Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pearl Elliott : The Mob Madam

Have you ever heard of Pearl Elliott?  You might be more familiar with her buddies, John Dillinger and Harry Pierpont, notorious for shenanigans during the 1920s through the 1930s era.

Pearl Elliott, images.google.com
Pearl hailed from Indiana.  She was married three times.  I wonder why?  She was a nice sort of lady, well, except for being a "frequent flyer" on the local police blotters.

You see, Pearl became a Madam (do you really use a capital M when spelling that word?).  I suppose it was to "make ends meet".....well, I guess I should not use THAT phrase.....  let's just say she needed to earn a living.  It was the Depression Era. She also rented rooms to a few of her friends that needed places to stay, before and after they robbed banks and carried on in other activities considered illegal. She started harboring fugitives in 1925 when Pierpont completed a bank heist and needed a place to lay low.

Kokomo was her hometown when she tried her skills at this business. Her home was raided in 1929, but the judge dismissed the case in the city court. There were other raids and arrests from 1930 to 1932. Sometimes she pleaded "guilty" to charges of brothel management, if it appeared that she had no other choice.  But then, some of those in the ranks of the police and fire departments were frequent visitors to her establishment, so she got some friendly help in dismissing some charges along the way.  They provided protection for her and her girls when some paying visitors were disorderly and caused trouble.  How nice to have armed men outside the house when she needed them.

Pearl's husband, "Dewey" Elliott, was on friendly terms with Pierpont and Dillinger. He suggested that Pearl become the treasurer for the Dillinger group of thugs.  Evidently, she did a good job.  Pierpont aided Dillinger in his escape from  jail.  Pearl was not seen in the Kokomo area after the jail break.  Seems unusual, so she must have had a hand in it. She found herself on the Chicago Police Department's Most Wanted List, with an order of "shoot to kill" since she was considered a dangerous partner of John Dillinger and Harry Pierpont, and she was known to harbor them and their gang members in her "Rooms For Rent" establishments.

When Dillinger escaped from the Crown Point, Indiana jail, he found refuge in an apartment in Chicago, where the rent had been paid two weeks in advance....by Pearl Elliott. She hid out there with Dillinger and Joe Burns, a member of the gang.

Dillinger met his end in front of the Chicago Biograph Theatre, gunned down in a hail of bullets in July of 1934, orchestrated by Melvis Purvis, FBI.   Harry Pierpont was sent to the electric chair while at the Ohio Penitentiary the same year in October.

Pearl Elliott, among other women noted for their participation in the career of John Dillinger, was seen at his funeral in Mooresville, Indiana.  She paid her respect for her friend, noting that he never let her down, and she had to be there to see him once more.

On August 10, 1935, Pearl McDonald Elliott was pronounced deceased after her battle with a carcinoma at the age of 47.  She was laid to rest with the McDonald family in Greenlawn Cemetery in Clinton County, Indiana. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=elliott&GSiman=1&GScid=226628&GRid=28777548&

Friday, December 9, 2016

You Can't Blame the Beer Hops : Lemp Family Triumph and Tragedy

How many families have your researched having a constant history of suicide?  The Lemp family had it's share, that is for sure.

The Lemp family moved from Germany to the United States.  They started their own brewing company along the banks of the great river city, St. Louis, in 1840, after having dabbled in the grocery store business. Adam Lemp distilled vinegar and brewed beer for customers.The beer brewing became so popular that he scrapped the grocery business.  He focused solely on beer brewing and established his company, which was named Western Brewery. Adam Lemp passed away in 1862, and William, his son, inherited the business. William Lemp, who was only 12 years old when he came to America. became a naturalized citizen in 1841.  He graduated from St. Louis University and started his own brewing company, which eventually merged with his deceased father's brewery.  He named this the William J. Lemp Brewing Company. The company incorporated in 1892.

William served in the Missouri Union troops during the Civil War, and became a member of the GAR.  He and his family were becoming very well respected as he rose to the ranks of the elite class. Lemp had invested interests in many breweries, mostly in the southern states of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

The Lemp family life seemed perfect.  William and his bride, Julia, raised a family of four daughters and five sons.  Life seemed to be great.  He renamed his company as Lemp, and built a rather nice house not far from the cool caves where he brewed his product.  There supposedly was an underground tunnel connecting the Lemp home to the Lemp cave brewery. Eventually, Lemp's Falstaff Beer outsold the Budweiser product for quite some time.

beer bottles, free images.google.com

William was getting along in age by the turn of the century, so he decided to go into partial retirement and travel with his wife.  He appointed his sons as custodians of the business.  Of the five sons, Frederick seemed to be the favorite.  However, Fred wasn't feeling so well, so he left for California to attend to this health, when he died suddenly of heart failure in December of 1901 at the age of 28.

Mr. and Mrs. Lemp took the loss very hard, although William seemed to bear the most grief.  Not more than three years after the passing of his son, he learned that his old friend, Frederick Pabst, of Milwaukee, had passed away.  William Lemp seemed to be filled with unending grief.  Frederick Pabst was the father-in-law of William's daughter, Hilda.  William could not take any more of his depressed life, so he took his life by shooting himself in the head in the bedroom of his home.  His wife, Julia, passed away two years later, in 1906, It was said that she, also, suffered from bouts of deep depression since the suicide of her husband.

Lemp Brewing, Falstaff Beer Logo, free images.google.com

The brewing business was passed onto William Lemp, Jr.  He established the offices of the company in the family home.  He is credited with naming the premier product, Falstaff, William Jr., known as Billy, married in 1899.  His wife, Lillian, was of the aristocrat status, and she insisted on wearing the color of lavender everyday, all day.  This marriage was doomed.  He didn't like her having a different carriage for every day of the week, and her use of profane language.  She charged that he brought women to their home and beat her, threatening her life with a revolver. Lillian was granted a divorce in 1909, and gained full custody of their son.  She did not feel satisfied with alimony of $6,000/yr., and eventually took her case to the state supreme court, and was awarded a lump some of $100,000.00.  Cha Ching! She never remarried, and continued to wear lavender every day.

Billy's younger sister, Elsa, was also in a very unhappy marriage.  She was granted a divorce from her husband, Thomas Wright, in 1919.  They remarried in 1920....WHAT? One week after their second wedding day, she seemed to be dealing with depression, which was a family affliction.  She was having one particularly bad evening, so she excused herself to her bedroom overnight.  The next morning a loud sound was heard coming from her room.  Elsa was found deceased, having shot herself in the heart.

Prohibition did not make things very good for the Lemp brewing family.  They tried to brew some non-alcoholic beverages, but sales were very low. Family members quarreled over what to do with the company.  Billy did not want to update to modern brewing standards.  He preferred to brew with old traditional ways.  Eventually, the brewery was closed.  The buildings were sold.  Billy became overcome with depression, just like his father and sister.  He shot himself in the heart while sitting in the business offices of their Lemp family home in December of 1922.

