As Close to Crime: Junior E-Man


444 N. Duke Street, Lancaster PA
Bing Maps

On December 28, 1932, a letter addressed to Mrs. C.E. Long was dropped through the mail slot at her home – 444 North Duke Street, Lancaster, Pa. Her maid, Mrs. Charlotte Stewart, found it.

The enclosed hand-written note read:

“Dear Madam, Mrs. C.E. Long.

I am warning you to give me the $500 right away. If you got my other note you would have put it at the bottom of the steps where the old railroad station was I mean the steps on Duke St. and Chestnut St. by Jan. 7, 1933 on Saturday from 7:00 o’clock to 10:00.

Signed the




Mrs. Caroline Long wondered “What other note?” “Why would I give anyone $500?” “Who’s this Red Hand & Black Flesh Gang?”

Caroline Long, was an intelligent, 62-year-old active society woman and widow of tobacco merchant Charles Emory Long. She called the police – she recognized extortion when she saw it.
Intelligencer Journal –
June 23, 1944 photo
Lancaster New Era –
Nov 3, 1930 photo

Detectives Daniel Shaub and James Crawford were assigned to the case. 

The detectives prepared a dummy package, wrapping old newspapers to resemble a bundle of money. Since the extortionists failed to specify 7 AM or 7 PM, they instructed Mrs. Long to place it under the wooden steps leading from the Duke Street Bridge just north of Chestnut Street early Saturday, the 7th. 

Shaub and Crawford were prepared to wait all day, if necessary. And wait they did. Taking it in shifts, Shaub and Crawford kept a close eye on the drop spot but nobody came to claim the cash. 

Late Saturday night, they removed the package and left.

Had the Red Hand Gang noticed a police presence?

On Wednesday afternoon, January 11, 1933, Mrs. Long was contacted again. 

At 4:35 PM, Mrs. Stewart, responding to a ringing doorbell, found a young boy on roller skates standing on the front steps. He told her there was a letter in the mail slot. She retrieved the envelope and asked the boy who had sent it. He pointed to another boy, also on roller skates, standing on the corner of Duke and James Streets, a short distance away.

Mrs. Stewart walked to the corner and asked the other boy who had sent the letter. He replied that he did not know. Both boys skated away on James Street, in the direction of Queen Street.

Mrs. Stewart returned to the house and handed the envelope to Mrs. Long. The enclosed note read:

“Mrs. C.E. Long,

I have warned you twice & this is the last time. So put the $500 under the old railroad steps by 5:30 o’clock Jan. 11, & don’t tell the cops or there will be trouble for you what I mean trouble & don’t forget Jan. 11, the $500.


Detective John Kauffman –
 Intelligencer Journal –
May 23, 1938 photo

When word of a second demand reached the police, Detective James Crawford headed straight for the drop location while Detectives Daniel Shaub and John Kauffman spoke with the two women.

Another dummy package was prepared and given to Mrs. Long for placement under the wooden steps. They had to act quickly – the Gang was expecting the money within the hour.

Unlike the previous stakeout, police weren’t disappointed. At 5:45 PM, two boys appeared at the Duke Street Bridge, walked down the steps, and one of them reached underneath for the package. Crawford, Shaub and Kauffman swooped in and made the arrests.

Was this the Red Hand Gang?

Thirteen-year-old Hiram Grove Beattie, Jr., residing at 1016 North Duke Street, was interviewed first and told quite the tale. 

 photo from
Journal –
Jan 12, 1933

Hiram said he had been approached by some men in a car bearing Ohio license plates. The men had forced Hiram to copy, in his own hand, the ransom note then deliver it to Mrs. Long’s house. He was instructed to pick up the parcel beneath the stairs and take it to the corner of Lemon and Queen Streets, where the men would be waiting.

The other boy, aged 12, seemed to know nothing of these plans.

A few hours later, the detectives had another crack at Hiram. Defeated, he admitted that he had written both of the letters to Mrs. Long.

Hiram didn’t actually know Mrs. Long, he had simply picked her name out of the phone book. Hiram told police he had delivered the first note himself but asked a friend to deliver the second one while he stood a distance away and watched. 

The reference to a previous demand being sent was a fabrication. The letter delivered on December 28th was his first attempt to get money from Mrs. Long.

Hiram remained adamant that his friend, who remains unnamed to this day, was not involved in the extortion scheme and that he had no idea what Hiram was up to. That boy was released from custody.

When asked why he hadn’t picked up the money on Saturday, January 7th, Hiram admitted that he couldn’t because he’d been grounded and his parents had forbidden him to leave the house.

When asked why he’d attempted to extort money from Mrs. Long, Hiram said he wanted the money “to save until summer so I can go camping in Maryland after school is out.”

