Cora: The Dark Hours (13)

Read the full Cora Stallman series here.


 

I have had a long time to think about Cora Stallman.

Over years, whether during the periods of all-consuming research, or the lapses when I put her away, I’ve been turning this case over in my head. I’ve asked myself every what-if imaginable — even the unimaginable ones. I’ve considered the people, the town, and the fields that stretched around them.

Mostly, I’ve treated this story like a kaleidoscope, twisting it this way and that, watching all its many elements fall into new patterns and form new theories.

All of this is a long-winded way to say: Despite everything I know, I’m still unsure how Cora died.

I don’t think Thomas Seaman killed her. I think it was an accident…for reasons we will unpack down the road.

Continue reading “Cora: The Dark Hours (13)”

Old Ad of the Week: Velvety Irresistible Arms

My favorite line: “You feel freer than probably ever before in your life of annoying hair growth.”


I read a lot of old newspapers, which means I see a lot of old ads. Some of them are too good to keep to myself.

Source: The San Francisco Examiner; July 28, 1935

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Cora: Thomas (12)

Read the full Cora Stallman series here.


Aug. 31, 1925. Humboldt, IL.

“A crowd that filled the town hall here to overflowing endured stifling heat of the stuffy wooden building to hear the proceedings.” — Decatur Herald

It was late-summer hot and the flies were relentless, but the spectators at Cora Stallman’s inquest stayed in their chairs. They were waiting to hear the last witness, maybe the most anticipated of all: Cora’s brother-in-law Thomas Seaman.

For all of August he had been a cipher. While his wife Anna (and probably her friends) promoted the Seamans’ side to the newspapers, he was quiet. Thomas had stayed mum even as the gossip ran loose with speculation about him, and about his relationship with Cora.

Now he could have his say.

As in previous days, Coroner Frank Schilling led the questioning, with State’s Attorney Charles Fletcher as his second. With his usual deliberate care, Schilling began by having Thomas explain the parameters in which he, Anna, and her sister Cora had operated their three lives across two farms.

“I live on my own farm, where I have a home, and with my wife, who has a home on her own farm,” Thomas said. “We have been married six years, and I have known her sixteen years. There is just a road between her farm and mine.”

And then this: “The home on my farm is just as my first wife died and left it.”

Continue reading “Cora: Thomas (12)”

Old Ad of the Week: A Great Pepper-Upper

“Make whoopie” = Ping pong, piano time with the gang, and lots and lots and lots of tea.

Have you had your SIX cups today?


I read a lot of old newspapers, which means I see a lot of old ads. Some of them are too good to keep to myself.

Source: The Chicago Tribune; Oct. 29, 1939

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Old Ad of the Week: Saturday Night Bather

I read a lot of old newspapers, which means I see a lot of old ads. Some of them are too good to keep to myself.


Source: The Chicago Tribune; Sept. 29, 1935

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Unearthed: McClanahan & McClanahan

It was lilac season, so of course we went to Graceland Cemetery.

My husband knows I’m a sucker for lilacs, and how much I look forward to that moment in spring when the bushes foam over with good-smelling blossoms. Graceland provides a particularly nice array of lilacs in season, so he suggested we take a walk through the cemetery on a Sunday morning this past May.

That’s where I spotted Archie. I was drawn at first to the fragile little flowers scattered on his cool grey stone. I took the photo for that, and because I’ve been trying to take more cemetery pictures of people who lived long lives. They leave more records, which makes my research easier, and they are more likely to die of natural causes, which helps my mood.

I’m also a sucker for father-daughter stories, and as it turns out, he has one.

Continue reading “Unearthed: McClanahan & McClanahan”

Old Ad of the Week: Like a Klondike Lil

I read a lot of old newspapers, which means I see a lot of old ads. Some of them are too good to keep to myself.

Subtext: “Your friends aren’t tramps. I only holler at tramps.” Nice dude.


Source: The Baltimore Sun; Feb. 13, 1938

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