Sunday, November 27, 2016

"Wild Boys" Hunted by Posse for Murder! (Convict Interred at Boot Hill Cemetery)

Hello Friends,

I've run into a question of whether the next convict investigated is actually buried at Boot Hill Cemetery in New Westminster, B.C.  Why would I think otherwise? I'll explain as the convict's story is told.

Meet convict #1884 - Moses Paul

This story begins with a mysterious death in the Clinton, B.C. area. A man's body is found with his head crushed in. What had happened? Who did this? Who was this man?

Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Jul.10, 1911) pg 1
So began the search into the story of William White's murderer. I found Mr. White's death certificate. Although it clearly marked "murder" as the cause of death, I had to cringe at the manner of death it described.
Courtesy - William White - Death Certificate
Mr. White's skull was crushed by rocks, which tells us considerable force was used. Did this man know the blow was coming or was it a complete surprise? What had happened for him to deserve such violence?

I went on a search to understand more and found this rather interesting Blog about a Police Constable, which described the incident and introduced us to a "notorious outlaw" named Moses Paul, his sidekick Paul Spintlum, and several murders left in their wake.

In hopes of discovering the reason for William White's death, the only newspaper article from 1911 was the one from July 11, 1911 (above death certificate).

We jump ahead to May 1912 with the following:

Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (May 04, 1912) pg 1
News burst out onto the front page of the Vancouver Daily World newspaper announcing a hunt was in pursuit of two "Indian Outlaws" near Clinton, B.C. It included a posse of eight plus eighteen "Indian Trackers", which resulted in two constables being shot, one fatally (through the heart) and the other in the left hand.
The next morning, the posse reconvened in Ashcroft, B.C. and drove out to the area in which the constables had been shot to continue the manhunt.

To understand what had actually happened, as newspapers seemed to report slightly different accounts, I found the Court of Appeal (Dec.03, 1913) documents (Rex v. Spintlum) which include a statement of the facts:

"The accused Paul Spintlum, with one Moses Paul, Indians, were arrested at Ashcroft in December, 1912, for the murder of Alexander Kindness, near Clinton, in the county of Cariboo, May 3rd, 1912. From the evidence it appeared that one White had been found murdered on July 7th, 1911, about three miles from Clinton. Subsequently, at the inquest, a Chinaman named Ah Wye gave evidence, in consequence of which Moses Paul was arrested for the murder of White, and was lodged in gaol in Clinton in the latter part of August. About three weeks later he broke gaol, the accused Spintlum, who was a close friend of Moses Paul, having been seen on the same day loitering in the vicinity of the gaol. On September the 29th, Ah Wye, the Chinaman, was found killed, his head having been split open with an axe. Warrants were then issued for the arrest of Spintlum and Moses Paul, but they disappeared for some time and were not finally located until the 3rd of May, 1912, near Clinton, when a posse was organized in Clinton, consisting of seven men, including the deceased Kindness, who went in search, proceeding along the old Cariboo road. On reaching a point about six miles in a northerly direction from Clinton, three shots were suddenly fired at them from behind a log, the first hitting Kindness and killing him. A man was then seen behind the log, who got up and ran back into the woods. One of the men (Boyd) recognized him as Spintlum, but the others, although saying he was an Indian, and that he looked like the prisoner, could not identify him. Both Spintlum and Moses Paul were committed for trial at Kamloops on the 15th of March."

The statement from the Court of Appeal (Rex v. Spintlum) goes on the indicate the trial had been moved from Clinton to Vernon. 13 jury members had been summoned but only 12 appeared, who were not advised as to how many were required to find a true bill. A Grand Jury then found against Paul Spintlum for the murder of Constable Kindness, and against Moses Paul as accessory and for the killing of William White. At trial a jury of 12 disagreed, thus the Crown Counsel applied for change of venue to New Westminster, B.C. stating the jury was tainted because some of the replacements were aware of the evidence and news, and the danger of losing witnesses. The trial was moved in June 1913.

