A couple of years before my father died in 1990, he put down the story of his life in what he titled "The Autobiography of a Nobody". I did not know about this until after his death. He had loaded it onto a floppy disc, but none of us could figure out how to access the information. Fortunately he had printed a few copies, one of which I have.
The following is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of my father's Autobiography of a Nobody:
|Image via Wikipedia|
|Harry Powers 1920|
Harry Powers and his two sisters owned the confectionery store one block from our house. Oh. the many times if we got a penny or two or more, how we would run to the store to buy candy from the store. Adjacent to the store was their living quarters. Harry had a coupe, one of the few that had an automobile in the neighborhood. On several occasions he would let me ride with him, and then deliver a grocery order to one of his customers.
THEN THE NEWS HIT THE NEWSPAPERS!
Every few hours during the day an extra hit the streets. Since my father worked for the newspaper he saw to it that I got a big bundle of fresh extras to sell so I could have spending money. EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! HARRY POWERS MURDERS THREE WOMEN!
This was a devastating event that hit and shook
. It had a remarkable influence upon our neighborhood. It was being told that many of the neighborhood girls were on his list to be next. This had a temporary affect upon these girls whose names were on his hit list. Clarksburg (WV)
It bothered my mother. One night my mother had a terrible nightmare. She climbed out of her second floor bedroom onto the porch roof screaming that Harry Powers had her. The harder my father gripped on my mother’s arm the more she would scream thinking that Harry had her, She was very close to jumping off the roof. Finally my father was able to awaken her. Harry had a tremendous effect on other people in the immediate neighborhood.
What had happened was that Harry Powers, a heavy-set man, placed an ad in a lonely hearts section of a newspaper that attracted three different women at three different times, He owned a farm in Quiet Dell, West Virginia. They would come there! I was too young to know exactly what Harry did to them, but I do know that he murdered them, and threw their bodies down the well.
A sort of a neighborhood scandal occurred in this case also. One of the more affluent neighbors decided to put a fence around a portion of the Quiet Dell Farm. He then pursued to charge admission to the curiosity seekers. The law didn’t like this, and quickly put a stop to it.
Harry Powers owned the house across the street from us. Authorities of the law dug up the entire back yard on the suspicion that he had buried people there. No bodies were found.
My older brother Tommy recalls the time he was rolling a tire from the top of our street. The tire got away from him, rolled down hill two blocks, jumped the ditch and hit a pillar that supported the front porch roof. The pillar was devastated. Harry came up and surveyed the damage. My father settled the matter amicable with Harry and all was satisfied. I don’t believe my brother was punished in any way for this matter. but I suppose he did learn his lesson.
Harry Powers was found guilty of first degree murder on all accounts. He was sent to West Virginia. State Penitentiary in
where he was hastily executed by electric chair. Moundsville, W.Va.
Today murders are everyday occurrences all over the world. In my boyhood days they didn’t occur that often. This was national news with a national following. Even then there were some sensational tabloids that came out stating Harry Powers is still alive. You know the story! Elvis is still alive. However I can assure you, Harry Powers was executed by electric chair.
Just a note: According to Wikipedia, Harry Powers was actually executed by hanging in 1932. I feel very fortunate that my father had the foresight to create his autobiography for his descendants to read. I can see some of my father's influence in my own writing. I guess I should thank him for that as well.