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WAPPENSTEIN Charles W.[1, 2, 3, 4]
Male 1853 - 1931

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  • Birth  Abt 1853  [1, 2, 3, 5
    Gender  Male 
    Occupation  Seattle Police Chief Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died  27 Jul 1931  King, Washington, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2, 3, 5, 6
    Person ID  I21993  Brasfield-Brassfield Genealogies
    Last Modified  17 Feb 2015 
    Family  BENN Minnie Elizabeth,   b. 18 Feb 1871, Aberdeen, Grays Harbor, Washington, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Mar 1965, Aberdeen, Grays Harbor, Washington, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married  1891  [1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8
     1. WAPPENSTEIN William A.,   b. Abt 1898,   d. 06 Apr 1942, Bataan, Philippines Find all individuals with events at this location
     2. WAPPENSTEIN Joan,   b. Abt 1899,   d. 1954
    Family ID  F7006  Group Sheet
  • Notes 
    • [S&M.FTW]

      [Sam & Martha Benn.FTW]



      Chasing the wolves of sin and into Seattle's notorious red-light
      district, the Tenderloin.
      Accompanied by a Salvation Army band, the earnest crusaders sang
      hymns as they paced past saloons, brothels, gambling parlors and dance
      halls south of Yesler Way. Here, according to one newspaper account,
      "sin, vice and crime sneak forth like human wolves only after the sun
      goes down." On this April 1905 evening, city clergy along with
      "white-haired grandmothers and middle-aged matrons with their
      children" had left their comfortable homes to bring a message of
      salvation to those who frequented Seattle's "bottomless cauldron of
      Even before the heady Gold Rush days, when boomtown Seattle had
      realized that Klondike vice was every bit as profitable as Klondike
      outfitting, the city had gained a reputation as a "hot town," where
      good times could be had 24 hours a day. Yet as soon as Seattle found
      prosperity, respectable citizenry wanted to change its image to a
      family town.
      Using city hall, churches and courtrooms as their battleground,
      the forces of virtue competed with the purveyors of vice for moral
      authority over Seattle's soul. It took a decade before a new city
      emerged, changed but not entirely converted.

      Joining the march in the Tenderloin in 1905
      was a man who became one of the most outspoken leaders of social
      reform, the Rev. Mark Matthews of Seattle's First Presbyterian Church.
      The lanky parson, a striking figure with his 6-foot-5-inch frame and
      mane of black hair, preached the gospel of urban righteousness.
      Matthews believed that Seattle churches should lead the reform by
      influencing public policy to cleanse the city. Matthews launched his
      first campaign against sin by exposing what he termed the "symptoms of
      graftitis" among local officials. Charging City Council members with
      unethical, if not criminal, behavior, Matthews particularly targeted
      Council President Hiram Gill, a lawyer who defended the interests of
      Tenderloin saloonkeepers and brothel owners. In a packed public
      meeting, Matthews dramatically accused Gill of condoning vice, even
      leaving a city meeting to bail a notorious gambling operator out of
      jail. Despite extensive publicity from The Times and other
      newspapers, Matthews' charges had limited impact, and in 1906 Gill
      handily won re-election. But Matthews did spearhead the passage of a
      City Charter amendment allowing citizens to recall

      In 1910 Gill ran for Mayor on a platforn calling for
      a district that confined vice to one section of the city. Urged on by
      progressive reformers, previous mayors had tried to tame the
      Tenderloin by degrees, first outlawing gambling, then imposing strict
      tavern hours, and finally shutting down the district altogether. But
      their efforts had merely diffused the problem, driving illicit
      activities undercover and the city's 400-plus prostitutes to boarding
      houses and hotels all over town. Gill argued that vice was a natural
      -- and lucrative -- part of the human condition. His strategy for
      regulation gained him enough support for election.

      Yet horrified reformers soon found that the restricted district
      kept expanding. Many blamed Gill's police chief, Charles Wappenstein,
      who claimed to be tough on crime but was rumored to overlook illegal
      activities in return for kickbacks. Cynics dubbed the Tenderloin
      "Wappyville." When Gill refused to fire the chief, moral reformers
      joined with good-government advocates to recall the mayor. A Public
      Welfare League formed in October 1910 circulated petitions, collecting
      enough signatures to force a recall election the following February.
      Bolstered by the votes of more than 22,000 women just granted
      suffrage, the forces of virtue threw Gill out of office and launched
      new efforts to stamp out vice and corruption. Matthews again led the
      charge, secretly hiring the renowned William Burns Detective Agency
      for an undercover investigation. Burns found enough evidence to
      convict Seattle's police chief of bribery and extortion, and send him
      to prison. Others who supported Wappy, including outspoken Times
      publisher Alden Blethen, also became targets of investigation,
      indicted by the grand jury but never convicted.
      Reformers took other extreme measures to clean up the city. Most
      outrageous was the Purity Squad, a Police Department unit that
      patrolled the city looking for illicit activity. Critics charged
      overzealous officers with rousting innocent single women from their
      hotel rooms or arresting married couples found downtown after dark.
      By 1914, reformers believed they were well on their way to making
      Seattle a virtuous family town. They declared Seattle had changed.
      Perhaps so; but in that same year the resilient Gill ran once more for
      mayor. Penitent, Gill claimed he now supported temperance and honest
      government. He won election, and soon the Tenderloin was running full
      tilt again.
  • Sources 
    1. [S36] Benn1.FTW.
      Date of Import: Oct 17, 2001

    2. [S111] Sam & Martha Benn.FTW.
      Date of Import: Nov 5, 2001

    3. [S110] S&M.FTW.
      Date of Import: Nov 5, 2001

    4. [S73] Internet, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/centennial/march/vices.html.

    5. [S137] Washington St. Death Index 1930-1939, LDS #1308458., 1931 Death Certificate #442 in King co..
      QUAY 3

    6. [S122] 'The Aberdeen Daily World', (Name: Grays Harbor Publishing Co.;), Sam Benn's Daughter Now 90; February 18, 1961 front page continued on page 2 column 1..
      QUAY 1

    7. [S122] 'The Aberdeen Daily World', (Name: Grays Harbor Publishing Co.;), Obituary of Samuel Benn; Tuesday evening, 17 September 1935; front page continued on page 2 column 1..
      QUAY 1

    8. [S125] 'The Daily World' (newspaper), Aberdeen, Washington, (Name: The Daily World, Inc.; 315 S. Michingan St.; Aberdeen, Washington 89520; 532-4000;), Sunday July 4, 1976; page A-9 column 5.
      QUAY 1