Wednesday, July 27, 2011

“Chicago May,” Notorious Badger Game Girl - 1907


FULL TEXT: New York, July 27 – Judge Vernon M. Davis of the supreme court of New York was invited by the judges of the English criminal court to sit with them on the bench at the trial of Chicago May Churchill in London who has been convicted of the shooting of her erstwhlile sweetheart Eddie Guerin, known to three nations as one of the most expert fleecers of the public that ever invaded their boundaries. Few American jurists have had such a courtesy extended to them.

In this country Judge Davis had hail companions of Chicago May Guerin before him in his court and it is expected that on his return here he will report his comparison of procedure in a form that may divest the cumbersome machinery of American law of its more complex features. He has investigated and highly commended the remarkable expedition of English oases the rapidity of selecting jurymen and the judicial minds of the masters in the proceedings.

~ Their Victims Legion. ~

The victims of Chicago May and Guerin are legion throughout the United States England and France. The history of the two principals in the trial reads like fiction from a master pen. Born in New York city forty years ago, Mary Vechs found life in her father’s bakery on the East Side not to her liking and at an early age she became a concert hall singer. From this she drifted to the period where a frequent change of name and abode were convenient and twenty years ago the mention of May Churchill was enough to rouse the police of many cities.

The woman became an expert at the badger game and with various companions led a life of luxury America was soon an uncomfortable abiding place and she betoook herself to where with her beauty attractiveness and well bred bearing she had a host of admirers.

~ Lambs Club Episode. ~

Returning in prosperity to New York the woman’s audacity led her to wager that she could be served with liquor in the select Lambs’ Club exclusively for men. She won. In 1889 she wedded a well-to-do business man named Sharpe but became a close friend of Eddie Guerin two years later after trying to kill herself by drinking poison in Sixth avenue.

In the next two years the escapades of Chicago May and Guerin kept the police of cities busy.

In Paris they were arrested for robbing the American Express Company’s office safe of $25,000  in cash. The woman who was traveling with George Miller as his wife, was sent to for four years and Guerin was exiled for life on Devil’s Island. After her release she was heard of in Rio Janeiro, where a young English nobleman killed himself after falling in love with her dissipating his and learning of her history.

~ Escaped From Devils Island. ~

Then came Guerin’s sensational escape from Devil’s Island. Reports that both he and May Churchill had died in durance were circulated assiduously, but the woman had bribed Guerin’s guards and a dummy body had been buried as his. With a companion Guerin took to the fields and kept in while the pair hollowed out a rude canoe from a tree trunk and safely paddled 280 miles to the South American coast. Then Guerin comes to Now York where American associates cash and influence, so that when he returned to England he successfully fought efforts to extradite him.

~ Devotion to “Chicago May.” ~

For years Guerin had been unremitting in his devotion to “Chicago May,” but in London another woman attracted him and he turned from his former partner. Late last year Guerin and “Chicago May” met in London and Guerin received a bullet wound that nearly proved mortal. The woman treated the affair lightly while the man with her, Miller, then known as “Smith,” declared doggedly, “I was the one who fired the shot.”

Judge Davis has had an opportunity to see final act of the drama. His report is awaited with much interest as rise in life has been noteworthy. Beginning as an assistant district advanced until he was in 1902 elected to the supreme court bench.

At a dinner after the “Nan” Patterson trial, at which he presided, Judge Davis criticised the verdict of not guilty, expressing his belief that the chorus girl killed Caesar Young.

[“Davis Was Judge In Patterson Case -  Invited to Bench in England and Makes Comparison of Methods.” The Washington Times (D.C.), Jul. 27, 1907, p. 12]

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