What Happened to Emma?

Prosecutor John A. Patterson realized that the only evidence he had against Emma was the same circumstantial evidence he used against Cora, who was acquitted in 1888. Therefore, the murder charges against Emma were dropped. Legally, at least, Cora’s and Emma’s trials were over.

In 1889 Emma married her third cousin Morris Barrett. They moved to Port Townsend, Washington, where she had already spent time doing temperance work. She became president of the local WCTU and worked at Seamen’s Bethel, a ministry for sailors, while continuing to travel the temperance lecture circuit. Her work was now confined to the West; in addition to Washington, Emma worked in Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, British Columbia, and California.

Morris Barrett died in 1905. In May 1907, while on a lecture tour, Emma was travelling from Susanville to Cedarville, California when the stagecoach became “disabled”. While the driver went for help, Emma spent the night in the stagecoach. Upon her arrival in Cedarville, she gave her sermon, but later slipped into a coma and died of pneumonia the next day, May 14.

Emma apparently kept in contact with Cora after the trial. In her will she left Cora $200, her watch, and her jewelry. She also left $200 to one of her adopted daughters, Etta. Additionally, her will included instructions for her body to be returned to Indiana to be buried next to her son Frank, though her wish was not honored. She was buried in Port Townsend next to her late husband Morris. Emma also left instructions for her personal papers to be burned. Unfortunately, that request appears to have been carried out.

On May 15, the Port Townsend Weekly remembered Emma as a person “devoted to the betterment and uplifting of mankind…” whose “fame as a forceful and masterly speaker extended the length of the coast…” Despite her trials, scandals, and losses, Emma never gave up on her determination to make a difference and be a reformer of men, thereby making life better for women.

 

From Emma’s Will

All the expenses of my last sickness, my just debts, and funeral shall be fully paid, and provision made for a marker at my grave beside my husband, Morris Barrett, and a suitable inscription upon the monument on my lot in the Improved Order of Redmen (IORM) Cemetery, in Port Townsend, Wash.

My personal effects to be divided according to a list which I leave in the hands of my old and tried friend, J.M. Lockhart, whom I nominate and appoint to be the executor of this, my last will and testament, without bonds, hereby revoking any, and all former wills by me made, and empower him to sell my personal effects as hereinafter directed.

…to Etta Blakeney, of Baker City, Oregon, the sum of $200; and to Cora E. Juel, of Auburn, Nebraska, $200, and my watch, and other jewelry…

I desire J.M. Lockhart to take possession of my library and personal effects and to burn all old letters and papers he may find in my desk and trunk, in the attic of my house; to select what books he may wish to keep…my books of poems to go to Cora Juel, of Auburn, Nebraska…

 

Who Was Emma?

Emma was born on the Indiana frontier in the newly established town of South Bend, on July 17, 1839.[1] At age nineteen Emma married Pradt. The couple soon moved to Wisconsin where Louis worked as a printer. They had their first child in 1861 and a second in 1863; by 1864 both children had died. Emma had published poetry in local newspapers while still in her teens and during the difficult time of her children’s deaths continued to write, using both her own name and the pen name of “Polly Wiggins.”
 
By 1867 Emma had had enough of Louis’s drinking. She left their Wisconsin home and returned to South Bend where she became a school teacher. Her divorce from Pradt became final that year and in November Emma married Edward Molloy, the editor and publisher of the National Union newspaper. Emma and Edward subsequently bought the newspaper and she became the first female newspaper editor in Indiana.[2]
 
In 1870, Emma and Edward had their only child, a son they named Franklin. Edward was still the editor and publisher of the South Bend Union and Emma worked, according to the U.S. Census, as “editress,” apparently sharing her husband’s duties as co-editor. This was a pivotal year for Emma, for besides becoming a mother again, she also gave her first public lecture. Emma had discovered that she possessed another talent, the ability to speak and persuade. Within just a few years, this would transform her life and make her one of the most famous women in the country.

