Remember This? by Brad Dison

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Nurse Crawford’s House Call

by Brad Dison

At about 5:00 p.m. on December 6, 1933, just before sunset, Nurse Hattie Crawford walked out of her apartment in Miami, Oklahoma. A man approached her and asked if she could tell him where Nurse Crawford lived in the apartment building. She told the stranger that she was Nurse Crawford. The stranger told her that a friend of his had been injured and needed help pretty quickly. It was in Nurse Crawford’s nature to help anyone in need. She sensed no danger and saw that the stranger seemed panic-stricken. She agreed to go without hesitation. Rather than taking her himself, the stranger gave Nurse Crawford instructions. He told her to take the bus to Afton, Oklahoma, about fifteen miles southwest of Miami, which she did. Within half an hour, Nurse Crawford disembarked from the bus at Afton not knowing exactly what to expect. The stranger was there waiting for her in a car with another man she did not know. She entered the sedan and they drove to Vinita, Oklahoma, about fifteen miles southwest of Afton.

The stranger and his companion drove Nurse Crawford to a dark, seemingly abandoned house on the outskirts of town. The sun had set and the car’s headlights were the only illumination. As they approached the porch, a woman opened the door of the house. Nurse Crawford immediately recognized the woman as someone she knew but had not seen in seven or eight years. They spoke only for a second or two before the woman led Nurse Crawford to a bedroom by flashlight, the only light in the house. In the bedroom, a man lay in bed with a gunshot wound on his left leg and similar wounds on his left arm. Nurse Crawford knew better than to ask how he received the gunshot wounds. She asked for bandages and rubbing alcohol. The woman gave Nurse Crawford the rubbing alcohol and tore a bed sheet into strips to use as bandages. Nurse Crawford cleaned and bandaged the injured man’s wounds as good as she could by the dim glow of a single flashlight. Nurse Crawford gave the woman instructions on how to clean and dress the wound.

As soon as she had finished treating the patient, the two men ushered Nurse Crawford out of the house and drove her back to Miami. Unlike the earlier trip, they drove Nurse Crawford all the way back to her apartment building. During the return drive, the two men asked if she could return with them the following night to check on the injured man’s condition. She quickly agreed. They gave Nurse Crawford the hefty sum of $5.00 for treating the injured man, which, adjusted for inflation, would be just under $100 in today’s money. They warned Nurse Crawford not to tell anyone of the incident, or else.

Nurse Crawford’s initial plan was to immediately notify the police of the incident, but she took their warning seriously. She was paranoid that someone was watching her. She feared what would happen if she reported the incident. On the following day, Nurse Crawford waited for the two men to pick her up and deliver her once again to the injured man. Five o’clock came and went. Then six o’clock, then seven o’clock, but the men never returned. Eight days later, on December 14, 1933, Nurse Crawford finally gained enough courage to report the incident to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office.

Nurse Crawford told a deputy about her providing aid to the injured man. The secretive nature of the whole incident got the attention of Craig County Sheriff John York and FBI agent H.E. Hollis. Nurse Crawford described to them the location of the house, described the house itself, along with the furniture within. She explained that she saw the outside of the house only by the headlights of the car and the inside of the house by flashlight. Nurse Crawford said she did not know the men who escorted her to the house, nor was she certain of the identity of the injured man. She was certain, however, of the identity of the woman, whom she was acquainted with several years earlier.

Sheriff York immediately recognized the place Nurse Crawford described as being the home of Mrs. Jane Hall. Mrs. Hall had not lived at the home for several years and left the house in the care of custodian Bob Hill. Bob told investigators that he had no knowledge of and had not given consent to anyone to occupy the house. He granted the investigators permission to search the house.
At daylight on December 15, 1933, Sheriff York, Ottawa County Sheriff Dee Waters, several deputies, and Agent Hollis surrounded the home of Mrs. Jane Hall, but found it to be unoccupied. While searching the home, officers found bloodstained bandages and rags in a bathroom cabinet. They also found a bloody undershirt in another room. Once they were certain the house was unoccupied, one of the deputies drove Nurse Crawford to the home. She immediately recognized it as the place where she had treated the injured man on the night of December 6, 1933. Sheriff York made arrangements and had the home kept under constant surveillance. For several days, deputies kept watch at Mrs. Hall’s home to no avail.

