Whilst (yes, whilst, which is a bit uncomfortable for me to say instead of ‘while.’ But you see, I am in the UK now, so ‘whilst’ it is) my brother was visiting, he told me a very interesting story about my family. For those of you living in the states and having listened to ‘Paul Harvey, News and Comment’ this may be of interest to you. For those of you that have no idea what I am going on about, read on anyway. It’s an interesting story. Or the parts of it I wish to reveal, that is.
My relative was mentioned in Paul Harvey. Paul Harvey was known for digging up the most obscure little stories in the states, weaving the tale then hitting you over the head with either a bit of a gasp-inducing fact at the end or quickly slipping in unexpected humour to his tales. This particular story involved the a murder investigation that went a bit, er, wrong. The catch at the end was a play on names, stating that so-and-so involved in the case was Batty and the chief of police was Green. To have a family member make it to Paul Harvey’s radar is quite something, I think. Even if it is for the wrong reasons.
So, anyway, this morning I started to delve into my Grandfather’s history a bit further. He worked in North Platte just before moving to the town of my birth. He was one of two FBI agents working in Nebraska and was stationed in North Platte. From what I can gather, he arrived on the scene just after North Platte had gone a bit hay wire in the 1920’s and 1930’s. During that period of time, it was known as ‘The Little Chicago of the West’ due to the number of bars, mafia activity and prostitution happening in the city. Corruption abounded. It is interesting to put my grandfather’s working life into context, as he would have been stationed there just after all of this went down. Or perhaps he was part of the clean up crew? Maybe this is why he was stationed there? To keep an eye on the locals? Who knows. Unfortunately, he is not around to ask and to be honest, I don’t know if he would volunteer that information anyway.
My current read is ‘Evil Obsession: The Annie Cook Story.’ Apparently, she was a rather large character in this Little Chicago scenario. My Dad gave me a copy of this book and I can’t quite figure out if it is because it is a bit of my local-ish history or if my grandfather was working in the city during this era of Annie’s abusive, hateful actions. From what I can gather so far, he arrived in the city about 10 years after the height of her disgusting/awful/sick activity.
I have decided to learn the history by working backwards. Grandfather. Great grandfather and so on.