Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Man With Many Aliases... (Convict Interred at Boot Hill Cemetery)

Hello Friends,

We bring you the case of a young man who not only enlisted to fight in World War 1, but led a troubled life before and after. This is our twenty-second blog about the convicts buried at the old B.C. Penitentiary Cemetery in New Westminster, B.C. which was used between 1913 and 1967. The penitentiary closed and was razed in 1980. The cemetery, nicknamed "Boot Hill" most likely by the inmates, survived; and although it was hidden from the public for many decades, today it is accessible; and is believed to be "haunted". It underwent a facelift and now is fashioned with new stones, brambles removed, and has plaques for explanation standing at the southern end of the small acre.

Meet Convict #3448 - Frank Wilson:
Photo by Kati - (lower section, 2nd row from bottom)
taken 2016, January

Our convict search presented a puzzle. Who was Frank Wilson? There were multiple cases in the newspapers of men carrying the same name; but a Government document was the tip that opened up an entire world, and led to the man who is interred in the small cemetery.
Courtesy BC Archives - Wilson, Frank (deceased May 12, 1930)
Death Certificate
The Death Certificate (above) of Frank Wilson indicates his correct name was either Alfred or Norman Bradley. Just knowing this piece of information was enough to begin what turned out to be a rather lengthy search. I discovered his date of birth was incorrect by two years (listed as 1877, correct year is 1879); but without any family information, I had to dig deep. Using the occupation listed (journalist), and the name of Bradley, I found our man.

Norman Arthur Bradley was born in San Francisco on February 18, 1879 to John Alfred Bradley and Lydia Eliza Bradley. They had 4 other children by the time Norman came into the world: John (1867), Mary (1869), Ernest (1872) and Percy (1874).
At his birth, Norman's mother Lydia (1846), born in London England; was at the age of 33. His father, John (1836), descended from Ireland, was 43 years old, and worked in the mining industry.
How and when the family arrived in the U.S.A. is not clear; but records show they lived in Australia at the time of John and Mary's birth (1867-1869), and 3 years later in San Francisco for Ernest's birth; then in Portland, Oregon when Percy was born (1874), and back to San Francisco, California at the time of Norman's birth.

The 1890 Canadian Census found the family living in Victoria, B.C. eventually settling in a building on Yates Street, just a few blocks from the downtown area in the capital city of the Province. In 1897 the city directories indicated Norman was an electrician, his father was in the mining industry, and his sister a teacher at a school earning $70/monthly, while his brothers were clerks at various employments on Government Street.

Over the course of the search, I learned Norman used several aliases: Alfred Bradley (the middle name of his father & oldest brother), Arthur Bradley (his own middle name), Arthur Braden (found in the US newspapers), Walter Bradley (mistaken identity case in Victoria/Vancouver), Victor Spencer (a Victoria War hero & from a prominent family), Wilkinson, Pemberton, and Frank Wilson. If there were more, I have not uncovered them.

The first record in the newspapers came in 1899.
Courtesy - Victoria Daily Times (Jun.28, 1899) pg04
The Steamer Utopia (1893-1922) was owned by the Alaskan Steamship Company until 1903, which ran between Seattle and Alaska during the gold rush era. She caught fire in 1898 on route to Alaska, and survived. She was used on short runs in the Puget Sound area during the time Norman was noted to have been arrested for stealing.

I wanted to understand Norman's arrest, and found more information under the name "Arthur Braden" in a Seattle, Washington newspaper.
Courtesy - Seattle Post-Intelligencer (May 15, 1899) pg12
Not only does the American newspaper indicate his well dressed manner, but he appears to be "known" to the Seattle police. I wonder if they knew his true name? I searched records of the Washington State Archives to see if there was anything stating Norman ever having served time in prison, but came up empty.
Courtesy - Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Jun.28, 1899) pg07
I could not find any further information reported in the Washington newspapers. So, what happened to Norman because of his arrest?
Courtesy - Daily Colonist (Jul.16, 1899)
Victoria, BC
Courtesy UBC Open Collections - Victoria City Directory (circa 1906);
Bee Hive Saloon was at Fort & Broad Streets, Victoria BC;
Shallcross & Co was in Bastion Square, Victoria BC.
At the age of 20, Norman is sentenced to one year in jail (gaol) for stealing 700+ cigars at Shallcross & Co, plus the theft at the Bee Hive Saloon. The Victoria Daily Times had mentioned "suspicion of other crimes", which I assumed was the Bee Hive incident. Most likely Norman served his sentence at the Victoria Gaol in Bastion Square (1858); although there was another institute in the city, Hillside Gaol (1885-1912), which also housed prisoners.

