Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." But He answered them, "An evil and treacherous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. (Matt. 12:38-40)
THE POVERTY AND CRIME WAVE IN CHICAGO IN THE 1930'S
After graduating from Chicage University School of Law, Attorney Galen Otto Hunt opened law practice in a suite in Chicago's Temple Building. The building, designed by Holabird & Roche, was completed in 1924. Chicago is the third largest city in the United States (after New York City and Los Angeles), with an official population of 2,896,016, as of the 2000 census. Galen Hunt was 30 years old when he began his practice in the Chicago area. There were several negative elements at work in the city of Chicago in the 1930's. A period of prohibition between the years of 1919 and 1933, merged with the city's political machine, creating one of the most notorious criminal organizations in America's history.
The 18th Amendment had banned the sale, transportation and manufacture of alcohol in America. William "Big Bill" Thompson and Mont Tennes created and promoted a spoils system where corruption governed daily business. As the business recession got worse instead of better, there was a ripening into that era called "The Great Depression!" When the stock market crashed in October 1929, workers in industries or firms not organized were among the first to lose their jobs. This Crash of the U.S. stock market known as "Black Tuesday" heralded the beginnings of a major worldwide economic crisis. In 1929-1933, unemployment in the U.S. soared from 3 percent of the workforce to 25 percent, while manufacturing output collapsed by one-third.
With the Stock Market Crash of 1929, and 12 million Americans — about 25 percent of the normal labor force — were out of work, soup kitchens appeared, run by churches or private charities, some of which served 1,500 to 3,000 people a day. By the mid-1930s, state and federal governments also were operating them.
American Jewish people had their concerns regarding labor, and with good reason, as they could see the vultures were circling, ready to pick the bones of American liberty. B. C. Vladeck cultivated the friendship of William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), and hoped, with reason, that Green would welcome the JLC as a trusted advisory body on Jewish affairs. As president of the JLC, Vladeck addressed the 1934 convention of the AFL, presenting the Nazi persecution of Jews as an integral part of a general assault on labor rights and political liberty.
"For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister." (Heb 6:10)
Prior to the 1932 clash, Communist Party activists had begun to develop a second and ultimately more successful strategy for dealing with the Unemployed Citizens League. In 1930, only 3.4 million workers belonged to labor unions--down from 5 million in 1920. Union members were confined to a few industries, such as construction, railroads, and local truck delivery. The nation's major industries, like autos and steel, remained unorganized. The revival of the labor movement was dramatic. Between 1932 and 1939, membership soared from under 3 million to almost 9 million. Workers everywhere surged into unions. The Harry Bridges Center For Labor Studies at the University of Washington states that October 1929 reinforced the Communist Party of America's goals to overturn the capitalist system, as the Crash personified capitalism at its most obvious failing, providing Communism's greatest chance to establish the case for a Marxist, worker-based economy and political system. The CPUSA played a significant role in the organization of industrial unions.
My Dad, Galen Hunt, stayed on in school studying under scholarships, graduating in 1932 from the University of Chicago School of Law, with his "Doctor of Law" degree, and in 1933 took the bar exam, and was licensed to practice law. He set up law practice at 30 Washington Street, in downtown Chicago, during an era when even the political elections were violent. Violence and intimidation characterized life in the windy city of Chicago.
In the beginning, FBI Agents had neither arrest privileges nor the authority to carry firearms. Because of these restrictions on FBI agents, there was widespread kidnapping, robbery, and this without repercussion. In response, Congress after more than a decade of violent crime, passed the May and June Crime Bills in 1934, giving Agents both the authority to make arrests and carry firearms, as well as the jurisdiction to pursue fugitives that crossed state lines (this used to be a very effective means by which to elude capture).The result was an unprecedented level of violence and public corruption.
What was it like to leave the farm and move to the big city in the 30's? After the Prohibition Era of the 1920s and early 1930s, the United States experienced a period of widespread lawlessness now known as the "Gangster Era."
"Baby Face" Nelson was born Lester M. Gillis on December 6, 1908, in Chicago, Illinois. As a teenager, he roamed the Chicago streets with a gang of juvenile hoodlums. By age of 14, he was an accomplished car thief with the nickname "Baby Face" becuase of his juvenile appearance. Nelson's early criminal career included stealing tires, running stills, bootlegging, and armed robbery.
