The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

Hattie Howard
A wayward girl with a happy ending.

Jacksonville, Oregon:
Warren Howard, 24, works in brick yard, born in Iowa, father Tenn., mother Ind.
U.S. Census, enumerated June 14, 1880

Eden Precinct, Jackson County, Oregon:
Warren Howard, 27, farm hand, born in Iowa
U.S. Census, enumerated June 23, 1880

    W. J. Howard of Medford precinct called at the Times office, accompanied by Mr. Merley of Indiana, who has intentions of locating in the valley.
"Personal Mention," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 5, 1894, page 3

    Rev. J. Merley has identified himself with Medford and her people for a certainty. On Wednesday of this week he purchased the W. J. Howard forty-acre tract of land, joining Medford on the west and south. Mr. Merley will put out ten acres of this land to trees the present spring and expects to set the remaining thirty acres next winter. He will put up suitable buildings on the land during the coming summer and will reside there with his family. The price paid for the land was $2,800, cash.
"News of the City," Medford Mail, March 9, 1894, page 3

    Medford Eye: District Attorney Watson was in town Monday looking into a case in which Hattie Howard and several young bloods of Medford and Jacksonville bear a conspicuous part. Miss Howard, who is yet under age, is inclined to be a little wayward, and her father is endeavoring to put on the brake a little. Several of the young men about town are reported as being in hiding and several more are shaking in their boots.
Valley Record, Ashland, January 11, 1900, page 1

    Miss Hattie Howard, a Medford girl who gives the town marshal and the public considerable concern both in the manner of wearing striking and sensational colors and style of clothes as well as in other forms of conduct not laid down in the repertoire of a good girl's manners, has again been creating more excitement. A warrant was sworn out for her arrest last Friday, and it was intended to commit her to the reform school for girls the next day. But the officer was too slow with the warrant and the girl vanished and has not been seen about Medford since.
Valley Record, Ashland, March 15, 1900, page 3

A Wayward Girl Found
    Hattie Howard, a wayward girl of Medford, who had disappeared from home, was found last week in Dunsmuir, where she had been arrested. "Captain" A. S. Smith, it appears, had followed the young girl to Dunsmuir and endeavored to procure a license to marry her there without success. She was brought back to Medford on Thursday evening's train.
Ashland Tidings, March 19, 1900, page 2

    Hattie Howard, the unfortunate Medford girl of 15 years, whose sad experiences in Dunsmuir were related in Monday's Tidings, was committed to the Magdalene Home, near Portland, Saturday by County Judge Crowell. Charles Prim of Jacksonville took charge of the girl on the way to her new home.
"Brevities," Ashland Tidings, March 22, 1900, page 3