In 1873, she recited an “original poem” at a temperance meeting in Elkhart, one of a handful of public speaking events in which she participated that year. It was in 1874, the year of the Women’s Crusade, that Emma began to believe in herself as a public speaker, and her journey as a national and international temperance advocate began.[3]
 
In 1880, Emma was appointed the chair of the new WCTU committee for prison reform in Indiana. This prison ministry aimed to provide men with a place to live and employment upon their release from prison. It was generally believed that if men were gainfully employed they would not return to a life of liquor and crime, but would remain sober and productive members of society.  Without help, these “men of weak moral development…[would] naturally drift back into the old channels of vice” and eventually return to prison.[4]  In an address to the WCTU, Emma stated her belief in the possibility of reform for these men who, with the “proper care and protection, might be made useful to society.” [5] Temperance leaders blamed liquor for many of society’s ills, particularly crime and family discord; therefore, it only made sense for the WCTU to form its own prison ministry. It was this ministry, and her continued desire to be a reformer of men, that led Molloy to the Michigan City, Indiana, prison where she met George Graham, who was serving a two-year sentence for forgery.
 
[1]  Martha M. Pickrell, Emma Speaks Out: Life and Writings of Emma Molloy, 1839-1907 (Carmel, Indiana: Guild Press, 1999), 3.
[2] John Palmer, South Bend: Crossroads of Commerce (North Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2003), 80.
[3] Elkhart Daily Review, May 21, 1873.
[4] Indianapolis Sentinel, February 5, 1880.
[5] Indianapolis Sentinel, February 7, 1880.

 

What Happened to Cora?

After her acquittal, Cora moved to Nebraska where she had family and worked as a telephone operator. On May 19, 1889, Cora Lee Graham married Edward Lincoln Juel; her brother Frank served as witness at the ceremony. Edward Juel was from Norway and was the clerk of Nemaha County, Nebraska.[1] He died on December 4, 1894, at only 43 years-old, leaving Cora a widow.[2]

In both the 1900 and 1910 census, Cora was still in Nemaha County, Nebraska, living with her mother and working as a telephone operator and a telephone company manager, respectively. In 1916 and 1919, she was living in Sheridan, Wyoming. From 1920 through 1922, she was in Spokane, Washington, where she had family. She was listed on the 1920 census as a widowed aunt with no occupation. By 1923, she had moved to back to Sheridan and lived for a time with her sister, Ida Lee Chester. She stayed in Sheridan until at least 1931, but by 1935 she had moved to Seattle, where she stayed for the remainder of her life.

Cora Elizabeth Lee Juel died in Seattle, Washington, on April 24, 1943. She was in her early 80s and nearly 60 years had passed since the Graham murder made national headlines.

[1]  Nebraska Marriage Collection, 1855-1908. Database. Ancestry.com
[2]  Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Records, 1781-1969. Database. Ancestry.com

 

Who Was George Graham?: A Brief Biography

George Graham was born in Pennsylvania around 1851. By 1860, his family had moved to Allen County, Indiana, where his 3-year-old sister Anna was born. In 1870, the family still lived in Allen County and 19-year-old George was working as a railroad foreman.

 After announcing his intention to reform, George was arrested in 1873, for grand larceny after stealing a horse. He reacted to the guilty verdict with the “utmost nonchalance,” and observed “I guess they have got me this time.”[1] During sentencing he spoke on his own behalf and requested that his conviction be overturned. His request was overruled, but observers were impressed with his oratorical skills and thought he sounded like a “very fair criminal lawyer.”[2] He served a five-year sentence and was released on Christmas Day, 1877. Prison records described George as having a light complexion with light brown hair, gray eyes, and a temperate disposition. He was not a large man, weighing 139 lbs upon his release from prison.[3]

 George’s hometown newspaper reported his escapades regularly:

“The notorious George Graham, whose character was portrayed at length in the Gazette last spring is on the docket of the Circuit Court in the role of defendant in a divorce suit. George has not only been guilty of larceny, horse stealing, forgery, embezzlements, confidence games, obtaining money under false pretenses, assault and battery and other similar eccentricities, but has preached, delivered temperance lectures, studied law, been a telegraph operator and an engineer.”

