Jail Romance Is Over

Helen Toews, Cleared, Leaves With Husband and Admirer Stays.

Helen Toews walked out of the county jail yesterday on the arm of Paul Wittcke, her first husband whom she declared she loved more than any other man, after the grand jury had returned a not true bill as a result of its investigation of the charge of polygamy, on which she was held in county jail.

John Keefe, her county jail admirer, whom she had never seen, was left behind, fretting away his time in solitary confinement, because he had contrived a scheme to pass love notes to the fair Helen in the women’s quarters and had plotted with her to escape.

Mrs. Toews, or Mrs. Wittcke, declared that her first act would be to file suit to annul her second marriage, which she declares was contracted when she believed Wittcke had procured a divorce from her.

The girl would say nothing about the secret jail courtship with John Keefe.

“You have to do something to pass away the time here or you’ll go crazy,” she told Wittcke.

Source: Portland Oregonian, February 28, 1915.

Couple In Jail Woo And Plan Escape

Helen Toews on Eighth Floor and John Keefe on Seventh Defy Walls and Bars.


Woman Held as Having Too Many Husband and Alleged Land-Frander [sic] Plight Troth at Courthouse, by Use of String.

Love laughs at steel bars and concrete and rigid jail regulations as well as at locksmiths.

To this extent George H. Hurlburt, superintendent of the County Jail, is a wiser man. And yet he laughed unfeelingly yesterday as he told of shattering a romance within the jail.

Separated by a scant 10 feet of steel and concrete, hindered by strict rules and regulations and able only on rare occasions to hear each other’s voice, John Keefe and Helen Toews carried on a courtship, contracted an engagement and planned their future happiness. They also planned to escape from the jail and for this their romance suffered a sudden jolt.

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Untitled (Warren R. Mann)

After two years in service on the Vicksburg and other vessels in the vicinity of San Diego, during which period trips to Alaska, Honolulu and China were made, Warren R. Mann of McMinnville has taken services as captain of one of two gun crews on the new Portland-built ship West Indian, and leaves this week with the new boat for Virginia to have the guns mounted for transport service. This young man was but 19 years old in April, and had the privilege of spending his last birthday at home with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Harris. He is a grandson of Mrs. John Toews of Wheeler, Or. He left the junior high school to enlist in the service and has made rapid advancement. His case is a notable one as illustrating how the young of the land, by application, can soon rise to prominent service with Uncle Sam. The young man was delighted with the privilege of this new responsibility.

Source: Oregon Daily Journal, May 19, 1918.

Woman Will Return To First Husband

Grand Jury Returns Not True Bill in Polygamy Charge; to Annul Second Marriage.

Helen Toews, 20 years old, will return to her first husband as the result of the action of the grand jury yesterday in returning a not true bill in her case on a charge of polygamy. She was married some years ago to Paul Wittcke and left him when they quarreled. He told her he would get a divorce and she, thinking he had done so, married George Deal.

Wittcke appeared in her behalf before the grand jury and said that he was willing to take her home again and receive her as though nothing had happened. She promised to have her marriage to Deal annulled, as it is illegal.

Source: Oregon Daily Journal, February 28, 1915.

William T. Hiatt

Hiatt—Near Hopewell, Jan. 31, W.T. Hiatt, at the age of 54 years. Survive[d] by a widow, Mrs. Kathryn Hiatt of West Salem; three sisters, Mrs. John Harris of McMinnville, Mrs. Elvie Morrow of Portland, and Mrs. F.M. Preston of Grande Ronde, Ore.; a son, Clifford Hiatt of Rickreall; stepfather, John Toews of Portland; brother, J.S. Hiatt of Cascade Locks. Funeral services were held in McMinnville Monday, February 3, at 2 p.m. under the direction of Clough-Barrick Company.

Source: Salem Capital Journal, February 3, 1936.


Mary Toews died at the residence, 145 East Miller street, November 2, aged 67 years; wife of John; mother of W.P. and J.S. Hiatt both of Salem, Mrs. E.V. Morrow of Longview, Wash., Mrs. F.N. Preston of Willamina, Mrs. J.R. Harris of McMinnville; also survived by two sisters in Portland, one brother in Tillamook and one brother in Redmond. Funeral services Tuesday, November 4, at 2 p.m. from the chapel of W.T. Rigdon and Son.

Source: Salem Statesman Journal, November 4, 1930.

Short News Items from 1928

Mrs. B.F. Search has returned to her home, at Crooksville, after shopping in Zanesville. (Zanesville Times Recorder, January 31, 1928)

The condition of Mrs. John L. Shauger of 618 Comstock Street, who has been ill for some time, shows no improvement. (Adrian Daily Telegram, May 9, 1928)

Mr. and Mrs. Tom Hiatt of Winchester Bay in Coos county were week end visitors at the home of Mr. Hiatt’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Toews. They all motored to Grand Ronde Sunday where they were dinner guests at the F.N. Preston home and visited with J.S. Hiatt who is stationed there. (Salem Statesman Journal, July 11, 1928)

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Short News Items from 1927

Lucien Mueller left Tuesday for Ithaca, N.Y., where he will attend the graduation exercises of his brother, Clarence, and also the ten year reunion of his class at Cornell university. Mr. Mueller will return to Decatur June 27. (Decatur Herald, June 8, 1927)

Mr. and Mrs. John Toews had as their guests on Sunday, Mr. and Mrs. Preston of Grande Ronde, Mr. and Mrs. John Harris of Garibaldi, and J.S. Hiatt who is working at Blodgett. On Monday a granddaughter, Mrs. W.C. Harris and small son of Fresno, California, arrived for a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Toews. (Salem Statesman Journal, June 23, 1927)

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