Whatever I paid to search the Dallas Morning News archives last month allowed me access to something like 50 articles, but only for 24 hours. So after I found what I was looking for (confirmation that one of my mom’s father’s wives really did shoot him), and had exhausted all possible searches on the subject, I typed in other Texan ancestors’ names for the hell of it.
Lo and behold, I learned that my great-grandmother Alma’s relatives once spent a couple days trying to figure out — from afar — whether she was the woman found dead and battered on a Galveston beach. (Clipping from first story pictured above.)
According to an article dated July 22, 1914, Alma had sent her mother a card saying, “This is Monday a.m. We are ready to start for dearer Dallas.” But when word of the murder reached Dallas the following week and Alma’s family hadn’t turned up — likely as not, because Great-Grampa Zone was off chasing tail — her kinfolk must’ve gotten worried. A childhood friend viewed the battered corpse, identified Alma, and fainted.
Fortunately mother Martha Caroline and sister-in-law Gertie back at home weren’t too worried. Some of the authorities’ details about the corpse didn’t really point to Alma. For one thing, the deceased didn’t have gold teeth.
“I feel,” said Gertie, “that it is not she.” (Pause for appreciation of correct pronoun usage. Gertie, I should add, was Zone’s sister. This was a family where, according to my mom, everyone, including the women, “carried a can around to spit in and after a meal we all would sit in the living room and each one would spit from time to time and argue and fight.”) And indeed, it was not.
This is so my family, I can’t even tell you. Okay, maybe I could, but I’m off to Newport, Rhode Island in the morning to celebrate the hitching of some friends.
Hope you have a great weekend planned, too.