Monday, November 25, 2013

Unretouched picture

Since you asked here it is.  Somewhere I have a much better quality scan but this will give you an idea of what I was talking about.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Louisiana Connection, Velma and Moses In the Bullrushes

I remember someone saying a long while ago that the character of Velma from "Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte" reminded them a great deal of Cousin Daphne the original story teller of the piece "Moses In The Bull Rushes" which Agnes used in her one woman show.  Now everybody knows what a consummate actress Agnes was but I've often wondered when in the world did she every find time to hang around Louisiana and pick up that slow Louisiana drawl.  After all Agnes was a Yankee born and bred, wasn't she?  The answer to that is yes she was but her family tree meanders this country like a gigantic kudzu vine.

Agnes, it turns out, had family in Louisiana.  Real live plantation living family whose names where, Vachel Michael Stevens, Louise Premise Verret and Godfroid Verret.  These folks were planters and lived on enormous plantations prior to the civil war.  They bought and sold enormous numbers of slaves.  They were very, very wealthy people.  Keep in mind that these folks lived before Agnes was born but she may have been aware of the existence of the heirs and she may have had contact with them.  By 1870 their wealth and their vast plantations were gone.  Many moved to New Iberia where they became common farmers.  To date I haven't proved that "cousin Daphne" was a real person but in spirit she is just as the character of Velma Carruthers is.  Somewhere out there in Louisiana are folk related to Agnes Moorehead and I'll bet they don't even know it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Beyond the Veil of Mystery

It has been nearly two years since I wrote "Missinformation" and it contained these words;
 6. Death of Teddy McCauley
Agnes was no doubt close to her maternal grandfather.  But the idea that she was small child when he died is truly misinformation.  Teddy McCauley along with his wife Margaret moved to Canton Ohio to be close to Molly and her girls.  Teddy died after 1913.  This makes Agnes a teenager when she discovered her grandfather had died in his sleep.  I'm positive that it scarred her for life but she wasn't a small child as some biographers hint.
"Agnes was also close to her maternal grandfather.  He was a religious man and used to speak to Agnes about God and the gospel.  One Sunday afternoon it appeared he was asleep in the big comfortable easy chair he often sat in when telling Agnes stories from the bible.  Agnes went up, as she sometimes did when he fell asleep in his chair, and tapped him on the shoulder.  However, this time he didn't wake up. Agnes would recall that she cried for days."

Had I but known then that eventually I would find the death record for Teddy it would have changed my perspective on the life of Agnes Moorehead forever.

The true story of the year 1929 has only just begun to be told.  For the Moorehead family it is a year of tragedy that plowed into them in the space of 6 months.

January 20, 1929 at 4:20 in the morning Robert Edward (Teddy) McCauley passed away of chronic myocarditis.  Agnes claimed for years that she found him in his favorite chair where he had been reading the bible when he fell asleep and passed away.  The chances are quite good that this actually occurred.  Perhaps he was an early riser and she found him when she woke up.  In another of my blogs I discussed the fact that she had come home in January of 1929 for a visit.  Her maternal grandparents lived in Canton Ohio and she was likely visiting them.  She was not a small child but a young woman of 28.  Teddy was buried on the 23rd of January in Canton.

April 28, 1929 at 8:00 in the evening Robert Henderson Moorehead passed away of infirmities caused by old age.  Robert's decline had begun on January 20, 1929 according to his doctor and he remained under that physicians care until he passed on April 28.  Now keep in mind that Agnes' maternal grandfather died the day her paternal grandfather fell ill as a result of a thigh bone fracture.  Robert was buried May 1, 1929 in Muskingum County Ohio.

July 14, 1929 at 7:50 in the morning Margaret Ann (Peggy) Moorehead passed away from ingestion of bi chloride of mercury by her own hand. She suffered extensively as did her sister and her parents.  Peggy was buried July 16, 1929 in Dayton where her father, sister and mother would be entombed with her.

Keep in mind that these deaths were closely proceeded with the death of Agnes' great uncle Hugh Moorehead in January of 1928 and her beloved maternal grandmother Hannah on 11 November 1927.
Two grandfathers and a sister with a death occurring roughly every 90 days is an overwhelming thing and would do a great deal of damage.  If Agnes found her grandfather dead then she had extra stress thrown into the deal.  I have lost all my grandparents and my mother but the gaps between their passing were great in addition I have never had a sibling commit suicide so I cannot even begin to fathom how she managed to stay on her feet.  I think it speaks loudly of the character of the woman.