He has been acquitted of numerous crimes, been declared insane by an Allen County Jury, &c., but now languishes in the Michigan City Penitentiary. Among the other incidents of his career was his marriage, which occurred in December, 1872. His wife, Sarah Graham, complains in the Circuit Court that he has deserted and abandoned her, failing to provide for her and her child, and has finally been convicted of an infamous crime.”[4]

[1]  Fort Wayne Daily Gazette, May 9, 1873
[2]  Fort Wayne Daily Gazette, May 30, 1873.
[3]  Indiana State Prison Records, (Indiana Digital Archives), Book 2, Page 109.
[4]  Fort Wayne Daily Gazette, September 18, 1873.

 

Indictment for 1st Degree Murder

 

George Graham: Horse-thief and Murderer

George Graham was born in Pennsylvania around 1851. By 1860, his family had moved to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, where his 3-year-old sister Anna was born. In 1870, the family still lived in Ft. Wayne and 19-year-old George was working as a railroad foreman.

On December 20, 1871, George married Sarah Gorham in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.[1]

In 1872, George was charged with forgery, though he somehow managed to avoid prison.[2] His luck held out when, in April 1873, he was charged with grand larceny and was found not guilty.[3] After announcing his intention to reform, George was arrested later that month for grand larceny for stealing a horse.[4] This time his luck ran out and the jury convicted him. He reacted to the guilty verdict with the “utmost nonchalance,” and observed “I guess they have got me this time.”[5] During sentencing he spoke on his own behalf and requested that his conviction be overturned. His request was overruled, but observers were impressed with his oratorical skills and thought he sounded like a “very fair criminal lawyer.”[6]

By late summer, George’s wife Sarah had filed for divorce.[7] George’s notoriety meant the divorce was well publicized:

George has not only been guilty of larceny, horse stealing, forgery, embezzlements, confidence games, obtaining money under false pretenses, assault and battery and other similar eccentricities, but has preached, delivered temperance lectures, studied law, been a telegraph operator and an engineer.
​He has been acquitted of numerous crimes, been declared insane by an Allen County Jury, &c., but now languishes in the Michigan City Penitentiary. Among the other incidents of his career was his marriage, which occurred in December, 1872. His wife, Sarah Graham, complains in the Circuit Court that he has deserted and abandoned her, failing to provide for her and her child, and has finally been convicted of an infamous crime.[8]
 
Sarah was granted her divorce. George served a five-year sentence at the Michigan City (Ind.) prison and was released on Christmas Day, 1877. Prison records described him as having a light complexion with light brown hair, gray eyes, and a temperate disposition. He was not a large man, weighing only 139 pounds upon his release from prison.[9]  

Against her father’s wishes, Sarah married George for the second time on April 16, 1878, a decision that proved fatal.

 

James Baker: Judge, Railroad Tycoon, and Prohibitionist

Baker was born in Kentucky in 1819, but grew up in Indiana. He practiced law in Ottumwa, Iowa for a number of years and served in the Thirteenth Iowa Infantry during the Civil War. He resigned from the military due to illness and moved to Springfield around 1863. In 1868, Missouri Governor Thomas Fletcher appointed him to the Missouri Supreme Court. Baker did not remain a judge for long, however; he resigned to work toward bringing the railroad to Springfield, a goal realized in 1870.  That same year, he was “appointed attorney for the Missouri Pacific Railroad…”. Baker spent the next several years promoting the proliferation of railroads in the Ozarks. He was also involved in local real estate and in 1885, had the “Baker Block” constructed on the northwest corner of the square next to the courthouse.[1]

