Friday, February 28, 2020

Pearl LeCourt, Youthful Poisoner – Massachusetts, 1891

FULL TEXT: Miss Pearl Le Court was, yesterday, at the Chelsea Police Court. remanded to jail without bail, charged with attempted murder at Revere, on Feb. 11.

At the brief hearing she pleaded not guilty.

When seen by a GLOBE reporter. Miss Le Court insisted that she did not purchase the arsenic.

George Garrett denies the statement that he and Pearl are engaged to be married.

~ MRS. LE COURT DISCOURAGED. She Does Not See Anything Bright in the Future. ~

When a GLOBE reporter called at the Le Court homestead last evening he found the atmosphere of the household even more "Do you recommend it to women?" gloomy than usual.

Mrs. Le Court dragged herself wearily into the room and sank in an exhausted manner into a chair. When asked if she felt any better than she did in the morning she said "No, and I don't believe we ever shall advise women or anybody, for that matter any better here."

The woman's face looked just a little more haggard and worn if possible than at any of damp air from an open window, a ride in time during the family's trouble, and she appeared to have no ambition or hope.

Her face is of a strange, unnatural color, somewhat resembling that of the child as it lay dead in the little casket. While she suffers little actual pain, her system is growing gradually weaker and her flesh  becoming numb.

She appears to be waiting patiently and resignedly to learn her fate. In answer to doctor's wish that there would soon be a change for the better, she replied that she saw little prospect for it.

Mr. Le Court was worse last night. He seemed to be taken down again as he has been several times before. He was delirious, and wildly called out the names of his children, Pearl and Daisy, saying. "Don't let them lock her up.”

Dr. Weeks or Chelsea visits the patients daily. He said to a reporter last night that there is practically po improvement in either ease. With Mr. LeCourt there is in more paralysis at present than has been the case at any time previous.

The principal complaint of the wife, the doctor said, was numbness and weakness.

In a morning paper yesterday it was stated that Pearl had intimated that she was not really the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. LeCourt.

Mrs. LeCourt was asked about the matter last night, and she firmly declared that Pearl is the child of herself and her husband. Their only other living children, she said, were Daisy and the 4-year old girl who was in the room.

~ PEARL WAS ABDUCTED. She Made an Involuntary Trip from Hartford to Springfield. ~

HARTFORD, Conn.. Feb. 28. – An uncle of Pearl Lecourt, Ernest Lecourt, was sentenced some years ago to State prison for 15 years for an assault on a girl. After serving six years he escaped, and was never recaptured.

On the afternoon of Sept. 9. 1887, Pearl was crossing the park adjoining the Capitol grounds, when she was stopped by one George Wilson. 35 years old, and told she was wanted at the depot. She went with the man, who induced her to board the train, and she was taken to Springfield.

There she told the landlady of the matter, and, a police officer being notified. Wilson was arrested and brought back to this city, and afterward sentenced to three years and to pay a fine of $500. He died in prison, Feb. 1 last.

[“Pearl Pleads Not Guilty. – Miss Le Court Remanded to Jail Without Bail, Charged With Murder – Insists She Did Not Buy Arsenic.” The Boston Sunday Globe (Ma.), Mar. 1, 1891, P. 1]


FULL TEXT: Boston, Oct. 15. – In the superior court Pearl I. LeCourt, who indicted in June on twelve counts charging her with attempting to poison her father and mother by mingling arsenic with their tea, pleaded guilty to the first count, charging an attempt on her father’s life. Her counsel and the district attorney agreed that the prisoner was not entirely of sound mind, but that it would be better that she should go to Sherborn reformatory than to an insane asylum. Accordingly Judge Bond sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment at Sherborn.

[“Pearl LeCourt Gets Five Years.” The Wilkes-Barre News (Pa.), Oct. 16, 1891, p. 1]




Agripina Gomez, 15-Year-Old Would-Be Murderess – 1917, California

FULL TEXT: BECAUSE of doubt as to whether or not Agripina Gomez, 15 years old, who yesterday put carbolic acid in the coffee of her employer, is subnormal, Police Sergeant Leo Marden of the juvenile bureau will call Dr. Grace Fernald, psychologist of the Los Angeles State Normal School, Monday, to pass upon the girl’s mentality.

