Shattered romance is the reward of Leona Petrie and Luella Starling, 16 year old high school girls, who engineered an elopement on Saturday, and in less than a dozen hours after the call of wedding bells lured them from their Marietta homes they were in the hands of the law, their intended husbands behind the bars of the Ross county jail in Chillicothe. It was a sudden ending of their dream of bliss, and today they are back with their families.
Just before 3 o'clock on Sunday morning, a long distance telephone call came to police headquarters, and the night chief of the Chillicothe force inquired if the girls and their intended husbands were wanted in Marietta. An affirmative reply was given, then came the information that they were being held in the Ross county metropolis.
It took but a few minutes to get word to the families of the girls, and plans were laid for bringing them back. G. M. Lindamood, brother-in-law of the Starling girl, accompanied by Officer Boyd of the local force, made a fast drive to Parkersburg, caught the 3:40 B. & O. train and just as the light of another day was breaking they walked into Chillicothe jail into the presence of the youthful runaways.
Boys Without Money
Wade and Louis Beaver, aged 19 and 16 respectively, were the intended husbands of the Petrie and Starling girls. The boys are sons Mrs. Florence A. Beaver, a widow, of 118 North Fourth street, and when taken into custody, the lads had a total of fifteen cents in their pockets - one of them six cents and the other one nine.
Money, however, apparently was the least of their worries, for the Starling girl, who had drawn from a Marietta bank her savings account of $90, was paying the expenses of the trip, and she still had a good part of her stake left when the blue-coated men of the law broke up the pre-nuptial expedition.
Shields Younger Brother
At the city jail late Sunday evening, the Beaver boys, somewhat crestfallen but still game, told of the trip and of the plans that led up to it. The older of the two, Wade Beaver, was firmly convinced that a prison term of at least five years awaited him. "I know that I'm in for it, but they surely can't be so hard on Louis, for he's much younger than I am, and on top of it all he was drawn into this thing at the last minute," the elder boy declared.
Asked what he meant by the statement, he replied that it had been intended at first that Eddie McBride was to be the mate of the Starling girl in the double wedding they had planned, but the latter backed out when the final test came, then Louis Beaver was substituted.
Still Loves the Girl
Wade Beaver was the companion of the Petrie girl, and at the jail on Sunday night he still professed his love for the Ninth street maid. "Sure I love her," he declared. "I firmly intended to marry her, and my only regret is that we did not get away."
According to the boys, the girls went to the Beaver home, at 118 North Fourth street, just before 3 o'clock on Saturday. Then the four went to a Front street garage and hired a taxi to drive them to Porterfield. There, shortly after 4 o'clock, they boarded the accommodation train for Chillicothe. Miss Starling bought the railroad tickets and paid the taxi fare from Marietta to Porterfield.
Arriving in Chillicothe, the elopers found a modest little restaurant near the depot, and there they had supper, the Starling girl continuing to act as financial agent. After supper, they returned to the depot, there to wait for an eastbound train. They had left Marietta with the idea in mind of going to Cumberland, Maryland, and had ridden all the way to Chillicothe just as a blind.
Buy Tickets to Cumberland
Just before the midnight eastbound train arrived in Chillicothe Miss Starling purchased four tickets to Cumberland, and this information was tipped to the railroad police, who were keeping tab on the party. The officers followed them aboard the train and confronted them with the charge that they were wanted in Cincinnati. Wade Beaver did the talking for the frightened group and stoutly denied that they ever had been to Cincinnati. In order to prove his contention, he finally told the officers the story. Then the four were led from the train and taken to police headquarters.
After reiterating their story at headquarters, the runaways were held for investigation and the Marietta police were called. It was welcome news to the folks at home, as the story told by the girls that it was their intention to go to Canada had been believed, and Wheeling, Canton, Newark and Toledo had been notified in an effort to head them off.
Planned to Find Job
The Beaver boys in telling their story to The Times, said they had planned to go to Cumberland, Md., where they expected to locate. The boys intended to get work there, make a stake, then marry the girls and settle down. They had it all figured out that Miss Starling's money would be sufficient to keep the two girls until the boys could "get on their feet" and prepare to support them in suitable manner. Then a double wedding was to be held.
Wade Beaver worked during the past season with a carnival outfit, helping to handle a "whip." He came home about two months ago, when the enterprise went into winter quarters. His younger brother, who says he quit school two years ago, worked in a wire mill in Pennsylvania until last October. For the last two months neither boy has had a job. They met the girls and began going with them, at the skating rink in the old Baptist church a year ago.
