Friday, November 1, 2019

THE STRANGE DISAPPEARANCE OF A NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY FRESHMAN - Leighton Mount

As I write this article it is the beginning of autumn on the North Shore.  It's a beautiful time of the year here, with warm sunny days and cool crisp nights.  Growing up in Evanston, Illinois ("The City of Trees") I always looked forward to the fall as the thousands of trees change color before they drop their leaves down to earth to be raked up and burned with a delicious aroma like no other.  

Growing up in Evanston also meant another fall ritual - the arrival of students to Northwestern University.  Banners were strung across the streets saying "Welcome NU Students" and special booths were set up in the stores and the banks to assist the NU students in opening new accounts, because then as now, a lot of money flows through Evanston because of Northwestern.

The peace of Evanston was broken on Friday September 23, 1921 as the morning newspapers blared their headlines:  STUDENT LOST AFTER HAZING.  Hazing had always existed at Northwestern as it did (and still does) at most colleges and universities.  But it was always good natured fun - or so everyone thought.  But the true story was different - very different.  The article continues from the Chicago Tribune, September 23, 1921:


Search Lake and Wood for N.U. Youth

Search was started late last night for Leighton Mount, 18 year old Northwestern University freshman, when he failed to return to his Evanston home after participating in the annual freshman-sophomore fight which raged on the campus in the early hours of yesterday morning.  

Two automobile loads of his fellow-classmen drove to the forest preserve directly east of the Glen View Golf club and began an all-night quest for the youth.  It was thought he had been carried there, along with other first year college men, by the victorious sophomore battlers and is now incapable of finding his way back to civilization.


Lake Shore Searched.

Meanwhile, the university authorities and the Evanston police are aiding Mount's distracted mother in her efforts to find her boy.  Yesterday the lake shore along the edge of the campus was patrolled in the hope that he might have met "an adventure" similar to that of Arthur P. Persinger, the sophomore student who was bound to a breakwater near Calvary cemetery and rescued from probable drowning Wednesday night.

Leighton Mount lives with his parents at 1145 Judson avenue.  Thursday he joined the freshman hosts when they mobilized to fight their rival class.  Scrimmages occurred sporadically throughout the town and university grounds, and at 3 o'clock yesterday morning a band of first year men were lying in ambush near the Patten gymnasium.  


Are Taken Prisoner.

Harry Cook, of 224 Dempster street, an Evanston High school student, saw the young Mount among this crowd.  They had just captured and ducked a score of sophomores in Lake Michigan and were lying in wait for more victims.  Then a larger band of their rivals swooped down upon them in the heavy darkness and several prisoners were taken.  "I was captured with the rest," said Cook, "and made to drive a machine load of students to a spot beside the forest preserve.  There the sophomores ordered their prisoners to undress and the naked men were abandoned.  I don't know whether Mount was among those freshmen or not.  He might have been in another auto."


All Back But Mount.

Yesterday motorists traveling along the highways west of Evanston came upon several unclad unfortunates signaling for aid.  Throughout the day they kept trooping back to town in all manner of makeshift garments.  Some telephoned their parents and friends that they were in no danger.  By nightfall, all but Mount were found.  

Meanwhile his mother, Mrs. J. L. Mount, became apprehensive.  She got in touch at Plymouth, Wis. with her husband, an educational man traveling for the American extension university, and he returned to Evanston shortly after midnight.  He expressed indignation that the university had not undertaken an investigation earlier.  He proposes to have the lake dragged this morning and to employ private detectives to prosecute the search.  The latter searched the lake shore without success.  Then, as twilight was falling, Mrs. Mount made the trip to the forest preserve in company with Harry Cook, his brother, Thomas and Detective John Geischecker.  


Think They Hear Cry.

Along the road they moved at low gear, calling Leighton's name and sounding the klaxon.  Once they thought they heard a cry from the shadowy trees at their left, but it was too late to permeate the woods.    

Mrs. Mount notified Dean Roy Flickinger.  He told her all the missing students had been accounted for, she said, and failed to evince much interest.  When a reporter from The Tribune attempted to interview Dean Flickinger, he gave word through his secretary that he had nothing to say.               

President Walter Dill Scott was reached.  

"There's nothing to it," he said.  "The police are not worried and neither is the mother.  I have learned that young Mount had intended to go away today for a short time and I have also received word that he was seen this afternoon driving his mother's car through the streets of Evanston."

This report had apparently also been given to Dean Flickinger also, for when Mrs. Mount telephoned him and declared that one of the Cook boys had been piloting her machine throughout the afternoon he immediately promised to do all in his power to aid the search.


Mother Refutes Report.

"Leighton did not intend to go away today," she said, "and I know he would have sent word to me if he were able.  I'm convinced that he was taken to the woods, probably mistreated, and is now lying helpless somewhere in that forest preserve.  He was a good swimmer.  I do not believe he could be in the lake."

Meanwhile word of the youth's disappearance spread through the dormitories and fraternity houses of Evanston.  Early this morning, a party of freshmen, driven to the spot where the student captives had been taken, were searching the forest.  They were conducted there by Harry Cook and a Tribune reporter.  

Search was made along the roads with the aid of searchlights.  Then the freshmen, calling his name in concerted shouts, entered the woods.  No answer but the echoes.


Leighton Mount and his Mother

Mount's disappearance rocked the conservative Republican city of Evanston, Illinois, the home of Northwestern.  Before we look further into the strange tale, let's see what we can "dig up" about Leighton Mount. 

Leighton Mount was born August 26, 1903 in Boise, Idaho to John Livingston Mount (1872-1961) and Pearl M. Leighton (1874-1972).  Leighton Mount had a sister, Helen A. Mount (1898-1995) who unlike Leighton was born in Michigan.  

John L. Mount and Pearl M. Leighton were married in Otsego, Michigan on September 24, 1896.  John was 24 and reported his occupation as "Teacher"; Pearl was 23 and reported her occupation as "Student."  They were married by John's father George L. Mount, a "Minister of the Gospel." 

The 1900 US Census shows the young married couple living in Otsego Township where John was "Teaching School."  They said they had been married for three years and had one child: Helen, born in 1898.  They told the census taker that they owned their house free and clear, that John and Pearl could both read and write and that they were all able to speak English including 2 year old Helen.

