A Rose for Mary O. Adkins

A Rose for Mary O. Adkins

Mother always asked, ” “Who will put flowers on the graves after I’m gone?” Her flowers were celebrating spring in fine fashion, so I dropped off flowers at four sites on Friday.

My journey took me to the beautiful Pleasant Hill Cemetery near Tillman, just outside Advance, Mo., where my grandmother’s father and mother are buried.

Mother and her grandmother

Here is Mother and her grandmother on the farm near Tillman. After this, the Adkins moved to the big metropolis of Advance, where they opened a general store near what is now Oak Street and East South Street. Mother remembered the store had a parrot that would occasionally use inappropriate language.

Mary Adkins’ Obituary

Mary Adkins’ death certificate attributed her death to acute bronchitis, with a secondary cause of senility. Dr. Reynolds of Advance was the attending physician. I never paid much attention to the family tree, but this obit helps me figure out who some of the names were that I heard in passing.

It’s in the Cards

Playing cards owned by Steinhoff family 02-20-2016When I was 14, Bill Hardwick, Martin Dubs and I got on a train in Cape Girardeau that took us all to way out to Philmont Scout in New Mexico. While we were aboard the Santa Fe, I picked up this deck of cards to while away the time. It’s been living in a drawer with a bunch of other decks for 35 or 40 years.

She’s a little worse for the wear, but the box still looks almost like new. I thought using Congress as the Joker might be a political commentary, but I found that it was the name of the card company.

Dad and I played Canasta

Playing cards owned by Steinhoff family 02-20-2016When I wrote about running across my Old Maid cards in the back of the sock drawer, I mentioned that Dad and I played gin rummy and canasta in the basement in the evenings.

Playing cards owned by Steinhoff family 02-20-2016In fact, I recognize the back on these Blackstone cards. I might be able to remember how to play gin rummy, but I have long forgotten the rules to canasta.

Hamilton cards had a Christmas theme

Playing cards owned by Steinhoff family 02-20-2016One of the two decks of these Hamilton cards is still in its original cellophane wrapper.

Rider Back Bicycle playing cards

There’s a good reason why these were called Rider Back Bicycle Playing cards

Playing cards owned by Steinhoff family 02-20-2016The backs show a winged cherub riding what appears to be a bicycle. This deck’s seal is still unbroken.

Never played bridge nor poker

1930-02-11 SE Missourian Bridge PromoI’m surprised that I was never drummed out of the newspaper business for not knowing how to play poker. That ignorance probably saved many paychecks.

Bridge was a big deal in Cape Girardeau. Here’s a front page promo for Bridge by Radio.

When I transferred into Ohio University my junior year, dorm space was tight, so I was pigeonholed into a tiny room with two freshmen. One of them was an over-privileged twirp whose obnoxiousness was trumped only by the volume of his snoring.

Fortunately, early in his college academic career he discovered all-night bridge games in the lounge. They were followed by all-day bridge games. The other roomie and I didn’t miss him when he flunked out after the first quarter.

Not much news about card games

Playing cards owned by Steinhoff family 02-20-2016With Cape being in the Bible Belt, I figured there would be lots of stories about card gambling. It turned out most of the busts had to do with moonshine, bootlegging, and the “operation of gambling devices.”

Typical of the stories was one in the July 23, 1930, Missourian where “George C. (“Curley”) Norris, who for months operated a notorious roadhouse on the Bend road, was arrested for the operation of a roadhouse, sale of liquor and operation of gambling devices.” Arrested with him when he was apprehended in Poplar Bluff was Edna Conrad, who, the paper pointed out, “admitted they were not married, according to officers.”

Maybe Edna had a salacious twist like the Queen of Hearts in the Northbrook deck.

Revenue stamp dates deck

Playing cards owned by Steinhoff family 02-20-2016This unopened deck of Northbrook cards still sports the U.S. Int. Rev. stamp on the package. Those revenue stamps were issued between 1894 and June 22, 1965. That would mean the deck is at least half a century old.

Mother and the slot machine

Mary Welch Steinhoff, right, in front of Prather Building with half of Advance, MOI can’t let the topic of gambling pass without repeating the story Mother always told about her girlhood.

My grandparents owned several businesses in Advance at one time or another. One was a tavern that had a few slot machines to bring in some extra (if illegal) income. Her parents had to leave one afternoon and left her in charge. She was all of about 13 years old.

It must have been an election year, because the place suddenly filled with law enforcement officers who were going to confiscate the slot machines as being illegal gambling devices. Mother knew that one of the machines was full of money, so she stood up to the sheriff and said, “You can’t take that one. It’s broken. If it doesn’t work, it’s no more a gambling machine than that bar stool.”

They left it behind.

The coy joker

Playing cards owned by Steinhoff family 02-20-2016Kings, Queens and Jacks all looked pretty much the same, but Jokers could have some personality.