In 1922, Nelson committed auto theft and was sent to a boys' home. Two years later, while on parole, he was returned on a similar charge.
In 1928, Nelson met a salesgirl, Helen Wawzynak, whom he married. His wife retained the name Helen Gillis throughout their marriage. In April, 1934, Nelson, Helen Gillis and John Paul Chase went to Chicago, Illinois, where they joined the Dillinger gang. While Chase remained in Chicago, Nelson and his wife vacationed with the Dillinger gang at the Little Bohemia Lodge in northern Wisconsin.
John Herbert Dillinger was born on June 22, 1903, in the Oak Hill section of Indianapolis, a middle-class residential neighborhood. His father, was a hardworking grocer. A break with his father and trouble with the law (auto theft) led him to enlist in the Navy. There he soon got into trouble and deserted his ship. His period of infamy began on May 10, 1933, when he was paroled from prison after serving 8 1/2 years of his sentence. Almost immediately, Dillinger robbed a bank in Bluffton, Ohio. In Chicago, Dillinger joined his friend, Evelyn Frechette. They proceeded to St. Paul, where Dillinger teamed up with Homer Van Meter, Lester ("Baby Face Nelson") Gillis, Eddie Green, and Tommy Carroll, among others. The gang's business prospered as they continued robbing banks of large amounts of money. John Dillinger liked dining on his favorite feast of frogs legs in Ireland's Oyster House Restaurant at 632-38 No. Clark Street.
On the afternoon of Sunday, July 22, 1934, Anna Sage called FBI agent Melvin Purvis and told him that she, John Dillinger, and his friend, Polly Hamilton, would attend the Biograph Theater that evening at 2433 Lincoln Ave. Anna said she would be wearing a white blouse and a bright orange skirt. When Dillinger and the two women arrived at the Biograph about 8:30, more than 20 FBI agents including Purvis, were staked out in doorways and alleys around the theater. John Dillinger walked into a trap set by the FBI at a movie house named the Biograph Theater, in Chicago on July 22, 1934, and was killed by the FBI. He was betrayed by a woman and riddled by agents' bullets when he tried to run.
Polly Hamilton fled the scene of the , left the city and went into hiding. She later returned to Chicago to work as a waitress, and married a Chicago salesman named William Black. Going by the name Edythe Black, she lived here at 1942 N. Mohawk with her husband until her on February 19, 1969.
George Bugs Moran was born to Polish and Irish immgrants in Chicago, and grew up in the mob. He was a happy go lucky man who always had a smile on his face and a skip in his walk. While not a Chicagoan by birth, George Clarence Moran migrated to Chicago before the turn of the century – remaining there throughout the his tumultuous crime career until an event called the St. Valentine's Day Massacre put him out of business.
Arthur "Doc" Barker, son of gang leader, "Ma" Barker, was arrested in Chicago in his apartment at 432 Surf on January 8, 1935.
Charles "Lucky" Luciano was born in 1897 in Lercardia Friddi, Sicily. The Lucianos set sail for America in 1906 and arrived at New York harbor in November of that year. Lucky Luciano was first arrested in 1907 for shoplifting. That same year, he started his first racket, offering younger and smaller Jewish kids his personal protection against beatings on the way to school, for a penny or two a day. If they didn’t pay, he beat them up.
By the 1930s Lucky Luciano and Louis Lepke Buchalter created a tight interstate criminal organization called the Syndicate. It included many crime figures from all over the country in an invisible government, apportioning territorial boundaries, allocating the profits from crime, and punishing those who violated their decrees. The notorious , Inc. enforced Syndicate decisions.
Luciano left control of the National Crime Syndicate to his mob associates, wheen he went to Sing Sing penitentiary. He was later transferred to Clinton State Prison, a place event worse than Sing Sing, where he would continue suffering; at first from the pain of withdrawals, and later, from sheer loneliness, as he spent most of his days in complete isolation.
Charles Luciano left for Italy, to live in exile. He never returned to America. After his , his relatives had his remains were brought back to New York to be buried in St-John's Cemetery.
Johnny Torrio was a "gentleman gangster" with business enterprises he conducted under his own ideas and codes of honor. He was a famous numbers racketeer.
