Hut Spicer, All-Around Crook

Rowan Spicer Jr 1851-1914 > Carroll Hutson “Hut” Spicer 1888-1968

Hut Spicer’s first encounter with the law was when he was arrested for forgery in January 1907 at the age of 18. He cashed a check from rancher W. P. Coats for $15, and Coats denied that he had written  the check. Hut was in Collin County north of Dallas when charges were filed, and the Taylor County Sheriff came to take him back to Abilene for trial.

Forgery The_Courier_Gazette_Mon__Jan_21__1907_
The Courier Gazette January 21 1907

While he was back in Abilene awaiting trial, Hut married 17 year old Cynthia Howard (1890-1960) on March 5 1907. Cynthia was already pregant with their daughter Ila Mae (1907-1997), who was born in August, so possibly getting married was not Hut’s idea.

Hut was convicted 2 weeks after his wedding and sentenced to 3 years in prison. He appealed his conviction, and was released on $1500 bond pending the appeal. In June, the conviction was affirmed by the Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin. His attorneys asked for a rehearing, and this time the court reversed the conviction in December.

Forgery AbDailyReporter23Apr1907
Ablene Daily Reporter April 23 1907

The prosecutor decided not to retry the case, so Hut was free … until January 1908, when he was arrested for aggravated assault. He was released on bond again pending trial.

Assault AbDailyReporter 29Jan1908
Abilene Daily Reporter January 29 1908

Hut’s son Alfred (1908-1940) was born in September 1908, but Hut had already gone back to Collin County. Once again, the Taylor County law picked him up in November and brought him back to Abilene for trial. The trial was delayed until April 1909, when it was postponed again and then finally cancelled entirely when the charges were dropped.

By April 1910 Cynthia and the children were living with her parents in Santa Rita, New Mexico. Hut had begun his life-long habit of family abandonment, and was living as a lodger in Dallas.

Hut next appears in Fisher County, northwest of Abilene, where he married 17 year old Gertrude Brooks (1897-1996) on April 6 1914. They lived in Albany until October 14, when he left without any warning, leaving her destitute and 4 months pregnant. He sent her one letter from Wichita Falls, where he was living with an unidentified woman who infected him with syphilis; Gertrude wrote him many letters, but he never responded.

She gave birth to their son Robert Thomas Spicer (1915-1961) on March 12 1915, and Hut was arrested for desertion on March 28 in Sylvester, where he was now living with another woman, named Pirot.

Gertrude filed for divorce in June 1916, and it was finally granted in May 1917. She and Robert moved to Cleveland, Ohio in January 1918 to live with her parents.

Gertrude The_Hamlin_Herald_Fri__Jan_11__1918_
The Hamlin Herald January 11 1918

The Selective Service Draft was established in May 1917, in anticipation of the United States entering World War 1. Draft Boards were set up across the country, and every eligible man aged 21 to 31 had to register. The Bureau of Investigation (later to become the FBI) tracked down draft dodgers, also known as slackers.

In June 1917, the month before his younger brother Sam was killed in Abilene, Hut registered with the Draft Board in Eldorado, Kansas, where he claimed to be a traveling salesman. He then disappeared until May 1918. That month, J. L. Akins was arrested in Cherokee, Oklahoma on suspicion of auto theft. The US Marshall brought Akins to court in Oklahoma City, where he admitted to being Hut Spicer. Agent James Garfield Findlay (1880-1960) of the Bureau took up the case, and wired the Eldorado Draft Board:

Carroll Hudson Spicer here in custody without credentials. Please wire status and if deserter send induction papers – Findlay

The Board responded:

Carroll Hudson Spicer number 340 Serial Number 3376 is a slacker, has not made out questionnaire. Induction papers forward today – Local Board

Hut claimed that he had filled out the questionnaire, and that he had been given a Class 4 exemption because he had a dependent wife and child (Gertrude and Robert, who he had deserted and never supported).

Agent Findlay closed out his report with:

All-Round Crook

There is no further evidence of what happened to Hut in Kansas. The war ended in November 1918 without his participation, and he returned to Texas.

Hut married 15 year old Iva Cleo Barton (1902-1919) in 1918, and she gave birth to their daughter Cleo Spicer (1919-1970) on July 30 1919. Iva died the next day from childbirth complications, and is buried in White Church Cemetery in Merkel, west of Abilene. Cleo was raised by her Barton grandparents, married 3 times, and finished her life in Puerto Rico.

