Thursday, February 20, 2020

Mrs. Loyal Shufflebarger Was Not Really Very Loyal: She Was a War-Marriage Scam Artist - 1943

NOTE: The term “Allotment Annie” was used during World War II and afterwards to describe the women who practiced this particular scam.


PHOTO CAPTION: Mrs. Loyal Shufflebarger is in jail in Reno, Nev., on charges of using the mail to defraud two of her four husbands. Bruce Thompson, assistant United States attorney, said the 38-year-old woman “has four husbands – two sailors, a merchant seaman and a soldier. None have been divorced.” She said she was reading mail from her spouses when this picture was taken. The government charges Mrs. Shaffenbarger has been receiving allotments in the mail from her sailor husbands.

[“Wirephoto: Three Too Many Husbands,” syndicated (AP), Spokane Daily Chronicle (Wa.), Apr. 29, 1943 (Final Fireside Edition), Apr. 29, 1943, p. 1]



FULL TEXT: Reno, June 26. – The good old recruiting slogan, “Join the Navy and See the World,” could be turned around in this case to read, “Join Loyal Vogel and See the Navy.” For Loyal married five sailors, and remains as enthusiastic about them as ever. Events indicate that, if she has her way, she will go right on marrying sailors indefinitely.

(She also married a soldier, but she considers that a misstep.)

For a time, recently, the 38-year-old repeating female was in wrong with the authorities, and they had her locked up in the Washoe County Jail, charged with using the mails to defraud the Government out of allotment checks. But that’s all been settled now, at a cost of only 400, and she is free to go her merry marital way.

She appeared in court, flanked by her mother and Chief Electrician’s Mate Robert Cecil Boyce, No. 4 on her list. She pleaded nolo contendere (I do not wish to contend) and after Federal Judge Frank H. Norcross levied the fine, she revealed that Boycewill become her completely legal husband as soon as possible.

The sailor who holds the title of legal husband, Charles Holly Shufflebarger, obtained an interlocutory divorce in Oklahoma last month, according to the wife’s attorney, George Lohase; so when his decree becomes final in November, Loyal will be quite fret to resume her career.

~ She Was Named After a Battleship.

Evidence gathered by post office authorities adds up to only four Navy husbands and no divorces for Loyal. The lady herself adds the other two, says that two of her mates were legally untied, that she never did love the soldier, and that she never – no, never! – had anything to do with a marine.

“When a girl falls in love with a sailor it just sort of happens,” she elaborates for the benefit of those who have never had the pleasure.

Loyal’s connection with the sea goes back to her christening after her be in Tacoma on July 4, l904.

It was on that very day that her lather, the late M. M. Gray, went to Portland to view the U. S. S. Wyoming. Overflowing with patriotism and paternal pride, he insisted on having the new baby christened Loyal Wyoming after the battleship!

WHAT’S in a Wyoming a name? Well, Loval would willinglv hornpipe right up to Shakespeare, or anyone else, to say that from that moment on she was just cuh-razy about the Navy.

That’s why she wrote to Gunner’s Mate William H. O’Dell when she saw his picture (in uniform of course) in a Tacoma newspaper in l921. He answered and the flow of correspondence between them was as steady as the tides.

‘I wrote him I didn’t know anything about the Navy and was so dumb I couldn’t figure out what U. S. S. meant,” says Loyal with a twinkle in her eye.

This fancy fabrication must have set O’Dell to thinking that such a little craft needed a steersman.

A few months later, after graduation from Tacoma High School, Loyal ran away from home to meet O’Dell in Portland.

“When I first met him I couldn’t tell him apart from the other sailors in uniform They all looked like peas in a pod.” she said.

However, as soon as she segregated him definitely in her mind. Loyal went to San Diego with O’Dell and got married.

Although the marriage ended in divorce in 1331. Loyal still remembers No. 1 fondly.

“My first sailor boy.” she murmurs. By this time Loyal’s appearance had changed from the slim destroyer type, which she appeared to be in 1923, to a somewhat bulkier vessel.

In 1931 her father, son of pioneer homesteaders who arrived in the Northwest via the Oregon trail in the ‘50’s, died in Tacoma. Mrs. Gray joined Loyal, who was working as a waitress in a waterfront hotel. So did one of Loyal’s two sisters, whose name she is unwilling to reveal.

This sister “is crazier about ships than I am. She never liked Navy men but she is married now to a merchant sailor. She used to sit on the docks at Long Beach and watch the lumber schooners come in.

“That’s the last place I saw her two years ago,” she adds.

By this time Loyal and her mother had opened “Loyal’s Restaurant. six blocks from the San Diego destroyer base. It closed after a few months but during the brief heyday Loyal had a wonderful time getting acquainted with the Navy.

“I never was what the sailors call ‘a dock rat.’“ she explains. “I guess because I never had any children, that’s why I’m so interested in ships.”

THREE rudderless years passed while Loyal expounded her views that “navy men are not rough and tough like some people believe.”

Sailor Emery A. Rudon de Beaulieu, who was a machinist’s mate, and a Chippewa Indian to boot, dropped anchor in San Diego, saw Loyal, and proved her point. They were married in 1935. But, after a few brief weeks of bliss, he sailed for another port and another girl. So that marriage, Loyal says, added up to an annulment.

