Harry Thaw’s murder of Stanford White is so well known, I rarely see anything I’m not already familiar with related to that famous 1906 shooting at Madison Square Gardens.
So I was surprised when I came across Harry Thaw’s mugshot the other day. I’d never seen it. Around the turn of the century, male and female criminals were often photographed with and without their hats on.
Once I knew it existed, I went looking for a better quality copy. I didn’t find one, but I did learn that Thaw later wrote a bizarre book called The Traitor about his life that was published in 1926.
It included a collage of pictures titled “Evelyn’s Moods”:
Finally, I came across a picture of Harry and Evelyn, long after their marriage ended, looking rather picturesque.
Harry and Evelyn, probably late 1930s or early 1940s, from LA Times
Just a short post for today, but there’s lots of Evelyn Nesbit related posts on Old Spirituals, if you’re interested!
This is Part 2 of The Kings of Louisiana. Be sure to read Part 1 first!
When he left home the next morning to go to his office, Dr. Allen King looked around, blinking in surprise. Overnight, someone had papered the town with large yellow posters. Written in block letters were the words THE KING OF SEDUCERS HAS RETURNED. Beneath that, in smaller print, the posters asked if the good people of Morgan City intended to tolerate this man in their presence. The night policeman, Guggenheim, had torn down as many as he could as soon as he spotted them, but enough posters remained to further inflame the town of 5000.
A week passed, with no more events related to Hazel Olivier or Dr. King. On Wednesday, May 19, a week after the posters had appeared, a 15-year-old boy rose and ate breakfast with his family as usual. He picked up his bag, said goodbye, and proceeded down the street.
“Hullo Leo!” a group of boys greeted him.
The boy grinned and waved at his friends, but he continued walking briskly toward the downtown area.
He stepped into the bank building and climbed the stairs to Dr. King’s office. He knocked, attracting the attention of Hallie Bibbins, who worked in the next office.
“Hello, Leo,” she said.
“Come in,” a voice inside the office said at the same time. The boy smiled at her, pulled opened the door, and disappeared inside.
It was still early and Dr. King was sitting alone in his office, writing notes in a patient file. He wasn’t expecting anyone and he looked up curiously. The boy quickly drew a revolver from his pocket and pointed it at him. Dr. King struggled to get to his feet but he was too late. The boy fired the gun and the doctor crumpled and collapsed onto the floor.
The boy seemed uncertain as to what to do next. He turned to leave, but he hesitated on the threshold. Then he returned to the doctor, fired a second bullet into the prone body. He attempted to pull the trigger again, but this time the gun jammed. He put the revolver back in his pocket and pulled open the door.
Hallie Bibbins had frozen at the sound of gunfire. When she heard Dr. King’s door open, she crouched beside her desk but the boy merely walked down the steps, and out the door. She ran to the window and watched the boy as he crossed the street to the courthouse and went inside.
Marshal Robert Maitland was enjoying his second cup of coffee and looked up curiously at the teenage boy who approached him. “Good morning, son,” he greeted him.
Without preamble, the boy said, “I shot Dr. King.”
“You shot him?” Maitland repeated.
“Yes, I’ve killed him,” the boy replied. He handed his revolver to the marshal.
On February 1, 1899, a baby girl was born in Winston, North Carolina. She was the second child of Dr. Allen King and his wife, Phoebe Whitaker King. A daughter named Phoebe was born four years earlier. The Kings named this daughter Allyn.
I began the post this way, because I had planned to write about the actress Allyn King, but as I researched, I got derailed—as I so often do—when I read about an incident that occurred early in Allyn’s life. Though she wasn’t physically present when it occurred, it changed her trajectory and it’s a fascinating story. So let’s start here!
As you may have already noticed, there are some duplicate names in this story, including within the King family. For instance, Allen and Phoebe King named their daughters Phoebe and Allyn. To keep it simple, I’ll use the parents’ formal names (Dr. and Mrs. King) to distinguish them from their children.
The family was living with Mrs. King’s parents in North Carolina at the time of Allyn’s birth but, within a few years, they moved to Louisiana. They were probably drawn there because Dr. King was born and raised in New Orleans; however, the family opted to move to Morgan City, a small town about 90 minutes away from the Big Easy. Morgan City may have been a more manageable place for Dr. King to build a practice. He set up shop in a small office he rented in the bank building.
In 1909, Allyn, now 10 years old, accompanied her mother and sister on a visit to see her maternal grandparents in North Carolina. Dr. Allen King remained in Louisiana to work. At least, that was why he said he was staying behind.
Among Dr. King’s patients was the Olivier family. The Oliviers had a tragic story. Mrs. Olivier died many years earlier, after bearing her fifth child. Mr. Olivier soon married Miss Souby, the sister of a local priest. By the time Mr. Olivier died eight years later, his three oldest children were adults. The other two were technically orphans, but their stepmother stayed and continued to raise them after the death of their father.
Hazel Olivier was 19 years old, and she still lived in the family home. She was a schoolteacher in Morgan City but in late January or early February of 1909, Miss Olivier took a mysterious leave of absence and traveled to New Orleans. Not much was thought of it by her friends and acquaintances at the time.
Dr. King, whose family was 900 miles away, went to New Orleans around the same time. No connection was made to Hazel’s visit; indeed, there may have been none.
Hazel returned to Morgan City in April. Soon after her arrival, she insisted on visiting the Sacred Heart church to speak to Father Souby. Her stepmother and a friend accompanied her. Once inside, Hazel told the priest her conscience was bothering her and confessed she had gone to New Orleans “to have an operation.” Abortion was illegal, but the real criminal in her listeners’ minds was the man who had gotten her into this terrible situation. When she was pressed, Hazel said it was Dr. King.
If you’ve spent much time in a small Southern town, you might be familiar with the astonishing speed with which a story can spread. The gist of Hazel’s story was immediately shared far and wide, and by the time families sat down for supper that evening, the story was public property. Dr. King, blissfully unaware of all of this, was gone several weeks longer. He returned home late on the evening of May 11 and immediately went to bed.