As had happened many times before, law enforcements officers had missed their chance. The woman who allowed Nurse Crawford into the seemingly abandoned home and the injured man whom she had helped were…Bonnie and Clyde.

Source:
United States Bureau of Investigation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, File Number 26-3779, December 23, 1933, Report by Special Agent H.E. Hollis.

ABOUT BRAD
A writer of history, Brad Dison earned his master’s degree in the subject from Louisiana Tech University. He has written four history books and has been published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Keep up with the column through the Facebook group “Remember This? by Brad Dison.” For more real stories about real people with a twist, listen to Brad Dison’s podcast “Remember This?” at http://www.BradDison.com.

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Old Friends

by Brad Dison

On a warm day in July, John Adams lay in his bed at his home in Quincy, Massachusetts. The aged former president had been unable to leave his bed for several days. The unmistakable sound of cannons firing in the distance got his attention. It was a sound he remembered all too well. His thoughts raced back to the events of the American Revolution. Following the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770, it was he, then a 34-year-old Boston attorney, who successfully defended the British troops against charges of murder. None of the other local attorneys would take on the case for fear of reprisals. In the trial, Adams proved that an angry mob had provoked and attacked the British soldiers. The soldiers had acted in self-defense.
Although Adams had defended the British troops in the Boston Massacre trial, he spoke out and fought constantly against what he, and many others, considered unfair taxation and unjust attacks by the British Parliament. As a member of the First and Second Continental Congresses, he argued aggressively against Parliament’s ultimate control over the colonies. He was one of the first people in Congress to argue for total separation from Great Britain.
Adams’s thoughts raced back to his old friend, Thomas Jefferson. While Adams argued for total separation in Congress, Jefferson watched, absorbed everything, but said nothing. Adams had never heard Jefferson speak more than a word or two in Congress, and that was usually a simple aye or nay during a vote. Adams and Jefferson developed a friendship over the issue of independence. Before the Congress declared independence, Adams formed a committee to draft a formal Declaration of Independence. Reluctant at first, Jefferson completed a draft of the Declaration which the committee edited into the document’s final form. On July 2, 1776, Congress approved the Declaration. Adams predicted the second day of July would be celebrated annually throughout the country. Congress approved the Declaration on July 2, but officially declared independence two days later, which is why we celebrate independence on the fourth of July and not the second of July.
The war raged on until October 19, 1781, when the British General, Lord Cornwallis, surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia. America had won its independence. Adams, Jefferson, and the other founding fathers spent the next eight years developing America’s system of government. Adams and Jefferson had spent years as envoys in separate countries trying to garner support against the British, and, once the war was over, as ambassadors of the new country.