Norman's criminal history had begun.
Courtesy BC Archives - Victoria's Gaol @ Bastion Square (1870)
The charge against theft of the valice while aboard the Utopia, was dropped. There was no proof to tie him to this incident.
However, we found some information about the steamer he took to get to Seattle from Victoria, B.C. and realized how easy it would be for him to have taken regular trips. Today, a ferry trip takes approximately 2 hours 45 minutes between the two cities. This covers approximately 90.9 miles through the Salish Sea and Puget Sound waters.
Research found The Utopia Steamer was part of the Mosquito Fleet
running in Puget Sound.
Norman spent a year in jail; but not long after his release, he was in the news again. This time he was using "Alfred" Bradley as his name.
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Aug.21, 1900) pg07
Courtesy - Province (Aug.21, 1900) pg10
The reports came in that Alfred Bradley (Norman) had been working on board the steamship Amur, which ran between Victoria, B.C. and Skagway, Alaska. Funds began to disappear and on a stop in Vancouver, B.C. before heading home, the police scrambled aboard to arrest him. He had been suspected of the theft. However, Bradley had disappeared. The newspapers gave slightly different accounts. While one indicated he had taken a train to Seattle, Wa.; another stated he had been a waiter, and during a short strike in Skagway, Alaska he vanished. Never the less, Norman was not found on board.
Courtesy - San Francisco Chronicle (Aug.22, 1900) pg03
Courtesy - San Francisco Examiner (Aug.22, 1900) pg09
It appeared that Norman was never caught, but did he disappear in Skagway or at the wharf in Vancouver? The theft reported $100 to $1000 was taken in all, plus a watch and some clothing/trinkets. I could not locate articles telling us of the outcome, at least nothing from 1900. A notice to arrest him had been served. The San Francisco Chronicle went as far as to indicate that his friends had volunteered to cover his debt, believing he was an honest fellow. Perhaps charges were dropped after the debt was paid?

A year later, Norman Bradley is in the news again; however, this time he was mentioned under the alias of "Walter" Bradley.
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Sep.21, 1901) pg05
Courtesy - Victoria Daily Times (Sep.21, 1901) pg01
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Sep.21, 1901) pg08
Norman was taken into custody at the Dougall House bar, and sentenced to 3 months for theft. He stole a watch and chain that had a half sovereign (old British coin) attached; however, the police suspected him of further activities. He was also accused of robbing the cash til at Bloomingfield Restaurant, passing a counterfeit cheque at the Savoy, and was wanted in Tacoma, Wa. after they received a photograph from the U.S. authorities.

During his three month sentence in the New Westminster Jail, another case came forward.
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Oct.17, 1901) pg08
Courtesy - Vancouver Daily World (Oct.18, 1901) pg08
Norman was found to have represented himself as a local hero of Victoria, B.C., Colonel Victor Spencer, in order to ask for funds from people who knew the respected man. The Victoria police advised Vancouver of his true name and that he was No. 5 in their collection of mug shots for identification purposes. Victor (1882-1960) was a celebrated native of Victoria.
Some information from the City of Vancouver Archives was found:
Courtesy Vancouver City Archives -
Colonel Joseph Victor Norman Spencer (1882-1960)
A description of Victor was found on his Attestation Papers from World War 1.

Courtesy Find A Grave, and Library & Archives Canada
We later find out that Norman, although similar in appearance, was actually shorter than Victor, and his eyes were blue in colour. But we'll get to that further on.

I could not locate any documentation to tell me of the sentence for impersonating Victor. One can only guess at this stage, based on information going forward.

