When my grandmother was older, she would tell me some crazy family story and then always end it with these final words, “And don’t tell anybody!” Sometimes I didn’t know what to believe, as Nana had had a stroke and I wasn’t sure if what she was telling me was real or something she dreamed. One of the stories she told me was about how her grandmother’s husband (#3!) was shot and killed on his front steps due to an argument over Nana’s sister, Lil’s boyfriend. I asked my mother if this was a true story and she confirmed that she had never heard such a thing!
Well, you know the detective in me just couldn’t rest until I knew the truth. So, I did some digging. I found some newspaper articles from the Baltimore Sun and the Baltimore American, the first article below published on Oct. 18, 1921, 90 years ago! It reads like an old movie! Click on the article to zoom in if you have trouble reading it.
But first, some of the players in this story:
Lillian Brannon (aka Lillian Allen) – My grandmother’s oldest sister, “Sweet 16” at the time
Jenny Joynes Allen – Lillian’s grandmother (my great-great grandmother)
John Allen – Grandmother’s 3rd husband
Robert Read – John Allen’s son-in-law
William F. Thompson – the man in love with Lillian
Hershey Small – Lillian’s first love
Jenny Brannon – Lillian’s 14 year old sister
Molly Brannon – my great-grandmother (Lillian & Jenny Brannon’s mother)
STAY TUNED FOR PART II!