In 1883, Baker became a member of the Prohibitionist party.[2] It was his affinity for temperance that led him to invite Emma Molloy to move to the Ozarks after meeting her at one of her revivals. Baker was remembered for his “courageous defense of Mrs. Molloy, who was persecuted because she was a temperance advocate…”[3]

His support of Emma apparently did not damage his political aspirations; in September 1886, he was elected chairman of the Missouri Prohibitionist party.[4]

Baker died in 1910 at his sons home in New Lenox, Illinois. He was returned to Springfield and is buried in the National Cemetery.[5] His wife, Maggie, died in 1924 at their home in Evanston, Illinois.[6]
 
 
[1] Springfield Leader and Press, September 1, 1892; Pictorial and Genealogical Record of Greene County Missouri, p. 195-198.
[2] Pictorial and Genealogical Record of Greene County Missouri, p. 195-198.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Springfield Daily Leader, September 16, 1886.
[5] Springfield Leader and Press, October 17, 1910.
[6] Springfield Republican, March 23, 1924.

 

Thomas J. Delaney

George Graham’s defense attorney, Thomas J. Delaney, was born in St Louis on May 10, 1859. He married Cordie (Cordelia) Boyd, daughter of prominent Springfieldian Sempronious H. Boyd in St. Louis on December 29, 1880.

In 1882, Delaney was elected Springfield city attorney; a couple of years later he was elected Greene County Prosecutor, a position he held from 1885-85. In 1888, he was appointed United States district attorney for the western district of Missouri. He also practiced law in partnership with his father-in-law from 1885-1890.

Delaney was deeply involved in politics and in 1890 he was elected a committeeman for the thirteenth district at the Democratic state convention.  He even took his son “Jammie” with him to a central committee meeting later that year in St. Louis.

The Delaney’s first child, Robert Boyd, was born May 18, 1890, and lived only three days. Their second, James Boyd, born in 1882 and died in 1921 of tuberculosis.

The Graham murder wasn’t the only high-profile case Delaney was involved in. While George, Emma, and Cora were incarcerated in Greene and Polk counties, Delaney was the defense attorney for the Bald Knobbers in Christian County.

“Col. S. H. Boyd and Thos. J. Delaney have returned from Jefferson City, where they had been to secure a respite for the condemned Bald-Knobbers…a respite of 60 days has been granted and after the expiration of that period a commutation of sentence will be asked.”

“T. J. Delaney is an all-round lawyer, capable and resourceful in every field of legal controversy. He is really a brilliant attorney, eloquent and attractive as a speaker and resolute, vigilant and tireless in the trial of a case. He never loses a cause for lack of energy and tact. He is naturally aggressive and courageous. He gets close to his client’s personal standpoint and enters the court room as a veritable champion of the litigant represented. There is an air of chivalry about this attorney and his bearing in an important cause suggests the memories of a more romantic period in the history of society. Mr. Delaney is a well-read lawyer. He is at home with the poets and can command the choicest sentiments of many classical writers when gems of literature are needed to adorn a speech. His personal magnetism makes him a great favorite with juries and to this source of power the popular attorney owes much of his success.”

 In 1911, Delaney received the Democratic nomination for judge of the Missouri supreme court.

In addition to his legal practice and political aspirations, Delaney was also involved in real estate and helped establish Delaney, Gooffe and Bouslog’s addition in North Springfield.

Thomas J. Delaney died February 1, 1920, at the age of 60. Cordie survived him eight years.

Sources:
Missouri Digital Heritage. “Missouri Death Records, 1910-1967.” According to the Pictorial and Genealogical Record of Greene County, Missouri, Delaney was born in New Orleans. Newspaper reports indicate that his mother lived in New Orleans, at least in 1889-1890.
Family Search. Missouri Marriages, 1750-1920.
Pictorial and Genealogical Record of Greene County, Missouri, 311-12.
Springfield Leader, June 11, 1890.
Springfield Leader, August 30, 1890. FindaGrave.com
Missouri Digital Heritage. “Missouri Death Records, 1910-1967.”
Springfield Leader, February 11, 1889.
Springfield Leader and Press, December 28, 1899.
Springfield Republican, September 12, 1911.
Springfield Leader, March 5, 1887.

