FDR pardons a defendant in the "Crime of the Century."Franklin D. Roosevelt: Pardon Document Signed as President.
-April 18, 1936. Washington, D.C. Presidential Pardon for Herbert Samuel Hockin. Two pages. 9" x 13.5". Countersigned by Attorney General Homer S. Cummings. Included is a pardon warrant, April 22, 1936, one page, 8" x 10.25", signed by Acting Pardon Attorney Robert H. Turner.
-Folds, light soiling, staple perforations in upper left corner.
Herbert Samuel Hockin was involved in what was called, at the time, the "Crime of the Century," the bombing of the Los Angeles Times Building on October 1, 1910 which killed twenty-one newspaper employees. This present document reads, in part, "... Whereas Herbert Samuel Hockin was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Indiana of the transportation of dynamite and nitroglycerin and of conspiracy so to do, and on December thirtieth, 1912, was sentenced to imprisonment for six years in the United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas; and/ Whereas the said Herbert Samuel Hockin began his sentence January third, 1913, served his terms, less the allowances for good conduct, and was finally discharged by expiration of sentence June third, 1917; and/ Whereas it has been made to appear to me that the said Herbert Samuel Hockin, for more than thirteen years, has been conducting himself in a law-abiding manner:" The Presidential Pardon continues on the verso: "Now, therefore, be it known, that I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, in consideration of the premises, divers other good and sufficient reasons me thereunto moving, do hereby grant unto the said Herbert Samuel Hockin a full and unconditional pardon for the purpose of restoring his civil rights./ In testimony whereof I have hereunto signed my name and caused the seal of the Department of Justice to be affixed./ Done in the District of Columbia this Eighteenth day of April in the year of our Lord on Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty-six..."
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President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues a Presidential Pardon through the United States Department of Justice to Herbert Samuel Hockin, signed April 18, 1936 by Franklin D. Roosevelt as President of the United States, and Homer S. Cummings as Attorney General of the United States. The Presidential Pardon, with a red raised Department of Justice seal, is accompanied by a letter from the Department of Justice signed by Robert H. Turner, the Acting Pardon Attorney, dated April 22, 1936. The paper on the Presidential Pardon is from the United States Government Printing Office, 113873. This official Government document measures 9 x 13 ½," and contains printing on both sides. On the front side the Presidential Pardon reads: "Franklin D. Roosevelt,/ President of the United States of America/, To all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:/ Whereas Herbert Samuel Hockin was convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Indiana of the transportation of dynamite and nitroglycerin and of conspiracy so to do, and on December thirtieth, 1912, was sentenced to imprisonment for six years in the United States Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas; and/ Whereas the said Herbert Samuel Hockin began his sentence January third, 1913, served his terms, less the allowances for good conduct, and was finally discharged by expiration of sentence June third, 1917; and/ Whereas it has been made to appear to me that the said Herbert Samuel Hockin, for more than thirteen years, has been conducting himself in a law-abiding manner:" The Presidential Pardon continues on the verso: "Now, therefore, be it known, that I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, in consideration of the premises, divers other good and sufficient reasons me thereunto moving, do hereby grant unto the said Herbert Samuel Hockin a full and unconditional pardon for the purpose of restoring his civil rights./ In testimony whereof I have hereunto signed my name and caused the seal of the Department of Justice to be affixed./ Done in the District of Columbia this Eighteenth day of April in the year of our Lord on Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty-six and of the Independence of the United States the One Hundred and Sixtieth./ Franklin D. Roosevelt/ By the President:/ Homer S. Cummings/ Attorney General." The accompanying document from the Department of Justice on official Department of Justice letterhead is addressed to H. S. Hockin at the Hotel Fort Shelby in Detroit, Michigan, and reads: "Sir: Herewith receive Warrant for your pardon./ Please sign and return the attached receipt./ By direction of the Attorney General./ Very respectfully,/ Robert H. Turner/ Acting Pardon Attorney." What a wonderful and most significant Presidential item. Herbert Samuel Hockin's Presidential Pardon was related to what was called at the time the "Crime of the Century!" Between the years 1908 and 1911, eighty-seven to one hundred and fifty bombings took place at work sites related to iron workers. Perhaps some of these were set