It is confusing, but the court statement makes much more sense than the newspapers reports.

I located Ah Wye's death certificate to determine his murder. On September 29th, 1911, Ah, a woodcutter, had his skull crushed by an axe. It sure sounds similar to the death of Mr. White; violent and perhaps unsuspecting.
Courtesy - Ah Wye - Death Certificate
I also went in search of Constable Alexander Kindness, born in 1883 Gamrie, Banffshire, Scotland, at the age of 29, was killed by a shot through the lungs. Although the death certificate indicates he is 27 years old born in 1885, the 1891 Scottish Census has Alexander living with his Grandparents at the age of 8 (born 1883); while the 1901 Census indicates he was born to Maggie Kindness in 1883, had 5 siblings and was a ploughman.  Something must have happened to have him move back home to his mother between the years 1891 & 1901. The later census does not show a father. Perhaps that is the reason he moved home? He is buried at Vancouver's Mountain View Cemetery, and the grave marker "erected by his friends" confirms he was 29 years old.

I was lucky to find photographs of the two "Indian Outlaws" also known as "Red Murderers" by the press, and "the Wild Boys" by the First Nations.
Courtesy of BC Archives @ Royal BC Museum - Moses Paul (circa 1912)

Courtesy of BC Archives @ Royal BC Museum - Paul Spintlum (circa 1912)
An interesting account of what went on was found in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography written by Tina Loo in 2003 Spintlum Biography. She writes Paul Spintlum's name as "Splintlum", which is confusing enough.

Another interesting item I was fortunate to find was a reward poster for the capture of the two outlaws:
Courtesy of BC Archives @ Royal BC Museum - Reward Poster (May 1912)
An article describing how difficult the hunt was, is found in the Cariboo Observer, and note the article below it from the Vancouver Daily World adding to the hunt with rumour and speculation.
Courtesy Quesnel Museum - Cariboo Observer (May 11, 1912)
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (May10'1913) pg 11
The chase (with it's reported rumours & increase of numbers in the posse) led through to the end of the year; and finally on New Years day in 1913, news came that the two natives had been caught on Saturday, December 28, 1912.
Courtesy - Chilliwack Progress (Jan01'1913) pg 5
We found a news account of the "Wild Boys" capture which shared information on where their journey led them as they ran from the law. It also confirms that the First Nations people were under pressure to produce the two outlaws for fear that they would lose their status and recognition.

Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Dec.30'1912)
To understand where the two young outlaws ran and the posse chase, we took a Satellite snap of the area on Google Maps adding the key hide outs, towns and areas. You can refer to this map later on when reading about the trials.
Courtesy Google Maps - tracking the outlaws movements
You may notice in the above map the entire area is covered with mountainous terrain, rivers and valleys. 100 years ago the area was much the same, but the forests were larger, making it easier to hide. Due to logging and mining, it appears different today. One can only imagine what it must have been like to hide out for 8 months in the rough, without a constant supply of food and warmth.

As the newspaper article read, Moses Paul and Paul Spintlum were brought to the Ashcroft Hotel by First Nations leaders, where they were handed over. They were placed on a train to Kamloops, BC to wait for their trial the following spring.
Courtesy VPL Access. No. 7210 - Circa 1900's Aschroft main street with Hotel on the left.
We next hear about the two outlaws in March 1913 at the Spring Assizes for their preliminary hearing. Witnesses to the shooting and killing of Constable Kindness in May 1912 are put on the stand. Stuart Henderson is their lawyer. (I gave an account of who this Barrister & Solicitor was in our blog about the convict-Chinley here.)

