Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tackling a Tigress

Lavenia Andrus Miller McComb Sondberg Tryon (1854-1939)

My Second Great Grandmother

me --> Bruce Albert Buchanan --> Robert Amos Buchanan --> June Miller Eckstein Buchanan --> Lavenia Andrus Miller McComb Sondberg Tryon

Of all of my ancestors, I have a real soft spot for Lavenia.  I think for two main reasons, she had a very difficult life and she was as strong as an ox.  If I was allowed to only have lunch with one of my ancestors, I'd definitely pick her.

I came across this newspaper article about her today and loved it so much I decided it needed it's own post.

Seems in 1902 Lavenia had a little trouble with a property she purchased.  A man named Fitch felt that he had legal right to that property too.  That's J. Tom Fitch, as in Judge Fitch.

J. Tom Fitch

Did that intimidate Lavenia?  Of course not!  She ran him off her property with a double barreled shotgun.

She said she always shoots to kill.  Lucky for him, he was able to run around a corner and she missed.

So what does Judge Fitch do?  Take it to court of course.  There he got a document that legally declared the property his.

But Lavenia said she'd never vacate the property except as a corpse.  In today's words...

So the Sheriff Hyrum Wilcox, goes over to Lavenia's with five deputies.

The other two deputies were too scared to pose for the picture.

According to the article, "They tackled a tigress."

Two had to hold onto her, while the others took her household items.  One had to extract a pistol from her, um..., "bosom."

They even removed the windows and doors from the house.

Not actual house

Once Fitch was notified that he had possession of the home again he sent two men to watch it.  When Lavenia showed up at 3 o'clock in the morning, they "vamoosed."

Vamoose means to leave like your life depends on it.

By the time the Sheriff got there, she had replaced all the windows and doors.

And now for the rest of the story:
Right now you might be thinking that Lavenia was acting unreasonable, but let me tell you the rest of the story.

J. Tom Fitch was known as the "Father of Helper."  He is credited as having built the very first home in Helper.  He was a real estate man and owned several properties.  This was Lavenia's only home and she earned an income by doing laundry.  Fitch was offered $1000 to let Lavenia stay in the home.  The home was worth $300.  Fitch refused the money.

Fitch would go on to become the mayor of Helper and eventually a State Representative.  Lavenia was eventually evicted permanently from the home and had to find a new place to live.

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