Lemp Brewing Company cave where brewing took place, free images.google com

William Lemp, III, tried to revive the Lemp Brewing Company after the repeal of Prohibition.  For a while it seemed that partnering with another  company in the early 1930s was a good idea.  He had relocated to Illinois on the east side of the Mississippi.  Unfortunately, his company went bankrupt..  In 1943, the disappointed man died of a massive heart attack.  He was only 43 years old.

Charles Lemp, son of William Lemp, Sr., brother of Billy Lemp, had once been president of the brewery.  But in 1911 he withdrew from the business and went into a banking career. He was never married, and became a reclusive person, moving back into the Lemp home.  In 1949, at the age of 77, he, too, shot himself in the head. He had pre-arranged for his funeral and left a note requesting cremation, having his ashes spread over his farm.

Lemp family mausoleum, Bellfontaine Cemetery, free images,google.com
The Lemp family has a large mausoleum in Bellefontaine Cemetery, in St. Louis.  It is among the largest ever built there.  It was constructed by William Lemp, Sr., after the death of his beloved son, Frederick, in 1901.  Thirteen members of the Lemp family are interred here. There are no living family with the Lemp name.  It is said that the Lemp family home, now a restaurant venue, is haunted.

Lemp Mansion, free images.google.com

I wonder, how many of the Lemp family are still hanging around the house?

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Christmas Ogre : He Deserts His Family and Takes a Young Bride

What a guy!  This story is about a rather Scrooge-like scumbag.  He was the father of twelve children.  He left his family, yes, at Christmastime.  Why?  No, he was not depressed.  No, he was not penniless, unable to deliver a wonderful, light-hearted holiday to his family.  He just left them all, without a note.  You see, he found a young 16-year old to take as his bride.

free images Scrooge
 Michael Boland lived in St. Louis, Missouri.  Married, father of a large brood, and according to some, a nice neighbor, was missing from his family in late December of 1889.  He was found in Arkansas on December 27th, celebrating a honeymoon with his new, under-aged bride.

Boland, a laborer by trade, left St. Louis in October of 1889 to work on the levee in Bright Star, Arkansas.  Mrs. Boland reported that she ceased to receive any letters from him after he had been gone about 10 days.  She had received a letter from someone claiming to be a "Sheriff Brown".  The letter told of an incident where Mr. Boland had gotten himself into a skirmish with others while on the Arkansas River, and he died from his wounds.  Mr. Boland did have a life insurance policy, with a value of $150.00.  His wife placed a claim for death benefits, as she had a house full of children to feed and care for.

Here is where the story gets good.  The Prudential Insurance Company proceeded to investigate the death of Mr. Boland when they had received the claim from the Mrs.  Another letter was found, once again written by someone claiming to be "Sheriff Brown".  It stated that Mr. Boland was on a skiff on the river, when he was knocked into the river, floating downstream until he was picked up by a steamboat crew, who then transported him to New Orleans.  According to the letter, he was last seen laying in a hospital there.

Following the trail, the insurance investigators contacted the New Orleans officials, who reviewed their maritime records, and found that no such person was transported on a steamboat, and no injured passenger was taken to a hospital there.

Mrs. Boland, needing some closure and some money for support, asked the St. Louis Police Department for some help in locating her husband and finding out what happened to him.
Upon arriving in Bright Star, Arkansas, the police detectives found Mr. Boland, alive and well.  He had never left Bright Star, and had never been involved in a skirmish, nor was he ever tossed off a skiff on the river.

Mr. Boland was found snuggling with his new, much younger bride.  Well, HO HO HO.  Mrs. Boland was notified of what the police had uncovered....her husband was a rat fink.  She proceeded to sue for divorce, and the courts prepared charges against Mr. Boland for bigamy.

I guess we can assume he got coal in his stocking that year!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Mystery Murderer : The Torso Killer of Cleveland

For this Halloween Weekend, I  bring forward a story of unsolved murders, just so that you will have trouble sleeping this weekend...Bha  hah  ha  hah  ha!

You have heard of Elliot Ness...the FBI agent who, with the help of his posse, finally brought down Alphonse Capone.  It took a charge of tax evasion, but whatever worked, he took it.

In later days, Mr. Ness was working in Cleveland, Ohio.  There was a serial killer, leaving torsos around. At least 12 dismembered bodies were recovered. It all started with the lower half of a woman's torso that washed up on the shore of Lake Erie in 1934. This body, plus all the following dismembered bodies were completely drained of blood.

Doctor Francis Sweeney was thought to be the murderer, but it could not be proven.
He hung around a local funeral home...what a creep.  He also spent quite some time behind the walls of mental institutions.  It is said that he wrote postcards and letters to Elliott Ness and J. Edgar Hoover....taunting them about the murders that had not been solved. Dr. Sweeney was a veteran of World War I, where he was busy preforming amputations and general medical duties.  When questioned by polygraph, he failed....but that could not be used against him.  I think it just raised more suspicion. He committed himself to institutional care, and later died in a veterans home.

Death masks of some victims,

There were reportedly 12 to 20 bodies believed to be involved with this unknown murderer from 1935-1938. Only three of the victims could be positively identified.  They were considered drifters, part of the working poor of the area.  Decapitation was to cause of death for almost half of the persons.

Where were the bodies, or rather, torsos found?  A number of places were mentioned in an article found in Wikipedia ...lake shore, railroad boxcar, swamps, ...

Elliott Ness was the Public Safety Director of Cleveland, according to many articles.  He was really stumped with these cases.

There have been some books written about this horrible circumstance in Cleveland, here are some that I found :

In the Wake of the Butcher, by James Jessen Badal, 2001 Kent State University Press

Butcher's Dozen, by Max Allen Collins, 1988 Bantam Books

Nemisis: The Final Case of Elliot Ness, by William Burnhardt

A map showing the locations of each victim's remains can be found on  Google, searching "Cleveland Torso Murders Map".

Get a good night's sleep...if you can.  This guy may still be out there somewhere, in the dark, outside your door, waiting to catch you off guard.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Chester Gets The Chair : The Murder of Grace Brown

Oh, How lovely is Love......until someone gets an itch to leave....and it starts to get ugly...VERY ugly.

This is the case of Miss Grace Brown who was beat on the head with a tennis racket, then dumped into the lake.  Yes, her lover did it.  He ran off into the woods so that he could meet up with "the other woman".  What a guy!

Miss Brown was expecting a child, belonging to Mr. Chester Gillette.  He never denied that he was the father. But, you see, he had another woman on the side, or rather, Grace was the woman on the side....Chester was supposed to marry another woman.  He just used Grace for his days of lust.