Courtesy Kamloops Museum & Archives - Kamloops Court House (built 1909) - photo by Marcus

Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Mar.13'1913) pg 27
The hearings began. First up Moses and Paul face the charge of the murder of Constable Kindness. A witness, Mr. Loring, comes forward to give evidence, pointing out that Paul Spintlum (or Spintlam, as indicated in the newspapers) was believed to be the one who shot the police officer.
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Mar.14'1913) pg 8
The next day evidence was given by the trackers who followed their trail after the Constable had been shot. Supplies and stolen saddles were found. Please refer to our map to understand the tracked movements of the two outlaws, and notice the terrain of the area.
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Mar.15'1913) pg 15
After preliminary hearings, it was decided to charge both Moses Paul and Paul Spintlum with murder. Spintlum for the murder of Constable Kindness, and Paul for the murders of White and Wye. Evidence of a watch in Moses Paul's possession, which belonged to Mr. White, was presented. This placed conviction in the charge of murder against Moses Paul. We also hear an account that Moses was with another man when Mr. White was murdered.  I researched the name of "Haller" and found there were several born in the Big Bar/Clinton area in the late 1800s, and thus he remains an "unknown" person. Without further information I could not confirm his identification.
Courtesy - Victoria Daily Colonist (Mar.18'1913)
The above news article appeared after the preliminary hearing, which sums up the case fairly well.

On May 15, 1913, an article in the Vancouver Daily World reports that Mr. Stuart Henderson (both accused's solicitor), applied for a change of venue motion to Vernon, BC. with Mr. W. H. MacNeill, KC (on behalf of the Crown) opposing it.

On May 16, 1913, the same newspaper reported Mr. Henderson's motion was due to concern of an impartial Jury. It was argued in the Supreme Court, and as thought, opposed by the Crown Prosecutor Mr. MacNeill. Justice Gregor reserved his decision to the following day. Mr. Henderson presented several affidavits from prominent citizens of the district (people who may be picked for Jury duty), stating that several were too old, some were American citizens, and some would not appear. Mr. Henderson continued to point out that most of the citizens in the area had aided in the capture of the outlaws, crimes were pointed in their direction that could not have possibly been committed by them, and that the fear of the natives was rampant in the community causing families to move out of the area until the capture of the two outlaws. To this the Judge advised that foreigners and British citizens could serve as jury members due to the proclamation form used to summon them. Mr. Henderson also declared that the outlaws were hundreds of miles away at the time of Mr. Wye’s murder. Of course to this claim the Judge indicated it would have to be proved; but he promised a decision would be made after considering all the facts.

May 31, 1913 the Vancouver Daily World reported from Vernon, BC (it appears the trial had been moved) on the trial of Paul Spintlum for the murder of Constable Kindness. The jury failed to reach a decision after 7 hours & 5 minutes. An appeal for acquittal was entered by Mr. Henderson indicating that the evidence rested solely on the statement of Mr. Boyd who, out of excitement, pointed to Spintlum as the shooter. The Crown Prosecutor indicated it clearly justified a conviction of the accused.

Furthermore, the witness of Constable McMillan of Clinton, provided details of Moses Paul’s escape 3 weeks after the murder of William White. He nicknamed Moses as “Kebees”. The newspaper documented that the Constable gave Moses his lunch and had locked him up. Around 5pm, later that Tuesday, he noticed Spintlum outside a Chinese store across the street when he went back to the jail to provide Moses with his dinner, but “Kebees” was gone. An aligator wrench had been used to break through the back door of the jail to aid his escape. Early the next morning, the Constable saw Spintlum at Johnnie Woods’ mailbox, and suspecting him of supplying Moses with the wrench and a rifle, asked him about cartridges. Spintlum took off for the bushes.
Chief Constable Burr was called to present evidence, and stated that Haller had been arrested at the same time of Moses’ capture, but was released the Saturday prior to Moses’ escape. After being in jail 3 weeks, a full case had not been established.