Then she fell in love with Boyce, who had a friend named Shufflebarger. Both were Navy electricians.

Boyce, a friend of years standing was, according to her description, “a very quiet, dignified fellow pure gold.”

She followed him from San Diego on the West Coast to Norfolk, Va., on the East, fully intending to marry him, until she saw his fiend (Sparky) Shufflebarger, just back from Asiatic duty.

“He was a very handsome redheaded fellow with a complexion like a peach and a well-built slender body,” she says. (Wait until some of his Navy pals read that one!)

This well-formed member of the armed forces so enchanted her that she married him, instead of Boyce in Norfolk.

Sailor and Mrs. Shufflebarger were, apparently, so pleased with the matrimonial state that they were married a second time in Elkton, Va. She received $72 a month allotment from Uncle Sam on this marriage.

They were happy until 1939 when Shuffiebarger went back to foreign duty.

 Then the loyal Loyal realized that she had never ceased loving that “pure gold” gentleman named Boyce. So she went to him and they were wed in 1940 in Elkton.

“I thought Shufflebarger had obtained some kind of a divorce,” she explains, “and you see Boyce was under the impression that I had never married Shufflebarger.

Then come Pearl Harbor and Boyce was called to sea, too. Loyal consoled herself with a $140-a-month Government allotment on his salary.

Loyal, musing over her bigamy for a moment, was sorry she hadn’t told Boyce about Shafflebarger.

“I could have told Mr. Boyce about it after we were married, because he is a fatherly sort, so gentle and kind, and he would have understood.

LOYAL headed for Long Beach, “ Calif., where she met Olaf Erickson, “the big Norwegian who has caused me all this trouble.”

Olaf, also an electrician, had just landed from the Ivaron, a Norwegian merchant ship.

“He had never been inland so I took him on a trip to show him the country. When we arrived in Yuma, Ariz., we got married, to sort of simplify our trip.”

It was at that point that the lady discovered that it was U. S. sailors not any old sailors that she loved.

“Believe me, I missed the Navy after picking up with Erickson. I was drunk when I married him.

“Olaf was six feet tall, the Viking type, with huge blue eyes and golden hair,” she sighs, “but he blacked my eyes six times and broke my nose three times.

“He also jumped on me, saying he was practicing ski jumping.”

Their somewhat athletic love affair ended in Las Vegas, Nev., when Olaf was pinched on suspicion of not having registered for the draft.

~ That --- Soldier Left Her Right Away! ~

Then (we tell it with tsars in our eyes) Loyal’s loyalty to the Navy suffered a momentary lapse. But remember, please, that Olaf was in jail, and that she was lonely.

In a Las Vegas tavern her black and blue eyes fell upon Phil A. Vogel, an Army private. He was lonely, too. In the course of animated conversation, he explained that he was stationed at a gunnery school near by and that he had a pass until midnight.

Loyal must have neglected to mention her passion for sailors. Anyway, they were married immediately and five minutes later he left her. At 5 A. M. the next morning he was transferred to Tennessee – ziiiip! Just like that.

That left Loyal at loose ends. She didn’t particularly care about following Vogel to Tennessee – he was only a soldier, anyway and she didn’t care about going over to the jail to see Erickson.

You’ll have to figure out for yourself just what she meant by her next statement.

“I was still under a hypnotic spell of Erickson and decided that I would return to Norfolk and find Shuffiebarger.”

Apparently Erickson was under the hypnotic spell, too. He wanted Loyal. So he told the postal inspectors all about her!

“And when I got to Norfolk I was arrested and taken to the Reno jail,” she said.

SHE managed to get in touch with both Shuffiebarger and Boyce and both promptly verified her belief that “sailors stick to their girls if they are U. S. Navy sailors.”

Shuffiebarger wrote:

“I guess you thought I had forgotten about you already. But how could I ? I have been doing some lawyer work myself.”

Stating that he had just seen one of his officers in her behalf, Shufflebarger continued:

“I laid the case before him and he told me that all the money came out of our pay and all the Government is losing is J37.50 housing allowance. I am unable to see you but I tried. I tried to phone Boyce in California. Sparky!”

Loyal says that just goes to show what wonderful men V. S. sailors are. She likes the letter she got from Doyce, too. It reads:

“Sweetheart, do , you remember the Easter Sunday in Brooklyn years ago, and how it snowed so hard early, and it turned out to be a nice day and we went to the zoo that afternoon. Be as cheerful as you can and know that I am loving yon and thinking of yon. My love to you, darling, all of it. Mizpah.”

It was the signature which got Loyal. She translated it:

“That means ‘May God be with thee and me while we are absent one from the other.’ You see,” she added, “what girl could receive a finer signature of love?”

Alone with her maritime thoughts. Loyal discovered that:

“Boyce always was a faithful dog and he’s sticking to me now.”

As an afterthought, she said: “I just love sailors but 1 never lived on Sands St., Brooklyn.” ? ? ? ? ?

[William Berry, “She’s Still Loyal to the U. S. N.; So Loved Sailors, Miss Vogel Wed 5-Now She’s Free To Go On,” Daily News (New York, N. Y.), Jun. 27, p. 56]






For more cases of this type see: “War-Marriage Vampires”& “Allotment Annies"


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