[7RA-99, roll 1]
Jackson Barnett by
Annie Laura Lowe
April 28, 1920
Honorable Cato Sells,
Commissioner of Indian Affairs,
Washington, D. C.
Dear Mr. Commissioner:
I have the honor to submit for your consideration a report covering the material facts so far developed in my investigation of the kidnapping of Jackson Barnett, the millionaire Creek Indian, by Mrs. Annie Laura Lowe.
I arrived in Muskogee, Oklahoma, from Washington, D. C. to take charge of the investigation of this case, on February 27, 1920, and I have been engaged continuously therein to date. I have been assisted since March 24 by Mr. Charles McCloud, a private operative, of Oklahoma City. Mr. Cloud's services were arranged for by myself with the authority of the guardian and all persons interested on our side of the case. He is a high-class man in whom I have every confidence and he is one of the best operatives with whom I have ever personally associated. He does all the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company investigation work in this section, and has worked for the Attorney General's Office of the State of Oklahoma on special assignments for many years. He has a wide acquaintance in the state and is proving a very valuable man on this case. His services should be continued.
The investigation has taken us into the State of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and Kansas.
Jackson Barnett is of simple mind, and those who know him best do not believe that he is of sufficient mental capacity to understand the nature of a marriage ceremony. The facts surrounding his alleged marriage to this Lowe woman in themselves show, in my opinion, his mental incompetency.
Without going fully into this particular phase of the case at this time, I will state briefly that the first time the woman ever had any conversation with Jackson Barnett was the day before she took him to Okemah, Oklahoma, and applied for a marriage license to marry him. She went to Okemah with him on January 31, as I recall the date. Her conversation with him on the day previous was short, and as far as we are able to determine did not relate to any contemplated marriage. The day she took him to Okemah, Jackson afterwards said that he thought she was taking him down to the store near his home. The negro caretaker, who was in the next taxi car with Jackson and the woman, testifies that she gave Jackson whiskey on the way to Okemah, that Jackson refused to drink and that she thereupon turned the bottle up to his lips and practically forced the liquor down him. The license was refused at Okemah and she then directed the taxi driver to take them to Holdenville, the county seat of an adjoining county. The county clerk also refused to issue a license to them at the last named place The woman then returned Jackson to his home, advising the guardian, who interviewed her later in the day, that she was in love with Jackson and intended to marry him.
Mrs. Lowe did return to Jackson's home on the evening of February 22. She went by automobile from Tulsa, Oklahoma, directly to this Indian's home, arriving there about nine o'clock in the evening. The machine was driven by its owner, Mr. Alvin L. Morehead, of Tulsa, he being accompanied by his wife. The woman induce Jackson to get into the car and he told the negro caretaker that he would not be back until the next morning. They drove all night, arriving in Coffeyville, Kansas, the next morning, Monday, February 23. The woman took the interurban line to Independence, the county seat of that county, Montgomery County, Kansas, procured a marriage license and returned to Coffeyville. She secured the services of a justice of the peace named Bickett, who performed the marriage ceremony at the Metropolitan rooming house in Coffeyville. Mr. and Mrs. Morehead were the only witnesses to the ceremony so far as I have been able to learn. The justice of the peace states that there were probably two persons looking on in the rear of the room but that he did not know their names. We have been unable to identify them.
Police officers who saw Jackson soon after his arrival in Coffeyville state that he had a doped appearance, and a newspaper reporter named Fitzgerald advised me that Jackson told him that the woman had given him whiskey enroute to Coffeyville from his home.
Mrs. Lowe was registered at the Kupper Hotel, Kansas City, Mo., January 7 to 10, 1920, under the name of Mrs. A. L. Lowe. Our information tends to show that she went from there to Whichita Falls, Texas, and that she made effort at Fort Worth and Whichita Falls to secure financial backing to put through this kidnapping scheme. This phase of the case has not been worked out fully but it appears that she approached a man at Fort Worth and made him a proposition to split with him money that she might get out of the venture, but that she was turned down and finally secured some money from a man named Durham at Whichita Falls. We have been making every effort to find Mr. Durham but it looks as if he had gotten on to the fact that we are endeavoring to interview him and has been keeping out of our way. I have been endeavoring to get in touch with him through Department of Justice agents in Texas. We propose to visit Texas within the next few days to run out carefully the lines that we have started there.