The Gay Girl and "Captain" Smith Unfold Their Stories to the Dunsmuir Public.
    [Miss Hattie Howard of Medford was brought back from California by her father last Thursday, and the next day County Judge W. S. Crowell committed her to the Magdalen Home at Portland. Chas. Prim took her there.]
Dunsmuir News, March 17.]--
    A pretty young girl arrived here from Medford, Oregon, last Saturday, and was followed a couple of days later by an old man, who called himself her uncle. The couple were seen on the streets together and in the different stores, where the man bought presents for the girl. He applied at the Furlong lodging house for a room containing two beds, saying that at home he and the niece had been accustomed to occupy different beds in the same apartment. His request was promptly denied, but he was finally furnished with a room, while the girl applied to Mrs. Lew Brown and was accommodated with lodging for the night.
    On the way here from Yreka, where she remained a short time, the girl met a railroad brakeman to whom she told her troubles, and who gave her sympathy and sound advice, urging her to return home. She refused to return, however, and after arriving at Dunsmuir he befriended the girl still further by introducing her to the wife of Constable Brown, who gave her a temporary home. After the "uncle" arrived on the scene Constable Brown and wife surmised that there was something wrong and telephoned to Jas. Howard, the father of the young lady, asking him if he knew his daughter was in Dunsmuir and in company with an old man. Mr. Howard immediately replied, instructing the constable to arrest both parties and hold them until his arrival. A second message advised Constable Brown to detain the girl, but to give the man short notice to leave town. Mr. Howard, however, disclaims knowledge of the source of the latter message. The girl's aged companion, Captain A. C. Smith, left on the northbound train Wednesday evening. Mr. Howard arrived here Thursday morning, departing for Medford on the ten o'clock train with his wayward daughter.
    After his arrest Captain Smith applied to Justice Isgrigg to procure a license for him to wed Miss Howard, saying that he was willing to take this step in order to save the girl from public disgrace, since she had been betrayed by a Medford young man named Tice, who had deserted her in her trouble. Justice Isgrigg telephoned to the girl's father asking him if he gave consent for Hattie to wed the aged captain, and the reply was that on no consideration would he consent to such marriage. .
    The girl's story is that her ruin was wrought by young Tice about four
months ago, when they with a party of friends at Gold Hill, Oregon, were under the influence of wine. She asserts that she was ready to marry her betrayer, but could not obtain the consent of her father, so she came to Yreka to meet him, but he failed to keep his appointment, and that being friendless and among strangers she came here with Smith, who was an old friend of the family and who offered to protect her.
    Mr. Howard partially denies this and says Tice is a worthless scamp and drunkard. He also stated that he was making arrangements to send the girl to an asylum where she could be properly cared for, when Smith told her of her father's intentions and induced her to leave for the south, he following a few days later with her trunk.
    Captain Smith, who in spite of the fact that he is a Grand Army pensioner, bears a very unsavory reputation at Medford, passes as an injured humanitarian who was merely sacrificing himself to help an unfortunate girl. The father, who is convinced that Smith is responsible for the girl's ruin, can do nothing, as the refusal on her part to give evidence against him make it impossible to mete out justice to the gray-haired scoundrel.
    The situation of the girl, who is but sixteen years of age, is a most pitiable one. She has been about the same as motherless for several years, and has been making her home with her grandmother, whose overindulgence has perhaps been the cause of her downfall.
Valley Record, Ashland, March 22, 1900, page 1

    Hattie Howard, a wayward girl of 15, was examined before Judge Crowell Friday, who adjudged her incorrigible and sent her to the Magdalene Home in Portland.
"Jacksonville News," Medford Mail, March 23, 1900, page 3

    In the matter of Hattie Howard, incorrigible, ordered that a warrant for $7.50 be drawn in favor of W. J. Howard for presenting her before the court pending an examination into the charge against her.
"County Commissioners' Court," Valley Record, Ashland, April 13, 1900, page 3

Chas. Prim conveying Hattie Howard to Crittenton home, including admission fee of $20 . . . $78.35
"County Commissioners' Court: Bills Allowed," Valley Record, Ashland, April 13, 1900, page 3

"Capt." Smith and Hattie Howard.
Portland Welcome, May 12.]
    Captain A. C. Smith is behind the bars. The Welcome predicted, about a month ago, that he would eventually be. The charge against him is for abducting and unlawfully detaining a female person, under the age of 16 years. That female person is Miss Hattie Howard of Medford, Jackson County, who now has the measles, and is, incidentally, enjoying the prospects of becoming a mother.
    For more than a year Hattie Howard has defied parental authority. She was bad by nature and by habit. She rapidly became incorrigible and finally permitted herself to be spirited away by the old scamp who is now in jail in this city on her account.
    After the sensational elopement from Medford, the authorities pursued, overtook and apprehended the girl. The old man escaped. Hattie Howard was sent to the Florence Crittenton Home in this city, her parents and friends believing that a term of treatment and counsel in such an institution would redeem the wayward girl from the consequences of her wicked tendencies.
    When in the Crittenton Home in this city, however, Captain Smith appeared and, in a plausible talk to President Riggs, obtained permission, under surveillance, however, to visit the girl in the interest of her grandparents. On the day following his first visit, Hattie escaped and was next heard from at The Dalles, to which point she had flown with her aged lover. Again the couple were located at Arlington, at which place the antiquated Lothario seems to have deserted the lass in her distress. Her father sent her transportation to her home at Medford.
    Search for Captain Smith, however, was being prosecuted with vigor by the police department of this city, when, on Thursday, Detective Wiener registered the old scoundrel at the station on the charge above suggested.
    Captain Smith is patriarchal in appearance, and very suave in manner. He is an uncommonly plausible crook in his explanation of his tribulations, but the likelihood is that now he will have to support his story with something more than a mere narrative of events.
    Judge Crowell of Jackson County will be especially pleased at Captain Smith's apprehension. Smith is a Grand Army man, with long, white beard and a pretentious countenance. It has been suggested that he may be in the employ of bawdy houses as a procurer. The statements he has made to the buxom girl he induced to leave a comfortable home and good parents seem to support that suspicion. He will probably be arraigned in the municipal court on Monday.
Valley Record, Ashland, May 17, 1900, page 2

