Charles Edward "Eddie" Norris

Bienfait, Saskatchewan, Canada

Please Note- all the info below, is from ALLEGED Charges and Crimes, stemming from Rum Running Booze from Saskatchewan to the US in the 1920's.
Guilty or Not Guilty, your choice! Most of the information has been gleaned from old newspapers of the time. In some cases they were arrested, but later released.
Final results not always known.
Names are spelled as I find them. Errors do occur.

Reason for this page, is in 1922, when Paul Matoff was murdered in Bienfait, Dellage was charged, but others were blamed, but never charged.
To this day it is still a cold case. Blamed in the press, the “Eddie Norris Gang”. Eddie Norris, was allegedly, the leader.
Dellage said he didn't know the killers and robbers, but 8 years later he is bootlegging with Norris. Were they in on it together?

Eddie Norris's name came up in the Dellage Trial, as being wanted by the Canadian Authorities. Nov 23, 1922, it was revealed Federal Agents were shadowing him.
It was believed he was in Mexico. He left Minot a month earlier to go to Minneapolis. From there he disappeared.

b- Feb 21, 1881, (age 47 in 1930 census), in Liberty Kentucky, USA
WWI Reg card says he was living in Scobey, Sheridan, Montana, working as a carpenter.
Shown born Feb 21, 1881
Next of kin May Halie Norris living at Scobey, so assume his wife.
WWII Registry card, Sept 1918, shows birth as Feb 21, 1881, in Liberty, so assume he would fill that in correct.
Shown age 61 living on Valker Rd, Minot ND.
May Elizabeth Norris of 629 Tioga St. Portland Oregon, was next of kin
Shown married when he was age 32, ca 1915
d- unknown

Divorced by 1930

Both parents born in Kentucky, if census can be trusted

He has proved to be a very hard man to find, which doesn't surprise me at all after reading the info below.

Feb 17, 1912

He was in the Cass County, ND jail for 2 months, charged with highway robbery by the Canadian Government, and ordered extradited 3 weeks earlier,he was taken to Regina, Sunday Night, by Officer Walter Mortimer of the Canadian Provincial Police. Charged with aiding American Whiskey runners to escape with $50,000 worth of Canadian whiskey after the whiskey was paid for with worthless bank drafts.
Other men who warrants were issued on this case, Tom Kelley, Wiley Compton, Axel F. Pierson, Jack Howard, and Arthur “Bart” Williams, known as “Red the Rough”
Tom Kelley escaped, but was captured in Winner SD, Aug 1921, He was captured with his brother Roy Kelley, in a new automobile.

May 30, 1912

He shot a calf dead, that a Carpio banker, Cook Robinson, was leading away from a farm, Norris was staying at near Foxholm. Norris fired 3 shots, last one grazed the banker's hand, and then he threatened to shoot Cook. Norris was ordered off the farm. There was a warrant out for his arrest. Sheriff Kelley couldn't locate him.

Apr 5, 1919

Arrested at Superior Wis. for breaking out of jail in ND. Released on $900 bail. Returned to Rolla ND

Dec 9, 1920

He was arrested in Minot, for robbery and shop breaking

Nov 27, 1920.

He was in jail in Fargo, and Canadian officials were trying to extradite him.
Tried in Estevan on a charge of robbing the wholesale liquor warehouse in Gainsborough SK, Norris was acquitted by a jury, after 7 hours.
His lawyers contended he was framed. Tom Kelly (Kelley) was also charged, and he was sent to jail for 2 years in Canada
His name was brought up by Dellage at the time of Matoff's murder. He was a member of the Norris gang, see below.

Nov 3, 1921

Charged with speeding

Feb 16, 1922

Mr. Erickson manager of the Langford Cooperative store, identified $1,000 worth of stolen silk bolts, 225 yds total, found in Eddie Norris's possession.
Silks and other stolen merchandise, was found in a chest of drawers, and other parts of Norris Minot house. The Silk was in 2 large suitcases.