Miss Gomez told Sergt. Marden, Policewoman Brigham and Officer Wehrley that she had been given a day of liberty by her employer, Mrs. Harry True of No. 460 West Thirtieth street, on Thursday, with instructions to be home by 5 o’clock. Instead of returning at that hour, Miss Gomez, in company with two or three other Mexican girls, visited three other Mexican girls, visited three moving-picture theaters, arriving home at midnight.

Yesterday morning, the girl said, Mrs. True scolded her and threatened to call the county probation officers and give her into their custody, she being out on probation. This threat angered her, and as a matter of revenge, she says, she emptied the contents of a two-ounce bottle of carbolic acid into her employer’s breakfast coffee.

Mrs. True detected the order of the deadly acid and asked the girl what had happened to the coffee. Miss Gomez replied that gas was leaking in the house. Mrs. True tasted the coffee and was immediately burned by the acid. She called the police and gave the girl into the custody of Officer Wehrley.

At the juvenile bureau yesterday afternoon Miss Gomez said she obtained the idea of poisoning her benefactress by acid from watching a Mexican woman, 21 years old, poison her seven-months-old baby in the same way. The girl added that she testified she saw the mother pour poison into the baby’s bottle.

[“Mentally Wrong? – Girl Pours Poison Into Benefactress’ Coffee.” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Aug. 18, 1917, part 2, p. 3]



Thursday, February 27, 2020

Mary Lou Llewelyn, “Allotment Annie” War Bride Fraudster – Pennsylvania, 1946

FULL TEXT: A 21-year-old girl arrested in Philadelphia for receiving servicemen’s allotment checks from two soldiers at the same time, is a former resident of this city, The Tribune has learned.

She is Mary Lou Llewelyn, a bank cashier who resides on 34th St. Her lawyer said she originally was from Scranton, The Associated Press reported.

Mary Lou was taken into custody by FBI agents. They testified that she married a South Dakota soldier Feb. 4, 1944, and received an allotment from him until he was discharged in September, 1945.

On October, 1944, according to the FBI, she married a San Pedro, Calif., servicemen without obtaining a divorce from her first husband. She drew allotments from her second husband until he was discharged in November, 1945. She gave birth to a daughter in February, 1945, according, to testimony.

Mary Lou’s attorney, Maurice Marmon, explained to Magistrate John Morlock that the girl is a “victim of circumstances.”

He said Mary Lou received divorce papers in a suit instituted by her first husband before she married the second. Mary Lou thought the papers were final and that her first marriage was dissolved, the attorney claimed.

The second husband didn’t return to Mary Lou after he was discharged and the layer believes he also has filed suit for divorce.

Mary Lou was directed to refund $1,080 to the Government and was released under $300 bail for Court. She earns $35 weekly and when asked how she would make restitution, replied she did not know “but I guess I’ll find a way.”

The Tribune, though telephone calls to Philadelphia Saturday, endeavored to identify the girl further, but was unsuccessful.

[“Report Woman Who Weds GIs Former Resident,” The Scranton Tribune (Pa.), Aug. 26, 1946, p. 3]






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

Bette Lee Richards Bowman, “Allotment” Annie War Bride Fraudster – California, 1946

FULL TEXT: A three way matrimonial parlay with a Marine, a Coast Guardsman, and Navy sailor resulted yesterday in charges of fraud against Betty Lee Richards, 2.

Although she had three husbands, she failed to obtain a single divorce and was collecting Navy allotments from all three, claimed by the FBI.

Husband No. 1 was William Richards, Marine corporal, whom she married in August, 1942. (In discussing her dilemma, she said Richards filed divorce proceedings shortly after their marriage, and she thought the action was final.)

~ WED IN 1944 ~

Husband No. 2 was Coast Guard Lt. Richard Hofmaster, whom she wed in April, 1944. (She maintained she filed annulment proceedings against Hofmaster, and assumed the marriage invalid when she wed husband No. 3.)

Husband No. 3 is former Navy man, one time Baker 1/c Robert L. Bowman. They were married in September, 1944, and have been living at 735 San Jose Avenue.

Specifically, the FBI said that while “married” to husband No. 2, the Coast Guard lieutenant, she received $3,000 in outright cash from him and his family. No charges were filed in connection with this, however.

“It sure is a mess,” sighed husband No. 3 – Bowman, the ex-sailor. “We want to see it through, pay back any money that’s owed, and try and forget the whole thing.

