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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

100 years ago in Spokane: He was the marryin’ kind, and it landed him in prison

By Jim Kershner For The Spokesman-Review

Frank B. Carpenter’s honeymoon was cut short when a federal judge sentenced him to two years at the McNeil Island federal prison.

He and Mabel Roberts of Cranbrook, British Columbia, had been married only a few days when Carpenter was arrested on charges of bigamy and “white slavery” (which, in this case, meant transporting a woman across state lines for immoral purposes).

At the time, authorities had information that Carpenter already had two other wives in eastern Canada. When the case came to trial, that number had been upped to “three other wives, and federal authorities think there may be more.” He had “several wives” in Ontario, “but apparently was pleased with none of them.”

He was imprisoned once before in Ontario for bigamy. When he was released, he drifted into Cranbrook where “he met pretty Mabel Roberts and proposed without telling her” about the other wives.

He came to Spokane in December 1921 to seek work, and then sent money back to Cranbrook for Mabel. She arrived in Spokane and they married.

Now, with Carpenter heading to McNeil Island, Mabel’s parents had arrived from Cranbrook to take her home.

From the vaudeville beat: A Spokane city commissioner was trying to bar the upcoming appearance on the Pantages Theater stage of Mrs. Roy Gardner, wife of the notorious train robber.

The commissioner said this amounted to “exploiting the criminal career of her husband and is a dangerous thing.”

“It makes criminality a virtue,” said the commissioner. “… Roy Gardner was not a poor criminal who went wrong once. He ‘fell’ every chance he got, and his crimes became bolder and bolder as he went on.”