Chester invited young Grace to accompany him on a romantic boat ride on Big Moose Lake, located in the Adirondacks on a lovely day in July of 1906. They said that he had a tennis racket with him, although that was never proven.  He drifted out to a lonely, secluded area of the lake.  Then, he beat her about the head and dumped her into the water where she lost her life, and that of the child she was carrying.  A tennis racket was found floating in the water near the area where her body was found.

Young Chester arrived in the New York area from Seattle Washington around 1904.  He was to join his uncle in the shirt manufacturing business. Supposedly he was very good looking, had plenty of money to spend and was quite a hit with all of the young single ladies of the area. Why he even taught Sunday school classes!  What a perfect catch for any young lass.

Young, 20 year old, Grace Brown, worked in the shirt factory belonging to the Gillette family.  Chester spied her right away, and she was quite smitten with him.  He gave her what seemed to be constant attention, and she gave him her full trust.

In the summer of 1906, Grace abruptly left her position at the factory.  With no explanation to her friends, she left everyone wondering what she was up to. Her parents noticed that something was different about her.  When they noticed that she had frequent correspondence with the young Gillette, they started to ask questions.  She broke the news....she was engaged to be married to Chester, or so she thought.  She began to sew herself a new wardrobe.

One day, Grace went back to the shirt factory, but not to work there.  She met with Chester.  He announced to everyone that he was going on a very short vacation in the mountain region.  Grace went ahead of him to meet up with him at the hotel, reported to be named the Glenmore Hotel.
Two days later, her body was found on the shore of Big Moose Lake, by fishermen.   The boat was found upturned, floating in the hidden cove area.

Big Moose Lake, New York, www.images.google.com

After questioning many of the people of the lake area, it was determined that Grace had been accompanied by a young man, whose description fit Chester Gillette. He was found sitting in front of a nearby summer resort hotel.  When approached by the police, he did not seem surprised at all about the finding of Grace's body.  He explained that his hat fell into the water, and when he went to reach for it, the boat had overturned and Grace went into the water.  He said he lost site of her  and swam to the shore. He was asked why he had not tried to save her or report the accident.  It was time to change his explanation. He said Grace was distraught and jumped into the water voluntarily. They handed him his tennis racket splotched with blood.  He had no explanation for that.

After his days in court, Chester was found guilty on December 6, 1906.  He was to be sentenced to death, by the electric chair, in January of 1906.  However, a stay was granted on an appeal filed in October of 1907. The Court of Appeals proved to be an unreliable deal for him, as they decided to uphold the original case findings of his responsibility for the death of young Grace.

The Glenmore Hotel, www.images.google.com

The Prosecution set about to bury Gillette with the many damning letters that Grace had written to him. She wrote that she was concerned about him neglecting her of late. He was asked when he first learned of her pregnancy.  Chester replied that he could not remember. It was revealed that he had not paid his hotel bill while staying at the nearby hotel where he had registered under the name of Charles Gordon, and that his bank account seemed to be depleted. Apparently, he had not paid for the boat that he rented either.  When questioned about these unpaid costs, he shrugged his shoulders, stating that he didn't seem worried about that.

Other evidence that seemed to "screw" Chester :
 -he had carried a photo of Miss Harriet Benedict, a young, lovely woman who worked at the shirt factory.
-Chester said he wanted to protect young Grace from gossip, so he registered under the assumed name of Mr. Gordon and wife.
-Although it was a hot day in July, Chester brought along an overcoat, umbrella and a tennis racket with him on the boat ride with Grace.  These were very odd things to take on that day when there was not a cloud in the sky. He claimed to have left them on the shore before boarding the boat.
- A guest at the hotel swore that he had introduced himself as Carl Graham and his companion, Grace.
-He also claimed to have bathed and changed his complete set of clothing after having walked through the woods, and sat on the porch of the hotel to read a book, never thinking to stop to report the accident on the lake.
-He changed his story, and said that he and Grace were reaching for water lilies when she jumped into the water.
-He sent a message to Cortland, where the shirt factory was, to ask for $5 to be sent back to him to pay for his room and board
-Two young women testified that they had an engagement to meet with Chester at Seventh Lake on the evening that Grace had died.
-Letters from Grace to Chester were read before the courtroom, with statements from Grace that she was afraid that Chester would not come to her in her  condition, and she was in a depressed mood.
-Frances Brown, sister of Grace, testified that Grace confided that she had high hopes that she would be married to Chester during their "Vacation" together.

In February of 1908, it was decided that Chester Gillette was indeed guilty of the murder of Miss Grace Brown and her unborn child. The sentence was due to be carried out in the week of March 30, 1908.

On March 30, 1908, Chester was lead to the electric chair, Auburn prison, He was interred the next day at Soule Cemetery, with members of his family present.  A number of persons who were curious watched from a distance. The grave is unmarked.

Grace M. Brown was buried in Valley View Cemetery, Chenango County, New York. It is said by visitors that she haunts the lake area to this day.

The story of this horrible murder at Moose Lake inspired the novel "An American Tragedy" by Theodore Dreiser. and the Academy Award winning movie "A Place in the Sun".

The reports of this case can be found in newspaper archives across the nation and internationally.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Burial Canal of Dianne Masters

She thought she had met a man that loved her deeply.  She imagined a fairy tale life with her prince.  She longed for the days of riding into the sunset with her soul mate.


Dianne met and dated Alan for some time.  He was a very impressive man, known by many.  As a divorce attorney in Cook County, he had power, and along with that, wealth.  Most police officers knew Alan very well.  What they kept to themselves was the fact that Alan was very proficient at making "problems" go away.  He had so many judges and police officials in his back pocket.  His generous payments to these law officials let some illegal activities continue to flourish.  His many connections made him a very valuable friend to those in the mob.  

Dianne did not know that Alan was married, and had two children.  When she found out, she was furious.  Alan told her that his marriage was not good, and that he only loved her.  She hung onto their relationship until he divorced his wife...TEN YEARS LATER.  She must have really loved him.

Their Marriage Years :

Dianne and Alan often met up with his friends for dinner.  It has been said that his friends propositioned her for sex.  Of course, she declined.  What kind of woman was she, after all.  But Alan did not appreciate her loyalty to him.  He supposedly got upset with her denial of "services" to his friends, and proceeded to beat her when they arrived home.

This evidently happened quite frequently, and it always ended the same way...he would apologize and shower her in lavish gifts.  But when she found him stepping out on her with other women, she threatened divorce.

Once again his anger would get the better of him.  He would beat her, and threaten that she would never be able to leave him....alive, that is.   He even threatened the lives of her parents.  If Dianne had friends in their home, it did not stop him from beating her.  They witnessed the brute that he was.