“We’ll get married again and start all over.”

[“Girl Held In Nuptial Fraud – Suspect Got Allotments From 3 Servicemen, FBI Says,” San Francisco Examiner (Ca.), Feb. 28, 1946, P. 3]



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


Martha Elizabeth Downey, “Allotment Annie” War Bride Fraudster – California, 1945

FULL TEXT: “I have four husbands and I want to give myself up,” a 22-year-old brunette said to Det. Lt. William C. Shurley early yesterday at Seventh and San Pedro Sts.

The woman, Martha Elizabeth Downey of Chattanooga, Tenn., said she is living now at 1016 E. Seventh St. and has been receiving government allotment checks because three of her husbands are servicemen.

Police booked her at Lincoln Heights Jail on suspicion of bigamy and turned the case over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation because government funds and Army and Navy personnel are involved.

“I’m tired of running away,” she told Det. Lt. Shurley, “I guess Uncle Sam always catches up with you.”

Husband No. 1, she told the officer, is Staff-Sgt. Horace Finney, to whom she was married in Chattanooga in 1940. No. 2 is Pvt. Edgar L. Downey, with a ceremony in Rossville, Tenn., dated Dec. 29, 1943.

~ Won’t Name No. 4 ~

No. 3 named as Will Cochran, Cincinnati traveling salesman, last June. No. 4 is a sailor to whom she was married in Santa Barbara three months ago. She would not tell his name.

Mrs. Downey realized the “jig was up” when Husbands No. 1 and 2 both were assigned to Camp Cooke. They apparently met and compared notes, she said, because allotment checks stopped coming from No. 1 about six months ago.

[“Woman Listing Four Husbands Gives Self Up,” Los Angeles Times (Ca.), Jan. 16, 1945, part 2, p. 2]



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


Alice Cheatwood, “Allotment Annie” War Bride Hoaxer – Pennsylvania, 1945

FULL TEXT: Philadelphia. Morris Segal, 34, a discharged Army veteran whose blonde wife Alice hailed him into court on a bigamy charge, turned the tables on her so fast that the furniture is still spinning.

Segal told the court that Alice has six undivorced husbands, which includes him and a sailor whom she married two months ago. Furthermore, said the comparatively righteous ex-soldier (he’s accused of committing bigamy only one). Alice has been collecting government allotment checks from three service men.

Alice, who calls herself Mrs. Alice Cheatwood, had accused Morris, who is back at his job of meat cutting, of having a wife, Sarah, and two children.

Segal asserted that Mrs. Cheatwood was married to John K. Smith, Carter County, Tenn., on April 24, 1925; Tom Buchanan, North Carolina, 1933; Robert Cheatwood, Trap Hill, N. C., 1938; Mike Casapi. Johnson City, Tenn., 1941; Avilie T. Baker, Baltimore, Md., May, 1945, and Segal, Philadelphia, November, 1943.

He said she has a 19-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son by her first two marriages.

By the time Segal got these facts and figures off his chest, he was really warming to the fray. He told the court how his wife had courted him”

~ “That’s All Right.” ~

“She suggested we get married, but I told her I was already married.”

“That’s all right,” Alice, who works at waitressing between marriages, answered. “All we need to get your allotment and insurance is a marriage license.”

They were married, but upon his discharge from the Army, Alice told Segal she no longer loved him. Two months ago, Segal testified, she told him she had married a sailor.

Mrs. Cheatwood was held in $1,000 bail for the grand jury. She is charged with bigamy and perjury. Segal is under $1,500 bail on charges of bigamy and assault and battery.

[“Seems to Be a Little Bigamy in This Family,” Sunday News (New York, N.Y.), Jul. 15, 1945, p. 4]





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


Tuesday, February 25, 2020

“Oxford Skeleton Black Widow,” Executed, Murdered 4 of Her 10 Husbands – England, Circa Early 1800s

Although this case was reported in newspapers in 1841 for its curiosity value we cannot assume that the execution was of recent date.


FULL TEXT: In the anatomy school at Oxford, England, among other curiosities, they show the skeleton of a woman who had had ten husbands, and was hanged at the age of thirty-six, for the murder of four of them.

[The Morning Post (from Evening Paper), Sep. 11, 1841, p. 4]


NOTE: The Murder Act passed in Great Britain in 1752, which meant that only corpses of executed murderers could be used for dissection.