Hiram Beattie was taken from Police Headquarters and committed to The Rotary Home for Boys. The case would be tried in Juvenile Court. Police also announced their intention to question Hiram in connection to a series of mysterious telephone calls received by locals within the last 10 days. These calls were of a threatening nature. One business man was warned that he “will be bumped off on Friday the 13th.”

Hiram’s case was tried in Juvenile Court so the proceedings were conducted behind closed doors and the records sealed. It was believed that he would be sent to Glen Mills, a reform school for boys. 

Hiram didn’t say why he signed the notes “The Red Hand Gang” but I like to think it was from a “Seckatary Hawkins” story written by Robert F. Schulkers and serialized in newspapers during November of 1932. image
(If Seckatary Hawkins sounds familiar to you, that might be because Harper Lee was a big fan and two of Schulkers’ books featuring this character are referenced in “To Kill a Mockingbird.”) image

Despite being only 13-years-old, Hiram was not unknown to police. He first came to their attention on February 3, 1930 when he stabbed his fourth grade teacher, Miss Dorothy V. Wiley. He was nine-years-old at the time.

How did Hiram explain his actions? “The studies are too hard, and when I wouldn’t do my lessons she beat me. This morning we had a test in arithmetic but I couldn’t do the questions. It was too hard. She’s always beating me.”

Rockland Street School Principal Alfred G. Thomas backed up Hiram’s take on things. 

Mr. Thomas is quoted as saying, “We have been using discipline with young Beattie for some time. He could be bright in his studies if he wished to apply himself, but he is of a stubborn and contrary disposition. We asked his parents to cooperate with us, but he has shown no improvement.  This morning Miss Wiley remonstrated with him for not making an effort during an arithmetic test, and he stabbed her.”

 A sobbing Hiram countered with, “What if I did stab her? She hit me, didn’t she?”

This wasn’t an isolated incident, however. Staff members had previously relieved Hiram of a pistol and bread knife.

Hiram explained, “The revolver they talk about was empty. I just wanted to show it to the fellows at school. The bread knife was a plaything. I never intended to hurt anyone.”

Anna Lenhardt –
photo from
Lancaster Sunday News,
Feb 21, 1926

The knife used to stab Miss Wiley was given to Hiram by 13-year-old Kermit Rishell, who told police he had found the knife in a downtown store. On February 9, 1933, the same Kermit Rishell was arrested for breaking into and looting a paint shop. This latest arrest was his fourth offense.

On February 3rd, at 10 AM, when the schoolwork proved too hard for Hiram, Miss Wiley slapped him on the back with the palm of her hand. Hiram attempted to leave the room but Miss Wiley beat him to the door and refused to move so Hiram pulled out a knife which had a three inch blade and stabbed her in the left upper arm, a few inches above the elbow. Miss Wiley stood her ground until help arrived. 

Journal –
Feb 23, 1933 photo

Hiram was detained by Principal Thomas while the police were called. The gash in Miss Wiley’s arm was treated by nurse Anna Lenhardt.

Policeman Ivan Steffy took Hiram to police headquarters where he was detained pending an investigation.

Lancaster New Era –
June 6, 1929 photo

Detective William Sullenberger took charge of the case.

School officials quickly investigated the matter and school superintendent H.E. Gress announced Miss Wiley “was doing her duty when she remonstrated young Beattie for his failure to study” and he felt she was deserving of praise for her bravery “in the face of danger” at the time she was stabbed.

They agreed not to press criminal charges against Hiram but made it clear that he would not be allowed to return to the school; he was released into the custody of his mother, Mary Beattie, who promised to administer discipline in her own way.

(Author’s note – before learning of Hiram’s extortion attempt, I was inclined to call this blog entry “Math is Hard.”)

On June 27, 1930, young Hiram was running around a street car and smacked into the rear end of a moving car. He was knocked to the ground. Doctors at Lancaster’s General Hospital treated the boy for lacerations to his head and right shoulder. The accident was witnessed by is father, Hiram Sr. who was a passenger on the street car.

Six months after stabbing Miss Wiley, on August 20, 1930, Hiram was picked up by police for stealing a bicycle from the garage of Mrs. B.E. Oliver, 20 North Broad Street. The bicycle was later abandoned in Quarryville, PA and Beattie hitch-hiked home. For that crime he was dismissed after being reprimanded.

According to SSDI records, some time after 1937, Hiram Grove Beattie, Jr. changed his named to Horace Grove Beattie.

On January 28, 1942, Hiram G. Beattie, now living in Massachusetts with his mother, enlisted in the US Army. He served until October 12, 1945.

clipping from the Lancaster New Era –
August 28, 1942

Hiram aka Horace Beattie would marry 3 or possibly 4 times.