Nothing further was written about Norman in the Canadian newspapers until 1904; however, I did find a document in the Washington State archives that may be our convict. I could not locate a newspaper article to go with it.
Courtesy Washington State Archives - Frank Bradley, Burglary (Jan.04, 1902)
A Frank Bradley had been arrested and convicted in the Justice of the Peace Court, Pierce County, Washington State on January 04th, 1902. The description of the man was very close to Norman's. As we have learned Norman bends the truth about whom he is; we can make an assumption that perhaps this is him. Or is it? We do not have any further documentation to confirm this. Nevertheless, it is interesting, and would tell us Norman's sentence was perhaps to the end of 1901, and that he fled south across the border. Pierce County is approximately 54 miles south of Seattle, Washington; and we know Norman is someone of interest to the Tacoma police.

In September 1902, news broke out in Victoria, B.C. that Norman's father, John A. Bradley, died. On August 14th, in Cook's Inlet, Alaska, the well-known and respected prospector/miner met his end. Because of the remote area, hearing about the death was delayed. Norman's brother Ernest, an Assistant City Clerk, received the news via a letter written by a family friend who was with John at the time. They were travelling on the Bradley river (named after John) intending to prospect the shoals above the canyon; when they hit rough water and a downed tree (30 feet long in description) struck the boat, and turned it over. Both men found themselves in the water, and fought against the cold current. While John's companion eventually made it to land, he did not. His body was never recovered. The boat was found miles downriver, overturned.
The newspaper also stated the following:
Courtesy - Victoria Daily Times (Sep.29, 1902) pg02
It claims N.A. Bradley was in Panama, which we know is not true. At this stage I began to realize that the family may have disowned Norman. Perhaps this was the story they told their friends, so as not to bring shame upon the family?

In May 1904, Norman was caught again for impersonation of Colonel Victor Spencer, among theft charges. This time he was sentenced to 3 years in the Provincial Penitentiary, known as the B.C. Pen. The newspapers on Vancouver Island and in Vancouver had a field day with articles about what had happened. Norman now had to own up to his name, and his family.
Courtesy - The Province (May 13, 1904) pg01
Courtesy - Victoria Daily Times (May 13, 1904) pg01
Courtesy - The Province (May 16, 1904) pg01
Courtesy - Nanaimo Daily News
(May 17, 1904) pg02
Courtesy - The Province
(May 17, 1904) pg01
So what actually occurred? I'll sum it up. Norman was arrested in New Westminster for vagrancy. He was then transported to the Vancouver police on charges of theft and obtaining money under false pretences. At 11 am he was brought into court. He pled guilty to a theft charge of taking a dictionary from Dr. Tavish, and was remanded for sentencing. The other charges were for theft of a coat and a watch, and for obtaining loans totalling approximately $100 from business men while pretending to be Colonel Victor Spencer. When he was stripped of his belongings, the police found letters from his sister (who was living in Wenatchee, Washington), as well as ladies underwear and an address of a woman living in New Westminster.

The Vancouver Police had been searching 3 days for Norman. News of his arrest spread to the Island, and Colonel Spencer advised he would come to Vancouver to attend the court proceedings.
A mention was made of Norman getting away with similar fraud transactions, while impersonating Mr. Spencer, during a time in Nanaimo a short while back. The error was spotted by the two business men, but he had already slipped away. 

On May 16th, 1904, Norman was in court to answer to 7 charges of theft, and impersonation. Victor Spencer had arrived from Victoria to prosecute Norman. The description given in the newspapers was that Norman and Victor could have been twins, but also pointed out that Victor was taller. Mr. Spencer mentioned that this wasn't the first time Norman attempted to impersonate him. He had been presented with several bills of goods, and was often asked to settle accounts he had not been made aware of. The appearance in court was the first time the two men met.
Norman pled guilty to all charges but for the one of stealing an overcoat from the Palace Hotel. When it was proven that he had sold it to a 2nd hand dealer, who identified him, Norman made no defence.
The newspapers described Norman as being "downcast" and believed luck was against him. He even commented that he had been drinking heavily, which caused trouble with his memory.

On May 17th, 1904, Norman was sentenced to 3 years of hard labour. The theft charges brought a sentence of 3 months each, which added up to a year. He also received 2 years sentence for impersonating Victor Spencer. The judge concluded by telling Norman he was a "thoroughly bad young man", and as he didn't learn his lesson previously, was good reason to make his judgement a harsh one.
With this, Norman Bradley was sent to the B.C. Penitentiary.

We hear nothing about Norman again until he enlisted in the army during World War 1.