For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.


Regina Sawyer, Bigamous Military Bride Fraudster – Pennsylvania, 1919

FULL TEXT: Husbands are being called to rally round the courtroom next Friday morning when “Mrs. Regina Sawyer,” whose untimely arrest yesterday halted her fifth marriage to a United States military man within the year, comes up in Municipal Court for hearing.

A Russian sailor in the United States Navy at Newport News, a Yankee of the army in North Carolina, a Frenchman serving in the American navy at Norfolk, and another American soldier at Baltimore, successive husbands of the errant matron, will receive neatly typewritten notices on Municipal Court stationery ,notifying them that the spouse that the spouse each fondly imagined solely his own is in trouble over her fifth matrimonial venture.

Mrs. Sawyer, who coyly declines to reveal her maiden name, perhaps because it is forgotten in the dim distant past, is a Belgian refugee, an army nurse or an English war bride, according to her mood. She has posed as all three, it is said, although she speaks just “plain American,” except sometimes, when she thrillingly relates her refugee experiences, she suddenly acquires an accent.

Mrs. Sawyer’s matrimonial repertoire was brought to light after she had appeared with Private James K. King, an overseas soldier who walks on crutches with a leg shattered by shrapnel, in the Red Cross headquarters, at 1607 Walnut. Private King told Walnut street. Private King told his troubles to Mrs. Blanche Thatcher, a canteen worker. It seemed, according to his tale, that he had met the lady a week before on Market street and that she had approached him, told him she liked his honest face, proposed marriage to him. Somewhat dazed, he had consented; and had come to the Red Cross to borrow money to take him back to Camp Dix.

~Investigation Begun ~

After giving him the money, Mrs. Thatcher decided an investigation might be worth while. It was. First it was found that Private King did not hail from Galveston, Texas, where he said he was from, but from near-by Chester, and there was supposed to be in Rahway Hospital, awaiting amputation of his leg.

Inquiry from the landlady at 1619 Filbert street, which “Mrs. Sawyer” had given as her address, revealed that the young woman, who is twenty-two years old, had not been there since Thursday, having been “jumped” by the landlady for the non-payment of rent. Previous to Thursday, she had been in the house a week, coming from Norfolk with Miss Lois Farley, now employed in a 25-cent store in the city.

Miss Farley, inquiry revealed, had been induced to leave her home in Norfolk by the wandering bride, whom she fondly called “Beljum.” “Beljum,” it seems, told tales of having been a refugee, and displayed a German flag tattooed on her arm, which she said was the “brand of a Hun.” In court yesterday she suddenly admitted that the branding had been at a carnival at Norfolk.

The landlady soon grew dissatisfied with her lodger, when she found her staying out all night, and learned that numerous soldier and sailor friends were calling upon her.

~ Check Starts Inquiry ~

She finally paid her board when a registered letter came, enclosing a $30 allotment check from Reuben Sawyer. It was this check which started the investigators on the trail which unearthed the following career in court yesterday:

“Mrs. Sawyer,” whose more distant past is shrouded in the web of her own conflicting tales, last November married Harvey Spilsky, a Russian serving in the American navy, at Newport News Russian affairs, martial as well as political, seem ever unsettled, and the ussian alliance ended when her sailor spouse deserted her, she says.

Next she essayed entanglement with an American soldier, Reuben Sawyer, whose name she now uses, marrying him at Elizabeth City, N. C., in April. A short month ended this chapter of the romance and in May Mrs. Sawyer was essaying wedlock in Norfolk with a French volunteer in the American Army, Jules Tuskihana. Her past pursued her too closely, though, and she was arrested in Norfolk for bigamy, but released for reasons unknown at present.

Mystery surrounds the departing of the Frenchman, but he was gone by July, when Regina undertook and succeeded in marrying a man named Robert Taftin, who disappeared without regrets, and of whose history Regina seems to know little.

~ Marriage Certificates Destroyed ~

A little later on, Regina contracted a friendship with Lois Farley, in Virginia, and induced her to flee with her to Philadelphia by painting happy pictures of life on four different allotment checks. On the train coming up, Miss Farley says, “Beljun” severed connection with the past by tearing up three of her marriage certificates, though she kept on her dresser table pictures of all her erstwhile military consorts.

