Non-Traditional

Bootlegging in Arkansas

Charlie Frazier was once known as the most notorious criminal in the Southwest and Officer Hence Giles was his first victim. Frazier's life of crime is movie-worthy.

Prohibition. The period from January 16, 1920, through December 5, 1933, restricted the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages. This created a “black-market” led by “bootleggers” – people who distilled their own spirits and sold them to the public in the shadows of law enforcement.

During this time, bootlegging was big business – especially in the states like Arkansas where, even today, 33 of the State’s 75 counties are still considered “dry counties”.

Even though it was illegal, everyone seemed to know that Bootlegging was happening. And the bootleggers themselves were well-known to law enforcement – often because they were repeat offenders.

These Bootleggers, like other criminals, have their range of characters as well. Some were simply enterprising businessmen, while others were vicious and violent criminals. This article is about one of the southwest’s most notorious criminals of all time and how a recently hired police officer was one of his many victims while serving their community.

Hence Giles

Henderson (Hence) Cleophas Giles was born in Texarkana, Arkansas on December 11, 1890, to parents Andrew Jackson (Jack) Giles and Martha Whitney. He was the eighth of ten siblings in the Giles family. The Giles family were long-time farmers around Texarkana Arkansas, starting out in Beach Township, Lafayette County during the 1880 census, then moving to Days Creek in Miller County by the 1900 census.

During the 1900 Census, Henderson is living on his family’s farm in Days Creek with his parents and siblings, Joel, Johnny, Richard, and Lawrence. His older brother Henry was married along with his older sisters Mary and Martha. An older brother James died as an infant and an older sister Hattie died at six in 1888.

Ten years later, in 1910, Henderson is still listed at home with his brothers Richard and Onah. Joel married but died in 1911. John would marry and later die in 1961. Richard Marlin would be the last of the siblings to pass away in 1963.

On February 5, 1911, Hence marries Ruth McBride in Texarkana, AR. The two lived just a few houses apart in the 1910 census.

In 1917, Hence is listed as a farmer with a wife, Ruth, and two children, presumably Mattie Marie and Virgil Mack.

WW I Draft Registration Card

As late as 1918, he is still working on a farm when he is injured in a fall down a dry well.

Shreveport Times
Feb 4, 1918

In 1920, Henderson is living in Days Creek with his father, wife, and two children. There are several other Giles and McBride families living in the same area. Here, he’s still listed as a farmer.

Sometime between 1924-1926, three of the Giles brothers leave farming and become servants to the city of Texarkana. Hence joins the Police Department along with his brother Richard Marlin Giles while his brother Onah became a Fireman for the city.

Hence’s wife Ruth passes away at 35 years old on March 31, 1926, due to what appears to be complications from the flu – leaving Hence a single father of two young children. Mattie is twelve and Virgil is ten.

Less than four months later, at about 6:30am on July 16, 1926, Hence is on patrol and is murdered in cold blood as he attempted to detain three men alleged to be bootleggers. Officer Giles pulled the men over on East Broad Street near the College Hill Viaduct for driving on the wrong side of the road. He saw a quart bottle of liquid, presumably whiskey, and asked to inspect it. As he was inspecting the jar, one of the men grabbed it back, pulled out a revolver, and shot Hence three times – twice through the heart and once in the head – killing him instantly.

Broad St with Hickory St (College Hill) Viaduct

At the time of his death, Officer Giles was reported to be “one of the best men on the force.”

News of the cold-blooded killing spread quickly throughout the region.

The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
July 17, 1926
Durant (OK) Daily Democrat
July 16, 1926
The Eagle, Bryan TX
July 16, 1926
Sapulpa (OK) Herald
July 16, 1926
El Paso Herald, July 17, 1926

Officer Giles was buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery near the farm on which he grew up. It was well attended with over 3,000 mourners.

Shreveport Times
July 19, 1926

News of the funeral was reported as far away as Miami, Florida.

