After Glenn left home, the first record we find of him is in 1918, at the time of the World War I draft registration, where Glenn lists his permanent residence as "in car" in Casper, Natrona, Wyoming while working for the Norris Company as a Truck Driver.1
By 15 Jan 1920, Glenn has returned to Wooster, Wayne, Ohio where he is again living with his family at 658 Belmont Avenue. It seems Glenn has given up on truck driving and is now working as a laborer at an aluminum works facility.5 This was the Buckeye Aluminum Company, which moved its plant to Wooster in 1911 (Regal Ware purchased Buckeye Aluminum in 1964).
Glenn and wife Mona (abt 1920)Here at Buckeye Aluminum, Glenn met a wonderful girl named Mona Christian, who worked in the packaging department of the plant. The couple hit it off and on 7 Aug 1920, Glenford Leroy Winkler and Mona Marion Christian were married by Judge Omar Van Deusen in Medina, Ohio.6
The couple had two children together, a daughter, Kathryn Lucille and a son, Robert Ellsworth. Around the time of their second child Robert's birth, Glenn and Mona separated when Glenn up and left. He doesn't just leave Mona and his family, he leaves his parents and the town, and moves to South Bend, Indiana. Why he chose South Bend is not known, but this is where he lived for the next five years.
His time in South Bend, during the height of prohibition, involved frequent run-ins with the law and saw him become a familiar figure with the local police. His arrest record includes investigation, vagrancyB and public intoxication on a number of occasions, but none of them equal the last charge of Glenn Winkler, that was the downward spiral of his life.7
Glenn's Arrest in the Ligonier BannerGlenn befriended a young man named Everett Slabaugh. Everett was a promising young man from a prominent farming family in the neighboring town of Ligonier, Indiana. Everett excelled in school and found himself on honors lists until he started getting into trouble. At one point Everett stole a car and took a joy ride across state lines to St. Louis where he was arrested by the US Marshals and taken before a federal grand jury in Indianapolis.
Glenn, 9 years the elder, concocted a plan. The two started robbing businesses from neighboring towns and storing the goods at Glenn's residence and another location in the neighboring town of Elkhart until they were able to unload the merchandise. How long this was going on, I'm not sure, but we do know of three businesses they hit. They initially knocked over a store in Galien, Michigan in March of 1928 where they stole at least a typewriter and some neckties, and the Russell Smith cleaning department where they stole a suit.
At 2 a.m. on 7 April 1928, Glenn and Everett drove to Everett's home town of Ligonier and proceeded to rob John Sack's men's clothing store, making an escape with over $200 in apparel (equivalent of $2,700 today). They'd stash the goods in a temporary location, and then over the next few days, Everett would deliver the haul to Glenn's home in small amounts.
This proved to be their undoing, as neighbors called the police after noticing a strange man frequently visiting Glenn with stacks of new clothing. On the 15 April 1928 officers arrived at Glenn's home at 116 West Tutt street and after a search around the premises the police uncovered 3 top coats, 30 pairs of men's socks, 10 shirts, 10 ties, 6 suits of underwear and 5 sweaters, some of which was hidden under his mattress.
Glenn's Prisoner RecordGlenn, who was going by the alias Charles Nelson, was taken into custody for interrogation. After a few hours of interrogation under the assumption that the goods were stolen from a neighboring town, Glenn confessed everything we know to the officers. The policemen then set out to apprehend Slabaugh later that evening, who also confessed to his part in the burglaries.7
Glenn was picked up by Ligonier officers and taken back to Ligonier where he and Everett were arraigned at a preliminary hearing on Grand Larceny charges the following day. Glenn was remanded to Albion jail and Everett was release on $3,000 bail.
Albion jail is where Glenn sat for the next month while awaiting his trial which finally came on 16 May 1928 when the Noble County courthouse heard the State of Indiana vs. Glenn Winkler and Everett Slabaugh.8 The court case was quick as Glenn plead guilty and the charges were reduced from Grand Larceny to 2nd Degree Burglary where Glenn was sentenced to 1-10 yrs by Judge Arthur F. Biggs (Charges against Glen's partner in crime, Everett Slabaugh, were dropped.)9, C
Glenn arrived in Michigan City, La Porte, Indiana for his incarceration on 23 May 1928 at the Indiana State Prison North where he was assigned Prisoner No. 12582. His prison paperwork states he chews tobacco and drinks moderately. While in prison, Glenn worked as a machine operator in the prison shirt shop.4
Death Notice in Wooster Daily RecordGlenn was paroled on 27 Jun 1930 and released 2 Jul 1930, but was re-incarcerated a month and a half later on the 20 Aug 1930 for unknown reasons, but most likely due to a parole violation. Glenn served another year, was granted paroled again on 25 Aug 1931 and released for last time 29 Aug 1931.10
Family story is that Glenn returned home to Ohio after he was released and attempted to make nice and spend time with his wife and kids. This would specifically include son Robert, now 7, who was about a year old when Glenn left. It didn't last however, and due to increasingly bizarre behavior, got himself kicked out of the house.
