September 6, 1908
It was 9 o'clock sharp last night when Charles Ryan, inspector of detectives, called in his men -- twenty of them -- and ordered them to go out and look for poker games, which the late grand jurors charged a week ago were operating unmolested by the police.
The twenty men went. It was nearly 11 o'clock before they had any luck. Then what they ran upon was really startling. Detectives Robert Phelna, Eugene Sullivan, J. L. Ghent and "Lum" Wilson made their way to 722 East Twelfth street. As they neared the number they said a "lookout" ran up the steps and gave the alarm. Being armed with a warrant the two doors were broken open and Detective Ghent was especially surprised.
There in the midst of six other men stood Charles W. Anderson, alias William January, for whom only a short year ago 20,000 people of this city and vicinity had petitioned President Roosevelt for his release from the federal prison at Leavenworth, Kas. And the petition gained his release, too. That was on July 19, 1907.
Last year, Benjamin T. Barnes, 2345 Southwest boulevard, a harnessmaker and former convict, wrote to Warden William McClaughry that William January, who had escaped from the prison nine years before, was living here under the name of Charles W. Anderson. The arrest followed, and when it was found that January -- for that was his name then -- had been living an exemplary life during his nine years of freedom, and that he had married and had a sweet 3-year-old baby girl, the whole of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas was aroused. His arrest took place on April 20, 1907, and he was taken to prison the next day. When President Roosevelt received the petition containing 20,000 names, with the information that as many more could easily be added, he set July 19 as the day when William January, then living at 1117 Holmes street, should be free.
When January came out he applied to the courts and soon had his name changed to Charles W. Anderson, as that was the name he assumed when he escaped from prison. Every hand in Kansas City was outstretched to aid the long-suffering man just out of stripes. He chose to open a restaurant on East Twelfth street, however, after being interested in a pool hall.
Last night when the detectives followed the lookout to the second floor, after breaking in two doors they got Anderson and six other men. They also got a round table, cards and chips. At the station no one would admit that he was gamekeeper. Sergeant Patrick Clark said: "Then I will hold you all under $51 cash bond each until I find out who was running this place."
The men were lined up to give their names. Anderson gave the name of John W. Smith just as a young player in answer to a question said, "Me? Oh, I got my chips from Anderson there."
Anderson was then informed that his bond would be $51 and the others $16 each. The former gave his at once and, after a short talk, with the men, who were consigned to the holdover, made his exit.
The game at 722 East Twelfth street was the only one bothered by the police last night. It is said that there are others.