Miami Herald
July 26, 1926

The investigation started immediately and several key suspects were detained – however, nothing was strong enough to take the charges to court.

Kenneth Knox

Down in Shreveport, LA, about 70 miles south of Texarkana, police detain 24-year-old Kenneth Knox on suspicion of murder. Knox maintains his innocence.

The Times, Shreveport (LA)
July 17, 1926
Shreveport (LA) Journal
July 17, 1926
Shreveport Journal
July 18, 1926

At this point, five suspects had been detained in the case with all but two being released. One in custody is the owner of the car that Officer Giles pulled over. The man claims he is innocent because he lent the car to a different person the day before. Police identified the man that borrowed the car and he is the second in custody. Police are still searching for the third man that was seen in the vehicle.

Police now believe they have the vehicle in which the men escaped the scene. That car was found on the outskirts of town.

The Times (Shreveport)
July 20, 1926
1925 Ford Model T Roadster
Model of the vehicle that may have been used

Floyd Dobson

The car in question is believed to be owned by Floyd Dobson, a known bootlegger. During the investigation, it was said that a Mexican National was an eye-witness that identified Dobson.

Shreveport Journal
July 21, 1926
The Times (Shreveport)
July 21, 1926

A week after the killing, three men are now the key suspects – Floyd Dobson, James Sims, and Oliver Lawler.

Shreveport Journal
July 24, 1926

After the Dobson preliminary hearing, Simms and Lawler were discharged.

The Times (Shreveport)
July 29, 1926

And after further investigation, it’s believed that Dobson was not the shooter either – but he’s not released just yet. A $1,000 reward ($15k in 2022 dollars) is now being offered for information that leads to the capture and conviction of the killer.

Shreveport Journal
August 5, 1926

Dobson continues to profess his innocence. Circumstantial evidence points to Dobson as the shooter, but police are hesitant to close the case.

Marshall (TX) News Messenger
Sept 8, 1926

A concerned citizen turned in a man who had bragged about his shooting skills the day Officer Giles was shot. His actions led police to detain him, but he was later released.

Fort Worth Star
Sept 18, 1926

In October 1926, after three months of being detained, Floyd Dobson is finally free on bail and continues to deny any involvement in the murder.

The Times (Shreveport)
October 4, 1926

While out on bail, in July 1927, Dobson returned to his old ways and was once again arrested for bootlegging when police raided his property and confiscated a 200-gallon still.

The Times (Shreveport)
July 12, 1927

Charlie Frazier

A major break in the case comes in January 1928 when police capture an escaped felon, Eldridge Robertson Johnson, aka Charlie Frazier.

But Frazier’s story started long before the Giles murder. In fact, his initial run-in with the law was a decade earlier in December 1916 when he was sentenced to three years in jail for robbery. During his time in prison, he was far from a model prisoner. He was involved in a couple of fights and escaped on three different occasions. He served his entire term, and then some, and was released on Feb 23, 1920.

Much later in life, Frazier claims that he was jailed for a crime he did not commit.

He either cleaned up his act or his crimes went totally undetected until May 1926 – just two months prior to the Giles murder. That’s when he was jailed again when he was convicted of robbery in Jefferson, Marion County, Texas, and sent to the Ferguson Prison Farm in Midway, TX. His sentence is 25-years, plus another 8 for a separate burglary and another 5 for stealing a car.

Fort Worth Star
May 20, 1926
Ferguson Unit, Midway Texas

Frazier escaped just over a month later on July 11, 1926. This marks his fourth escape from prison.

He and another escapee, Harve Ennis, returned to Midway on July 22 in a plot to free six additional convicts. During the escape, a prison guard, Will Rader, was killed and Frazier and Ennis were successful in freeing the other six convicts. There’s no proof as to who killed the officer, but it’s later reported that Charles “Stoney” Frazier was the shooter.

Frazier was on the run for a few months and was finally captured in Columbia, TN on Oct 11, 1926,. He was then sent to the more secure Texas State Prison in Huntsville.