by company management themselves in order to create propaganda against unions. Perhaps some were set by individual union members disgusted with the treatment they were receiving. No one was ever killed in these explosions and the average loss of property was about one thousand dollars. Despite all the vicious attacks by the U. S. Steel and the National Erectors Association (N.E.A.) to destroy our unions, the membership of the Ironworkers Union grew to 12, 230 by 1911 and our members went from being the lowest paid workers in the building trades to one of the highest at $4.30 for an eight hour day. The militancy of the Ironworkers Union became a thorn in the side of the NEA and U. S. Steel! Non-union workers were quickly imported from the Midwest and privat detectives were hired to spy on strike leaders and assist the regular police force in an effort to crush the unions. But the unions stood firm. Pickets were orderly and no violence occurred until July 16, 1910, when the Los Angeles City Council passed its infamous anti-picketing ordinance. The ordinance was strict enough to satisfy even the most militant of anti-union workers as "class legislation." Union pickets naturally defied the ordinance which ran counter to their constitutional principles. Fights broke out between strikers, strike-breakers, police, hired detectives, and professional sluggers. In such a blood-bath only the pickets were arrested, but as each defendant requested a jury trial, the court calendars were filled up until early the next year. The arrested pickets received legal assistance from various organizations in San Francisco, where wages were about 30% higher, hours about 20% shorter, and labor conditions peaceful. The General Campaign Strike Committee, with headquarters in San Francisco, was requested to send lawyers down to Los Angeles to investigate claims of espionage, unlawful beatings, false arrests, unlawful detention, and third degree treatment. The San Francisco Labor Council appealed to labor organizations all across the country for funds, and the executive council of the California State Federation of Labor felt it necessary to order a special organizer to the Los Angeles area. The strikers responded enthusiastically to the outside help. By the end of September, 1910, although every strike was unsuccessful, the internal growth of the unions was phenomenal. Since the beginning of 1910 the Central Labor council had nearly a 50% increase in strength; from 6,000 members of 62 unions in January to 9,500 members of 85 unions in September. Trade Unionism was clearly on the rise in Los Angeles, and at that time only some atrocious act could discredit the movement and ruin the cause for organized labor. Then it happened at 1 A.M. on the morning of October 1, 1910 - the so-called "Crime of the Century." An explosion ripped through the printing plant of the Los Angeles Times. As a result of the explosion and fire that followed, twenty Times employees were killed and many others were injured. Although there was no evidence at the time that labor was in any way involved, the headline the next day read, "UNIONIST BOMBS WRECK THE TIMES". The City of Los Angeles and the Times newspaper were completely controlled at the time by a man named Harrison Gray Otis, who loved to be called "General". Otis had fought in the Civil War and the Spanish American War and saw himself as "A General" fighting another war in Los Angeles against organized labor. Otis referred to unions as "....a tyranny – one of the most monstrous tyrannies that the world has ever seen." Otis was determined to drive every sign of unionism from Los Angeles, and he was able to mobilize 85% of the city businessmen into the Merchants and Manufacturers Association (M & M). If any Los Angeles merchant hired union workers or declared for the eight hour day, his business was no longer able to get credit from the banks or receive shipment of his goods. Since the hunt was to be nationwide and because there was no such organization as the FBI at the time, Los Angeles Mayor George Alexander decided to appoint a special investigator. He chose William J. Burns, a famous detective and head of a well-known detective agency. Burns accepted the appointment on the condition he be allowed to operate in secret. The Erectors' Association had previously hired the Burns organization to investigate the bombings of open shop construction sites; thus Burns did not have to start from scratch. The month before The Times dynamiting, a bombing had taken place in Peoria, Illinois; two bombs had been planted, but only one had exploded. Burns had been able to examine the undetonated bomb and trace the dynamite to its source. He knew it had been purchased by a man calling himself J.W. McGraw. Burns had two advantages, known only to him and his closest associates. He knew that the unexploded bomb found at Zeehandelaar's house was identical to the one found in Peoria, and he had an informant within the ranks of the BSIW named Herbert Hockin. Hockin told him the men responsible for most of the bombings over the last five years were Ortie McManigal and James B. McNamara. McNamara was the younger brother