Quite a few changes took place for the Mount family by the time of the 1910 US Census.  They were now living across the country, in Portland, Oregon at 91 East 62nd Street.  John was 38 and salesman for a book company.  Pearl was 36 and an "Artist for a Painting Company."  Helen was 12 and the new arrival, Leighton was 6.  Living with them also were Pearl's parents: 65 year old Amos Leighton (1844-1926) and 57 year old Lottie Healy Leighton (1852-1939).  Amos was working as a "Manufacturer" for a Lumber Company.  As it had been in the 1900 census, John told the census taker that they owned their house free and clear.  

The 1920 US Census would be the last one for Leighton Mount.  This time the family was living in Evanston, Illinois at 1511 Maple Avenue:


1511 Maple Avenue, Evanston, Illinois
  
47 year old John Mount said he worked for a university.  45 year old Pearl said she was a "Collector" for a university.  The rest of the house was occupied by 21 year old Helen A. Mount and 16 year old Leighton Mount.  This time they were renting an apartment as opposed to owning a house as they had in the past.

We know from the Tribune article above that in 1921 the Mount family had moved into a duplex at 1145 Judson in Evanston:


1145 Judson, Evanston



















and that Leighton's father J.L. Mount was working as an educational man traveling for the American extension university. 

In his article about the Leighton Mount case for the NU newspaper North by Northwestern, author Matthew Zellner explains the history of  the Class Rush at Northwestern:

In 1921, Leighton Mount was an incoming freshman at Northwestern excited for the class rush. The class rush, traditionally held the Wednesday before the start of classes, was a rite of passage for incoming freshmen that took the form of an organized battle between the freshman and sophomore classes.

Class rush at Northwestern and many other schools had developed out of the “cane rush.” Canes were a symbol of distinction and honor in Victorian society, and it was impressed upon freshmen that they were forbidden from carrying them. Sophomores were tasked with enforcing this prohibition by any means necessary, until an annual competition was held in which freshmen could fight for the right to bear canes. This competition was called cane rush. It often took the form of a wrestling match over a single cane, in which each class would strip naked and grease themselves, then fight for the most hands on the cane.

After canes began to go out of style, class rush became more like an intense game of capture the flag. One night before classes, the lake shore would be divided up into a sophomore zone and a freshman zone. Each class would then attempt to sneak across the divide, kidnap opposing class members and “duck” them into the lake. Soon, it also became a tradition to kidnap “high-ranking” members of the opposing class during the week leading up to night of rush. Kidnapped students were sometimes taken as far away as Wisconsin and forced to hitch rides home.

By the time Leighton Mount was a freshman, class rushes had been going on for almost twenty years and had become highly organized. The Student Council even had a “Scrap Committee” that only a year earlier had been tasked with developing rules for class rush at the request of Northwestern President Walter Dill Scott in order to decrease the amount of injuries. Scott did not consider the rush to be in violation of Northwestern’s anti-hazing policy at the time, which defined hazing as “an interference with the personal liberty of another.”

On the night of September 22, 1921, according to a report in the Evanston News Index, Leighton kissed his mother goodbye and told her he was off to the “big scrap.” Leighton was then next seen near the old Patten Gym around 3:30 in the morning, after having ducked some sophomores. It would be the last time he would be seen alive. 

It will be important later to remember that the rush activities took place with the tacit approval of Northwestern's president Walter Dill Scott.


Walter Dill Scott

The Chicago Tribune from the next day, September 24, 1921 added some additional information to the story but deepened the mystery:


FATHER LOOKS FOR BOY BACK HOME TODAY

Developments in the Leighton Mount mystery late last night indicated that the Northwestern student's disappearance may have been the result of a "prank," either of fellow students or other persons.  It was reported at a late hour that the youth was sequestered in a flat somewhere in Sixtieth street and that he would be released sometime today.  

It was said that a group of the "conspirators"  were seen in a restaurant in the loop after midnight and that they afterward went to the south side house where the missing student was said to be sequestered.

Father Expects Him Home.

Meantime, J.L. Mount the father is said to be preparing to offer a reward for the discovery of his son.  And also the mother of the boy is near prostration from worry over the case.  

"I believe he is being held prisoner somewhere," said the father last night.  "I'm sure that he will be home by dawn and we are leaving the door unlocked and a light on the porch for him."

"But if he doesn't come back, I'll see my attorney."

Evanston police, however, have not ceased to consider that he may have been bound and thrown in the lake during the class fight.  Or perhaps that he is hidden in the forest preserve west of Evanston.

Last Seen Thursday at 3 A. M. 

The missing boy's movements were traced from 8:30 o'clock Wednesday night, when he left home to go to the scene of the class fight, until 4 o'clock Thursday morning.  

Harry Cook, 324 Dempster street, a chum of young Mount for several years, saw him in the university gymnasium at 3 o'clock in the morning, and two other students, Carl Oldberg and Henry Hassel, reported last night that they saw him there at 3 a. m.

Girl Tells of Suicide Threat.

Doris Fox, 24 years old, a former stenographer who was employed for some time as a nursemaid in the home of John D. Galbraith, 326 Dempster street, yesterday said that young Mount had said he loved her.  He threatened to commit suicide, the girl said.  But she said she didn't believe his disappearance had anything to do with his love for her.  She showed a note he had written to her on Wednesday night shortly before he disappeared, in which he told of planning to go into the freshman-sophomore college scrap.  This note also referred to his love for her.

"He told me," Miss Fox said, "that he wanted to die.He was brooding over something.  He said that he could go into the college scrap and just disappear.  He did not want his friends or relatives to think he would commit suicide."

Start Private Search.

The boy's father yesterday afternoon engaged an attorney, A.C. Burnham, with offices in the Wrigley building. to conduct a private investigation for him.  With the attorney he held a conference in the afternoon with President Walter Dill Scott of the university, after which he expressed his belief  that the university authorities were doing all in their power to find the missing boy.

The mother of the missing boy has had practically no sleep for three nights and is on the verge of an illness, despite his father's optimism.

Sunday, September 25th dawned and Leighton Mount was still not home - but according to the Chicago Tribune nobody seemed very worried:


VIEW VANISHING FRESHMAN AS TEAPOT TEMPEST
N.U. Student Willing Captive, Officials Agree.

Anxiety over the disappearance of Leighton Mount, Northwestern freshman who dropped out of sight during the class rush Wednesday night, seemed somewhat dissipated last night by rumors that he merely had allowed himself to be spirited away as a hoax.  It was reported he would return home today or tomorrow.  That likewise was the report Friday night.

