Saturday, February 23, 2019
Text Size

Law and Order

Mel Blackburn, Flora Newton at the telephone office Mel Blackburn, Flora Newton at the telephone office


The law came slowly to Hanna. Most of the people who came to settle had some money with them; they were all extremely enthusiastic, busy, and happy, and there seems to have been little time for crime. There were a few spectacular incidents that first year, but they were isolated.

On January 2, 1913, in the Hanna Herald an account of a very busy horse thief was reported. Although he was in constant conflict with the law, and continually pursued by a variety of law enforcement officials who were equally busy, he seems to have covered an amazing amount of territory in a short time. Horse Thief Visits Town, blared the headline. George Bonner wanted for horse stealing, visits Hanna Saturday night and makes clean getaway.

"Some days ago J.C. Trenaman of this place received word that George Bonner who had purchased some horses from him, was trying to make a getaway, Trenaman went to Cluny to investigate, but on arrival there found that Bonner was gone. Trenaman came back after getting what information he could get and last Sunday he went to Munson where C.W. Robinson, J.P. issued a warrant to arrest Bonner for obtaining horses under false premises. Constable Dela Tour of the RNWMP and Trenaman then took up the chase and made a midnight trip to Drumheller on a coal train, only to find that Bonner had been arrested on Saturday night and had been brought before the court for selling a piece of mortgaged property. He was fined $10 and costs and ordered to return the money. After the trial he sold Trenaman's team and hired a man to take him north. Trenaman and the constable returned to Munson. In the morning Trenaman was sworn in as a special constable and continued the chase. They found the horses at Gopher Head in the possession of I. Collins. Collins had a hard luck story having bought a stallion, two mares and other goods to the amount of seven hundred dollars from Bonner. He gave him a check and Bonner was to have delivered the goods. After Bonner had cashed the check, but before he had delivered the horses, Deputy Sheriff Walker of Carbon had seized the whole outfit at Big Valley. Collins, learning of this, followed his man back to Drumheller. Bonner advised Collins he would square the deal and gave him Trenaman's horses and some household furniture. The horses were then turned over to Trenaman and the sheriff nabbed the furniture. When Trenaman repossessed his team he went back to Big Valley where the JP had issued two warrants for the arrest of Bonner on additional charges. The culprit was charged with issuing fraudulent checks all over the countryside on a Royal Bank account which he had opened earlier with a two dollar deposit. Meanwhile Bonner was headed for Hanna and eventually disappeared without ever coming to justice."

On February 6, 1913 G.R. Cope, the postmaster of Copeville was appointed Bailiff of Hanna and district and in March town council advertised for a town constable. In March Dan Hines was sworn in as special constable where he remained until a permanent appointment was made. The RNMP was asked to provide police service for Hanna but declined.

Will J. Miller was appointed town policeman in September 1913.

The first recorded burglary took place in September when thieves robbed the Hanna Hardware and Stephens and Edwards of $150. The triggered agitation and criticism of the work of Miller. A wave of petty thievery's by mid - October resulted in the dismissal of Miller and T.S. Grabell was hired. In January 1914 a new jail, fabricated by the blacksmith was completed. It contained three cells and was of all steel construction including the bunks. It was the discovered that no keys had been cut for the locks which were installed and the town secretary had to write away for them.

Chief Grabell patrolled the business section at night and when he found a door open he left a rhyming note for the proprietor. Sterling and Tingle left their door open one night and found the following verse on their desk the next morning:

Because you have a brand new safe
Sitting on the floor,
That's no reason why you shouldn't lock your door,
There are lots of men in town
that want the stuff that jingles,
And perhaps some day they'd get it
If they called at Wade and Tingle's.

Text courtesy of The Hanna Herald

Kirby Cartage digging up Main Street, 1935

More in this category: « Schools Joe Winkler »