"Going down the steps with a gun in his hands" - A murderer's blood runs in my veins

A few years back, I found out the secret my grandmother had hidden all her life, a secret that explains all about the kind of woman she was - and maybe about the kind of writer I am. Perhaps I should have guessed there was a secret. As a writer, I know that the way a character acts can be traced to backstory.

EffieMy grandmother, Effie Satterwhite, was a bitter, mean woman.  But I never thought to wonder why, to think that people don't start out that way.  I never thought to question why she didn't marry until she was 32, in 1920, at a time when many of her peers were probably becoming grandparents.  If I did give any thought to it, I must have chalked it up to no one wanting to marry such a judgmental person.

Then, four years ago, in an idle moment of Googling, I found her name in an Arkansas State Supreme Court decision. It upheld a lower court's ruling that found my great-grandfather guilty of assault with intent to kill.

According to the court records, when she was 17 and living in Hope, Arkansas, Effie started seeing a man named Jim Wallis. One night they went to an “entertainment,” and returned at 11 pm.  The following is from the court transcripts.

"She put her hands against him and pushed him away"
“She started to go in the house, but was stopped by Wallis who reached out his hand and drew her to him and kissed her. She put her hands against him and pushed him away. They walked to the end of the porch, and stood there talking until the clock struck eleven. Wallis looked at his watch and then turned and kissed her again. He then left the house.”

James Louis Effie went inside, heard a door open, and then saw her father “going down the steps with a gun in his hands.” She heard the shot, and tried to run to Jim. Her father grabbed her, and said it was all her fault.

Finally he let Effie go to her boyfriend, who lay bleeding in the street. Jim told her that he was sure he was dying.

"Relieve her of her virtue"
Luther Augustus At the trial, Effie’s brother testified that a year earlier he had seen Effie and Jim together “in a very suspicious attitude, conducting themselves in what he thought a very unbecoming manner on the front porch.” Gus ordered Effie inside, and told Jim to never come back.  But Jim did, the next day, and told  Effie’s brother that he loved her.  They continued to see each other until the night he was gunned down. He lingered for months, finally dying in a Texarkana hospital.

My great-grandfather’s defense was that he was sure Jim “was trying to seduce his daughter and relieve her of her virtue.”  But the jury found that the two intended to marry.  
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Effie lived with her parents for many more years. How did her family treat her? Her town?

I'd like to do a story that reunites the lovers in present day.  A ghost story. Which is different than anything I've done before.

But Grandma Effie's spirit calls to me.

Do you see a family resemblance?
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About our family tree....
Yes. A very strong resemblance. Apparently it runs on Dorathy Satterwhite's side of the family too. Dorothy Satterwhite was your grandmother's niece. And your grandfather is my great great grandfather. Your grandfather had the nickname of Pony. And there was a mountain in the Ozarks that was named after him. My grandmother Marjorie and my aunt Marji also look like you and Effie. My mother doesn't look like anyone on that side of the family. My mother has blue eyes that turn green, light brown hair very pail compared to me. My brother and I have brown eyes, dark brown eyes. My brother is about 6' tall. I'm 5'6' tall. Both of us are dark complected as was our father and his father. We call it the McCauley gene lol. We thank God we didn't inherit his mother's nose. Think of the wicked which on the Wizard of Oz and you will have her nose. lol
My grandmother was very cruel to my mother, but I can't help but wonder what my mother was doing as she was growning up for my grandmother to act that way. By when my aunt Marji was in town we, my mother my aunt and I went out to eat. By listing to my aunt and mother my grandmother was a very different person with her two girls then she was with me. My mother was very mean to me and when she got drunk she was very cruel to me. With my aunt and my mother as they were growing up, my aunt was sickly as a child where my mother wasn't. My grandmother favored my aunt over my mother. When my grandfather died in Texas, mom went down there for the funeral and the reading of the will. She got hold of the divorce papers of my grandparents. Of course I read them. But my mother didn't. I told mom that Mimi (that's what I called my grandmother. She didn't want to be called grandmother or anything along those lines. My step grandfather whom I always considered as my grandfather wanted to be called John. That was his first name. He didn't want to be called grandfather or anything like that either.) Any way I told my mother that Mimi was pregnant with her when she and Jim Kimmel were married. Six years later she became pregnant with my aunt Marji. (my grandmother named my aunt after herself. But she told me to call her Marji when I was a little girl so that's what I always called her). Anyway, my mother told me that my grandmother didn't want my aunt. She didn't want another child. But when my grandmother gave birth to her she favored her over my mother. Just as my mother did between my brother and myself. Marji was very sickly when she was growing up. As I was growing up. I still have the same issues now as an adult as I did as a child.
kim