Mrs. Lowe probably went from Texas to Henryetta the first time that she attempted to marry Barnett. She registered at the Elk rooming house, Henryetta, on January 29, under the name of J. A. Bartels. She changed her rooming place on the 31st, staying one night at the Georgian Hotel. She came into Muskogee on the morning of February 1, and a ticket seller at the Katy railroad station advises me that a woman wearing a leather coat and fur collar, and answering to Mrs. Lowe's description, bought a ticket about that time to Whichita Falls, Texas.
Mrs. Lowe was in Eastland, Texas, at the home of her niece, Mrs. R. L. Butterworth, on February 16. Mr. Butterworth stated to Mr. McCloud that he knew nothing about her proposed kidnapping scheme but that he loaned her $100.00 on February 16, giving her a check for the amount, and that this check was cashed at Dallas on the next day. He claims that she stated to him that she desired to pay a dry-goods bill in Kansas City which had been contracted by her daughter, the amount of which was something over $200.00. Later, on March 13, he gave her a check for $94.44, payable to Emery, Byard, Thayer dry goods house of Kansas City, in settlement, as he was told, for the balance owed by her on account. Mr. Butterworth's bank account at Eastland shows that he gave his wife a check for $141.00 on March 16. I am inclined to believe that Mr. Butterworth advanced this money, indicated above, to Mrs. Lowe with the knowledge that she was going to use it to defray her expenses in an attempt to kidnap Barnett.
Mrs. Lowe called at Emery, Byrd, Thayer dry goods house in Kansas City on February 20 and gave them a note for $94.44, which was afterwards paid by the check from Butterworth, mentioned above. She therefore must have gone immediately from Kansas City to Tulsa, where she got in touch with Morehead getting him to accompany her to the home of Barnett. Morehead denies that he knew what the woman intended to do but of course he is falsifying.
Morehead is a chattel loan broker of Tulsa, who has been there since about 1914. He loans money on furniture, diamonds, et cetera, and it is alleged that he does an extremely raw business. He was formerly a jeweler's auctioneer, having been in this business in Kansas City for several years prior to his removal to Tulsa. He was reared in Atlanta, Illinois, here he married his present wife. The postmaster at that place writes me that he sustained a good reputation there, having been a clerk in a dry-goods store up until he left there. He was then in Iola, Kansas, for several years, in the mercantile business. The postmaster at that place writes me that he sustained a good reputation while there. Persons for whom he worked in Kansas City also give him a good reputation. A jeweler in Muskogee advises me that he had dealings with him as a jeweler's auctioneer and found him crooked. It is alleged, also, that he was in the mercantile business for about a year in Tulsa and that he had a bad failure. There is little doubt in my mind that he is unscrupulous and is now doing a crooked business as a chattel loan broker. He had business dealings with the Lowe woman two or three years ago, having collected rents on her house in Tulsa.
Mrs. Lowe bought a house in Tulsa in 1914, soon after her divorce from T. J. Lowe, and my information is that she purchased it with money which she had obtained from Mr. Lowe. She afterwards mortgaged this property for $2000.00, later borrowing $1000.00 more on the property. She sold the house for $5000.00 on February 20, 1918. She owed a total of nearly $3500.00 on the property at the time she sold it.
Mrs. Lowe purchased a house in Kansas City, Mo., at 38th and Gillam Road, about October 1918, for $8500.00. She paid $500.00 down, agreeing to pay $500.00 per year on it until paid for. She made default in payment but obtained, through the assistance of Mr. Morehead, a new loan on the property some time during the early part of January 1920, for $8200.00.
Mrs. Lowe has unquestionably been in hard circumstances during the last year past. Persons around Fort Worth tell me that she has approached various persons there requesting loans of $2.00 or $3.00 at various times during the past year, and everything indicated that she was on her uppers. Previous to that time she apparently had her ups and downs. She would make a cleaning occasionally, then she would be flush for a time.
Mrs. Lowe was born near the little inland village of Erie, Mo., which is located in McDonald County about fifteen miles southeast of Neosho. This is in southwest Missouri south of Joplin, in the foothills of the Ozark mountains. Her maiden name was Randolph. He father is James Randolph, said to be living probably in Kansas City. Her father and mother separated when she was a young lady and her mother, Martha E., is now the wife of Mr. George Fiminston, an elderly gentleman residing at Decatur, Arkansas. She comes from a very ordinary family.
