In search of information about my father W. Lon Hutchison and his family, for my novel, Tracking the Human, I went to the archives of the Tulsa Oklahoma Public Library.
Shocking discovery: my grandfather E.S. Hutchison was shot and killed by a jealous husband on 14 January 1925 in front of the Tulsa Oklahoma post office.
The Love Pirate story (my grandfather’s nickname assigned by the newspaper) continues three days later on the front page of the Tulsa Daily World on January 18, 1925.
Headline: South Sea Honeymoon New Life in New Land Denied to Mrs Purdy. “She and Hutchison had planned to marry in St Louis and sail in a few days for South America to start life anew….A silver honeymoon upon blue southern seas. Eternal romance. In the fragrant balm of the tropics. Forgotten troubles. New friends of a new world. These were lost to Mrs. Helen Paul Purdy Tuesday night. In their stead the whisperings of a thousand gossips and the shouts of a thousand newsboys in a hundred cities came to mock her. ”
In the news story, according to Mrs. Purdy, she and my grandfather were planning to get married in two weeks and then relocate to somewhere in South America.
The events surrounding the shooting of my grandfather E. S. Hutchison in front of the post office in Tulsa, Oklahoma, would be almost unbelievable in a television soap opera.
The next blog will share more about the aftermath of his murder.
Your comments are most welcome! Thanks for reading my blog.
The shock of finding out that my father W. Lon Hutchison had been committed to the Eastern Oklahoma State Hospital at Vinita by his own aunt in 1934 was somewhat softened with time and travel. I had never been to Oklahoma and was learning to use the GPS on my iPhone for the first time.
I drove to Tulsa from Vinita. I had an appointment with a research librarian made by email. Tulsa is the second largest city in Oklahoma. For most of the 20th century, the city called itself the “Oil Capital of the World”.
Tulsa has an exceedingly complex maze of overlapping freeways. I made a few wrong turns. I was thankful that the GPS on my phone redirected me. I found my way to the annex where the Tulsa Public Library archives were stored.
I had sent emails to the librarian that I was looking for information about my grandfather, E.S. Hutchison. Through cemetery records online, I found out that he had died in Tulsa in 1925. Although I was focusing on my father’s life, I thought that finding information about my grandfather might help me understand what happened to my father and why he never talked about his birth family.
The librarian opened up the microfiche of the Tulsa Daily World newspaper to the year 1925 to look for my grandfather’s obituary. The librarian advised me to be patient, that it might take some time before I would find anything about him.
I sat down at the microfiche machine, rolling past the first days of the headlines of January 1925. I prepared myself for a long, patient search for information about my grandfather. What I found, within a few minutes, was shocking to me and to the research librarian assisting me.
Read about what I found in my next blog.
Please share any moments of research shock you may have had.
Thanks. See you in my next blog about the Love Pirate.