Pearl Bryan’s former beau Scott Jackson made some sudden changes in his life in summer of 1895. He was trying to escape responsibility.
He dropped off the face of the earth as far as Pearl Bryan was concerned. She had difficulty in finding where he was and when she eventually did he wouldn’t see her or answer her messages. He had transferred from the Indiana College of Dentistry to the Dental College of Ohio, in Cincinnati.
Several weeks later she wrote Scott saying in parlance of the day that she “had made a discovery.” News that she was pregnant didn’t beckon a red letter day for Scott. He wasn’t ready to change his lifestyle or to have a regulated life.
Meanwhile Pearl was in a tizzy. A scandal of this nature would be more than her family could stand. The Bryans were one of the most respected in Greencastle and she was considered one of the most eligible. Dark clouds were looming over the lovely Pearl. She wondered what she could do.
She turned to her cousin Will Wood who exchanged a series of letters with Scott. He was adamant about breaking ties with Pearl and would deny paternity all the way to the opposite end of the earth if necessary. He suggested different drugs that would likely induce a miscarriage. If Pearl did try the drugs, they weren’t successful.
“Tell the girl to come to Cincinnati,” he wrote to Will Wood by letter. “I have made all arrangements to take care of this. It will be performed by a doctor and very experienced woman, both old hands at this. She will be attended by an old woman.”
Though the circumstances left Pearl feeling empty inside she felt it was a solution to her problem and agreed to the plan. She told her parents she was going to visit friends in Indianapolis, not Cincinnati nor did she tell them the actual purpose for the visit.
Will Wood, her cousin, planned to accompany her on the trip but Will’s father asked that he remain in Greencastle. He relented to his father’s request but did escort her to the train station. He would never see her alive again.
Pearl was surprised when Scott Jackson met her at the train station in Cincinnati though he did keep all conversation to a minimum. He took her to the Indiana House, a lodge for women that was located near the station. He then left for campus and a class saying he would return later and they would have dinner and talk.
The following day Scott introduced Pearl to Alonzo Walling, an acquaintance with whom he had some courses while in Indianapolis. The three were seen together several times over the next few days and on January 30 they were seen in an intense argument on Elm Street .
“I’ve been here five days now,” Pearl spoke up, noticeably upset. “You said you were arranging for me to see a doctor. I want to know what’s going on. If you don’t do something soon I’m going home and consulting an attorney.”
Scott assured her everything would be taken care of the following day. That night Alonzo Walling made arrangements for George H. Jackson, no relation to Scott Jackson, to take them across the river into Kentucky the following night. Walling was the owner of a horse-drawn) taxi. They would meet him at the corner of Elm and George Streets at 7 p.m.
The following evening Pearl, Scott and Alonzo ate dinner in a small sitting room in Wallingford’s Tavern at the corner of Elm and Plum Streets in Cincinnati. Afterwards Scott walked to the bar and ordered a whiskey for himself and a sarsaparilla for Pearl, the latter being a non-alcoholic drink that was popular at the time. Jackson had a small bottle of dissolved cocaine in water which he added, unknowingly, into Pearl’s sarsaparilla before returning to the table. Walling left a few minutes earlier and returned near 7 p.m. with George Jackson who would drive the taxi.
It was raining and cold when they exited Wallingford’s Tavern. Though Pearl was feeling ill by this time, the three entered the taxi and soon they were riding across Central Bridge to Newport, KY. Once they were in Kentucky the taxi took a circuitous route away from two toll stops to lessen the likelihood that Pearl, Scott or Alonzo might be seen and later recognized.
Pearl felt sickly causing her to moan periodically throughout the trip. She felt deep misgivings with the turn her life had taken. “Oh, if I could just be back home, back before I ever met Scott,” she thought.
All at once Scott had the driver stop the horse and taxi near what appeared to be an orchard. Scott, Alonzo and Pearl exited the carriage and crossed a three-rail fence near the road. Pearl had difficulty crossing the fence so the two young men removed one of the rails to make it easier for her. They continued onward into the orchard, their forms becoming fainter to the taxi driver before totally disappearing into the fog and darkness.
George, the taxi driver, knew something wasn’t right. He didn’t want anything to do with it. He made a snap decision to abandon his horse and taxi and leave. He was sure that someone would give him a ride back into town and the others would ride back in the horse-carriage. copyright 2018 Jadon Gibson
Editor’s note: Read more of this true story next week at bereaonline.com. Gibson is a freelance writer from Harrogate, TN. His writings are both historical and nostalgic in nature and can be read periodically at bereaonline.com. Don’t miss a single posting!
A Voice for God – a voice for good
My good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me. My siblings, Larry, Carol and I were very fortunate to have the parents that birthed and raised us.
Dad started working in the coal mine at a young age. The United States Steel Company didn’t have many formalities when hiring workers for their coal mining operation in Lynch, Harlan County, Kentucky, back in 1936.
Dad rarely missed a day of work and he spent much of his time learning the intracacies of coalmining. He was made a section foreman within a couple years of his hiring. In 1948 Dad was hired by Inland Steel Company in their mining operation in Wheelwright, Kentucky. They, like U.S. Steel was a very progressive company. In addition to good wages and benefits they had a very modern community for their employees including golf course, tennis court, swimming pool theater and numerous stores.
Dad was always good to us kids. If we wanted something he would take care of it. He provided well for us and we had swimming passes for practically every summer day.
I can think of only one bad habit that dad had. He was a good worker and never missed work but about once a month or so he would imbibe in beer and/or whiskey and he couldn’t handle it well. This was always on a Friday or Saturday night and he would be up late, usually until 2 or 3 in the morning. One good thing he was always back at work on Monday.
Sometimes when we were visiting our grandparents back in Harlan County he would be drinking on our trip back home. He drove too fast and passed other vehicles at inopportune times making it a harrowing experience. Mom’s prayers were always answered and we returned safely. Dad did have costly accidents on two other drinking occasions when we weren’t with him.
Dad taught us how to behave in various situations. In this instance he taught us how not to behave. If anyone reading this recognizes some of their own characteristics I pray they will alter them before they or a family member, or someone’s loved one is hurt or injured.
Thank God for being with us as we were growing up. Certain times could have ended so differently, so tragically. My good Lord in Heaven has been so good to us.