Adams and Jefferson wrote letters to each other frequently and spoke highly of their friendship in letters to others. In a letter to James Madison, Jefferson wrote that Adams “is so amiable, that I pronounce you will love him if ever you become acquainted with him.” Adams expressed his affection for Jefferson in a letter to him in which he wrote “intimate correspondence with you…is one of the most agreeable events in my life.” Their friendship grew stronger when Jefferson arrived in England on diplomatic business. Adams was currently serving as an ambassador to Great Britain. Adams and Jefferson toured several English gardens and visited William Shakespeare’s home. Adams recorded in his notes that they chipped off a piece of Shakespeare’s chair “according to the custom.”
In 1789, the presidential electors cast their votes for the first President of the United States. The candidate who received the most votes became president and the candidate who received the second most votes became vice-president, a system that seems foreign to us today. George Washington won by a landslide followed by Adams. George Washington served two terms as president with Adams as his vice-president. All the while, Adams and Jefferson remained friends.
George Washington’s announcement that he would not accept a third term as president created a power struggle in Congress. The members of Congress broke off into factions, the Federalists and the Republicans. The Federalists chose Adams as their candidate and the Republicans chose Jefferson. Adams, who had argued and played a large part in convincing the Congress to vote for independence, and Jefferson, who had drafted the Declaration of Independence, were on opposite sides. When the electors tallied the votes, Adams won the election by just three votes. Adams became president and Jefferson became vice-president, the only time in American history where the president and vice-president were from opposing political parties.
Adams and Jefferson were often at odds over policy but remained friends. Adams served just one term as president. He lost his reelection bid to his old friend, Jefferson. Before he left office, Adams made several last-minute political appointments who were Jefferson’s political rivals. Due to the appointments, Adams and Jefferson stopped corresponding altogether.
Jefferson served two terms as president and retired to his home, Monticello, in 1809. For eight years, the old friends had had no direct communication. They only heard about each other through friends. In 1811, Jefferson learned through mutual friends that Adams had said, “I always loved Jefferson, and still love him.” With this simple statement, Adams and Jefferson renewed their friendship with another series of letters which continued for the rest of their lives.
Upon hearing the cannons firing again, Adams was jolted back to the events of the moment. He inquired as to the reason for the firing cannons. Someone at his bedside answered that they were firing cannons in celebration of independence from Great Britain. It was the fourth of July. “It is a great and glorious day,” Adams replied. Newspapers reported that “he never spake more.” At around 6:00 p.m., John Adams passed away. Some historians have claimed that when Adams realized that death would soon take him, he uttered the phrase, “Jefferson survives.” Unbeknownst to Adams, Jefferson had died five hours earlier. John Adams, the man who convinced Congress to declare independence, and Thomas Jefferson, the man who drafted the Declaration of Independence, both died on the same day, July 4, 1826, … the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Sources:
John Adams, “Notes on a Tour of English Country Seats, &c., with Thomas Jefferson,” April 4-10, 1786, in L.H. Butterfield et al., eds., Diary and Autobiography of John Adams (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1961), 3:185.
Jefferson to Madison, January 30, 1787, in PTJ, 11:96.
Adams to Jefferson, March 1, 1787, in PTJ, 11:190.
Jefferson to Rush, December 5, 1811, in PTJ:RS, 4:313, 4:314n.
The National Gazette (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), July 10, 1826, p.2.