While he did not appreciate the first pregnancy of hers, demanding her to abort...she became pregnant again, and hid it from him until it was too late to abort.  That condition did not stop him from his brutal beatings.  Dianne gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, and the beatings continued.

Working in the community, Dianne met a wonderful man who treated her very well, with respect and dignity.  They soon became involved, and Alan's friends had seen the couple together.  They told Alan that his wife was seeing another man. When she returned home that day, it would be the last time anyone saw her....alive.  Alan beat her  badly and placed her body in the trunk of her car.

Masters knew the police chief of Willow Springs very well.  He told the chief that Dianne wanted to divorce him and she had been seeing another man.  He said she could not get away that easily, so he beat her and put her into the trunk of her car.  The chief opened the trunk and shot Dianne in the head.
He then drove off in Dianne's car, with her in the trunk.

Alan had reported Dianne as a missing person several days later.  No one had any idea what had happened to her. All of her colleagues were baffled.  No one had seen or heard from her. Some knew that Alan had dealings with the mob and there were whispers that perhaps that had something to do with her vanishing suddenly.

Nine months later, while the police were dredging the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, they found Dianne's car, with her in the trunk.  They were pulling 41 cars out of the canal that had been reported stolen, or had been used in various crimes. Dianne's body was examined, showing bullet wounds to the head and a crushed skull.

The detectives did their work very well, and both Alan Masters and the Willow Springs  police chief were charged and found guilty of the murder of Dianne Masters.  Alan was given 40 years, and the police chief was given 20 years.

The former police chief published a book with the nephew of Sam Giancana. He died of lung cancer at the age of 60.  Alan Masters died at the age of 65 while incarcerated at a federal prison.


Dianne Masters, late wife of Alan Masters. Last seen driving her 1978 yellow and white Cadillac in the southwest suburbs of Chicago after meeting with members of  community college board on March 19, 1982. Her remains were found in December of 1983.
Former police chief, Michael Corbitt, sentenced to 20 years after being found guilty of being involved in the disappearance and murder of Dianne Masters, wife of Corbitt's friend, Alan Masters. Corbitt wrote Double Deal with Sam Giancana, nephew of the reputed mob boss of the same name.

stories about this murder can be found in various newspapers across the internet.  most are found in 1982 and 1983 about Dianne's disappearance and body recovery.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

World War II Veterans : Stories Just Waiting to be Told

Stories From the World War II Battlefield series, by Jennifer Holik
as featured on www.ancestorstuff.com

Do you know a veteran that just might have some stories to share?  I bet you do. But some might think that no one is interested in their war stories.  It could be a good project for you to sit and talk with that veteran.  Ensure that person that you are indeed interested in their experiences.  It could be very hard to put into words just what they may have experienced.  It might bring back memories that they had tried so hard to put away.   Need some advice or guidance on just how to help this veteran to tell their story?

Jennifer Holik, researcher, educator, speaker and publisher, has put together a series of books to help with telling the story of your veteran, whether they are still living, or have past away.  She walks you through the necessary steps to take in retrieval of information to finally put that veteran's story on paper.

The Stories of the World War II Battlefield series focuses on each of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Records can be found in various places.  If your veteran has a DD214, otherwise know as paper of separation, that is a good place to start.  It gives a nice synopsis of the veteran's time in service, serial service number, places of draft or enlistment, metals and honors awarded, training, ranks, and, of course, date and place of their release from the military.  If the veteran died while in service, they will have a whole file listing most of what the DD214 has, but includes date, time and place of death, including the causes and circumstances of the death.  

There are so many other places to find more information about your veteran or deceased service member.  The U.S. Army had morning reports....the U.S. Navy had ship logs....and there are so many more records to comb through to get the most complete story.

If you are interested in getting further involved with this type of project, I highly recommend Jennifer's books.  She will be a featured speaker at the FGS 2016 Conference in Springfield, Illinois from August 31- September 3.

Additionally, Jennifer will be the featured writer at the AncestorStuff.com exhibit table number 516 at the FGS Conference in Springfield, IL. She will be available to market her books and answer any research questions. See more conference information here www.fgsconference.org

Can't be at the conference?  You can purchase Jennifer's books from the AncestorStuff.com website at a discount, and enjoy her expertise on this most important subject. www.ancestorstuff.com/jennifer-holik/

Interested in a family project?  How about leaning to research the military service of a family member  that has passed away.  Make copies of it for family members.  Those who might never have met their grandparent, great grandparent, or other relative might enjoy having such a memorial book about their relative.  Learning about family that have passed on gives  some a window to the past, and a sense of pride in who they are descended from.  What a nice gift for someone.  

To learn more about Jennifer Holik and her experiences, educational programs, speaking logs and other information, visit her website http://wwiiresearchandwritingcenter.com/

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Remembering Bastille Day 2016

This is a very solemn week for the world.  We are now experiencing yet another devastating incident where people going about their way, trying to enjoy a holiday in excellent fashion, are horribly murdered.  We cannot find any good reason for such a thing to happen.  It's dreadful for all of us.

I ask that everyone take some time to think about those who lost their lives, their families and friends, and all those injured in this terrible tragedy.  We must remember that God has our back.  In the end, He will prevail.  There is a judgement day.....for everyone.

Let's all be safe and aware.

France is Our Friend, and Always Has Been

AncestorStuff.com, Standing with France, Fannie, the dog.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Dad, I Just Have to Imagine that He is Here

Friday's Fallen Acorns is a little late this weekend.  Sorry.  I have been delayed by the fact that it is Father's Day weekend.  My Dad is not here on earth to celebrate the day.  I bought my husband a rocker/recliner for Father's Day.  That was OK....because I bought myself one, too.

You see, we are going to be grandparents soon....for the FIRST TIME.  Anticipation is killing me.

But, my Dad will not be here to witness my new role in life.  That's what has me down.  I was used to being a kid in his presence, no matter what age I was.  Taking on a new role in life was something that I always shared with him.

First day of school.....shared it with him

First bike ride...shared it with him

First tree I climbed....shared it with him

First prize ribbon in a science project fair....shared it with him

First time behind the wheel of a car (at the age of 11)....shared it with him

First time getting an official driver's license...shared it with him

First time graduating from high school and college....shared it with him

First time getting married....shared it with him

First time becoming a parent....shared it with him

But now, my new role....First time becoming a grandmother.....he's not here to share it with me.  That's what hurts.  If he were here, I know what would happen.  Just like all the Firsts that I mentioned above, he would give me a big hug, tell me that he was proud of me, and smile from ear to ear.

So, this First time becoming a grandmother, I will just have to imagine his smile, imagine I feel him hug me tight, and imagine I hear him say, "Shari, I am proud of you".

