Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Eva ~

Marie Dutton, circa 1930.

A couple of weeks ago I got a call. The caller was an elderly woman - "I'm looking for the Duttons of Dutton Hill." "You've found him." says I. This lady went on to relate that she was recently cleaning out her junk room and happened on a photograph of her dear friend, Marie Dutton - a large photograph, about 20 inches tall, and, all of the newspaper clippings about her murder, in the lobby of the Virginia Theater. She told me she wanted to return the photograph to Marie's relatives. I told her that I was interested in the family history and would be happy to have it. "If we live through Thanksgiving, you can come and get it then. The Lord is bringing the pieces of the puzzle together in these end times." - she said, "Isn't it terrible?"

A couple of weeks passed before I could get a break to go to her house. When I arrived she seated me at her formica kitchen table and showed me the photograph, and the newspaper articles. "It tells it all here." she said, pointing out paragraphs that she'd highlighted in yellow. "Marie was a good Christian woman!" "Eva Wilson! - her own mother said she was the worst woman who ever lived! According to the bible, she was full of evil spirits. Marie called and found out that Truesdale was divorced before she ever went out with him, and she only went out with him in the spirit of mercy."

The newspaper said that Eva Wilson went out for a drive with friends. Suddenly she saw something that made her cry out "Stop the car!" She got out and fell down like she'd been shot. It was Truesdale and another woman. "Woman Trouble" said the newspaper, was the cause of it all.

Eva was waiting in the lobby of the Virginia Theater when Truesdale and Marie came out. The paper said she "pulled out a 38 Smith and Wesson and shot Marie Dutton dead on the spot." Truesdale went on to found a local bank. This was front page in 1935.

The lady wasn't letting loose of the newspaper clippings. She was still studying those. Maybe I could come back in 3 months and take them to the library to copy then. The way she said it made it clear the end times were coming well ahead of that, so don't get your hopes up. She asked me to cut the backing off the frame and extract Marie. "I'd give you the frame, but I'm short on frames, and see, these match." The other photo was of Marie and Truesdale sitting on the porch swing together. There was something racy-gansterish about it. She didn't offer me that one.

Marie, once I looked her up in the family tree, turned out to be my dad's cousin, daughter of his uncle Marion. Surely he would have heard about her murder in the Virginia Theater, but if he did he never mentioned it. He would have been a teenager then, so maybe it didn't make that much of an impression.

Today I made a song about Eva. For some reason, She was the one whose shoes I landed in. Maybe it was because she'd had her lawyer tell the judge she was not guilty by reason of temporary insanity caused by chronic appendicitis. She may have been the worst woman who ever lived, but she was no fool. The song is called "Eva - Woman Trouble."


Cathy said...

Nothing is better than a true story worthy of fiction!

Do we get to hear the song? You're such a tease.

William said...


Dan Dutton said...

Why of course you'll get to hear the song ~ when YACB is performed. How's that for teasing?

This sort of thing makes me wish (at times) that I'd trained more specifically as a recorder - to remember dialogue, words and context precisely. I couldn't remember the exact phrase that the lady used to explain (hee!) why Marie went out with Truesdale. It was utterly hilarious, but slipped. Maybe I'll eventually reconstruct it. I wrote the song in the driveway, but I didn't have time to take additional notes when I came home.

Diane Ward said...

My aunt told my cousin that my dad witnessed the shooting of Marie Dutton in lobby of the Virginia theater when he was 10-11 years old. My dad passed away in 1982.

Diane Ward said...

My aunt told my cousin that my dad witnessed the shooting of Marie Dutton in lobby of the Virginia theater when he was 10-11 years old. My dad passed away in 1982.