5/27/12

BIG ANN'S PLACE : RECRUITING STATION FOR HELL


Doors from the time period
Although it had been around for at least ten  years, in 1903 'Big Ann's Place' became the recognized center of evil in early Oklahoma City.  A court case which made it to the state supreme court forever sealed its place in the more colorful side of history and presented numerous mysteries as a result. In the court records it is called a 'recruiting station for hell.'   A clever turn of phrase given an area in Oklahoma City, just west of the rail deport and Reno was known as "Hell's Half Acre."  The current convention center and gardens cover the same general area.

'Big Ann' was known variously as Annie Wynn, Annie Wynne, and Annie Bailey.  The reason for the sudden notoriety was the occasion of charges filed against Annie and her employee Maud Davis and George Garrison, concerning the alleged rape of two young Dutch immigrant girls, Ann and Lucy Patt (filed February 1903).  The crime was charged to have been done by a couple of small time would be hooligans, George Garrison and Jim Harman, aka the Arkansas Kid. The location was Big Ann's Place on west 2nd street.

The girls said Annie herself had served them small glasses of beer which was strangely bitter and resulted in almost immediate illness.  As they were led away by the young men they thought they were being taken somewhere to be sick, when instead they were taken to two different rooms and were, they said, raped by their male companions and possibly others.  Yet, later court records seem to paint a different picture of these girls.  Another man was also considered in the rape case, Jim Harman.

Annie Wynn Bailey, or whatever her real name may have been, by this time was well known for having avoided several serious episodes, avoided the long arm of the law, and was flagrantly operating in violation of the law.  Since most of Hell's Half Acre was similarly functioning beyond the law it was not too surprising.  It was suspected the money coming into the brothels, gaming dens, and saloons paid law and judges to look the other way.  

This single year would see Annie's name in the news almost every month.  There were numerous reasons for this.  It was time of growing anti-drink movements with people such as Carrie Nation who was ramping up her activities (she would visit Oklahoma in 1904).  It has been alleged some people were becoming aware that a lot of real estate in Oklahoma City and elsewhere (such as Lawton) was being purchased by this venal entrepreneur. It has been alleged it was this wealth that allowed Annie to have a pass for so many years.  She may have, however, been up against a two pronged attack beginning in 1903 and ending (perhaps) in 1909 when it is believed she left the City for California.  This attack may have been from some of the women she had supervised and trained to help her with her OKC operations, possibly aided by OKC men with a desire to acquire the real estate owned by the notorious Madam.


--Marilyn A. Hudson

IS IT TIME TO SAY GOODBYE TO RACE?


They sit there on most formal forms, little boxes asking people to place themselves into small, political, cultural, and biological boxes labeled 'race'. In the period after various legal battles and social corrections these were helpful to equalize and make fair opportunities to groups who had been marginalized for generations. 

Now, however, with growing numbers of people unable to select simply one box - is the labeling still appropriate?

The American Association of Anthropologists in a statement from 1998 said: ""Race" thus evolved as a worldview, a body of prejudgments that distorts our ideas about human differences and group behavior."

Modern studies in genetics, DNA, and other biological factos have shown we are all more alike than different and that once hard held 'racial' traits are as likely to be found in diverse populations and other 'races'. 

An example is the recent DNA discovery that many of a group termed Melungeon derive from  a mating of a Black sub-Saharan male and European white woman challenge the frail house we call "Race."  Maybe it is a clue we should help blow down the structure once and for all and embrace the fact we are all more than we think we are. 

This group of people - which includes often stories of "Indian princesses", Gypsy, Portuguese, or "Black Dutch" to explain a tendency to dark hair, olive toned skin and dark eyes.  These people, it is believed, kept apart in order to avoid being placed in slavery or denied rights.  Although the initial DNA results indicate only the Sub-Saharan connection, it is unclear how wide the testing was and if other results, supporting the Native American or Portuguese claims, might still be made. 