The next witness was Boyd, who had fingered Spintlum. He gave a detailed account of how Spintlum had been crouching behind a rock, who had fired at him. Boyd fired back when he saw Spintlum’s head and shoulders, then raced after him continuing to fire. His bullets missed because he stated his rifle was “strange and rusty” and he was in too much of a hurry.

Courtesy Quesnel Museum - Cariboo Observer (Jun.07'1913)
Due to the disagreement of the Jury and the difficulty of holding the trial in the area, Mr. Henderson finally won a request to move the trial out of the area.
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Jun.12'1913) pg 20
Courtesy Quesnel Museum - Cariboo
Observer (Jun.21/1913)

We next find the Outlaws in New Westminster. On June 21, 1913 the courts decide to hold Spintlum's case for the murder of Constable Kindness the following Monday (June 23rd) late in the afternoon, while Moses Paul's case for murder and accessory of the fact had yet to be considered. They expected large interest in both trials.
The Cariboo Observer describes the entire situation best with their last sentence of their article on June 21, 1913. "The change of venue was secured on the ground that the district in which the first trial took place was practically terrorized the by outlaws." A powerful statement to make, since neither Paul nor Spintlum were found guilty as yet.

Courtesy New Westminster Archives - Court House circa 1901
From here the story gets very interesting, and it continues to show how "abusive" and "racist" the court was towards our First Nation people. I have kept quiet about this, allowing you to gather your own feelings, but this next article is upsetting. Just knowing that the "white man" felt it right to use racial slurs against the First People of our great nation, is truly.. well, I have no words for the anger I feel inside. I was always taught to respect everyone, no matter of colour, race, religion, sexual orientation etc. Sadly and shamefully, this way of thinking and treatment of people continues today by many. Anyways, you read on and see why I speak out against how "we" as a nation treated the people of the land.
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Jun.26'1913) pg 1
Excitement in the court room. I am sure people held their breath, shook their heads and muttered unacceptable terms of this day and age. The article continues to say:
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Jun.26'1913) pg 10 - in 2 parts
Now take a deep breath. What have you learned? First, this is Spintlum's trial the newspaper is talking about. Moses Paul's trial has not yet begun. Second, they called witnesses who appeared at the original trial who changed their story. Third, they arrested one young man for changing his account, and they reprimanded a young lady using her race as a factor for not understanding her responsibility to tell the truth. Fourth, they brought the horses to court as part of the evidence. Imagine that! Fifth, the chase covered was over 400 miles. Wow! That's quite a journey. Sixth, Constable Fernie presented quite a large amount of evidence. Seventh, relatives and friends also bore witness, as well as members of the posse who hunted them down. Eighth, a rare gun had been used, and thus it was easily identified along with the cartridges. Ninth, they used photographic evidence; and Tenth, the trial took 4 days to hear all witnesses and evidence, even though some wanted to carry on through the first night.

There was so much evidence against Paul Spintlum during his trial. No matter, it appears they had decided he was guilty. The description of how he didn't seem to care makes me wonder what his frame of mind was like. Did he realize how serious the charge of murder was? Did he think he could get away with it, or that perhaps it didn't matter what would happen to him? I can't imagine how he felt.
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Jun.28'1913) pg 2
At the end of it all, Paul Spintlum was found guilt of murder and sentenced to hang... but, this is not the end of Mr. Spintlum's case. Not just yet.
Courtesy - Winnipeg Tribune (Jun.28'1913)
For now we move on to our convict, Moses Paul, who may (or may not) be buried at the Boot Hill Cemetery. We still have to explain this, but first, his trial.

