Category Archives: World War I

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.

R.I.P. Olivette Engle, Born 1901 & Killed in 1922 by Deranged Husband

I don’t have a lot of information about my biological father’s family, so I have been slowly working backward from my father’s records to his father, etc.

It is always surprising when you find an early death or an interesting newspaper article about one of your relatives. Today I found that Olivette Engle, my paternal Great Aunt (sister to my paternal grandfather) was murdered by her 2nd husband Frank Wesley Johnson. And she wasn’t divorced from her first husband, Joseph G. Crum.

Olivette Engle, 1901 - 1922

Olivette Engle, 1901 – 1922

Olivette Engle was born on 7 Nov 1901 in Scranton, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania to Charles F. Engle & Anna Thomas Engle. She was one of six Engle children. The family moved to Union, Broome County, New York at some point between 1910 and 1920. The 1910 U.S. Federal Census shows them living in Taylor, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. And the 1920 U.S. Federal Census has them living in Union, New York.

 
Murder1
 
Murder or Suicide1
 

Olivette Engle Crum Johnson's Death Certificate

Olivette Engle Crum Johnson’s Death Certificate

Frank Wesley Johnson, Olivette Engle's 2nd Husband

Frank Wesley Johnson, Olivette Engle’s 2nd Husband


Frank Wesley Johnson

Frank Wesley Johnson


Frank Wesley Johnson

Frank Wesley Johnson

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