    CHARGED WITH ABDUCTION.--A. C. Smith, a resident of Southern Oregon, was held to answer to the grand jury yesterday by Judge Hennessy in the sum of $500, on a charge of abduction. Mrs. Annie R. Riggs, manager of the Florence Crittenton Home, alleges that Smith enticed Hattie Howard away from the Home, and that Hattie is under 16 years of age. The girl is now somewhere in Jackson County, and will be brought back to Portland to testify against Smith. The prisoner waived examination in the municipal court.
"Criminal Cases," Morning Oregonian, Portland, May 17, 1900, page 7

Capt. Smith Bound Over--In Jail.
Portland Welcome, May 19.]
    Captain A. C. Smith, a Grand Army man whose bounteous beard and whitened locks tell the story either of age or early piety, but who has really passed the three-score niche of life in years, was arraigned on Wednesday morning in the municipal court on the charge of abducting Hattie Howard, a buxom girl under 16 years of age, from the Florence Crittenton Home in this city, and, on plea of not guilty, was held in bonds of $200 to answer to the grand jury.
    The story of the affair in which Miss Howard mysteriously disappeared from her Medford home and of the manner in which she was carried away by Captain Smith, the two being overtaken and the former apprehended at Dunsmuir, Cal., is known to Welcome readers, as are also the circumstances surrounding Miss Howard's committal to the Crittenton Home in this city as a wholly incorrigible lass, and the peculiar manner in which she was soon spirited away from that institution by Smith.
    The prosecution expects to encounter little difficulty in proving that Captain Smith, patriarchal as he appears to be, is the cause of this young girl's guilty escapade.
    Bowed with age and trembling with humiliation, the venerable-appearing defendant turned from the prisoner's dock on Wednesday morning, as the amount of his bond was fixed by the court at $500. He said he had here neither money nor friends. His eyes were moistened with tears and his lips quivered as he attempted to say more; but he turned away at beck of the jailer and was given the comfort of a cell in the "woman's department" upstairs.
Valley Record, Ashland, May 24, 1900, page 1

West Medford Precinct, Oregon:
Warren J. Howard, 46, born May 1854, day laborer, married 17 years,
    born in Iowa, father Tennessee, mother Indiana
Ida M. Howard, 33, born Oct. 1866, eight children, five living, born Vermont,
    father Vermont, mother Vermont
Hattie M. Howard, 15, born Sept. 1884 in Oregon
Eddie W. Howard, 13, born Sept. 1886 in Oregon
Mattie A. Howard, 10, born June 1889 in Oregon
Jesse J. Howard, 8, born Aug. 1891 in Oregon
Hazel Howard, 4, born June 1895 in Oregon
U.S. Census, enumerated June 8, 1900

    Not a true bill was reported in the case of Amos C. Smith, charged with abduction of Hattie Howard, a girl under the age of 16 years, from the Florence Crittenton Home.
"Criminal Cases," Morning Oregonian, Portland, September 22, 1900, page 8  "Not a true bill" means a grand jury declined to indict Smith.