Now, he was back to serving his original 25-year+13 sentence for armed robbery in Jefferson, TX. Oddly, there’s no mention of his escape or murder charges – or additional time required for those offenses.

Texas State Prison – Huntsville

After being jailed for just over a year, on October 13, 1927, Frazier and four other inmates, including a convicted murderer, Milt Good, tunneled out of the Huntsville prison (Escape #5). Their freedom didn’t last long, however. They were trailed by bloodhounds and quickly captured and sent back to prison the next day.

Corpus Christi Caller
Oct 14, 1927

Then again, another year later, on December 26, 1927, he and two others sawed through the bars of their cell in the hospital ward, then made their way to the electrical boxes where they cut the power to the prison – darkening the entire facility at 4:30am. They then used a rope ladder to climb over the walls to freedom (Escape #6).

After just four days on the run, on December 30th, the men were captured in Linden, TX. They were held in the local jail as they prepared to be transferred back to Huntsville.

Longview (TX) News-Journal
Dec 31, 1927

On January 2, 1928, the men and their guard boarded a train for Huntsville. The trio was allegedly handcuffed together when they attacked the prison guard and knocked him unconscious. They grabbed his gun and keys and held the other passengers at bay. After unlocking their handcuffs, they pulled the emergency cord and jumped from the train (Escape #7).

Within a day, one of the prisoners was already back in custody, but Frazier and one other remained free.

Fort Worth Record
Jan 3, 1928

A week later, Frazier was asleep in an automobile in Lewisville, AR when a deputy approached him. The two traded multiple gunshots before the deputy finally captured the escaped convict. On him, Frazier carried a weapon marked “Texas State Prison”, which was tied back to the prison guard from the train.

Fort Worth Telegram
Jan 10, 1928

Lewisville is about 30 miles east of Texarkana so Frazier was taken to the Miller County Prison in Texarkana on January 10th. He claims his name is Clarence Akins – even though his fingerprints match those of Charlie Frazier.

During this investigation, police were informed that Frazier told another cellmate that he killed Giles when he was on the run previously. If you look back at the dates, Frazier was on the run when Officer Giles was murdered.

Dobson’s attorney’s added that the fingerprints on the whiskey jar that was being examined by Giles contained fingerprints that matched Frazier’s.

While in jail in Texarkana, witnesses including Texarkana Police Officer Mose Letcher, identified Frazier as being in the area during the murder and being connected to the vehicle that was used to escape the scene. He’s officially charged with the Giles murder on January 28, 1928.

The Marshall (TX) News
Jan 28, 1928
The Times (Shreveport)
Feb 3, 1928

In spite of the circumstantial evidence mounting against him, several witnesses that were called to the stand during the preliminary trial said that they could not positively identify Frazier as the shooter. Still, he’s held in custody.

Abeline (TX) Reporter
Feb 3, 1928

On March 17, 1928, just two months after his capture, Frazier escapes from the Miller County Jail. He and two others saw through the bars of their cell on the third floor and escape down a rope made of blankets (Escape #8).

Shreveport Journal
March 17, 1928
The Times (Shreveport)
March 18, 1928

Frazier is once again captured on July 6, 1928, in the woods near the Arkansas/Texas border. Now, it’s determined that while on the run this time, he murdered another lawman, Constable Roy Sellman of Foreman, AR on June 19th. Sellman was trying to arrest Frazier for selling alcohol to some “negroes who were holding some kind of celebration or party at the close of their 19th of June celebration.” Today, that holiday is known as Juneteenth – a day that marks the end of slavery. Galveston, Texas is credited with the origination of the holiday in 1865.

If you didn’t notice, this attack was very similar to what happened to Officer Giles.