of the BSIW's secretary-treasurer. Dynamite transport conspiracy charges were brought against forty-six International and Local Union Officials in 1912. The Sixteenth Annual Convention that was scheduled for Peoria, Illinois in September was postponed for six months. The conspiracy indictments of several men from other trade unions kept the trial from being a strictly Iron Worker event. Other union men accused were California Building Trades officials Olaf Tveitmoe and Anton Johannsen; two United Brotherhood of Carpenters officials of Indiana, Spurgeon P. Meadows and Hiram Cline; Clarence Dowd, Machinists Union, Syracuse; and William K Benson, president of the Detroit Building Trades. Confessed dynamiter Ortie McManigal, who had been hidden away in the Los Angeles area and guarded by Local Law enforcement officers, and the McNamara brothers, who were serving their sentences at San Quentin, were also named as conspirators on the long list of Federal indictments. The Federal Government consolidated all indictments into one proceeding. General President Frank Ryan, acting Secretary/Treasurer Herbert S. Hockin, International Executive Board members and many of the most dedicated and diligent local officers were among the forty-six Ironworkers charged. The list of those indicted included a past, (John T. Butler) present (Frank M. Ryan) and a future (Paul J. "Paddy" Morrin) General President of the International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers. Early indictments were issued on December 30, 1911, against two Ironworker officials, Eugene A. Clancy, of San Francisco and James E. Munsey, of Salt Lake City, as well as California labor officials Olaf Tveitmoe and Anton Johannsen for "conspiracy to transport dynamite over Federal territory," according to the Los Angeles Record of December 31, 1911. The Indianapolis News of the same date reported that the indictments were "returned under United States laws controlling transportation of explosives in interstate commerce. Indictments were also issued at this time for Ortie McManigal, James B. McNamara and John J. McNamara. This was just the beginning. These seven men would be included in the sweeping Federal indictments five weeks later. Detective William J. Burns, the structural steel employer's hired hand, responsible for the McNamara and McManigal arrests, still maintained a wrong-headed belief that A. F. of L. President Samuel Gompers was involved in the conspiracy. He based his inane judgment on the fact that Olaf Tveitmoe and Gompers were friends – guilt by association. He also believed Tveitmoe to be the instigator and planner of the Los Angeles Times explosion. Burns and his open shop sponsors wanted desperately to entangle Gompers in the conspiracy. If they were successful in their efforts to enmesh America's most respected trade unionist, they would cause irreparable damage to the labor movement. Burns unethically tried to persuade the Government prosecutor to grant immunity to Tveitmoe, if he were to implicate Gompers. Tveitmoe would not lie about his friend to walk free, and was convicted. Later, the Appellate Court overturned his conviction. After the Federal Grand Jury in Indianapolis returned the fifty-four indictments on February 6, 1912, Ryan reported to the Iron Worker membership that the indictment list named "nearly all those who have served as International officers since 1906." Ryan also wrote that the executive director of the National Erectors Association, Walter Drew, "is reported to have said that he expected to break us financially before this case is finished." Ryan, Hockin, and John T. Butler, First Vice President (and former General President) were arrested at headquarters in Indianapolis on St. Valentines Day, February 14, 1912. As Butler put it, he "received a valentine in the form of a warrant from ... a United States Marshall." They made bond that day. The bonding companies in town, however, wanted only cash surety for the $10,000 bonds for International officers. The Union also was to provide bonds for all indicted members. Some Indiana firms threatened to withdraw their business from any companies providing bond money to the International. Only one company, the Southern Surety Company, of St. Louis, would accept the Union's real estate worth to secure bonds. The excessive cash amount for bonds, the legal fees, and the cost of a protracted trial made Walter Drew's expectation and hope likely to become a reality. The men indicted were arraigned on March 12, 1912, in Indianapolis, before Federal District Court Judge A. B. Anderson. To a man they pleaded "not guilty." Some observers and newspaper publishers and editors were surprised by the pleas, having expected guilty pleas. Judge Anderson set the trial date for October 12, 1912. Forty-six men, lined fifteen abreast, banked three deep, with one lonesome end, stood in the Federal Court room in Indianapolis to hear the charges against them. The group included forty-two Ironworkers. Several indictments had been dismissed. The trial sparked great interest, coming just one year after the McNamara's trial for the "Crime of the Century," as the newspaper tabloids