Northbrook how-to pamphlet

In case you didn’t know how to play cards or take care of them, Northbrook packaged this pamphlet with their cards. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

Advance Bank Robbery

Bank of Advance c 1973I love it when a story gets more interesting than anticipated. I found a photo of the Bank of Advance from around 1973, before a fire turned the two-story building into a single-story one. I figured I’d locate a recent photo, throw in a few dates, then go to bed.

Ruth Millington, writing in Advance, Missouri, A Look at the First Hundred Years, gave me the easy stuff: the bank was chartered January 30, 1902. It’s first home was in a small frame building that later became Moore’s Feed and Seed Store. It moved from there into a small brick building which is the present site of Morgan Funeral Home.

Building erected in 1906

Park - Prather Building - Advance BankThis photo shows the Prather Building, which housed my grandfather’s liquor store. The former bank building on the right was built in 1906 by Lon Goodman, postmaster at the time. The bank was located there until it moved in 1972.

Defective wiring caused fire

The Nov. 7, 1982 Bulletin-Journal carried a photo and a story about the fire at the former bank building. Firemen from six departments managed to contain the fire to the roof, attic and second floor of the building. “Many businesses closed their doors to allow their workers to assist firemen, or employees trying to remove property from Connie’s Hair Hut and Advance Realty, located in the burning building, and the Clothes Hanger, located near the bank building, after it was feared the fire might spread.

Advance Fire Chief George Green said the fire was probably caused by defective wiring in the attic. In addition to the two businesses on the ground floor, there were two occupied apartments on the second floor. The building was owned by Ruth Millington, chairman of the board of the Bank of Advance.

Bank was robbed twice

Downtown AdvanceMillington wrote that the bank was robbed twice: the first was May 27, 1959, when three men made off with about $18,000. They were quickly apprehended. On Oct. 15, 1962, a lone bandit made off with about $9,000. He was arrested about a year later. HE’S the one who caught my eye.

When Claudine Lorch retired from the bank after 35 years, she said she had been present for both bank robberies. “Once,” she said, “was quite enough.”

This photo was taken Nov. 15, 2010.

Second robbery was most interesting

The Missourian’s August 26, 1963, front page carried three stories about Richard B. Partridge, later convicted of robbing banks in Advance and Chaffee. He was the 38-year-old Jackson high school music director and director of the Jackson Municipal band. What was left of the loot was recovered from a strongbox in his high school locker.

An interview with Partridge said he picked the two banks because he thought they would be easy targets and because they were close enough to home that he would be gone by the time police could set up dragnets. He scouted the banks a couple of days before the robbery, then forced the employees into the bank’s vault while brandishing an unloaded gun. He left it unloaded because he didn’t want to take a chance on shooting anyone by accident, he said. He closed the vault doors, but didn’t lock the employees in the safe.

They weren’t music lovers

Jackson Band Concert 07-11-2013I loved the paper’s account of his capture. Partridge said the the first inkling he had that he might be suspected of the crimes was Thursday night while the Jackson Municipal Band concert was in progress. He turned to face the audience between numbers and saw John Crites, Cape County sheriff, State Trooper Robert Mouser and State Trooper Sgt. Glenn Lampley as well as a number of strange people in the audience.

Partridge said he did not believe Sheriff Crites or Troopers Mouser and Lampley were music lovers and could not recall seeing the strangers at previous band concerts.

He said when the concert was over and the three officers did not leave, he was sure they had connected him with the robberies. He was arrested in minutes.

[Editor’s note: this Jackson band concert photo was taken in 2013. So far as I know, nobody in the photograph is guilty of bank robbery.]

Sentenced to 12 years in federal pen

A Missourian story on Jan. 7, 1964, said Partridge was being taken to Terre Haute, Ind., to begin serving two concurrent 12-year sentence for the two bank robberies. He would be eligible for parole in four years. Richard FitzGibbon, Jr., U.S. attorney, said Terre Haute was “not as tough as Levenworth or Atlanta,” and one at which many income tax evaders serve their sentences. The government attorney said the prison has a band and thought it probable that Partridge’s musical background will admit him to prison routine adequately. [That’s certainly a confusing sentence, even though I gather what the attorney was trying to say.]

Band celebrated 75th anniversary in 1995

Jackson Band Concert 07-11-2013A story on the Jackson Municipal Band celebrating its 75th anniversary provided some other tidbits:

  • Leroy McNeely joined the band in 1924, at age 15, and was a member of the band for 65 years. After the band played the National Anthem, McNeely was sitting a few feet away with his clarinet when they arrested his band leader.
  • The “strangers” in the crowd were likely bank employees who were brought in to ID the robber.
  • After Partridge served his sentence, he returned to Jackson, where he worked for Lenco, Inc. He died in 1989.

[Editor’s note: these folks have no connection to the bank robbery, either.]