McCurtain Gazette (Idabel, OK)
July 7, 1928

Frazier was quickly sent to trial. Within three weeks of his most recent capture, he took the stand in his defense and admitted to escaping from Huntsville twice. However, he denied the accusations that he killed Prison Guard Rader in Midway and also denied killing Officer Giles. After a quick trial and deliberation, Charlie Frazier is sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Constable Sellman. He’s also still awaiting trial in the Giles cases.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
July 26, 1928

On December 23, 1932, Frazier’s Life Sentence is commuted to just 21 years. Then, a week later, Governor Harvey Parnell inexplicably issued 10-day parole for Frazier – maybe to save him the embarrassment of another escape??? How can you possibly grant parole to someone who has already escaped prison eight times? And who is guilty of killing one law enforcement agent (Sellman), awaiting trial for another (Giles), and was involved in another (Rader)?

Not surprisingly, Frazier fails to report after the 10 days and is now declared a fugitive (Escape #9). During his time on the streets, crime in Texarkana spikes. A witness identified Frazier and another man as the men who kidnapped him and stole his car.

Shreveport Journal
Feb 4, 1933

Still on the run, on Feb 6, 1933, Frazier and two other escapees rob a bank in Plain Dealing, LA. Two of the men were shot in the holdup – with one succumbing to his injuries while in the hospital. Again, Frazier avoids capture.

Shreveport Journal
Feb 6, 1933

Days later, a freak snowstorm and frigid weather did him in. With no place to go, he knocked on the door of a cabin a few miles east of Belcher in Caddo Parish, LA to see if they would let him in to warm up. The tenant refused and called the police. Footprints in the snow were tracked and Frazier was back in custody at gunpoint once again. It was reported that he had used several aliases over the years, including Ed Johnson, Will Holman, and Charles Roberts. Charles Roberts was wanted for a bank robbery in Texas in 1925.

While in prison in the Caddo Parrish Jail, Frazier’s cell is checked three times per day for any contraband or signs of escape. On one check, they found that he had nearly sawed off the lock on his door cell – coming within 1/8 inch. He used a razor blade to slowly cut through the metal, then backfilled it with soap to avoid detection.

Frazier received another speedy trial and yet another conviction. On April 12, 1933, he receives 18-28 years for the robbery and a life sentence for attempted murder to start at the end of his 18-28 years.

Shreveport Journal
Apr 12, 1933

Within 30 minutes of the verdict, he’s sent from the Caddo Parrish Jail to the Louisiana State Prison at Angola.

Shreveport Journal
Apr 12, 1933

Escape from Alcatraz (of the South)

In yet another daring and brazen escape, Frazier is free again on September 10, 1933 (Escape #10). During a baseball game, Charlie and eleven other men start firing at the guards. Two guards were killed and several others were wounded before the convicts busted out of Angola, known as the Alcatraz of the South. The two guards that were killed were J.W. Fletcher (allegedly shot by Frazier) and Arnold Davis. A third, Captain John Singleton, was critically wounded and would later die from his injuries. Several convicts were also injured or killed in the escape.

It’s later determined that one of the prison guards was helping Frazier by smuggling guns into the prison for the men.

A posse made up of more than 300 men with orders of “shoot to kill” was sent to capture or kill the escapees.

Several of Frazier’s colleagues get captured shortly after the escape. Many told police that Charlie had been shot in the escape and that gangrene had probably set in by now and his prognosis was not good. One man told investigators that they would have to carry him whenever they moved locations and that when they crossed the Mississippi, they put Charlie on a log and pushed him across.

Still, after weeks of searching, Charlie remained free. Some reports had him robbing banks in different locations, but nothing was corroborated.

New York Daily News

Captured in Boxelder

Finally, on October 13, 1933. Frazier is captured once again. He’s limping when caught, but certainly not in the condition his fellow prisoners had painted him out to be. He’s found in the tiny town of Boxelder, Tx in Red River County after robbing a man at gunpoint and stealing his car. After that car broke down, he attempted to steal another but police quickly apprehended him. With him was a young girl named Dorothy Alzada, aka Dorothy Davis – also a wanted criminal for bank robbery in July 1932.