It still does not diminish the question: should race be eliminated on forms and diminished as  major element in social or personal identity?
Is race actually a shackle that keeps all of society tied to a 16th century idea of human value and an outdated social-political structure of colonialism and hierarchy?

Is skin color, hair type, shape of a nose, or a length of leg really the things we should be using as guides to understanding human existence?

We are shaped more by culture than race and once the culture begins to recognize and accept diversity, celebrate children born of two people instead of two races, and have enough self understanding to known that personal self worth is not based on making someone else feel bad, conquered, menial, or inhuman.

I celebrate anyone who is proud of their ancestral heritages, their cultural roots, and their own God crafted uniqueness. I sorrow with those who have been made to be ashamed of their identity, their looks, their social position, their skin color, or other factors used by manipulators to make themselves feel better by marginalizing others.

It is time, I think, to stop focusing on the differences and begin to celebrate the human species who reside precariously on a small blue island planet in the great cosmic ocean. To begin to understand that simply because one is white, black, brown or any other tone they are not special or minimized. To recognize that racial calls to power, privilege, or prominance are about as sensible as granting all redheads the right to vote but not blondes. It simply makes no sense and is indefensible.

Something to think about....the next time you see those little boxes on those official little forms. Does it really matter? Or, can we all siimply join the HUMAN race and be done with it?

THE MEADOWS MURDER, THE CRIME


THE MEADOWS MURDER, PART TWO

THE CRIME
According to records of the event presented in court and through newspaper articles, the events went something like this.  A husband and wife were in a difficult patch, but planning to move from their downtown rooming house on North Broadway to a fresh start in booming Capitol Hill. On a warm early summer evening, a scheming false wife and her lover planned and carried out the murder of a hard working, decent man.  Truth is not only stranger than fiction; it can be a lot more complicated.  

Over the course of the ‘newspaper trial’ that ensued, suggestions were that Meadows had an affair (or had ruined a young woman in the very boarding house where he lived) and was blackmailed. This was what caused an estrangement between the two. Countering that would be charges that Lila Meadows, far from the gentle and frail female, had been abusive to him blackening eyes, throwing a butcher knife at him, and withholding money.  

The rooming house was called the “Palace”, was situated over a saloon, and was said to be either at 116-116 ½ North Broadway or at 316-316 ½ North Broadway.  At both of these locations, local stories and advertisements, suggest the area was rife with con artists (usually posing as fortunetellers or psychics).   These ‘rooming houses’ or ‘boarding houses’ were also well known for their connection to the Oklahoma City criminal underground (the gambling, prostitution, white slavery, and con jobs).  These locations were both very close to the notorious “Hell’s Half Acre” of Oklahoma City where brothels, saloons, and gambling houses were located.

Shortly after the disappearance, police noticed that the woman and a young man, Rudolph Tegeler, seemed to have an undue interest in each other.  Initially denying they even knew each, witnesses soon recounted how she sent fruit and delicacies to young Tegeler at work.  Message boys testified how they carried notes between the two. He called her pet names and carried her picture.  She was seen riding in a buggy with Tegler, had some undisclosed all night escapade with him, and was often seen by Mrs. Keith talking on the back steps of the Meadows rooming house. Co-workers reported phone calls between the two. Tegler bought or leased the rooming house, located above a saloon operated by Bass Alder,  for Mrs. Meadows to operate.  

Although initially indicted as a co-conspirator in the murder, Miss Dorothy B. (or Dora) Keith, nurse and “boon companion” of Mrs. Meadows, would later tell authorities of the “queer actions” and “extreme excitement” on receiving two mysterious letters on the day of the disappearance.   She told authorities that the day of the disappearance,  the Meadows’ spoke at about 6:30 p.m. in the Oklahoma City residence.  Mrs. Meadows expressed the thought she might come to Capitol Hill that night to visit her husband. He told her the door would be unlocked.  That evening, it is was also reported, Mrs. Meadows and Tegler go for a buggy ride at about that same time.

Around midnight, a local hears gunfire near Meadows home in Capitol Hill. A neighbor reports her dogs were excited about some activity. Strangers lurking in the area are suspected and the next day, Meadows does not arrive for work and his supervisor calls the police.  Over the coming days and weeks, co-workers and volunteers keep watch over the nearby North Canadian River, make inquires, and assist local police in trying to locate Meadows.

During the disappearance, Tegler often brings newspapers to coworker C.M. Roberts to have him read and explain them to him.  This man said Tegler first said he thought Meadows had disappeared but as the time grew on he said he did not know what to think.  He also said Tegler had given him a memo book with a photograph of the woman Meadows and other undisclosed items.  This was in turn, handed over to Chief Post.  When the medium, Mrs. Rodie, Ronie,  or Rose Myers, wrote him with her vision of the missing man and where his body was buried, he of course believed this and reported it to the police.  He could take them to the place, resolve the disappearance, and then the two lovers would be free to marry.

What developed was a nearly decade long courtroom drama and newspaper presence for the case of the mysterious murder of James R. Meadows.

The day after the body is found, the police begin proceeding to indict Mrs. Lila Meadows, Miss Dorothy Keith.   Roy A. Baird and Edward Loughmiller identify the remains at the city morgue as James R. Meadows.  As a photo in the local paper shows, the body was badly decomposed.  Investigators, however, noted he had been shot in the back and the face.  They could not find a matching hole in his shirt and this added to the aura of mystery that would ensue. Near the time of the funeral, Dorothy Keith claims the casket is empty and Meadows is not dead.  In July of 1912, the witness of two physicians attending the body added to the debate. The body was badly decomposed, but the doctors were able to ascertain the man was a) in good health and b) had a full set of teeth. Some of Meadows closest friends, however, indicated he had been in very poor health and was missing a tooth. Further discussion of these points is missing in later accounts and no explanations are given for the disparities other than the extreme level of decomposition may have hindered findings.

 Later in 1910, coworkers Harry Warrrenton, F.H. McCane, and A.J. Scott testified the body they had seen in the morgue was their missing coworker.  A receipt in the pocket was to Rudolph Tegler for a meter for the Meadows rooming house on N. Broadway (but a worker later was unable to identify Tegler as the man who had gotten the meter).

Two days after the body is found, the theory of the police was clear.  Tegler was a na├»ve young man besotted and manipulated by a lovely older woman who used her sexual charms to her advantage. The man’s belief in the supernatural powers of the medium Myers, and a sad story of an abusive husband , were used to develop a patsy (at the least) for the murder of her husband, and so soon had both Mrs. Meadows and Rudolph Tegler were facing indictments for murder.

END OF PART TWO

THE MEADOWS MURDER: SENSATION BEFORE STATEHOOD


From , "Tales of Hell's Half Acre", Marilyn A. Hudson:

THE MEADOWS MURDER OF 1907, part 1:

It was little wonder the story remained a major headline event for over a decade.  The tale had it all: a murder mystery with titillating intrigue, illicit lust, yellow journalism, city officials on criminal payrolls, a guilty till proven innocent public sentiment, clairvoyant mediums, shady peripheral characters,  lying witnesses, plots and shenanigans, a grand standing defense attorney, a lovely and frail widow, a virile young villain, and lingering rumors of a man thought dead still being alive.   


THE PLAYERS

James R. Meadows, the Victim.
In 1907, Oklahoma was looking forward to its soon-to-be state status but was already a growing and increasingly sophisticated land.  One example was the Pioneer Telephone Company.   Originally opening in 1905 as the Pioneer Telephone and Telegraph Company it was a sure sign of the technological leanings of the people of Oklahoma.  

One of the men overseeing a work crew for them was a James R. Meadows who had been living in a boarding house he and his wife ran on Broadway in Oklahoma City, but had recently removed to the small community to the south of town called Capitol Hill.  The Pioneer Company was already running telephone lines to Capitol Hill indicating the stability of the community.  He had begun as a line man. For some reason, things had begun to turn sour in the marriage and he had hopes that in a new location he might mend his marriage and get a much-needed fresh start in the relationship with his younger wife.

He may be the man listed on the 1900 U.S. Federal Census living at 201 Reno Street as a boarder.  That individual was listed as being 31 years of age, born in Tennessee, and so would be within the age range of Meadows, but there is a similar man also listed on the 1910 census only he is 44 years old but also born in Tennessee.  Wherever Meadows was, reports were he lived as a married adult on Grand Avenue, North Broadway, and in the vicinity of Kentucky and “B” (print is fuzzy and could be 10 or 11th street, which would better match the numbering system of Oklahoma City). 
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~okoklaho/obit/meadows-james.htm

Lila Meadows, the Widow
Maiden name un-known, but that that is only part of the mystery of this woman.  She was said to have been living in Wichita, Kansas when she first met James Meadows. Another version says they met in Kansas City. One version was he and she had lived together unmarried until she had shamed him into marrying her, while another was she had followed him from Kansas to El Reno, Oklahoma, were he lived, and married there in about 1901. Mrs. Lila Meadows, wife of James R. Meadows, remains something of an enigma, although subsequent events lend themselves to several observations of her life and character.  

She was frequently ill, court testimony identified it is a morphine addiction, and then later she has dramatic  appendicitis surgery in 1910.  Good woman cruelly used, grieving widow, seducer of the young killer, it is hard to classify the woman but some clues lead to ideas about underlying truths. She is  known to have been living in 1908 with Annie Wynne Bailey aka “Big Annie”, and one of Annie’s former courtesans Fannie Ritchie, at the notorious  Arlington on West 2nd Street. About this time, Annie left for California after her first unsuccessful run-in with local law.  Did Annie cut a deal? Was Lila a charity cause or one of Annie's own girls?

Significantly, a few days before June 4, J.O. Green of the Sun Accident Insurance company calls to remind Mrs. Meadows of the due date of the life insurance premium on James was due June 1.

Mother Myers aka Rose Myers aka Ronie Myers, the Psychic
The boarding house had provided some income but it had also brought Meadows' wife into contact with some questionable people.  The so-called “Mother Myers”, who convinced people she was a clairvoyant with powers to see things, had also swindled people so that she had to flee to avoid arrest or worse. There were others, women mostly, who may have had been giving his wife ideas that were not to her betterment and were detrimental to a happy home. Dorothy Keith was one such friend and confident. He urged them to leave the boarding house and he set out to find somewhere in Capitol Hill for them to live.

Labeled a fortuneteller, medium, clairvoyant, and physic, Myers had been operating in Oklahoma City, in the boarding house, prior to the death of Meadows. It was suggested at one point she was the real mother of Lila and after some searching was finally located in Doxie near Elk City.  One of Annie's connections?

Dorothy or Dora Keith - woman of mystery
Mysteriously labeled the nurse and ‘boon companion’ of Mrs. Meadows. She is dramatically devastated when she is indicted with Mrs. Meadows early in the affair, strangely jovial while in jail, and then strangely missing after testifying in court.  It was even suggested she and Lila may have dressed as men to murder James and Dorothy laughed as she held up a petite hand that she was sure would convince no one of any other gender.  So far, no woman of that name has been located on the 1900 or 1910 census. Another of  "Annie's girls"?  

Rudolph Tegeler or Tegler, the Killer?
Over at the Oklahoma City Waterworks, a young, handsome man with a slight German accent worked hard and to get ahead in this new place. Rudolph Tegeler or Tegler (it is spelled both ways in many documents), was born in Germany in 1884 (U.S. Census, 1910, Oklahoma, Pittsburg Co., Ok State Penitentiary). He was a machinist for the new waterworks (http://boards.ancestry.com/surnames.tegeler/15/mb.ashx).  His co-workers included C.M. Roberts, M.E. Hollingshead.  His own wife had died tragically after a buggy ride just a year before. 

At some point, he met the young wife of Meadows, and he was so struck by her charms, that he bought the Palace Rooming House from her, resold it and then ultimately rented  the rooming house with her from W.W. Shipp.   They seemed to be very compatible and able to talk about anything.  Her husband did not understand her: he was a brute, an evil man who abused her terribly.  Before long, one of the rooms in the boarding house, The Palace, now owned by the young man, became of place of secret whispered love promises and finally the first act of a long scene of adultery.  The man came to know another boarder, the medium, Mother Myers, and was soon convinced of her abilities.

Co-workers noticed special tempting dishes and delicacies sent to the young man at the Works for lunch or an afternoon treat.   Special couriers sent letters and phone calls came from a soft-spoken female voice.  Things were over-heard by co-workers, and much more was suspected, about this secret love affair of the young German accented man.

Momen Pruiett - Lawyer
A colorful attorney who was energetically creative in fighting for his clients.  His legal approach was a ‘watch me pull a rabbit from my hat” style designed to keep the story on the front page, incite public debate, and insure a need for a change of venue plea.  A onetime jail occupant himself, he was committed to bringing the system down in his own unique way. Cited for frequently skirting the limits of the law, and a few possible excursions over the line, he was a lawyer for Rudolph Tegeler in his later court cases. http://www.10thcircuithistory.org/pdfs/Moman_Pruiett.pdf

Annie Wynn, aka Big Annie, Local "Business" woman.  
Annie, better known as “Big Annie” had been a fixture in the prostitution, gambling, and bootlegging world of OKC’s “Hell’s Half Acre” since the land run.  The 1900 census lists her as a 35 year old, born in Illinois, whose profession was “prostitute.”  This would mean that she would have been about 24 if she came to the city in, or just after,  the land run of 1889.   In 1903, she was prominent in a case of a woman alleging she had been raped in her resort.  Although she came to dominate the local vice landscape and achieve the veneer of acceptable society, by the time of the murder things were not going so well.  Ron Owens notes in his “Oklahoma Justice” that on August 27, 1907 (two months after Meadows’ murder), her “resort” burned to the ground and arson was suspected.  A disgruntled employee charged that  Annie and another courtesan had plotted to rob and kill a customer and dump his body in the North Canadian River.  Sometime in 1908 she was living in The Arlington, a notorious but elegant sporting house, with Lila Meadows.  Meadows had been acquitted of the murder of her husband.   In Annie’s trial, the jury did not accept the testimony and so in 1909 Annie sold her property, moved to California, and there died some time later (pg. 49). http://www.dougloudenback.com/maps/vintage_vice.htm.  Proof of her death has not yet been discovered and since she was in a profession where discarding and assuming new identities was an art form - who knows?

Broadway Palace or The Palace, 
This was the apparent name of the boarding house where Meadows lived in OKC and where Mrs. Meadows and Tegeler had had some assignations.  It was located at either 116 ½ or 316 and 316 ½ North Broadway. Both addresses can be found in the news articles and ads. Early stories cite the 100 block while later ones favor the 300 block between 2nd and 3rd streets.   There was an incidence at the Broadway Palace, 316 North Broadway, in 1904.  A “Prof. Mott”, a fortuneteller or clairvoyant, was accused of mesmerizing a young woman from Cushing and freeing her of some $700.   At that time, the proprietor was one Mrs. Massey.  Both locations were sites of frequent fly-by-night con artists  labeling themselves as ‘fortunetellers”, “physics”, and “clairvoyants”.   

The location of the rooming house in the 116-116 ½ address on North Broadway is also very interesting because it only within two blocks of the northwest edge of Oklahoma City’s “Hell’s Half Acre” with its brothels, gambling dens, saloons, and other resorts.  The colorful area from Main to Reno   included colorful streets and lanes established with the 1889 land run: Battle Row, Harlots Lane, Alabaster Row, and Hop Boulevard.  Some rooming houses, especially those closer to this section of town, were no doubt subsidiary income for the people, like Big Annie.   Later news articles would cite the procurers who traveled the countryside, ran boarding houses, and  lurked at the train depot to derail young ladies from real jobs and trap them into prostitution.

END OF PART ONE

THE MEADOWS MURDER: THE SENSATION BEFORE STATEHOOD


The Meadows Murder, Part 4
As if staged by a Hollywood director of suspense or horror, the grave was uncovered in the dead of night, by lantern light, with a storm approaching.  The body was covered only by about two feet of dirt.  Nearby was the cornfield of farmer Stielitz and the Twin Creeks bite into the area located to the west of Capitol Hill and within just a few miles of the residence of Meadows.
____________________________________________________________

The railroad and a river cupped the area where both the victim’s home and grave were located in southwest modern Oklahoma City.  In 1907, the area was still largely undeveloped with more rural and wild environs still in place.

The working theory developed that Matthews had been in bed asleep or laying down when he was awakened and in response to someone at the door or to something heard in the yard, he rose.  He either went outside, or was led outside by his surprise visitor, to his death. Given the evidence he was no doubt led to the very sport where he was buried.  The story of a neighbor seeing something (or someone) in the yard and draw near the houses may be him being led to his death or attacked and then carried to the grave.  Strangely, reports of a mysterious group of men seen in the area are not seriously considered.

When people investigate the next door for the missing man, certain things are noticed. The door to the house at Kentucky and “B” or “13” in Capitol Hill was ajar, there was no apparent blood, and the bed had the impression of a head on the pillow. 

The body when finally discovered showed he had been shot in the back, with the bullet exiting the front just below the breastbone and another bullet went in his face just above the mouth.  The trajectory of the head wound might have coincided with a short fired while he was lying down on the ground either unconscious or already dead.

Although a bloody (or dirty) piece of carpet and a woman’s dress were located nearby just north of the body, the area was one where people camped passing through and apparently debris was not too uncommon.  A resident found a discarded spade as well with the suggestion it was the one used to dig the grave.  

Physicians who examined the body noted the advanced stages of decomposition (from the image of the body shown in local papers that is clear), but a cursory examination revealed no matching holes in the shirt on the body.  Other details were the man appeared to the doctors to be a healthy male with a full set of teeth.  These details will all be issues in the trails to follow but are quickly explained by other doctors stating the state of decomposition dissuaded closer examination of the body or the clothes.

THE VERDICTS
1907 Verdict : The Letters
The day of the husband’s disappearance, Dorothy Keith testified, Lila Meadows received two mysterious letters that greatly agitated her.    Two other letters from a mysterious “Mother Myers” ,aka Ronie or Rose Myers, to Tegler and  Meadows.  The one to Tegeler, it was asserted, contained a diagram of the location for the body of the missing husband. One version of contents asserted it was only through this letter that Rudolf could take police to the body.

Strange and jumbled claims emerged about the letters: they had not been written by the woman, they had been recopied, and they had been written by some person unknown.  Most of the letters, thankfully, seem to fade into the background.  One remains due to the diagram informing  about the body's location.

1908 VERDICT
On February 13, Tegler was given a life sentence for the murder of James R. Meadows, with two jurers holding out for acquittal. Out on bail he planned to go to Rock Island, New Mexico for a visit with his step-father and uncle, George L. Tegler and his mother Hermina Tegeler before taking up residence “in the pen”.   His defense team (now J.W. Johnson and A.N. Munden) had charged that Meadows had been in Panama where he had been working for the telephone company and was  returning to New Orleans on the 28 but had not so far been located. The attorneys then suggested he had drowned in the sinking recently of a White Star ship in the gulf.   A third trial was set to start in December.