On Wednesday July 2nd the trial of Moses Paul as accessory to the crime, began in New Westminster with Mr. Stuart Henderson as his solicitor. Before the Jury was chosen, Mr. MacNeill (Crown Counsellor) intimated that Moses would come up for trial the following week on a charge for the murder of Mr. White (Jul04/1911), and stated it was charged that both Spintlum and Paul were responsible for the murder of Mr. Wye, who testified at the inquest held for Mr. White's murder. The Jury was selected and then witnesses were called. Dr. Jones was called as first witness, then Mr. Loring, who was a member of the posse present at the shooting of Constable Kindness.
Courtesy - excerpt Vancouver Daily World (Jul.02'1913) pg 8
The Vancouver Daily World (above) made a point of describing Paul and Spintlum's demeanour, indicating that one didn't seem to care while the other was active in what was going on. The evidence was practically the same as presented in Spintlum's trial; and the formal charge after relating the facts, stated that Moses was fully aware of the crime and gave comfort and assistance to Spintlum in order to enable his escape. Mr. Henderson argued that the Crown must prove on the evidence independently from Spintlum's trial, but the Judge stated, according to the Vancouver Daily World, "this man might be 1000 miles away and might not have seen Spintlum for months and yet be guilty of the charge laid against him. He is not charged with murder. Mr. MacNeill need not show that he was there at the time, but only that he knew of the murder of Kindness." He didn't think it important to prove Moses had been present at the murder.
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Jul.04'1913) pg 20
With this, Moses Paul was sentenced to Life for being accessory to the murder of Constable Kindness.
Courtesy Quesnel Museum - Cariboo Observer (Jul.12'1913)
To step back for a moment, Mr. Henderson had petitioned the Appeal's Court in Victoria, BC to fight against the new Jury Act, which was put in place July 1st. He contended that the court was not properly constituted and therefore the proceedings were irregular, asking that a new Jury be selected under the new methods of the new Act. The decision to proceed was made and the objection overruled. The below article presents his argument.
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Jul.04'1913) pg 19
So here we are, Paul Spintlum sentenced to be hanged, and Moses Paul received a life sentence.
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Sep.25'1913) pg 2
In September 1913 it was announced that both Moses Paul's and Paul Spintlum's cases were under appeal, and on November 20th that year we learn the cases were deferred until December. As you may remember, at the beginning of this blog I presented the Appeal of Paul Spintlum's case dated December 3, 1913. And so we go back again to Mr. Spintlum, who had been found guilty and sentenced to hang. The decision disallowing his Appeal to grant a new trial, was read in court December 4, 1913, and the hanging was to go ahead on December 12, 1913. This would greatly affect Moses' Appeal. Paul Spintlum was moved to Kamloops, BC, the place where he would hang.

Here we found an article showing Mr. Henderson's argument in front of the Appeal's Court in November. It took approximately 4 days to present his reasons.

Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Nov.29'1913) pg 5
On December 9th, new evidence came to light and an effort to retain a reprieve was heard.

Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Dec.10'1913) pg 1
Paul Spintlum swore in an affidavit that Moses Paul had fired the fatal shot as he was 2 miles away when it happened as he went back to their camp to get a spyglass. To further strengthen his evidence, two First Nations Chiefs presented affidavits that Moses had admitted to them that Paul had nothing to do with the murder. As the Judge refused to grant a reprieve, Paul's solicitor sent a telegram to the Minister of Justice. Read the newspaper clipping above. It provides more detail of what "may" have happened. This would mean Moses Paul had committed 3 murders and that Spintlum was basically innocent of the charge. He maintains that not only the Chiefs were aware of Moses admitting to the shooting but also Moses' father. Unfortunately, the Court of Appeal refused to allow this Plea and the hanging was to go forward.

To best describe Paul Spintlum's tragic hanging we found the below article:
Courtesy Quesnel Museum - Cariboo Observer (Dec.20'1913)
And so the newspaper articles stopped. I could not locate Moses Paul's appeal documents, nor where there any further mentions of him through all the resources available. The sentences received for the murders of Mr. William White and Mr. Ah Wye upon Moses Paul were not available to me. He was serving a "life sentence" for accessory of the murder of Constable Kindness, adding more on would not really change anything.

