Saturday, August 18, 2018

Assault, Robbery and Manslaughter.. (Convict Interred at Boot Hill Cemetery)

Hello Friends,

We bring you the case (through newspaper & document records) of a man who grew up in the Fraser Valley area of Greater Vancouver, B.C., found himself in and out of jail, with a final violent crime sending him to Federal Prison. Sadly, his life ended a few years later. This is our twentieth blog about the convicts buried at Boot Hill Cemetery in New Westminster, used between 1913-1967 by the B.C. Penitentiary (razed in 1980), one of the toughest prisons in the Canada.

Meet Convict #6651 - George Wallace
Photo by Kati - #6651 (southeast section, last row, first stone)

George was born February 09, 1911 in British Columbia. Records indicate he was a member of the Soowahlie Band No. 13, which calls the Chilliwack-Cultus Lake area home, and is part of the Sto'lo First Nation peoples. His father, also named George, and mother, Mary Danilda, raised a family of 3 children, if not more. It is documented George had two brothers, Jim and John. We are not sure if there were more siblings in the family.

Courtesy Google Maps - Chilliwack-Cultus Lake area
Courtesy - Chilliwack & Fraser Valley
(circa:1945, Access.No. 80594A), photo Art Jones

Life for Indigenous people in B.C. was extremely difficult, and has its challenges today. Children were forcibly separated/taken from their families and homes by government agents and church-run missionaries, and thrust into "Indian Residential" schools in an attempt to assimilate them into a "superior way of life". St. Mary's Indian Residential School was situated in Mission, B.C. From many reports the mission was a place filled with abusive experiences. We cannot begin to understand the pain, torment and anguish that children (and their families) experienced under the hands of the "white man".

Photo by Kati - (Jul.26, 2018) OMI Cemetery, St. Mary's, Mission BC
Graves of the Oblate Fathers & other bishops, priest.

In July 2018, I had a chance to visit the land on which St. Mary's Mission (later named St. Mary's Residential School) stood. It is now part of the Fraser River Heritage Park in Mission, B.C. Today the buildings are destroyed but in places one can see remnants of the structures which once stood. The mission's cemetery named "Oblates of Mary Immaculate" (above photo) was chosen after the 1870 gold rush subsided. The cemetery sits just outside of the boundaries of the park, and is used today by the Oblates. Interred are not only the Oblate Fathers, Bishops, Brothers and other clergy, but also pioneer families of the area and First Nations families.
Documents are not available to determine if George was one of the many children forced to attend this mission school; but if he had, this may help explain how the brutality affected him throughout his life. We must also note that discrimination and prejudice of native peoples was rife in Canada, and still goes on today. You will notice the use of slurs that were deemed acceptable of the time in the local newspaper articles presented in this blog.

Photo by Kati - (Jul.26, 2018) - St Mary's Mission remnants,
Fraser River Heritage Park, Mission, B.C.

Read this article written for the CBC by Rafferty Baker (Oct.25, 2016) for a better understanding: Reconciliation Tour

Our first accounting of George in the newspapers began in 1929, when his brother, Jim, was accused of murder. George was 18 years young at the time.

Courtesy - Chilliwack Progress (Apr.04, 1929) pg01

Courtesy - Nanaimo Daily News (May 15, 1929) pg01
Courtesy - Chilliwack Progress (May 16, 1929) pg01
Courtesy - Chilliwack Progress (May 23, 1929) pg09

The newspapers articles of 1929, named George Wallace as one of the bystanders who witnessed a brutal crime his brother, Jim Wallace, was charged with manslaughter for; resulting in the death of Lee Kee Tai (or Kay Tai Lee - according to BC Archives), an 80 year old Chinese man from Sardis, B.C.. George and his brother, John, were released after the trial. Jim Wallace was found guilty; but due to the court's mercy, was later released on a suspended sentence. A statement he had made to the police was removed from evidence, as the warning (Canada does not have "Miranda Warning" such as the USA - a "Caution" or "warning" is read before one is charged) was not read properly beforehand.

Courtesy - Nanaimo Daily News (May 25, 1929) pg01

The following year, 1930, another charge fell on Jim Wallace.

Courtesy - Chilliwack Progress (Feb.20, 1930) pg01

This time Jim was charged with public intoxication, and fined $30 or one month in Oakalla Prison (a Provincial Prison in Burnaby, BC). He was picked up along with Matilda Mussell, who received a $15 fee.

Courtesy - Chilliwack Progress (Mar.01, 1934) pg05

Four years later, George is charged for "public intoxication" and was fined $25 or two months in prison. He served time rather than pay the fee. He was picked up with Matilda Mussel and Ella Sam.

