Tapati (tapati) wrote,

The plot thickens--two brothers found dead in the night?

So I was convinced that it was a family cover up, so typical of our family, and I called my Aunt Pauline expecting to break the news to her that we'd all been fed a pack of lies. Little did I know the story was about to take a strange turn. I wrote this email reply to my informant:

I called my Aunt Pauline for more information. She says that I am mistaken, that George Frank Paris was probably the uncle of her husband, that when she married my cousin George in 1945 his father was long since dead, that he was killed when my cousin was very young, probably less than 2 or 3 years old. She elaborated on the story (and you'll see how I confused the two): he was a night watchman at a box factory by the river in Keokuk (my birth city) Iowa, the men gambled on the night shift out of boredom. He was found shot to death by the morning shift. She gives his name as Earl and says he was my great grandma's twin brother. I do know that her family was large, she had at least 5 or 6 siblings. My great grandma's name was Pearl or Nona Pearl so Earl could be either his first or middle name to match the pattern if they were twins. I just figured that my cousin ("Uncle") George was named after his father, and I had no idea that both brothers died in the night and were found by other people, so it was easy to think that the George who was found dead at a service station was the father who was murdered in the night.

She said all she learned about this she heard from other people because her husband grew up believing that Lee and Pearl (Paris) Elschlager were his birth parents. She says it wasn't until he went in the army and had to get his birth certificate and couldn't find one under Elschlager that he discovered the truth. She says he didn't really want to hear about his birth parents and she only met his birth mother (Rosetta) a couple of times. (The mother's name lends credence to the idea that we are talking about a different brother of my great grandma's, since the obit for George Frank Paris mentions an Elsa and also neglects to mention any surviving children.)

Aunt Pauline claims that there were theories about the killer but nothing was ever proven. It sounded like the implication was that gambling was involved. She says that whenever the elder family members were talking about it they'd all hush up if one of the younger generation came into the room, so she never did learn very much about his parents.

[I was about to send this email, then I had a burst of inspiration...looked something up, and added: ]

I went and found my pictures of the family head stones from the Camp Ground cemetery (finding it when we were back in 2004 was an adventure in and of itself--the road wasn't marked off the main highway and we had to ask around town). There is the head stone for George Frank Paris and Elsie--she lived until 1992. Then there is a stone for a Cecil Earl Paris (1896, same as my great grandma, to 1928, the time my Aunt Pauline indicated) and Rosetta (1895-1971). This fits in with what my Aunt is telling me. So I am really looking for a Cecil Earl Paris who died in Keokuk in 1928.

So, the plot thickens...gambling at night in a box factory. Murdered over debts? Cheating? We'll see. Tomorrow I'll see what records the police have.
Tags: cecil earl, george frank paris, memphis, mo, murder, pearl paris, uncle george

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