PARKER RITES THURSDAY TO BE ATTENDED BY SON
ELLIS, JR., GETS CONSENT FROM PRISON WARDEN
Famed Detective Dies With Early Pardon Regarded As Certain
JUDGE AND PROSECUTOR JOINED CLEMENCY PLEA
Ellis H. Parker, Sr., world famous detective, who died at 3:55 A.M. yesterday, will be buried Thursday and his son, Ellis, Jr., will be allowed to attend the services and funeral.
Major Henry C. Hill, superintendent of the Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pa., where Parker and his son were serving sentences following conviction in the Paul H. Wendel kidnapping case, announced that young Ellis would be taken to Mt. Holly for the funeral. He would make no other comment.
Parker died in the penitentiary as the wheels of Federal justice were slowly grinding toward a Presidential pardon.
Had Parker lived another week, he would have been back in his beloved Mr. Holly - a free man with all his civil rights restored.
The man whom thousands called "the greatest detective in the world" died at 3:55 a.m., and even then the U.S. mails were carrying documents to Judge William Clark, for his signature, preparatory to an executive pardon from President Roosevelt.
Judge Clark said today he would have approved the pardon. So, too, did U.S. Attorney John J. Quinn, of New Jersey, who prosecuted Parker and his son, Ellis H. Parker, Jr., in the "conspiracy to Kidnap" Paul H. Wendel, former Trenton attorney.
Son at Bedside
Judge Clark sentenced Parker to six years, following his conviction, and the son to three years. Both entered the prison last June. Young Ellis was at his father's bedside when the end came, while other members of his family were speeding across ice-caked Pennsylvania highways in an effort to reach him before death.
It was an inglorious end to the most brilliant career in crime detection recorded outside the annals of fiction. Parker solved 304 murder cases and more than 1000 other crimes during his 46 years of "rural" detecting and as chief of the Burlington County detectives.
Judge Clark and Quinn issued a joint statement today. It read: "The United States Attorney and I acted favorably on Jan. 8, 1940, on the request of Ellis Parker, Sr., for parole." This action was based on reports of his physical condition. In the last two weeks, that condition deteriorated so rapidly that his loyal friend and attorney, Harry Green, felt an immediate release from prison was called for. Accordingly he made application to the President for executive clemency. That application, as is the custom, was referred to the pardons attorney in the Department of Justice, and by him to the United States Attorney and myself. The papers were received by Mr. Quinn's office the end of last week and by me today.
"Death, always sad, is especially so under these circumstances. Mr. Quinn and I regret that it came too soon for our action to help in freeing him to pass his last days at home."
Surrogate George B. Bitting, an undertaker, removed the body to his establishment at 13 Garden St., Mr. Holly, yesterday.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Bitting funeral home, members of the family decided tentatively last night. The public will be allowed to view the body Wednesday night, a spokesman for the family announced."I am extremely sorry Ellis Parker died where he did," Quinn said yesterday. "I would have done everything within the law and within my power to help him."
When informed of Parker's condition last week, Quinn said: "If he is as bad off as he is reported I shall take the matter up with Judge Clark. I feel Parker has been punished enough."
Quinn conferred with Judge Clark Friday and he agreed to affix his signature to the necessary papers today. With the signing of the papers the Presidential pardon will come through automatically, Quinn said.
Son at Bedside
The petition was signed by 8000 persons and its proffer to Roosevelt was hastened when Parker first was stricken December 23.
Death came for the sleuth who was credited with never overlooking a clue as members of his family were preparing to visit him. At his bedside was his son, Ellis, Jr., who has been his nurse in the prison.
Before he was stricken he was visited by City Clerk Clay W. Reesman. At that time he said he held no bitterness in his heart against anyone and he still held steadfast faith in God.
Planned For Future
Reesman was reluctant to discuss the visit today, but said that Parker had talked of his son, and their future plans.
"Once we get out of here, we intend to forget this whole affair and discuss it with no one," Parker told the city clerk.
As Reesman left, Parker shouted to Mrs. Reesman, who had accompanied her husband: "Be sure and call Mom. Tell her I am all right."
State Senator Howard Eastwood, who in 1937 removed Parker as county detective chief, following his conviction, today said: "His unusual career as an enforcement officer merits recognition as does his 40 years of loyal and devoted service to Mt. Holly and Burlington county."
Eastwood was prosecutor of Burlington county at the time the Wendel case "broke" about the shoulders of the famous sleuth.
Mrs. Cora E. Giberson Parker, Parker's widow, started from their home at 509 Garden Street, Mt. Holly shortly before 4 a.m. in a car driven by another son, Edward. She had been notified of the seriousness of her husband's condition. Mrs. Parker, who has been ill, had not seen him since before Christmas. Father of 15 Children
Mr. and Mrs. Parker were the parents of 15 children, eight of whom are living. Besides Ellis they are Mildred Parker, Mt. Holly; Mrs. Jane Brown, Lumberton; Mrs. Andrew Sahol, Roebling; Mrs. William Fullerton, Camden; Anthony, Howard and Helen Parker. There are eight grandchildren.