Courtesy - Chilliwack Progress (Apr.19, 1934) pg06

A month and two weeks later, George was in the news again. He attempted to escape the clutches of the police and hid under a residence in Vancouver's east side Chinatown area, just off Westminster Ave East (now known as Main Street). The police used garden hose to flood him out, without success. Finally officers crawled under the house and brought George out from hiding. He was sentenced and found guilty for "creating a disturbance"; however, the sentence of 6 months was suspended pending his good behaviour.

Courtesy - Chilliwack Progress (Dec.07, 1938) pg10

In December 1938, George was held in connection with the brutal murder of Marie Hawthorne. It was alleged that he attacked Marie, which resulted in her death. It's also alleged that George attacked Marie's daughter, Dorothy Sam. George was visiting because his two brothers, who were married to two of Marie's sisters, lived in the same household.

Courtesy - Nanaimo Daily News (Jan.11, 1939) pg01

A month after his arrest, the newspapers reported that George was charged not only with the "murder" of Marie Hawthorne, but also "attempted murders" of Dorothy (Marie's daughter), Dan Hujwan, and Mrs E (Rose) Killeen; and with the "assaults" on Mrs C Shepperd and her daughter, Betty; plus with the "breaking and entering" of Victor Pattullo's home. Seven charges in all.

We found the Death Certificate for Maria Sam, which states she was found dead on a bed at Cabin 8 - 255 Prior Street. She had lacerations on her face, skull and brain, and died of a hemorrhage. Marie was born in 1902, in Sardis, B.C., and was 36 years young at the time of her death. Her residence listed as Main Street.

Courtesy BC Archives - portion of Death Certificate for Marie Sam
Courtesy - The Gazette (Jan.12, 1939) pg12

A newspaper from Montreal, Quebec (clear across the country) reported more details of the crime, and explained that a drinking party had been in progress on Prior Street in Vancouver, at which George and at least six other people had participated. The report also mentioned the "breaking and entering" charge.

A search of Victor Pattullo's residence gives us an address of 1728 East 2nd Avenue in Vancouver, B.C., in the Clement Apartment building.:

Courtesy BC Directories ( - city directory from 1938

As Marie Sam (aka Hawthorne) was murdered on Prior Street, I checked with Google Maps to see how far it would be to walk from Victor Pattullo's apartment, and am led to believe it would take around 40 minutes travelling west (3 kilometers - almost 2 miles).

Courtesy - Chilliwack Progress (Jan.18, 1939) pg01

A few days after the article from Quebec, the newspaper in Chilliwack confirmed the charges against George, and announced he was headed for trial.

Courtesy - Nanaimo Daily News (Mar.14, 1939) pg01

In March 1939, the assizes court began, and after deliberations, the jury announced they had acquitted George Wallace of the murder charge (Marie Sam, aka Hawthorne). However, he was remanded for the charge of "attempted murder" against Rose Killeen. We could not locate articles indicating the other "attempted murder" charges had been dropped, or that George had been acquitted of them. George was 28 years young at this time.

Courtesy - Nanaimo Daily News (Mar.15, 1939) pg01

The Nanaimo newspapers reported the following day on March 15, 1939, that George Wallace had been ordered a new trial concerning the "breaking and entering" charge because of a disagreement of the jury.

Courtesy - Nanaimo Daily News (Mar.16, 1939) pg02

On March 16, 1939, sentencing was held over until the end of the Assize session. During this time, George Wallace remained in jail.

Courtesy - Daily Colonist (Mar.25, 1939)

A Victoria, B.C. newspaper made a report a few weeks later, that the jury in George's case had visited the cabins on Prior Street, stating the area was "deplorable and disgraceful", calling them "breeding places of crime, disease and filth", and recommended they be destroyed. According to the Chilliwack newspaper (see below clip), the Judge referred their recommendation to the proper authorities.

Courtesy - Chilliwack Progress (Mar.29, 1939) pg04

We located a photo of some of the cabins on Prior; keep in mind they are not the cabin in which Marie Sam was found deceased. Today, these cabins are long gone.

Courtesy Vancouver City Archives - photo by WJ Moore (Jun.08, 1935)
217, 221 & 225 Prior St Cabins
Courtesy - Nanaimo Daily News (May 05, 1939) pg01

On May 05, 1939, George is noted to have appealed his sentence of three years for "breaking, entering and stealing" of Victor Pattullo's home at the Clements Apartment building. We find nothing further for three years, so we may assume his appeal did not go well. As this was a Provincial charge, and not a Federal one, George would have served time in Oakalla Prison, Burnaby, B.C. The prison no longer exists, with new condominiums and homes now built on the former site. It was used from 1912-1991.

