The Criminal Genealogist

S2E1: Michael Globenfelt - White Slavery

June 08, 2022 Host Michelle Bates Season 2 Episode 1
The Criminal Genealogist
S2E1: Michael Globenfelt - White Slavery
Show Notes Transcript

This is the story of Michael "Mike" Globenfelt whose life was full of trauma and drama. He was constantly in the news, arrested for a wide variety of crimes, and convicted for violating the Mann Act and the Harrison Act. 

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Welcome back my criminal genies to season 2 of The Criminal Genealogist podcast! What started as an idea in 2020 evolved into this podcast and finally happened in 2021 and since I know I have a few listeners, I came back for Season 2. Someone asked me why I chose to do a podcast about criminal ancestors. Well when I decided to switch careers and turn my 25 years of genealogy research experience into a professional gig, I wanted to find a niche that really suited me. Obviously, traditional genealogy research covers all areas and you need to know how to research all kinds of records, but it is also good to have an area you can specialize in. As a true crime fan and having a legal background, it seemed a natural fit to focus on criminal records. I also love probate records but that isn’t as exciting to talk about. 

I hope you enjoy this season and would love your support by following the podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and giving us a review on Apple Podcasts. And then let your friends know about the podcast; sharing is caring!  

Alright, let’s get started! Today’s episode is about Michael “Mike” Globenfelt who I found when I was researching for a client whose ancestor has the same surname. His mugshot popped up and I felt like it was a sign that I was supposed to research him. Good thing I did because he started making news as a young boy and continued to be in the paper for less than savory behavior. Before we dive into his criminal acts, let’s learn a little more about Mike and his family. 

Michael “Mike” Globenfelt was born in February of 1890 or 1892 in Baltimore, MD to parents Louis Globenfelt and Anna “Annie” Redner. Some records state he was born in 1890, which better aligns with the ages stated in newspapers, but the Maryland Birth Registry shows that Louis and Anna had a child born on Feb 2, 1892 which may or may not be him. According to the JewishGen Online Burial Registry, his Hebrew name was Melekh (Mel-ick) Leib (Leeb). His parents immigrated in either 1878 or 1893 from Cracow (Crack-Off), Austria where they were both born. Immigration records could not be found for either of them to confirm exact dates, but census records indicated these years which I will discuss later in this episode.  A little history about where they migrated from; Cracow was returned to Poland in 1918 only to be taken by the Germans in WWII. Sadly, any family still remaining there during WWII were sent to the Auschwitz II death camp since they were Jewish, unless they escaped prior. After the city was liberated, Poland took control again and today is a city in Poland.

The family is found in the 1900 census living in Salt Lake City, Utah at 635 State St. Annie, Mike’s mom is listed with 5 children born and only 4 living. Since the 1890 census is difficult to find in the majority of places and they may have arrived after the census, it is unclear if the deceased child was born before or after 1890; either way the child would have died prior to the 1900 census. Mike is 7 years old in 1900 and lists his birth month and year as September 1892, which is not a month listed anywhere else. There are 3 other sons, all younger than Mike also with Louis and Annie; Willie, age 5, Alex, age 3, and Henry, age 1. Mike’s birthplace is Maryland and the other 3 boys are born in Utah. However, there is a conflict. The parents indicated they immigrated in 1893 and had been in the US for 6 years. If Mike was born in Maryland in 1892 and they immigrated after that, then something is not right. It does state that Louis is naturalized so finding that record could clear information up. Census records are only as good as the informant and the census enumerator. Louis is marked as the informant and his birth month and year are marked unknown. How did he not know his own info? This puts into question all of the rest of the information he provided. Since the Maryland vital records show they had a child on Feb 2, 1892 I would guess dad got it wrong on the census. 

I dug a little more into the parents and found a few family trees that have Hebrew names. I have no way to verify this is correct, but it gave me more possibilities of finding them in the census records or city directories. Louis, the father, is shown as Samuel Leibisch (Leon) Glaubenfeld. I have seen multiple versions of the surname; Globenfelt, Globenfeld, and now Glaubenfeld.  The mom, Anna, is listed as Chana Sprince. I caution everyone not to use other family trees as a credible source, unless they have sources cited for their information. I use these trees as another tool for possible names/areas to research. 