    Three boys of tender age, two of whom are named Howard, broke into a dwelling house one day this week and stole a watch and some other articles, which they sold to a second-hand store. They were allowed to go upon their own recognizance, but will probably be sent to the reform school as soon as Judge Prim returns from his vacation.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 25, 1901, page 4

F. G. Plymale to Hattie Howard
"These Were Licensed to Wed: May," Medford Mail, December 27, 1901, page 4

    A decree of divorce has been granted in the case of Hattie Plymale vs. Francis G. Plymale. M. G. Hoge was attorney for plaintiff.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, September 22, 1905, page 5

Vancouver is Marriage Mart.
    VANCOUVER, Wash., Sept. 27.--(Special.)--John Edward Lang and Hattie May Plymale were married here today. They live in Portland.
Oregonian, Portland, September 28, 1910, page 1

661 Ladd Avenue, Portland:
John E. Laing, 45, locomotive engineer, born Oregon, father N.J., mother Ore.
Hattie M. Laing, 32, born Oregon, father Calif., mother Vt.
Francis G. Laing, 17, born Oregon, parents Oregon
U.S. Census, enumerated January 2, 1920

Aberdeen, Wash., Is Scene of Dual Tragedy.
E. W. Howard, 33, Separated from Dora Howard, 22,
Said to Have Threatened to "Get Her."

    ABERDEEN, Wash., Sept. 2.--(Special.)--E. W. Howard shot and killed his wife, Dora Howard, 218 South Jefferson Street, at 3:30 o'clock this morning and then turned his revolver on himself. When found by neighbors Mrs. Howard was dead; Howard was still breathing. He died a few minutes later.
    Howard's body lay in the living room, the revolver beside him. The body of his wife was in the kitchen. A shot through the heart killed Mrs. Howard. Howard also shot himself through the heart. Neighbors said the two shots were fired one immediately after the other.
    The pair, who had been separated a month, had been married three years, neighbors who were acquainted with the Howards said. Howard came back to his wife three days ago, according to report, evidently to attempt reconciliation. Mrs. Howard lived with her father and brother, Robert and Leonard Young, both employees of the National mill.
    Howard visited his wife yesterday afternoon and, upon leaving, is alleged to have made a threat to "get her."
    Later in the evening Howard called at the Young home again, but, finding Mrs. Young absent, left. He came back to the house at 8 o'clock this morning, alighting from a taxicab. The shooting followed.
    Howard was an ex-service man and 33 years old. His wife was only 22.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, September 3, 1920, page 4

HOWARD--At Aberdeen, Wash., Sept. 2, Edward Warren Howard, aged 33 years, father of Izetta, Warren Jr., and Nellie Howard, son of Mrs. John Huber, brother of Mrs. Hattie Laing, Mrs. Mattie Johnson and Jessie J. and Augusta Howard of Portland. The funeral services will be held  Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 1 p.m., at Finley's, Montgomery at Fifth. Friends invited. Interment, Riverview Cemetery.
"Deaths and Funerals," Oregon Journal, Portland, September 4, 1920, page 14

    E. W. HOWARD TO BE BURIED HERE.--E. W. Howard, who shot and killed his wife and himself in Aberdeen Thursday, will be buried in Portland tomorrow. Services are to be held at Finley's undertaking parlors at 1 p.m. Mr. Howard was 33 years old. He is survived by two sisters, Mrs. Charles Johnson and Mrs. Hattie Lang, and two brothers, J. J. Howard and Augustus Howard, all of Portland. The wife was buried in Aberdeen.
Morning Oregonian, Portland, September 6, 1920, page 7

Machines Crash on Greeley Cutoff, Sending One Off Road and into Telephone Pole.
    Portland's 1929 traffic accident toll claimed one more death yesterday when Mrs. Charles Johnson, 47, 84 East Twenty-Sixth Street North, died at St. Vincent's Hospital from injuries received in an automobile collision on Greeley Cutoff three hours before. Mrs. Johnson's stepfather, J. Huber, 69, 908 Smith Avenue, was cut and bruised.
    Mrs. Johnson was riding with her stepfather, according to information given police, when Huber attempted to pass another automobile going in
the same direction, north. At that point, according to Huber, he lost track of everything and was unable to explain what happened.
    The occupants of the other machine, Alfred Rask, 277 Chapman Street; D. B. Williams, D. E. Shannon and T. J. Tolley, all of the Odd Fellows' home, East Thirty-Sixth and Holgate streets, stated, however, that Huber's machine touched Rask's car just enough to send it off the road, where it struck a telephone pole and turned over.
    Mrs. Johnson received severe shock, face lacerations, and internal injuries which caused her death later.
    Mrs. Johnson was the mother of five children, all of whom are living, Merle, Howard, Preston, Edward and John, She also leaves two brothers in Portland, Jess and Vernon Howard, and one sister, Mrs. Hattie Laing. Her husband, Charles G. Johnson, also survives her.
    The funeral services will probably be held in the Wilson-Chambers
chapel, 248 Killingsworth Avenue, The date has not been set by the relatives.
Oregonian, Portland, January 9, 1929, page 1