Despite her varied allotments, Regina lived by no means well, her landlady says, but dressed raggedly. She must appear before Judge MacNeille on Friday, and King, who was sent back to Dix after being haled before Magistrate Grelis, will be brought to testify against her.

[“Woman, Married 4 Times In Year, Would Wed Again – ‘Mrs. Regina Sawyer’s’ Husbands Called to Rally in Court – Red Cross Halts Latest Matrimonial Venture After Investigation,” The Philadelphia Inquirer (Pa.), Oct. 5, 1919, p. 1]



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


Alicia Edith Southall, War Bride Fraudster – California, 1945

FULL TEXT: Hayward, Dec. 24. – Mrs. Alicia Edith Southall, 18, of 9533 A Street, was held in the Alameda County jail today for investigation of bigamy and fraudulently cashing a serviceman’s allotment checks after she admitted, according to deputy sheriffs, she had married a Marine while she still was wed to a sailor.

The alleged double marriage was discovered Saturday night after Highway Patrolmen Tony Enos and Ernest Patrolmen Tony Enos and Ernst Schoening went to the aid of Mrs. Southall as she ran barefoot down A Street near Castro, shouting for help.

Chasing her, the officers said, was Marine Pvt. Richard B. Houston, 20. The girl said he had threatened to beat her.

Under questioning, Enos and Schoening reported, she admitted that she had been married at Treauure Island on May 9, 1944, to Thomas Southall, 23, a Navy gunners mate. Without divorcing him, she admitted further, the officers said, that she had received Goverrnment allotment checks from Southall at the home of her mother, Mrs. Alicia H. Lema, 7857 Plymoth Street, Oakland.

Mrs. Southall was taken to the county jail in Oakland and booked en route to the U. S. Marshal.

[“Girl Held in Allotment Case,” Oakland Tribune (Ca.), Dec. 24, 1945, p. 11]


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


Friday, February 21, 2020

Elma Jane Beck Weaver List, Fake War Bride Fraudster, Florida, 1948

FULL TEXT: Miami – Federal Judge John W. Holland found Friday that a 20-year-old dancer charged with taking allotments from two servicemen at the same time is guilty only of juvenile delinquency.

Mrs. Elma Jane Beck Weaver List was given a year’s suspended sentence, placed on three year’s probation and ordered to make restitution of $200 to the male owner of the Weaver part of her name.

Mrs. List admitted the juvenile delinquency count before Holland. The violation of the Servicemen’s Dependent’s Allowance Act was dropped because she was under-age at the time she was charged with cashing her first husband’s checks while married to the second.

 [“Allotment Grabber Is Juvenile Delinquent,” The Palm Beach Coast (Fl.), Aug. 21, 1948, p. 10]



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


Irene Muriel Vivian Hornby, Canadian “Allotment Annie” with 5 Husbands - 1943

FULL TEXT: Montreal, Feb. 22. – Accused of marrying five men here in the last 10 years, and of drawing Army separation pay for three of them, Irene Muriel Vivian Hornsby, 26, pleaded guilty today to one charge of bigamy.

Judge J. A. Metayder set February 25 as the date of sentence and remanded the woman to detective headquarters until that time.

The charge to which the woman pleaded guilty was one made by her latest husband, Peter Paulluck, to whom she was married in 1941 at St. James the Apostle Church. Her other alleged marriages were: 1932, to Leslie Booker, at Christ Church Cathedral; 1937, to Charles Goslin, at Fairmount St. Giles’ Church; 1939, to Raymond S. Vantassel, at Calvary United Church; 1940, to Cecil W. Dashley, at St. George’s Church.

The woman was arraigned on Saturday on a charge of being in possession of a false National Registration card and will face trial on that count next Thursday.

Revelation of the multiple marriage, police say, followed an investigation of a number of cases involving women who drew more than one separation allowance from the Department of National Defence.

[“Charge Montrealer Has Five Husbands,” The Journal (Ontario, Canada), Feb. 22, 1943, p. 1]



FULL TEXT: OTTAWA, March 6. – The case of Irene Hornby, the blue-eyed Montreal girl who took unto herself five husbands, is just one more symptom of the monumental headache which members of the Dependents Allowance Board feel coming on.

Irene’s case is without precedent. Her husbands included two civilians and three soldiers. She claimed a wife’s dependent allowance for each of the soldiers.