Courtesy Library & Archives Canada - Attestation Paper
signed Nov.30, 1915
Here is where I gained a picture of Norman's appearance. He was described as being 5' 9 1/2" tall, of ruddy complexion (used to describe a person's face, having a healthy red color), with blue eyes and fair hair. His chest measured 34 1/2" around. In all he was consider fit for the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force. The document goes further to explain he had a scar on his right knee from burns (the discharge documents indicated the scar was on his left leg due to burns 25 years prior - age 15). Norman's religious beliefs were that of Roman Catholic.
Courtesy Library & Archives Canada - Attestation Paper
signed Nov.30, 1915
The attestation documents also indicated that Norman had been living on Rock Bay Ave, the address of his mother's. He named her as next-of-kin. Also indicated was his birthdate of Feb.18, 1879. This is where I learned his Death Certificate had indicated the incorrect year. Under Trade/Calling, he listed "Reporter". Another indication that his Death Certificate confirmed. I have to wonder if he really was a reporter/journalist, or was something he simply told people?

From here Norman was shipped out to England. I located further war documents to confirm what had happened to him. I took the interesting and important parts to share with you:
Courtesy Library & Archives Canada - Medical Report, Overseas Board
Nov.21, 1918
Courtesy Library & Archives Canada - Neurological Report
Shaughnessy Military Hospital, Vancouver BC
Jun.26, 1919
Courtesy Library & Archives Canada - Discharge Certificate
Jul.31, 1919
In summing up Norman's War records, he arrived in England in May 1916. He was treated for syphilis, which he had contracted over 12 years prior. His throat became sore and caused a husky voice. He was reinfected in 1917, and was treated in Rochester Row in Westminster, London, UK. Norman also claimed to have suffered from loss of memory in September 1917, to February 1918. In March 1918, Norman spent time in a military hospital in Moore Barracks, Shorncliffe Army Camp in Kent, UK, due to syphilis. He was then transferred to Etchinghill in Kent, UK that same month, diagnosed with cerebrospinal syphilis, where he received treatment. In April 1918, he developed iritis (inflammation of the iris which can cause blindness) and was transferred to Westcliffe, Kent, UK. He was discharged in mid May 1918, and admitted to Special Division Military Hospital in Chiseldon, Wiltshire, UK, where he received treatment until June 1st, 1918. From July 22 to August 02nd, 1918, he received treatment in the No. 14 Canadian General Hospital, Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK.

By July 1919, Norman was back in Canada and rested in the Shaughnessy Military Hospital in Vancouver, B.C. It was a fairly new hospital (opened in 1917 & closed 1944), serving as a convalescent home for First World War veterans. His reports indicated that iritis was in both eyes; however, his venereal disease had been cured.
In the June 26th, 1919, Shaughnessy report it described Norman as "tall, thin man of thirty-nine, looks is somewhat pale and dull. He appears to be below weight but states that he is within ten lbs of normal."
It goes on to explain that his overseas service was comprised of 2 years of "very disorderly conduct", that he was never sent to France (the front lines), had been "very intemperate" (lack of self control, excessive indulgence in alcohol), was A.W.L. (same as AWOL - missing) for months, held for trial at times, treated for syphilis for months and finally returned to Canada. The report also goes on to indicate that Norman lied about loss of memory, and had been engaged in journalism for years (this is interesting).
The Neurologist who wrote the report concluded that Norman was of constitutional neurasthenic (symptoms of depression, anxiety & mainly fatigue) and suggests an early possibility of general Paresis (also known as  general paralysis of the insane or paralytic dementia, is a severe neuropsychiatric disorder, an organic mental disorder). He also indicated that further treatment at the hospital was not necessary, and that his condition was not due to Service and should be reported as a mental defective for further supervision at a later period.
Norman had not been on active duty in World War 1. Instead, he had been active in other ways that were frowned upon. He spent the majority of his time in England at the hospitals and went missing on numerous occasions.

Norman was discharged from the Army in July 1919. A document signed by him (Jul.25, 1919) indicates he requested transportation to Victoria, B.C. A notation in the medical records show Norman parted for Esquimalt (on Vancouver Island near Victoria) on November 02, 1919.
Another document leads us to believe that Norman's previous medical records did not show any illnesses until he was shipped to England, when his complaints began. They also suggested his disappearances and trouble with the army, were perhaps because he had been depressed about his syphilis, loss of father, and loss of a brother.