JOHNSON--Mattie A. Johnson, aged 46 years, accidentally, Jan. 8; wife of Charles G. Johnson of 84 East 26th N. Mother of Merle, Howard, Preston, Edward and John, all at home; sister of Jess and Vernon Howard and Mrs. Hattie Lang, all of this city. The remains are at the Wilson-Chambers Chapel on Killingsworth.
"Died," Morning Oregonian, Portland, January 9, 1929, page 13

Mrs. Mattie A. Johnson

    The funeral of Mrs. Mattie A. Johnson, who was killed in an automobile accident on Greeley Cutoff Tuesday, will be held this afternoon at 2 o'clock at the Wilson-Chambers chapel, 248 Killingsworth Avenue.
    Mrs. Johnson was born 37 years ago in Phoenix, Or. She was the wife of Charles Johnson of 84 East Twenty-Sixth Street North, who, with five children, Merlie, Preston, Howard, Edward and Jack, survives. She also leaves a sister, Mrs. Hattie Laing, 661 Ladd Avenue; two brothers, J. J. Howard, 175 West Lombard Street, and Vernon Howard, and her stepfather, J. W. Huber, 908 Smith Avenue.
Oregonian, Portland, January 11, 1929, page 10

661 Ladd Avenue, Portland:
John E. Laing, 54, locomotive engineer, 34 at first marriage, born Oregon,
    father Nova Scotia, mother Maine
Hattie M. Laing, 41, 22 at first marriage, born Oregon, father Iowa, mother Vt.
U.S. Census, enumerated April 4, 1930

HUBER--August 8, John, late of 2114 S.E. Ladd Ave. Survived by daughter, Mrs. Hattie Laing, Portland, and one granddaughter, Mrs. S. Robinson, Seattle. Remains are at Killingsworth Ave. Funeral Home, Wilson-Chambers Mortuary, 430 N. Killingsworth.
"Died," Oregonian, Portland, August 9, 1937, page 10

Ladd Avenue, Portland:
John Edward Laing, 64, locomotive engineer, born Oregon
Hattie May Laing, 54, born Oregon
U.S. Census, enumerated April 8, 1940

Hattie May Laing
    Funeral services for Mrs. Hattie May Laing, 2114 SE Ladd Avenue, who died Saturday, will be held Wednesday at 1 p.m. in Edward Holman & Son chapel. Dr. Thompson L. Shannon, pastor of First Christian church, will officiate. Interment will be in Riverview Cemetery. She was born in 1885 in Josephine County, the granddaughter of Oregon pioneers who came here in covered wagon days. She was a lover of flowers and animals and was a member of Eureka lodge No. 204[, Security Benefit Association]. Survivors include her husband, John Edward Laing; son, Francis G. Plymale; two grandchildren and brother, Vernon Howard.
Oregon Journal, Portland, June 5, 1944, page 7

    Funeral for Francis G. Plymale, 3524 S.E. 16th Avenue, will be at 1 p.m. Thursday in the McGinnis & Wilhelm chapel. Dr. O. LeRoy Walter will officiate. Interment will be in the family plot in Riverside Cemetery. Mr. Plymale died Saturday of a heart attack. He was born May 21, 1901 in Medford. He had lived more than 50 years in Portland and for 37 years was an employee of the Southern Pacific railway. He was a locomotive engineer at the time of his death.
    Survivors include the widow, Isabelle; son, Pfc. Francis Gene Plymale; daughter, Carol May Plymale, and a brother, Claude L., Olympia, Wash.
Oregonian, Portland, April 20, 1955, page 23
Last revised September 6, 2023