Apr 13, 1922

He was bound over to the District Court on a $2,000 bond. E. R. Sinkler was his attorney in this case. He had a hearing at Bottineau.

Nov 1922

He lived in North West Minot ND, near the Dorman Ball Park.

May 18, 1927

He was charged, with a Mr. James Walters, both from Minot, of unlawful transportation of Liquor, after an 11 mile chase by Sheriff W. E. Slaybaugh,
and a Federal Agent, north of Minot at 3:30 am.
They had 504 qts of alleged Canadian beer, and a case of whiskey were seized by the 2 officers.

1930 census

a Mr. Bert Hall living with him in 1930, 1930 both living in Minot, Ward Country, ND, USA

Sunday, Mar 30, 1930.

Norris and Leo Dellage, caught transporting moonshine and alcohol, under the Jones Dry Act, in a Reo truck, from a storage warehouse in Fargo ND.
Known as the “Fargo Liquor Truck Case”

Mar 16, 1931

Eddie Norris shown appealing his conviction for transporting moonshine and alcohol, under the Jones Dry Act
Francis Murphy, from Fargo, was his lawyer in the appeal. Norris was charged with Lee Dellage, from Lignite, ND
They both appealed, and the Dellage conviction was reversed, but his case was remanded to a new Trial date.
Norris then appealed to the US Supreme Court, which was denied. Norris was sent to jail in Leavenworth, for 5 years, and fined $5,000.00
Dellage was originally convicted to 2 years, and a $2,500.00 fine.
They were transporting 30 packages, each with a 1 gal tin of Alcohol, and 20 five gallon, wood barrels of moonshine whiskey.

Nov 25, 1931

Eddie Norris gets a stay of his conviction, until Dec 15, 1931, as he decides to give State evidence against Lee Dellage,
Edward J. “Ed” Madison, who was the Chief of Police, in Fargo, and was also involved in the first case.
Arthur A. Berenson, from Fargo, He was also involved in the case, but never charged.
Norris, Dellage and Madison were all charged in the first case in Grand Forks, but Madison's case was suddenly dropped.

Apr 25, 1940

Eddie Norris is age 59, single, living in Minot, Nedrose township, Ward County, USA
Grade 8 education, occupation= livestock buyer

Oct, 1941

Eddie Norris was charged a $50 fine, with possession of over a 2 day limit, by Game Warden Lee.
So he was a poacher also it seems!

Other Members of the “Eddie Norris Gang”
(from newspapers at the time, Oct 1922)

Thomas “Tom” Kelly
Leroy “Wiley” Compton (charged in Omaha, with Matoff's testimony)
Axel Frederick “Bulldog” Pierson (charged in Omaha, with Matoff's testimony)
A. B. Shelton (charged in Omaha, with Matoff's testimony)
William “Bill” Connolly

Arthur Henshaw was also charged in Omaha, member of the gang?

Wiley Compton was charged with his brothers in 1926 in Omaha, they were charged with holding up, and killing a man in Falls City. They all lived in Omaha.
In 1917 Wiley was charged with 280 pounds of booze in his car. Two other men were in the car with him at the time. He operated a cigar store in Omaha
He admitted to plying booze between Omaha and Canada. But claimed he never killed anyone. 1931 he was charged with selling stolen cigarettes. A model citizen for sure!

Axel Pierson, Wiley Compton, and 4 others were involved in robbing a railroad car full of alcohol in Omaha, Feb 22, 1923
Referred to as “Police Characters”. Every man had a gun. Marty Maher, alias William Connolly, aka William Maher, one of the 6 men, was killed by the Detective.

Tom Kelly (Kelley?) was serving a year in Saskatchewan Provincial Jail after the trail in Omaha Nebraska, that Paul Matoff gave evidence at.

Thomas Francis “Tom” Kelly,
(named after his grandfather)
alias: William Thomas Duke
b- June 5, 1893 in Fonda, Pocohontas Co. Iowa
d- Feb 19, 1955 in Omaha, Douglas Co, Nebraska
buried in Calvary Cemetery, Omaha

1920 census shown married to Sadie Kelly
with a daughter
actually married to Sarah Josephine “Sadie” Convey
b- 1893
d- 1964
their daughter died in 2012

father- James Ambrose Kelly,
b- Mar 1, 1851 in Three Fingers Lake, Oneida Co, New York
(ca 1852, age 68 in 1920, in New York)
d- Nov 20, 1930 in Omaha, Douglas Co., Nebraska, USA

mother- Margaret Ann “Maggie” Mullen
b- June 27, 1862 in Independence, Buchanan Co, Iowa
d- Feb 27, 1927 in Omaha, Douglas Co. Nebraska, USA
shown as Maggie Kelly, in 1920 census, age 58, born in Iowa

sister- Etta Kelly, age 28 in Iowa
sister- Florence Kelly, age 24 in Iowa
brother- Roy Kelly, age 19 in Iowa (see below)
1910 census adds sister- Nellie Kelly, age 25, in Iowa
and sister- Anna T. “Annie” Kelly, age 19 in Iowa (see below)
another brother- Arthur Leroy Kelly

Father and Mother of James A. Kelly born in Ireland
James Kelly shown as a carpenter for Walsh Bros. in Omaha
1910 census says Thomas Kelly was a driver for Johnson Bros.
1920 a car dealer., and Roy a mechanic

Tom lived at 1137 Rose, Omaha Aug 16, 1927 where he was arrested operating a 25 gal still.

ca Jan 1929, He was serving a 20 years sentence in the State Penitentiary in Lincoln Nebraska, after him and his brother pleading guilty, to robbing Samuel B. Schwartz, a diamond salesman, near North Bend, in Aug 1928.
A Owen Trapp also pleaded guilty but his sentenced was reduced to 15 years, due to his WWI service.
Tom Kelly was arrested in California, and extradited back to Nebraska.
He was using the name William Thomas Duke at the time of his arrest.
He graduated as an honour student from an Omaha High School in 1909.
He was Vice-President of a Produce Company at one time.
He also served as a Deputy Sheriff, in his early career.
At one point he had 22 cars involved in bootlegging for him.

His sister, Annie and her husband William were also arrested, for involvement in the jewelry store robbery.
Shown as Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Drake, so seems more of the family were involved.

Tom and his brother Roy Kelly, robbed $19,000 from a Fidelity National Bank & Trust Company Messenger, in Kansas City, ca Dec 1926
brother- Roy Kelly
Roy was discharged from the Penitentiary June 17, 1932
In 1919 the editor of an Omaha newspaper criticized the police for harassing Roy Kelly, after he surrendered to them, after a 4 month search.
The newspaper man said he was an honest man!
He fooled many!

Marty Maher
aka: William “Bill” Connolly
aka: William Maher

Fred E. Compton
aka: Hases A. Compton
aka: William “Bill” “Wiley” Compton
b- July 24, 1896, Omaha, Douglas Co. Nebraska, USA
d- Sept 8, 1940, Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska, USA
buried in Westlawn Hillcrest Cemetery, Omaha

1930 shown as Manager of the City Auditorium in Omaha

married Gertrude H. ?
b- 1899 in Iowa USA
d- ?
they had 2 sons

2nd marriage- married Mrs. Hazel Schlaifer, nee Smith, a widow, at Glenwood, Mills, Iowa, USA, Nov 12, 1930
marriage cert says he was in the Cigar Business
name on cert= Hases A. Compton, age 34 when he married

Father- Fred W. Compton,
b- Dec 1855 in PEI, Canada
d- July 25, 1940 in Omaha Nebraska

Mother- Laura Ottilia Anderson
b- Sweden

Wiley had 2 sisters, and 6 brothers
Leroy Compton also shown as a member of the Eddie Norris gang

Aug 4, 1926, 5 Compton Brothers, and a brother in law, William Herkenrath, alias, William Webber, were brought in for questioning,
for robbing craps shooters of $2,000-$3,000, at Falls City, June 6, 1926. It resulted in the shooting and killing of Buff Rasnick, a spectator.
Brothers: Leroy Compton, also known as Wiley Compton, Charles Compton, Ray F. Compton, Fred Compton, Jack Compton.
One ran a cigar store at 2615 Leavenworth, 2 others were arrested at the City Auditorium.
So looks like alias Wiley was used by 2 brothers?

A. B. Shelton
aka: J. B. Shelton

possibly his name, Floyd Shelton?
His name pops up as being arrested, with the Kelly's, for the jewelry store robbery above.

J. B. Shelton name was listed on a warrant, with Tom Kelly, J. F. Burns, and Art Henshaw, for the bogus cheque robbery at Gainsborough.

J. F. Burns
can't find a definite match for this guy yet

Arthur Wyss
aka: Art Williams
aka: Art Henshaw
aka: Red the Rough
b- Jan 30, 1894, Atkinson, Nebraska, USA
d- May 11, 1932 in Omaha Neb,
committed suicide by shooting himself with a pistol, age 38
His wife, Bessie nee Wade, had sued for divorce a few days earlier.
She claimed cruelty, with a nickname of Red the Rough? who would have guessed that?
They were married Feb 8, 1931, in Logan Iowa

Arthur was acquitted in the Gainsborough trial, when his mother traveled to Saskatchewan, and argued for his innocence.

Served a term in a Minneapolis Penitentiary for narcotic charges as part of an alleged taxi dope ring.

1924 pleaded guilty to holdup charges in Omaha.

Father- Fred G. Wyss,
b- Jan 1863, in Switzerland
d- before 1910
Immigrated in 1891
1900 occupation= Blacksmith, in Aurora, Hamilton, Nebraska

Mother- Minnie M. Stolte,
b- Apr 1871, age 38 in 1910, in Nebraska

1 year older sister- Lena Wyss

Axel Frederick Pierson
b- Nov 10, 1893 in Gottenburg Sweden (1894 on headstone)
d- Mar 27, 1942 in Council Bluffs, IA
buried in Westlawn Hillcrest Cemetery, Omaha
He was married with a daughter.
He served as a Corp in the US Marine Corp in WWI
Nov 11, 1917- Aug 16, 1919
Mar 27, 1942 a prisoner, Axel Pierson, age 47, Omaha, committed suicide, using his necktie, in his jail cell, in Council Bluffs IA
He was being questioned on narcotic charges. Sad ending for a soldier.

Not part of the Eddie Norris Gang, but no doubt aided and abetted them

Edward J. “Ed” Madison
b- ca 1877 in IL
He was Chief of Police in Fargo ND
Jan 2, 1930 the Police Commission exonerated him
1931 He was charged with Liquor Violations stemming from the Dellage, Norris case above.
He stopped the truck, and testified the truck contained only empty tins and grain? Even the Police were involved in all this.
wife Rachel C. Madison

Arthur A. “Chief” Berenson
b- Sept 19, 1895, Minneapolis, Minnesota
d- ?
Salesman, Wholesale Cigars in 1930 in Fargo
Father and Mother both born in Russia
He was also charged with perjury in the case
Nov 30, 1931 he plead guilty to setting up a still in Casselton, where much of the liquor came from in the case.
He was charged again a few years later, even after 6 months in the Cass co Jail, and a $1,000 fine.
1935 he was in jail again for 18 months.
wife- Rose Berenson

Reason I include the wives names, is they obviously knew what their husbands were doing, but didn't stop them. 
I will not include children names, as they had nothing to do with what their father did. 
I try and include Ancestors names if I can find them. 
Most of these guys hid their ancestors very well.  
These guys were involved in illegal activity and had a choice not to be. 


  • Last modified: 2017/10/21 19:08
  • by dlgent