Thursday, February 27, 2020

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"


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