Gabriele Capone was one of 43,000 Italians who arrived in the U.S. in 1894. A barber by trade, he could read and write his native language, and was from the village of Castellmarre di Stabia, sixteen miles south of Naples. Unlike many Italian immigrants he did not owe anyone for his ships passage to America. And upon arrival in the States, he planned to work till able to open his own barber shop.
Gabriel and Teresina Capone named their fourth son Alphonse. In spite of her duties as a mother of a growing brood of boys, Teresina took in sewing piecework to add to the family coffers. As a teenager, Alphonse (Al) Capone earned spending money running errands for Torrio while earning the Boss’ trust. Capone was also learning the ropes of the gangster business, while outwardly maintaining an outward show of respectability until Johnny Torrio moved to Chicago.
When Torrio’s influence was removed, Al Capone fell in with some of the street gangs of the era. By age twenty-five, Al Capone had become a prominent figure in Chicago’s organized crime. "On April 23, 1930, the Chicago Crime Commission issued its first Public Enemies List; there were 28 names on it, and Al Capone's was the first. Violence was a daily occurrence in Chicago. 227 gangsters were killed in the space of 4 years.
Between 1925-1927, Al Capone was earning $60 million a year from alcohol sales alone. Other rackets earned him an extra $45 million a year. Al Capone, with the help of fellow gangsters, Murray "The Hump" Humphreys and Frankie Diamond, opened the Meadowmoor Dairies here at 1334 S. Peoria just before he went to prison. Capone insisted that a law be passed that Grade A milk could not be sold as fresh milk more than 72 hours after it left the cow. He convinced the Chicago City Council to pass a law that the date by which milk was to be sold was clearly stamped on the milk container where the consumer could read and understand it.
Capone managed to bribe both the police and the important politicians of Chicago. He spent $75 million on such ventures but considered it a good investment of his huge fortune. His armed thugs patrolled election booths to ensure that Capone's politicians were returned to office.
At the outset of the Depression, Al Capone, the notorious gangster from Chicago, established the first soup kitchen, to improve his poor image. The kitchen served three meals a day, assuring that everyone who had lost a job could get a meal.
Assistant state's attorney, William McSwiggen, lived in Chicago at 4946 Washington with his parents in 1925. He was known as "The Hanging Prosecutor." McSwiggen was killed in by Al Capone himself at Capone's Pony Inn on Roosevelt Road in Cicero.
ELLIOT NESS & THE UNTOUCHABLES
Elliot Ness was a key player in the government's assault on Al Capone's Chicago crime empire. Ness led a "Special Prohibition Unit" consisting of 8 young men, remembered as "The Untouchables" for their refusal of enormous bribe offers. The group conducted a frontal assault against Capone's bootleg brewery operations while other government agencies picked away the crime lord's underbosses and allies and assembled the tax evasion case that would jail Capone in 1931.
Sbabardo's Funeral Parlor at 738 N. Wells, embalmed and held services here for many gangsters, including Dion O'Bannion, Hymie Weiss, and Vincent "The Schemer" Drucci in the 1920s. O'Bannion's services were the grandest Chicago had ever seen. 40,000 people filed by his casket here.
Writer Ernest Hemingway was born here at 339 N. Oak Park Avenue in 1905, and in the 1930's was at the height of his career. The famous baseball star, Ruth lived in Chicago during the 1930s. Benny Goodman, born Benjamin David Goodman in 1909, was the famous Jazz musician, known as "King of Swing," "Patriarch of the Clarinet," and "Swing's Senior Statesman", was born in Chicago, the son of poor Jewish immigrants who lived in Chicago's Maxwell Street neighborhood. World II traitor, Tokyo Rose lived in Chicago with her father just before she went to Japan in 1940.
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN CHICAGO
Chicago, Illinois was the city my father, Galen Hunt, chose to live and work in the 1930's, and he believed that all his dreams would come true. Things were on somewhat of an upswing as Dad received his diploma in law. Upon accepting Democratic nomination for president on July 2, 1932, Roosevelt promised "a New Deal for the American people."
I was impressed in the summer of 1910 to pray as Solomon for a wise and an understanding heart, Dad wrote, and was admonished by James that "if any man lacks wisdom let him ask of God who gives to all men liberally and abraideth not." Throughout the summer I prayed for an answer. I did not like the prospect of life on the farm. I was interested in things of science, so I prayed: "O God, let me go to college!" I had no prospect of going to college, but my father spoke of wanting me to go. How wonderfully God answers prayer! I spent 14 years in colleges and universities. I graduated from Iowa State University at Ames, Iowa, with a degree in Chemical Engineering in 1924. It was a period of business depression, and Research Engineers or Production Control Engineers were not needed.
