Newspaper: Des Moines, Iowa Tribune?


Our Brazen Beauties Chase Around Too Much, Says Lonely Man Who Seeks Elsewhere For A Mate

The world's bravest man has been located here.

George Pickett, 320 Southeast Tenth Street, not only has the temerity to spurn the affections of one woman, but a whole town full of them.  And the town is Des Moines - of all places.  George has written to Vancouver, WA papers in his search for a wife.

Further, Mr. Pickett, who is seeking a mate to share his humble home, discriminates against flappers of any crime or location.  An "old fashioned girl" is his desire and demand.


With his door already closed to Des Moinesettes, "no bobbed hair and no high heels" may cross his threshold either.

"Durn these Des Moines women; I've known a thousand of them and all they think of is chasing around," was the anatheme poured upon local fair heads.  Pickett recently wrote to his native town, Vancouver, WA, requesting that the mayor there aid him to his request.


A surprise visit upon Mr. Pickett Wednesday found him neatly clad in blue overalls, his hair carefully combed and his ruddy countenance shining from recent oblutions.  He was cooking his supper.

"Keep Smiling" and "No Smoking" were the slogans which greeted the eye upon entrance to the little one room house, which was a marvel of cleanliness.  Everything was in it's place and it appeared no housewife was needed to increase it's coziness.


"A fellow gets pretty lonesome, though", ruminated Mr. Pickett as he carefully turned the potatoes in the frying pan and the aroma of clean cooked food floated through the room.  "But I can't stand these women around here.  I want a woman who wants a home.  Not too young and not too old, just a good housewife and companion."

Mr. Pickett is 60 years old, but hearty and robust in appearance.  For a livelihood he hauls ashes and does odd jobs.  In the spring and summer he farms a little stretch of railroad right-of-way.  His house and barn he built himself.


If local competitors for the honor of being Mrs. Pickett should apply in spite of his prejudice, they should not fail to wash their necks carefully before entering the lists, for cleanliness is another qualification specified.  Others are truthfulness, fairly good looks and the ability to do at least some work.

Applicants in any case should make haste as he is already corresponding with five women home-seekers from his native town, Vancouver, WA.  None of these budding romances, however, have attained any degree of maturity or reached the picture-exchanging stage.


JUNE 1932


June 12, 1932 (?)


George G. Pickett Sends Telegram and Ticket to Daughter

at Des Moines After Slaying Wife


Shot Heard About 11:00 o'Clock Yesterday-

Mrs. Pickett's Throat Cut to the Bone With Pocket Knife-

Pickett Shoots Self in Neck With Shotgun,

Pushing Trigger With Cane

For the second time in as many days, Atchison County figured in a double tragedy. It was revealed last night when alarmed neighbors broke down the door of the George G. Pickett residence in Effingham to find the bodies of Pickett and his wife--Mrs. Pickett the victim of an attack with a hatchet and pocket knife and her husband a suicide. They had both died before noon. The discovery was made after 8 o-clock.

Petty bickering had prompted Pickett, about 70 years of age, to kill his wife as she lay asleep, and to commit suicide, according to a letter that he left for daughter, Mrs. Lena Ablett of Des Moines, the Pickett's former home. Mrs. Pickett was several years her husband's junior.

Pickett started the letter at 5:30 o'clock yesterday morning, in which he told of trouble that he and his wife had had and of his desire to make a settlement with her and to mortgage their property in Effingham and give her half of the money realized. Bags were packed in the house at the time of the tragedy, indicating that either one or both of the Picketts were preparing to leave.

The final link leading up to the tragedy seems to have been a $50 bill that Pickett gave his wife several days ago but which she would not return, according to the contents of the letter. Pickett stated in the letter that he asked for it again "this morning" (yesterday). Effingham people who discovered the tragedy, however, are of the opinion that Mrs. Pickett was attached without being awakened from her night's sleep.

