History of the Cowlitz County Peace Officer

Cowlitz County has had a colorful history. Through it all, the Peace Officer has always been there. From the first Sheriff who who had to perform a public hanging to the deputies who had to corral a maurading elephant. Join me as I gather the facts and true stories that describe the journey of the law enforcement officer in Cowlitz County from 1854 through today.






Sunday, March 14, 2010

Understand his name to be Frank Dalton


Last year the Director of the Cowlitz County Historical Museum, David Freece, sent me a link to a wanted poster from 1921 that was up for bid on Ebay. The poster was for a man named Frank Dalton, wanted for murder in Cowlitz County by Sheriff John Hoggatt. After looking at the poster, I thought it might be an interesting piece of history so I bought it so I could donate it to the museum.

When it arrived, I was surprised at how small it was. I was expecting a large WANTED "poster". But as I held the 6"x9" yellowing paper, turning it around, looking at the hand written "$1000 Reward" at the top, I became intrigued and began to wonder who Frank Dalton was and what exactly did he do?
So I began to dig with nothing more than the information on the poster. Initially I found nothing. By chance, while at the State Archives looking into a case of an individual suing Pacific County for allowing the jailers to let a vigilanty group tar and feather him, I came across what I was looking for in a misplaced Coroners Inquest. It was then that the story began to unfold.

“Understand his name to be Frank Dalton”

In the afternoon of March 20th, 1921, Earle Bryant went to the Whalen ranch about three and half miles south of Woodland to check on his friend and fellow farmer Michael P. Whalen. Bryant hadn’t seen Whalen since March 12th and was concerned about his well being. When he arrived, with five small children in tow, he looked through the window and saw Whalen laying face down on the floor, obviously dead. Bryant tried the door but it was locked, so he immediately went to the nearest farm to summon help. When he arrived at the farm of Archie Lee Lewis, Lewis’ brother was just leaving for Kalama. Bryant explained what he found and asked Lewis’ brother to notify the Sheriff and the Coroner while in Kalama. Meanwhile, Archie retrieved two horses from his barn and he and Bryant set back out for Whalen’s home.

When they arrived back at the Whalen ranch, they looked through the windows and could see that Whalen had apparently been murdered and his body dragged from the living room to the bedroom. Sheriff John Hoggatt arrived after dark along with the Coroner, W.G. Johnson, and the Woodland Night Marshal, Robert “Bob” Robbins. Looking over the horrific scene, they discovered that it was obvious a murder had been committed and there had been a blatant attempt to cover up the crime. A towel used to clean up the blood was in the fireplace, unburned, and ashes had been dumped on the floor in an effort to cover up what blood remained.

Michael Whalen was lying face down on the floor, partially hidden under a bed with his reading glasses still attached to his head. There were two large gashes on his head each measuring about nine inches long. Originally thought to be the result of an axe, the investigators found a piece of hexagon shaped pinch iron about 30 inches long leaning against the wall that was seemed to have been used to commit the crime. Hanging behind the stove were freshly washed clothes that were completely dry. In the barn, Bob Robbins found that one of the horses was untied and hadn’t been fed or watered for some time.

According to Bryant during the Coroners Inquest, the 74 year old Whalen was a creature of habit and went to bed religiously at eight o’clock every evening. Prior to going to bed, he enjoyed sitting in his chair in front of the fireplace reading. It was believed that, while sitting in the chair, Whalen removed his shoes and was getting ready to read when the first devastating blow crushed into the back of his head. It was surmised that he then went to the floor when the second blow was directed to the front of the head. Upon inspecting the body during the autopsy, Dr. C.J. Hoffman in the Coroners Inquest stated, “Either one would have been sufficient to cause instant death.” Now Sheriff Hoggatt was faced with two questions. Why was Michael Whalen killed and more importantly, who did it.

