Archive for Wednesday, October 26, 2011

100 years ago: Wealthy woman changes will, flees Lawrence

October 26, 2011


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Oct. 26, 1911:

"Mrs. Maggie Woodward has gone back to Clinton to live and says she will spend her last days there among the friends who love her and who she has loved for many years. Back of this there is a story of alleged intrigue and possible murder that is revolting in its sickening details. It is alleged that she has gone back because she feared for her life. The story has been told in police court circles for some time. It concerns Mrs. Woodward and her son-in-law, Loren Starr. It is a case of misplaced confidence. So sure was Mrs. Woodward that she was to be murdered that she changed her will on October 17 of this year and made a new one. Heretofore the will provided that her daughter, Myra, should inherit the bulk of her fairly good property, but this is not to be.... Mrs. Woodward is one of the best known women of the county, unusually bright and capable and not given to making rash charges. She is possessed of considerable property and has managed it as well as any resident of the county since her husband died more than a quarter of a century ago.... It is such a revolting thing that it is almost impossible of belief. Sheriff Banning was asked about it today and said 'Loren Starr would not kill a kitten. It was simply a bad scare.' That Mrs. Woodward was thoroughly frightened was evident from the steps she took to protect her life and also her property. It is a regrettable case and the officers tried hard to suppress any news of it. The story got out and of course there was no occasion for secrecy any longer."


Sarah St. John 5 years, 10 months ago

There was a lot more to it that I had to edit for space -- but apparently the son-in-law Loren was in business with his mother-in-law (they sold wallpaper) and when he was in Kansas City "on business" he had gone to a "gambling den" to hang out with a friend. He claims that he only mentioned in passing that they couldn't bring whiskey back to his Lawrence home "while his mother-in-law was alive." He swears that's all that was said and that it was just a misunderstanding. On the other hand, some people were claiming that he had gone as far as arranging with another guy (the brother of the gambling pal, if I remember correctly) to actually do the deed. This other guy already had a pretty bad reputation with the police, which didn't help matters any.... So was Mrs. W overreacting or did she have a genuine tip from someone who knew what was planned? Was Loren so eager for his own wife to inherit Mrs. W's rather large estate that he would stoop to this "revolting" and "sickening" crime, or was Mrs. W just a bit paranoid? We will probably never know!

Kate Rogge 5 years, 10 months ago

So, please, how and when did Mrs. Woodward die? Who did inherit? Perhaps she was right to change her will and, thereby, save her life. Could you provide us with more information, please?

Sarah St. John 5 years, 10 months ago

Answers to some of your questions.... courtesy of my sister, who jumped right on this! Thank you so much!!!!

Maggie died 23 October 1918, 7 years after this little incident. (No info available on how she settled her estate....)

Fascinating fact: Myra and Loren Wade Starr's son Loren Frank Starr, in the 1930 Census, was serving time in the San Francisco County Jail. (Bad Seed?)

Margaret's parents were:

Olivia Frances Woodward Bullock, daughter of James W. and Mary (Blakemore) Woodward, born 3 March 1833 in Illinois, died 11 August 1920 in Clinton, Kansas, buried in Clinton Cemetery

who on 14 March 1853 married:

John Wesley Bullock, born 16 March 1819 near Montreal, Canada, died 20 January 1900, buried in Clinton Cemetery, served in Co I 39th Illinois Infantry and Co C 41st Illinois Infantry, Lieutenant (no dates, but Civil War)

Their daughter, the heroine of our tale: Margaret A. Bullock, born 4 October 1858 in Illinois, died 23 October 1918, buried in Clinton Cemetery.

On 27 February 1876, Margaret married:

George William Woodward, born 19 January 1852 in Illinois, died 2 May 1887, buried in Clinton Cemetery

Their children:

Blain Woodward, died in childhood, buried in Clinton Cemetery Noel Woodward, died in childhood, buried in Clinton Cemetery Myrtle M Woodward, born March 1881 married William H Barton, they had son Le Nevie born abt 1906 Mabel Olive Woodward, 14 Jun 1884-19 Jun 1963 married 14 June 1908 to Harry M Green, 1879-1963) ... and... Myra Belle Woodward, born March 1887, died ? who married Loren Wade Starr, son of Charles and Ida N (Swadley) Starr, born 25 April 1889 in Kansas, died 24 March 1951 in San Francisco They had: Loren Frank Starr, born 27 October 1909, died 4 September 1963 in Los Angeles (the one who was in jail in the 1930 census)

(Anyone here ever been to the Clinton Cemetery?)

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