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FRANK: The crime

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  • Helen Fedor
    Around 3pm, the fellows saw that there was a white farmer, so they went to his house and asked if they could get something to eat. They took care of their
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 5, 2008
      Around 3pm, the fellows saw that there was a white farmer, so they went to his house and asked if they could get something to eat. They took care of their horses, ate, and moved on, in the dark. They passed through very flat country where there was no wood--the farmers had to bring it from far off. They stopped at a house and asked the way farther. They camped out under the stars and stopped (and paid) for breakfast the next morning at another farmhouse.

      Finally at evening they came to a town with a railroad stop. After dinner at a restuarant, the fellows went to a bathhouse and barber, and got cleaned up. Frank weighed 172 lbs. The fellows sold their horses and saddles, and bought train tickets to the town that had burned down.

      When they got to the town, they found 1,000 persons there, mostly carpenters, bricklayers, and all kinds of workers. Accommodations were very expensive. They could have gotten work at once, but Frank didn't like the "dirty business" in that town, so he left George there (where he earned $2/day) and returned to Portland.

      In Portland, Frank was spotted by the captain on whose ship Frank and George had worked earlier. The captain hired Frank for his casino ship again. George came to work on this ship for the winter too, and the 2 of them worked "like the best of brothers," never getting angry at each other or arguing.

      When spring came, George said that it was time to go back to the mines, but Frank didn't want to. He asked George to work his portion together with the old English captain, and said that he would send them his share of the expenses. George went off and Frank stayed working on the ship. In late summer, Frank sent George $52.50 to cover his expenses. It took 3 weeks to get a letter back from George because there was no railroad where George was.

      George said that he had 2 witnesses at the post office, when he opened Frank's letter, that there was only $12.50 in the packet: forty dollars had been stolen. Frank wrote back that he'd sent two $20 gold pieces, one $10 gold piece, two $1 silver coins, and one silver half-dollar. The clerk had packed up the money while Frank had watched, had sealed up the packet with wax, and had written the total amount and George's address on the outside, then gave Frank a receipt for the money, which Frank included in his letter to George.

      The captain was a smart man and educated, so he sat down and wrote a letter to the main post office, in Washington, DC. In April 1891, Frank got a telegram to go to Spokane to testify as the sender of the money. When Frank got to Spokane, George, the captain, and the 2 witnesses were already there. Also present were a government agent and the 4 postal clerks.

      The clerk who'd given George the money had been arrested and was in jail <vof beredzincu>, but broke out during the night and had run away. The other clerks had a record in their books of the weight of Frank's parcel. All the books had the correct weight, so the last clerk must have stolen the money. That last clerk must have had a friend help him break out, because "in such a small town, the jail was just some boards nailed together."

      Frank returned to Portland and was given money for his travel expenses.

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