As I’ve mentioned before, I’m researching two new books about Caddo. One is a continuation of my series on the lives of the “founding fathers” and their wives. While there were a handful of women who seemed to be independent leaders, most of the women I’ve researched were wives and mothers first, community activists and/or business women on the side. And I seldom encounter a woman who was a criminal.
This week I’ve been working on the biography of two men who were in business together in the early 1900’s. In the course of doing a newspaper archive search on a popular genealogy site an article popped up about a woman in another community poisoning her step-son. The newspaper reported her to be the ex-wife of the man I am researching. Well…one thing lead to another and now I am involved in a fascinating little story:
The woman in question also killed her mother-in-law and was suspected of killing her step-daughter.
As was the custom of the times she is listed by her first name in only one article (Mrs. ___ elsewhere), and that first name would make her the wife of my guy’s brother. The man I am researching and his brother had reversible initials! W. H. and H. W. What are the chances that some of the newspapers got that wrong!!
The woman was divorced from whoever her Caddo husband was, yet she is listed in the census as a “widow”.
She had seven children of her own, but only four lived to adulthood. One is listed as being sick and/or hospitalized at least four times in a one year period.
One article mentions that the sheriff came to Caddo to remove a young child from her.
She was given a life sentence in McAlester, and yet she is in a business directory in Dallas twenty years later.
And you thought genealogy was so boring! When I get to the bottom of this little mystery I will let you know.