Bridgewater Biographies

Below are the stories of individuals who were labeled by the courts as "Defective Delinquents." Their stories and names will not be forgotten.

Charles Byers

Harvey A. Baker

Catherine Walsh

Leon Carswell

Wilfred Barselou

Earl White

Edward Brown

Irving White

Pearl White

Thomas Wizard

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Charles Byers

Charles Byers was an inmate at the Bridgewater State farm for being labeled as a “Defective delinquent” but not much is known about his reason for being institutionalized. He was inmate number 118 at the institutions. It seems that he was put in the state farm in November of 1923. And was assumed to be released onto parole sometime in 1924. Evidence shows that he was actively put on parole from September of 1924 and has accounts until July of 1925. During these visits, Byers was unemployed at first but had a steady occupation by the end. He was employed as a stock clerk at Milton Bradley co in Springfield Ma. However, it is assumed that he was put back in the state farm as he was released onto parole on October 7, 1933. He may have been on parole before his second arrest as one note mentions that he was arrested for the “larceny of letters in his apartment building”. His parole officer then helped him to get a court date to deal with his arrest. Byers does not seem to be the typical “defective delinquent” as he is described as, “having no trouble at all” in most of his reports. Not much else is known about his life pre- state farm and his life after being released in 1933, but it would be safe to assume that Byers was back in the state farm at least one more time in his life as the date of his overall file is June 25, 1937, which is years after he was released on parole.

Picture of Charles Byers from that has the date- November in 1923. This picture was on the cover of his overall file. This appears to be a mugshot from the state farm when he was admitted. The dates of his parole are during the time of 1924-25 so it’s possible that he was admitted to the state Farm in ’23.

Byers shows normal intelligence, and he is not a D.D type.

- Parole Officer 1925

Above to the left is a picture of the court document detailing Byers parole release. He was released under the condition of parole for one year. The document states that Byers was not a threat to others or his own safety and therefore allowed to be released. On the right is a snapshot from his overall file. The date on the right is very intriguing as it would have been four years after Byers was released. It’s possible that he was put back in the state farm, as this has clearly happened more than once, however there are no found documents to back this claim up.

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Harvey A. Baker

1886-1956

Harvey A. Baker, otherwise known as Harvey Belanger, was born on January 9th, 1896, in Methuen Ethe, Massachusetts. During his life, he was self-employed as an artist and woodworker. His parents, Earnest Baker [Belanger] and Margaret Lefrenier were both born in Canada and moved to Massachusetts before Harvey was born. Earnest worked as mason and Margaret was unemplowed.

1930 United States Census. Harvey Baker, his wife Christine, and his father Earnest are all listed here as living in the same household. It is unclear where Harvey’s mother is at then time.

At age, 21, in 1917, Harvey registerened for the United States Military. As it states on his WWI Registation Card, Harvey had never previously served in the military, had all four of his limbs, and was natural born citizen. The registration card also states that Harvey was married and had one child in 1917. However, the 1930 United States Census states that Harvey Baker married Christine in 1923. This seems to show that that Harvey had a possible previous marriage and child before Christine. It could also mean that the data of either the census or the registration card is incorrect (there is significant evidence showing that these are the same people, just with differing data). Later, known by his gravetsone, Harvey served in the U.S Army, was enlistend on September 17th, 1917 and discharged Decemeber 14th 1918.

Harvey A. Belanger’s 1917 World War I Registration Card. He is listed here as having all four limbs, being married with a child, and living in Methuen, Massachusetts.

At age 27, in 1923, Harvey married Christine, who’s maiden name is unkown. Christine was one year younger than Harvey.

There is no information about Harvey or Christine Baker between the time of their marriage in 1923 and their arrest in 1952.

On August 16th, 1952, Patricia McCarthy of Connecticut arrived at Winter Street, Lawrence, where she met Mr. and Mrs. Baker. Patricia paid Harvey Baker a sum of $350 to abort her fetus. Mrs. Baker assisted her husband by sterilizing the instruments. Harvey Baker injected liquid into McCarthy on August 16th and 17th and planned to inject another round at night on Monday the 18th. However, McCarthy changed her mind and went to the police at around noon on the 18th where she told her story.

