Northern Michigan in Focus: 114-Year-Old Postcard Warrant

Sheriff Richard Martin, of Lake County, is a collector of police memorabilia.

He recently purchased a postcard that led to a 114-year-old mystery that you may find fascinating.

It all started with a post on Facebook.

Corey Adkins tells the story in this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus.

“The postcard was sent from Sheriff Smith back in 1906 to the Mecosta County sheriff in reference to an individual that he was looking for, which is the name of Edwin Deakins,” said Sheriff Martin.

Edwin Deakins found himself in some trouble in 1906.  There was money involved in two ways. The first, in the form of an interesting warrant.

“It was a $50 postcard reward, if you will. I guess that’s the way they used to do warrants back in the day,” explained Sheriff Martin.

The second, he was being charged with embezzlement, so he ran.

“The Lake County Historical Society Museum saw the story and they decided to do their own investigation. I knew his name, I knew what the card said, but I had no idea of the whole history behind Mr. Deakins,” said Sheriff Martin.

Bruce Micinski, president of the Lake County Historical Society, was on the case.

“He seemed to be a man that was well-respected, but in the description of the card, it described that he did have some habits. He smoked cigarettes, he loved talking to ladies,” explained Bruce.

Check out the detail of this postcard.

Nmif Baldwin Postcard.transfer.jpg 2

“Then I started to investigate some newspaper articles and lo and behold, right before New Year’s of 1907, the chief of police of Green Bay Wisconsin had apprehended a man who said his name was Frank Spencer. He was in the hospital and he tells the hospital staff that his name is really not Frank Spencer. Oh, that’s an alias, his real name is Edwin Deakins and he believes he may be wanted by the sheriff of Lake County,” said Bruce.

Sheriff Smith went to Green Bay and picked up Mr. Deakins and on January 3, 1907, housed him in the Lake County Jail.

But Deakins would walk out.

“He had bond money and $500 is paid,” explained Bruce.

After all that effort by Sheriff Smith, Edwin Deakins was never charged with anything and he went on with his life playing his beloved violin.

But is the story over? The Lake County Historical Society is planning an exhibit on this strange case and could use your help.

“The mystery is why did he run away and why did he end up in Green Bay Wisconsin. He took some money and why was he that afraid to he take up an alias name never to be found again?” said Bruce. “I would say if there are Deakins out there and if there’s a Deakins viewing this, if they wanted to add to the story, please call us and we can add it to our collection.”

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus