Ken Turner

Ken Turner

Ken Turner: Paperboy to Al Capone tells all!

Local lad, Ken Turner, leads a pretty exciting life for a 13-year-old paperboy. Many times he has been asked to fetch the Chicago papers for a gentleman. He always did so and he says, "That was that". Well, it seems "that" was a little m ore than "that" when the same gentleman told him that the boss wanted to see him. Ken didn't know who the boss was but he did know that he wasn't allowed to go past Thatcher's Hardware on River Street. But brawn prevailed and Ken decided he'd figure out what to tell his dad later. Last Tuesday Ken not only ventured on to River Street, he also was introduced to the notorious gangster, Al Capone. Seems Mr. Capone was the boss in question and he simply wanted to thank Ken. Ken shrugs off his brush with fame - seems he was more worried about what his dad would say!

The following story was told to us by Ken Turner, a retired doctor now living in Kingston, Ontario. Mr. Turner talks of his life as a child in Moose Jaw and a personal encounter with Al Capone.

Ken Turner's story takes place in the 1920s, exact date unknown. He would have been about 13 years old, an only child, raised, as he said, "in a decent family". He often picked up newspapers and magazines for his mother and father and sometimes was asked by a gentleman to pick up the Chicago papers for him. He'd go to get them and bring them back to the gentleman, and that was it. Until one day the gentleman said, "The boss wants to see you."

Now, this presented a problem as the boss was at a hotel on River Street and Ken had been told by his father that he could only go as fas as the Thatcher Hardware on River and this hotel was beyond that. He told the man that it was out of bounds and the man simply said, "When the boss wants to see you, you go." Then he grabbed Ken by the shoulder and took him to the Brunswick Hotel to a room on the second floor. Here, he says, was Al Capone, sitting in a chair with a bodyguard on each side of him. All were wearing firearms. Ken knows it was Al Capone because when the man asked Ken his name, he told him who he was. Meeting him meant nothing to Ken, as he was unaware of his notoriety.

He remembers Capone as being extremely polite. He thanked Ken for getting the papers for him and then offered him money. Ken refused it as his father had told him to never take money from strangers. Capone took this as a negotiating tool and offered him a bigger bill. When Ken said the same thing, one of the bodyguards began reaching for his gun. Capone gave him a look and said, "Aw, it's just a kid." At that point he dismissed Ken who needed no further encouragement. He says he got out of there as fast as his legs could carry him.

When he got home he told his dad everything. His dad in turn told him all he knew about Capone, including the fact that he had come up the Soo Line on the same train as Capone sometime previously.