But after three years of caring financially for the folks left behind by Canada’s fighting men, the board members, who thought it would be a routine job, have come up against such spectacular evidences of human frailty that they probably can shrug off the case of the lady bigamist.

Although Irene, who had two husbands before the war started, is still on their collective minds, they are more concerned with Canadian soldiers garrisoned in England, who, forgetting the wives they left behind them, are gaily taking British girls to wife. The British wives are, of course, clamoring for dependents’ allowances.

~ Board Finds 150 Busy Bigamists ~

The board was planned some months prior to the outbreak of the war in 1939. Neither Col. S. H. Hill, the organizer and original chairman, nor R. O. G. Bennett, his successor as chairman, visioned the trouble which was to follow.

At the outset the board had a dozen members. As the three armed services were built up, the staff increased to 1,200. Now the board is paying claims for 441,666 men in the Army, Navy and Air Forces. Many of these are routine, but some are little honeys. About 150 bigamists have been nailed.

For example, staff members are now concerned with the case of a soldier who was formerly a hard-rock miner from one of the gold camps in the Northern Ontario bush country.

He had a wife in Poland but left her behind when he came out to Canada years ago. When he became prosperous as a gold miner, making around $10 a day, he took a second wife, neglecting to shed the first. After enlisting, he acquired a common-law wife in Southern Ontario, and after going overseas to Britain, married for a third time.

Authorities caught up with him when his wife in Northern Ontario, the common-law wife in Southern Ontario, and Wife No. 3 in England all claimed dependent allowances. The board still has to determine how many children there are of these various matches.

IRENE’S problems (all male) are something else again.

She was born in England. Her mother and her father, a prison warden at Wormwood Scrubbs, separated. Irene was sent to live with her grandmother on a farm in Leicester.

Eventually her mother married again. The second husband’s name was Hornby, a name Irene found convenient upon later occasions.

At 15, while visiting her mother in London, she took domestic employment with an American family who brought her to Rochester, N. Y. That was in 1930.

After some nine months in their service, she left and entered Canada without any official papers. She had a special talent for cooking and worked in several Eastern Canadian cities as a domestic.

In 1932, in Montreal, she met Leslie Booker, destined to be the first of her string of husband.

He was a blonde, good-looking Englishman, well educated and of good family. Irene thought she had caught a prize when they were married in Christ Church Cathedral. But Leslie, says she, was an elbow-bender.

Marriage with Leslie was difficult. Irene remembers. After a while they separated. She went back to her work as a domestic.

In October, 1937, without bene fit of divorce, Irene walked down the aisle of Fairmont St. Giles Church with Charles Gosselin. Her name on the marriage certificate was Irene Draper.

Charles, a Catholic, was under age at the time of the wedding. His father, a doctor with whom Charles lived, had the marriage annulled promptly. When war was declared Charles joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. He is now overseas.

BY March, 1939, Irene was living in a boarding house in down- own Montreal. The next apartment was shared by two young men, Raymond Van Tassell and Louis Pottle. One night the janitor informed them that the tenant in the next apartment was complaining about their radio being too loud.

Raymond, then only about 19, went to apologize. He met Irene.

For the next week he could think of nothing but Irene. In the course of the quick friendship there was talk of marriage. Raymond said it was impossible because he didn’t have steady work at the time. Irene said that didn’t matter because she could earn enough for both until he got settled.

So on March 15, 1939, with Pottle as best man, Irene and Raymond were married at Calvary United Church.

Irene claims today that Raymond is the one person she really loves and always will love. But the green-eyed monster crept into their life. She was jealous of him he of her. They quarreled constantly. They parted several times, then got together again. Then, during one of their separations, Van Tas sell enlisted (representing himself as single) in an anti-tank regiment.

Irene made a little hay while the sun was shining.

She and Raymond had known Cecil Dash, who worked on a farm outside Montreal and came to town only twice a week. Cecil had no inkling that Irene and Raymond were husband and wife. So, after he was called into the Army, Cecil proposed to Irene who accepted him gladly. On the certificate she called herself “Irene Muriel Vivien Booker.” They were married at St. George’s (Church of England) on July 29, 1940. Cecil went overseas immediately afterward.

Raymond, still in this country began to hanker for Irene. Not knowing where to find her, he went to the apartment building where they had first met to visit Miss Alida May Gaudrie, a little old lady who had looked after the apartment he shared with Pottle.