The file regarding Mr. and Mrs. Baker and arrest and Mr. Bakers transfer to the State Farm. The details of the attempted abortion are explained as well as the first parts of the trial. This file gives no reasoning on why Harvey Baker was transferred to Bridgewater or his time there.

Patricia paid Harvey Baker a sum of $350 to abort her fetus. Mrs. Baker assisted her husband by sterilizing the instruments. Harvey Baker injected liquid into McCarthy on August 16th and 17th and planned to inject another round at night on Monday the 18th.

Shortly after 1 P.M on the 18th, both Mr. and Mrs. Baker were arrested and charged with Attempt to Commit Abortion, 2 counts. The Bakers denied the entire affair and were involved in the preliminary phases of trial.

The heading of the file shown above. Detailing the date of Harvey’s sentence, transfer to Bridgewater, offense, when he is eligible for parole, the court, the judge, and the length of his sentence.

Little is known of what occurred between the initial Grand Jury trial, and Harvey’s (not his wife’s) sentence on September 22nd, 1952. Sentenced to 5-7 years, Harvey (#29976) was transferred to the Bridgewater State Farm on November 19th, 1952. It is unclear when Harvey Baker was determined a “defective delinquent” and what about Baker determined him as such, and therefore placed him at the State Farm.

Harvey Baker’s mug shot taken at the State Farm on November 20th, 1952, one day after his arrival there. Harvey Baker is S.F (state farm) #29976.

It is unclear when Harvey Baker was determined a “defective delinquent” and what about Baker determined him as such, and therefore placed him at the State Farm.

Harvey Baker died on February 21st, 1956. His wife Christine applied for a headstone from Immaculate Conception Cemetary, Lawrence, MA. As stated by the headstone application, Harvey received the grade PUT from the military and was a Christian. At this time, Christine was still living on 36 Winter Street, where she and her husband were living at the time of their arrest in 1952. No information is known about Harvey’s life between the time of his transfer to Bridgewater State Farm on November 19th, 1952 and his death on February 21st, 1956.

Harvey Belanger’s (Baker’s) headstone application, filled out by his wife Christine on February 21st, 1956. In the top left corner, the application tells us when Harvey was enlisted and discharged from the US Army. The address also informs us that Harvey and Christine Baker were living in the same residence at the time of his death as at the time of their arrest in 1952.

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Catherine Walsh

Catherine Josephine Walsh was born on October 11, 1909 in South Boston to Michael Walsh and Catherine Morrissey. At the time of her birth, she had three living siblings and another who had previously passed away. According to a 1910 census, her father was a teamster in the paper industry and the family lived in a rented house in Boston Ward 14, Suffolk County, Boston.

1910 Census, including information concerning the Walsh family

Very little information is known for the period of Catherine’s young life but according to a 1930 Census, she was housed in the Wrentham State School by at least 1930, if not earlier. The census also reveals that she was 20 years old in 1930, was unable to read or write, and didn’t have a home or a job.

1930 Census, taken at the Wrentham State School on April 5th

A few years after the 1930 Census, reports show that Catherine was still housed in the Wrentham State School in 1932. It’s possible that this is a transfer report, moving Catherine from Wrentham State School to the Bridgewater Institute but there are no records of her time at the State Farm. This report gives information regarding the various institutes that Catherine was housed in over the years, as well as a report of her crime, called “Refractory Conduct”. Previous to being moved to the State School, she had been housed in five other institutions, including the Fernald school.

It is unclear when or why she was placed in the Wrentham State School and when or why she was moved to Bridgewater. It is also unknown when or if she was released from Bridgewater, and when she died.

The following are photographs of the report from the Wrentham State School in 1932. They include a report detailing her “refractory conduct”, which could be the cause of her transfer to Bridgewater.