Parker was a member of the Egg Island Gun Club in Ocean county, Mt. Holly Lodge of Elks and Vice President of the Burlington County Game Protective League.
He served nearly 40 years as a county detective before his conviction in 1935. Former Prosecutor Howard Eastwood said Parker solved 304 murder cases out of 310 listed in the county during his career and two of the unsolved crimes were committed elsewhere and the bodies hidden in Burlington's woodlands.
Parker was born at Wrightstown on September 12, 1871. He was the son of Anthony J., and Anna E. Girton Parker. His father was English and his mother French. Parker was Quaker and attended the first Day School at Upper Springfield. He was a member of the Hicksite organization. Kin of Gov. Parker
Parker's father was a cousin of the late Joel Parker, former New Jersey governor and the late General E. Burd Grubb, former inspector general of New Jersey National Guard rifle practice, and a relative of the late Chief Justice William S. Gummere, of the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Parker received a common school education. When he was nearly 20 he was selected by the Monmouth, Ocean and Burlington County Pursuing Association to trace horse thieves.
His success attracted the attention of the late Eckard P. Budd, then Burlington county prosecutor, and on April l, 1898, called Parker to Mt. Holly to become the first county detective. He served until his conviction in the Wendel case in 1937, when Prosecutor Eastwood relieved him of his duties pending the outcome of his appeal. He then was detective chief.
Wanted to Be Musician
Parker early in life was ambitious to become a musician. He learned to play the violin and at 14 he was playing at barn dances. His first detective work began when someone stole a horse and wagon with his fiddle in it. There were no police officers or constables around for miles so Ellis began some sleuthing himself. By a process of deduction he found the culprit, fiddle, wagon and horse.
A short time later his wearing apparel was stolen from his father's farm house while he slept. Once again young Parker did his own sleuthing and landed his man and the clothing.
Young Parker then began to study New Jersey. He prided himself on knowing its people, customs and geography. He said that during his youth the state was larger to him than the world today.
Parker married Miss Cora E. Giberson, of Manahawkin, in 1900. On each wedding anniversary he attributed their happiness to the fact he never quarreled with her. By coincidence Parker solved an Ocean county murder case in which a woman named Giberson was convicted of the murder of her husband.
1000 Cases a Year
During his long career Parker made at least 4000 reports annually on cases. He investigated more than 1000 cases a year.
He was consulted by detectives, investigators and district attorneys all over the country. He assisted authorities in many counties to ferret out criminals.
Parker's hobby was hunting. He spent most of his spare time at the Egg Island gun Club. Duck hunting was his principal sport. While in Mt. Holly he whiled away most of his leisure time at the Elks' Club. His former home on High Street, opposite the county jail, was one of the show places of the town.
At one time he operated a garage at King and Washington streets, Mt. Holly. Later he conducted a pool room on Main Street.
Entered Lindy Case Late
Parker entered the Lindbergh case late. Many say, in fact, he was driven to illegal extremes because his pride was hurt by the way other investigators ignored him.
On March 28, 1936, a few days before the scheduled execution of Hauptmann, the elder Parker produced in New Jersey Wendel, former Trenton attorney, and a "confession" reportedly signed by him.
The death sentence was delayed for several days, during which Wendel repudiated the "confession" attributed to him and authorities rendered it a hoax.
After months of investigation, the Parkers, Senior and Junior, were indicted in Brooklyn - ironically, under a State law aimed at kidnapping, the very crime Parker claimed to have solved.
The indictment was returned on the strength of Wendel's story that he was kidnapped, imprisoned in Brooklyn, tortured and finally taken to New Jersey and turned over to Parker. The old sleuth was charged by Wendel with having locked him up in a home for the feeble- minded at New Lisbon, a few miles from Mt. Holly, to obtain the purported confession that Wendel killed the Lindbergh baby.
Three Others Indicted
Indicted with the two Parkers on April 7, 1937, were Murray Bleefield, Martin Schlossman and Herman Weiss, who admitted having acted as the attorney's "captors" at the instigation of Parker Sr. Bleefield pleaded guilty, Schlossman and Weiss went to trial and were convicted. They are now awaiting new trials, their sentences of 20 years each in Sing Sing having been reversed on appeal.
Meanwhile the federal grand jury in Newark began in inquiry when Jersey authorities refused extradition of the Parkers to the Brooklyn jurisdiction. The result was all five were indicted on the federal charge. The Parkers were convicted and appealed.
The Newark sentences, imposed July 30, 1937, gave 6 years in prison to Parker Sr., 3 to his son. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Clark's decision and the Parkers sought to carry the case to the supreme court. Clerk in Prison Library
On June 5 last year, the highest court refused to reopen the cases. Seventeen days later, the ace detective became prisoner No. 8633 at the big Federal prison in Lewisburg, his son, who accorded his famous father both hero-worship and unquestioning obedience, became prisoner No. 8634.
After his commitment, the old man worked as a clerk in the prison library. In December he became ill and spent his last days in the prison hospital. His ailment was diagnosed as a brain tumor only a few days ago.