I am advised by old residents of McDonald County that she gets her bad blood through her mother, who was a Carroll. Her brother, James T., or "Buck" Randolph, now in Kansas City, kept a whiskey joint at Noel, Mo., and was regarded as a worthless character. I was told, in fact, that none of the family amounted to much. The Lowe woman was in McDonald County up until within a few years of her first marriage. Her reputation for chastity before this marriage was not good. There was a whiskey runner connected with the Creekmore crowd with whom she associated, who is a resident of Sulphur Springs, Arkansas.
Mrs. Lowe's mother tells me that she is 42 years of age. She was first married at Mt. Vernon, Mo., to Arthur W. Sturgis, on May 20, 1904, under the name of Laura Randolph. Her age is given in the marriage certificate as 19. This would make her only about 35 years of age at this time. She was divorced from Sturgis in February 1912, at Neosho, Newton County, Mo. The decree was given to the plaintiff, the husband, upon default. The decree recites that personal service had been had upon the defendant. I endeavored to locate files in the case but was advised by the clerk that he was unable to find them.
The woman was next married to T. J. Lowe, of Guthrie, Oklahoma, at Fort Smith, Arkansas, on July 15, 1913, under the name of Mrs. A. L. Sturgis. The groom's age is given as 57 and that of the bride as 33. Her place of resident is given as Tulsa, Oklahoma. Lowe obtained a divorce from her at Guthrie, Oklahoma, on November 21, 1913. The plaintiff, T. J. Lowe, alleged desertion and gross neglect of duty. An answer and cross petition was filed by the defendant. Decree was given to the plaintiff.
The first husband, Arthur W. Sturgis, is now a resident of Monett, Mo. He recently moved there from Belleville, Kansas, having purchased a moving picture show house at Monett. This last named place is his old home. I understand his father was a reputable farmer who was a life-long resident of that vicinity. Sturgis himself advises me that he sold whiskey in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in connection with a chili joint, from 1904 to 1909. He states that this was during his young manhood and that since 1909 he has lived as a law-abiding citizen. He has one child by this woman - Maxine - born in 1905. She has been in the custody of her mother, and the father has made regular contributions toward her support since his divorce from the mother. On this account Sturgis was able to give me considerable information concerning Mrs. Lowes places of residence since his separation from her. He is apparently very much afraid of the woman and begged me to regard any information given by him as confidential.
Her former husband, Lowe, was the last Secretary of State for Oklahoma Territory, and later was general agent for the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York, for Oklahoma. He is yet living but his mind is in a feeble condition, and but little information could be obtained from him. He sustains the reputation of being a high-class man with the exception that in former days he indulged too freely in alcoholic liquors. His friends say that this accounts for his having married this woman. He evidently employed her as an agent for the Mutual Life for a time, and my information is that he became intimate with her, that she thought he had considerable property and got hold of him and married him. That she got a will from him, probably before she married him, and after the marriage endeavored to get deeds from him to all of his property.
This woman's correct given name is Annie Laura, but she was commonly called Laura when a girl. In her rambles about the country in recent years she has usually signed her name "Mrs. A. L. Lowe" or "Mrs. T. J. Lowe." However, she has used the name "Lucille Lowe" a great deal, especially at Kansas City.
Mrs. Lowe has no sister but the following named brothers: James T., or "Buck" Randolph, cattle buyer, Agnes Avenue, Kansas City, Mo.; Wirt Randolph, cotton buyer, Wynnewood, Oklahoma; John Randolph, race horse owner and trainer, headquarters New Orleans, La.; Eali Randolph, rice farmer, Erie, Texas; Will Randolph, farmer, Davis, Oklahoma; Sydney Randolph, barber, Lawton and Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
In 1914, 1915, and a part of 1916, Mrs. Lowe made her principal headquarters in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Although she owned a home there she apparently lived therein but a few months. She staid at hotels in that town but was gone much of the time. She roomed at the Tulsa Hotel for about all the year 1915. She was then at the Alexander Hotel, Tulsa, for several months in 1916. During 1916 and 1917 she probably made her headquarters in Kansas City. During 1918 and 1919 she was evidently rambling around the oil fields of Oklahoma and Texas, principally Texas. Since 1916 she has apparently made her home nowhere but has shifted about from hotel to hotel, rambling from Montreal, Canada, to Mexico City.
