Cora: The Party Line (10)

Thursday, Aug. 27, 1925. Coles County, IL

Untangling the events of Cora Stallman’s last day alive is no simple task.

The most obvious solution would be to get sheriff’s records or a transcript of the inquest testimony. Many years ago, I contacted the Coles County coroner’s office, hoping to do just that. The coroner himself was kind enough to search for me. Sadly, nearly all documents related to Cora’s case had disappeared in the intervening decades. “Sometimes the basement floods,” he said with some regret.

Continue reading “Cora: The Party Line (10)”

Cora: Her Face in the Water (6)

Read the full Cora Stallman series here.


Thursday, Aug. 6, 1925. Coles County, IL.

Mattoon Daily Journal-Gazette; Aug. 6, 1925
Mattoon Daily Journal-Gazette; Aug. 6, 1925

By the sixth day, the people of Coles County were tired. The suicide-or-murder question still hadn’t been answered. Cora Stallman’s curious death had made national papers, bringing 19 press agents to Mattoon. They chased the story, and the locals, like a honking flock of geese. For the journalists, too, their time in small-town Illinois was getting old. Telegrams in their pockets barked: Get a story or get home.

Fortunately for everyone, on Thursday, Coroner FS Schilling and the other investigators — State’s Attorney Charles Fletcher, Sheriff Tom McNutt, and Deputy Sheriff Frank Shirley — were ready to talk.

Continue reading “Cora: Her Face in the Water (6)”