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I Give My Love

Evelyn Frechette went on a U.S. speaking tour from 1936 to 1941. As John Dillinger's girlfriend, she had a story to tell. She transformed her tramatic experiences in the carnival atmosphere of the "Crime Does Not Pay" show. Her life story became a light concoction, like the cotton candy her audiences carried into her talks. It was Evelyn Frechette all the way. She never asked for pity, and was tough to the end of her life.

Evelyn Frechette was a loyal companion to John Dillinger until her arrest in March 1934, and subsequent trial, conviction and sentencing for harboring a federal fugitive.

Evelyn Frechette was born on September 15, 1907 in Wisconsin. She was a member of the Menominee tribe and and had a blended heritage of French and American Indian. As a child, she attended St. Anthony's Catholic Mission School in Neopit, Wisconsin. She later left the reservation to receive her secondary education at the Riggs School at Flandreau, South Dakota, from which she graduated.

But education didn't help her find work and she was forced to take whatever employment she could find. She migrated through Wisconsin into Chicago. She was married to Welton Spark, who was imprisoned for post office robbery, and went under the name "Billie" Spark.

She was first identified as Dillinger's companion by Matt Leach, Captain of the Indiana State Police located in Indianapolis. Her first experience in a shootout with Dillinger occurred in November, 1933, as the two were leaving the office of Dr. Eye in Chicago. After Dillinger's accomplice, John "Red" Hamilton shot and killed Sergeant William Shanley on December 8, 1933, the gang left Chicago. Evelyn traveled with Dillinger in a route that would take them through Florida and into Tucson, Arizona. There, they were both arrested on January 25, 1934, along with other members of the group known as the "First Dillinger Gang." They were Russell Clark, Charles Makley, and Harry Pierpont. The women arrested with Frechette were Opal Long and Mary Kinder. Evelyn was not identified in Tucson and was released on a bond under the alias of "Ann Martin."

Evelyn was with Dillinger during the infamous St. Paul shootout that occurred after Dillinger's escape from the Crown Point County Jail on March 31, 1934. The two had been living together as Mr. and Mrs. Carl Hellman. Within a short time, Evelyn would be arrested. On April 9, 1934, Frechette was arrested in Chicago by a team led by Melvin Purvis, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. She was arrested on a tip given by someone close to Larry Streng, a connection who arranged hideouts for the gang.

Frechette was on trial in St. Paul alongside co-defendants Dr. May and Nurse Salt, both of whom had treated Dillinger's wounds after the St. Paul shootout. Evelyn was convicted on the word of 28 government witnesses stacked up to testify against her. She was represented by Louis Piquett, Dillinger's attorney. Piquett showed little interest in the defense of any of the women who were facing a harboring trial as a result of having been companions to Dillinger or his gang. Evelyn was sentenced to two years and a day, in addition to a fine of $2,000.

After her release in 1936, Evelyn joined the Dillinger family and went on the road, touring in the Crime Did Not Pay Show.

She returned to the Menominee Reservation, married, and lived there until her death in January, 1969.

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