I think I'll need a tissue now.  You might need one, too, if your Dad is not here with you on this Father's Day.  God Bless all the Dads who have gone onto Heaven.  May they all have the blessings and peace that they so deserve.

Frank J. Bognar, Jr.  1925-2002

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Names of the Gray Granite Marker

Every year, the month of June marks the anniversary of the D-Day Invasion of Europe during World War II.  An epic day, indeed.  But, there were so many other battles and skirmishes in other parts of the world during that war.  Soldiers lost their lives serving in the armed forces of many countries.

I found a book that fits in with my blog topic of "Fallen Acorns".

A Grassroots History of World War II: Eight Men in Granite - Richard J. Staats, 2008.

www.heritagebooks.com, available for sale through www.ancestorstuff.com

In front of the Randolph, Ohio town hall, the names of eight men are engraved on a gray granite marker.  These men paid the ultimate price...the supreme sacrifice....they gave their lives while serving our nation during World War II.

Robert E. Francisco, Henry B. Wise, George Reisinger, Robert H. Hillard, Elmer L. Leech, William H. Bettes, George M. Buzek, and Donald A. Dibble.

The author, Richard J. Statts, decided it was time to find out who these men were and what were their circumstances that ended their lives during the lifetimes of the greatest generation. Through a somewhat lengthy search of service records, unit roles and other records mentioned in this book, many photos, v mails and letters were donated to help with the gathering of each man's story.  Mr. Statts uncovers the personal stories of these men.  Two were lost at sea.  Only one of the soldier's remains were returned home. These were not close buddies, but all came from the same rural community that held deep and close family bonds.  

In a time when we so often forget about why we have this nation of freedoms and opportunities, we truly have a need to read and learn about those who gave their lives so that we can continue to live in our nation with every right to pursue a wonderful life for ourselves.

I highly suggest that if you don't have a person in your life who can tell you about their life in the military service, at least read about how one person researched the lives of these eight servicemen. Learn about what they were asked to do during a time in their lives when, I am sure, they would have rather stayed home and continued their lives in their hometown.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Memorial Day : Remembering Those Who Served So That We Are Free Americans

Fallen Acorns takes on a new meaning for this blog today.  Normally I post about someone who has a tragedy in their life, or some sort of death has occurred that is of  unusual circumstances.

Memorial Day started as a time when this nation of ours remembered their family members, neighbors and friends who gave selflessly to serve our country at a time of war.  Those that lost their lives while serving in the military are special.  They left their homes and never returned.  Those that came back home had scars....some are seen, and many are not seen.  Scars can lurk in  the minds of those who returned with unspeakable horror etched in their memories. The Veteran's Administration was established to help those who returned home, and the families of those who did not.  The remains of the deceased were buried overseas, and many were shipped home to the families a few years after the war, so that they could be laid to rest on American soil.

Today, I wanted to focus on how our nation kept it's citizens informed of these special soldiers and their status during World War II.  I searched The St. Louis Post-Dispatch issues dated during the 1940s to experience how the journalists wrote about the lives of the soldiers that had homes in and around the city.  Searching Newspapers.com, it was not hard to find page after page of stories and articles that must had kept the news writers busy, days on end.

5 December 1944, St. Louis Post Dispatch, page 6, www.newspapers.com, accessed 27 May 2016
Can you imagine opening your newspaper to view photographs of young soldiers from your neighborhood with their status noted under their names:  Dead, Missing, Prisoner, Wounded....

This is what our nation went through during World War II.  Photos of fresh young faces with their unfortunate status printed below them.  It must have been very depressing for everyone.  That war had affected almost every household.  Everyone knew someone who was serving this nation of ours during a time when we did not have these weapons that could be implemented with remote controls and precision targeting.  This was a war the no one wanted to see repeated.

This Memorial Day weekend, take some time away from the backyard grill.  Visit a church service, a veteran cemetery, anything that makes one remember exactly why we celebrate our heroes.  Look at the faces of these soldiers and say a prayer that their suffering was not in vain, and their courage was exceptional in the eyes of the terror of their time.  We have much to be thankful for.  Let's start with a thanks to these guys.

AncestorStuff.com is offering a special FREE SHIPPING event to anyone who would like to read about our military and the wars of our nation.  Buy 3 items from the MILITARY catalog section at www.AncestorStuff.com, and they will be shipped free. Offer expires 13 June 2016.

Monday, May 23, 2016

New website goes live

My new Improved Website for AncestorStuff.com just went live.

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Black Hand Gets It's Man

www.newspapers.com, image from St. Louis Post Dispatch, 28 February 1908

16 August 1906.....well-off grocer, Damiano Capuano, receives the first of several letters....

"We know you.   We know what money you have.  And you know us.", the note began.  It went on to give directions to place $1000 in a basket and leave it behind a garden fence in an area known as Baden, in the city of St. Louis.  It ended with a warning, if these instructions were not followed, Capuano would be killed. The message was ignored.

20 August 1906...another note is delivered. It contained the same demand. But, this time the note was marked with a red cross, and the sign of the Black Hand (a zig zag mark) with a skull and crossbones.  Again, Capuano ignored the demand.

During the following week, several similar notes were sent, each one becoming more threatening.  Capuano started to become uneasy. He did not contact the police....until a message on the final note read "Capuano will be marked for the knife".  That got his attention.

He reported the incidents to the Carr Street police station, and Sgt. Adreveno was assigned to the case by Captain Johnson. Federal authorities took possession of the threatening notes.

Words overheard late at night by patrolman Tomasso lead to the arrest of five men.  He was tipped off by an anonymous neighbor, who noticed that a group of men were meeting in the back room of a nearby building.  Tomasso listened as the men spoke Italian, and heard a conversation that most certainly had to do with the notes left for Capuano in the previous weeks. They also made several denouncing comments about the government in America.

After their arrest, it was determined that these men were imitators of the Black Hand Society.  All were questioned....in Italian....because they claimed that they did not know how to speak English.  Handwriting samples were taken of each man, and it was certain that at least one of them closely resembled the writing on most of the notes left for Capuano.

The front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on the initial findings of the police department. It had not been determined that any of these men actually wrote the notes.

In the following few years, many others had received similar notes, referring to the Black Hand, and demanding amounts of money from $500 to $1000 each.  This kept the new "Black Hand Squad" in the St. Louis police department very busy.

Unfortunately, late on the evening of 24 December 1910, Damiano Capuano was shot and killed by three bullets as he was walking home.  He had just finished visiting the homes of several colleagues.  Shots rang out in the night and police were summoned into the dark streets of the city.  Capuano was found deceased, bleeding from his wounds.  The Black Hand finally got their man.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Baby Shower weekend

Sorry, but there won't be a post today.  You see, I am getting ready to attend  a baby shower for my daughter.  She is expecting my first grandchild.  I need to focus on this   instead of blogging today.  Til next week....