I learned that Norman's brother, Percy, passed away suddenly in Victoria, B.C. due to cerebral hemorrhage, in 1916.
Courtesy & B.C. Archives - June 2016
Norman next appeared in the newspapers just under a year after his discharge from the army.
Courtesy  - Daily Colonist (Apr.08, 1920)
Attempting to pass a worthless cheque, Norman was charged in Victoria, B.C. He pled not guilty.
I could not locate an article to follow up on this, and therefore cannot determine if he was sentenced or let go.
However, just under a year later, Norman is back in front of a judge. This time he was sentenced to 3 months in jail.
Courtesy - Victoria Daily Times (Mar.24, 1921) pg08
The story is interesting, that he was caught and charged for vagrancy on Mar.19th, then brought before the court and remanded on his own recognizances until the following Monday; but given a "cordial invitation" to clear out of the city. Norman pled not guilty. So, they let him go, telling him his case was to be heard on the Monday and suggested he leave the city. The police indicated that he was a drug addict, while the Judge advised his only other option would be prison so that he may get treatment. Well, Norman didn't leave town; so on the following Monday, the police arrested him, he appeared before the Judge and was sentenced. He claimed he was trying to find out about some shares in a mining company worth $1000, but they appear to have been worthless.
Norman is sentenced to Oakalla Prison in Burnaby, B.C.

The 1921, Canada Census of Oakalla Prison Farm, shows Norman Bradley, journalist, at 42 years of age as a prisoner.

In July 1921, Norman was back on the streets; this time in Vancouver. He found, as was his claim, a sack of rice which was stolen from a Japanese merchant. The police didn't believe him. Norman pled with the court to let him leave town within 24 hours. The Judge decided it wasn't enough to warrant a conviction, held him for a day, and asked the police to make sure that Norman left for Victoria. They basically kicked him out of town. The curious part of the newspaper item below, is what the Judge says about him.
Courtesy - Vancouver Sun (Jul.28, 1921) pg03
Judge Shaw indicates that Arthur (this of course is Norman), "could make a position on any paper in Canada - a wonderful writer and a man with a splendid brain, but it is all dashed to the ground through the drug habit". This confirmed Norman's "journalist/reporter" claim of occupation over the years. Perhaps this is something Norman was going to pursue, but then things went wrong for him?

Did Norman experience depression partially because of the syphilis? Signs of the illness are rashes, swollen glands, fever, sores in mouth and genital area, weight loss, headache and extreme tiredness. In the early 1900's there was no known cure, and it was suggested to be a social disease or "lady's disease" (considering prostitutes often caught it). There was a link made in the 2nd decade of the century, with mental disabilities and syphilis, when left untreated. The road to a cure was not found until later in that decade. Knowing Norman had indicated he had this disease at least 12 years prior to enlisting, had it already affected his mind? Possibly. His treatment, according to medical documents found in his war records, indicate the Wasserman test (1st blood test for syphilis) was used, as well as mercury.

Norman had not only been asked to leave Victoria in 1920, but also Vancouver in 1921. What did he decide to do?
I found him back in his home town of Victoria, B.C.; once again in trouble with the law.
Courtesy - Victoria Daily Times (Sep.06, 1921) pg04
Courtesy - Victoria Daily Times (Sep.07, 1921) pg04
Norman was charged with theft of a bicycle, and due to his previous record, was sentenced to 1 year of hard labour. In court, Norman mentioned that he had "served" in the army for 4 years. It is not clear if this affected his sentence or not. Which jail he serves his sentence isn't mentioned.