Chief of Police Charles W. Leggett of Evanston called off the search for the youth, following a conference in his office with Walter Dill Scott, president of the university and Mayor Harry P. Pearsons.  Chief Leggett said all 3 were in accord in the opinion that young Mount's disappearance was in no way connected to student activities, his alleged despondency or a clandestine love affair.  He said university authorities had received information tending to substantiate a report that the boy is being held, a willing prisoner, in Chicago.


Father Not Worrying.

Even the actions of J.L. Mount of 1145 Judson avenue, father of the boy, were indicative that no grave concern was being felt for the youth's safety, although Mrs, Mount was said to be prostrated with grief.  Mr. Mount announced he was going to see Chief of Police Fitzmorris and demand a city-wide search by the Chicago police.  He did not see the chief.

He spoke of engaging private detectives to prosecute a search and of offering a reward.  He did neither.  Apparently incensed at the apathy of the university authorities, the father decided to protest to the board of trustees of the institution.  All arrangements were made for a visit to Oliver T. Wilson of Lake Forest, chairman of the board last night, but at the last moment Mr. Mount announced he would have to call the trip off, as he did not wish to leave his wife alone.


"No Great Hurry," He Says. 

"There is no great hurry," he said.  "If Leighton is dead we would be too late anyway, and if he his being held prisoner he probably is being well taken care of and he will be found."

One university official is said to have stated the boy was kidnapped for publicity purposes.  Mr. Mount said he had asked detective Sergeant Bourke to investigate this rumor and that the policeman reported it was without foundation.

"I never heard the report and I haven't made an investigation of any kind," said Bourke.  "I told Mr. Mount we could do nothing until formally requested by the Evanston police unless he could furnish us with information that the boy is in Chicago."

It was recalled that Frank Vaughn, then president of the sophomore class, was kidnapped and held for three days in a shack west of Evanston in 1914.

On Monday, September 26, the Tribune reported that Leighton Mount had come home!  ...or had he???


STUDENT "FOUND"; AGAIN MISSING
Officer tells of Midnight Call and Flight.

The return home of Leighton Mount, the missing Northwestern university freshman, was reported this morning.  He was recognized as he tried vainly to get into his home, 1145 Judson avenue, Evanston.

Gilbert Kelling**, 943 Ashland avenue, Evanston, a member of the state constabulary, was driving in Judson avenue at one o'clock.  He saw a Buick car stop at the home of Carl Jefferson, 1137 Judson avenue.  there were five men in it.


Recognizes Missing Student.

Kelling, fearing robbers, drove off.  He stopped about a block away, and from there watched the quintet.  He saw a man jump from the machine.  The man had on an overcoat much too big for him.  As he passed under an arc light midway between the machine and the Mount house Kelling got a full view of his face.  Kelling says it was Leighton Mount, whom he has known for years.

The light that the elder Mount had said would be burning for the return of his boy was not burning.  The man believed to be young Mount ran up the front steps and tried the door.  It was locked.  he then ran to a side door.  He was no more successful there.  He went to the back door.  He could not get in there, either.  From that time on he was not seen.  He had disappeared somewhere in the neighborhood.  


Mystery Car Drives Away.

Meantime the Buick had driven away and Kelling had notified the father of the student and the Evanston police.  Within a short time the police were engaged in the new hunt.  

Kelling says the driver of the Buick was a man about 30 years old with several days' growth of beard.  Kelling described the party as resembling "bums."  He thought they might be blackmailers who had brought young Mount home and sent him into the house to demand money from Mount's father.

**The Tribune continually referred to "Kilbert Kelling" throughout its reporting of the Leighton Mount disappearance.  Per ancestry.com the correct identification is "Gilbert Kelling," (1899-1928) a chauffeur for Mrs. P. D. Rathbone, 536 Sheridan Road, Evanston.  I will refer to him by his correct name, notwithstanding what the Tribune called him.

By Tuesday, September 27, the Tribune moved the story of the "missing" Leighton Mount from the front page back to page five:


"FRAT" HOUSES ARE SEARCHED FOR N.U. YOUTH

Northwestern university fraternity houses were searched yesterday by order of the student council in an effort to find Leighton Mount, the 18 year old freshman who disappeared Thursday morning following the annual fight between the first and second year classes.  The order was given as the result of persistent rumors that young Mount was being held prisoner by sophomore members of one of the "frats."

"I am convinced he went away of his own accord," declared Allen Mills, who is in charge of the student's search.

Mount's father is puzzled by the report made to the police yesterday by Gilbert Kelling, 943 Ashland avenue, Evanston, that he had seen the missing student leave a machine, try all the doors of his home at 1145 Judson avenue, in a vain effort get in and then vanish.  Mr. Mount said that for a time, when he was out, the house was locked, but he cannot understand why his boy did not return later.  

It seems the investigation was going nowhere fast as we can see by the Tribune from the next day, Wednesday September, 28th, the seventh day after Mount's "disappearance":


POLICE SEARCH "FRAT" HOUSE FOR MISSING N.U. BOY

Police Captain Dennis McEnery of Evanston searched the Delta Upsilon fraternity house yesterday at Northwestern university for Leighton Mount, the freshman who disappeared last Thursday following the annual struggle between the freshman and sophomore classes.

The search was made at the instigation of Mrs. Mount, who insisted her son was being held captive in the fraternity house.  No trace of the missing youth was found.

Mrs. Mount expressed dissatisfaction with the way Chief of Police Leggett was conducting the search.  The Evanston police accuse Mrs. Mount of withholding information.

So now the finger pointing begins.  Seven days since the disappearance of Leighton Mount and neither hide nor hair of him had turned up anywhere - except for the dubious middle-of-the-night identification by Gilbert Kelling.  Could Northwestern University President Walter Dill Scott have anything to do with this?  He has already dismissed the disappearance as "there's nothing to it."

Now we come to one week after the screaming headline ("Student Lost After Hazing") about the disappearance of Leighton Mount.  Interesting how quickly the word "hazing" disappeared from Tribune accounts.

Thursday, September 29, 1921, the story in the Tribune was pushed back to five lines on page seventeen:


EVANSTON YOUTH STILL MISSING; HUNT CONTINUES

Search that continued far into the night for Leighton Mount, Northwestern university freshman, who has been missing since a class "scrap" of last Wednesday proved futile.

They say that there is nothing older than "yesterday's news."  That certainly seems to be the case with the disappearance of Leighton Mount.  From screaming headlines to five lines on page seventeen just one week later, to total disappearance from the pages of the Tribune.  The next article about Leighton Mount comes on November 25, 1921, two months after his disappearance:


CLEWS TO FATE OF MISSING LAD TO WIN REWARD

Encouraged by the hope that his son is still alive, J.L. Mount of 1145 Judson avenue, Evanston, announced last night that he would pay a liberal reward for any information concerning the whereabouts of Leighton Mount, the Northwestern freshman who dropped out of site during the class rush Sept. 22.

