July 2, 1908




Dropcap_h_rose_tattoo er name was Fanny (or Fannie) and she had everything a young wife could want, at least according to her husband, Walter F.W. Stock, a grading contractor from Long Beach. The Stocks enjoyed a happy home and had two children. At least that was Walter’s story.

All was content and "prosperity was smiling on them" until Fanny went for a ride in a motorcar with one of Walter’s employees, Edward Abril, a "prepossessing young Mexican," according to The Times. 

"This one little taste of life seemed to sow seeds of discontent in the mind of the little wife and mother," The Times says.

The day after the story was published, The Times heard a very different version from Fanny, who had fled to Santa Barbara:

"My life has been a living hell," she told The Times.

"I was married in 1901 when I was 16," she said. "I have had seven children in seven years. Two of them are living. Walter is a good fellow, with no bad habits, but I never loved him. I was not allowed by my father to marry the man I loved and I practically had to marry Walter to prevent me from marrying the other.

"My husband is a contractor but has no business head. He knew I didn’t love him when we were married. I frequently told him I would leave him as soon as his business affairs were straightened out. I figured on his building jobs, big ones, too, as any Los Angeles contractor will tell you. I went with him to his grading camp in Lancaster and cooked for his men, got up at 4 o’clock every morning and fed horses and did other menial work. But I was not happy — I could not be happy. Walter was good in his way, but he made himself repulsive to me in a way that made me shrink from him."

At left, The Times reports that she returned to Walter twice before leaving again in 1910 with their two surviving children, Emily and Dora.

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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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