Fort Worth Star
Oct 14, 1933

Days later, another Frazier accomplice is captured in Clarksville and the two men share a cell in the Clarksville Prison with Davis-Alzada also being held.

Another trial is held, this time in Paris, Texas and Frazier again is convicted and sentenced to another 20 years for robbing three stores in Deport, Tx on October 8th by overtaking the night watchmen and tieing them to a tree.

Wichita Falls (TX) Times
Oct 9, 1933

A subsequent trial added another 25 years to bring his total sentence up to 45 years. And they still had to face more charges in Texas for crimes committed while they were on the loose. Overall, a total of 70 years was handed down before more charges increased the term to life again.

A Failed Attempt

Back in Huntsville, Charlie is undeterred and tries yet again to escape on January 12, 1934. This time, his efforts, along with three others, are thwarted, but not before they bound and gagged two guards.

Over the Wall

Two months later, on March 7th, he’s back at it. Charlie and four others try to overpower the guards to make an escape. This time, Frazier is shot and critically wounded.

Frazier recovers – enough so to engineer yet another escape attempt just four months later on July 22, 1934. He and several others, including Raymond Hamilton and Joe Palmer, both former members of the Clyde Barrow gang (of Bonnie and Clyde fame) hold the guards at bay while they scale the wall and hop in cars on the other side. Frazier allegedly told the two mobsters that go ahead of him over the wall because they were facing the death penalty. The two escaped just before Frazier was shot and fell from the ladder before getting over the wall.

A guard, H.E. George is grazed by a bullet and avoids serious injury. Killed in the botched escape was Whitey Walker, another career criminal.

The escape was documented in “Over the Wall“, a book that was released in 2000.

Coincidently, this is the same day that famed gangster John Dillinger is shot and killed outside a theatre in Chicago.

Frazier Losing His Mind?

In February 1935, Frazier is said to have “blown his top.” He’s insisting that rats have invaded his cell. He’s held on death row even though he’s only serving a life sentence for fear of his escape. Prison officials believe it’s a trick in advance of another escape attempt.

Shreveport Times
Feb 3, 1935

Extradited back to Angola

Frazier is extradited back to Louisiana on October 8, 1936, to face charges of murder for John Singleton during the Angola prison break where 3 guards died. Governor Allred tells Louisiana officials “take him and welcome. I warn you to watch him. He is unquestionably the toughest man in the Texas penitentiary.”

On October 31, 1936, the jury is hopelessly deadlocked and can not come to a verdict. The judge reprimands the jury saying “I am astonished and surprised at you…I must say that you have failed to do your duty.” Frazier wanted to address the jury but the judge promptly shut him down. As the men left, Frazier shouted out “I appreciate the fact that you men have done what you think is your duty.”

Charlie is sent back to Angola to serve his pre-existing term. While there, he becomes a member of the “Red Hat Gang”. This group of “incorrigible” prisoners is required to wear red straw hats when they work in the fields. They are housed in a new wing of Angola that was built after the prison break of 1933.

Red Hat Cell Block – Angola

Shot During a Failed Escape

In August 1938, Frazier again attempts to escape Angola. Guards fire their weapons, shattering his shoulder.

More Charges Ends With Mistrials

After an unsuccessful attempt to petition for a release – or at least a return to Huntsville, Frazier is set to remain in Angola in August 1941. More charges are brought against him in the killing of the two other guards from the Angola escape – Fletcher and Davis.

After years of delays, Frazier is finally retried for the Angola killings. And again, in November 1943, the jury is “hopelessly deadlocked” on a verdict and a mistrial is called.

The Town Talk, Alexandria, LA
Nov 17, 1943

Change of Venue. Change of Outcome.

A third trial for the Angola murder charge took place after a change of venue to Baton Rouge. On January 22, 1945, Frazier is convicted of murder and sentenced, once again, to life in prison. His co-conspirator was set free.