He came across Irene’s name on one of the apartment doors and immediately knocked.

They were delighted to see each other and the reconciliation was just about complete when Raymond found an allowance check sent to Irene as the “wife of Pvt. Cecil Dash” by the Dependents Allowance Board. Irene says Raymond, in a fury, destroyed the check and rushed out of the apartment. She never saw him again.

Then Irene remembered Peter Pawliuk, a Canadian born of Ukrainian parents. She had met him on a blind date two years- before. She looked him up and in no time the wedding bells at the St. James Church of the Apostle were ringing for “Irene Vivien Dashley” and Peter Pawliuk. They were married on April 6, 1941.

Peter had a lot to learn about marriage and he learned it rapidly. He wasn’t making very much money then about $16 a week. He turned it over to Irene, he says, keeping just enough for carfare, tobacco and other necessities of a wage earner.

He says – and she denies it – that she failed to pay the rent and other bills out of the money; that she lied to him about everything and that she didn’t like his friends and did her best to keep them from him. However, Peter, now 24, was very much in love and eager to make allowances.

Then Peter got a new and better job in a munitions plant. His wage was $35 a week, sometimes more.

BUT Irene was restless. She asked Peter for permission to work in a theater as an usher. To please her he acquiesced.

He discovered that when he went to call for her occasionally after work her new friends thought he was her brother! After a while Peter was shifted to night work at the plant. Often while he was at home during the day there would be phone calls from men and women for “Miss Pawliuk.”

In time Irene left him. She went off to share a room with another girl. He found her and persuaded her to return. But the old irritations continued. Then he began to get reports. His brother saw her at a movie one night with a soldier, and the next with a sailor, postcards from service men in Halifax began to come in to “Miss Pawliuk.” Peter never seemed able to get at the truth.

Suspicions that his wife was a bigamist were slowly dawning. When she left-him again he decided to look for confirmation of his belief and, if necessary, bring her to justice.

Unknown to Peter, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, at the behest of the Dependents Allowance Board, were hot on her trail.

The board members had heard of Irene just after Raymond Van Tassell found the allowance check made out to the wife of Pvt. Cecil Dash.

As soon as they discovered that she had two soldiers and two civilians as husbands (that was before she married Pawliuk) they quietly turned the case over to the police to investigate the loves and financial status of the lady concerned.

Board Is Delighted Irene Is Unique

On the morning of Feb. 18, Det. Sergts. Leon Gauthier, H. Guilham and J. A. Roy caught up with Irene in an apartment in company with a slender middle-aged man. Irene was arrested on a bigamy charge.

THUS the members of the Dependents Allowance Board, with Peter’s unwitting aid, cleared up one of the numerous cases that plagued them.

“Our files,” says Chairman Bennett of the Dependents’ Board, “show Irene Hornby to bt unique. And thank God for that. True, there have been women who have married two husbands, even three, or maybe four but never five!’’

He admits, however, that the board still has plenty of woe arising from marital mixups. This grief has not been minimized by the regulations governing dependent pay.

A private in the Canadian Army is allowed $35 monthly for his wife, $12 for each of the first two children, $10 for the third, and $8 each for the fourth, fifth and sixth. The board’s imagination boggles at any private who has more children than that.

In addition, the private may claim state support of $25 monthly for either a dependent father or mother. He may also demand, and receive, an allowance of $35 monthly for a divorced or common-law wife,

Just as rigid are the regulations governing allowances for divorcees. On a court order for alimony the divorced or separated soldier may claim $35 monthly for his ex-wife or for the mate from whom he is parted.

Another of those bigamy- in-England problems which keep the board members tearing their hair is one perpetrated by an Army officer. While on embarkation leave he married an Ottawa domestic servant.

In England he married a second time and that time he married “well.” Meanwhile the wife in Ottawa became a mother.

When the child in Canada was seven months old, the officer-husband wrote asking its mother for a divorce. She consented. But sha got a court order for alimony. So now the Dependents Allowance Board has both current and ex-wife to deal with.

The Canadian officer with the largest number of dependents is Air Vice Marshal Joseph Lionel Ephege de Niverville, head of No. 3 Training Command with headquarters at Montreal. He’s in his late 40’3 and has a wife and 13 children. Of course he doesn’t get allowances for all of them, but he pays no income tax on his salary of $24 a day.