On Wednesday March 23rd, 1921, The Lewis River News ran the headline:

“MICHAEL P. WHALEN CRUELLY MURDERED”

The paper detailed Earl Bryant’s discovery and went on to speculate, “… Mr. Whalen was killed thru revenge by an unknown assassin or was slain by the man who had been working for him since January 13...”

In his testimony during the Coroners Inquest, Robbins stated that he had gone to Whalen’s residence on March 13th to see about “some stock and horses” and that Whalen was alive at that time. Robbins said, “There was a man with him, a stranger to me. I talked with him and from the way he talked, he was working there. Mr. Whalen didn’t tell me so, he said “My man”. … This man was out on the porch doing some washing.” When asked if the man was still there, Robbins said that he wasn’t.

Glen Bozarth testified that he had gone to the Whalen ranch on Monday the 14th to see Whalen about “pasturing his stock”. Bozarth said that he knocked on the door and that there was no response. He said he looked all around and waited and hour and a half but nobody showed up. He then described going into the barn and seeing that one of the horses was un-tied. When asked about the man staying with Whalen, Bozarth said that he met him but didn’t know anything about him other than, “Understand his name to be Frank Dalton.”

After Whalen’s murder, Frank Dalton vanished from Cowlitz County. Strangely enough, Whalen had money in his pockets at the time of his death and nothing appeared to be missing from Whalen’s home. So, theft did not appear to be a motive.

During the course of the investigation, Sheriff Hoggatt discovered that Dalton had come from Australia. Dalton had obtained a passport in Portland Oregon (no. 5783 on March 17th, 1921) and was believed to be heading back to Australia to avoid his inevitable capture. It was also discovered that Dalton had several aliases that he went by to include Frank Carlton and Charles Murphy. Wanted posters were quickly produced and distributed in an attempt to capture the alleged murderer before he left the country. Sheriff Hoggatt was able to contact the South Australian Police where he found out there was actually more to the story of Frank Dalton.

According to the Australian authorities, Dalton went by the name Edward Francis Dalton and married a woman named Mary Ann Crisp on November 16th 1912. Frank and Mary had two kids, William Francis Dalton and George Arthur Gordon Dalton. Dalton’s enlistment into the Australian Army and subsequent deployment to Europe on board the HMAT A20 Hororata on April 20th, 1915, was the last time the family saw their father.

A Special Inquiry ran in the South Australian Police Gazette on June 8th, 1921:

SPECIAL INQUIRY – MURDER
Special Inquiry is requested to locate one FRANK DALTON (correct name EDWARD FRANCIS DALTON, alias FRANK CARLTON, alias CHARLES MURPHY), who is wanted by Sheriff J.W. Hoggatt, Cowlitz County, Kalama, Washington, U.S.A., for murder. Description: - 33 years of age, 178 lbs. weight, 5ft. 11 ½ in. high, dark complexion, dark hair, hazel eyes. He enlisted at Adelaide, on February 2nd, 1915, and embarked for active service abroad on April 20th of the same year, being attached to the 10th Infantry Battalion. He was subsequently transferred from the battalion in France to the Anzac Provost Police Corps, England, and later promoted to the rank of corporal, but on October 24th, 1918, was reported as an illegal absentee, and has not since been heard of by the military authorities.… A reward of one thousand dollars is offered for his arrest. If located in South Australia, keep under surveillance, and communicate with Detective Office, Adelaide, where his photograph is filed.”

After the murder of Michael Whalen, Dalton made his way to Seattle and started a new family. He changed his name to Everett Frank Lindsay and married a woman named Elizabeth Reid, a nurse from Vancouver on November 29th, 1921. For the next 10 years, he would lay pretty low. The couple adopted two young girls (Pearl and Helen) and Lindsay became a respected citizen working as a plumber.

In February of 1930, Elizabeth disappeared and Lindsay explained that she had gone to Canada for a visit. Nobody questioned this until six weeks later when Lindsay moved him and the two girls into an apartment. One day, Helen came home from school to find the apartment vacated. She spoke to the authorities and an immediate search for Lindsay and Pearl began.