I can see a record of a Horace G. Beattie marrying in 1945 but no other details are known to me. The Massachusetts Marriage Index isn’t exactly chock-full of particulars so there’s no way to be certain it’s the same person.

Catherine Beattie nee’ Hammond was identified as Horace’s second wife by newspapers when she had him arrested in 1950 … not once but twice. The first time was for driving her car without her permission and then two months later for non-support. The latter being a felony in the state of Massachusetts. Catherine dropped the lesser charge after Horace was extradited back to Massachusetts. I believe Catherine was the woman Horace married in 1945.

Horace’s 1942 enlistment records indicate he is “Divorced, without dependents.”

When Horace married Erla Doerr on December 1 1952, in the state of New Hampshire despite both being residents of Massachusetts, Horace indicated this was to be his second marriage. As it was for her too.

Horace’s last wife was Marion Ann Beattie nee’ Heil. According to Marion’s obituary, she and Horace married on December 11, 1963 in Rockford, Illinois.

Horace died on October 11, 2003. His wife Marion died October 30, 2014.

Horace’s own parents, Hiram G. Beattie, Sr and Mary Eve Shay Beattie nee’ Shay, would also dissolve their union. In January 1943, Hiram Sr., still living in Lancaster, PA filed for divorce from his wife on grounds of desertion. She was living in Brighton, Massachusetts. They were married on November 5, 1919, separated since April 6, 1941 and they
officially divorced in early August 1943.

Mary Eve Beattie died on July 22, 1980. Hiram G. Beattie, Sr. died on March 1, 1981.

Horace’s younger brother Edwin Dunbar Beattie died in 1989. Horace’s sister, Mary Elizabeth Beattie Spering died in 2005. Mary’s December 19, 2005 obituary confirms Hiram’s name change and also one for brother Edwin who preferred to be called Edward.

photo accompanying
her obituary

Stabbing victim Miss Dorothy Wiley married Kenneth Simpson on June 18, 1938 and continued teaching until retiring in 1970. She died on November 30, 1984 when she was 77-years-old.  Dorothy’s husband Kenneth died August 23, 1989, at the age of 81.

The Long Grave
findagrave photo
uploaded by
Donna Butler Sheaffer

Mrs. Caroline Long died on January 20, 1941 at the age of 70. Cause of death was coronary thrombosis. She’s buried alongside her husband Charles Emory Long (1870-1927) in Lancaster’s Greenwood Cemetery.

Tragically, Roy Steffy, 24-year-old son of retired Police Officer Ivan Steffy and Korean War veteran, used his father’s service revolver to kill himself just 6 weeks after being discharged from the Army. Early in the morning of November 13, 1951, Ivan heard the gunshot, ran down to the kitchen and found his son lying on the kitchen floor – dead from a single gunshot wound to the right side of his head. Ivan Steffy retired from the Lancaster Police Department in 1947 and died in 1984, at the age of 90.

Detective Daniel Shaub retired from the Lancaster Police Department in 1940  and died in 1978.

Detective William Sullenberger retired from the Lancaster Police Department in 1944 and died in 1979.

 Lancaster New Era –
Oct 6, 1961 photo

Kermit Rishell, the young boy who gave Hiram the knife used to stab Miss Wiley, landed in hot water again in 1961 for helping out a friend. Kermit was one of three Lancaster City employees who paved a coworker’s driveway while on the clock, using city materials and equipment. Charles T. Grab, owner of the driveway, was ordered to pay the city $23.03, the estimated cost of the work, and Kermit lost a day’s pay. There was some discussion as to whether or not Grab was entitled to have the city pay for the repair to his driveway as Grab had previously parked a city truck in his garage and the truck had damaged his driveway. Kermit died suddenly on February 13, 1962.

Because of Hiram’s earlier and later bad behavior, I was initially doubtful of a story he and his friends had told police in June of 1930. Sadly, there is truth in this.

On June 29, 1930, Hiram along with his younger brother Edwin and 2 other boys, all ranging in ages from 8 to 10-years old, were lured into the car of 48-year-old Charles Davidson. Davidson drove the boys to behind the Lancaster Almshouse where he “criminally assaulted” them. Nothing more specific was reported in newspapers but clearly the assault was sexual in nature. An article in the June 30, 1930 edition of the Intelligencer Journal, hints at it being an attempted rape.

Intelligencer Journal –
June 27, 1928 photo

The boys reported the incident to their parents, who then
called the police. Officer William Jenkins arrested Davidson the following day. All four boys positively identified Davidson as the man who assaulted them. Davidson who when arrested had given his address as 401 North Queen Street actually lived at 433 North Queen Street.

