Three of My Relatives Have Been Shot to Death

Before I get started, I need to say that these three died in the years 1922, 1935 and 1948.  And that I didn’t know them.  I only discovered how they died by reading newspaper clippings and ordering copies of their death certificates while researching my family tree.

Music to be Murdered by

Music to be Murdered by

To get into the mood for this post, I suggest you click on the link below and listen to Alfred Hitchcock’s album, “Music to be Murdered by”.

http://www.hitchcockwiki.com/wiki/Music_to_be_Murdered_By_%28Imperial,_LP-9052,_1958%29#Tracks

Don’t worry — this is a free site. Once you are on the site, click on the audio button and you can hear the entire album, once again, for free. Below is a list of the tracks, and I must add that it is quite humorous. But, I have a macabre sense of humor. Like they say, “what doesn’t kill you only postpones the inevitable”.

1. I’ll Never Smile Again
2. I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You
3. After You’ve Gone
4. Alfred Hitchcock Television Theme
5. Suspicion
6. Body and Soul
7. Lover Come Back to Me
8. I’ll Walk Alone
9. The Hour of Parting

I’ve already written about Olivette Engle in an earlier post dated February 25, 2013. She was shot to death by her deranged husband who had been gassed during World War I. The cause of death on her death certificate is “perforating bullet, wound of chest and skull”. Olivette is from my paternal side of the family.

The other two ancestors who were killed were Roy Britt and his brother William C. Britt. The Britt brothers were the sons of John Franklin Britt and Margaret Jane Strain Britt of Eufaula, Alabama. And brothers to my maternal grandfather, John Mansel Britt. Roy was born in 1892 and William was born in 1894. Both had served in WWI just like Olivette Engle’s deranged husband. Roy and William are from my maternal side of the family.

These three Britt boys must have been quite the characters in Eufaula. My grandfather and Roy both left Alabama to work in New Jersey during and after WWI. John Mansel and Roy married girls from New Jersey, but ended up returning to Alabama without their wives. They never got divorced, but they also never got back together with their wives. As far as I can tell, William C. Britt never married.

I can only guess that the brothers had some status in Alabama and could rely on their father’s name whereas New Jersey was probably a very foreign environment. They ditched the North and returned to the South. Eufaula is a lovely town with beautiful antebellum homes and a nice slow pace.

William was killed first in 1935. I am going to post a newspaper clipping about his death, but first I need to add a disclaimer. It was written in the South in 1935 and I apologize for the article’s racist tone.

Date: Sept. 21, 1935  Newspaper: Anniston Star, Anniston, Alabama

Date: Sept. 21, 1935 Newspaper: Anniston Star, Anniston, Alabama

I don’t know where William’s gas station was in Eufaula, AL, but the photo above is an actual abandoned filling station in Eufaula. I found this photo in the Library of Congress Archives, and to give credit where credit is due, the web connection to this print is http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/highsm.08369

Roy was killed in 1948. He had lived in New Jersey for a short time and married Melda Zitzner. Melda Z. Britt stayed on in New Jersey and died in 1986. She never remarried even though Roy died years before.

Date:  July 10, 1948  Newspaper:  Anniston Star, Anniston, Alabama

Date: July 10, 1948 Newspaper: Anniston Star, Anniston, Alabama

December 1935. "Coca-Cola shack in Alabama." Photograph by Walker Evans.  http://www.shorpy.com/node/140

December 1935. “Coca-Cola shack in Alabama.” Photograph by Walker Evans. http://www.shorpy.com/node/140

I haven’t found out why Roy got into an argument or why it lead to his murder. But I have found some interesting information about soft drinks and the South.

The article below is copied from the Wikipedia article, “The Culture of the South”.

Drink

Many of the most popular American soft drinks today originated in the South (Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Big Red, Royal Crown Cola and its related Nehi products and Dr Pepper). In many parts of Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Texas and other parts of the South, the term “soft drink” or “soda” is discarded in favor of “Coke”. Some people use the term “co-cola” when ordering a soft drink. In most restaurants, when someone orders “coke” or “co-cola”, it is understood to bring whatever brand of cola the establishment offers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Posts About Dead Relatives

All Gene Pools Need Chlorine

Your Genetic Genealogist

All Gene Pools Need Chlorine

Unclaimed Ancestors

Connecting old photos with the families searching for them.

notsofancynancy

How the hell did I get here?

V.L. Brunskill

writer, reunited adoptee, former music journalist

Ephemeral New York

Chronicling an ever-changing city through faded and forgotten artifacts

Posts About Dead Relatives

All Gene Pools Need Chlorine

Chips Off the Old Block

A blog devoted to genealogical wanderings - dedicated to family near and far, through distance and time

openSNP

crowdsourcing genome wide association studies

%d bloggers like this: