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February 21, 2009 - Contributed by Fred Welsh.


On the evening of September 3, 1916, Frank E. Parker left his home, at 1406 Center Avenue, in Bay City, Michigan -- for his usual evening walk, however, this time things were quite different. He noticed two men following him, as he turned to see who they were --- two shots rang out and he fell to the ground, as his murderers fled the scene. His death would would become intangled with one Bay City's most legendary crime sprees.

Twenty years later, that story captured the attention of the Master Detective magazine, and they published as in as a mystery crime series to natio-wide readership. This story includes many images from that time period of the people and scenes involved. (see names and subject references below):



Former Sheriff, Bay County, MI

As told to

Published 1936
by MacFadden Publishing, Inc.
1926 Broadway, N. Y.

Vol. 14, No. 6.

The Characters:
  • Abbs, William (club member)
  • Bergeven, Nelson L. (witness)
  • Bergeven, Mrs. (witness)
  • Bouchey, William E. (friend)
  • Breen, Mr. (store owner)
  • Bristol, Blaine
  • Budde, Nelson (bank employee)
  • Carpenter, Howard P. (doctor)
  • Ceglarek, Thomas (bank customer)
  • Corozza, Hanna Mrs. (defendant)
  • Collins, William A. (prosecuter)
  • Coryell, Charles (neighbor)
  • Dardas, Michael (cashier)
  • Davis, George V., (police chief)
  • Debatts, Martin L. (murdered)
  • Delestowicz, Stanley (gang member)
  • Demings, Albert (club member)
  • Demock, Al (robber)
  • Durkarski, Leo (gang member)
  • Durkarski, Steve (gang member)
  • Eddy, Charles E. Mrs. (neighbor)
  • Gleason, Cornelius (detective)
  • Golombeck, Walter (gang member)
  • Grimmer, William (asst. cashier)
  • Filipiak, Stanley (bank customer)
  • Fitzgerald, (sheriff)
  • Gleason, Cornelius (detective)
  • Grimmer, William (bank assistant)
  • Groesbeck, (MI governor)
  • Herrick, (doctor)
  • Houghton, Samuel G. (judge)
  • Isaacson, Eugene (robber)
  • Jankowiak, Blanche (bank customer)
  • Kubiak, Stephen (gang leader)
  • Lambert, Emil (club member)
  • Lehman, Charles (murdered)
  • Leonard, Claude (gas station attendant)
  • Loll, Fred (cashier)
  • Madaj, Steve (gang leader)
    --aka: Flynn
  • Manard, Ed (club member)
  • McCormick, James (attorney)
  • McEwan, Fred (prison guard)
  • Mershon, Edward L (murdered)
  • Mitchell, William (auto dealer)
  • Morrison, Grant (Mgr. Iron Works)
  • Nellett, Henry (murdered)
  • Nowak, Aloysius (gang member)
  • Nowak, Ignatz (robber)
  • Olejniczak, Ramon (gang member)
  • Osterhout, Henry (club member)
  • Parker, Franklin E. (murdered)
  • Perry, E. B. (exec., Industrial Works)
  • Persons, Labra M. (murdered)
  • Plutniak, Joe (gang member)
  • Priestas, Joseph (deputy)
  • Quick, Edward (club member)
  • Redelewski, Clay (prison guard)
  • Rytlewski, Clemens (deputy)
  • Ruggles, (doctor)
  • Ripsky, Anthony (police captain)
  • Sarle, Louis H. (Freeland supv.)
  • Schaffer, Mr. (witness)
  • Schatz, ?
  • Schultz, Ed (bank employee)
  • Schwartz, (district attorney)
  • Smith, Russel (escaped prisoner)
  • Taylor, George H. (judge)
  • Thompson, Dell H. (Asst. prosecutor)
  • Tupper, (doctor)
  • Tennant, F.C. (club member)
  • Trudell, Theodore (sheriff)
  • Vanden Brooks, John (bank customer)
  • Walkowiak, Edward (gang member)
  • Waterman, George (deputy)
  • Welters, Charles (detective)
  • Witt, Clarence (deputy)
  • X mystery witness
  • ?, Flo
  • ?, Gyp (jailed at Flint)
  • ?, Yama,
  • Subjects of interest:
  • Alvarado Theater
  • Bay City Iron Works (robbed)
  • Bay County Court House
  • Bay County jail
  • Bay Co. Savings & Loan Bank (robbed)
  • Bay County Sherif
  • Breen hardware store (robbed)
  • Caro
  • Chicago, IL
  • Detroit
  • First National Bank
  • Flint police dept.
  • Freeland
  • Frankowiak's farm
  • Garfield Place
  • Gates' farm
  • Grand Rapids
  • Grotto Club
  • Jackson prison
  • Industrial Works
  • Kalamazoo
  • Kawkawlin (village)
  • Kremski's farm
  • Lewis Manufacturing (robbed)
  • Marquette prison
  • Michigan Central authorities
  • Michigan state prision
  • Munger (village)
  • Nellet's farm
  • New Era Life Ins., Co.
  • Pere Marquette depot
  • Polish stenographer
  • Prison break
  • Rockford, IL
  • Rubin jewelry store (robbed)
  • Saginaw County jail
  • Saginaw jeweler
  • Saginaw police dept.
  • Salzburg bank
  • South End pool room
  • State police
  • St. James Convent
  • Standard Oil station (robbed)
  • Tuscola road farm
  • Washington Theater
  • Wenonah Hotel
  • View:
    {Cobras of Crime.pdf} (Note: This is a large file and may be slow loading.)
    {Bio.: Franklin E. Parker}

    Related links:
  • View history related to Master Detective magazine. [Bernard MacFadden]
  • Excerpt from MyBayCity.com article written by Dave Rogers,
    "On one trip with a trooper, Mr. Conklin visited Marquette Prison where a guard pointed out a famous Bay City criminal, Steve Madaj, serving double life terms for the 1916 murder of lumber baron Franklin Parker. Some years earlier Madaj had broken out of Marquette, hopped a freight train to Chicago, hooked up with mobsters who gave him a car and was at large for 18 months before being recaptured. While at large he allegedly murdered a Munger farmer, Henry Nellett, and robbed a bank on 22nd Street. Madaj later told a friend he came back from Chicago to Bay City to visit a girl he knew who worked in a cigar factory.

    "Madaj was freed by Gov. John B. Swainson in 1962, returned to Bay City, married and lived here 17 years until his death in 1979. He is buried in Elm Lawn Cemetery."

    --- [Read] the full article for more crime stories.

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