Hut married 16 year old Ollie Lee Johnson (1903-1982) on May 1 1919 in Montague County, using the false name Charles Henry Spicher (with the same initials as Carroll Hutson Spicer).  He deserted her when she was pregant, and she gave birth to their son Marland Spicher (1920-1999) on January 19 1920 in Gibtown, northwest of Fort Worth. Over the next year, Hut came by to see Ollie a couple of times, and then vanished for good.

Hut married 15 year old Velma Belle Raney (1909-1999) in 1923 in Wichita Falls. Their first child was a daughter Jackie Waldeen (1924-2006), and the birth certificate lists the father’s name as John Luther Spicher … the same J. L. initials that he used in Kansas, and the same Spicher that he used with Ollie Johnson.

They had a son Gerald (1927-1981) and another daughter Gwyla (1933-1995), and moved frequently: Wichita Falls, then Wichita, Kansas, then Houston, then finally Austin.

Meanwhile, Hut’s first son Alfred Spicer was arrested for forgery in Clovis, New Mexico, and served 12 months in prison as inmate 6050 beginning in February 1928.

AlfredSpicer NM 1928
Alfred Spicer, New Mexico Prisoner #6050

After he got out, he married Pearl Jackson (1915-2003) in 1930 and they had a daughter Anna Marie (1933-2010)  in Fresno, California.

By 1935, they had returned to Texas and Alfred had been infected with tuberculosis. They divorced in 1937, and Pearl moved to Oregon to live with her sister. When Pearl married Sam Hasson, an immigrant from Cyprus, Anna took her step-father’s last name.

Alfred moved in with his father, Velma and the 3 children, exposing them all to tuberculosis, and died on August 1 1940 at the age of 31. He was pictured in a newspaper article about a baseball charity game for tuberculosis 2 months before he died.

AlfredSpicer The_Austin_American_Sun__May_26__1940_
Austin American Sun May 26 1940

In 1912, the State of Texas opened Anti-Tuberculosis Colony 1 in Carlsbad, northwest of San Angelo. This was a Sanatorium to house and quarantine those suffering from tuberculosis, at a time when the only treatment was living somewhere with fresh, dry air.

Sanatorium

Velma divorced Hut on October 25 1939, and in the 1940 census her 3 children were patients at the Sanatorium, along with over 1000 others. All 3 survived and lived long lives.

VelmaDivorce Austin_American_Statesman_Thu__Oct_26__1939_
Austin_American Statesman October 26 1939

Hut managed to avoid the US Census in 1920, 1930 and 1940. Once is happenstance, twice is odd, three times is deliberate.

Hut married 25 year old Claudia Marie La Forge (1916-1971) in 1941 in Austin; she divorced him before December 1944 when she married Leo Medley.

Carroll Austin1942
1942 Austin City Directory

At some point in the 1940s, Hut decided there were no more girls to marry in Texas, so he moved to Arkansas.

Ella Sadler (1870-19xx) married Henry Dawkins in Little Rock in 1932 as his second wife, and in 1945 became his widow and heiress at the age of 75. Hut married her on November 5 1948 when he was 60. By the end of November, her family had her declared incompetent, she was placed in a convalescent home, and the marriage was annulled.

EllaDawkins 6Dec1948 LittleRock ArkansasGazette
Arkansas Gazette December 6 1948

Hut married Belle Benson (1897-19xx) on Jan 12 1950 in Little Rock, when she was 53 and he 62; he falsely claimed on the marriage license that he was 54. She divorced him in July 1951.

BelleSpicer 10Jul1951 LittleRock ArkDemocrat
Arkansas Democrat July 10 1951

In May 1954, Hut was arrested in Little Rock for operating a fraudulent and unlicensed termite extermination business, and fined $200 on each count.

Termites 1Jun1954 LittleRock ArkDemocrat
Arkansas Democrat June 1 1954

At various times in his life, Hut claimed to be a cleaner, a traveling salesman, a contractor, a roofer, but mostly he appears to have been a conman and grifter. Most of his children and descendants were unaware of their half-sibling relatives. It’s possible Hut had more families, these are just the ones that I’ve found.

At some point during the 1950s/60s, Hut married his 9th (maybe) and last wife Isabelle (1879-1968), and they lived in Walnut Ridge in northeastern Arkansas. Carroll Hut Spicer died May 13 1968 at the age of 79, and is buried in Sullivan Cemetery with a marker stating that he served as a Private in Company M of the 43rd Infantry in WW1. He carried his phoniness all the way to the grave: the 43rd was not created until 1920, and he did not serve in any unit. Isabelle died 3 months later and is buried beside him.

CarrollSpicer Grave

 

IsabelleSpicer Obit ArkGazette 4Sep1968
Arkansas Gazette September 4 1968

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