Saturday, May 26, 2012

A final letter

Amidst the letters that our soldier and his sweetheart exchanged while he was serving in World War II, there are a few newer letters from after the war.  Letters exchanged between the two when our soldier had become a civilian and was driving freight truck throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.

There was also another letter.   One that was written on September 28, 1950.  It was written to my grandmother from her Aunt Nettie Allison.



Thursday
Ottumwa, IA
702 S. Moore St.
Sept 28-50
Dear Niece & family,
I will ans. your letter I rec. & was sure glad to hear from you once again and hope all of you are O.K.  We are all well as usual...
...Paul & I & Pug & Bill went to Colorado Springs Colo. for our vacation & we left on Saturday and came back on Thurs. & Paul went to work on Fri. so I though I would stay home rest of the week & rest & the foreman called me up after Paul got home & said I was being laid off.  I wasn't thinking of being out of a job or we wouldn't went on a trip.
It sure was beautiful out in Manitou and Colorado Springs.  W were 7400 feet up in the mts.  I was sure scared.  Pug and I went through Cave of the Winds.  It was beautiful and Paul & Bill went to top of Seven Falls & we went to Garden of the Gods.  Manitou is where Caroline lived when Lavern was in Camp Carson, Colo.
I wish I was close to you.  I would have rather come down there for our trip but Pug wanted to see some mountains.  Paul does all he can to please Pug & I.
Well I can't think of much more to write so I will close for now, so don't wait to long in ans. as I love to hear from you.


Love to all
From Aunt Nettie
& Paul

A nice letter from the extended family, right?  The only problem is what made the news in this small town of Ottumwa, IA just a few weeks later on October 18, 1950

Where Body Was Found - Police Sgt. Ross Beghtol is shown above, looking in the closet where Mrs. Nettie Allison's body was found this morning.  The body was back in the corner, hidden by her dresses.

The corresponding article:
Police Find Body Hidden In A Closet - ALLISON CAUGHT
Paul Allison is in jail at Albia.  The husband of the woman slain here this morning was arrested after he had visited in Centerville, and apparently started to return to Ottumwa.  Officers had been patrolling the roads for several hours.

The body of a light, red-haired woman was found about 8 a.m. today in a clothes closet at her home here, and her husband is the subject of a widespread police search.
She was Mrs. Nettie Allison, 44, of 702 South Moore Street.  Her husband, Paul Allison, 39, a greenhouse worker and war veteran, is being sought for questioning in connection with the death.
Coroner Gordon Traul said that an autopsy showed "conclusive evidence of death by strangulation."

Found By Police - Policemen Maurice McGlothlen and Ross Beghtol discovered the body after being called to the Allison home by a neighbor.  They said some warmth remained, but attempts by firemen, using a resuscitator failed to revive her.
The call to headquarters was placed by Bud Heckart, a neighbor, after Mrs. Allison's daughter, Mrs. Thelma (Pugg) Wilt, 22, of 114 South Adella Street, ran screaming from the Allison home.
Shortly thereafter, Allison was observed to leave the house and drive north on Moore Street in his black 1941 Ford car, bearing license plates No. 26-636.
Mrs. Wilt's story, related to County Attorney Sam O. Erhardt and Police Chief Jerry Wood, was as follows:

Mother Called At 7 - About 7 o'clock this morning, Mrs. Allison phoned her daughter, saying the she and her husband were moving immediately to Davenport, and that he had obtained a job at the Rock Island arsenal.  She said she was sending Paul over to pick her (Thelma) up and take her to the Allison home.
A half hour later, Mrs. Wilt said, Allison drove up to her home and she got in the car.  She said the conversation was "just usual" during the trip back to her mother's home.
Once inside the house, however, Thelma said her stepfather, Paul Allison, told her:
"I've killed your mother, and her body is in the bedroom closet."
When Thelma began screaming, she quoted Allison as saying; "Shut up or I'll kill you too."
County Attorney Erhardt said that about that time the girl said Allison threw her on the bed next to the closet where the body was and raped her.
Then according to authorities, Allison changed his story, and told the girl that her mother was in the basement, tied up.
Mrs. Wilt by that time hysterical, broke away, ran out the back door, and across Moore Street to the Heckart residence.
Police received their call at 7:42 a.m.
While Mrs Wilt was at police headquarters answering questions, a doctor was called in to examine her.  Authorities said thereafter that she had been criminally attacked.

Away Last Night - Officers said their investigation thus far has indicated Allison was away from home most of the night.  He had eaten breakfast at home, however.  Water was boiling on the kitchen stove when they arrived and a heavy dishcloth was found on the bed in the room where the body was found.
Coroner Traul said the autopsy surgeon reported two cartilages in the dead woman's neck had been fractured, and one had ruptured the windpipe.  The surgeon found no organic heart or lung condition nor any trace of poison or other possible cause of death, he added.  The post-mortem examination...
*****
(part of article missing)
*****
...Late at night he started back, arriving home between 4 and 5 a.m. Wednesday.
His wife was still up, he said and they argued a few minutes about sickness and financial troubles.  He said he went to bed and slept until she woke him up about 6:30 a.m.
"We ate breakfast and then she (Mrs. Allison) complained of a headache and went in the bedroom and laid down on the bed.  I followed her.  I laid down beside her and placed both my hands on her throat."
He said that about four minutes later she became unconscious and he picked her up and placed her in the back corner of the closet next to the bed.
He said he then drove over to Thelma's house and brought her back to the house.
His statement as to what happened between him and Thelma was somewhat vague, but authorities said he admitted what amounts to rape.

Talks To Wood - the important part of his statement, related at Albia, was made to Chief Wood and the shorthand reporter.
Allison was born at Mystic on October 10, 1910.  He later lived at Albia before moving to Ottumwa.  He has worked for Kranz the past 14 years, except a little more than three years spent in the army during World War II.  He was in the European theatre during part of his service.
Authorities said he was married to a Minnesota woman prior to his marriage to Nettie Allison about 4 years ago.

*****
I can honestly say that my grandmother NEVER spoke of this to the family while she was alive.  I asked my father about it, and he was just as surprised as I was to hear it.  Grandma's Aunt Nettie was a twin sister to grandma's mother, Zettie, I can only imagine the closeness shared between like-minded sisters and their families.   In addition to this tragic story, it was in the year prior to this that Nettie had lost her daughter Caroline, my grandmother's cousin.  A young woman who was only 26 years old at the time of her death.  The sadness that my grandmother knew when she was still just a young woman, and she never spoke of these events in her later life.


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