March 31, 2010

Prison Record Search Turns into an Interesting Story

While doing a research request for the prison records of Lloyd Peerboom, convicted for burglary in 1930, I was able to piece together the story of his burglaries and subsequent arrest by using the prison records and microfilmed newspapers that are available at the Research Center. 18 year-old Leroy Peerboom and two other young men were arrested for multiple counts of burglary on April 3, 1930. According to a front page news article in the Terry Tribune, the three youths stole clothing, candy and other goods from several businesses in Prairie and Dawson counties, including a pool hall, hardware store, and a grocery store.

The Tribune article notes that these boys had been under surveillance for some time by the officials of Glendive “they residing in a shack…and having no visible means of support.” The three young men were finally arrested after stealing a car and robbing Sawyer’s grocery store in Terry, Montana and sentenced to 5 years in the penitentiary in Deer Lodge. According to prison intake records, Peerboom tried to escape from the sheriff en route and was recaptured a day later. Peerboom was ultimately released on parole on January 2, 1933. The other two youths, Almen and Raymond, were also released on parole before the end of their 5 year term.

When doing a research request, the records will often lead you to find more than you bargained for. In this case, I started by doing a simple search for prison records. When I found out that Leroy Peerboom had attempted to escape the sheriff en route, Research Historian Zoe Ann Stoltz suggested that I check out the Terry Tribune to see if they covered the arrest of these boys. This lead me to a front page article that not only detailed their arrest, but delved into the burglaries they had committed as well.


Guide to the Montana State Prison records 1869-1974

Prison Registers, State Microfilm 36

Terry Tribune, April 4, 1930.