We have gathered up letters written by her to different individuals since 1916, from hotels in Detroit, Chicago, Louisville, New York City, Cleveland, St. Louis, Kansas City, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Frederick, Oklahoma; Whichita Falls, Texas; Eastland, Texas; Ranger, Texas; Comanche, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; Shreveport, La.; Hot Springs, Arkansas; Lexington, Ky; Juarez, Mexico. In Kansas City she has evidently stopped at the following hotels: Muehlbach, Baltimore, Dixon, Coates Hotel, Savoy, Victoria, Frederick, Kupper, and probably others. The help at most of these hotels has been completely changed and at several of them she was not known.
We have had a big job tracing this woman's movements, and it has been a problem to get people to tell us what they really know about her. We have, however, been able to obtain a great deal of information, and I will now endeavor to set out some of the details of what we have learned about her character. I attach hereto a copy of an affidavit made by James Starr, a negro bell-boy, now employed at the Severs Hotel, Muskogee, Oklahoma, who testifies that he was a bell-boy at the Tulsa Hotel during all the time that Mrs. Lowe roomed there in 1915, and that he was also bell-boy at the Alexander Hotel in Tulsa during the time that Mrs. Lowe was there in 1916; that he made engagements with her during all the time she roomed at the two hotels named, for men to have sexual relations with her; that these men either went to her room or she went to their rooms; that this arrangement was made with her and that she paid him for each engagement so made for her; that she came to the Severs Hotel, Muskogee, Oklahoma, some time after Christmas 1919; that she requested him to go to the house detective while she remained in a toilet room, and offer him $5.00 if he would permit her to remain in the hotel over night; that the house detective, however, told him to tell her to get out of the house, which she did.
I attach hereto, also, a copy of an affidavit made by Mr. Harry Saunders, now a city detective of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which he states that Mrs. Lowe is well known to him; that he was house detective at the Tulsa Hotel at the time she roomed there in 1915 or 1916; that ladies about the hotel complained to the management that Mrs. Lowe was soliciting on the mezzanine floor; that he was directed to investigate her; that it was soon reported to him by a bell-boy that Mrs. Lowe was in a room in the hotel with a man; that he went up to the room with the bell-boy, opened it with the master key and found Mrs. Lowe in such room with a man, both of them being entirely nude; that the man was a Pittsburgh banker, the room having been rented by him; that this occurred at about the hour of noon; that he immediately advised Mrs. Lowe to check out of the hotel and not return; that the management thereupon directed the hotel clerks not to permit her in the house again.
Arie Durant, a negro bell-boy, and Ida Denny, now Ida Rogers, a chamber-maid, both saw Mrs., Lowe in the room in question, in a nude state, with the man mentioned above. The testimony of both these persons can probably be obtained. Persons connected with the other side of the case intimidated Starr and Durant and kept them away from Winfield, Kansas at the time of the hearing there.
We also had at Winfield, Kansas, Mr. Gaines, assistant manager of the Tulsa Hotel, who was prepared to testify to the reputation of this woman at the Tulsa Hotel. In private conversation he told us of a number of the men who had told him that they had had sexual relations with this woman for a monetary consideration.
I attach hereto affidavit made by H. W. Martin, clerk of the Kelly Hotel, Frederick, Oklahoma, in which he testifies that this woman (who he identified at Winfield, Kansas), stopped at the Kelly Hotel in November 1919, for two days, under the name of Miss Pauline Harrison, of Oklahoma City; that she sent for him to come to her room in the hotel; that he had sexual intercourse with her; that he later developed a severe case of gonorrhea; that he was in bed with this disease for several weeks, being in a semi-conscious condition for several days.
Attached hereto, also, is the affidavit of Brailey Rand, a negro bell-boy at the Kelly Hotel, in which he testifies that this woman (whom he identified in Winfield, Kansas), is the woman who stopped at the Kelly Hotel, as stated by Mr. Martin; that he made dates for her at that hotel during the two nights which she remained there, sending a number of men to her room for which he received $1.00 each from her.
