Friday, February 26, 2016

Carnarvon's Crazy Cousin

In mid November of 1924, Mrs. Rosemary Sparkman attended the Ladies Literary Club silver tea event.  The Salt Lake City group presented a musical program amidst the lovely patriotic decorations, which included tables set with white chrysanthemums, red and blue candies, ices adorned with flags and patriotic colored cakes and other sweets.  Mrs. Sparkman appeared with Miss Ethelyn Cannon to present "The Cake Walk" during the program.  Everything seemed wonderful.

Channel forward in time....about 30 days....mid December of 1924.  On a Saturday evening, a young mother, Rosemary Sparkman, age 28, falls into a deep case of depression.  Somehow, things seemed hopeless for her on this very day, even though she had been seen by a physician for her repeated melancholy for quite some time.

This young mother decided that this very day would be the last for her and her two children on this earth.  With careful tending, Rosemary had her children dressed in their night clothes and tucked into bed.  After they had dozed off, she took a soft cotton cloth, dipped in chloroform, and placed it over their nose and mouth.  She took a rubber head cap and put it over their faces to keep the effects of the chloroform from escaping into the bedroom.  Both children were introduced to eternal sleep by their mother.

Mrs. Sparkman undressed herself for the evening and, leaving on her stockings and a long cotton gown, lay down on the floor of the parlor.  She had turned on four gas burners of the heating stove.  This was the last of her life.  She had decided to do to herself that which she had done to her children.

Photo found on , note the mistake on the name of the university that employed her husband.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch issue of 8 December 1924, reported that Mrs. Sparkman and her children were found lifeless.  Her husband was out of town on business.  Mr. Colley Sparkman was an assistant professor of languages at the University of Utah.  The bodies were found by George Ross, owner of the home in which the Sparkman family lived.  He detected the smell of gas as he entered the back door of the home.  Finding Mrs. Sparkman on the floor, he summoned the police.  Detectives arrived just minutes after the gas valves had been turned off.

The children were found in their beds, both having burns on their lips and faces, apparently from the chloroform.  Mrs. Sparkman also had burns on her lips from dosing herself with the same cloth saturated with the drug.

A note was found in the vestment worn by Rosemary.  It read : "lay me away quietly.  No friends, I had no friends in life, nor was I granted them in death.  Let me be alone."

In a brief interview with Mr. Sparkman, he told his life with his wife and children.  He was so proud of his dear Wilford, age 9, and Lorna, age 7.  He did worry about his wife's occasional despondency, but felt she was fine to leave with the children while on a business trip.

Upon further inquiry regarding the family of Rosemary, it was revealed that she was the daughter of Robert Carnarvon and Cecilia McIntyre, born in Scotland in 1896.  Mr. Sparkman  added that Rosemary was the cousin of the late Lord Carnarvon of England.  You might remember him as the financier and discoverer of  the tomb of King Tutankhamen, in Egypt, with his partner, Howard Carter. Lord Carnarvon died in 1923 as a result of shaving an infected mosquito bite, which progressed to acute pneumonia.  Some think it was attributed to the Curse of the Tomb.  Could the curse have affected other family members?  Like Rosemary Carnarvon Sparkman?  I will leave that research up to you...if you dare!

The grave memorial #166413 for Rosemary can be found at in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Utah.

A detailed newspaper report can be found in the Ogden Standard -Examiner, 8 December 1924, page one.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Coatless and Innocent

The Circuit Court of Macon, Missouri was overcrowded with the business of hearing the list of cases on the docket.  Judge Drain was usually prepared to hear a wide range of subjects in his court room that cold day in the winter of 1922.   The prosecutor, however, was not ready for the case he was about to handle.

R. R. Dodson stood before the bench prepared to represent himself.  He began his plea with a description of his life...."I used to own an overcoat, but it is gone, and I guess someone took it.  The coat that I am accused of taking is an old yellow rag, with rips in the back and the pockets turned out."  Dodson apparently had too much to drink one evening, and upon leaving a livery barn, he walked over to the coat rack and put on the coat he had just described.

"I am not a person who steals things", he told Judge Drain.  Dodson explained that his brother was a prosecutor, and his father had been a senator, representative and a sheriff.  "I admit that I get a periodical toot, but I don't steal". He plead not guilty as to stealing an overcoat, as was the charge in the case.

Judge Drain looked rather confused, so he asked Edwards, the prosecutor, "What do you want to do with him?"

"Just turn him loose, your Honor.  His story made me cry", replied Edwards.

"Well, you are discharged, Mr. Dodson", said Judge Drain. "Be on your way."

Dodson was not satisfied with that statement.  He did not have a job, and without a job he had no way to feed himself, or buy a coat that he so badly needed to keep warm during the cold months.

"I can't leave this court without a job, your Honor.  Don't you have some land that I can clean up for you, like some brush to cut.....anything for me to do to earn a few dollars?"

Judge Drain said he didn't own any property that needed work, but he suggested that Mr. Edwards, the prosecutor, had a piece of property that could use some work.  Edwards just shook his head...he had no use for the manual labor of Dodson.

"Then I can't just leave this court," said Dodson.  "I just want to go back to jail and live there until I earn enough money to buy a coat".

And with that statement being said, Judge Drain announced that Dodson could have his wish.  Besides....Christmas was only days away, and he could not let Dodson out into the cold....without an overcoat to his name, on the eve of Christmas, 1922.

That's your "Feel Good" story for the day.

This story was published in the Macon Chronicle-Herald (Macon, Missouri),  Published on Monday, December 11, 1922, Page 1.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Edward Clark : Death Over a Tail Light

This short story will have you wondering about some people and their values and priorities.

 Two cousins had a disagreement regarding the ownership of an automobile tail light.  Apparently, they had disagreements quite often, according to family and friends.

On July 28, 1935, the two men let their anger get the better of them.  Harry Clark decided to arm himself with a gun.  Edward Clark, his antagonistic cousin, would not give in and allow Harry to have the auto tail light.  Harry needed to end the argument once and for all.  He aimed his weapon at Edward and shot him in the chest. The body was found by Charles Clark, father of Edward.
The family lived on a farm owned by Tony Finazzo.  Both Harry and Edward, were employed on that farm, along with several of their family members.

According to the state death certificate, an inquest was held by the coroner, Will Freeman, of St. Charles, Missouri.  It was confirmed that a homicide had occurred, and Edward Van Cicle Clark had died of his chest wound.  Harry Clark was charged with first degree murder.

If anyone has further information on this case, please add to the comments.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Roots Tech Pause

Hey folks.  I am enjoying Roots Tech here in Salt Lake City this week.  Therefore, this blog will take a pause until I return home in a few days.  See you then.