THE PERPETRATOR OF THE NORTH POLE HOAX
PLEADS FROM PRISON FOR CLEMENCY
American arctic explorer; he claimed to have reached the North Pole April 21, 1908 ahead of Peary; denounced by Peary and his claim rejected as fraudulent, on grounds of insufficient evidence, by scientists aT Copenhagen.
Partly printed Typewritten Document Signed, seven pages, legal folio, Leavenworth, Kansas, July 16, 1926. An Application for Executive Clemency, addressed to The President of the United States, with the following notice stamped in the top margin: Duplicate copies of petition must be submitted.
THE ARCTIC EXPLORER ASKS FOR CLEMENCY WHILE IN LEAVENWORTH FOR FRAUDS INVOLVING TEXAS OIL FIELDS: In this petition, Cook, who was sentenced “to imprisonment for fourteen years nine months” and who had “to pay a fine of $12,869.11 & costs”, seeks “Restoration of jail time”, saying that he had “Never [been] convicted before”. In stating his case, Cook writes: “I operated an oil company and sold stock using the methods that were then in vogue. The boom was on and I was inoculated with the boom fever and followed the crowd using more discretion in the statements which I made in my stock selling that were used by most of the promotions at that time being carried on. I received the longest sentence by several years and started serving time in jail at once as I was denied the benefit of a bond which it would have been possible for me to make. I spent the time from November 21, 1923 to April 5th, 1925 in the Terrant County Jail and then came to Leavenworth when my appeal was denied. Petitioner respectfully prays that he be granted a Restoration of his jail time for the following reasons: The time I spent in jail was far more of punishment than that which I have served in Leavenworth. I was in jail only because I was denied such benefit of bond as is accorded to most prisoners who have their cases on appeal. The sentence was excessive beyond reason in the first place. I am growing old, my health is failing, and to serve my sentence as it stands without benefit of jail time would in effect be serving a life term. I have an honorable profession to follow upon my release so that there is no danger of me returning to the pursuit of any practice which might bring me into conflict with my country’s laws again. I lived a life of usefulness and honor for fifty eight years and certainly do not deserve to have the maximum sentence inflicted upon me the first time I am convicted of violation of law.”
In 1917, after he had attempted to volunteer for service in World War I, Frederick Cook “went to Wyoming to carry out geological exploration, discovered oil, and made a substantial profit. This he used to found an oil company in Texas. In 1923 he was indicted for mail fraud for promoting the company; he was convicted and sentenced to serve fourteen years in prison…. In Leavenworth Penitentiary, which he entered in 1925, he earned a high reputation among both his fellow prisoners and the authorities, and he was paroled on March 8, 1929. It has been asserted that the oil lands which were the basis for the original charge, far from being worthless, eventually proved to be a valuable investment” [Dictionary of American Biography].
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