So we move ahead to find out how Moses Paul ended up in Boot Hill Cemetery, across the ravine from the BC Penitentiary, which no longer stands.
I found Moses' death certificate:
Courtesy - Moses Paul death certificate (Mar.16'1917)
Tuberculosis struck many prisoners across the country in those early days. It is a bacterial infection which invades any part of the body, but is particularly dangerous when it enters the lungs. Because it is highly infectious, prisoners would pass it on through coughing and spit. At the time, it was basically undetected until it was in its advanced stages. Characteristics would be weight loss, coughing, listlessness, expectoration of bloody matter, secondary infections, hemorrhaging, fever, and finally delirium, suffocation and death. Prisons were not sanitary places, thus it spread quickly. Moses was one of those victims, and his death certificate indicates he suffered for 5 months, but most likely it was longer. He had been in prison for 3 years, 20 months and 7 days. His death certificate also indicates he was laid to rest in the prison cemetery, which was known as Boot Hill.

Courtesy Quesnel Museum - Cariboo Observer (Apr.28'1917)
Herein lays the question, did his body remain interred at Boot Hill, or was it moved to Big Bar, BC? According to the Cariboo Observer it was moved. We do not know for sure. Moses Paul being from the area, his tribe was most likely the Big Bar First Nation who are members of the Shushwap People.

And so we end our blog about Convict #1884 who was once (or possibly still is) interred at the Boot Hill Cemetery in New Westminster, BC.
Thank you for taking this journey with us!

If you have not read any of our previous accounts, please check them out. Each convicts' story is filled with interesting facts, incredible adventures and emotional effect.
01) Meet Convict 1548 - Thompson
02) Meet Convict 2370 - Walsh
03) Meet Convict 2304 - Chinley
04) Meet Convict 1774 - Hinds
05) Meet Convicts 1628 - Herman Wilson + Unknown# - Joseph Smith
06) Meet Convict 1659 - Y. Yoshie
07) Meet Convict 1884 - Moses Paul
08) Meet Convict 2516 - Daniel Henrick Urick
09) Meet Convict 1948 - Unknown Gim
10) Meet Convict 2938 - Reginald John Colpitts
11) Meet Convict 5603 - Stephen Poole
12) Meet Convict 3130 - Harry Davis
13) Meet Convict 2312 - Albert Hill
14) Meet Convict Unknown# - Phillip Hopkins
15) Meet Convict #9720 - Norman Donald Bottineau
16) Meet Convict #2225 - Louie Num
17) Meet Convict #3237 - Harold Gordon McMaster
18) Meet Convict #4234 - Herbert Ross

Let us hear your thoughts. Please do not hesitate to comment here or email us at our Website, or our Facebook Page. We enjoy hearing from you!

Update: May 2017 - we received an email from Henry Davis, a UBC professor, who wrote a wonderful review about this blog, and provided a link to a published book of stories, including one of the "Outlaws". You can download or read it here:

Till next time,

Sources:;;; UBC Archives (BC Court Cases); Royal BC Museum - BC Archives; Opposite the City -; National Archives of Canada (1994); Library and Archives Canada; Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 14, University of Toronto - Tina Loo 2003;; Kamloops Museum & Archives; Vancouver Public Library;; BC Genealogical Society; New West City Archives;


  1. wow what a thorough writeup! my aunt Lucie Bones Truran was married to William Truran and his brother Charles was the person who rode into the murderer's camp. We wondered why she had received death threats.Lucie's brother Jacques Bones was married to Susan Paul who was i believe the sister of Moses. They were from High Bar.What a story!appreciate all the research put into compiling this story..doubt he was buried at Big Bar as they were from downstream High Bar but there is an unmarked cemetery at Big Bar Creek so who knows.

    1. How interesting! I was motivated to find the story told in the press.. which by all means is embellished & often cruel. I appreciate your interest in the story & your connection to be within a few generations. I'd love to know what was passed along to see if there are truths we don't know about.