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Murder in Her Honor


When I started to do some research into the family ancestors of my mother-in-law, I had no idea that her maiden name would be so common.  Fuston doesn't seem to me to be a name that lots of people had, but I was proven wrong with the many hits that I had when using various databases to search for her family.

Knowing that some of the family members were among the many that lived in the Tennessee and Kentucky region around the time of the War of 1812 and afterward, I focused my attention on this area.  Of course you know by now that I use newspapers to find some of the most interesting tales.  I found this story in The Tennessean of Nashville, Tennessee in 1882.  I still have not proven any relationship between this family, and that of my mother-in-law.  But it is a very interesting story to add to my list of Fallen Acorns.

The story was reprinted from The Huntsville Independent, taking place about the 12th of October in 1882 on page 5.  A circus was visiting the area on that Thursday afternoon.  A little store house, owned by Tolbert Fuston, located underneath a row of apartments, was being manned by Mrs. Fuston.  Tolbert was out of town on business.  One man, about the age of 20, being employed by the Cole Circus, came into the store.  Mrs. Fuston was standing behind the counter, and when the young black man entered, she asked him what he needed.  He identified himself as George Steele, employee of the circus, and he wanted to buy some bread.....on credit.  Apparently she knew him from previous visits, as he had an ongoing credit account established with the store.  But, Mrs Fuston looked into the credit books and noticed that George had not made any payments on the credited purchases he had made prior to this day.  She refused his request....asking for payment instead.

George Steele, smelling of alcohol, didn't like how he was being treated by Mrs. Fuston.  He paused a moment, and in the heat of anger, he quickly moved behind the counter where Mrs. Fuston was standing.  He proceeded to beat her, and managed to throw her to the ground.

Mrs. Fuston screamed loudly, and a passerby, hearing her squeal, entered the store.  This man had been residing in the attached apartments, staying only a short while during his illness.  He yelled at George and asked him to leave her alone.  George ran from the store out into the street.  The gentleman hero helped Mrs. Fuston to her feet and proceeded to tend to her wounds.

Not long afterward, Mr. Fuston returned from his trip and he heard the whole story from his wife and the man residing in the apartment.  He armed himself and proceeded into the streets in search of this brute.  After asking persons of his whereabouts, he found him near the home of a neighbor. His intent was to have him arrested.  But first, Mr. Fuston asked George why he would attack Mrs. Fuston like he did.  What was his intent?  George did not answer Mr. Fuston, but made a move by placing his hand behind his back, as if to pull a pistol from his waist.  This startled Mr. Fuston, so he fired his gun and struck George in the chest.  The damage was done, and it was fatal.

Mr. Fuston left the scene, and ran into town to find the sheriff.  He told the whole story of the incident to the lawman.  Sheriff Cooper had no alternative but to take Mr. Fuston into custody until he could investigate the situation.  Mr. Fuston spent the night in the jail.  His arraignment would be scheduled for the next day.

The sheriff placed Mr. Fuston before the bench of Judge Barclay, D.D. Shelby was appointed as his counsel, with the State being represented by Nick Davis.

Judge Barclay heard the case, and all facts were represented just as they had occurred.  The judge decided to release Mr. Fuston, stating that he felt Mr. Fuston was well within his right to defend the honor of his wife.  She was healing from her bruises, but still shaken from the incident at the store.  Lastly, the judge decided that Mr. Fuston acted in a way to defend himself, even though it was found that George Steele did not have a gun.

Judge Barclay declared, "It is well within the right of any man to defend the honor of his wife, even if it means taking the life of an assailant".

And, so, Mr. and Mrs. Fuston were allowed to walk home after the hearing, and they lived out their lives without another incident.  No one stepped forward to represent the dead man, George.  No one stepped forward to pay off his credit account, either.

This article was found online at www.Newspapers.com, an affiliate of Ancestry.com.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Friday, April 8, 2016

1906 San Francisco Earthquake Victims : Were you related to anyone who lost their life?

In Memory of :

Filippo Busalacchi

Birth: May 5, 1874
Sant' Elia
Provincia di Palermo
Sicilia, Italy
Death: Apr. 18, 1906
San Francisco
San Francisco County
California, USA

He died in the famous 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, CA

Italian Cemetery
San Mateo County
California, USA
Plot: 22; Grave 25

Maintained by: Spence Burton
Originally Created by: Retaggio
Record added: Nov 15, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 44350784

information from www.findagrave.com

I browse newspapers quite frequently for items of interest....Fallen Acorns, to be exact.

San Francisco suffered through a horrible earthquake in April of 1906.  Newspapers across the nation tried to cover the story the best that they could, with what little technology they had at that time.

Lucky for us, we have OCR to use as a valuable tool when hunting for surnames in digital content.

Newspapers.com, a partner of Ancestry.com, has recently increased their content to include a very large selection of American newspapers.  If you haven't used this website, or you haven't looked at it for a while, I highly suggest that you take a few minutes to see what has been added.

I looked into the selections for St. Louis, Missouri, (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) and the Sicilian surname of my mother's family, Busalacchi.  What I found for this date is fantastic.

Are you related to anyone on the list?

19 Apr 1906, Page 3

sreif1956 Member Photo
Member photo for sreif1956

Friday, April 1, 2016

Neighborhood of the Real Goodfellas

About ten years ago we moved from a neighborhood where we had raised our children.  We spent 20 years in a home situated in a subdivision  where kids could be found in every household.   Swing sets, trampolines and soccer back stops were found in most backyards.  But our kids were grown, and we no longer needed to live in such a bustling place.

After putting our home on the market, we searched for a home that would meet our needs as empty-nesters.  Yet, we were still young enough to enjoy life to its fullest. So, we found a home in a subdivision tucked away from the  areas of commerce and schoolbuses.  It seemed nice enough.  We even have our own park with walking trails and fishing ponds, tennis courts, picnic gazebo and playground for visiting little guests.  We liked it.

I am a history nut of sorts.  Before long I did some historical research on the area, finding that a large farm and saw mill used to occupy the place of our new home.  But, I had to fast forward for some reason, and looked into the not so distant past of my new neighborhood.  I found that some very interesting characters also liked my neighborhood, too.

There were a few clues.  And, listening to some whispered tales told by a few of the residents who had lived here far longer than we had...well, let's just say the neighborhood now has a past that I only read about in the newspapers.

You see, members of the Chicago Outfit lived here before we arrived.  It suited them just fine I guess.  Only one way in and out.  Secure and out of the way, the Goodfellas could carry on their business, living just a few homes away, or a block or two away from each other.  How convenient for them.