During my last year of college, I had a hand and a voice in much of the research done by our graduating class. I had chosen to attempt the making of an absorbant or decolorizing charcoal from the residue of "furfural," from oat hulls after the Quaker rolled oats process. The chemical compound "furfural" is an industrial chemical derived from a variety of agricultural byproducts, including corncobs, oat and wheat bran, and sawdust. The name furfural comes from the Latin word furfur, meaning bran, referring to its usual source.
Dr. O.R. Sweeny was interested in my work, but the selection of ways and means was strictly up to me and my classmates. Our work was promising and was admitted to the Iowa Academy of Science. and published by the American Chemical Society.
Just in a word: Quaker Oats took me! So with New Years 1926, I had borrowed $100 from my mother, and caught the night train from Fairfield to Chicago. When my new boss came to work on the morning of January 6th, I was in front of his office door sitting on the end of my suitcase, waiting!
So I was employed by Quaker Oats Company to do research under the supervision of the laboratories at 9 South Clinton Street, a place I held for three years. The stock market was booming. The work ended with the Big Market and Business Collapse of 1929.
MEMORIES OF MY BOYHOOD WITH MY FATHER
Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of Hosts, which dwelleth in Mount Zion. (Isaiah 8:18)
We are all called to be workers for God. If we were not called to be workers for God we would not even be here. My mother said several times before I was born that she knew it was going to be a boy, and that he was going to be a preacher. My father said: Yes, mother: I think it is going to be a boy, but he is going to be a lawyer. Then after I came along, I had ideas of my own. i wanted to be a scientist! It was not at any time in my plans that I should ever be all three of them. That was the way that the thing happened.
I was home over a labor Day week end in 1923. My father asked if I would like to go over to the "Old Place" (where I was born) and I said I would enjoy it. I wanted to take some pictures of the place and I wanted him in them. So we did that and I was glad of the opportunity to visit with him.
On the way back, my father said: Here is where McCurdy's live. I hear Grandfather Wolf is very low. If you want to see him again, perhaps we ought to stop. You may not have the chance to see him agian. So I wanted to stop. It was this old farmer-preacher and elder in the church, (Abraham Wolf) who had married my mother and father. (*Possible descendant of Jeremiah Wolf) When we found him so low in his mind and spirits I tried to cheer him up. He knew it was time for him to go. To show me how he had wasted away, he closed his thumb and second finger around his thigh.
My father realizing how weak he was, made a motion with his eyes toward the door, then got up and left. I got up to follow, and then turned to say goodbye, and extended my hand. He made a motion for me to kneel there before him on the carpet, and I did so. Galen I don't know whether you were aware of it. Your mother said before you were born that she knew you would be a boy and that you would be a preacher. I said: Yes, I knew about it, but Brother Wolf I want to be a scientist. He said: You will be a scientist. You will make your mark in science. It is not now in your plans, but you will make your mark in Law. In neither of these you will be happy. You will only find you're happy in preaching the precious Gospel of Christ. Then he placed his big hand upon my head and asked God to bless my ministry, to keep me ever in His will, and that I might do great work for the Kingdom of Heaven! Then I did bid him goodbye, and left the room. I did not want to be a preacher. And I never told my father of this incident. So the following May 1924, I did graduate in Chemical Engineering and I went on into science research, where I did some effective work in several lines. Then as he predicted, later I made some money and graduated in Law. For many years, I was a lawyer.
BURIAL IN CHICAGO
Jonah had gone down into the hold of the ship. (Jonah 1:5)
And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark:8:31)
At near noon on or about the 20th of May 1935, I was sitting in my law office at 30 West Washington Street in downtown Chicago. I was preparing a brief in a case. I heard one of the s in the outer office go out to lunch, and I worked on, not hearing her return. Somewhere after one o'clock I finished the brief and pushed back the books and papers on my desk. I leaned back in my chair, in the silence of the room, and heard only the clacking of the typewriter in the next room. God had often crossed my life with the precious reminders of His grace. I felt rather than saw at first, that there had been a change. I looked up. The little office room seemed filled with a light. I got up and looked out of the window which was 12 stories up, to see from where someone was shining a light into the room. I looked up and down each side, and saw nothing. I turned in surprise. The light was still there, and more intense. I leaned back in my chair. Then the light disappeared and was gone.