I attach hereto, also, the affidavits of two white bell-boys of Kansas City, Mo.; Claude Hostetter and John W. Middleton, who testify that some time last fall while Mrs. Lowe was stopping at the Kupper Hotel in Kansas City, where they were employed as bell-boys, she endeavored to get them separately to purchase to purchase for her some tablets at a drug store for the purpose of doping and robbing a male guest of the hotel; that she intended to put these tablets in whiskey which was being used by the male person for whom they were intended; that Mrs. Lowe had been in this man's room and had been given $20.00 by him; that she discovered that he had about $1900.00 on him and that she proposed to split the money with them. These boys state, however, that they refused to get these tablets for her, and finally when she stated that she was going out and get them herself they demanded that she desist from doing what she proposed to do or they would report her to the hotel management. Both of these bell-boys admit that this woman endeavored to get them to make dates for her. They state that they advised her that the rules of the hotel would not permit it. John Middleton, so Hostetter states, admitted to him that he himself had had relations with Mrs. Lowe. I am inclined to believe that both of these boys made dates for Mrs. Lowe but they realized to admit it would mean they could not longer hope for employment in that hotel. From my observations in Kansas City I believe the Kupper people are keeping a cleaner place than any other hotel there.
Mrs. Lowe has stopped at the Kupper Hotel on several different occasions during the last three years. The chief clerk at the hotel, Mr. Malone, remembers her well and states that he recollects that she was there last fall; that he had told one or two of the clerks not to permit her to register there but that he had failed to tell one man, who had permitted her to do so during his absence. The hotel register shows that she was registered there under the name of Mrs. A. L. Lowe on October 5, 6 and 7, 1919. On the first date she occupied room 220 and upon the two subsequent dates had assigned to her room 425. The bell-boys stated that according to their memory she had room 420, while the man had room 425. We talked with Mr. Malone about this and he stated that he believes that the woman probably had the man to check out and come into her room. This is the only way the discrepancy can be explained. Both these bell-boys agreed to be witnesses for the Government.
I attach hereto, also, a copy of the affidavit of Mrs. Myrta E. Osborn, of No. 718 East 10th Street, Houston, Texas. She testifies that she formerly resided in Chicago, Illinois; that she was first married to a Mr. Nichols, who was connected with the Chicago office of the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York; that he died in 1915; that during the early part of 1917 a male cousin came to her home in Chicago, presenting a letter of introduction from an uncle in Ohio; that she was quite a little of him for a few weeks; that some time in May, 1917, she returned to her home and was her guest for two or three weeks; that during that time she discussed with him the investment of $5000.00 which she had in cash, the result of the joint savings of herself and deceased husband; that the cousin proposed finally that he go to Kansas City to investigate in person the purchase of a picture show house which was advertised for sale; that she thought of moving to Kansas City; that she entrusted him with the $5000.00 in cash so that he might close the deal immediately if he thought advisable; that she also permitted him to take two trunks containing her wearing apparel and also hand baggage; that one of the trunks contained valuable jewelry, family heirlooms, et cetera, such jewelry being worth over $1000.00; that he was accompanied to Kansas City by a man whom he had associated with in Chicago, said to be a United States secret service man; that she did not hear from this cousin for ten to twelve days; that in the meantime she had reported the matter to the police; that she received a letter from the cousin about twelve days after he left Chicago, in which he stated that he had met a woman on the train going from Chicago to Kansas City, whose name was Annie Laura Lowe; that she had by some trick secured his attention; that he had accompanied her to some private residence in Kansas City, where he was drugged, remaining in a dazed condition for several days; that when he came to himself he found that the woman was gone and that he had been cleaned of both his money and baggage; that he had obtained a small photograph of the woman which he enclosed to her. Mrs. Osborn states further that the cousin advised her that he intended to enlist in the army; that she later learned that he had enlisted and was killed with the marines in the battle of Marne. She states further that she reported the matter to the Chicago police and upon their advice wrote the detective bureau at Kansas City, enclosing the photograph of the woman; that she was never able to get any satisfaction from the Kansas City police, and that the photograph had not been returned to her. I made a careful search of the files of the police department in Kansas City but located only one letter from Mrs. Osborn, at that time Mrs. Nichols. I later questioned this witness about this letter and she stated that she made reference therein to some persons who had sold her some fake mining stock, and that she had no connection with the robbing of the cousin. Mrs. Osborn is an intelligent woman who is evidently of good family. She has two children by the first husband, and as the money entrusted to the cousin represented practically all the money she had she states that the loss of it rendered her practically helpless; in fact, one can tell by talking with her that the incident practically destroyed her life. She is naturally very bitter against this woman, whom she states is positively the woman whose photograph was sent her by her cousin. She recognized her picture in a Texas newspaper and wrote the guardian, Mr. O'Hornett.