[Arthur Watson, “Soldiers Marry Easy; Canada Has a Pain Paying Off Dependents, Legal and Illegal,” Sunday News (New York, N. Y.), Mar. 7, 1943, p. 66]


SEE: [Geraldine Smith, “Mother-In-Law As Informer,” The Everyday Magazine (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, (Mo.)), Mar. 18, 1945, p. 4]






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


Thursday, February 20, 2020

Grace Vivian Reinert, Fake War Bride Bigamist – Washington, D. C., 1943

EXCERPT: Grace Vivian Reinert of Washington, D. C., who is one of the girls, says it’s really much simpler than that.

“The girls figure that they’re making the boys happy and that before the war is over the husbands will either be killed or glad to forget about their marriages.”

Grace speaks with authority for in her 22 years she has managed to be married four times, thrice to sailors. She married her first love a Kansas City policeman, when she was 14. They were divorced. Her second, a West Coast seaman, C. F. Corn, was killed at Pearl Harbor. (But he had made his $10,000 life insurance payable to his mother.)

And ifNos. 3 and 4 – Machinist’s Mate Kenneth Reinert and Seaman James McKinney – wish to get in touch with her she can be found in federal prison for the next three years or so.

Grace was picked up when Reinert and McKinney happened to meet and McKinney happened to meet and compare notes – and wives – in Washington. Each found that his allotment check was going to Grace. She was picked up and lodged in Gallinger Hospital.

~ Patriotic to Make the Boys Happy. ~

Before she escaped from that institution she explained the activities and motives of the Victory girls.

“It’s patriotism – for they give each husband a little happiness before he’s shipped. They don’t worry much about having more than one husband because the sailors are at sea most of the time, and the other servicemen are shifted from camp to camp.

“When one of these girls gets into San Diego or Norfolk (big naval bases) she gets a job in a tavern first thing. That way she meets a lot of sailors, and those young kids off the farms for the first time are easy pickings.”

In spite of their preference for “easy pickings,” Grace insists, most of the Victory girls marry for love. She did anyway. She also practiced what she preached. After her escape from Gallinger Hospital she was found in San Diego – working in a taproom.

Grace was returned to Washington declaring her undying devotion to both husbands. But Federal Judge Matthew M. McGuire was unmoved by her emotion. He sentenced her for bigamy and from six to 18 months for escaping.

[Ruth Reynolds, “Victory Girls and Their Boys in the Service,” Sunday News (New York, N.Y.), Oct. 17, 1943, P. C23]



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

Vivian Eggers, Bigamist War Bride Hoaxer – Ohio, 1943

FULL TEXT: Cincinnati, Aug. 28 – A bond-haired, 34-year-old mother awaited extradition to Arizona today after admitting to FBI agents she was married to seven soldiers “without bothering to divorce any of them,” Alan H. Belmont, district FBI chief, disclosed.

The woman, Vivian Eggers, was being held in the city prison at Columbus, O., following her guilty plea before U. S. Commissioner Robert Newton on a charge of feloniously obtaining a soldier’s $50 allowance check.

She is accused of unlawfully representing herself to be the wife of a Phoenix, Ariz., soldier, Gordon H. Campbell, was not one of her husbands, the FBI said.

Belmont said the woman told FBI agents she married five privates, a sergeant and a lieutenant from May 1935 to June, 1943.

“You just get to drinking and having a good time, you meet some one that’s kinda nice – and that’s the way it happens,” she was quoted by the FBI.

[“Weds 7 Soldiers But Divorces None,” The Star (Marion, Oh.), Aug. 28, 1943, p. 7]


FULL TEXT: Phoenix, Ariz., Oct. 13 – An 18-month prison sentence today lay ahead of Vivian Eggers, 34, who fell into the hands of federal agents after relating in Columbus, O., that she had seven soldier husbands.

She received the sentence in federal court on an indictment charging that she accepted a $50 army family allowance check while posing as the wife of Pvt. Gordon H. Campbell.

Although Miss Eggers said she married Campbell Dec. 17, 1942, a federal grand jury charged she was not his legal wife because she acknowledged that she had not been divorced from any previous husband.

[“Girl Who Married Seven Soldiers Goes to Prison,” The Salem News (Oh.), Oct. 13, 1943, p. 5]





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