"This morning I asked it again," Pickett wrote, "and she refused so I went in on her with the hatchet then cut her throat."

Pickett then wrote that he would go to the depot to telegraph Mrs. Ablett and to send her railroad transportation to Effingham. Here is an apparent break in the letter.

Pickett filed the following telegram to Mrs. Ablett at 7:30 o'clock yesterday morning with H. C. Panzeram, Missouri Pacific agent at Effingham. "You are needed. Come at once."

He presented a $20 gold piece in payment for tickets for Mr. and Mrs. Ablett from Des Moines to Effingham, and when the station agent couldn't make change Pickett went to the D. Richter store, where he had a $10 bill changed.

In the transaction, Mr. Richter asked Pickett if he had made an intended real estate trade by which he expected to get more garden space. Pickett, who appeared unusually white and shaken, replied that he was "done with everything."

The letter is again taken up apparently after Pickett returned from the depot and the dispute over the $50 bill is mentioned as well as another minor disagreement.

"It is nearly 9:00 o'clock," Pickett concluded. "Must go and use the shot gun." An erasure occurs on the last word in the letter and what appears to be the word "noon" is written in a heavier hand.

Another letter addressed to Mrs. A. S. Gish, Chehalis, Wash. Contained the following message, "Sister Amanda, I have started something I will soon finish. I wrote you a card just after I came here and got no answer. Hoping all well. G. G. P."

Harry Potts and other neighbors said that they heard a shot from within the Pickett house around 11 o'clock yesterday morning. When no evidences of life were seen all day around the house and none last evening, a group of Effingham men including Bob Flemming, deputy sheriff, John Trompeter, H Panzeram, Henry Potts, Ralph Snyder, Lee Beard, George Regan and LeRoy Bishop, broke down the back door of the fully-locked five room house.

Mrs. Pickett was in her night clothing in a bed in the northwest room. She had apparently been struck over the left temple near the eye with the blunt edge of the hatchet, and again down the middle of the forehead with the sharp edge. Her throat had been cut clear to the spinal column with a pocket knife, and in the opinion of Harry Youngberg, Effingham undertaker, this resulted in death from loss of blood rather than the blows on the head. Indications were that Mrs. Pickett did not die immediately.

The body of Pickett was found in an adjoining southeast room where he had made a pallet for himself on the floor. He had tripped the trigger of a .12 gauge shot gun with a cane, the charge entering his neck at the left side, severing the jugular vein.

Pickett carefully washed the blood stains from both the hatchet and the knife.


The only information that can be gathered concerning the Pickett's personal history comes from documents now in the hands of William Stanton, Sr. action coroner of Atchison County. Many Effingham persons did not know that a family of that name lived in the town: others had seen Pickett on the street making occasional staple purchases or going to the post office: while Mrs. Pickett seems to have been known only by a few neighbors.

According to the papers found in the house, Mrs. Ira May McDonough and George G. Pickett were married at Des Moines April 5, 1932. It was Pickett's sixth matrimonial venture and at least his wife's second.

She had been granted a divorce from George James in November 1929 by the Polk county district court at Des Moines. A memorial card bearing the name and date of "Arthur McDonough, October 28, 1926" might be that of either a brother or a previous husband.

Notes: 3/22/06: WPA Iowa Cemetery Record: Arthur A McDonough Date of death: 1 Nov 1926

Page 488 Birth date: 1875 Cemetery: Glendale Relative: 51

All below are NOTES on possible mcdonough family:

Source: 1900 DM IA census: AndairMcdonough 25 apr 1875 IL France,IdaM 20 Feb1879 IA PA 2/2alive,HenryJ 2 Feb 1898IA,AnnieE Dec18995/12

Jacob Pyle56?Sep1845PA PAtemaster, Elizabeth 49 Dec 1850 PA PA washwoman 8/7 alive,Jacob B 17 IA Feb 1883 teamster,Stella L 14 MO Nov 1885