Authorities went back to Lindsay’s previous home and Elizabeth’s body was found in a shallow grave in the back yard. Her head had been bludgeoned and her throat slit. In the days that followed, the man hunt for Lindsay extended the entire west coast.

In May of 1930, Pearl was found abandoned at a boarding house in Oakland California. King County investigators were immediately sent to California to retrieve Pearl. Devastated at the news of her mothers murder, Pearl explained how her father changed after her mother disappeared. She described to detectives how she saw her father digging a hole in the back yard of their west Seattle home and that her father told her that he was going to be burying a horse. Elizabeth’s body was found in the same hole. At that point, Lindsay was not only suspected of killing his wife Elizabeth, but he was also suspected of raping Pearl and would become the suspect in the rape of two other young girls. If that wasn’t enough, he would become the main suspect in the murder of another woman in southern California.

By this time, Lindsay had been connected as being Frank Dalton, the murderer of Michael Whalen in Woodland 10 years earlier. The South Australian Police were again contacted and they ran another Special Inquiry in the South Australian Police Gazette on July 2nd, 1930:

MURDER – SPECIAL INQUIRY

U.S.A – Special Inquiry is requested with a view to locating EVERETT FRANK LINDSAY, alias JACK GRANT, alias FRANK GRANT, alias HYDEMAN, alias FRANK EVERETT, alias FRANK LYNDSAY, who is wanted by Sheriff Claude G. Bannick, Seattle Washington, for the brutal murder of his wife, having crushed her skull, cut her throat, and buried her in the back yard of their home at Seattle; and for the rape of three girls of tender years. … New England accent, brown eyes, dark brown hair (tinged with grey), dark sallow complexion, clean shave, deep cleft in chin, small scar on left side of nose or face, poor teeth, probably small partial plate in front, a heavy drinker, and associates with women of loose virtue….

The story of Everett Lindsay began appearing in newspapers throughout the pacific states and as far east as Chicago. Articles ran in the southern California newspapers with pictures of Lindsay as well. September 3rd, 1931, The Los Angeles Times reported:

“LINDSAY HUNT IN CITY FAILS”
“Many reports run down in search for killer. Though more than a dozen citizens, after seeing his picture in The Times yesterday morning, telephoned police that they had seen Everett Frank Lindsay in various parts of the city, police scouted the supposition that the man, wanted for the brutal murder of his wife.”

Reports and sightings of Lindsay began pouring in. Police continued their search throughout the city and were able to confirm that he was, in fact, living in the Los Angeles area. An amateur detective and restaurant owner in Los Angeles picked up a detective magazine and read a profile of Lindsay recognizing him as a former cook in his restaurant. Intrigued by the $3000 reward for his arrest, he decided to re-acquaint himself with Lindsay and was able to get Lindsay to hold on to a postcard capturing his fingerprints. The postcard was turned over to police detectives and he was confirmed to be Everett Frank Lindsay. Lindsay was captured on October 15th, 1931.

The October 16th, 1931, Ellensburg Daily Record from the AP wire reported:

“LINDSAY HUNTED SINCE 1930 TRAPPED IN SOUTH”
“Man wanted for murder of wife in Seattle is captured in Los Angeles… for more than a year and a half police throughout the pacific states have been on the trail of Lindsay, whose christened name is said to be Charles E. Murphy. His trail extended from Seattle to Los Angeles.”

“…last September Lindsay brought an 11 year old girl from Napa to Los Angeles. She told a revolting story of what Lindsay had done to her. An intensive search for the man was conducted here and numerous crimes were attributed to him. Lindsay was also wanted for the murder of a farmer near Woodland Washington 10 years ago.”