called it. The conspiracy trial was not as sensational as the earlier trial. The public, however, was curious about, and were amazed by, the men who reportedly rode in rocking railroad cars with cases of dynamite and nitroglycerine they steadied with the balls of their feet, as they transported explosives to chosen sites. To bolster its case against the defendants, the Government brought Ortie McManigal under heavy guard from California. His affirmation in this trial was quite similar to his confession which implicated the McNamara brothers; however, he broadened his testimony to include several indicted Ironworkers about whom he claimed to have information. McManigal especially zeroed in on his supposed "control" and fleecer, International Secretary/Treasurer Herbert Hockin, with a vengeance. It was payback time. During the trial, Herbert Hockin was forced to resign as acting Secretary/Treasurer "by reason of the surrender of his bond in the case pending in the United States District Court," according to the Executive Board minutes. Hockin could not retain his financial office without bond; He resigned on November 28, 1912. The Board immediately appointed International Executive Board member Joseph E. McClory, of Local 17, Cleveland, Ohio, to fill the position until the next convention, in March, 1913, when Harry Jones was elected Secretary/Treasurer. Philip Taft in his labor history book The A. F. of L. in the Time of Gompers points out, "A member of the Executive Board, H. S. Hockin, testified against his colleagues." Since Hockin had been a prime player in the dynamite campaign from the beginning, he knew all the players involved – who did what, and when, and how. L. L. Jewell, erecting manager of McClintic-Marshall Construction Company, was a prosecution witness during the dynamite conspiracy trial. He electrified the courtroom with his testimony that Hockin had informed him of several planned explosions during the last half of 1910 and early 1911. Only with Jewell's testimony did the Iron Worker officials positively learn what some had suspected, that they had an informant in their midst. Cases of some of the local officers who went on trial were dismissed; however, on New years eve of 1912, thirty-nine men were found guilty and sentenced, including Herbert Hockin whose testimony against his fellow Ironworkers did not win him acquittal. Five men received suspended sentences, other sentences ranged from one year to six years, except for General President Frank Ryan, one of the oldest men. Judge levied the stiffest sentence against Ryan – seven years. All time was to be served at the Federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas. Union attorneys immediately filed appeals of their convictions. Although these were trying times, the International continued to function. Three months after the trial, the International Association called the postponed Sixteenth International Convention from February 24 through March 6, 1913, in Indianapolis. The loyal delegates exhibited a rock-hard "semper fi" stance and reelected Ryan as General President, in the face of his conviction. Harry Jones, Local No. 40, New York, N. Y. was elected Secretary/Treasurer. J. E. McClory , Local 17, Cleveland, Ohio, was elected First Vice President. A. F. of L. President Samuel Gompers addressed the delegates on February 27, 1913. He said among other things that "The Bridge and Structural Iron Workers are hard-working men, who are doing wonderful service to society; who are taking their lives in their own hands every day and every hour of the day they work. Without them, and without that service, modern industrial and commercial structures would be an impossibility." He also said in reference to the trials of the International and local union officers that "I am not in position to constitute myself the censor of their judges, or of men, nor am I in position to say that these men are innocent, and I am not going to say that they are guilty; but there is one thing which was evident to every fair-minded observer, and that is the entire case was conducted with a prejudice and bitter partiality against the men, that it raises the question of an honest doubt in the minds of honest men, and it was my pleasure , as I felt it was my duty, when the opportune moment came, the time to appear before the Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate, to set forth my views as to who was responsible after all." Five men were granted new trials by the Appellate Court, two decisions were reversed the other convictions were upheld. The convicted men took their cases to the United States Supreme Court, which refused to review them. The Union appealed to President Woodrow Wilson on behalf of the men who were still out on bond. President Wilson pardoned four men. The remaining Union men including Herbert S. Hockin as well as General President Frank M. Ryan, John T. Butler, a former General President, and second Vice President Paul J. Morrin, a future General President, had to report to Leavenworth to serve their sentences ordered by Judge Anderson on December 31, 1912. Wow!
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