Source: 1910 DMIA census 24thSt: Arthur Mcdonaugh 35 IL IRE CAN laborer,IdaM30IA mar 12 5/5alive,HarryJ12,AnnaE10, MinervaM9, William7,

Arthur4, Jacab Pyles?70 PA PA PA father in law

Source:1920 DMIA 23 ST 9 jan: Arthur A Mcdonough44IL US US paver,IdaM39IAPA,Minnie18IA,William18,ArthurE14

Source:1920DMIA 23 ST 29 jan: Arthur44IL IRE IL contractor paving,IdaM39IA,Minnie18,William17

Source: 1926 WPA Glendale cemetery rec: Arthur A Mcdonough death:1 Nov 1926 pg 488 birth: 1875 relative: 51

Source: Newpaper article: memorial card-Arthur McDonough Oct 28 1926

Source: Atchison KS Daily Globe Newspaper Article June 12, 1932


Prior to his final marriage, Pickett had purchased for $400 the house in Effingham, located on the north side of the railroad tracks, from Joseph Wardlow, and the deed was in the hands of Atchison county authorities for registration February 18, 1932. Mr. and Mrs. Pickett apparently moved to Effingham shortly after their marriage. He had bought the property from a newspaper advertisement without having seen it.

A divorce petition filed in Polk County, July 16, 1912, gives the record of Pickett's first marriage at Pleasantville, IA, February 22, 1894. There were eight children born to this union, and Mrs. Eliza Pickett was given custody of the minor children in a decree granted in December, 1912 at Des Moines.

Another marriage license was made out for George Pickett and Mrs. Isabella C. Smith, on February 16, 1914 at Des Moines. Then on May 23, 1916, George G. Pickett and Ann L. Lassere, the groom of Des Moines and the bride of Leeds, IA, were married at Dakota City, Neb.


There is no record of any divorce proceeding on these marriages in the papers found, but Pickett hit a matrimonial snag in 1917. On January 27 of that year he married Harriet S. Hutchins at Des Moines after they had signed a pre-nuptial agreement in which she transferred some Des Moines city property to him in exchange for a promise that he was to keep her in "comfort" for the rest of his life.

The divorce petition stated that Pickett had left her March 26, 1917.

Picket was next married on March 12, 1925, this time to Lydia M. Miller, and the ceremony was performed at Des Moines. There is no further evidence of the termination of this relationship.

Among Pickett's effects was found a letter written him on May 14, 1932 by John J. Halloran, judge of the Ninth judicial district of Iowa, in which the matter of a divorce is discussed. It could not be learned from the contents of the letter, however, whether it referred to a contemplated divorce action or another in which some items of settlement had not been cleared up.


Pickett had had no employment since coming to Effingham. He did some gardening, and had been looking for a real estate trade to secure a larger garden plot. That he might have had some experience in wood carving is evidenced by the fact that a number of clubs of the police type had been cut out by him in recent months, and that a solid wooden chain with moveable links had been carved from a piece of lumber about 14 feet in length.

After viewing the bodies last night and taking under advisement the matter of an inquest, Mr. Stanton turned them over to Stutz and Shifflett. Relative of both Pickett and his wife are expected to start arriving in Effingham last this afternoon and early tomorrow. They are both survived by children.


Pickett had been married seven times, according to information received late this afternoon by The Globe from the Des Moines Register News Bureau. A marriage contracted with Emma Kimball of Lovilla, IA when Pickett was 20 years old, was not recorded in his personal papers.

Pickett had obtained three divorces and one wife committed suicide. His sixth divorce was granted in 1926 at which time he said: "I have trusted six women six times and every time I have been fooled"

He is quoted as saying upon the occasion of his seventh marriage in April of this year: "No cloud will darken this marriage. We're moving out to Kansas. We've got a home out there and we're going to make a new start."

Pickett, according to information from Iowa was 67 and his wife was 53.