Husband: Charles Joseph Stevens (1 2 3 4)
Born: 21 Mar 1900 in Montana (5)
Married: 26 Oct 1927 in Helena, Lewis and Clark, MT
Father: Calvin L. Stevens
Mother: Margaret Spellman
Wife: Barbara (6)
01 (?): Living
Additional Information

Charles Joseph Stevens:


On the 1900 Census he is listed as "Baby"

WWI draft registration Chas. occupation: student Helena high school. His mother, Margaret, is listed as next of kin. "joseph" is from this source.

There are dozens of stories about the exploits of Charles in the "Helena Independent" newspaper of Helena, Montana between 1928 and 1940.

Here are summaries of some of his escapades:

About 1920 Charles robbed a bank, was tried and found guilty, was sentenced to 10 to 40 years but paroled after four. At the time of the robbery Charles was employed as a bank messenger. After he had collected $40,000 for the bank from the post office he was found tied up in the back of a cigar store. It was later dtermined he had hidden the money in an empty store and tied himself up.

In 1930 his home and chicken ranch burned under suspicious circumstances. His mother tried to collect the insurance on the place to keep it from going to Charles' creditors.

In 1931 Stevens and family member purchased a place called the Parchen Mansion and bought a lot of insurance on it. So after it burned to the ground and the site showed evidence of arson. Charles, afraid of arrest, faked his own suicide and departed leaving seven tenderly written suicide letters behind. Several months later he wrote a letter to the sheriff with a postmark of Wellsburg, Iowa. But this too, was thought to be a fake as several years earlier he had claimed he was going to England to collect his share of a large estate. Friends received letters from cities along the route telling of the sights. They were very impressed until Charles was discovered at a farm not far away. He had sent the letters enclosed in envelopes addressed to the postmasters of the various towns, with instructions to remail them.

In 1940 he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon. He entered the office of an acquaintance and tried to sell him 2 tombstones. When the man said he wasn't interested Charles said he'd lend the man the money to buy them. When that didn't work, Charles said he'd give the man the tombstones. When they were still refused Charles pulled a gun and forced the man to a backroom. An accomplice brought in a large number of boxes and packages. When Charles tried to force the victim to the basement, the victim made a dash for freedom, jumping through a glass door. The packages were found to include a vial labeled, “cyanide of potassium,” another vial containing porcupine quills, which was labeled “poisonous darts, do not touch, poisonous darts, deadly poison”; electric wiring, dynamite with caps with fuses attached, bottles of a liquid believed to be nitroglycerin, tape, a hair brush, a hunting knife, dyes similar to those used by notaries in legalizing papers, and a sawed-off shotgun.

Besides letters and papers which appeared to be legal documents there were carelessly scribbled bizarre notes. One suggested that someone scare “him” with snakes; another, scare “him” by saying “he” would be dropped down a deep shaft; another, “put a bomb at the door and lock him in, where he can see the bomb all the time, and have the bomb wired to go off at any minute”; another,”put him in a sack and tie the top of the sack and throw him in the river.” The person meant by “him” was not known.

  1. census, Federal - 1900 - Lewis & Clark Co., Montana, Helena, Ward 1, sheet 3B (Ancestry p. 6 of 19).
    (4 Jun 1900)

    Line 99 R 1 Congress Dwelling # 80 Household # 85

    Stevens, Cal head b. Jul 1873 age 26 m. 1 yr Can/Eng Can/Eng Can/Eng imm: 1889 not nat. occ: Mine owner
    Margaret wife dec 1881 18 1 ch b/ 1 liv IRE IRE IRE
    Baby son Mch 1900 MT Nova Sco IRE

    [Charles info is written into the very discolored bottom margin.]

  2. Census, Federal - 1910 - Lewis & Clark Co., Montana, Helena, ED # 154, 2B (Ancestry p. 6 of 18).
    (18 Apr 1910)

    Line 24

    Stevens, Calvin head age 37 m 11 Yrs Can nat occ: miner/mine wage own
    Margaret wife 26 11 IRE IRE IRE 1880 imm nat
    Charles son 10 MT Can IRE
    William son 8 MT Can IRE
    Edmund son 6 MT Can IRE
    Lester son 5 MT Can Ire
    Alice dau 1 MT Can IRE

  3. Census, Federal - 1920 - Lewis & Clark Co., MT, city of Helena - ED# 4, p. 1A.
    (6 Jan 1920)

    Line 28 632 Sparta St Dwelling # 9 Household # 9

    Stevens, Calvin head home O free age 54 m imm: 1872 nat: 1877 Can/Eng IRE/Eng Can/Eng occ:gold miner Stevens Margaret wife 39 m 1887 1891 IRE/Eng IRE/Eng IRE/Eng none
    William son 18 s MT Can IRE farm laborer
    Edward son 16 s MT Can IRE factory apprentice
    Lester son 14 s MT Can IRE in school
    Alice dau 11 s MT Can IRE in School
    Calvin son 6 s MT Can IRE

  4., Historical Newspapers, "The Helena Independent," 5 Oct 1931, p. 1.

    Hobo Stevens, Reputed Suicide, Calls at Home of Friend for Food

    Hoax Told by Friend of Stevens

    Suicide Fake

    Stevens is seen Near Here and Posses Are Out.

    Woodrow Beaver, a youth of 18, who was employed by Charles J. Stevens to drive him about midnight Thursday night to the York bridge spanning the Missouri River to perpetrate a suicide hoax, has confessed his part in the affair to Sheriff Arthur C. Parsons.
    Albert Schaivon, 18, a companion on the trip, knew nothing about the plot. And to cap the climax, Stevens, yesterday morning was found sleeping in the barn of Luis P. Freeze in Squaw gulch after being refused admittance to the house Saturday night.
    Beaver was sent by Mrs. Freeze to notify the sheriff, who, with Chief of Police Spurzem, organized a party and searched the timber along Grizzly and Squaw gulches all day without success. The search is still on.
    Instead of bumping from rock to rock along the bottom of the river as a water-logged cadaver with a hunk of lead in his carcass, Stevens, after chasing around the brush and hiding in the hills since early Thursday morning, rapped at the door of the Freeze house about 11 o'clock Saturday night. Mrs. Freeze, a woman of 70, opened the door. Recognizing Stevens, who started to speak, Mrs. Freeze told him to "get away from here" and slammed the door in his face. Her husband, who had retired, was awakened and told of the incident, but having no telephone and living some

  5. World War I Draft Registration.
  6., The Helena Independent, 13 Dec 1928.

    Mrs. Stevens Seeks Divorce for Cruelty

    Suit for divorce, charging cruelty, was instituted by Barbara Stevens against Charles Stevens in district court Yesterday. She also charges non-support of an infant child.
    The plaintiff asks for custody of the three-months-old Charles, Jr., and $30 per month for his support. In the complaint Mrs. Stevens asserts that her husband remains away for long periods at a time, living with his mother. After establishing a home for her, the plaintiff charges that Stevens took $1,000 worth of furniture and gave it to his mother.
    The couple were married Oct. 26, 1927, in Helena.

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Revised: February 19, 2018