Monday, September 2, 2013

Mystery Monday / Tombstone Tuesday, part 5: H. Jay Hanchette's son Earl

This is part 5 of my series on the  mysterious disappearance of H. Jay Hanchette in 1891.  Tragedy continues to dog this family.  Besides his father, wife, and brother-in-law, Hanchette's youngest son Earl E. (1879-1899) was not immune from the seeming family curse.

Many newspapers in the western half of the county had stories similar to this one on page 1 of the Sacramento [CA] Daily Union on June 15, 1899 (via the California Digital Newspaper Collection):

Earl E. Hanchette was born in 1879 in California, the second son of Henry Jay Hanchette and his wife Emma Griffith.   According to a longer article on page 5 of the Los Angeles Herald that same date, he met  the former Georgia Elliott the previous summer in Los Angeles.  They eloped to San Francisco and married there in late August, 1898.  The 18-year-old Georgia had given birth just four weeks before she was murdered.  Hanchette said he did it because Georgia's mother wanted her daughter and grandchild to move back to Denver with her, and Hanchette did not want them to go.

Earl Hanchette apparently used chloroform on his wife before shooting her - I have to wonder if he got that from his uncle, Dr. Edgar M. Griffith, who was practicing medicine in Los Angeles at that time.  Hanchette shot himself in the stomach in a suicide attempt.  He was described as a "dudish masher," and

"The young man was always wayward, and grief over his ways of living may have hastened the death of his mother, Mrs. Emma J. Hanchette, for many years a highly respected public school principal in this city, whose demise occurred only a few months ago. He sought no employment. Remittances from his grandmother in San Francisco to himself and from his mother-in-law to his wife were wasted upon himself."

He'd apparently also resorted to forgery.

While Hanchette lingered in the hospital, the Los Angeles coroner and an undertaker squabbled over poor Georgia's body prior to the inquest.  Her body was shipped to Denver, and her child either sent there to live with its grandmother, or to Des Moines, Iowa, to live with its aunt, Georgia's sister, a Mrs. Meredith.  I don't know (yet) where Georgia is buried or what ultimately happened to her child.

Earl Hanchette died on June 17, 1899He is apparently buried at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles, and shares a marker with his uncle Edgar Milton Griffith and his enabling grandmother, Aurelia Conant Griffith:

photo courtesy Don Lynch via

© Amanda Pape - 2013 - click here to e-mail me.

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