A genealogy blog about the migration generation of my McKee Family line, including bios, transcribed obituaries, photographs, and research notes.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Edna Leta (Leary) Deppe...a mystery

I've been picking at this line and that line and making bits of progress here and there. It hasn't been enough that I've felt compelled to write anything...until today. I've had two distant cousins contact me on two different lines. One of the cousins has provided information on a Deppe line that has been a puzzlement for a long time. Here's what I know.

Everett Deppe
b. 17 Dec 1895 Willisville, Perry County, Illinois
d. Where? When?
m. 8 Dec 1915 Perry County, Illinois
Edna Leta Leary
b. 24 Oct 1899 Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas
d. Where? When?

Everett and Edna had the following children.

Child 1:
Wayne Logan Deppe
b. 27 Jan 1919 Cutler, Perry County, Illinois
d. 4 Apr 1930 Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri (FAG 68156113)

Child 2:
Arliene Rosalee Deppe
b. 18 Oct 1921 Cutler, Perry County, Illinois
d. Where? When?

Child 3:
Melba June Deppe
b. 26 Feb 1923 Cutler, Perry County, Illinois
d. 16 Jan 1924 Illinois

Child 4:
Lorrain Winifred "Winnie" Deppe
b. 22 Dec 1925 Cutler, Perry County, Illinois
d. Where? When?

Child 5:
Kenneth Burnell Deppe
b. 27 Aug 1927 Cutler, Perry County, Illinois
d. Where? When?

As you can see, I've been able to track only limited information. I have my great-grandmother to thank for the dates of birth. In the back of a circa 1930's bank book, she wrote out each of the children's full names and their dates of birth. She did this for both of her nieces...the daughters of her younger sister, Margaret Susanna (Leemon) Shavers, Leary, Appel. Margaret's daughters were Hazel Cliff (Leary) Deppe and Edna Leta (Leary) Deppe.

Edna married early at age 16. You can find her in two locations Cutler and Joplin.

  • 1915 married Perry County, Illinois
  • 1920 living Cutler Perry County, Illinois, where the children were born
  • 1930 living Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri 
  • 1930 Everett is arrested for currency counterfeiting
According to newspaper accounts, Everett was arrested 5 March 1930 after failing to post $4,000 bond when he was arrested on charges of using the mails to defraud.

In June of 1931, a newspaper reports that six individual were involved in a counterfeiting scheme with the object to make a profit of $100,000 and buy a Joplin Hotel. The newspaper notes that a Joplin printer named Everett Deppe was one of the leaders of the ring. It also noted that Deppe was still at large, having absconded with most of the spurious currency.

Later in June of 1931, a newspaper reports that Everett Deppe was under arrest in Charleston, West Virginia and that a total of eight people had been sentenced to penitentiary and jail terms. They were seeking extradition of Everett back to Joplin.

The next time I can pick up Everett is in a Sept 1931 newspaper article noting his arrest for passing counterfeit bills throughout middle western cities over the summer of 1931. In addition the article notes that Everett escaped from jail in Charleston, West Virginia about mid August 1931. A subsequent Joplin Globe article notes that Everett was still not apprehended in June of 1935.

Past these newspaper articles, I've made no progress on tracing this family. And then I heard from a distant Deppe cousin (cousin-in-law?) with the rest of this tale.

After Everett escaped (the Charleston, West Virginia jail?), he turned up in the middle of the night at his mother's home. He hugged his mother and told her he would never see her again. Everett left with Edna and the children (Arliene, age 10; Winnie, age 6; and Kenneth age 4). They left the area and nobody in the Deppe family has heard from them to this day.

The reason that the Deppe cousin knows the story is that his grandfather was Everett's nephew and as a child he played with Arliene and Winnie. This wing of the Deppe family has stayed in the area and it would have been easy for Arliene or Winnie (who would have been old enough to remember) to find their first cousin again. To the disappointment of family members left behind, it seems that the girls have made no effort to contact anyone in their family.

The Deppe cousin who provided these details speculates that the family may have escaped to Mexico or somewhere else. I'm guessing that Everett and Edna may have managed to change their names. The children were most likely encouraged not to remember and not to return to the area.

The last bits of info I have about this family is that when Edna's mother died in 1942, Edna is listed as the only surviving child. In addition, the obit notes that Margaret Susanna had 11 grandchildren, which would have included Edna's living children. Did Edna have contact with her mother? Did she attend the funeral in 1942? I'd love to be able to answer these questions.

Interestingly, the Deppe cousin who contacted me makes no mention of Edna's nephews and nieces by her sister Hazel Cliff (Leary) Deppe. I haven't contacted anyone in that line of the Deppe family. They perhaps have information on their cousins too. So it would seem that the next logical step is to contact Hazel's descendants and see if they have a family tale and more info they are willing to share. I'll post an update if and when I get more info.