Despite the failure of two months' search throughout the country for the lad, Mr. and Mrs. Mount expressed confidence last night that their boy was not dead and that their efforts would yet be successful.

Even the promise of a liberal reward turned up no new information as to the whereabouts of Leighton Mount.  Somebody must know what happened to him!

Nothing-nothing-nothing.  Finally a small article on July 21, 1922, 301 days after he was first reported missing:


MOUNT VICTIM OF AMNESIA MOTHER BELIEVES

Interest among Evanston police in the unsolved disappearance ten months ago of Leighton Mount, Northwestern university freshman, was revived last night when his mother, Mrs. J. L. Mount, 1145 Judson avenue, Evanston, disclosed a new possibility in the case.  He suffered a skull injury when he was a child by falling from a second story window, she said, and was warned by physicians to avoid excitement or strenuous exercise.  She believes he is still alive but has lost his memory.  

The disappearance led to a nationwide search last year.  On his third day in school, Mount joined his freshman classmates in the annual "prom fight" with the sophomores.  When the student combat ended at 3 o'clock in the morning Mount was gone.  The lake was dragged and numerous theories were investigated.  No trace of him was found, however.  Mrs. Mount said she is employing private detectives to continue the search.

And NU President Walter Dill Scott is again heard from, in the Tribune on September 15, 1922, almost one year after Leighton Mount disappeared:


N.U. SCRAPS "PROC" NITE OWING TO MOUNT MYSTERY

Students and faculty of Northwestern university united yesterday in deciding that "proc" night - due Wednesday by custom of time immemorial - shall not be held and shall be banished forever.  It's the annual scrap to a finish between freshmen and sophomores.  


President Walter Dill Scott gave as the reason for the decision (the) mystery surrounding the disappearance of Leighton Mount, a student during "proc" night last year.  He's never been seen since by Evanston folk, and a rumor spread that he had been held by his feet in the lake until he drowned.  This "absurd" rumor hurt the university, Dr. Scott declared, and it was decided to avoid any such possible danger in the future.  

So "proc" night with its slugging matches and its bruised and broken head goes out and in its place comes a comparatively sedate pushball game between the two classes on November 11. 

With that, Northwestern University brought the matter of the disappearance of Leighton Mount (which had "hurt the university") to a close.  NU President Walter Dill Scott hoped that with any luck he would never hear the name of Leighton Mount again. 

So, will we ever know what really happened to Leighton Mount?  Was he living comfortably on a Caribbean island with JFK, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe?  Was he kidnapped by aliens?  Did he commit suicide over his unrequited love of stenographer Doris Fox?  Was he walking around in the fog of amnesia as his mother suggested?  Was he put into the FBI witness protection program unbeknownst even to his own parents?  Believe it or not, the strange story of Leighton Mount is going to get even stranger!  Stay tuned for "The Shocking Conclusion to The Strange Disappearance of a Northwestern University Freshman - Leighton Mount" coming to this blog December 1st.


Leighton Mount
    

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

TWO SUBMISSIONS BY GUEST CONTRIBUTOR MATT VAN WINKLE: Rev. Frank J. Medford and Sgt. Myron L. Gregory

For a change of pace this month, I am going to turn the blog over to a guest contributor for two articles written by Matt Van Winkle from Aledo, Illinois.  I first contacted Matt when I was working on my article about Henrietta Cooley's bridge game:


I found out that the person I was writing about, Edyth Cabeen Griffin, was interred in Aledo, Illinois, a small town in Mercer County, about 200 miles southwest of Chicago.  I considered driving out there myself to take the grave photos but it would take me about 3 1/2 hours each way so I decided to try to find someone to photograph the grave for me.  I checked the listings for the cemetery in Aledo and found that quite a few grave photos had been taken by a man named Matt Van Winkle.  I reached out to Matt and he graciously agreed to photograph Edith Griffith's grave for me.  Over the next few days we emailed back and forth and I told him about this blog and how much fun I had doing the research and writing the stories.  Matt told me that he enjoys doing research on people who have lived in Mercer County and has posted over 1,600 of his Mercer County grave photos to Find a Grave.  

I had decided a while back to open the blog to guest contributors.  There are so many stories out there waiting to be told.  People might be reluctant to take on the responsibility of having their own blog but would be very happy contributing a story or two to my blog.  After corresponding with Matt I decided he would be a perfect contributor and after asking him, he responded enthusiastically that he would love the opportunity to contribute.  I have asked Matt also to tell us a little about himself, so you will find his bio at the end of the two stories he provided.  So, without further ado, here are two Under Every Tombstone articles written by Matt Van Winkle of Aledo, Illinois:

REV. FRANK JACOB MEDFORD
The man that history forgets, or never knew
By: Matt Van Winkle

Interesting things you find when digging through some old boxes, papers, and documents that people have either long forgotten or never knew about. I decided one cold, gray, wintry day that I would dive into the church’s messy unorganized archives just for fun. I particularly love looking at the old photos of times past and the people that once walked the halls of old buildings. Old buildings can speak a thousand words if given a chance. College Avenue itself has seen its fair share of memories and people that have come and gone before its eyes. 

On this particular cold wintry day College Avenue’s walls and memories spoke to me, and they had a lot to say. I stumbled upon a man that these walls knew all too well, a man whose voice rang out through the sanctuary for almost 23 years.  This man was the Reverend Frank Jacob Medford. To an average person today, Frank Medford would be just another person, or just another pastor that served College Avenue, but something caught my eye as I kept digging through College Avenue’s history. I kept seeing Frank pop up in places where all the other pastors didn’t. The more I dug, the more I would find until I finally had pieced his term as Pastor together, and what I found was astonishing. Frank Medford had served College Avenue through some of its best times and some of its darkest times. 

Frank started his call with College Avenue in 1926 with the opening of a brand new church which we still call home today every Sunday. Frank took an already proud and flourishing congregation and grew it more by getting the church more involved with the community by working together with the other churches in the area. At one point he got most of the denominations together and would hold a community service with all the congregations. By doing this, Frank became a big staple in the community and everyone loved and admired him.

Then, on December 6, 1941, news came that the empire of Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor; everyone’s lives changed forever, and some of the darkest days in Aledo and United States history would come. But because of one man, his tolerance of all faiths, and his strong faith in Jesus Christ, he was able to keep everyone’s hope alive, even when fear and sadness struck when the male membership in the congregation was decimated. When man dropped the Atomic bomb on Japan and the war ended, life started to come back to normalcy and resume where it left off prewar.

But tragedy again would strike on September 23, 1948. Frank Medford, the rock and strength and reason of College Avenue, had fallen. On an errand at the church, Frank fell and collapsed while talking with church members on the front steps. His heart had given out, and he passed in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. The congregation had lost their beloved minister that had given them leadership and spiritual guidance through the best of times and the worst times. But because of him, they were able to push through this hard time and band together and be as strong as before. Because they all loved and admired him, they gave him one of the most memorable memorials anyone could remember. 

Having researched all this, I grew a bond with this man even though he was before my time. His story reminded me of what the teachings of Jesus Christ are all about. Frank is buried in Aledo Cemetery with just a plain and simple headstone. I went to his gravesite and said a prayer, and I felt very uplifted at a time when I was melancholy. If you ever feel the need to go and say a prayer at his gravesite, you will come away feeling very uplifted as if he is still here for us beyond the grave. Frank may be in the beyond walking alongside Jesus, but he will live on in all of us at College Avenue, even years after his passing, because of the impact he had on this community.

Rev. Frank Jacob Medford


Here's a wonderful anecdote Matt discovered while researching the life of  Frank Medford:

                              

Here is the second of Matt's stories:


SGT. MYRON LINDOR GREGORY
“A Memorial to Hard Work and Dedication”
By: Matt Van Winkle


I stumbled upon Myron Gregory while taking photos for the website Find a Grave in Aledo Cemetery. I found his story interesting, with he and his wife being faithful members of College Avenue Presbyterian Church and members of the community, I believe everyone should know his story and take a moment to remember him.

Myron was born in Walcott, Wayne County, New York, on July 31, 1841. In 1844, Myron and his family migrated to a farm in Delavan, Wisconsin. When war came in 1862, Myron enlisted in the 22nd Wisconsin Infantry, also known as “The Abolition Regiment.” On March 5, 1863, the 22nd Wisconsin, part of a brigade of about 1,850 men led by Colonel John Coburn, was in a two-day running battle with Confederate Brigadier General William H. "Red" Jackson’s Cavalry Division, which included a brigade of about a thousand men led by Nathan Bedford Forrest. Deployed on a hill just north of the town of Thompson’s Station, TN the 22nd Wisconsin took part in charges and counter charges of the Confederate forces.

At some point in the battle, confusion struck the brigade, and their artillery and cavalry retreated from the field, leaving the rest of the men outnumbered and outgunned. With the artillery being the only firepower to beat back any counter charges, and the Cavalry protecting the rear supplies and retreat route, Bedford Forrest saw an opportunity. He took a force of men and led them northeast, using the hills as cover in an effort to surround and cut off any chance of retreat for the Union brigade. Seeing what was happening to his brigade, Colonel Coburn decided to hold his ground. After severe fighting for 5 hours, during which the men held out against charges from all sides, Colonel Coburn decided further fighting was futile and surrendered his brigade. Myron Gregory was one of the 1,150 men taken prisoner at the battle. 

He and 200 comrades of the 22nd Wisconsin, as well as Colonel Coburn, were taken to the dreaded Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia. He stayed there until exchanged on May 8, 1863, at which point he met up with the rest of the 22nd Wisconsin in St. Louis as they reorganized. After reorganizing, the 22nd served as garrison troops until they got redemption in 1864 under General Sherman during his Atlanta campaign and his famous march to the sea. At the end of the war, Myron saw the final surrender of Joe Johnston’s army in North Carolina and then marched in the famous “Grand Review” in Washington D.C. before being discharged. Along with the Battle of Thompson’s Station, Myron Gregory took part in many battles ranging throughout Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas. Some of the battles were Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Resaca, Cassville, New Hope Church, Kolb’s Farm, Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, The Siege of Atlanta, Lawtonville, S.C., Averysboro, N.C. and Bentonville, N.C. as well as several other minor engagements. Depending upon several factors—which theater of war, wounds, or illness—a Union soldier could expect to be in a couple of big battles a year and maybe a few minor engagements. Sgt. Myron Gregory took part in at least 24 battles and minor engagements.

Upon his return home to Wisconsin, he married Irene Williams on Sept. 16, 1865, and had two children, a son Charlton and daughter Anna. He and his family moved to Millersburg, IL in 1880 and then to Aledo, IL 7 years later. In my research I was able to find out a little bit about their lives while they were here. As well as being a faithful member of College Avenue Presbyterian Church, Myron worked in a flour mill. His wife Irene was blind the last 7 years of her life, and after her son tragically died during surgery for acute appendicitis, she took ill probably due to a broken heart. Irene died July 19, 1919. 

Their daughter Anna married a Mr. Wyman Smith, and she survived both her brother and her parents. Their son Charlton was a prominent citizen in Aledo, serving as superintendent of schools in Mercer County and as chairman of the examining board of the Grand Lodge of the Freemasons, but died at the age of 50 on September 12, 1918. 

Here is Charlton Gregory's grave in the Aledo Cemetery:



Seeing both his son and wife die within a short time of one another, Myron died on November 20th, 1920. He is buried in Aledo cemetery with a simple Civil War Veteran’s headstone that took the remaining family 7 years to buy.


Although not born and raised in Aledo, Myron showed and shared the hard working values and dedication that the people of Aledo and Mercer County have embodied since their beginning.



As promised, here is Matt Van Winkle's bio:

Matt Van Winkle

I was born and raised in Moline, IL to a German immigrant mother and a blue collar father. I grew up with a strong love of baseball and history. I’ve been married since 2017 and have a son who is virtually my mini me. I’ve lived your typical Midwest City life, but have traveled all over the United States and visited many countries in Europe.

I’ve been an American Civil War reenactor; I served as the 3rd Iowa Cavalry unit historian for a time. I’ve also been a genealogist for 10 years and have been writing baseball and history articles for the past two years. I currently live in Aledo, IL where my wife serves as a Presbyterian minister for two churches in Mercer County. For the last two years I have taken over 1600 photos of headstones for Find-a-Grave for the many cemeteries around Mercer County. .




A big thank-you to Matt Winkle for being our first guest contributor and providing two Aledo stories for my blog.  I have a feeling we'll be hearing more from Matt in the future. 