The National Gazette (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), July 10, 1826, p.2.

            John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

ABOUT BRAD
A writer of history, Brad Dison earned his master’s degree in the subject from Louisiana Tech University. He has written four history books and has been published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Keep up with the column through the Facebook group “Remember This? by Brad Dison.” For more real stories about real people with a twist, listen to Brad Dison’s podcast “Remember This?” at http://www.BradDison.com.

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The Saline Slashing Incident

by Brad Dison

In the 1930s, the small village of Saline, Louisiana, had a population numbering around 600 people, mostly farmers and sawmill workers. Its main claim to fame was its watermelons. The sandy soil provided the best environment for growing watermelons. The Saline Truck Growers Association began holding a celebration in the village each July to coincide with the watermelon harvest. People from all over the region converged at Saline to join in the festivities. Some reports estimated 8,000 people attended Saline’s second Watermelon Festival. For a small village of only 600 people to have an influx of several thousand people must have been a sight to see.
In 1932, Saline’s mayor and vice president of the Saline Truck Growers Association H.E. Sudduth shipped the two largest melons of the season by rail to then presidential nominee Franklin Delano Roosevelt and vice-presidential nominee John Garner. The melons weighed in at 110 pounds and 90 pounds respectively. Local farmer Webby Driggers grew the prized 110-pound melon. A few weeks later, Mayor Sudduth received a letter which stated:
“I have been a long time in writing to thank you for the most delicious watermelon which you sent me some time ago. Will you please extend to the association my appreciation of their sending me this extraordinary fruit? We have all enjoyed it, and are regretful that it is gone. Please also thank Mr. Driggers, and extend to him my congratulations. Very sincerely yours, Franklin D. Roosevelt.”
All good things must come to an end. In July, 1933, Saline had a major incident which most people, even those who have lived in and around the small village all of their lives, have forgotten. Those who have not forgotten the event rarely speak of it. People arrived for the annual festival on foot, by wagon, by automobile, and by train. During the celebration, several conspirators pulled knifes at a predetermined time and slashed over 500 unsuspecting victims. Rather than running away, the crowd gathered closer. The conspirators slashed into the bodies of their victims and removed their insides. Let me remind you that this story is true and apologize for its gory nature. The wild crowd reached for the random bits and pieces of the poor victim’s insides and shoved whatever they could grab into their mouths. Men, women, and boys and girls of all ages ate the pieces of raw red meat, the heart being the most sought after.
Sheriff Henderson Jordan, mostly remembered as a member of the posse which two years later ended the crime spree of Bonnie and Clyde, compared the slashing affray to the murders credited to England’s Jack the Ripper. One eye witness told the sheriff, “It was just slash, slash, slash. There weren’t many out of the 500 that weren’t hurt.” By the next morning, no evidence of the murders could be found. The conspirators disposed of the what remained of the victims’ bodies in an undisclosed location. Sheriff Jordan and his deputies spoke with several eye witnesses and questioned the conspirators but made no arrests.
Although watermelons have remained a staple crop from the area around the small village of Saline, the 1933 watermelon festival was the last of its kind held for fifty years. Five decades later, after many of the citizens who were present at the slashing had died, citizens of Saline revived the watermelon festival with moderate success. Without most of them knowing it, festival goers celebrate each year the slashing that occurred in the small village on that hot July day in 1933. If you visit the village during the festival, you will see all sorts of depictions of the slashing victims including signs, t-shirts, face paintings, and other paraphernalia. The slashing victims were watermelons.
Sources:
The Shreveport Journal, July 29, 1932, p.14.
The Shreveport Times, July 29, 1932, p.2.
The Shreveport Journal, August 19, 1932, p.3.
The Shreveport Times, July 4, 1933, p.4.

1933 Saline Watermelon Festival

ABOUT BRAD

A writer of history, Brad Dison earned his master’s degree in the subject from Louisiana Tech University. He has written four history books and has been published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Keep up with the column through the Facebook group “Remember This? by Brad Dison.” For more real stories about real people with a twist, listen to Brad Dison’s podcast “Remember This?” at http://www.BradDison.com.