In September of 1904, there was mention in the LA Times about an attack on a young newsboy Michael Globenfelt on the corner of First and Spring streets of Los Angeles. Mike would have been 12-14 years old. The defendant, E. Dillard, pleaded not guilty and the trial was set for the following Monday. A few days later it was reported that Dillard was convicted and had to pay $5. No details on what happened that caused the altercation. This occurred a few weeks after Mike’s mom gave birth to another son, which I will discuss in a bit.   

At 15, Mike went missing and his mom put notices in the paper. One in the Los Angeles Times from 5 Feb 1907 read “WANTED - TO KNOW THE WHEREabouts of Michael Globenfelt, a young man of 15 years old (but looks older). Notify his mother, Mrs. A. Globenfelt, 221 N Figueroa St. If he has no money, I will send him some. His mother is very sick.” No further information was found to figure out where Mike was at but based on future events, there may have been trouble at home and Mike ran away. The address where his parents and siblings were living is 8/10 of a mile from there Mike was attacked in 1904. 

In late 1907, Michael was found in Salt Lake City. He was back in the news for being attacked and beaten along with a friend, and they both were left for dead. He would have been 16 or 17 years old. Michael and his friend Edward Green were lured by Richard Baker and Edward Art Bowen to a lonely spot north of the fairgrounds in Salt Lake City. The newspaper called Michael and his friend junk men aka junk dealers. It says the two thugs “murderously assaulted and robbed the boys with hammers”. Mike survived and was in the courtroom for the arraignment. The other victim, Green, was reported to have had five fractures to the skull, a hemorrhage of the brain, twelve scalp wounds, a bone in each hand broken, and his right forearm broken. He was expected to die. 

The victim in the hospital, Edward Green, was up and down while in the hospital. At first, they didn’t think he would survive and that the charges against Richard and Art would be for murder.  Ultimately though, the doctors were able to remove pieces of the skull which relieved pressure on his brain and Edward Green survived the attack. In January 1908 the defendants, ages 20 and 21, were ultimately convicted and sentenced to 20 years each for the intent to commit murder. Sounds like we need to have another episode about these two! 

Is Mike just in the wrong places at the wrong times and has the worst of luck? Or is he getting himself into these situations? One will never know what was going on with Mike at this young age but it doesn’t sound like he was having the best life. Probably homeless or living cheap somewhere and having to hustle just to survive. One would hope he would find a different path, but he did not. I wouldn’t be talking about him if he did, would I? 

Back in LA
Mike did leave Salt Lake City after the trial and headed back to Los Angeles sometime in 1908. At the age of probably 18, on 23 October 1908, he married Rebecca “Beckie” Small in Los Angeles. 

In the 22 September 1909 issue of the LA Times, an article states that Mike and his mother, Annie had a misunderstanding a few months prior and he left. It states he is 19 years old and was last known to be peddling fruit. {READ ARTICLE} Is it odd to anyone else that all of this is in the newspaper? 

We know at this point that the family had moved to Los Angeles in or prior to 1904. The family is found on the 1910 census living at 1018 West Fourth St. Living with the parents are Willie, Alex, Henry, and two new children, Sarah, age 7 and Jacob, age 6 - both born in California. Mom is the informant this time and the immigration dates changed to 1878 and that Louis was not naturalized! I’m gonna guess she got it right, no offense Louis. 

Mike is not living with the family in 1910 and based on his age from the previous census, he would be 17. If we base it on 1890 birthdate and various newspaper articles, then he would be 20. He is found living in Los Angeles at 128 B S Treatment St with his wife Rebecca and their 6 month old, Henry. Of note, it states on the census that Rebecca was born in Austria and immigrated in 1898. Mike is listed as 21 and a fruit peddler. Rebecca is 27.  As you have probably noted, his age is all over the place.

Mike and his parents lived approximately 4-5 miles from each other at this time, so hopefully his mom finally got her boy back. At least for a little bit. Mike and Rebecca had one more child, a daughter named Frances who was born 17 November 1913 in Oakland, California where the young family lived. 

Bigamy & White Slavery
Mike had a wife and two young children, but apparently he couldn’t help but get himself in trouble. He spent several years without being in the paper and seemingly without drama, but in 1916 that changed. Around June of that year, Mike deserted his wife and family and took $3,000, leaving her and their 2 small children destitute. Beckie tracked him down and worked with police to lure him so he could be arrested. 