May Rev. Frank J. Medford and Myron L. Gregory rest in peace.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

EVANSTON WOMAN WHOSE HUSBAND DIED ON THEIR WEDDING DAY - Therese Porter

When you were young, did you ever play the game where a bunch of people sit in a circle and the first person whispers a secret into the ear of the person on one side, they whisper it to the next, and it goes around the circle, only to end up being an entirely different secret?  According to the Internet this game is called "Telephone" or "Chinese Whispers" or "Broken Telephone" or "Whispers Down the Lane."  The point of the game is that if a story is told to enough people, the fundamentals of the story often get changed.  That seems to be what happened with the story of Therese Porter of Evanston, Illinois.

When I was young, on hot summer afternoons my family often went to Evanston's Lee Street Beach.  Lee Street Beach is on the shore of Lake Michigan along Lake Shore Boulevard from Lee Street north to Greenleaf.  Opposite the beach along Lake Shore Boulevard are several big, old Evanston homes.  Walking from the beach back to our car my Mother often pointed to one of the big old houses and said "that's where the woman lived who was very wealthy and quite eccentric.  After her husband died, she had his car put up on blocks and never used it again."  My Mother was a native Evanstonian and knew lots of great stories about Evanston in the old days.  Like most children when their parents were telling tales from the old days, I half-paid attention and didn't give it any more thought.

Fast forward to January of 2019 when I was writing the story of Shirley Cedarquist Johnson who was photographed for the newspaper feeding canaries in the mausoleum at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie.  Shirley's family ended up contacting me and giving me lots of additional information and photos.  Almost as an afterthought, Shirley Johnson's niece Wendy Wright sent me an email that said:

Question for you.  My sister and cousin really like your blog posts, and all your work on the details.  They were on the phone tonight (as usual) and were talking and thought it would be great if you researched the woman who lived by the lake whose groom died at their wedding. We all grew up hearing the story and my mom had pointed out the house.

So, reaching back into the depths of my memories I responded "Was that the woman who had her husband's car put up on blocks after he died and never used it again?"  Wendy said it was and I agreed that it would make a great story for the blog - but how to go about digging up the real facts?  I Googled "Evanston groom dies on wedding day," and "Evanston woman puts dead husband's car on blocks," and even "Evanston wealthy recluse," all with no success.

In the meantime I mentioned the story to my friend Mike Kelly, who knows a tremendous amount of obscure facts about Evanston history.  Mike hadn't heard the story (from his Mother or anyone else), but suggested I get the addresses of the houses facing Lee Street Beach and research each one on Google.  I said I would and even tried it with the 1931 Evanston City Directory with no success.  Luckily Mike is more persistent than I am.  

The very next day Mike sent me this email:

This appears to be the gal you're looking for, Jim...Mrs. Albert B Porter lived at 1024 Lake Shore Blvd for many years...

And here is picture of her home...

Apparently her maiden name was Therese Study, if this school yearbook is correct...

Oddly enough, Evanston Directory listings over the years recorded her under various names...Theresa Porter (1927), Mrs. Anna B Porter (1935 & others), Mrs. Albert B. Porter (1948)
  
She died in 1953 per these scattered references...Mr. Porter died in 1909. 

Mike came through for me again, as he had done so many times in the past.  Once I had the name Therese Study Porter and the address of 1024 Lake Shore Boulevard I was ready to start digging.  But before we uncover the true story of the death of Mrs. Porter's husband, and his car up on blocks in the driveway, let's see what we can uncover about the Porters.  We'll start with Therese.

Therese Amelia Study was born in December of 1870 in Centerville, Indiana to Thomas Jefferson Study (1842-1914) and Therese A. Widup (1837-1915).  Therese had one brother, Richard Study (1879-1943).  Thomas Jefferson Study was an attorney.  Apparently Therese's nickname in the family was "Iba" because that's how they listed her in the 1880 US Census.  In addition to Thomas and Therese, and their children Richard and Iba, there were two other people living in the house at 35 Seventh Street in Richmond, Indiana:  Therese's mother also named Therese Widup, and a servant, forty year-old Delia Eagan. Unfortunately that area of Richmond is all commercial properties today.

The 1890 US Census for Richmond, Indiana is gone, but we do know that starting in 1888 Therese Study was a student at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana and graduated as part of the Class of 1890.

On September 22, 1892, Therese Amelia Study married Albert Brown Porter in Richmond, Indiana.  The bride was 21; the groom was 28.

Albert Brown Porter was born in March of 1864 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Albert Gallatin Porter (1824-1897) and Minerva Virginia Brown (1824-1875).  Albert was the youngest of the five children born to Albert and Minerva.  Albert's siblings are:  Omer T. Porter (1848-1905), George Tousey Porter (1849-1927), Edward Porter (1851-1909), and Anna Porter (1859-1939).  Albert Gallatin Porter was an attorney and also a politician who served as the 19th Governor of Indiana from 1881 to 1885 and as a United States Congressman from 1859 to 1863. Originally a Democrat, he joined the Republican Party in 1856 after being expelled by the pro-slavery faction of the Democrat Party.


Albert Gallatin Porter

Albert Brown Porter began his studies at Stevens Institute in 1879 at the age of 15. He completed his B.S. in physics at Purdue University in 1884 and then taught for seven years at Richmond High School before beginning graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University. In 1894, he became Professor of Physics and Department Chair at Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago where he remained for 9 years. In 1903, Porter resigned from Armour Institute of Technology to establish "The Scientific Shop", a commercial enterprise for manufacture of precision physical instruments, in particular optical instruments.


Armour Institute of Technology - Chicago, Illinois



















The 1900 US Census finds Therese and Albert Porter living at 1232 Forest Avenue in beautiful Evanston, Illinois:

1232 Forest Avenue, Evanston, Illinois
  
Albert listed his occupation as "Professor," Therese didn't list any occupation.  They had been married 7 years and didn't have any children.  Living with them was 23 year-old Emma Burchardt, a domestic.  Both Albert and Therese had been raised with servants in the house.

In 1904, Albert Porter hired Thomas B. Carson, a carpenter-contractor, to build a ten room brown brick house at 1024 Lake Shore Boulevard in Evanston, facing Lake Michigan.  Here's a photo of the house from that era:

1024 Lake Shore Boulevard, Evanston, Illinois

On Saturday April 17, 1909, people woke up to the startling news that Albert Porter had died very suddenly the night before:


The Richmond (Indiana) Item - April 17, 1909

As per his previous arrangements, Albert Porter's body was brought back to Indiana.  On April 19, 1909 he was buried in the Porter family plot (Section 14, Lot 92) in the Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis:





Myth #1 debunked:  Albert Porter was married September 22, 1892 and died April 16, 1909.  Not only did he not die on his wedding day, he died 16 years, 6 months, and 25 days after his wedding day. 