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Leon Carswell

1905-1961

“An Object of Attainment for all soldiers”

Leon Carswell was born on September 17, 1905 at the State Hospital in Tewskbury, MA. His mom’s name was Alice and his dad’s name is unknown. We know little of Carswell’s childhood other than that by the time he was 15, he was an “inmate” (so called) at the Massachusetts School for Feebleminded Children

Federal Census Records Showing Leon Carswell as a “patient” at the Massachusetts School for the Feebleminded. (The name of the school would be changed to the Fernald State School in 1925). Carswell would have been 15 in 1920. It is unclear when Carswell first was placed at the institution or why.

By 1930, Carswell was listed as a “Defective Delinquent” at the State Farm in Bridgewater MA. He was “MDD #74.” It is unclear precisely when or why he was moved to Bridgewater. At Bridgewater he was listed as a “musician” in a band, though it is unclear what band he was in and what instrument he played.

Leon Carswell’s mug shot from June of 1923. Carswell was listed as a patient at the Massachusetts School for the Feebleminded in 1920 and it’s unclear who took this mugshot and why.

By 1930, Carswell was listed as a “Defective Delinquent” at the State Farm in Bridgewater MA. He was “MDD #74.”

At some point he went to work at the Henry Perkins Company (in Bridgewater). It is unclear if this was work he did while still at the State Farm or after he was released.

In April 1942 he enlisted in the US Army (the Air Force branch), did his basic training in Atlantic City New Jersey, and then attended the radio school at Scott Field, Illinois. While stationed in Frederick Oklahoma he was promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Leon Carswell’s draft card from 1940. He lists “William LeFeber” as the “person who will always know his address.” LeFeber was not a relative, but was a neighbor. See LeFeber’s draft card below.

William LeFeber’s draft card. He and Carswell were neighbors in Bridgewater.LeFeber named his father as the person who would always know his address, rather than Carswell.

On January 6, 1944, Carswell, then stationed at the Army Air Forces Pilot School in Frederick Oklahoma, was awarded with “Outstanding Enlisted Man” for the month of December 1943. Known to other soldiers as “Pop,” Carswell was commended for having “diligently performed his duties in the Mess Section” earning the “respect and admiration of enlisted personnel” as well as “the confidence of his immediate superior officers.” He was further praised for his “soldierly qualities and attention to duty” and commanding officer, Colonel Robert B Davenport noted that Carswell should “serve as an object of attainment of all soldiers.”

Copy of the award letter given to Carswell in 1944. He was named “Most Outstanding Enlisted Man” for December 1943. His supervisor noted how respected he was by his fellow soldiers and that he’d “earned the confidence” of his superior officers. At the top right corner of the letter we are reminded, by hand in pencil, that Carswell was once “Male Defective Delinquent #74” at Bridgewater.

Colonel Robert B Davenport noted that Carswell should “serve as an object of attainment of all soldiers.”

An article from the Frederick Leader celebrating “Pop” Carswell’s award and showing him looking at the plaque.

After the war, Carswell was stationed at Loring Air Force Base in Maine. He was a food service supervisor in the mess hall where he oversaw other employees. On Monday November 6, 1961 Carswell was found shot dead in his room. One of the men he supervised, John Harrison, was also found shot dead that day. He was in his own room. No records of any investigation into the shootings have been located and the details of Carswell’s death are otherwise unknown.

Article reporting Carswell’s death form the Brattleboro Reformer, November 7, 1961 The Air Force seemingly remains “tight-lipped” about Carswell’s mysterious death.

Article reporting Carswell’s death form the Brattleboro Reformer, November 7, 1961 The Air Force seemingly remains “tight-lipped” about Carswell’s mysterious death.

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Wilfred Barselow

Wilfred Barselow (Barselou) was born on September 6th, 1912 in New Bedford Massachusetts. His father’s name was Joseph and his mother’s name was Malvina and they were both Canadian. Wilfred was one of six children in his family. When he was 17, he worked at a cotton mill. When Wilfred was in his late teens, he became an “inmate” (so called) at the Massachusetts School for Feebleminded Children. However, it is unclear exactly when Wilfred first was placed at the institution or why. On January 20th, 1932, Frank A. Milliken, Justice of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, declared Wilfred a Defective delinquent. He was then to be confined at the State Farm at Bridgewater. He was “M.D.D. #565”. The crime that named Wilfred as a defective delinquent was stealing approximately $1.50 worth in value of goods. It was unclear what his role or occupation was at State Farm. Three years later, Wilfred’s father, Joseph, wrote a letter to Dr. Fernald expressing he is unhappy with Fernald’s treatment of his son and how he runs his institution. The letter highlights how when Joseph visited a few years back, he thought Fernald was kind and loving, but after his son was held at State Farm for stealing such a small amount, he had no good words towards Fernald. On October 16th, 1940, Wilfred registered in the US Army to fight in World War 2. It is unclear if he was enlisted in the army, and if so, how long he was in the army. Unfortunately, we also don’t know when or how he passed away.