Courtesy - Access.No.44259 (Mar.23, 1966) photo by Gordon F Sedawie
Two guards in the prison corridor

In 1942, George was charged of "robbery with violence" against Hari Singh for $32.00, valued at approximately $482.00 in today's Canadian currency. He was sentenced to seven years in the penitentiary.

Courtesy - Nanaimo Daily News (Jul.03, 1942) pg03

George appealed his sentence a few months later, and was granted a trial in November 1942.

Courtesy - Nanaimo Daily News (Sep.16, 1942) pg05

Courtesy - Daily Colonist (Sep.18, 1942)

A search for further newspaper accounts of the appeal results, came up empty, nor were Court documents available. We can assume his appeal was denied, and his sentence of seven years stood firm. George's history of charges had piled up and were surely considered in the ruling.

It is not long after his release from prison, George Wallace was in the news once more.

Courtesy - Globe and Mail (Sep.29, 1948) pg01

George had been charged with "theft" of $0.76 Cdn (worth $8.26 in today's Canadian currency); but as his victim died in the hospital a few days later, the charge against him was changed to one of "murder".

Andrew Neil Kirkpatrick, who resided in Vancouver for 25 years, had immigrated from Ireland in 1924, and was 65 years old at the time of his death. Andrew lived at 634 E. Georgia Street (an apartment complex built in 1905, listed as "Georgia Rooms" in the city directories, also known as "Georgia Manor") and was employed as a labourer with the Biltmore Construction Company. Andrew's relationship status was noted as being "single".

Courtesy BC Archives - portion of Death Certificate for Andrew Kirkpatrick
Courtesy City of Vancouver Archives -
634 E. Georgia Street(circa 1978)

What was Vancouver, B.C. like during 1948?

--> The economy recovered during WW2, and continued to thrive in the late 40's. Although a housing crisis developed after the war, 50 hectares of land were quickly developed near Grandview Hwy & Boundary Rd.

--> The first two-way escalator was installed at the Hudson's Bay store in the downtown core, which brought out huge crowds.
--> The Chinese and East Indian citizens had won the right to vote provincially in 1947, with First Nations and Japanese citizens winning it in 1949.
--> Bing Crosby visited the city, brought his popular radio show, and recorded a benefit program.
--> Deadly flooding of the Fraser River was experienced in the valley
--> Jack Deighton's widow died. Jack was known as "Gassy Jack", after whom Gastown (beginnings of Vancouver) was named for. Jack died in 1875, five years after marrying the 12 year old Madeline (her First Nation name was "Qua-Hail-Ya). She had been his 2nd wife, and thought of him fondly.
--> Vancouver's Mayor, Charles Jones, died in office. He had won the seat just over a year prior.
--> The T. Eaton Company took over nine B.C. stores of the David Spencer chain, and shortly after, the popular Canadian store called "Eaton's" was built in the city centre.

--> New Brill T-44 Trolley buses began in August 1948, and 30 were put into service.
--> The airport was officially named Vancouver International Airport.
--> Margaret Sinclair, the future wife of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, was born.
--> In world news, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated; and Prince Charles was born in Buckingham Palace.

Now that we have a sense of what was going on in the city during that year, let's get back to George's situation.

Courtesy - Nanaimo Daily News (Jan.12, 1949) pg12

George's trial began in January 1949. Newspapers reported that one of the witnesses, Allan Thompson, was held for perjury due to a change of statements he made from those at the preliminary trial. The trial indicated clearly that Andrew Neil Kirkpatrick died as a result of injuries suffered from an attack on a city street, of which Wallace was charged. Kirkpatrick's Death Certificate described "he was struck and knocked over to the pavement by George Wallace in 400 block E. Georgia St, public place."

Courtesy City of Vancouver Archives - 400 block E. Georgia St
(circa 1961) photo taken across McLean Park
Courtesy - Chilliwack Progress (Jan.19, 1949) pg15

A few days later the trial concluded. George was found "guilty" of "manslaughter" and sentenced to 15 years. The news indicated that George had been released from Oakalla Prison (Provincial Prison) a few days prior to the attack. Looking back at our investigation, we note George Wallace had completed a seven year sentence for "robbery with violence"; and yet again, committed a similar crime, this time it resulted in the death of his victim.