Local newspapers reported that after his death, Porter's wife donated all of his optical instruments and other laboratory equipment to Northwestern University.

Therese Porter must have been a believer in the old adage "A 'Lady' only has her name in the newspaper three times:  When she is born, when she marries, and when she dies."  After her husband's death, Therese Porter's name was not in the newspapers until just before she died.  We can, however check up on her by looking at the US Census.

The 1910 US Census found Therese Porter still living in the house she had shared with Albert at 1024 Lake Shore Boulevard, although the census taker mistakenly reported the address as 1024 Sheridan Road.  Therese Porter reported that she was 39 years-old, and a widow.  She said that she had her "Own Income," and that she owned the house free-and-clear with no mortgages or encumbrances.  Therese Porter was not living alone, however.  She reported a servant, 31 year-old Carrie Lamson from Norway. 

Not surprisingly, Therese Porter is still living in the same place for the 1920 US Census:  1024 Lake Shore Boulevard in Evanston.  However this time she is living alone.  She told the census taker that she was 45 (she was 50) and a widow.  She could both read and write English and she had no occupation.

No changes for Therese Porter in the 1930 US Census.  She gives her age as 55 (she was 60) and a widow.  She owned the house at 1024 Lake Shore Boulevard and she assigned a value of $52,500 to her home.  No surprise - she does own a radio.

In the 1940 US Census, Therese Porter is still living alone, and still living in the house at 1024 Lake Shore Boulevard.  She now gives the home's value as $50,000, $2,500 less than in 1930 - but there had been a depression after all.  If Therese Porter was affected by the Great Depression of the 1930s it was only with a nudge.  She said she was 69 years-old (she was 70), that she owned the house and that she had had education post-college.  And it was not a surprise that she told the census taker that she had been living in the same house in 1935.

What was Therese Porter like during this period?  One of her neighbors, attorney George Haight, who said he had a "casual speaking acquaintance" with Therese Porter said, "She was intelligent, highly educated and well read.  She could converse with alacrity on the topics of the day."

But not too long after this, her neighbors began to notice some changes.  It was reported that she let the house run down and weeds grew high in both the front of her house and in the yard.  She broke off any contact she had with distant relatives, and started sending out for meals, having them delivered to her home by taxicab. Although she had many neighborhood acquaintances who regarded her with respect, she was said to have preferred birds and dogs to human company.  She was quoted as saying that "Animals protect you.  They don't talk back.  They are the only true friends man has."  She was often seen walking through the neighborhood in the company of two large dogs.

It was later reported that in addition to the dogs, her house contained as many as 22 cats, although newspaper accounts at the time do not mention any cats - only a succession of dogs.  

All winter she put out food for the birds and vast flocks of them remained in her neighborhood through the snows.  After her death it was discovered that she had purchased the best of clothes but much of it lay unused in her home while she went around in shoes with worn-out soles and dresses long outdated.  

George Haight was convinced that Mrs. Porter's eccentricities were not due to any mental disorder.  Haight did say however, that Therese Porter often expressed a wish to die, accompanied by a fear of dying alone.  

In March of 1953 Therese Porter was hospitalized for three days after she fell in her home.  While she was in the hospital the Evanston Police removed her valuables for her own protection from tomato baskets and hat boxes in the empty house. 

Later that same year, as she realized that her days were short, she moved to the farm home near Palatine of Harry Sall, a chauffeur who had befriended her.


Therese Porter's house circa 1950.  Note the overgrown yard and the torn screen on the second floor window.






    
On Saturday, September 12, 1953 Therese Porter called Sall and his wife into the room she occupied, asking Mrs. Sall to hold her in her arms.  A few minutes later she died.

Immediately after her death, her remains were taken to the Hebblethwaite Funeral Home at 1567 Maple in Evanston where they waited for someone to appear with authority to order a funeral service.

When word spread of the death of Mrs. Porter, the Evanston Police Department posted a round-the-clock guard at the house to prevent theft or vandalism.  They also reported that they were holding a package of Mrs. Porter's securities worth $239,647 at that time.  The securities has been found scattered throughout the home.  This may have been the same securities that the police reported finding in March of 1953 when Mrs. Porter had been hospitalized after a fall in her home.

Once the death had been announced, attorney Franklyn Bliss, Snyder, Jr. and the Northern Trust Company reported that their records indicated that Therese Porter had prepared a will, but they were unable to produce a copy.

To move things along, Public Administrator Thomas D. Nash was named administrator of the estate, and he made the necessary arrangements for Mrs. Porter's funeral.

Here is Therese Study Porter's Death Notice from the Chicago Tribune of September 17, 1953:










Therese Porter was buried next to her husband in the Porter family plot at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis:












Her particular resting place is unmarked.

Now the fun began as a search was raised for her will, and relatives came out of the woodwork to place a claim against the sizable estate.

For weeks throughout the Fall of 1953, the public was titillated on an almost daily basis with tales of the gathering of the assets and the hunt for a will of Mrs. Porter.

On September 16, 1953 the Chicago Daily Tribune reported that the day before an intensive search was launched for the missing will and any assets that the house on Lake Shore Boulevard could contain.  Investigators were unable to locate a will, but the Tribune reported that after a two hour search they removed $3,700 in uncashed dividend checks stashed in a small candy box.  The group sent to examine Therese Porter's home included Attorney Thomas Fitzpatrick, John Damisch chief inheritance tax examiner, Lt. Hubert Kelsh Evanston Detective Chief, Jack Rubens public administrator's investigator and State Treasurer Elmer J. Hoffman.

Hopes were raised about a possible will when at the end of September a black notebook was turned in to Evanston Police.  It has been found "near the house of Therese Porter" by an Evanston schoolgirl.  An unsigned section from 1912 titled "My Will" said that Mrs. Porter wanted Richard Study (her brother) to inherit her property if she died without a formal will.  Other possible heirs were listed by police said most of the names were illegible.

The mystery was solved when on October 29, 1953 newspapers reported that Therese Porter's will had been found:




So, the final requests of Therese Porter would be carried out as she wished - or would they?  

Not if her cousins had anything to say about it.  A formal contest of the will was made by cousins Mrs. Alice Yelvington 101 years old of Gary, Indiana; Mrs. Ella Ellasohn 87, and Mrs. Elizabeth Cranor 96, both of Muncie, Indiana; Mrs. Mary J. Boden 88, of Cambridge City, Indiana; and Mrs. Grace Fleischer 86, of Berkley, California.  