To support my story, I found an article in the Chicago Tribune written about the several members who lived here, mostly from the 70s through the early 2000s.  Some of these characters are still alive, and I don't write about the living.  But, those deceased include Frank Calabrese, Joe Ferriola and Doves Aiuppa, just to name a few.

Neighbors told me that there was never a problem with crime in this neighborhood.  You see, the well known residents seemed to keep those kind of troublemakers out of the area.  They were good neighbors and kept unto themselves.  What more could you ask for?

If you are interested, a good article to read about my neighborhood can be found in the archives of the Chicago Tribune, entitled
"Mob Bosses Find a Home in Oak Brook", written by Ronald Koziol and John  O'Brien, published on March 12, 1989.

These Goodfellas had good taste...and so do I.  So, tell me, what kind of history does your neighborhood story reveal.  Do a little research and share the stories.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Happy and Blessed Easter

This weekend is no time to read about unfortunate personal events.  Have a very blessed weekend.

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Coca Cola Heir's Butler Did It


The young couple, Joe Cruz and Gladys Frix, planned a date to meet up with her cousin and a group of friends in Atlanta in the afternoon of January 18th.  They had lunch and shared a lively conversation.  Joe and Gladys bid farewell to the group, with Gladys stating that they would meet up with the group later at the same street corner.  But that was not the plan that Joe had for the evening. The couple sped away in his automobile.  The fateful evening had only just begun.

Joe Cruz was 30, and was employed as a butler to  Asa G. Candler, Jr., heir to the Coca Cola empire.  Asa's father was the founder of the soft drink company. Born in Manila, Cruz traveled to the United States to seek his fortune.  He had developed a talent as an amateur magician, and he performed in many small venues....until Candler saw him, that is.  Candler had an interest in magic and was very intrigued by Joe's magic act.  He introduced himself after a performance and talked with Cruz awhile, finding that Cruz was hardly making enough money to pay his bills.  Candler asked Cruz if he was interested in becoming his butler.  He also wanted Cruz to teach him some of those slight-of-hand tricks that he enjoyed so much.  Cruz cheerfully accepted the position and moved into the Candler estate.  He lived there for about eight years.

Gladys Frix attended a magic show with her friends one weekend, and caught the eye of the magician, Joe Cruz.  She smiled at him and liked his performance...and his smile.  They met after the show was over and talked for hours.  She told him where she lived  and he planned to visit her.

Mr and Mrs Frix were not very happy with Joe Cruz as a suitor for their daughter.  After all, she was only 19, and employed as a stenographer.  They felt that he was not the sort of man that they had envisioned as a mate for Gladys.  After several unfriendly discussions, they asked that Joe refrain from coming to their home, and furthermore, they asked that the couple break off their relationship.

After six months of hiding their meetings, Joe and Gladys planned to stand up to her parents.  She, however, was afraid of what might happen and told Joe that she was really frightened.  He knew that there was only one way that they could be together....forever and ever.

Springfield Republican, 19 January 1931, page 3, www.genealogybank.com

It was early in the morning on the 19th of January, 1931.  The gardener at the Candler estate began his chores for the day when he happened upon the car belonging to Cruz.  He thought he saw someone in the car, so he approached it, thinking Joe had awakened early that morning.  The horror that he found could not have been more frightening.  The couple were seated in the car, Gladys sitting on the lap of Joe....both of them dead and covered with their blood.

The gardener ran to the house and awakened Mr. Candler.  They phoned the police department and the officers swarmed the estate within the hour.  Upon approaching the bodies, it was clear that Gladys had been shot in the stomach and Joe was shot in the head.  A pearl-handled pistol lay on the front seat of the car, the obvious weapon used in this gruesome scene.

Augusta Chronicle, 19 January 1931, Section A, page 1, www.genealogybank.com

Asa Candler identified the pistol as being his own.  He told the police chief that he did not know that Joe Cruz had taken his gun.  There was a note laying on the chest of Joe's body.  It was written in his handwriting.  After reviewing the note, the police released the script to the press.  The note mentioned that the couple had been distraught over the disapproval of Gladys' parents.  They knew no other way that they could be together.  Ending their lives was the only way that they would forever be bound.

The police asked to inspect the room where Cruz had stayed in the Candler estate.  In his room they found a child sized slate on which Cruz had written, " This is my last trick, and I hope you'll enjoy the performance".

The coroner performed the autopsy later that day, finding that he believed that Cruz shot Gladys first, and then himself.  The note found on his body appeared to written only in his handwriting, and that Gladys had not written on the paper.  The coroner statement concluded that Gladys had no intention of ending her life.  They placed the blame solely on Joe Cruz.....The Butler Did It.


More articles about this horrible event can be found in various newspapers.  Might I suggest :




Friday, March 11, 2016

The Dead Can't Testify : Nightclub Owner Goes Free

In the St. Louis Municipal Courts Building, a scuffle broke out in the crowded hallway.  Tony Sansone, Jr. and two others were arrested under general peace disturbance charges.

Mr. Sansone, a Deputy Constable and owner of the La Vida nightclub, located at 521 Washington Avenue, carried a pistol into the court building....I guess there were no metal detectors at the courthouse doors in January of 1935.  Sansone was at the court building to answer to illegal liquor sales charges.   Sansone had failed to obtain the proper licenses for selling liquor. He stated that as he stood at the Police Court entrance, two men known as James Capasso and Tony Busalacki, approached him and began to beat him.  They had unfinished business from a quarrel that they had the evening before.

In an effort to defend himself, Sansone withdrew his pistol from under his coat and hit Busalacki over the head with it.  The crowded corridor was soon emptied as the persons there began to swarm to the doors in order to get out of the way of swinging fists. Sansone was treated for bruises at the nearby hospital, while Busalacki suffered a laceration on his scalp.

The case of Tony Sansone had two continuances, before both parties were fined $200, and appealed.  The court case was carried on the docket eight times before sustaining the fine. On June 27, 1935, a new trial was granted.

Fast forward to August 1935, on the fifteenth court setting for this case, the general peace disturbance charges against Sansone are dropped.  Tony Busalacki, the witness expected to testify again Sansone was no longer alive.  How fortunate for Sansone.  In July, Busalacki was killed in the neighboring county of St. Charles. He had been shot by a member of his own extortion gang....by accident.  OOPS!

 St. Louis Post-Dispatch13 Jul 1935, SatMain Edition, www.newspapers.com

Busalacki and his extortion chumps were trying to collect a large amount of money from a fellow who had a farm in St. Charles County, just across the river from St. Louis.  While running away from the sheriff, one of the gang mistook Busalacki for a county deputy, and he was shot dead.


