1908 - Lester Joseph Gillis aka George Nelson but better known as Baby Face Nelson, born on the 6th of December in Chicago, Illinois, Lester Gillis began his criminal career stealing cars and hanging with future members of the gang of Roger "Terrible" Touhy. Legend says that Nelson worked for a time as an enforcer for Chicago gangster Al Capone, but recent books dispel this myth. Due to his youthful appearance, was a diminutive (5' 4" tall) bank robber.
1922 - Was convicted of auto theft and was committed to a boys' home. Two years later, he was released on parole, but within five months he was returned on a similar charge.
1928 - Met a salesgirl, Helen Wawzynak, whom he married. His wife retained the name Helen Gillis throughout their marriage.
1931 - Was sentenced to a prison term of one year to life for his January, bank robbery in Chicago, Illinois. After a year's confinement, Nelson was removed from the Illinois State Penitentiary, Joliet, Illinois, to stand trial on another bank robbery charge in Wheaton, Illinois.
1932 - Escaped prison guards while being returned to Joliet on the 17th of February. After a brief stay in Reno, Nevada, he fled to Sausalito, California. There he meet John Paul Chase, with whom he would be closely associated for the rest of his life.
1934 - Came to greater prominence, when he joined the Dillinger gang.
- After John Dillinger's death in July, Nelson became Public Enemy Number One. Nelson was said to have boasted of robbing one bank a day for a month, in order to outdo Dillinger. This never happened.
Page last updated: 3:57am, 07