Shreveport Journal
Jan 22, 1945

One Last Escape Attempt

Once again, Charlie tries to escape from Angola in October 1946, and once again he’s shot. This time, he jumps a guard that was transporting him in a truck from the prison hospital back to his camp after his dental appointment. The guard fought off Frazier, then pumped four shots into Frazier’s body. An emergency operation likely saved his life. Fourteen inches of intestines were removed and they removed a bullet from his lungs. The doctor said he had been shot so many times in his criminal career that “his body looks like a pepper box” adding that any one of these recent bullets “would have killed an ordinary man.”

Oct 12, 1946

Still, the Warden believes that Frazier will try to escape as soon as he’s able to walk again.

Charlie Turns Into a Good Guy

By December 1953, Charlie is applying for clemency to have his sentence reduced. He works in the prison making leather goods that he ships to customers throughout the country. As part of a fundraiser, he agrees to donate 20% of the proceeds to a charity run by the Catholic Daughters of America. He also donates a woman’s purse to be auctioned off. His efforts contributed $500 (over $5,000 in 2022 dollars) to the charity.

In February 1954, Charlie asked the community of Opelousas to send him birthday cards to help celebrate his 64th birthday – even though historical records show he would have been only 59. The public responded and Charlie was thankful. He wrote a letter to the editor thanking the citizens of the community for their kind wishes.

Feb 17, 1954

The ladies of the March of Dimes auxiliary ask Charlie to donate some items for their upcoming auction and Charlie happily obliges. The purse later sells for $31 ($333 in 2022 dollars) to a gentleman from Lake Charles, LA.

Feb 21, 1954

In May 1954, State Senator John Doles visits Angola. He meets up with the “mellowed 64-year-old” Frazier. The two met in 1933 when Doles was a teller at the bank in Plain Dealing. At that time, Frazier order him to hit the floor, and Doles obliged. Frazier is now working in the first-aid room in the prison. The two men were cordial to each other and even joked about the interaction.

In July 1955, Frazier receives a pardon from the State of Texas. I’m not sure why they would do that, but Charlie still has time to fulfill in Louisiana and he’s still wanted in Arkansas.

Shreveport Journal
July 29, 1955

In 1957, Lennie Pelafigue of Grand Coteau, LA is circulating a petition to have Frazier freed. The petition, in part, states how Charlie continues to help support charities with his craftsmanship and that “his prison record is unblemished”.

Daily World, Opelousas, LA
July 25, 1957

Charlie, once again overwhelmed by the support of the community, writes another letter to the editor thanking his supporters and seemingly atoning for his sins of the past.

Daily World, Opelousas, LA
Aug 13, 1957

In December 1957, Charlie once again petitions for his release. He said he wanted to “show the young people through my experience that criminals are a sorry and miserable lot…” He claims he won’t be a burden to society because he’s had many job offers and could possibly sell the rights to his story, which he would donate to charity.

Charlie says he spent over 25 years in prison and “more than 12 years in solitary confinement” which he claims is more than others serve for a life sentence. He adds that he is the oldest and longest-held criminal in Angola. In addition to the miserable conditions of solitary, he adds that he “suffered almost every other cruelty known to mankind, including 11 pistol and rifle wounds.” He claims that “none of these wounds was inflicted while attempting to escape, as was reported to the public.” He continued “I have taken all this without a whimper, realizing that I owed an awful debt to society.”

Now, troubled by failing eyesight, he’s become a model prisoner based on the warden’s statements.

Charlie wrote in his plea “many years ago, with deepest regret, I admit to you, to God and all of mankind, that my record was terrible, for which I have suffered the deepest remorseful pain… sir, 25 years are my just dues. But surely there is a time and circumstance when human rights should supersede legal right…”

“I am not a sour and senile old man in this dotage. Time is gradually running out on me and I am so weary of being confined.”

In March 1958, Charlie loses his bid for freedom. The Parole Board rejects his plea in spite of the Governor Earl Long supporting the case saying he thought Frazier “had been punished enough.”