1910 VERDICT: Shenanigans
In the courtroom of Judge Carney, the  Defense lead council was Judge D.B. Welty and Morman Pruiett . The chief tactic was the claim that  ‘Meadows lives.”  They brought in witnesses from Kansas,  a Johnson from Kansas City and a Livingston from Atchison, stating the man was alive.  Livingston had known James and Lila Meadows in El Reno and claimed they had been married there and lived in the town for a while.  In 1909, he was the proprietor of the Robinson Hotel in El Paso, Texas and there, two years after the murder, he entertained both Lila and James Meadows.  They were using the name Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hall and urged his silence. Tegler was set to go to New Mexico again to visit relatives, took a tour of Oklahoma City, visited with his sisters Mrs. J.D. Carpenter (Ft. Worth, TX), Mrs. John Hoppleman (OKC) and his attorneys Welty and Pruiett.  His bond was paid by an assortment of local business and farming people. This may indicate there was some public belief that he may have been an innocent pawn in a larger game.

1910: ACCUSATIONS
In September of 1910, defense accused the victim (Meadows) of having ruined the life of a young girl (Amelia Shamcok, had a child, and  had tried to blackmail him (thus explaining the initial missing $200 from the telephone company).  This affair and the blackmail was what were behind the disappearance of Meadows.  The Judge and the defense attorney noted a morphine problem with Mrs. Lila Meadows (whom one called a ‘dope fiend’).  The defense also charged other lovers for Lila as well.  A prominent, but unnamed city official, was implicated in the placement of the young girl in the north Broadway rooming house of Meadows.  Tegler, it was claimed, denied leading the police to the grave and that a Webb Jones was the first man there.  

1911 VERDICT
The jury found Tegler guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in the pen by the district court of Judge Brown of Mangum in Februry.  On the way to a cell, he passed Mike O’Brien who had perjured himself years before  and had been sentenced the previous month.  He had said under oath that he had seen Meadows alive after Teglers' arrest.

THE RED LETTER
A year later, in March, Judge Joseph G. Lowe, receives a mysterious letter in red ink. In this letter were claims that Meadows himself had sought to wreck vengeance on the couple cuckolding him by hiding the body, writing the diagram sent to Tegler, and had then left the country.

RUMORS OF PARDONS
In the fall of 1914, a year after Lila Meadows dies in Wichita, Kansas, rumors appeared in local newspapers about a secret pardon deal worked out for Rudolph Tegler.  Lt. Governor J.J.McAlister was to have worked a secret deal. This followed by a short piece, almost hidden, explaining how such a thing could not happen based on various legal complications. Yet by late decade and into the 1920’s there was a veritable avalanche of pardons in Oklahoma, enough that it drew the attention of many as being possibly excessive.

END OF THE STORY
A story so rich in the dramatic and so immensely convoluted cannot be easily resolved and such is true of the Meadows-Tegler Murder Case of 1907.   The basket of red herrings tossed out by the wily defense team often contained some valid and unanswered questions.  The prejudicial newspapers and judges targeted some issues while others, more important, were totally ignored. 

Newspapers and census records  locate a Rudolph Tegler, matching the age and birth location of the Rudolph Tegler on the 1900 Oklahoma Census. There he is living with Charles W. Tegler, Hermine P. Tegler, Louise C., Paulina A., Nellie K., Otto E., Esther, Walter D. in Oklahoma city’s 2nd Ward.  He was listed  as 16,born in Germany and these names match later news articles mentioning his family.  In 1910, he is listed as an inmate at the State Penitentiary in McAlister, Oklahoma.  In 1920, in Quay County, New Mexico there is listed a Charles (57), Otto (31, son), Walter (20, son) and a William H. (34, labeled son, born in Germany).  He is later living in Osage County, Oklahoma and in 1931 is buried in Fairlawn Cemetery in Oklahoma City.  He is listed with a wife named Lila which raises many questions. Did he marry Lila Meadows?  She is gone, possibly dead, by 1920.   Later, he is with a woman named "O. Anna."  Many questions remain about this complex, intriguing, and very human tale.


What , for example, was the influence of the Aggie Myers case in Missouri on the murder of James R. Meadows?  The similarities are interesting enough to bear closer examination.

What was the connection between Annie Wynn Bailey, aka Big Annie, and the widow Lila Meadows?  What was the connection to the strange Dorothy B. Keith, Rose or Ronie Myers, and several other women who crop up in the story?  Women, interestingly enough,  who often seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth or assumed new identities.

