Mt. Vernon Register-News from Mt Vernon, Illinois on June 28, 1951 · Page 17
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Mt. Vernon Register-News from Mt Vernon, Illinois · Page 17

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Mt Vernon, Illinois
Issue Date:
Thursday, June 28, 1951
Page:
Page 17
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THE REGISTER-NEWS — MT. VERNON. ILLINOIS CENTRALIAN LOCATES GRAVES OF MURDERED PARENTS IN FLORIDA CENTRALIA, 111., June 28. — One of three Centralia brothers who narrowly missed death when their parents were murdered returned to his birthplace recently to seek their graves. Lester Merrell, a truck driver who lives at 102 Clinmar, was only five weelcs old when his parent.s and three of their children were murdered by a Tampa, Florida, maniac. Merrell 's two other brothers now living here are Kenneth, 426 W. Broadway, and Hugh, 1403 S. Cherry. Lester Merrell had planned and saved for the trip to Tampa for over a year. When he arrived there early this month he sought police help in searching out his family's graves. Studies Old Newspapers They referred him to the liles of a Tampa newspaper and there he found recapitulated the details •f the tragedy. It occurred the night of May 27, 1927, when Ben,iamin Franklin Levins, 38 -year-old roustabout, buldgeoned to death Herman Merrell, a carpenter, his wife, Nettie Merrell, and their three children, iRalph 11, Buddy 3. and Mildred 5. Lester himself was struck on the head by the murderer's axe and suffered a skull fracture. Hugh was in the same room, but had rolled out of bed in his sleep and was unnoticed by the murderer. Kenneth, then lb, had spent the night at the home of a friend. Killed By Mi.stake Levins had attacked the Merrell family by mistake. He was seeking vengeance against another family for some fancied wrong, the old newspapers showed. The murder touched off one of Tampa's most sensational riots. Mobs twice tried to storm the jail where Levins was being hold. Police had to drive off the crowd with shotguns and wounded 12 people. Tampa's National Guard also had to be called out to quell the riot. Levins was eventually electrocuted. Lived With Aunt P'ollowing the slaying, the three Merrell brothers were brought to Cntralia to li\'e with an aunt and uncle, the late Mr. and Mrs. \V. K. NeaJ. Lester and Kenneth now arc both drivers for Centralia Cartage Co. Hugh works for Ri.xman Lumber Co. THURSDAY, JUNE 28, 1951 NASON JCSSIB CHILI, C«rrM BUSHM.AN RE-CREATED — Taxidermist Leon L. Walters is almost dwarfed by the huge head of Bushman, the late, famed gorilla at the Chicago Zoo, being re-created for the Chicago Natural History Museum. Miss Janetta Williams of the Lincoln Bible Institute at Lincoln. 111., is teaching Bible school at the Elk Prairie Christian church. Thomas Wands and Ellis 'McKenzie of Herrin, 111., visited on Sunday with Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Wands. • Mrs. Mattie Hoofer and son James are visiting ' ith Mrs. Hoofer's father in Pineville, Ky. Lindy Darnell has returned home after visiting for several weeks with relatives in Mt. Vernon. Mr. and Mis. Ira Blac'"" and Mr. and Mrs. Halsey St. Clair were Mt. Vernon shoppers on Saturday. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Sargent and son and Mr. and Mrs. Burtis Stewart and daughtei of Mt. Vernon were Sunday gu ;ts at the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Fanning. Mr. and Mrs. Ben Rabacchi and Mrs. Ray Rabacchi visited on Friday evening with Mr. and Mrs. Marion Wheeler of Herrin, 111. Mrs. E)om Cheli spent Monday in Sesser and West Frankfort, 111. Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Risi of Champaign, III., will spend the summer months here with Mrs. Katherine Risi. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Jaicka and children of Chicago, 111. are visitinfr here this week with Mrs. fiini hrade Clinnet JWaiii Delense Day WINrf "'*iIf -*iP*'"*** "A"*'* ^"'''^ premiere of "GONE WITH Tlir SrSS 75 vehicles.ndM^ P""''" ^vhich U-ix- Jasicka's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Tony Buhany. Thomas Moss and Mervin Moss of Belvidere, 111. spent the weekend here witl. Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Moss and family ai\d other relatives. Mr. and Mrs. Albert Kohut and sens spent Sunday afternoon nt the Benton lake in Bcilon, 111. &T &DINNERWARE I SAVE ABOUT 40% Portuguese traders t i i's t brought Chr.istianity to Jauan, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Traffic on Old Hennepin Canal To End July 1 Oy Aisoctatad PrtM ROCK ISLAND, 111., June 28 Tea ffie on the old Hennepin Canal will come to an end on July 1. Lieut. Col. G. A. Finle the Army's Rock Island district engineer, announced today thai ft will bo closed to navigatiton on Hint dixit' as nr economy move. Tlic 75 mile waterway known ffiiiVKMIy as the Illinois and Mis- si.s.'iiniii canal—runs from the 1111- iidis river at RiU'oau to the Mis- si.s.'iippi ri\'er at Rock Island, Th(> I 'iinfil is o\\'ned and operated by the Federal government. It was cdmpleliHi in 1907 at a cost of .S7,(U)0,0()() as a part of a water shippiiiK route between Chicago /iru) (he Quad cities. It has iioen used very little In i-ccenf ve.'irs except by motor l.'tunelies and other pleasure craft. 'I'lie I 'uniil lias 38 maintenance employes stallioned at locks. The cost ol' maintenance has been .i;200,00() a year. A move was started a few years ae.o to have the canal widened and doepenori to accommodate modern towboals, hut no improvement program was adopted. A study will be made to determine what will be done with the can.il's facilities and land. The closing oi-der came from Col. B. C. 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