 

Emma’s Desperate Letter to George

Curiosity about everyone connected to the Graham murder led me to examine their probate files. Not everyone had a file, but one of Emma’s attorney’s, Humphrey H. Howell, did. It was largely an ordinary probate record, filled with receipts and inventory lists, until I came across the envelope you see above. I can’t tell you how excited I was to find an original document addressed to George E. Graham. But wait, it gets better. A few pages below the envelope I found the letter that went with it–an original letter from Emma Molloy to George. I was beyond excited. I had in my hands a letter that likely had not been seen in decades, and even if it had been seen, it’s unlikely that anyone would have realized its significance. And maybe, even now, it’s not particularly significant to anyone but me. I’ve read plenty of Emma’s words, but this was the first time I had viewed her words firsthand. Always be curious!

The remainder of this post is a complete transcript of that letter, one that she wrote to George in mid-February 1886, after Indiana marriage records proved that he had committed bigamy, but before he confessed on February 28. Emma’s desperation is palpable.

Please be aware that the document is in poor condition and a few words are illegible. The paragraph breaks indicate where each page of the letter ended.

Poor tempest tossed George: I never sat down to write to anyone in so hopeless and heart-broken a frame of mind as I am writing to you. The evidence is conclusive, and none of us can go back on it, the records of your second marriage which no one could forge or deceive about, is on the Allen Co. Records. I am not astonished that hoping against hope you have denied this, but I am amazed beyond measure that you could find it in your heart to deceive the two women who above all others have stood by you in “good and evil report,” who hoped and prayed for the

best of you to be developed and the evil to be crushed out. I do not write to reproach you George, for I am sure your own heart has made your reproach bitter as gall now. I cannot understand either why knowing all this was inevitable, you came back when you were away, but my child, there is only one thing now for you to do to save yourself as much as possible, and to set Cora and I right before the public. If you do not do it Cora and I had better both be dead, for in this frantic effort to help you to happiness and to God as we believed, we have become so woven into

your life that everybody suspects us. My friends tell me that I can no longer be deceived in you, that to even write you now will involve us in the suspicion of being accessories to Sarah’s murder. Oh! God! George you know how innocent Cora and I are of any knowledge of this matter. A trial would simply kill us to go through it, with all the community embittered as it is there, not one friend left to us. There is only one thing for you to do if you hope for God’s mercy, or that we can ever think of you without a shudder, go before the Judge and Pros. Atty. And make a square clean confession,

and tell them that Cora and I did not know that her marriage was not an honest one. Confess what you cannot escape if it comes to trial, that you are guilty of bigamy, and it will make your sentence lighter. Tell the truth—the whole truth and nothing but the truth about your last interview with Sarah. If you deceived her as well as us, as you hope for God’s forgiveness tell it. Make a clean breast of it. Otherwise all my power to ever do any good in this world is gone, and those poor, dear children are worse than motherless. If you

tell the truth you cannot suffer any more than you will anyway, but you can very materially alter everything in our lives. The world will never excuse or understand the long fierce fight I have made for your salvation, for few feel toward a man who has been in prison as I do. The whole public, and I have thousands to answer to [illegible] your one, will not excuse or in any wise palliate anything [illegible] looks like condoning the [illegible] of a man who has had your experience. They cannot understand how I have treated you as a mother would a sick child, always hoping

for complete, entire recovery. They believe me to have done even worse than you. I cannot believe that you have had a hand in putting Sarah out of the way, but the charge of bigamy is proven beyond a doubt. You will still stand a chance for your life, even with a term at Jefferson City, which is inevitable; so at once if there is one grain of kindness or manhood left in your heart, confess your crime, and throw yourself on the mercy of the court. If you were not as blinded by your own misery you could readily see

how you yourself had bolted the doors of communication between you and us all. Truly this is an exemplification of the truth that I am always preaching, that by our own sins and wrong-doing we shut ourselves away from God and heaven. If you had not deceived me, a divorce could have been procured, and everything done right, but when you deceived your best friends without a cause, you likewise cut your won throat. It is not worth while to tell you what an agony of soul this has all caused me.