After I had seen Mrs. Osborn at Houston she wrote me that she had located certain letters which she could introduce as evidence, and we decided to have her to go to Winfield, Kansas, as a witness on April 6. The letter which the cousin wrote her is stored in her household goods in Chicago, so she states. We found, however, that the letters which she produced were not sufficient to justify us in attempting to introduce her testimony without running counter to the objection that it was hearsay. One letter she had was a letter written to her by an uncle, in which he mentions the name of the woman as "Lowe", referring to a letter which Mrs. Osborn had written him at the time upon the subject. This letter was written in June, 1917.
Mrs. Osborn states that a few days prior to the time she started for Winfield, Kansas, she was called to the telephone in Houston and was advised by some male voice that it would be best for her not to go to Winfield as a witness; that if she had lost anything it would be made good to her. She also states that she was approached on the train after she left Houston, by a man who had a male companion, on the train, and was told by this man that it would not be good for her to go to Winfield. Mrs. Osborn then writes me, after her return to Houston, that after we had left Winfield her grip [bag] was snatched at the depot there while she was waiting for her train; that parties gave chase and the grip was finally abandoned; that this was a grip in which she had a bunch of papers.
Mrs. Lowe attempted to blackmail J. B. Levy, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, a wealthy oil man, in 1916 and 1917, her efforts continuing over a period of ten months. I attach hereto copies of reports of the Bureau of Investigation agents which give the facts fully. Briefly, however, it appears that Mrs. Lowe met Mr. Levy on a Santa Fe train October 2, 1916, enroute from Tulsa to Kansas City; that Levy was on his way to Chicago; that Mrs. Lowe stated to him that she was going to Kansas City to place her girl, who she had with her, in school; that Levy (so Mrs. Lowe alleges) paid her transportation from Kansas City to Chicago; that Levy registered them at the Great Northern Hotel as "Mrs. and Mrs. J. B. Lowe", occupying room 701; that Levy registered also at the Congress Hotel without baggage; that he staid with Mrs. Lowe at the Great Northern Hotel two nights (so she alleges, he denying that he staid with her); that two crooked lawyers in Tulsa, D. M. Martindale and John Sykes, and also a crooked private detective named Ed Egan, interested themselves early in 1917 in an attempt to blackmail Levy, their efforts saving followed the activities of a Kansas City attorney named James Leroy Smith, who wrote blackmail letters to Levy and his attorney. Having failed to extort money by the means indicated Mrs. Lowe on June 12, 1917, went to the offices of the W. J. Burns Detective Agency in Chicago, making effort through operative B. H. Divers, to whom she was referred, to employ Burns Agency to start an investigation of Levy for the purpose of extorting $10,000.00 out of him.
We secured the attendance of Mr. Divers at Winfield, Kansas, but as the Commissioner hearing the case ruled out the character testimony he was not permitted to testify. A statement was therefore inserted in the record outlining what we expected to prove by the various witnesses present touching Mrs. Lowe's character.
