Good afternoon readers!
Today we will be continuing down the path toward John Smith’s trial by looking at the Perry Chief for September 3, 1931, which had the headline “Smith Case to Grand Jury Friday”. Underneath that, a header reads “Perry Insecticide Manufacturer and Wife Face Charges.” Is Mrs. Smith in trouble too? What crime is she being charged with? Let us find out!
Late in the day on September 3rd, State Agent Myron Tullar announced that John Smith had been declared sane by Dr. Max White, the superintendent of Clarinda State hospital. The Bureau of Investigate, according to Tullar, had filed for Smith’s release and both he and his first wife will be taken before the grand jury at Adel on Friday. A decision to hold an investigation was made late that day on September 3rd when Mr. Smith admitted that he had in fact married Eauline Shaw of Elgin, Kansas when an inquiry was held in the office of James Risden, chief of the Iowa Bureau of Investigation. The decision was also made after Mrs. Smith, his first wife, was questioned for more than two hours in an effort to secure more information. She was arrested in Perry on technical charge of fraud the night of the 2nd, and immediately taken to Des Moines. State Agent Tullar believes she may be linked with the mysterious disappearance and burning of the unknown body.
It was established that Mr. Smith did indeed attempt to meet his first wife on the night of March 20th. He had driven to Winterset with his second wife Miss Shaw, and left her at a hotel to go and meet his first. When he returned after the chase, Miss Shaw accused him of being with another woman, which at the time he admitted but later denied. It was also discovered that Smith, when he first met Miss Shaw, claimed to be on a hunting and fishing trip. He married her within a month of meeting her, and purchased her a diamond engagement ring and wedding ring, which she claims cost him $88. Eventually Miss Shaw left Mr. Smith because she learned that he was wanted in Iowa.
Further, Miss Shaw stated that Mr. Smith had actually filled her in on the details of the plot. She claimed that he revealed it was a plot to collect insurance money, telling her the story of the burning of the car and body. She also declared that he had hinted someone had double-crossed him in the crime, and that he intended to “get them.” The $35,000, which Smith had at first claimed was because of a patent on a new invention, was actually his share of the insurance collections, and that the balance was to go to his first wife. Their married life was one of constant travel, with Smith returning to Iowa often for business. After he told her of the crime and wanting to “get even” with someone, Miss Shaw left him and went to work at Chautauqua. Smith apparently followed her there in an attempt to get her to leave, but upon her refusal, she claims he said, “It doesn’t make a difference I’ll go another hundred miles and get another woman.” This was the last she had seen of him until September 3rd at the Statehouse.
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith will face charges of fraud, with the possible addition of bigamy to Mr. Smith’s case, when they arrive in front of the grand jury. What will happen? Will they both be convicted, or will the charges be dropped? Find out in the next installment of the Smith Conspiracy!
Welcome back readers,
Today we are continuing the story of John M. Smith. They are many questions that remain from last time: What are the charges that he faces? Will he be proven innocent or guilty? Where did he get the body that he burned? Find out some of the answers to these questions and more today as we head toward the beginning of Mr. Smith’s trial!
The date is September 2, 1931, and shocking new information has come forward in the Smith case even before his court case officially begins. The newspaper that day read “Smith May Face Bigamy Charge.” According to the paper, Eauline Shaw of Chautauqua, Kansas identified Mr. Smith as the man she married on March 11, 1931. Mrs. Clayton, with whom Mrs. Shaw lives, saw a picture of Smith being fingerprinted at Garner and wrote to the sheriff expressing her suspicions. Her case was turned over to Sheriff Knee of Dallas County, and State Agent Myron Tullar (who had been on the case since it was discovered that the burned body was not Smith’s) started further investigation into the matter. Tullar went to Kansas with a more recent photo of Smith in order to confirm the identification.
According to Mrs. Clayton, the man who married Eauline Shaw used the name McJay Smith. He had arrived in town in February, and soon took an interest in Ms. Shaw. When he proposed to her, Mrs. Clayton began to ask questions. McJay Smith said that he had recently invented a “Miteless Chicken roost” and received $35,000 for the patent right. He also claimed to be a manufacturer of chicken stock food and disinfectant, and was fully capable of earning a living for a wife. The marriage was performed on March 11, two days before it was discovered back in Iowa that the burned body did not belong to John Smith. It is also said that upon his arrival in Chautauqua, McJay Smith was driving a yellow wheeled Chevrolet with a Minnesota license, which compares favorably with the car supposedly driven by John Smith on the night he met his wife near Black’s corner. Kansas officials say that no warrant had been issued for bigamy against John Smith, but a warrant had been issued for removing mortgaged property (an automobile) from the state of Kansas.
Upon positive identification, the charge of bigamy would be added to the charge of conspiracy to defraud. The defrauding charge is the one that Smith would face when he came before the grand jury later in September 1931. What will happen during this court case? Will the charge of bigamy be added? Join us next time, as John Smith and his wife, Mrs. Smith, face charges!
Good Afternoon readers!
Today, instead of talking about something that we have here at Hometown Heritage, I am going to tell you about a building that many of you have probably seen here in Perry. The building in question is the Jones building. This building is behind Fareway, and has the word “Jones” carved across the top. Currently, the Jones building functions as a group of apartments. However, people did not always live in the building. So let us learn about the buildings history!
Before we can learn about what the original use of the building, it is important to learn about the man who built it. A man named C. Durant Jones is behind the creation of the building. He had a wife named Ida, and two kids named Horton and Lois. Jones was also a man of many talents. He was a newspaper publisher, a writer, a minister, a politician, a lecturer, a businessman, a temperance leader, a builder and contractor, a realtor, and a one point he was even the mayor. He also owned and operated the Jones Business College and a cement plant. Jones resided in Perry from 1904 to 1928, before he moved to Texas and hosted a radio show there. Now, onto the building itself.
Construction of the Jones building occurred between 1912 and 1913 by C. Durant Jones. He used reinforced concrete for the outside (which came from his own cement plant of course), and oak for the interior. However, how did people use this building when it C. Durant Jones first built it? Well, the first floor housed offices for the Chautauqua, and, maybe you guessed it, a college occupied rest of building. This college was the Jones Business College. The college did not last long, however, and it closed after 1921 and the building converted to apartments.
Now, many of you may be wondering what the Chautauqua is, since it was part of the building. I do not know much about it myself, but we do have a book about it here at Hometown Heritage. From what I can gather, the Chautauqua was a movement that started in the small town of Chautauqua, New York. A Methodist Episcopal minister started it along with an inventor named Lewis Miller. Chautauqua was, and still is, an educational movement, encouraging adults to continue learning and growing everyday of their lives. C. Durant Jones was a big supporter of this, and so he built the building not only as a college to continue people’s education, but also as a building to house the Chautauqua movement, which he organized in Perry in 1910 and incorporated in 1912.
So now you know all about the Jones building! Next time you happen by it, perhaps when you are buying food from Fareway, take a moment to remember what it stands for, and try to keep learning new things every day.