Mike had decided to head to Utah with one Rosie Goldstein to get a marriage license and wed, stating they were residents there. Apparently he forgot he was already married and apparently she did too. On 7 August 1916, the two were married. It didn’t take long for his legal wife, Rebecca, to hunt him down. She begged police to arrest her husband and the trap was set to get him to meet her where the police took him into custody for Bigamy. Unbeknownst to Mrs. Globenfelt #1, her husband had been misbehaving prior to this and the federal authorities stepped in to transport her husband to Arizona for charges of White Slavery!


Mike Globenfelt, also known as Henry Cohn had got himself into quite the quandary. Yes, before the break I said he was being accused for committing White Slavery by federal agents. What the heck is that? Google was my friend on this one! 

According to Wikipedia “The White-Slave Traffic Act, also called the Mann Act, is a United States federal law, passed June 25, 1910. It is named after Congressman James Robert Mann of Illinois.” So what does that mean? On the Cornell Law website, it states that “the Mann Act (also known as the White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910) is a federal law that criminalizes the transportation of “any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.”” It was ideally created to go after human sex traffickers but was hit with criticism because it was broadly used to prosecute unlawful premarital, extramarital, and interracial relationships. The law was never repealed but was amended in 1978 to address child pornography and again in 1986 to address the “any other immoral purpose” phrase and change it to “any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.”

Now what did Mike do to get pulled into an offense related to white slavery? According to The Daily Herald’s reporting from 17 August 1916, “It is alleged by federal officials that in February of this year, he took another woman, Ida Cook, from Los Angeles to Douglas, Arizona for immoral purposes, thereby violating the Mann white slave act.” 

Beckie, wife #1, pleaded with special agent Leon Bone not to take her husband to Arizona but the case was already in the hands of the federal authorities. She just wanted him punished for the abandonment and bigamy, but got much more than she bargained for. 

Moving forward to November of 1916, Mike was tried for his crimes against the Mann Act. The reporting from Arizona Daily Star indicates that Mike first met Mrs. Ida Cook and her aunt, Mrs. Cole when the two “flagged” him down, mistaking his vehicle for a jitney. A Jitney is a bus or other vehicle carrying passengers for a low fare. He agreed to take them where they wished to go and Mrs. Cook sat in the front seat with him. Mike stated the two flirted and that she kissed him. He testified he in no way influenced her to make the trip and that he had gone to Douglas, AZ to sell walnuts. After they arrived, he did admit that they had relations. He denies that he had anything to do with her entering the red light district in the area and actually tried to convince her to go back to her husband in Kingman, AZ. Mrs. Cook stated otherwise, testifying that he took her to Douglas under the impression that he was single and tried to prevent her from going back to her husband. In the courtroom during this was Mrs. Globenfelt, aka Beckie, and their two small children. She testified on his behalf and stated that Mrs. Cook wouldn’t leave her husband alone and admitted to going to Douglas voluntarily. 

A few days later, Mike was found guilty of violating the Mann Act on all 8 counts against him and was sentenced to two (2) years. He was sent to McNeil Island, a federal pen in Washington state. He was prisoner #2808 and his intake record gives a description of Mike and states: Age 26, Height 5’ 2 ½”, and 180 lbs. Md Dark Brown hair, medium complexion, brown eyes, left pupil larger. Gold crowns on some of his lower teeth, several scars, and this right middle finger had the tip amputated. 

Important finding on his intake register is his birthdate - Baltimore, Maryland, 28 February 1890! This is the first record stating a birth year of 1890 and helps provide evidence towards that being the correct birthdate. So perhaps the child born on 2 Feb 1892 was the child who didn’t survive. 

His parents are listed as living and his father’s name and address as Louis Globenfelt of 1473 E. 23rd St, Los Angeles, CA. Interestingly, Mike is listed as married and his wife’s name and address was Becky Globenfelt, 1402 E 23rd St in Los Angeles. Not sure what happened to his “marriage” to Rosie Goldstein, Mrs. Globenfelt #2. 

While he was in prison at McNeil, his WWI draft registration was completed and it also indicates that his birthday was 28 February 1890. He would have been the informant for this and likely for the prison intake as well. His address is listed as the McNeil Island prison. 

Mike was discharged from McNeil Island on July 5, 1918. 

