Chicagoland ‘Bad Boy’

A while back, we discussed Skeletons in the closet and what to do with them.  This post is about my Great Uncle Frank Zielinski.

Frank ZielinskiUncle Frank is about 16 in this picture.  I look at it and wonder if it was before or after he was incarcerated?  Yes, I have a skeleton.  It is an interesting journey.  Frank spent time in various area detention facilities.

Frank Casimir Zielinski was born on January 15, 1899, in Chicago, to Michael and Frances (Stefanski) Zielinski.  He was baptised at Immaculate Conception Church at 2944 E 88th Street, in Chicago.

My father had told me that Frank had done some time in Joliet.

I decided to send an e-mail to IL Department of Corrections. Guess what?  They replied and forwarded my e-mail on to the appropriate person!


A week or so later, here is what I found in my inbox:

Number:  9983
Institution:  Pontiac
County:  Cook
Crime:  Burglary
Term:  20 Years
Date Sentenced:  11-3-1915
Date Received:  11-8-1915
Paroled:  4-22-22
Discharged:  1-13-1923
Number:  9581
Institution:  Joliet
County:  Cook
Crime:  Burglary
Term:  1 to 20 Years
Date Sentenced:  1-22-1925
Date Received: 2-4-1925
Paroled:  3-22-1933
Discharged:  2-14-1936
Number:  10686
Institution:  Joliet
County:  Cook
Crime: Burglary
Term:  1 to 5 years
Date Sentenced:  4-13-1936
Date Received:  5-21-1936
Paroled:  No
Discharged:  2-20-1940

Based upon the information above, I was able to further obtain actual records.  There were some tidbits from the records –

1st sentencing – Nov 1915 – he was only 16 yrs old – Religion = Catholic
2nd sentencing Jan 20, 1925 – One Alias given – Frank Larkin; religion now “Free Thinker” He also served a few more terms in-between 1917 and 1925!

His untimely death at 44 was due to the fact that he was “friendly” with a neighbor.  The husband came home, he went jumping out the window, and the man shot him.  He left him there to bleed to death outside.  They called police in the morning, stating that they shot towards an intruder, but that the man didn’t think he hit anything.  I often wonder how that woman lived with herself, knowing the truth.

I found the following item in my grandma’s collection:

“Co dzień jest mamy dzień dla mnie.”

The back, in my grandma’s handwriting is written:  “Frank made this for his mother”.

Hardened criminal, yet he still made time to embroider something for his mother.

About Our Lineage

I invite you to join me as I share my journey of successes, surprises, and of course, disappointments. All belong to my passion called Genealogy.
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6 Responses to Chicagoland ‘Bad Boy’

  1. That’s an amazing story. Even hardened criminals are people. And they love their mothers. Justifiable homicide?? That’s inhuman. The shooter should have called an ambulance.

    • Our Lineage says:

      I agree, Mariann. I often wonder if that ever haunted the guy – he was also a criminal and I would say probably more hardened than my Great Uncle Frank!

      Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate your comments!

  2. I agree with verena. Their exploits are still fascinating. As I read over the list of sentences, it struck me that he was in prison more than not, and that almost as soon as he was released he was committing another crime. At least there are lots of records for poor Frank.

    • Our Lineage says:

      Yeah. At one point, a newspaper clipping has Frank pleading for leniency because he was married and had a daughter – yes, somewhere between the last sentence or so – he managed to get married and have a child. Not much is known what happened to wife (ex) and daughter after Frank dies. {sigh}

  3. Curious as to what Frank stitched, I put this in google translator for Polish … “Every day is a day for me” … did he stitch this up while in prison? I know that a lot of long term prisoners today take to handicrafts, sounds unusual but it happens. (Although I’m not sure the guards would allow needles nowadays.)
    Anyway, thank you for sharing this! Fascinating story. I don’t think the “skeletons” should be forgotten and never talked about again. After all “they” were human beings too … and then who is to say that a person with a very respectable life story isn’t “worse” because behind closed doors they behaved in horrible ways … estimating the real value of people is so much more complicated than the paper trail they have left behind. As you mentioned – how could this woman live with herself? And scorned lover or not, but how could this guy live with himself, killing Frank. He could have given him a severe beating, no?

    • Our Lineage says:

      Thanks so much for your comment! I agree – I am trying to figure out what just went wrong with Frank and the family for him to be in jail at 16. I have been wondering how the couple lived with themselves – our family new the truth, as unpleasant (the cheating) as it was – why not beat him as you state? Then to let him bleed to death. Not cool in my book!!!

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