Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Part Two of Queen Mary's Wabash River Pearl

The story of Queen Mary of England's Wabash River pearl continued:

(Remember from yesterday we learned that the man who had found a large pearl, Jumbo Adams, was convicted of shooting a jealous competitor.  This pearl made its way into the coronation jewelry of Queen Mary of England. Adams was sentenced to prison for the manslaughter, but according to 'stories' Queen Mary intervened.)

Edward B Greene, former Chief Justice of Oklahoma, was employed to get Jumbo Adams out of prison, and clear his name. He would not tell who employed him. But Mt Carmel people said that he was getting his expenses and fees from Washington and hinted that they came through the British Embassy- from the Queen herself.

“I hope it is the Queen that’s doing it,” said Mrs. Adams. “The board will do more for the Queen than for Jum and me. Anyway the Queen’s got the pearl and if it hadn’t been for that old pearl, Jum wouldn’t be in the fix he is, and me and the kids wouldn’t be starving the last two years.”

Allen Johnson in his article stated that on November 14, 1912 after serving two years seven months of his sentence Jumbo was paroled into the custody of Dr Pepper. Jumbo lived a reasonably quiet life in Mt Carmel following his pardon. He continued to fish, mussel, butcher and drink.
According to his great-nephew, Larry Reynolds of Mt Carmel, who had visited him in 1940:
“He was living in a landlocked houseboat behind his folks’ house on McDowell Street. I remember him as a rough looking fellow. It was less than a year later that Uncle Jumbo got drunk and started arguing with Ed Belcher, who was living with him. Jumbo picked up a hatchet and started toward Ed. Ed grabbed a butcher knife off the table to protect himself and stabbed Jumbo. Jumbo died on January 19, 1941 within sight of where he’d shot Frank Pate 32 years earlier.”

Ed Note: What happened to the Queen’s pearl from the Wabash River?   Limited research was unable to determine the ownership of the pearl now. Several of Queen Mary’s pearls were inherited by members of her family; others were sold at various auctions.  According to some reports, the Keeper of the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London replied to requests in the 1970’s for information by stating:  “It must have been a very large and beautiful pearl, but I am afraid I can find no trace of it whatsoever.” Perhaps another inquiry today would be able to produce a different result, but alas, there’s too much to do and too little time because WE have to get ready for the Smithsonian’s visit.  


            Barbara Ross, of Crawford County, will be the guest speaker at the meeting of the Lawrence County Historical Society on Monday, January 25, 7:00 p.m. at the Lawrenceville museum.  Her program topic will be:  Lawrence County veterans from the War of 1812. 
            Ms. Ross has been well noted genealogist in southeastern Illinois for more than 30 years.  In 2011 she began her work of identifying all War of 1812 veterans buried in Crawford and Lawrence Counties, and much of her research was used by the State of Illinois to complete its soldier project in commensuration on of the war’s bicentennial.

            The program is free and the public is invited.