Month: February 2011

Katie Payne, “Fel. Cutting”, 26 Oct 1934

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Katie Payne took a razor blade to the house at the rear of 108 South Jefferson street where her husband, John, was staying with young, pretty Ethel McGowen. She slashed Ethel McGowen across the face, twice. When Ethel fell to the floor, curling up to protect herself, Katie slashed her legs, arms and hands. Ethel wasn’t going to be pretty any more. Katie was arrested and held in jail while Ethel was examined in hospital. […]

Elizabeth Miller, “liquor violation”, 5 June 1948

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In January 1948, a young woman called Anna Grace Robertson suffered fatal brain injuries when she fell from a moving truck—or was pushed out; no one knew for sure. What was certain was that she had been drunk when her skull cracked on the road, and that the man whom she had been with, Martin Fobes, had been drunker still, as had most of the witnesses who testified that they’d seen Fobes and Anna Grace […]

Jessie Smith, “Larceny, Disord Cond”, 22 Feb 1932

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Jessie Smith was one of the half a million black Americans who left the south during the first wave of the great migration, before and during the first world war, hoping to trade Jim Crow, klan violence and failed crops for a life of opportunity in the industrial north. However, when she arrived in New Castle from Spartanburg, South Carolina, she would have found that there was nowhere in town for her to stay. The […]

Janet Borland, “Auto Theft”, 8 Feb 1936

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Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were killed in 1934. Two years later, the story of the outlaw lovers was as powerful as it had ever been, and was undoubtedly on Janet Borland’s mind one winter’s night when she met a beguiling young rogue named Clarence Campbell, a small-time car thief from Missouri who had left a trail of stolen autos and forfeited bail bonds from Oklahoma to Ohio. She was impressed enough to agree to […]