Judge Schmitt realized that the chief witness against Tony Sansone, Jr. was Tony Busalacki.  The prosecutors could not make a case against Sansone without the testimony of the dead man. Sansone was released from the court as a free man, thankful for the death of his adversary.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Murder of Sarah Harriet McDaniel : County Prosecutor Escapes the Gallows

Oscar McDaniel excelled at his job.  He was a very respected prosecutor in Buchanan County, Missouri.  Well known for putting away all the "bad guys", the community could count on him to get the job done, and make the St. Joseph area a safe place to live and raise a family.

However, in July of 1916 all of  that changed. McDaniel received a telephone call very late in the evening.  The strange voice on the other end said that Oscar's brother was in  a saloon in the downtown area of St. Joseph.  They said he had better come to fetch him before this drunken patron starts some trouble.  Oscar went to the saloon, only to find that the warning was untrue.  He returned to his home on South 20th Street, parking in the street.  As soon as he started to exit the car, gunshots rang out.  An assailant, hidden behind a large tree, began to shoot at McDaniel.  At least five shots were heard by neighbors.  The dark figure ran off and McDaniel was not hurt.  He ran into his home to check on his wife and three children, Oscar Jr., Helen, and Marion  He shouted his wife's name, but got no response.  Upstairs in the bedroom, he found his wife, Sarah Harriet, laying on the floor in a pool of blood. Her head was crushed, and she was unconscious,  Apparently she had been beaten with a blunt instrument. Her diamond ring and a few nice trinkets were missing.  The children were asleep, and left unharmed.
The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) · Fri, Jul 21, 1916 · First Edition · Page 1

Oscar called the St. Joseph Police Department to report the incident and ask for assistance with his wife.  Police immediately brought blood hounds to the residence to begin tracking the whereabouts of the assailant who had run away into the dark night.  Since McDaniel was a shrewd prosecutor, responsible for putting away all sorts of thugs from the courts, the suspect list was rather long. The hounds led the  police to a rooming house.  Police took five men into custody there and they were held pending the investigation of this ghastly murder.  The landlady reported that she had seen a dark, shadowy figure run from the house sometime after the crime was reported.

Mrs. McDaniel was transported to the hospital, where she died about six hours later.  Nothing could be done for her.  An autopsy was performed by the coroner.  Cause of death : Homicide.

The state police departments of Kansas and Missouri combined forces to solve the murder of Sarah Harriet McDaniel.  They began to focus their attention on a convicted burglar that had recently been placed in the asylum for the criminally insane.  At his sentencing, he warned Prosecutor McDaniel, "Death, hell and destruction shall be visited on you!".  This man had escaped from prison just days before the murder of Mrs. McDaniel.  He had written a letter to McDaniel, repeating his threat. McDaniel was not upset by the letter, because as a very competent prosecutor, he had received hundreds of such threats for the past two years.  No one had actually carried out their threats.  Many of the threats mentioned that he had better not try to run for re-election.

In September, the murder had still not been solved, and the community began to get restless.  They wanted someone to pay for the death of this dear lady.  Suspicions fell upon Oscar McDaniel, himself.  He was held in the St. Joseph Police department, having been charged with the murder. McDaniel began to laugh at the police and the absurd charges, but he respectfully walked the two miles to the county prison. He requested, and was granted, the permission to buy some cigars on his way to prison.

A special prosecutor asked that a grand jury be called to review the case against McDaniel, although he admitted that he had never questioned him about the murder of his wife.  Tongues began to wag about rumors that Sarah had asked Oscar for a divorce, and being upset by the request, he beat his wife to death. McDaniel asked for a swift trial, as he wanted to focus on his upcoming re-election.  He was a candidate on the Democratic ticket for November of that year.

In October, Bart Lockwood was assigned to prosecute Oscar McDaniel.  The two men had been close friends, having studied law together.  This case was bound to break that friendship.  Lockwood reviewed the evidence that piled up, seeming to indicate that Oscar really did murder his young wife.  He had tears in his eyes when he went before the court and summarized the evidence links that seemed to tighten around his old friend.

The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune (Chillicothe, Missouri) · Fri, Nov 24, 1916 · Page 10

In late November, the prosecutor began to wrap up his case.  But he had a bombshell of a witness that had been called to testify. Miss Aileen Moss, sister of the slain Sarah , aka, Harriet, was asked to tell what she knew about the home life of Mr. and Mrs. McDaniel.  Miss Moss was a well known school teacher and resided with the McDaniels at the time of the murder.  She said she had heard her sister say "No, no no," and then let out a moan the night of her demise.  She also stated that just a week after her sister's death, McDaniel asked her if she thought the young child, Helen, would be better off forgetting her mother entirely.  She said she was shocked at his inquiry, and replied to him that the children should never forget their mother. Lockwood wanted to admit testimony from Aileen regarding McDaniel's association with other women, but the court would not allow it.The last of her testimony included her remembrance of a certain evening when Oscar and his wife were to attend a dinner at the home of an acquaintance.  Mrs. McDaniel refused to attend, and Oscar showed his superior authority and attending by himself.

Louis Gabbert, attorney for Oscar McDaniel was surprised by the lack of real evidence against his client.  He had expected to be confronted by many more witnesses by the prosecution.  He said he did not expect much proof against McDaniel, but he certainly expected more of a showing of evidence than what had been presented.

On December 5th, Oscar D. McDaniel was acquitted of the murder of his wife.  The jury took only one hour and thirty minutes to make their decision.  Five ballots had been taken before the jury could come to an agreement.  The following day, McDaniel could be found seated in his office, resuming his position as county prosecutor.  He said he would devote his time to discover the slayer of his wife.  He would, however, continue his career and take on the criminal cases on the docket, one of which was a case where a man had beat his wife to death.  He vowed that his career would not get in the way of trying to solve his wife's murder case.

McDaniel was asked if he had any evidence or information as to the identity of the murderer of his wife.  He was guarded in his remark, saying that there had been a member of a crook gang that had infested that part of the state and had received a threat in the previous year that they were out to get McDaniel and blow his family to hell.

Meanwhile, Sarah Harriet Moss McDaniel had been laid to rest in Mount Mora Cemetery. Her official cause of death was ruled a homicide.....blunt instrument to the head.


What happened to Oscar and his children?  Well, he found love again.  Oscar and Zora Lee Cook, later known as Cora, were married in July of 1917. He was still registered as an attorney in 1918, as stated on his WWI draft card.  But by mid 1920, he and Cora had moved to Felix Street in St. Joseph, Missouri.  He had become a carpenter by then, and had put his law degree away in a drawer.

Go ahead and research the information about Oscar and his attempt to solve the murder of his wife, Sarah Harriet McDaniel.  I know what happened, but it's more fun if you look for the results yourself.

May I suggest using : www.Newspapers.com