Wilfred Barselow (Barselou) was born on September 6th 1912 in New Bedford Massachusetts. Wilfred was a white male. While he never attended school, he was literate. His father’s name was Joseph and his mother’s name was Malvina and they were both Canadian. Wilfred was one of six children in his family. He had three brothers and two sisters (Edward, Arthur, Yvonne, Victor, and Blanche). When he was 17, he worked at a cotton mill.

When Wilfred was in his late teens, he became an “inmate” (so called) at the Massachusetts School for Feebleminded Children. However, it is unclear exactly when Wilfred first was placed at the institution or why. On January 20th, 1932, Frank A. Milliken, Justice of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, declared Wilfred a Defective delinquent. He was then to be confined at the State Farm at Bridgewater. He was “M.D.D. #565”. He was moved to Bridgewater and titled a defective delinquent because he stole approximately $1.50 worth in value of goods. It was unclear what his role or occupation was at State Farm.

Wilfred Barselou’s mug shot from October 9th 19?6. Wilfred was listed as a patient at the Massachusetts School for the Feebleminded and it’s unclear who took this mugshot and why. Wilfred had brown hair and eyes, a ruddy complexion. He was around 5’7 and 165 pounds when he was fully grown.

On January 20th, 1932, Frank A. Milliken, Justice of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, declared Wilfred a Defective delinquent. He was then to be confined at the State Farm at Bridgewater. He was “M.D.D. #565”.

Three years later, Wilfred’s father, Joseph, wrote a letter to Dr. Fernald expressing he is unhappy with Fernald’s treatment of his son and how he runs his institution. The letter highlights how when Joseph visited a few years back, he thought Fernald was kind and loving, but after his son was held at State Farm for stealing such a small amount, he had no good words towards Fernald.

On May 6th, 1935, Wilfred’s father, Joseph, wrote a letter to Dr. Fernald sharing his opinions on his sons sentence.

On October 16th, 1940, he registered in the US Army to fight in World War 2. It is unclear if he was enlisted in the army, and if so how long he was in the army.

Wilfred Joeseph Barselou’s draft card from 1942. He lists his mother as “name of person who will always know your address”.

Unfortunately, we don’t know when or how he passed as well.

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Photograph of Earl White taken to coincide with his records from the Fernald School.

Earl White

Edward “Earl” C. White was born on January 27th, 1906 to mother, Lucy V. Miller who worked in a shop, and father, Hiram White, who worked as a chef. Growing up, Earl boarded in a Revere House until Patty Thieremy, a woman who worked at the Revere House brought a mental team to meet with Earl. On November 4th, 1911, Earl was sent to The Walter E. Fernald School as a “dependent.” While at the Fernald School, Earl attended classes up until third grade, however, he did not have any knowledge past the third-grade level.

Fourteen years after living at the Fernald School, Earl was sentenced to the State Farm in Bridgewater, Massachusetts on August 27th, 1925, by Judge John M Gibbs and prosecuting officer Ransom A. Greene. His crime was labeled as “refracting conduct.” In his crime narrative, he was described to be “resentful of authority, cruel to the patients” and a “disturbing element.” Earl was also “lazy” and could not “be trusted to do any task.” It is necessary for Earl to have “constant supervision wherever he is placed.”

A narration of Earl White’s crime’s that sent him to the Bridgewater State School.

While being taken into the State Farm as an inmate, there were forms that were filled out about Earl. From these forms, we can learn that Earl was catholic, he smoked cigarettes, he has worked as a carpenter, and played the drums.

