Newspaper Tidbits & Trivia

1928 Newspaper Clippings
Furnished by : Marci

Ashley Town Marshal's Daughter Slain in St. Louis

    Mabel Smith was born 7 Feb 1903, the daughter of Hugh "Barry" Smith and Etta Belle Summers Smith.

    Hugh was the Town Marshall of Ashley, at the time of the Murder. It seems that Mabel had married and moved to St. Louis. She had a room in what is now the area of the St. Louis Public Library. Back then though, she was a dishwasher at the Marquette Hotel. She had married one John Yohannan (a.k.a.: John Lockman). The Lockman name had come from the Stepfather that had raised John. He was a soldier and was stationed at Jefferson Barracks. He spent most of the week at the Barracks and would come to visit his young wife only on Wednesday and Saturday. Then one early evening everything changed:


St. Louis, Thursday Morning,
St Louis Globe Democrat March 22, 1928:

      Mrs. Grace Yohannan, 24, discovered lying in 18th, between O'Fallon and Division Streets. Police have no clues to Crime. Persons residing in vicinity hear scream and pistol shot, but see no one fleeing from scene.

      Grace (Mabel) had been walking home, like every other night, only this night she met a bullet. It entered her back on the left side and exited on the right. She died in route to the Hospital, but not before telling her neighbor, Mary Sankovisch "Mary, I'm dying for nothing" No one was seen running from the scene, but a car was heard speeding away.

      Later as the investigation went on, it was discovered that Grace (Mabel) had been going out with one George William Hellig from East St. Louis. Love letters had been found. Mabel's husband at the time had an alibi; he had been playing cards at the Barracks and had his Sergeant give testimony to that fact. Hellig had later been arrested, but because of lack of evidence, he was released.
To date no one has been arrested for this murder.
Mabel was only 25 years old.

Now a little bit of "The rest of the Story"

      John Yohannan gave permission for the body of Grace Yohannan (Mabel Smith) to be released to Hugh "Barry" Smith for burial. John Yohannan did not have the money for her burial so Hugh paid all the expenses. John told Hugh that he would pay him back as soon as he got his pay. This never happened. John Yohannan (a.k.a.: John Lockman) went AWOL soon after the burial of Mabel and no one ever heard from him again.

      According to Helen Smith Lamar (sister to Mabel) "It was so sad, there was Papa getting the body of his girl and John acting like he really cared, but there was something sinister about him. I really do think that he had Mabel killed, and then just skipped town."

2000-2007 Wayne Hinton

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