Mrs. Lowe has also had her clutches on a Mr. Joe A. Bartles, of Dewey, Oklahoma, since 1915 or 1916. He is a one-quarter blood Cherokee Indian. The City of Bartlesville was named for the Bartles family and Mr. Joe Bartles is a wealthy and prominent citizen of Oklahoma. Whiskey had been his weak spot. He admitted to Mr. McCloud, who interviewed him, that he has been with this woman in four or five different States, but he denies emphatically that he ever paid her transportation from one State to another. He states that in some mysterious way she seemed to keep track of him and would turn up at the hotel with him, frequently finding her in his room when he would recover from a drink. He also alleges that she had time and again threatened him with prosecution under the Mann white slave act, and he has a number of letters in his posession written by her requesting money. Mr. McCloud states, however, that none of them contain threats, so I question whether they could be used as evidence against her in a prosecution for blackmail or use of the mails for extortion purposes. Like Mr. Levy, Mr. Bartles is a married man and does not desire any publicity in connection with the matter. She has unquestionably bled him for several years. He has a check for $300.00 to which she forged his name as maker. This is now outlawed. He speaks in most bitter terms of her and unquestionably would like to see her severely punished provided some other person's name is used in the prosecution. Like about all the other men that we have seen in connection with this woman, he is very much afraid of her. I will admit myself that she is one of the most dangerous characters with whom I have ever personally come in contact.
Mr. Charles Trexler, city detective of Fort Worth, Texas, was present as a witness at Winfield and was prepared to testify that Mr. Joe Bartles came to him at Fort Worth, Texas, in October or November 1918, and made complaint that Mrs. Lowe was attempting to blackmail him; that he thereupon went to Mrs. Lowe, advised her that she could not pull off any such stunt in Fort Worth, and notified her to leave town; that he was advised the next day that she had left.
Mrs. Kate Dobbs, of Fort Worth, Texas, was at Winfield, prepared to testify that Dennis McNair, a one-sixteenth Cherokee Indian, had come to her rooming house in Fort Worth with Mrs. Lowe, representing her as his wife and requesting a room; that she would not permit them to stay there, as she knew that the woman was not his wife; that Dennis McNair approached her on another occasion and made a proposition to her for her to go to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where Joe Bartles and his wife were, to take part in a scheme to blackmail Bartles. This man McNair has worked for Mr. Bartles in the lease business for several years. The indications are that he has stood in with the Lowe woman and has assisted her in blackmailing Bartles. I am inclined to think, too, that he is also assisting her at this time in this Barnett affair. We are working now to develop fully his connection with this matter. He formerly sustained a good reputation at Muskogee and Tahlequah, where he previously resided. He was regarded at one time as the Beau Brummel of Muskogee. He is also a hard drinker and it looks as if booze and women have gotten the upper hand of him.
Mr. Bartles turned over to Mr. McCloud three letters written to him by Mrs. Lowe, one dated Kansas City, Mo., December 10, 1917, in which she advised him that she intended to marry a lieutenant in the medical corps U.S.A. The second letter dated Louisville, Ky., April 11, 1918, in which she states that she had married Lieutenant F. H. Gaffey of the medical corps. The third letter was written from Kansas City of February 20, 1920 (two days before the kidnapping), in which she advised a loan of $500.00 with which to defray expenses in her proposed attempt to run away with him.
These letters from Bartles were obtained just a few day before the beginning of the hearing at Winfield on April 6. Since the hearing closed we have investigated the Gaffey affair. I wired your Office requesting the postoffice address of this former lieutenant, whom you later advised me was located at Bradgate, Iowa, according to War Risk Bureau records. Not having received a reply from the postmaster at Bradgate we went to that place last week. We found that Dr. Gaffey had moved to Humboldt, a nearby town, and we interviewed him at that place.