Cousin once-removed Frederick Julian tried to get his share by petitioning to be appointed administrator of the estate which would entitle him to a substantial fee.  He was not successful in this endeavor.

The matter dragged on in the courts for years and was not finally resolved until June of 1955 when a diary kept by Therese Porter came to light.  It contained entries indicating that Mrs. Porter was of sound mind up to a time within a few days of her death.  Among them were comments on current events, an observation that American Telephone and Telegraph Co. stock was a "good buy" and a detailed analysis of the stock market.  The realization that Mrs. Porter had been in sound mind convinced the cousins that it was a good time to settle their claims against the estate for whatever they could get. 

In the end, the estate turned out to be worth over $400,000.00.  Judge Julius Miner awarded the six cousins a total of $22,500.00 to be split amongst themselves with the remainder of the estate being awarded to the Anti-Cruelty Society, Orphans of the Storm, the North Side Animal Shelter and the National Audubon Society (Yay!).

The former house of Albert and Therese Porter and the two adjoining northern lots adjacent to the house were purchased by Arthur and Margaret Leach who made extensive renovations and restoration to the house.  The remodeled home was open to the public for tours in 1973 as part of the League of Women Voters "Housewalk of Remodeled Homes."  Here's how the house looks today:

1024 Lake Shore Boulevard, Evanston, Illinois
      
So now you know the story of Therese Porter, the wealthy Evanston recluse.

But wait!  What about the story about the car up on blocks in the driveway?  We already know that Albert Porter did not die on his wedding day, so why did his widow put his car on blocks and leave it in the driveway for years?  Here is, as they say, is the "Rest of the Story" from the Chicago Daily Times of Wednesday May 24, 1939:

EVANSTON ROMANCE RIPPED

Prize Legend Fades Before Truth

By Earl Selby

Evanston awoke today with the bereft and cheated feeling of a town which has seen its best and only romantic legend blown up before its eyes.

For years and years Evanston has cherished the romantic story of Mrs. Anna (sic) Porter and her lost love, a fantastic yarn woven around the suitable setting of her unkempt estate on fashionable Lake Shore drive and the ancient auto which stood it its weed grown driveway.

Today the auto was gone and with it the old, old myth.

Tomorrow the ragged lawn will be mowed, the rank shrubbery will be trimmed, the trees will be pruned and the old Porter mansion will look no more mysterious than the houses on either side.

FOR A HUMAN REASON

The auto was moved, and you have Mrs. Porter's own word for this, for a very human reason having nothing to do with a tragic death or an interrupted honeymoon.

She already called up a garage and had it taken away because it was no longer needed to "spite Chief Freeman."  It was moved only one day after Evanston's chief of police, William O. Freeman, resigned his office.  When the tow car came, Mrs. Porter told the TIMES she had let the ancient vehicle stand untouched under her portico for 10 years simply because it was one of the eyesores that made Chief Freeman mad.

And then Evanston's mystery woman and recluse told the true story of her life, a story quite different from the one which has brought hundreds to stare into the unkempt grounds with avid curiosity.

Mrs. Porter was educated at the University of Michigan where she met and married Albert Brown Porter, then a young physicist deep in research on the speed of light.  They had a mutual interest for she also was a physicist.

They came to Chicago in 1899 and Porter became a full professor of physics at the Armour Institute.  IN 1904 they built a 10-room brown brick house at 1024 Lake Shore in Evanston.  Porter, a quiet studious man whose retiring habits were shared by his wife, had a laboratory built on the third floor and spent much of his time there.

Anna Porter, a woman advanced far beyond the customs of her day, worked side-by-side with her scientist husband.  

He died in 1909.  After his death, Mrs. Porter turned his library, his collection of valuable optical instruments and other laboratory equipment over to Northwestern university.

Never much interested in social affairs, she went on in the same quiet way of life the couple had followed before Porter died.

FOND OF DOGS

She like dogs and gradually gathered many about her.With her today were three black Scotties and a collie.  She would not say how many others she has.    

She retained her interest in mechanics and in 1928 enrolled in the Evanston township high school for a course in engineering.  because the school had few shop facilities, she bought a second-hand 1922 Cadillac and took it to the school, allowing the whole class to use it for experiments.  The next year she offered to sell the ancient vehicle to the school but took it home and parked it under the portico when the school refused to buy.

It was hot summer then and her dogs joyfully laid claim to the car which provided welcome shade.  Mrs. Porter didn't need it, having an old electric which she preferred to drive and since she didn't "have the heart" to deprive the dogs she simply left it there.

There began Evanston's legend, which sprang up, it is not certain how, and was soon repeated and believed by the town and far beyond.

EVANSTON'S LEGEND

The story went that Mrs. Porter, a new and radiant bride, was to meet her husband at the 5:15 train from Chicago one afternoon in 1909 and then they were to drive away for a honeymoon trip to the East.

At the station, it was said they brought her word he had died on the train.  Overpowered by grief, she went home, only to return to the station night after night and sit there waiting for the train which was never to bring her husband.

Eventually, they said, she drove the car home after another nightly disappointment and left it under the portico, never to be driven again.

It made a beautiful piece of fiction and hardly anybody thought it queer that a 1922 auto should be the vehicle for a honeymoon in 1909.

SHE SUSPECTS MALICE

Mrs. Porter has her own ideas on how the legend began.  She thinks a local real estate operator thought it up and spread it out of malice when she refused to sell her home.

She knows at any rate that the story spread and many came to stare and question.  She knows there were other annoyances, so many that she eventually became a recluse in fact as well as name.  She allowed the grounds to run down and eventually that brought Chief Freeman complaining to her gate and inspired her to leave the old auto there until today.  

If you want to see where all this happened, the Porter house still stands today at 1024 Lake Shore Boulevard in Evanston, across the street from Lee Street Beach.  As indicated above it looks significantly different than it did in 1953.  Sometime after Therese Porter's death the subsequent owners had the porte cochere removed from the side of the house and sold the two lots immediately to the north, both of which have houses on them today.

(Do not disturb the current residents.)

If you look you can see the driveway that led to the porte cochere where Mrs. Porter parked her 1922 Cadillac that started all the rumors.

If you stand there and listen real hard, you can hear the soft chuckling of Therese Porter who really did have the last word.

Therese Study Porter and one of her Scotties

May Therese Porter and her husband Albert rest in peace.