The Maudie Carver Mystery – Pure Speculation

As I mentioned in my post about James “Jim” Wesley Hedrick, I discovered my Great Grandfather had a surprise wife and daughter in the 1940 US Census: Mollie M, age 40, and Luella, age 9. Also living in the home is Jim’s daughter Dorothy, age 14, from his previous marriage.

I asked a cousin, a granddaughter of Jim Hedrick, about this and got more information. She said that his wife went by Maudie Carver, and that Luella was his stepdaughter.

I searched for Maudie Carver in Stone County, Missouri in the 1930 Census, and found one. Her last name is Patrick, and she is living with her parents Albert and Annie Carver, her brother Ross, and her husband Herbert Patrick. She is 20 years old, so if this is the same person, she aged 20 years in 10 years . . . but census ages can’t be trusted. Patrick and Maudie aren’t listed with a Luella in 1930.

Next I searched Find-A-Grave, and eliminated the only Maudie Carver I found in Missouri because Carver was her married name. I then searched for her father, Albert Carver, and I found him – buried with his wife, and his daughter Maudie Mae Carver Long. BINGO! Next I searched Missouri Digital Heritage for a death certificate, and found one.

The death certificate reports that Maudie died at her home in Springfield, Missouri on July 31, 1951. Cause of death was homocide – gunshot wounds in chest and arms.  She was divorced, but her husband’s name was Frank Long. Her mother Annie was the informant. Maudie was 42, born April 30, 1909.

A search of newspapers found an article about the crime. The Neosho Daily Democrat reported on the front page, Wednesday, August 1, 1951, “Springfield Man Kills Two, Then Commits Suicide.” Martin Elmer Phillips, a “41-year-old bachelor killed his common law wife Maude May Carver, 42, and Paul Goldsberry, 25, a taxicab driver, and then turned the gun on himself.”

Maudie and Martin Elmer Phillips had lived in the house together for several weeks. Neighbors reported that the couple had been “arguing violently during the day” and that Maudie went to the store to call a taxicab. She then returned home and packed her clothes.

Paul Goldsberry, an air force veteran of World War II and married father of four, was planning to quit his job as taxicab driver soon to devote himself to farming, but that day he was serving as an extra driver, and he took the call. He was shot in the head on the porch while bending over to grab Maudie’s bag, staggered to the yard and died there.

Police said that Maudie had been trying to escape through the back door but was shot seven times. Martin Elmer Phillips was found on a bed, with the gun in his hands, and two wounds to his chest and one to his head

The article reported “Miss Carver, of Springfield, is survived by a daughter, two grandchildren and her parents.” Is that daughter Luella?

I figured if this was the Maudie Carver who was married to Jim Hedrick, then Herbert Patrick was the likely father of Luella. I searched Find-A-Grave for Luella Patrick, and found her in Yocum Pond Cemetary in Reeds Spring, Missouri where many of my Hopper and Hedrick relatives are buried. Her birthday makes her a year younger than Dorothy, so if this is the right person the ages were off on the 1940 US Census.

I researched Thelma Luella Patrick Back, and found that she did have two daughters, so that fits with newspaper article about Maude’s death. Unfortunately, I also found that according to her Social Security Application, her parents are Jess J Patrick and Myrtle Keithley. In 1930, when Maudie and her husband Herbert Patrick are living with her parents, Jess Patrick and his family, including Thelma, are living just a few houses away. In 1940 when Maudie and Luella are living with my great grandfather Jim Hedrick, there’s still a Thelma living with Jess Patrick’s family.

Was Maudie Mae Carver married to Herbert Patrick, then Jim Hedrick, then Frank Long? The only marriage record I can find is her marriage to Frank Long in Benton County, Arkansas on January 14, 1949. She is 39 and he is 64. The 1930 US Census ties her to Herbert Patrick. The only thing I have to connect her to Jim Hedrick is the family story that he was married to a Maudie Carver.

Was Thelma Luella Patrick Back the daughter of Maudie Carver and Herbert Patrick, and if so, why are her parents listed as Jess and Myrtle Patrick?

I may be way off track. Or, maybe I’ve found Jim Hedrick’s mystery wife.

2 thoughts on “The Maudie Carver Mystery – Pure Speculation

    • I will! Hoping other relatives will provide some clues. I’m not sure about common law marriage laws in Missouri at the time. The article says her killer was her common law husband, but her death certificate says she was divorced from the husband she married just 2 years prior. I think the newspaper used it as code for “living together.”

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