Second Time’s the Harm

February 1, 1927
Whittier

Family annihilator George Hassell was convicted of killing his wife and her eight children by his late brother, and has an appointment with the Texas executioner shortly. While awaiting his last date, George recalled the wife he killed in Whittier in 1917 and the three children he buried with her beneath their little home at 236 South Whittier Avenue. There seemed no reason not to confess this, so today, with some direction from long-suspicious neighbor Myrtle Lark and a little more from the agreeable killer, Constable Bob Way crawled under the house and unearthed the body of an infant. Its mother and siblings soon followed, thus explaining the wretched odors that had long plagued the spot.

In slightly gayer news, the grand new Mayfair Hotel has opened in the Crown Hill district of Los Angeles, providing the ideal vantage point for a drunken oil company exec named Ray Chandler to hole up for days with his secretary while threatening suicide to all who’ll listen.

Vultures Circle Over Los Angeles

Ill-fated Tour Group

Los Angeles
August 28, 1927

Five days ago, twenty Mexican “rebelsâ€Â descended on a train carrying among its passengers a group of American schoolteachers headed back to Los Angeles after a summer session at the University of Mexico. Eyewitnesses said about 40 shots were fired into the cars, one of which hit 27-year-old Florence M. Anderson of 3414 Third Avenue, Los Angeles, in the left hip. Anderson, a popular member of the travel party, was taken to a hospital in Maztalan. Doctors operated on the stricken high-school Spanish teacher, but peritonitis set in and she died later the same day, the only passenger injured in the melee.

Now comes word that Florence Anderson’s father and a cousin, Mrs. Jean Garrison, are fighting over the disposition of her body, which arrived in Los Angeles early today.

Spokane newspaperman Charles H. Anderson, says that Florence sent him letters from Mexico in which she declared her affection for him. He says he is “puzzledâ€Â by the relationship between Garrison and his daughter, and pointed to news reports which first described them as aunt and niece, then as cousins. At any rate, he intends to have Florence buried “with her ancestorsâ€Â in California—and asked Southern Pacific to release his daughter’s body to him.

Jean Garrison, on the other hand, claims to have her cousin’s will, handwritten less than two months ago on the eve of her departure for Mexico. It states that Florence Anderson wished to be buried next to her mother in a Denver cemetery.

The tiebreaker was an affidavit filled out this morning by Francis Flynn, manager of the ill-fated tour group. “When Miss Anderson was shot and afraid she would die,â€Â Flynn told reporters, “she called me over and told me to send her things to Mrs. Garrison and to notify her about everything, but that her father was not to be communicated with.â€Â There were “strained relationsâ€Â between them and “she had had only two communications from him in recent years.â€Â

The will and affidavit were good enough for Southern Pacific, which released Florence Anderson’s body to Mrs. Jean Garrison. Both are en route to Colorado. It is also being reported that Garrison has “demanded through the State Department $100,000 [approximately $1.2 million today] reparations of the Mexican government for her cousin’s death.â€Â

Postscript. Charles Anderson gave it one more shot. On September 1, 1927, the Times reported that he had retained counsel and asked for a photographic copy of his daughter’s will, which left the bulk of her $10,000 estate (about $118,000 in 2007) for the education of two young cousins, Claire and Arthur Strong (ages 13 and 11, respectively). Perhaps he thought better of it; the Times makes no further mention of this sordid mess.

A Bohemian Lazarus

June 6, 1906
Los Angeles

Last February Antone F. Lieblich, a well-off Bohemian of middle years, sold his property in Eudunda, near Franklin Harbour, Australia and sailed back home to Austria. He never made it. After going ashore in Genoa, Lieblich vanished, and when a man’s body washed up soon after, it was duly identified and Lieblich’s family informed of his passing. His property was split up, and the mourning for the long-lost kin commenced.

Until July, that is, when Lieblich’s Australian attorney received a letter from his client–return addressed 2416 East Ninth Street, Los Angeles–with instructions for a few final real estate transactions. The Australian police became interested, and made inquiries through the police of many nations, but the mysterious Herr Lieblich was nowhere to be found. The Los Angeles police visited the Ninth Street address, and learned that a man fitting Lieblich’s description had been staying there last July, but he had made no friends in the neighborhood, and no one knew where he had gone.