Taken to Juvenile Court
At 9 o'clock on Monday morning, the Starling and Petrie girls were brought to police headquarters by their mothers, and were sent over to juvenile court, in charge of the truant officer of the city schools. According to the mother of the Starling girl she was 16 years of age last July. The mother of the Petrie girl said her daughter would be 16 years of age next March.
The girls were telling their stories to Judge Schramm, behind closed doors, during the forenoon, while the Beaver boys, with whom they sought to elope, were being held at the city jail. The girls bore out the statement of the Beaver boys that it had been planned for Wade Beaver and Edward McBride to run away with them, but on Friday evening McBride changed his mind and the younger Beaver boy, Louis, was substituted.
According to a statement issued by Judge Schramm on Monday morning the only charge that will be considered by his court so far as the Beaver boys are concerned is that of contributing to the delinquency of the two girls.
Two More Boys Are Implicated
At least six persons are implicated in the elopement case, in which four Marietta young people ran away from Marietta and were arrested in Chillicothe on Saturday night, according to facts brought out during a lengthy investigation conducted by Juvenile Judge Schramm on Monday. The six are Leona Petrie, Luella Starling, Wade and Louis Beaver and Edward McBride and Archie Gibbs.
Gibbs has been lodged in the county jail to await a hearing, a warrant is out for McBride, and the Beaver boys and the two girls are released on their own recognizance pending a formal hearing on Wednesday morning.
According to the stories told by the girls in juvenile court on Monday, Gibbs and the McBride boy have contributed to their delinquency, and the fact that the Petrie girl is a minor brings an added charge of a statutory nature against Gibbs.
It is the belief of the court, after a careful investigation, that the Beaver boys are victims of a frame-up and this induced Judge Schramm to release them on their own recognizance. The elder boy, Wade, is formally charged with contributing to the delinquency of the Petrie girl, while the younger brother, Louis, by reason of his age, gets off with a straight delinquency charge.
Confessions were made by the parties interested that the Gibbs and McBride boys have been keeping company with the girls. The Gibbs boy was brought into court and in the presence of the girls admitted the truth of their charges. The McBride boy has not yet appeared in court.
The court informed the mothers of the girls that they would be temporarily paroled on delinquency charges, and as soon as the cases are cleaned up they will be committed to suitable institutions to correct them.
Boy Fined and Given Jail Term
The Marietta Daily Times, December 13, 1922
Wade Beaver, 19, who was one of the parties to the attempted elopement of last Saturday afternoon, when he accompanied Leona Petrie, 15, from Marietta to Chillicothe, was arrested on Tuesday morning, formally charged with the crime of statutory rape. Information that caused the lad's arrest was furnished by the Petrie girl, and when brought into juvenile court, Beaver admitted the truth of the story.
The charge against Beaver was filed in Squire Guyton's court, and the accused was placed in the county jail, along with Archie Gibbs, who was arrested on Monday on similar information furnished by the Petrie and Starling girls. They are to be taken before Squire Guyton on Wednesday afternoon, it is expected.
Edward McBride, another boy implicated in the affair which promises to assume proportions that will startle many homes in the community, was found guilty in juvenile court on Wednesday, of contributing to the delinquency of the Starling girl. He is the boy who was slated to elope with the Starling girl, and when he backed out Louis Beaver, 16, was substituted. He was fined $100 and the costs and given a term of 90 days in the county jail.
Judge Schramm, in passing sentence upon McBride, said that information unearthed in the present investigation has been startling in the extreme, and has revealed a degree of depravity among young boys and girls in the city that is all but unbelievable. He scored McBride as one of the leaders in this sort of thing, and the latter declined to reply, offering no defense nor reason why he should not be sentenced.
McBride's mother was present in court, and left the room with her son, who was being taken to jail by an officer of the court. Out in the corridor, she upbraided her son for not telling the court the whole truth in connection with the affair, and a few minutes later induced him to return and go into conference with the court regarding the case.
The juvenile court, the prosecuting attorney, and the school authorities are combining forces to go to the bottom of the whole matter and a rigid investigation is to be conducted.
Louis Beaver, 16, who was substituted for Edward McBride as the mate of the Starling girl in the runaway of last Saturday, has been adjudged a delinquent child by the juvenile court, and is held in the jurisdiction of a probation officer pending the final outcome of the case.