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Curious story of Marital fraud in Huntsville reported in The Tuscaloosa News

On December 8, 1937, this curious story was reported in The Tuscaloosa News from Huntsville, Alabama.


Three Confess They Obtained Money, Clothes, Rings From Prospective Husbands

Huntsville, Alabama Dec. 8 (1937) (AP)

Three Alabama sisters, charged with using the mails to defraud in connection with ‘fake marriage’ proposals, pleaded guilty in United States district court here this morning.

Judge John McDuffle of Mobile, presiding in the absence of Judge David J. Davis, of Birmingham, was expected to pass sentence on them early this afternoon.

why-helen-i-think-eleven-proposals-in-one-week-is-positively-immodest-library-of-congressWhy, Helen, I think eleven proposals in one week is positively immodest -ca. 1917 by artist William Leroy Jacobs (Library of Congress)

The three sisters, Frances Reid, 18; Ella Izelle Reid, 27; and Mrs. F. S. Barley, 32; were charged with obtaining money, clothes and rings from men in various states throughout the country by a “scheme thorough which they obtained proposals of marriage from these men after inserting an advertisement in a magazine publication.”

Ten out-of-state witnesses, said by Assistant District Attorney Jack McGuire to have been “victims” of the scheme, were in the courtroom to testify against the defendants. Names of witnesses were not divulged immediately.

A fourth sister, also indicted on the same charge, is confined in an Alabama insane hospital, McGuire said.

The sisters lived on Route 2, Athens, Ala.

FreeHearts: 2nd edition A Novel of Colonial America Col. John Washington (ancestor of President George Washington), Randall Revell, Tom Cottingham, Edmund Beauchamp ward off Indian attacks and conquer the wilds of Maryland’s Eastern shore in 17th century colonial America in this historical novel, inspired by true events.


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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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