Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Clayton Stratton

Clayton Stratton was born and raised in the Port Angeles area in the state of Washington. His father was white and his mother, native Indian. Clayton left school in the tenth grade and worked a variety of jobs for the next few years, which included truck driving, bartending, bouncer, fisherman and merchant seaman. While working as a seaman, he got involved in labour affairs as a member of the Seafarers International Union.

Stratton was a big man - 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighed 280 pounds - and he used his muscle to become a "Union Goon".

In 1949, there was labour unrest in Vancouver. Stratton accompanied the Seattle SIU president to Canada in order to help settle the dispute. Vancouver union men remember that during his visit here, Stratton carried a gun tucked into his waistband. The administrator of the SIU in Montreal, Hal Banks, gave Statton the 9mm automatic.

1949 was the year it was rumoured that the SIU paid Stratton to beat up a shipyard rigger in Seattle by the name of John Mahoney. Mahoney was beaten severely enough to be hospitalized, he claimed Stratton and two ex-wrestlers were his assailants. Charges were never laid.

Clayton married a Vancouver woman in 1951 but they separated soon after she gave birth to a child. He returned to Washington State and worked for six months as a Deputy Sheriff in Callum Bay. He gained a reputation as a bully and a braggart. He was fired for smashing up a police vehicle.

When Statton's bail was paid in Vancouver, he again returned to Callum Bay. He bragged to his friends that he had been paid to 'beat up on a picket' and flashed the roll of cash he was paid to do so.

During the next two weeks, he made inquiries about obtaining some dynamite and fuses as well as purchasing a pistol. He tested the pistol on the beach near his father's home. After Stratton's demise, police searched the beach, recovering spent shell casings. These were sent to Vancouver where a ballistic examination confirmed they were fired from the same gun used to kill Stratton.

Early in March, Stratton and his girlfriend, Nancy Morrison, drove to Vancouver by way of Seattle. Morrison asked Clayton what he was going to do in Vancouver and he told her,

"This guy's going to give me a roll to put a bullet in a guy's leg and cripple him up a little." Nancy was used to her boyfriend's bragging and thought it was another one of his stories.

 I want to thank the book Policebeat, 24 Vancouver Murders and the author Joe Swann for the information above.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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