Before Frank Richardson reaped a bitter harvest, he planted the seeds of disaster in his life. If you haven’t read that, click here to see how Frank’s life was already spiraling out of control.
Savannah had initially liked Frank Richardson, but his alcoholism had tarnished his once solid reputation. People grew accustomed to seeing an inebriated Frank being half-supported half-carried out of his mercantile by his wife Addie and various mercantile employees. Often the merchant was too drunk and belligerent to stay at work yet unable to walk unassisted.
Alcoholism and jealousy weren’t Frank’s only problems. At the age of 43, he took up with 17-year-old Goldie Whitehead. The introduction was made by a shady figure named Frank Davis, who essentially acted as a pimp for Goldie.
Goldie had long blonde hair, as her name would suggest, and the middle-aged Frank was flattered to find the young girl was smitten with him.
But Frank quickly tired of his paramour. Goldie was neither exciting nor desirable to him anymore. She couldn’t hold his attention and, at first, she seemed content to allow him to break off their relationship. But Frank soon learned the girl’s silence about their affair came with a steep price tag.
Frank paid. And paid. And paid. Both Goldie and Frank Davis continually blackmailed him. Everything in his life became hard but he believed Goldie when she threatened to tell the world about their affair if he didn’t continue to pay. Frank may have gone on paying her forever, but the mercantile was no longer making money like it had–a fact which may have been due to Frank’s continual drinking and abusive tirades.
Though more than twice Goldie’s age, Frank cowered at the thought of facing her. He had few friends left, but he convinced one of them, Charley Stanton, agreed to give Goldie a final payment on his behalf. Stanton had already acted as a go-between for Goldie and Frank many times so he was a natural choice. When he delivered this payment to her, Charley would tell Goldie she should expect no more money from Frank.
Goldie did not take the news well and flatly said she was tempted to go to Frank’s home and shoot him in the head.
When Charley repeated this threat to Frank, the merchant grew pale and frightened. He had been careful to hide the relationship with the teenager from his wife but that evening a drunken Frank blurted out the whole story to Addie. It did not seem to occur to him that his wife may have feelings about his infidelity. Instead Frank spoke on and on about the peril he was in and how unfairly he was being treated by Goldie and the pimp Frank Davis.
Frank may have taken his wife’s relative silence for acceptance or even sympathy, but it was likely neither. Addie was furious. The next day she left Savannah for her father’s home in Texas, taking the couple’s sons with her. She gave no intimation of when she would return to Savannah–if she returned at all.
Only after she had gone and Frank was left alone in the big house in Savannah, did he confront the fact that his life was imploding. He stood at a crossroads. Would he try to fight his way back to respectability and win back the respect and love of his wife and sons. Or should he simply allow himself to continue his rapid downward spiral?
You can read much more about Frank Richarson’s downfall in my 2022 book, Has it Come to This? The Mysterious Unsolved Murder of Frank Richardson.
Already read the book? Visit the Has it Come to This discussion page to swap theories! The page contains spoilers so please read the book first! Stay tuned for more about the Richardsons and some exciting related news coming soon!