It is 2 years later that I found Norman, under the name of "Arthur", in trouble again. He was caught and sentenced to 18 months in Oakalla Prison for drug possession, or asked to pay a fine of $1000.00. This is valued at $14,500 in 2019. I am sure he could not afford such a hefty fine.
Courtesy - Vancouver Sun (Jun.13, 1923) pg09
Oakalla Prison was built in 1912 and razed in 1991. It opened on September 02, 1912, in Burnaby B.C. on a site overlooking Deer Lake. The name referred to the Royal Oak neighbourhood in which it was located. 44 hangings took place at the Prison between 1919-1959. It was also considered a farm where inmates would toil all day on the land well into the 1970's. They also manufactured car licence plates during 1930-1975. It was chronically overcrowded, and at its fullest, held 1269 inmates.
Courtesy Vancouver City Archives - Prison Cell at Oakalla
(circa 1940-1945)
When I look at the photo of the prison cell, it reminds me of my visit to San Francisco's Alcatraz. Made with cement, iron and metal; a small space with a toilet, metal bed and sink, locked up by iron bars. I remember standing in one of the D Block cells (isolation cells) and when that door closed, how everything else disappeared. You only had your thoughts.

On January 01, 1924, Norman's mother, Lydia Eliza Bradley, at the age of 78 years old, died. Her passing did not mention Norman as one of her sons. At this time, Norman was within the prison system. Previously, in 1902, when his father went missing and assumed as drowned, the mention of Norman was described as being in Panama. The article below has me believing that Norman was the outcast of the family, and by the time of his mother's passing, he was alienated.
Courtesy - Victoria Daily Times (Jan.02, 1924) pg09
In November 1924, shortly after Norman's release, I found a border crossing document which is rather interesting:
Courtesy - Border Crossing at Blaine, Washington
(Nov.21, 1924)
The document confirms Norman's birth in San Francisco, his height being 5' 10 1/4", blue eyes, gray hair with a sallow complexion. He was 42 years old. It also confirmed his profession as journalist, and indicated his race as Irish (his father's genealogy). He had $1.60 on him (valued at $23.45 today), and travelled by foot on the highway. It is 52.2 kms (32.4 miles) from Vancouver to the Blaine, WA border crossing. Did he walk all the way? Perhaps hitchhike? Norman's reason was to purchase cigarettes and indicated he'd only be in the U.S.A. for part of the day. He listed his brother Ernest as closest relative.
The comments from the border agency indicate he was "Rejected as Mentally Def (Narcotic Add & LPC)". I'm not sure what the LPC means, but the narcotic addiction was described as mild. Nevertheless, his passage into the U.S.A. was denied, or as they put it on the document, "debarred".

In July 1925, Norman was accused of extortion. Wait.. what? This crime showcased his writing skills. Ok, that has me interested.
Courtesy - Province (Jul.28, 1925) pg10
Courtesy - Province (Jul.29, 1925) pg10
Courtesy - Vancouver Sun (Jul.29, 1925) pg 03
Norman used his aliases, Arthur Bradley and Wilson. He was now labelled a blackmailer. But how did this happen?

The newspaper reports announced that an attempt to gain $2000 from a Japanese Cooperative Bank (at Dunlevy Ave and Powell Street, area known as "Japantown"), and from the Japanese Lodging House Association was made via a letter.
An "unidentified" man thrusted a plain envelope into the teller's cage. He left before they could make an accurate description. Once the bank officials took hold of the letter, they noted it had been addressed to their business and to the lodging-house keepers of the Japanese quarter. Inside was a letter which stated that he, the writer, was connected with an association that had investigated the deplorable conditions of the rooming-houses. It went on to claim it had cost the association $10,000; however they were willing to forgive this with a payment of $2000 and that the rooming-houses must be cleaned up. If the terms were not met, the situation would be reported throughout Europe and Canada, and penalties meted out to the members of the Japanese Association. The letter went on to ask the funds be put into a small leather bag, and deposited on the steps of a church at Dunlevy Ave and Keefer Street by 11 am that same day. It was signed by "Chief in Command, Society Protective Association of Europe and Canada".

The Japanese bankers immediately contacted the police, and Inspector Jewitt was sent to investigate. He advised them to put a fake package together and have a messenger deliver it. Detective R.S. Quirk was sent to the church, a few hours prior to the delivery time, and secured a hiding place. Minutes before 11 am, the messenger arrived at the church in a vehicle, dropped off the parcel, and left in haste. Bradley was witnessed walking quickly, seizing the bag. As he was about to leave, the detective stopped him, and placed him under arrest.