So what happened to the Bigamy charges you ask? Good question. The Salt Lake Herald-Republican reported on 2 December 1916 that Mike had been convicted of bigamy. It says he testified that he thought polygamy was still legal in Utah. He was brought to Los Angeles for the trial. I couldn’t find any other information on how long he was sentenced. Since he was already in prison, perhaps it was time served or concurrent with his current sentence. 

More Trouble for Mike
Unfortunately, Mike didn’t stay out of trouble and has a long rap sheet. I’ll do a quick snapshot of those crimes before I talk about another major crime that landed him in Leavenworth. The Records of the Bureau of Prisons inmate file for Mike contains a document from the State Department of Public Safety out of Lansing, Michigan to the police department in Pontiac, Michigan, dated 21 Feb 1930. It lists known crimes for Mike, as Mike Globenfelt and under the name Mike Redner (his mom’s maiden name). His prisoner # in MI was #3039. 

  • In 1919, three years after his sentence for white slavery, he was arrested for embezzlement in Oakland, CA but the case was dismissed. In the same month, he has a charge in Los Angeles for Failure to Provide. Comments state it was released. 
  • In June 1922, he was arrested for writing bad checks in Fresno, CA. and he was sentenced to a state hospital in Stockton, CA for drug cure. 
  • At the end of 1924, he was in Los Angeles and got into trouble which I will go into in a bit. 
  • Moving to 1926, he was in Portland, Oregon and arrested for Vagrancy. No word on the disposition. 
  • In 1928, he was in Toledo, OH and was arrested for Suspicion. No word on the disposition and no clear answer on what they thought he was suspicious of. 
  • In 1930, he was now in Michigan - he sure moves around a lot! This time he was using the name Mike Redner and was arrested in Saginaw on charges for False Pretenses (Grand Larceny of Diamond Rings). It was discharged and settled out of court. 
  • In the same month he has charges in Pontiac, MI for Grand Larceny & Violation of the U.S. Narcotic Law. 

So going back to 1924, he was arrested in Los Angeles for violation of the Harrison Act and was sentenced to 3 counts at Leavenworth Federal Pen in Kansas. The Harrison Act was passed by Congress in 1914, which banned opiates and cocaine. Alcohol prohibition laws quickly followed. Mike was received on December 7, 1924 into Leavenworth - inmate #22200 - sentenced to 18 months. He was eligible for parole on May 20, 1925. He was released February 18, 1926. One of the letters in his file was a response to a request for his criminal file with the Federal Bureau of Investigations from Leavenworth. It is dated April 7, 1925 and signed by the director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover! 

 Also listed on his intake form, was his personal information. He was listed as 33 years old and married, with 3 children - 2 boys and 1 girl. His wife however is listed as ROSE Globenfelt living at 1249 W 60th St in Los Angeles. Is this the same Rose as wife #2 that got him Bigamy charges? Did he get divorced from Beckie and legally marry Rose? 

Looking at records for Rose/Rosie - she is listed as Rose Redner in the 1940 census and voter registrations, which was Mike’s mother’s maiden name and one of his aliases. I couldn’t find any legit marriage records for the couple. Perhaps they weren’t officially married and he never divorced Beckie? In the 1930 census, Beckie is listed as widowed but Mike was still alive so my guess is they were divorced, at least emotionally if not legally. 

Mike Globenfelt died at the young age of 42 on April 14, 1934, in Long Beach, CA. He died from Sclerosis of the Coronary Arteries of the Heart, aka Arteriosclerosis. Basically, that means that the blood vessels become thick and stiff which restricts blood flow to your organs and tissues. His wife, Rose, was the informant and this is something important to look at when reviewing a death certificate. The informant may or may not be someone who should know all the pertinent facts about the deceased. As his wife, she would have first-hand knowledge about his information such as birth date, birth location, etc. However, on this certificate, it has only a birth year and says UNKNOWN for this birth month and day. This seems odd that she wouldn’t know this, especially when she knew his parents' names and birthplaces. It’s possible that she did know and indicated that information but the person writing it up didn’t capture that information. The certificate indicates that Mike was in the produce market for the previous 20 years. 

Mike’s life seemed to be full of turmoil from a young age and perhaps the early crimes against him set in motion the path he took in life. His 2 known children, Henry and Frances lived until 1999 and 1988 respectively. Sadly they probably didn’t get to know their dad during his lifetime and were 25 and 21 when he died. 

Until next my criminal genies, remember, the records don't lie but your ancestors might!