While in custody in Los Angeles, Detectives grilled Lindsay in an attempt to get him to confess to several unsolved local murders and other crimes. He confessed to killing his wife but refused to admit to any other crimes. According to one newspaper, Lindsay stated, “The coppers are trying to pin a lot of crimes on me. But if I swing it will be for the killing of my wife. I’ve got plenty of alibis for the other killings they are trying to connect me with.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that Lindsay was to be flown back to Seattle to stand trial for the murders of his wife Elizabeth Lindsay and farmer Michael Whalen in Woodland Washington. In October, 1931 Lindsay was sent back to Seattle with two King County Sheriff’s Deputies who were sent to Los Angeles immediately upon word of his arrest.

In December of 1931, Lindsay’s trial for the murder of his wife began in Seattle. He pled “not-guilty” and claimed that he was driven to kill his wife out of self defense but continued to deny his involvement with any other crimes. According to Lindsay, he had been the victim of constant “nagging” by his wife throughout their entire time together.

On December 15th, 1931, the jury was selected and the defense was able to exclude all women out of fear of exposing them to the unspeakable testimony that was expected during the course of the trial. They also didn’t feel that Lindsay would get a fair trial if a woman was on the jury. On December 18th, Lindsay unexpectedly took the stand. As reported in the Ellensburg Daily Record from the AP wire:

“As the prisoner stammered and struggled through his story, women in the audience wept and men sniffled while the jurors looked away from the shaken figure on the witness stand.

Leading up to the day of the killing, Lindsay told of long years of nagging by his wife and their numerous quarrels.
He said that on the morning he killed her, he got up, cooked breakfast for the two girls, Helen Mcomber and Pearl Lindsay, both 13, the latter an adopted daughter, ate with them and sent them off to school. He told of then cooking breakfast for Mrs. Lindsay, taking it to her in bed, during which time she was “nagging” at him.

“I was kneeling on the bathroom floor while she was eating,” the prisoner said.
“She got up, went out and got herself two slices of bread and another cup of coffee. When she came back, I saw she had a butcher knife with a piece of butter on it.”

Lindsay stopped in his testimony and buried his face in his hands while his shoulder shook as he burst out sobbing. For more than a minute he sat, weeping until prompted by his attorney: “Then what happened, Mr. Lindsay?”

There was no answer and several women in the audience began weeping and the jurors looked away. The question was repeated and after some moments, Lindsay stammered:

“She continued the argument-then she threw coffee in my face-my eyes-I wiped my eyes, got up off my knees-I saw she was striking at me with the knife-I had a hammer in my hand-"
He paused, choked, then continued: “I remember-I remember striking her-struck her with the hammer. I can’t remember any more until I came to my senses-saw her on the floor. I tried to-I tried to-"
“Speak louder, Mr. Lindsay”, Judge Howard M. Findley directed.

“I tried to call her-wake her up-didn’t get no answer-then I realized she was dead.”
Originally charged with 1st Degree Murder with the hopes for the death penalty, Everett Frank Lindsay was ultimately convicted of 2nd Degree Murder in the death of his wife, Elizabeth Lindsay. He was sentenced to 60-75 years in the state penitentiary. It doesn’t appear as though he was ever tried in the case of Michael Whalen or any of the rapes that he was alleged to have committed and a motive for the killings may never be known.

Lindsay began his troubled life as a teenager in Cambridge Massachusetts and fled after being the suspect in a burglary. For the next 30 years, he was able to elude authorities and commit a multitude of crimes, many of which we may never know about. He was able to spend time in both the Australian Army and the U.S. Army before going A.W.O.L. (absent without leave) from both. And, he not only married a woman in Australia and Seattle, but he also had reportedly married another woman in Sacramento and was never divorced from any of them.

~DcU

3 comments:

  1. My grandfather was Judge Howard M. Findley

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  2. Amazing you were able to catch all that.....bravo

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  3. He actually escaped. I have a 1948 pulp magazine with him listed as WANTED BY THE FBI. Notes he fled Washington, after conviction, to avoid confinement. As of 1948, he had yet to be caught.... This appears in the April 1948 issue of G-Men Detective magazine.

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