Were these women all former courtesans of the entrepreneurial madam Annie? Were they running her web of dens, houses, and intrigues that had served to keep the police, politicians, and the law in Annie’s hand for nearly twenty years?  What was the connection between Moment Pruitt and Big Annie?  Did he become Tegler’s attorney because of Big Annie’s relationship with Lila Meadows?

The mysterious murder of Meadows in 1907 remains a tantalizing tale of lust and intrigue in the middle of Oklahoma’s onward thrust to statehood. The sultry days of that June were shoved aside by the excitement of that November as statehood was achieved. It had simmered that summer as the sensation of pre-statehood and though shoved to the back burner by events and lengthy trials it did not go away for many years.  In the end, the sights and sounds of their 1907 world have been largely eradicated and only the story, and the questions, remain.

--Marilyn A. Hudson, c2010

5/20/12

ST. JOSEPH'S CABINS: HISTORIC INNOVATIVE IDEA

Dec.12,1937 the Oklahoman, carried an article, "St. Joseph's to Try Novel Experiment", (pg.34) by building cabins on the land behind the gym and central building to house elderly people. The idea being children without families and the elderly could enrich each other's lives.  An article from the source of June 17,  1923 (pg.4), notes that they were taking care of the elderly at that early date.

In 1926 there were plans to move the institution from orphanage status to a boarding school (Oklahoman, Aug. 13, 1926, pg.4).

Here, some remaining cabins are shown. They photographed here in mid renovation (in 2010) by the present owners, Southwestern Christian University.  The original neat arts and crafts inspired bungalows contained two rooms with restroom/shower with a shared small entry hall.  Additional cabins were thought to have been planned behind these and to the west. If they were ever built is unknown at present.

This innovative approach was an early recognition of the value of inter-generational relationships.  Today numerous college campuses are making retirement communities part of their campus life following this same line of thought.  Retired alums become stand in grandparents to youthful students. Students become substitute children for retired couples who may not have had children or whose families live far away. In Bethany, Oklahoma there had been that idea decades earlier.

5/10/12

WHAT WE ARE GIVEN WE SO OFTEN WASTE

A haunting image comes out of one of America's most economically challenged cities shows a large old office space with thousands of squares of pulpy substances which had once been books.  The label of the image showed it was the old Detroit Public School Book Depository.

Several decades ago, in urban Oklahoma City, a church rented out the original old part of their church. This now unused wing became home to a Community Action Program (CAP).  Three stories were filled with offices, small group rooms, and waiting areas as the group helped 'win the war on poverty' by empowering, training,and educating the local community.

The overall CAP program lost its funding and many of the units merged into a single entity.  They moved into an old empty school building to consolidate their services with several other federal and state funded programs.

Charged with cleaning out the old church wing, a small group gathered to assess the task. It was amazing what met the eyes of the people as they walked through the three stories. Desks, chairs, file cabinets, couches, tables, lamps, books, coffee pots had been left.  The desk drawers still had pens, papers, writing tablets, receipt books, paperclips, staples and staplers!  In the file cabinets were file after file of not only programming type resources, but event records and plans, and even some confidential materials with Social Security numbers, addresses, and intimate information about personal or family problems.

Why did these not go with them into their new home in the old school building?  The programs were all federally funded and they had gotten new furnishing, new supplies, and new everything.  Strangely, this incredible wasting of useful and usable resources took place beneath the sage wisdom of 1970's browned and  curling wall posters about saving the world by saving the environment!

The irony lingers. Just as earlier generations could be accused of taking for granted the bounty of the natural world and using it up with out thought or caution, we of the later 20th century can be equally charged with our own examples of the same disregard.  Logical is a label few humans can truly wear with consistent pride.

So, yes, we walk away leaving resources to ruin rather than reusing....it is wasteful behavior which replicates  everywhere the human species walks.  Why? That, my friend, is the mystery.  

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H. P. Lovecraft

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