Courtesy - Chilliwack Progress (Mar.23, 1949) pg17

An attempt is made to appeal the decision a few months later, but it was denied. The newspapers reported that "Wallace had not been responsive to leniency", and had a history of 27 convictions in 19 years. He was sentenced to the notorious B.C. Penitentiary in New Westminster, B.C.

Sadly, George Wallace's story comes to an end on July 21, 1956, with his death at Shaughnessy Hospital, at the age of 45 years. One day prior he had been submitted to the hospital and undergone surgery. He was buried at the B.C. Penitentiary Cemetery, known as "Boot Hill", 6 days later at 9:30 a.m. Rev. D.J. Gillis held a small grave-side service.

Courtesy BC Archives - George Wallace's Death Certificate

George Wallace's death resulted in "generalized peritonitis", which is the inflammation of the walls of an abdomen and cover of the abdomen organs. The symptoms may include severe pain, bloating, fever, weight loss, tenderness, nausea, diarrhea, thirst, loss of appetite; which may have been caused by an fungal or bacterial infection, or an abdominal injury. Without immediate treatment, death may occur after several days.

We wonder if he contracted an infection, or an injury?

What do we know about George's life? Not much, other than he kept his "single" status, was in and out of jail and prison for a variety of offences, didn't have an address (being incarcerated was home), did not acquire a job, and we could not locate documentation to indicate anyone claimed his body after death.
After researching this young life cut short, I often send good thoughts out into the universe with hope that his spirit has finally found its way to peace, and a sense of belonging.

Courtesy New Westminster Archives - (circa 1987, item no. IHP9399)
Main Entrance to BC Penitentiary

After WW2 things had changed at the B.C. Penitentiary (operated from 1878 to 1980). Prisoners were now being "treated", rather than just "serving time". Programs had been installed for educational purposes, activities to teach a different way to live life, and lectures were made available for those interested. Sports and exercise had increased, with a new yard available in 1947, providing three handball courts, a horseshoe pitch, a bowls court, and checkerboards. The time spent exercising had been increased for the prisoners. Basketball, softball and soccer became available after 1950. Confidence building classes were offered, and the publication of a prisoner's magazine called "Transition" began in 1952, written by the inmates but reviewed prior to publishing by the Warden's staff. A canteen was added for prisoners to enjoy twice a month. Rules were still rules, and prisoners were kept in their cells for most part of every day. A silence bell would ring at 6 p.m. which meant prisoners were not allowed to speak to those in adjacent cells. It demanded silence.
Concerts for prisoners were organized, and such notables as Frankie Lane, the Mills Brothers, and Louis Armstrong gave up part of their day to perform at "the Pen".
Not only did things change for prisoners, but also for the prison staff. Training programs (9 days in length) for new guards were implemented to assisted them in learning the methods used, day to day routines, and the layout of the prison. New guards would go through interviews with the upper staff, and were tested for their abilities with fire arms. Industrial clinics were held for new training skills to be introduced. A new post became available in 1947 of a Classification Officer, who's role was to conduct interviews with inmates to ensure they were placed in classes and speaking engagements which would benefit their character. By 1948 a full training college had been set up in Ottawa, Ontario.
The population of the federal prison was 365 in 1946. By 1956, it had increased to 692. During the early 1950's, additions to the prison were made to house more inmates, and renovations of the kitchen, hospital, and chapels were completed. No major incidences were reported during George Wallace's sentence. Two escapees were recaptured within a few days. Otherwise, all was in working order at the B.C. Penitentiary.

Courtesy New Westminster Archives - (circa 1950's, Item No.IHP10039-017)
Guard at Prison Cell

This concludes our account of George Wallace. I hope you have learned something valuable. We will continue our series by bringing you the stories of other inmates buried at the small acre of land known as "Boot Hill Cemetery".
If you visit the site, please keep in mind that this is sacred land, and no matter who these men were in life, their space should be respected.

You can comment on our Facebook Page, or send an email using our Website to connect with us. Know anything to help support this effort in finding out who the Boot Hill Convicts were? Contact us! We'd love to hear from you.

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

Sources:;;;; UBC Open Sessions; BC Archives; Vancouver Public Library; BC Directories; Bowell Funeral Records; Vancouver City Archives;; Google Maps; Google; Wikipedia; The Chuck Davis History of Metropolitan Vancouver - author, Chuck Davis; Four Walls in the West - author, Jack David Scott;; the Canadian Encyclopedia; New Westminster Archives (New Westminster Museum and Heritage Services).
Note: Photos by Kati are the property of Kati Ackermann Webb and Vancouver Spooks Paranormal Investigations (VSPI) and may not be used or copied without written permission.

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