Dr. Gaffey advised us in substance as follows: that he was married at Hobart, Indiana, in March 1903, to Anita Edwards; that they have not been separated or divorced; that he met Mrs. Lowe under the name of Lucille Lowe at the Victoria Hotel, Kansas City, Mo., in December 1917; that a bell-boy approached him requesting to know whether he wanted a woman; that Mrs. Lowe then came to his room; that he was stationed at that time at Fort Riley; that he saw Mrs. Lowe in Kansas City after that every few weeks up until he was transferred to the Rush Medical College at Chicago, Illinois, about March 1, 1918; that when he left Fort Riley he purposely did not advise Mrs. Lowe of his transfer, as he had begun to realize that she was a dangerous woman; that about two weeks after he arrived at Chicago he was called from the lecture room to answer the telephone; that he found it was Mrs. Lowe calling him in Chicago; that she chided him for having tried to shake her and demanded that he meet her on the corner of a certain street in Chicago; that he was afraid not to comply with her request and met her; that he afterwards saw her at the Morrison Hotel, Chicago, and admitted being in her room; that he was transferred from Chicago to Camp Taylor, Louisville, Ky., about April 1; that he did not advise Mrs. Lowe that he was going but in some way she learned about it and was on the same train with him; that she registered at the same hotel with him; that she began to threaten him with prosecution at Louisville and again to demand money; that she accused him of transporting her from Chicago to Louisville, threatening to report him to the Department of Justice; that she sent a lawyer from Louisville out to his camp to interview him; that the lawyer talked like a fair-minded man; that he gave the lawyer about $75.00 to give to her after consulting with him, as they figured that the money might appease her; that, however, it did not keep her from hounding him and she continued to threaten him; that he afterwards gave her money at different times; that about the first of May he was transferred to New York City, as he supposed for embarkation; that he was assigned, however, to the base hospital at Fox Hills on Staten Island; that Mrs. Lowe in some mysterious way located him and continued to hound him; that she in some manner secured a pass or gained admission to the military reservation; that she called him by telephone, sent him notes, and had a New York lawyer to write him; that she threatened to write his wife and report him to the military authorities, accusing him of promising to marry her and representing himself as a single man; that she finally did write his wife, who wrote him, threatening to begin divorce proceedings; that she finally reported him to the commanding officer, preferring formal charges against him for conduct unbecoming an officer; that the commanding officer referred the charges to the military Intelligence Department, who obtained a statement from him and presumably made a thorough investigation; that when the Military Intelligence officers got to the point where they wanted to interview the woman she mysteriously disappeared; that her movements were so mysterious and uncanny that he is convinced that she stood in with the Secret Service officers of the Government and probably was in the pay of the German agents. This last, of course, was merely his supposition and belief. The doctor states that she dressed poorly at the time he first met her but that after she left Louisville she was well clothed and her manner of living indicated that she had more or less money. She has this man thoroughly intimidated and he advised me that he will be in fear of her agents visiting Humboldt. He says that he destroyed practically all of her letters. He had in his posession a typewritten note undated, and signed with typewriter, which he states was delivered to him on Staten Island by a special messenger. It is as follows:
"First Lieutenant F. H. Gaffey. Want to see you this evening about six o'clock, McAlpine Hotel, mezzanine floor. If you fail me will have others attend to same. Lucille Lowe. Collect (63 cents)."
Dr. Gaffey turns over to us the letter which he had received from the New York attorney, which is as follows:
John J. Brady,
August 26, 1918.
First Lieutenant F. H. Gaffey, Base Hospital, Fox Hill, Staten Island.
Mrs. Lucille Lowe has referred to me for collection
claim against you, the matter of which you are familiar and is therefore
unnecessary for me to explain.
The envelope is postmarked Station 1, New York, August 28, 1918, 10 P.M.
We are continuing the investigation of this case with all possible haste. I have already wired your Office requesting a copy of the Military Intelligence report in the Gaffey case. We are giving every attention to the criminal features of the cases being developed against Mrs. Lowe, and we hope to be able to produce sufficient evidence to sustain some criminal action.
Our attorneys advise me that owing to the fact that they feel morally bound by the court order at Winfield, Kansas, which directs that no action be taken pending the disposition of the case in Kansas to interfere with the marital relations of Barnett and the Lowe woman, and that unless the case can be dismissed, which the other side will probably have to consent to, it looks like our hands are tied until after the Kansas court disposes of the habeas corpus proceedings. The hearing is recessed until May 31.
After setting forth the facts which have been developed it is unnecessary, I am sure, for me to state that this woman is unquestionably a very dangerous character. I fear for the safety of Jackson Barnett. I wish that some action could be taken to separate her from him and place him in charge of an officer of the law for his protection. In case of the institution of any annulment proceeding the court having jurisdiction, in my opinion should be requested to place Barnett in custody of some officer. If this woman sees that the marriage is going to be annulled I do not believe that she would hesitate to kill the Indian provided she could do so in a manner to escape conviction. She would take a chance of being convicted for murder I am convinced.
Mrs. Lowe has probably escaped a police record so far on account of standing in with the police officers. There are indications that she is lined up with crooked lawyers, detectives, and professional crooks, from Canada to Mexico.
Mr. McCloud and myself have been operating together in this case for the reason that we do not think it is safe to work alone. We have been "shadowed" at different points.
Additional reports will follow.
[W. L. Bowie]
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