You know me well enough to know what I am suffering. It will be a little ray of light to have this suspense and agony ended, even tho’ I can never think of you again except as the poor convict, but I have not yet lost hope that out of this black pall of gloom, this suffering will purify your soul, and though we should never meet on earth again there is a chance yet, that we may meet in Heaven. I implore you, understand me, and do not think I mean to say one harsh or cruel word to you. For all the injury you have wrought

I freely forgive you as I hope for God’s forgiveness, and amid all the storm and clamor of the populace, there goes up to God hourly, and will while I live, the heartbroken cry “Oh! God pity and save George.” There is no hope left of the bright future we had hoped for you in this life, but it is not for very long now. If the suffering of the body can atone for the mistakes of the head, and the sins of the soul, let us thank God; and now do everything, I implore you, to repair the wrong, and to set me right before the public so that I can fulfill

my promise made, when I little knew or dreamed of what it meant, that I would see that these children were brought up for God, and usefulness in this world. It is not for myself I ask this. It is first for that poor crushed girl who poured out all the wealth of her love upon you, next for those helpless children who have no one else to stand between them and the world now, and most of all for the vindication of the religion that brought me to you first in prison and that led me to stand by

you through all these years, and that the thousands who have been converted to God under my influences may not forever doubt the honesty of my purpose or the truthfulness of my profession. Could I speak one word to cheer you, poor child, how gladly I would. You came into my life strangely. God only knows why out of the thousands you should have been the object of such care and solicitude, but that problem will be answered in the other life.Accept the result of

this violation of law as the only expiation you can make; trust God for his mercy, don’t let go of His word, for while every body else believes you to be “devoid of all goodness,” Cora and I do not, and we shall hope yet that we shall find you in Heaven. I believe it is not possible that one who has prayed for you as I have shall be disappointed. And tho’ I learned that you said “there was no God, and nobody was good,” I am convinced that is not your real sentiment. When I hear that you have confessed, and will make the

best of the inevitable, and like one who believes himself to be preparing for an eternity of heaven or hell, try in all things to do the right that the brightest hopes you have ever had may not forever be disappointed, then I shall know that I have not been wholly deceived in you. I am breaking oh! so fast under this agony, yet I dare not stop my work. You know how I have become involved trying to help you and I must pay those debts.

It is entirely beyond my power to shield you from the results of your wrong-doing, but I shall never lose hope of your final salvation while you live. It is no use George to rebel against the punishment. You can only make the best of it. But it would not be half so hard to [illegible] to serve [illegible] in prison as it is to have all these years of self-sacrificing toil misrepresented, and the world maligning me as a hypocrite, a fraud, an imposter, and most

Of all bringing contempt on Christs cause. No one knows better than you how sincere I am, how in the home, in my private life, I have tried to live as in God’s sight continually. Cora, poor [illegible] has only one hope left now, and that is that your course may be such now as that you may obtain God’s forgiveness, and [illegible] be saved in that brighter world where there will be no sin to contend with, and all will help our growth in goodness, and

The sympathy and love which we have longed for in this life will be a part of the very atmosphere of Heaven. If you do not make this reformation I must [illegible] down to death with the agony of believing that there is nothing left in you that is good. I shall not doubt your repentance [illegible] I hear that you [illegible] to confess. I can’t come to you for many reasons. I can only implore God to pity you and save you. You ask “What can I do, what can I do.” I have given you the only answer. God help you poor boy.
E.M.