I pulled out a sheet of paper and left a message on my desk. It was to the effect that I would not be available until further notice, if anyone called. I had to give God a chance to speak to me. The tall buildings in downtown Chicago rise several stories above the street. They go down in the ground several. I went down in the first basement and there were too many signs of activity there. I went down a second story, and nothing seemed correct. There in the third basement I found a small room, bare with a small carpet and a ccouple of chairs. Down in the fourth basement were pipes, pumps, air conditioning. Anywhere here would be noisey. So I went and told my s that if anyone called, I would not be available. I would be away, and they could go home when they were finished.
I WILL PAY MY VOWS TO THE MOST HIGH
"Yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. I will sacrifice unto theee with the voice of thanksgiving. I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is unto the Lord." (Jonah 2:6,9)
About nine o'clock that friday afternoon, I went down to that third basement and entered the room with two chairs and the tiny carpet. I knelt beside that chair in the dark and prayed. I sat on that chair and sought and fought for a quiet mind far from the concerns of this world. It was dark. It was quiet. I was alone. There was no food and drink. I sat there for hours. I heard slow moving footsteps coming down the hall, and the jingling of keys. Yes, he stopped. He inserted a key and locked me in. Then the footsteps moved away. I tried the door: I was locked in.
So I spent three days and three nights below the street level in the heart of the downtown business district district of Chicago--in silence--in the dark--all alone--with no food or drink. I could not possibly raise anyone. I found what I wanted, so I gave myself to it. I don't know how I passed the time, I only knew I grew tired to the point of collapse. But I was not hungry or lonely, or thirsty, or afraid of the dark. It was pleasant and restful. There was no disturbing sound. When I tried to pray, I broke out in an unearthly language, babbling what only God and I could understand. (Acts 2:1-4, Acts 2:38-39) To have answers I just had to wait. I prayed for hours. I sang and spoke to God in tongues. Time had no meaning. I was having some moments in eternity.
It seemed I was there for a year. I was not the same man coming out as when I went down. I did not want the same things any more. God had shown me that my money and property stood in my way, and I was losing my soul. God had given me the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I had given Him the total commitment of my life. I heard the shuffling footsteps; aand the jingle of keys. The key turned in the lock, and the footsteps moved away. I came out: and it was Monday morning. I do not know why these things happened to me. It was not in my plans, desires or intentions to be locked three days and three nights some 40 feet below the street level of the busy downtown business district of Chicago. I only wanted a couple hours in that basement, and a quiet undisturbed week in my apartment. All I can make of it is that God had other plans. When I was small we heard much of guardian angels, and of providences of God. He crossed my life with so many things to keep me from going to hell. God never gave me up! And now I am His and He is mine. I went home to rest and later back to my office. Since that event I have had an awareness that I was living in eternity. The old pressure was gone. I could live and work relaxed. I still had no day set in a call to preach, or to enter the mission field. The Devil is not likely to let my total commitmen to pass unnoticed. True faith is going to be tried. It was now time for me to be purged in the fires of affliction.
I am living in a never ending wonder of Eternal Life. Lord what do you want me to do? I walked over and caught the train and rode the 10 miles home. And I did not say a word to anyone. I went into my apartment and locked the door. Would God now call me to be a missionary? Would he call me to preach? Would I ever practice law again? Would I do nothing but church work? What effect would this experience have upon the rest of my life?
Galen Hunt continued to work for many years as an attorney, and one of the things he did was to set up non profit corporations for churches. He loved to discipled people. Dad taught on a Navajo reservation. He was ordained to ministry in Juneau Alaska. He planted some churches. With degrees in Science and Chemistry, he was a professor in universities. I have spoken to at least one pastor in Honolulu who said Dad gave them a prophecy concerning international outreach to the nations, which has since come true.
The Lord also lead Dad into founding the Pacific Missions, to reach the isles of the Pacific, with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Dad was given a tremendous vision for ministry by the Lord. The bible says we enter into other mens labours.
"Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides. They continue this day according to Your ordinances, for all are Your servants" (Psalm 119:90, 91,).
Alana Campbell is a writer-artist-illustrator who resides in Everett, Washington with her family.