While at the Bridgewater State Farm, Earl continued to display behaviors that were frowned upon. The State Farm filled out a chart with all of Earl’s “offenses.” Some of Earl’s most common offenses were “disobedience,” being “resentful” and “gossiping.”

Records kept of Earl White’s offenses, the date the offenses took place, and his punishments

Earl White was released from the Bridgewater State School on July 14th, 1939, 14 years after he arrived. He went to live with his father, Hiram White, and his stepmother in South Easton Massachusetts where he worked at the Packard Farm. His dad got him this job, however, he was only able to work for a couple of months until the crops were all in. He was able to get another job at the Campello Shank Company, making 29 dollars a week until he had an accident. Fourteen months into the job, he was cutting something with a knife, and accidentally cut his fingertip off. He quit this job and was again, able to find more work! He worked a total of four separate jobs while living at home until his father “started making it very disagreeable for[him] at home,” so he left, and headed off to Canada. However, he was not allowed to cross the border, so he made his way to Worcester. While living in Worcester, Earl had an interview with Mr. Bullock from the Bridgewater State School. Mr. Bullock told him to “return home, behave [him]self and get a job.” So that is what Earl did. Earl went back to South Easton and worked two more jobs, at the Avon Die Company and Corcoran Supply Company. Earl had a hard time keeping a job, as he was either laid off or he quit. His stepmother did not like this and told Earl to “go out and make a man out of [him]self and to come back when [he] could prove to them that [he] meant to do better.” So, again, he moved out and moved into a room at 76 Green Street, Brockton, MA. While living on his own, Earl decided one day that he did not want to go to work, and would rather go to the movies. He got caught, and was handcuffed, and was brought to the Brockton Police Station where he was questioned about why he did not go to work, with which he explained he had already completed his work for November, and the work for December was not due until the eighth.

A report sheet that was made to display all the basic information about Earl White along with a more recent photograph of him.

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Edward Brown

On June 23rd, 1923, Edward Brown was born to Dayton Brown and Mildred Surrette in Haverhill, Massachusetts. In his Parole Officer’s Report Sheet, his physical description is as follows: 5’3½” average white male, 120 pounds with brown hair and hazel brown eyes.

Here is the Parole Officer’s Report sheet that shows Edward Brown's parents' first names as well as his mother's maiden name, his date and place of birth, his physical description, and a picture of him.

At the very latest Edward Brown was at the Walter E. Fernald School in Waltham, Massachusetts by 1940. While he was at the school, he worked for about 3 hours a week most likely on a farm.

Above is part of the Walter E. Fernald School Census Records from the 1940s. The picture above shows that Edward Brown was an inmate at the Fernald School in 1940 and that he worked for 3 hours a week. The census also adds that Edward only attended school up until 3rd grade.

It is unknown when Edward was admitted to the school, but his report sheet notes that on November 23rd, 1943, he was released from the Fernald School and sent to the Bridgewater State Farm, a school for the mentally ill, because of Refractory and Conduct. While Edward Brown was at the State School, he also registered to be in the U.S. army. His registration date was April 28th, 1943.

Here is Edward Brown’s draft card from the 1940s. This card lists Edward’s first and last name, serial and order number, his address at the time, his date and place of birth, and his employer's name and address (unreadable).

Quote - “It is unknown when Edward was admitted to the school, but his report sheet notes that on November 23rd, 1943, he was released from the Fernald School and sent to the Bridgewater State Farm, a school for the mentally ill, because of Refractory and Conduct.”

Quote – “While Edward Brown was at the State School, he also registered to be in the U.S. army. “

While Edward Brown attended the Bridgewater State School, he was released on parole. The exact date he was released was July 30th, 1948. Edward’s report sheet says that he had no prior criminal record, but he was eventually brought back to the State School on August 28th, 1951. Edward Brown was finally released back to the general public on November 19th, 1952.

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Irving White

Born in 1906, Thomas Irving Perry White (sometimes called Irving White), son of John White, was a tailor. He lived in East Wareham, Mass near his daughter who lived with her grandmother. His father left him when he was a child, and his mother died when he was 16. The chief of police of Wareham, Mass recommended Mr. White to the State Farm to John Chapman, superintendent of the State Farm, for peering into windows. In 1923 he had been arrested for profanity and served two and a half months for this crime, and this is written on his State Farm records as being his only prior arrest. However, he wasn’t put into the State Farm for another 6 years, in 1929, when he became M.D.D. # 450. It is unclear how long he was in the state farm or how much longer he lived.

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Pearl White

Pearl White, born on July 21, 1929, in Wellesley, Massachusetts, is the daughter of Earl and Delphie Lucas. Pearl White, a 17-year-old girl, had light brown hair, blue eyes, 5’3”, weighing 131 Lbs, and was a practicing Episcopain Protestant. Pearl White was committed on March 14, 1946, by the Wrentham S.S. Franklin Court to State Farm. [She was previously institutionalized in the Wrentham State School for refractory conduct (poor behavior) and was claimed to be a F.D.D]( Female Defective Delinquent). The Wrentham state school was built to house the “defective delinquents” that were meant to be institutionalized at the Walter E Ferland school, due to overcrowding that needed to be relocated at a separate institution.

(Age 17 Mugshot)

[According to the court record, her sentence was to be indefinitely institutionalized at State Farm on July 21st 1945. However, on June 8th 1951 she was released on parole at the age of 22.] A few months later He stated that she was an F.D.D. ( Female Defective Delinquent).

(Age 22 parole photo)

The same year she was released on Nov 24th, 1951 she married Lewis J Edwards, a 40 year old painter who had been previously married in Alexandria, Virginia.

(Marriage Records to Clifford Poor)

A few years later at the age of 48 she remarried Clifford poor, 43, on September 14th 1977 in Monterey, California but three years later got divorced in September 1980.

She then remarried on December 18th, 1982 at age 53 to Walter Ulrich Miller, aged 57. It is noteworthy to recognize that Walter Ulrich Miller’s previous marriage only ended on November 29th 1982, only 19 days before his marriage to Pearl.

(Marriage Records to Walter Urich Miller)

(1940 federal census)

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Thomas Wizard

Thomas Stephen Wizard was born on April 16th,1921, in Lynn Massachusetts. His parents were Hilda (Beasley) Wizard, an Australian native, and John Wizard from Worcester Massachusetts. According to the 1930 Massachusetts census, seven-year-old Wizard was a lodger in the home of Matthew and Ellen Coffee in Ware, Massachusetts. Being classified as a “lodger” could have meant that Wizard was an orphan, or maybe in foster care but the specifics are unknown.

In an article was published in the North Adams Massachusetts Newspaper on Wednesday January 26, 1938, Thomas Wizard was mentioned as having been robbed of cigarettes and possibly $1.50 by three acquaintances. The article states that an arrest was made after Wizard reported the boys for pistol possession and theft. One month after the article was published, on February 12th, 1938, Thomas Wizard was admitted to the Belchertown State School at the age of 17. According to Form No. 122 of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts application for defective delinquents, Wizard “carries out vicious assaults on younger and smaller patients, kicking them and throwing them around; he threatened harm to dormitory matron; he destroys property, breaking windows.” As stated in the 1940 census, at the time of his incarceration, Thomas Wizard was a white single man who attended school only until the seventh grade.

Wizard was married at the age of 31 to Ann Laurette Gilbert, an 18-year-old leather worker, from Queens, NY on October 26th, 1952 in Haverhill Massachusetts. At this time, Thomas was employed as a shoe worker and living in Lynn.

Wizard married again on October 14th, 1967, but it is not documented that this is his second marriage. In fact, the Certificate of Marriage states that this is his first wife. One might assume that this is a typographical error as the first Certificate of Marriage is part of the public record. In 1967, at age 46, Wizard was working as a shipper and receiver, still living in Lynn, MA and married 43-year old Kathleen L. Woodward, a bookkeeper from Lynn, MA.

On April 18th, 1971, at the age of 50, Thomas Wizard died as the result of heart issues and was buried at St. Joseph’s cemetery in Lynn Massachusetts.