somebody I knew that knew her and he asked her if she'd be interested she'd be interested and she wasn't but they had a daughter she's probably

and a 50 60 years old by now and I have some contact information for her so I've contacted her twice I don't want to hand her a sir.

[56:37] But I'm hoping that I can get her to open up because Alex Karras is historically

significant because he was the first signer of a lawsuit against the NFL's you know the concussion injuries and all of that sort of thing so he was the number one person

of many many NFL athletes who had sinus and he died before.

[57:05] You know there was a settlement on the case but the NFL fought it and fought it and fought it and they ran out of appeals and I think that's a story that needs to be told there were problems

with Alex in his later years in a number of different illnesses but I think the most troubling for

his family and for people to think about is that he suffered from dementia towards the end and part

you get to a point where you know you got that label dementia a lot of times those people tend to get

extremely frustrated and violent

I don't know that he was violent with his family but Sharon Clark is said that it was not easy living with them in the later years and I think that's the story that

needs to be told not to put him down right

but and we'll see how that goes and the other thing is I've got 480 blog posts I can't believe it but I've got four hundred and eighty and seven or eight of them are pretty good A lot of them are pretty good so I'm thinking now that too

I might come up with two or three volumes of you know maybe Detroit stories of Selanne stories Michigan at large stories and.

[58:21] I'm 72 so I that says another.

[58:25] Two three four years worth of work in front of me there's no I don't want to I don't want to don't want to push it.

[58:32] So we're at the end of our thank you here and and I'll tell you that well we didn't actually talk about this you live in San Diego now

I am suffering we're I'm recording this couple weeks before it'll be published and.

We're expecting maybe 6 inches of snow tonight yeah you're not accepting expecting any snow anytime soon.

Well I don't want to I don't want to.

Disillusion you but we can see snow I'm 18 miles and one in the Foothills and not snow.

But if I go to the couple blocks down the end of the street you can see it and I look to the east we've got a couple of ranges as the mountain start building up and there is snow in the mountains up there need to see it.

[59:17] From Santee

and then just I don't think anybody here is going to feel sorry for you oh no they said they shouldn't because it looks like a darn postcard that's right but I won't tell you how nice the weather is but I had an opportunity and as long as we're talking weather

yeah I mean I'm not a weather virgin and 1978

man was that a winner and about the by the time we dug out I mean from 78 in the beginning of 79 I remember digging out is about the third week of January January

and I got in the car with my dog and we went out to California I quit my job at Ypsilanti High School I was 30 and I figured I'm at the crossroads and I've had it with winter

so when I came out to a steady a go got a job seven and within three months I had a permanent subbing job and then the following full school year

they hired me I stayed there for 30 years.

[1:00:14] Retired in 2009 and 2011 I started writing and I've enjoyed it more than anything else I've done

thank you so much for spending time with me on this but thank you so as I told you the last question I always ask is if you've got a wish

generally for Grosse Ile because we're normally talking to people that are here and since you're over there I think your wish might be a little broader

well I think my wish is a little broader we did talk about this earlier so I'm not going to talk about the the free bridge there you go everybody knows about that yeah

I have three friends who live in Gross steel and I guess my wish is more of a personal one broadly in that I hope we get some relief from covid soon.

[1:01:06] And if we do I want to fly into town probably mid-july and do some book talks.

But I have three friends who live on the island and

and I miss him a whole lot so I my wish is that we can all get healthy enough so we can go out and have dinner again excellent and I hope to meet you in real life at that point so good guys much.

[1:01:33] Appreciate that well this has been a fun conversation and it's been a real treat to dig in a little bit into the dark underbelly of Detroit

maybe we put some rumors to bed put more certainly put more rumors to bed than we confirmed and and that's why

that's really why I host the podcast is to help people sink into what's going on and I want you to know that I appreciate you and your book has been very entertaining and I'm looking forward to reading

even more of your stuff so thank you so much that's music to my ears and I really appreciate it because that's what I do it for it's not about the money and there's not much money believe me

you know it's about doing some good work and hopefully some work that enlightens people

in the Detroit area in particular about their history there's just so much of it and this estate has I'll just no end

two interesting stories absolutely absolutely well I appreciate it thank you so much thank you.

[1:02:36] Remember that you can find links to grigory a fournier's books blog and talks in the episode notes I really appreciate the time he spent talking with me.

[1:02:46] Hopefully I get to thank him in person this summer check out his books and keep an eye out for Possible movies and miniseries.

[1:02:54] I'm sorry we ran so long this time I won't make it a habit and because of that I'll just say thanks for listening this week.

[1:03:01] Look in the episode notes for where you can see what's going on with the podcast.

[1:03:07] What's the deal Grosse Ile is recorded and produced by me then fogt.

[1:03:11] You can keep in touch with me through the what's the deal Grosse Ile Facebook page or email me at what's the deal GI at

[1:03:20] You can share episodes from Facebook or hear them from the website what's the deal

[1:03:25] And of course it never hurts to subscribe so you can get the latest episodes through your favorite podcast delivery tool

like Spotify Apple podcast Pocket Casts and so many others are intro and credit music is mocktails in the rain by Auntie Liu do.

[1:03:40] Which is used through a Creative Commons license find more of his music on as antes instrumentals.

[1:03:48] Thanks for listening to what's the deal Grosse Ile.