Archive for Friday, February 8, 2013

100 years ago: Mystery surrounds death of former postal official’s wife

February 8, 2013


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Feb. 8, 1913:

  • "Mrs. Laura Woodruff, wife of former Assistant Postmaster Woodruff of Lawrence, was found dead yesterday in her room at a fashionable boarding house of which she was the proprietress in Los Angeles, Calif. Mrs. Woodruff is said to have been asphyxiated by gas fumes and her wrists were slashed. Mystery surrounds the death and the Los Angeles police have been unable to solve it.... Mr. Woodruff was assistant postmaster here many years ago serving under Osburn Shannon. During his term in office the Lawrence post office was burned. It was alleged that a shortage was found in the accounts of Woodruff and he was tried on a charge of default. At the first trial the jury failed to agree but the second time a verdict of guilty was returned and Woodruff was sentenced to one year in the state penitentiary. The case was appealed and sent back for re-trial. The former action of the court was nullified and Woodruff released. Shortly afterward Woodruff and his wife separated. Since then it is said that Mrs. Woodruff lived a lonesome and desolate life. Some time ago she opened a boarding house in Los Angeles and was apparently making a success of her business. She was 55 years old, yesterday being her birthday.... Mrs. Mary Barnes this morning received a letter from the dead woman and it was an unusually cheerful one. She told of her fine home and of how she was enjoying life. Mrs. Barnes does not believe she committed suicide. She thinks the woman had too much for which to live."
  • "Hutchinson. -- After driving 90 miles in a cold night, in an automobile, and riding thirty-three miles in a train, Miss Evadne Laptad, of Lawrence, and a Kansas University graduate, now teaching in the Junction City schools, arrived here at 4 o'clock this morning to spend an hour and a half with her affianced husband. He died at 5:30 o'clock. The young woman was nearly frozen when she landed in Herington, hoping to catch a Rock Island train but it had gone. She told the auto driver to take her on until she could get another train and Newton was reached in time to allow her to take the Santa Fe-Colorado flier which brought her here. Claude Chesbro, her fiance, was 24 years old. Fever caused his death. He and Miss Laptad were to have been married in June. Miss Evadne Laptad is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Laptad who live north of the city near Midland. She was a member of the class of 1910 of the University of Kansas and is well known in Lawrence."
  • "With 21 of the 50 working days of the 1913 legislative session already gone, Governor George H. Hodges has signed just seven bills. But that does not fairly tell the story of the work that has been jammed into the mill in the three weeks that the members of the house and senate have been in Topeka. Already there are 630 bills in the hopper in the house, the committees have killed 122 measures and the house has actually passed an even 50 bills."


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