On July 28, 1930, the Intelligencer Journal reported that Davidson “pleaded guilty to a serious charge.” He was fined $50 and received a 6 month sentence.

The Home for Friendless Children,
on the occasion of it being razed
to the ground to make room
for the Garden Court Apartments –
Lancaster New Era photo
from Dec 13, 1966

If you think that’s a pretty light sentence considering the crime, it’s even worse when you learn that Charles Davidson was actually Samuel Davidson – a man who had spent 11 years in prison for the attempted rape of two young girls residing at the aptly-named Home for Friendless Children, located on the corner of South Ann Street and Chester Avenue.

On Friday, April 17, 1908, at 1:30 AM, Samuel Davidson gained entry into the children’s home then made his way to the third floor and crept into the girls’ dormitory. One of the youngsters awoke, prepared to cry out at the sight of this strange man in her room, but Samuel told her not to worry because he was a doctor. He then asked where the biggest of the girls slept.

That girl was one bed over and when she heard the voices, she ran into a small adjoining room. Samuel quickly caught her, told her not to make a sound; he tried to appease her with the lie that he was a doctor. Well, she didn’t want to play doctor with Samuel. She slipped from his grasp and made her escape. Back in the dorm, everyone was waking up and two of the girls ran to fetch the female attendant. The cry of “There’s a man in the house” went out and so did Samuel. He escaped the same way he came in.

Intelligencer Journal
photo – Jan 16, 1920

The matter was reported to the police Saturday night. The description of the intruder matched that of Samuel Davidson, who had been seen near the Home for Friendless Children by Chief of Police Walter G. Bushong around midnight of the night of the crime. Davidson had a previous arrest (January 1907) for public lewdness in the presence of school children.

A warrant for Davidson’s arrest was issued and at 1 o’clock Sunday morning, April 19, 1908, Samuel Davidson was apprehended and charged with felonious entry and assault, with the intent to commit rape.

As Davidson was being taken out of the patrol wagon he dropped a silver watch, but the officers had seen this slight of hand. The watch was recovered and police later learned that H.C. Gingrich had been robbed while dozing in the waiting room of the Franklin House, a hotel located on North Queen Street, at around 11:30 PM Saturday. Taken from Gingrich, as he slept, was the silver watch and $21 in cash. Gingrich identified the watch as his property. As for the cash, Davidson had only $3.00 on him when arrested.

On Monday morning, police escorted Davidson back to the Children’s Home where he was positively identified by the children. Davidson decided to plead guilty to the theft and felonious entry but refused to admit to the assault. Davidson conceded that he was under the influence of alcohol when he entered the Home but he had no recollection of touching the girls.

The court sentenced him to one year in prison for the robbery plus he was to pay a fine of $100.00,  for the other offenses Davidson was fined of $500 and ordered to spend 10 years in prison. That prison being the Eastern State Penitentiary. The sentences were to run consecutively.

Easter State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA

April 22, 1908 was big day for the Home for Friendless Children. The man who had terrorized them 5 nights prior would be put away and a grand jury also recommended that the children be given butter at all their meals and that springs be placed in the their beds.

Samuel Davidson was released from prison on April 22, 1915. Hours later he was spending his prison earnings, $170.00, on wine, women and song. Davidson drank so much that he passed out and when he woke up his money and new-found his friends were gone. Police arrested Emma Barrett, Marie Davis and Helen Narthy. They were held for a hearing.

Samuel Davidson would be arrested multiple times for crimes ranging from forgery, larceny, surety of the peace and most notably a public lewdness charge on April 22, 1931 that netted him a year in prison.

The children of Lancaster breathed a sigh of relief when on October 5, 1932, Samuel Davidson had an on the job injury which cost him his life.

Davidson, working as a steeplejack, was painting the 60 foot tall flagpole in front of the Franklin and Marshall Academy building. He was seated on scaffold, suspended 30 feet above the ground and not utilizing a safety hitch. The rope supporting the scaffold tore and Davidson plummeted to the ground. An ambulance transported the unconscious man to the General Hospital. Cause of death was attributed to internal injuries and a skull fracture.

Detective Daniel Shaub attempted to locate Davidson’s family but finding no one to claim the body, Davidson was buried in a Potter’s Field.

Officer William Jenkins, who had arrested Samuel Davidson in 1930 for his crimes against the Beattie boys and two of their friends, retired from the Lancaster Police Department in 1942 on a disability pension. He died in 1969, when he was 75-years-old.

Walter Grant Bushong, who was Lancaster’s Chief of Police from 1904-1921, died on November 23, 1936 following a stroke. He was 63-years-old. 


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