So look carefully about you, Los Angeles! That dark, well-built man with the slightly graying beard and the odd accent might just be Antone Lieblich, come out of his mossy grave and wondering where all his money’s gone!

Mad Mama?

May 13, 1907
Highland Park

15-year-old William McCormick visited the police to make a panicked plea for the salvation of his mother Janette, removed yesteday from 228 South Avenue 66 to the lunatics’ ward of the County Hospital. His mother is, William swears, quite sane, and her confinement the result of a family plot to steal her inheritance.

Mrs. McCormick is the primary beneficiary of a million dollar estate based in Denver, although much of the family lives on the west coast, including cousin Arthur Randall, in whose home the McCormicks had been staying.

Although no warrant for the woman’s arrest was ever produced, Superintendant Barber of the County Hospital accepted the word of the deputy sherrifs who brought the shrieking woman into his ward that such a warrant was in the hands of the Sheriff, and he refuses to release his captive until the case is investigated today.

Young McCormick explains, "After the death of my grandmother, mother and I came to the Coast. When our relatives learned that the greater portion of the property was left to mother and me, they began to plot. While we were in San Diego, Mrs. Belle M. Auston, who now lives in Black River Falls, Wis, and is my aunt, tried to kidnap me and was unsuccessful."

After this shock, the pair moved on to stay with a lady cousin in Ocean Park, then moved in with cousin Arthur. "He is the one who is making this trouble for mother. She is sane and has never been troubled with any symptoms of insanity. I believe that my uncles N.M. Phelps and A.D. Merrill of Denver have hired Randall to try to get mother in an asylum, so as to get her fortune! Phelps was left only $5000 by my grandmother’s will and Merrill was not mentioned. I am not very old, but I don’t want to see them harm mother."

The police sargeant told the youngster to contact the District Attorney.

More Fun with the Second Amendment

April 18, 1907
Watts
At a poolroom in Watts (where, it is said, liquor is sold without a license), Mr. H. E. Welch became involved in a domestic disagreement with his wife Myrtle.  Accordingly, she beat him with a pool cue and then shot him twice in the head. “I’m used to being shot at,” said Mr. Welch later this evening while being attended to at Receiving Hospital.  “My wife has a lot of disorderly friends and the poolroom is full of these nowadays.  The gun with which she shot me was in my pocket and she took it from me.”

Cincinnati Heirs Claim Spiritualist Influence On Dead Brother

April 8, 1907
Los Angeles

R. Crawford Smith, a wealthy Cincinnati bachelor who died in February, aged 61, spent the past several years living amongst strangers in Los Angeles. For a long while, he called the Hotel Melrose on Grand Avenue his home, and more recently had lived with familes on McClintock Avenue and South Olive Street.

His two brothers, William E. and A. Denniston Smith, have come from the east after Crawford’s death to inquire how it is that his will, which was to have split his $100,000 fortune equally between them and two sisters, acquired late codiciles leaving $17,000 to three females, rumored to be practictioners of Spiritualism, all residents of this city. The Smiths have hired Attorney Charles Cassat Davis to handle the challenge.

E.Z. Barrett, husband of the woman willed $10,000, says his wife Dora befriended a sad old man, and was repaid for her kindness with the posthumous gift. Mediumship had nought to do with it–though Dora is a popular lecturer on the subject, who has been known to give public demonstrations of her ability to commune with those who have “passed over.” Mr. Barrett stresses however that Dora is not a medium of the typical type.

Pasadena high school teacher Miss Lottie Livingston was willed $5000 from the Smith coffers, and Mrs. Lola Swilling, whose husband is said to be an Army officer stationed in Cuba, has a $2000 gift promised her.

Smith’s few local friends recall him as a lonesome, ill and melancholy man, a believer in Spiritualism who sought out Mrs. Barrett and frequently visited her home in his last days, apologizing for being a burden but saying how much he appreciated being among friends.

The late man’s estate was largely held in property, including a hotel at the southeast corner of Hope and Sixth Streets here.

 

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