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The Good Samaritan

by Brad Dison

The true measure of our character is often determined by how we treat others, especially strangers. The origin of the Good Samaritan dates back to the Bible. In Luke 10:30-34, Jesus told of a man who was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. Along his trip, robbers attacked and beat the man. They stole his clothing and left him for dead. The first two men to pass the traveler purposefully avoided him. It was a man from Samaria, the third traveler to come upon the injured man, who showed him mercy. The Samaritan bandaged the injured man’s wounds, took him to a local inn, and nursed him back to health. Since that time, anyone who has helped a stranger with no expectation of personal gain has been referred to as a good Samaritan. The following is the true story of a modern-day good Samaritan.
On June 8, 2013, a group of tourists were taking in the sites in Toronto, Canada, on what was the final day of their cross-Canadian train trip. Jim Walpole, a retired General Motors manager from Defiance, Ohio, and his wife, Marilyn, a nurse, were among the group of tourists who walked down King Street East toward historic Old Toronto. Marilyn led the group, followed by her husband and the other tourists.
Along the walk, Marilyn heard a slight moan coming from behind her. Jim had tripped on the sidewalk and fell into some construction equipment. As Jim fell, a piece of scaffolding gashed his neck. Jim held his hands out to break his fall. When he hit the ground, he broke one of his fingers. Marilyn turned around and saw that Jim’s face and clothing were covered in blood. Jim laid bleeding on the sidewalk in a daze.
The good Samaritan was smoking a cigarette a short distance away, and saw Jim fall. The good Samaritan could have continued smoking his cigarette. He could have looked away, but not this good Samaritan. Before anyone else responded, the good Samaritan sprang into action. Without hesitation, he crushed out his cigarette and ran to render aid to the moaning, bleeding man. He knelt down beside Jim and quickly assessed the situation. The good Samaritan removed his scarf and placed it over Jim’s neck wound to slow the flow of blood. The good Samaritan reassured Jim in a soft, calm voice that he was going to be fine.
Toronto restauranteur Ben Quinn also saw Jim fall and saw the good Samaritan rush to his aid. Ben saw that the saturated scarf was no longer absorbing blood. Ben ran to his car and retrieved a towel. The good Samaritan replaced the saturated scarf with the towel and applied pressure to Jim’s wounded neck. They were afraid to remove the towel and check on the wound because they feared Jim would bleed to death. If the gash had severed Jim’s jugular vein or his carotid artery and had they removed the towel, Jim could have bled to death within a few short minutes.
Although Marilyn was a nurse, she allowed the good Samaritan to help. She later explained; “He really knew what he was doing. That’s why I thought he was a doctor. He had no qualms about getting blood all over him. That would be a real concern for some people.” When the ambulance arrived and medics took over for the good Samaritan, Marilyn asked him “What’s your name, sir?” He simply responded, “John.” Marilyn said “I didn’t ask for a last name because I didn’t figure I would remember it.”
The medics transported Jim to Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, just a few short blocks away. At the hospital, a doctor carefully inspected Jim’s neck. To Jim’s relief, the doctor reported that the scaffolding had missed the critical vein by only an eighth of an inch. The doctor closed the neck wound with ten stitches and set his broken finger. Jim considered himself lucky.
John contacted the hospital following the incident and was relieved to learn that Jim would make a full recovery. A reporter followed up on the story the following day and asked John why he, a man who had no medical training, had stepped in to help someone he had never met. John humbly replied, “Any citizen would do it. It’s nothing special.” John wanted to avoid drawing attention to his actions. Marilyn and Jim were certain John had saved Jim’s life.
Like Jim and Marilyn, John was only in Toronto for a short time. John was in Toronto for just three days performing as the famed Italian lover Casanova in a traveling opera called “The Giacomo Variations.” Everyone’s focus was on Jim’s neck and not on the good Samaritan who stepped in to help. Under different circumstances, they certainly would have recognized John from movies such as “In the Line of Fire,” “Dangerous Liaisons,” “Johnny English,” “The Man in the Iron Mask,” “Red,” “Con Air,” “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” and a plethora of others dating back to the 1970s. John has appeared in over one hundred film and television productions. He is currently starring in two tv series; “Space Force,” and “The New Pope.” John, the good Samaritan, also starred in a movie which bears his name, “Being John Malkovich.”
Sources:
Luke 10:30-34 (New International Version).
The National Post, (Toronto, Canada), June 10, 2013.
The Gazette, (Montreal, Quebec), June 11, 2013, p.24.
The Desert Sun, (Palm Springs, California), June 12, 2013, p.D7.
IMDb.com. “John Malkovich.” Accessed June 12, 2020. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000518/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0#actor.

Brad Dison1


ABOUT BRAD

A writer of history, Brad Dison earned his master’s degree in the subject from Louisiana Tech University. He has written four history books and has been published in newspapers and scholarly journals. Keep up with the column through the Facebook group “Remember This? by Brad Dison.” For more real stories about real people with a twist, listen to Brad Dison’s podcast “Remember This?” at http://www.BradDison.com.