By the summer of 1932, things got so bad with Glenn that his family had to make a tough decision. Whether it was the understanding that they could no longer care and do what was best for Glenn or if it was a matter of safety for all involved I can't say, but I assume under the guidance of a local doctor, Glenn was declared insane before the Wayne County Court and committed to Massillon General Hospital (Massillon State Hospital for the Insane).
In Oct 1932, a formal diagnosis was issued by the doctors at the asylum. It was determined Glenn had general paralysis of the insane. Now considered archaic medical terminology, the disease is now known as general paresis, a neuropsychiatric disorder affecting the brain and central nervous system, caused by a syphilis infection, Neurosyphilis (in other words, syphilis was eating away at Glenn's brain and central nervous system). The disease usually presented with psychotic symptoms of sudden and often dramatic onset. General paresis can only be treated early on and in Glenn's case, it was far too advanced for treatment.
10 to 30 years after initial infection (likely closer to 10 in Glenn's case if he indeed left home at 14 like he said), based on the symptoms commonly suffered, Glenn would have experienced mental deterioration and personality changes. Over the next 3 to 5 years his behavior would have gotten more and more erratic with delusions (usually poor or absurd) and later onset of speech problems, tremors, confusion, seizures, dementia, and paresis. All starting around the time he goes to jail.D
Glenn died a month after his diagnosis on 18 Nov 1932 in Perry, Stark, Ohio at Massillon General Hopsital.2 He was buried on 19 Nov 1932 at Overton Church of God Cemetery in Chester Township, Wayne, Ohio.11
Knowing what we know now, I'd like to posit a theory of events: Since it appears Glenn was a trucker from an early age, traveling long distances to deliver goods (we find him in Nevada during WWI). I believe he met a woman during his teen years (likely around this time, possibly earlier) that knocked over the first dominoes that would become the chain of events that unraveled over the next 16 or so years of his life. Since it's possible for syphilis to only present once and go unnoticed, yet still lie dormant in your body, Glenn could have never known (however unlikely that might be). Regardless, his deteriorating mental condition can account for the changes in his character from the abandoning of his family to his relocation west and eventual incarceration. (To this day, the statement that stood out the most when talking with family who knew nothing of Glenn's condition, was the baffling departure of Glenn's character compared to the rest of his family which were all "absolutely the most loving, wonderful people" who cared for Mona like she was their own daughter).
A Glen's date of birth is written many different ways in various sources. His birth record as reported by the county says its 23 Jul 1898, his death says its 5 Jul 1898, and his arrest record says its 17 Jul 1897. However family record and Glen's draft card he completed himself, both list his birthday as 17 Jul 1898. Birth records were normally reported by someone who wasn't the family, death record information were sourced from next of kin, and he flat out lies on his arrest record multiple times, including his marital status.
B Vagrancy statutes were used by police, until declared unconstitutional in the 1970's, to charge persons who were suspected of criminal activity, but whose actions had not gone far enough to constitute a criminal attempt.
C I can't say why charges were dropped against Everett. He was a local delinquent with quite the record. Even though he confessed, it's likely there wasn't a case against him. Everett was known to have only delivered goods, he could have easily not known they were stolen and he did not possess any of the items himself (in the court's eye). Even though Glenn fingered Everett as his accomplice during his interrogation, it's easy to see there could be a lack of evidence to say he committed the robberies also. It's also possible to see locking up the older out-of-towner corrupting they younger local, but with Everett's record I personally don't buy it. However, being a local court in 1928, it's more likely that Everett's father pulled some strings as a well known man of the community and got his son's charges dropped (he was released on $3k bond after all, which translates to $43k in 2016.)
D Wikipedia says "Typical symptoms include loss of social inhibitions, asocial behavior, gradual impairment of judgment, concentration and short-term memory, euphoria, mania, depression, or apathy." Delusions of grandeur are also common ... these symptoms sound a lot like a guy from a great family leaving his wife and children for a life of crime in a new state under an alias that evokes thoughts of Charles "Babyface" Nelson. Penicillin, the cure for this severe of a case of syphilis, was not used in treatments until 1942, and even then it only works when diagnosed in early stages...This type of syphilis accounted for up to 25% of the residents in public psychiatric hospitals (wikipedia).
E While there is no evidence to support this, I'd like to posit this theory: After the prohibition began, organized crime and gangsters started to grow and step into the news spotlight. They even started to gain a popularity of sorts against a government outlawing all alcohol. For many, from afar, these mobsters were a kind of Robin Hood-esque outlaws. It's not a stretch to see a man losing his mind and becoming prone to delusions of grandeur to see this as an opportunity to become a Robin Hood-esque "stick it to the man" outlaw himself. Something that obviously didn't transpire in a man losing his mental faculties.
When did Glenn start suffering symptoms? Was his separation from his family also a symptom or just his decline into crime?
How bad did Glenn get before he passed away and what led to him being committed? Was it security related (for him or family) or related to an increasing amount of required care?
Did Glenn's children ever know about their father's sickness & that he was losing his mind or did they go through life only aware of his actions and not the cause of them?
Wayne County Court holds a Probate record (Glen L. Winkler - Insanity - Case 20268) for the civil commitment of Glenn Winkler to the Massolin State [Mental] Hospital. I have been informed that there is no state statute they are aware to allow them to release this record to family.