Norman Bradley was brought before the court with the formal charge of blackmail. He was remanded to August 12th.
Courtesy - Vancouver Sun (Aug.12, 1925) pg01
It was reported that Norman, known as "Arthur Bradley", represented himself at his court appearance. He elected for a preliminary hearing and announced that he was seeking a trial by jury.
His case was brought before the courts on Monday, October 5, 1925.
Courtesy - Vancouver Sun (Oct.09, 1925) pg16
At court, Norman was found guilty. It was described that the jury didn't have to go into sequester, but ruled from their seats. All evidence pointed towards Bradley. He was held in jail until sentencing in November.
Courtesy - Province (Nov.17, 1925) pg22
Courtesy - Vancouver Sun (Nov.17, 1925) pg16
On November 17, 1925, Norman is sentenced to 3 years in the penitentiary. The Judge explained that an alienist (psychiatrist who examines the competences of defendants), Dr. Steeves, had examined the accused prior to sentencing. He indicated to Bradley that perhaps his sentence would keep him away from temptation.

Prison, however, did not cure Norman of his ways. Directly after his release, he was before the court again.
Courtesy - Province (May 05, 1928) pg02
Although theft of fountain pens and pencils may seem petty, they were valued at $25. In today's money that is worth $363.00. Norman, known as "Arthur" at the time, was caught stealing from B. Tokai's store on Powell Street and sentenced to 6 months in jail.

Norman's story is not over. He was caught one more time before his death. This time using the alias of "Frank Wilson".
Courtesy - Province (Dec.11, 1928) pg01
Courtesy - Vancouver Sun (Dec.11, 1928) pg20
Courtesy - Province (Dec.15, 1928) pg01
Norman, aka "Frank Wilson", was charged with theft of $350.00, which is worth $5075.00 today. He was accused of steeling the funds from A. McNulty, a Scottish man who had been saving to bring his children over to Canada. McNulty's wife had passed away in May 1928. It was all he had.

The report indicated a man entered McNulty's room (at the Cascade Rooms), while he slept, and seized money which had been wrapped in a handkerchief, then fled. McNulty went in pursuit, after placing a call to the police. He was dressed only in his underwear. The chase led along Powell Street and into a barber shop, then a bath house. Wilson was found hiding in an empty bath. He handed McNulty $2.00, which he claimed was all he had taken, then ran out of the baths and down Hastings Street. Sergeant R. Munro arrived on the scene and gave chase. The Sergeant caught up to Wilson (Norman) on Hastings Street heading west, and put him under arrest.
Courtesy Google Maps - Theft & route of Escape
Courtesy - Vancouver Sun (Aur.14, 1922)
Ad of Eureka Rooms
Above is a map I've put together of the theft Norman committed, starting at the Cascade Rooms, with the route he took in an attempt to flee.
Below the map is an ad found in a 1922, Vancouver newspaper, describing the Eureka Rooms, where Norman reportedly lived. This rooming house was further east from the map, by a few blocks, in a multicultural area of the city, considered lower class.

Norman was brought before the Judge the following Wednesday, and sentenced to two years in the B.C. Penitentiary for theft. McNulty's testimony and identification of Bradley, was enough to render him guilty. As only $2.00 was recovered, the police believed the remaining funds were thrown away during the chase.

Courtesy New Westminster Archives -
Aerial of B.C. Penitentiary (circa 1981)
It is in B.C. Penitentiary that Norman Bradley finds his end. On May 12, 1930 at 10:05 am, Norman dies of Pulmonary Tuberculosis (a bacteria, highly contagious, carried through the air. Symptoms: coughing, chest pain, and coughing up blood or mucus from deep within the lungs). The Death Certificate indicates Norman had this disease for at least 8 months. He was buried in the B.C. Penitentiary, nicknamed Boot Hill by inmates, on May 14, 1930.

Here is where the story of Norman Bradley ends. I wonder how it all began, why he chose a life of crime, and if his syphilis, depression and early signs of dementia carried a big weight in all of his life decisions.
Nevertheless, respect is given to this convict, who is buried in the small acreage overlooking the Fraser River. His family left him behind, probably for good reason. He must have been lonely, but was he afraid? There are no answers.

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 B.C. Penitentiary 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

Until next time,
Sources: B.C. Archives;;; B.C. City Directories; Library and Archives Canada; the British Colonist; San Francisco Directory; Washington State Archives;; UBC Library Open Collections; Victoria City Archives; the Discover Blog; Wikipedia; City of Vancouver Archives;; New Westminster Archives.

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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