Wicked Long Beach - Part 2

By: 
Gerrie Schipske

It is quite interesting to do a search of archived newspapers and use the words “Long Beach and crime.” Front pages across the United States frequently featured snippets of the latest crimes being committed in the “city by the sea” or more aptly “Iowa by the sea.” Because of its popularity as a seaside resort, readers throughout the US wanted to keep up with the latest happenings in Long Beach. Besides, the stories were exciting news.
Here’s a sample of some of the stories; a kind of early Long Beach “Community Scanner:”
1891The Los Angeles Times: A.B. Brodersen complained to the District Attorney that he wanted J.B. Croyer arrested for embezzlement. He alleged that Croyer rented a house from his father and loaned him a bureau which he took when he left.
1894The San Francisco Call: Camile Elikan, a wealthy young man who operated the largest general merchandise store in Long Beach was hit over the head with a sandbag, robbed of $200 and then shot and killed as he left his fiance’s home. The police arrested L.T. Headley who once worked for Elikan.
1895The San Francisco Call: The headlines screamed: “Along the Coast. Revised Version of the Long Beach Double Tragedy. ALONZO MEYERS’ DEATH. The Result of the Wound He Had Inflicted on Himself. HIS CRIME COLD BLOODED. Not a Word of Warning Given to His Wife Before He Shot Her Down.” Seems as if Alonzo, 26, killed his wife, 16, while in a drunken, jealous rage. Mrs. Meyers had run off with Frank Doyle, a gambler, to escape the brutal treatment she had received from her husband. After shooting his wife twice, he turned the gun on himself. Police noted had he lived he would have been arrested for selling hay from a farm he no longer owned.
1899Los Angeles Daily Times: Long Beach’s first public health officer and former Civil War surgeon, Dr. William Cuthbert reported three deaths in Long Beach in the month of July: one fatal shooting, one from lockjaw and one from old age. Appropriately, the article was placed on the same page with an advertisement warning: “Little Pimples Turn to Cancer.”
1900Daily Herald Los Angeles: Between several elaborate drawings and copy, this story took up most of the front page as it described “a most dastardly crime involving the cruel murder of a babe of a few months” which was left in a “haunted house” near the old Alamitos School House. However, when the Marshal and Constable arrived the body was gone and it was reported a mysterious man had been under “the pepper tree” where the “bloody body” was first seen by Mrs. Henderson and her 17 year old niece, Lura Dodd (not to be confused with current City Auditor, Laura Dodd.) The body was never recovered and law enforcement chalked it up to hysteria although they did find bloody newspaper inside the house.
1901The San Francisco Call: $29,000 in one dollar bills were stolen from the house of John Kempley while his wife was in the outhouse. In what appears to be a “cleverly conceived plan,” Kempley was coaxed away to Los Angeles when he responded to a newspaper ad to meet an “old friend.” While away, a Dr. Orrin L. Woodworth, who had been camping in Long Beach, went to the Kempley home to “buy” the Kempley farm in Iowa. He gave Mrs. Kempley and her daughter the money and they gave him the deed. Mrs. Kempley took ill and went out to the outhouse for “ten minutes.” When she returned, the money was gone. Dr. Woodworth was described as “a tall, slender man, blonde and about 35 or 40 years of age.” Local police felt that he “either went north on the owl of the coast line.”
And the winner is:
1907Los Angeles Herald: “Man is Jailed for Insulting a Woman.” S.H. Haggerty of West Long Beach was sent to county jail after a woman swore out a complaint that he had been troublesome for a year and used indecent language in the presence of women and children. Haggerty had recently fallen into the bay under the influence of drinking and had almost drowned.
gerrie@beachcomber.news

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