March 14, 1958

Charlie continued to support various charities with his purses.

Dec 12, 1958

In May 1959, Gov Long finally plans on releasing Frazier, now deaf and almost blind. He commuted the sentence to time served and scheduled his release. Still, Charlie was wanted in Arkansas so he’s not 100% free just yet. It was reported that months ago, he won a recommendation for clemency from the governor’s “forgotten man” committee. The committee is made up of prominent citizens, including four former governors, and its purpose is to screen the prisoners to help with overcrowding.

Charlie is Set Free – from Louisiana

One year after being denied Parole, Governor Long commutes Charlie’s sentence to “time served”, effectively making him a free man – as far as Louisiana is concerned.

Earlier in the year, the Governor established a “forgotten man committee” to study overcrowding, parole, and rehabilitation problems. The committee was made up of 100 men, including four former governors. It was their recommendation to commute Charlie’s sentence and the Governor agreed.

Reports say that Charlie had spent more than 40 years in prison and over the past ten years, he’s been a model prisoner. Most of the recent articles about Frazier only mention the Angola prison break in 1933. It seems that his prior crimes had been lost to time or rendered less severe when compared to Angola and the death of three prison guards.

Shreveport Journal
May 25, 1959

Arkansas Tries to Extradite Frazier

Although he’s technically freed, he will be transferred to Arkansas to stand charges – but there’s no specific mention of Officer Giles’ murder – only a reference to killing a peace officer. Regardless, the release is delayed because Charlie is now very ill and is not capable of traveling to Arkansas.

The End of a Notorious Outlaw

Just two months after receiving his pardon from Louisiana, Charlies Frazier succumbs to cancer in the “radium treatment room” of Charity Hospital in New Orleans on July 20, 1959.

July 21, 1959

Even though Frazier was survived by a brother and a sister, they never contacted officials for his body. Instead, he was claimed by a boyhood friend Robert L Barnard, who is now a business executive in New York. It was Barnard who had offered Charlie a job if he were able to win his freedom. He said Frazier “wanted sincerely to accomplish some good before he died. I believed in him. In spite of his record, I thought he was a very fine gentleman.”

Jail Conduct with the final entry (although it’s the wrong date)

Barnard took full responsibility for his body and transferred him via train back to Texas. It was thought that he was cremated, but his headstone is in Restland Memorial Park in Dallas.

Officer Giles was the first murder victim for Frazier, but unfortunately not his last. While Charlie never was tried for the murder of Officer Giles, it’s clear that his life of crime was a miserable one. He died alone and in prison with not even his siblings willing to take custody of his body.

Frazier’s life of crime was also documented in a 1980 book by Peter Tattersall entitled, “Conviction: A True Story“.

Hence Giles’ Legacy

After losing both parents at a young age, Mattie and Virgil (Mack) were living back on the farm with their Aunt and Uncle, William Byran McBride and Fannie Clyde Smith McBride during the 1930 census. They lived on or near Line Ferry Road in Days Creek, Arkansas. Each would later marry and start their own family.

Officer Giles’ legacy lives on through his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and beyond.

Giles is buried in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery, not far from the farm where he grew up.

“Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends”

Thank you for your service, Officer Giles. Rest easy.

3 comments

  1. Living in the early 1900s made for tough times. Bill Sallurday has done some deep digging into a pungent Giles family police story that highlights these hard times created by the lawlessness of the bootleggers and a tough criminal. Nicely done!

  2. Well done Bill. I agree with Jack, those early 1900’s were really tough times all over. Amazing that Frazier was able to escape prison so many times and even more surprising that he go so much leniency from the courts. Here’s to Officer Hence Giles, by all accounts, a very fine man.

    1. Greg, fully agree. Hard to believe that they would pardon and also kept letting this notorious criminal Frazier escape from prison so many times. Remarkable that over 3000 people attended my grandfathers funeral in 1926. He must have been a good man. Wish I could have met him.

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