Thursday, March 15, 2012

Honoring Ned Hogan, Great Criminal

Today, we're honoring one of the great criminals of the past, Ned Hogan. When pictured here peeling potatoes at the end of 1922, he had been in jail in Milwaukee a record 117 times.*

Hi, Machine Gun Ricky Wayward writing in honor of our fine brother in crime, Mr. Ned Hogan, 76 years old in the picture, and a native of Milwaukee.

As you will see in this brief tribute, Ned was so often drunk that he couldn't handle his affairs and needed a place to flop. That may not sound like great crime, but we honor it, because it is likely that Ned tied up the system enough -- taking the time of jailers, judges, and the cops -- that other criminals had freer rein.

The Milwaukee Sentinel of Dec. 24, 1922, (easily found on Google) profiled Ned, calling him a bum, derelict, and prohibition fighter. In addition, they said he was a vague and shadowy character.

In earlier times, he worked at the circus grounds in Milwaukee, and also did any odd jobs that would bring him a dollar. But the paper said the nearest thing to a regular occupation he ever had was unloading coal boats. Ned was what they called a dock walloper. It sounds like honest work, but we're very glad he left it, or we wouldn't be honoring him today. Since we don't care about dock walloping.

Alfred O. Wilmot, court reporter at the time, who knew Ned when he, Alfred, was a kid, remembers that Ned was all right when he was sober. The newspaper paraphrases Alfred: "Unless he was waylaid down in the lumber yards and got a pony of beer, he took his savings home to his old mother. He is not a thief. With all his arrests, he has never committed a real crime."

It was after Ned stole a tire that Alfred said, "Except for his lack of culture, Ned was a gentleman. I have heard him give a fellow a lecture for insulting a woman on the street. He was never brought in on a charge of anything but vagrancy until this last time. And this larceny charge was just a ruse of Ned's. He didn't want to steal. He had no use for the automobile tire that he walked off from a garage up near Eighth and Wells street. He only took it so as to furnish an excuse to get arrested. He went right down to the Rescue Mission with it and sat there until the police came."

Ned greeted the officer by saying, "Well, it took me two hours to get arrested this time." At first he had tried to get arrested by taking some bandana handkerchiefs from a dry goods store. There were even hanging out of his pockets in the store. But that plan failed, so he resorted to taking the tire.

Of course all the old cops knew Ned. When he wanted to be taken in, they accommodated him. Younger cops weren't so nice, saying, "Get about your business. You haven't done anything for me to take you in." To which Ned would retort, "You better take me in. If you don't I'll do something so you will have to pinch me." Ned's oldest friend on the force, Ed Baivier, chuckled, "He would, too. He has been known to pick up a brick and heave it through a window when the patrolman was stubborn."

Milwaukee's Judge Page said, "Ned is an old figure around here. He is getting old now, must be nearly 70. He manages, by sleeping on park benches, to get along in the summer, but when cold weather comes he needs a more comfortable place. As sure as the thermometer drops we can expect to see Ned in the bull pen next morning. As you know, it was pretty chilly the night before his last arrest a few weeks ago."

Roy E. Briggs, assistant superintendent of the Rescue Mission, said of him, "His mind is so run down from drink that he is 'rum dumb' as one of our men puts it. He has lost control of his power to think, but retained enough mind to know it. He wants to go right but can't quite reason out the way if left to himself. So he voluntarily puts himself where someone will make him do what he should."

So there you have it! We proudly honor Mr. Ned Hogan, one of the great criminals of the past. To summarize, he got drunk a lot, broke windows, and stole a few bandana handkerchiefs and a tire.

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