Wed 24 Apr 2013
From mystery researcher John Herrington comes the following inquiry:
I have been looking at this author of one title Headlines (1932) listed in Hubin’s Crime Fiction IV (as by Janette Cooper), and it has turned up an interesting story.
She was born Rosalea (possibly Rosa or some variant spelling) Mary McCready in Pennsylvania in early 1894. She married Henry Colin Campbell, born 1864, in 1914 in Illinois. Is on 1920 census in Illinois with Henry, and two daughter Dorothy, aged 4, and Virginia, aged 2.
But in 1930 her husband was executed as the “Cranford torch murderer,” and Rosalea seems to disappear from the records.
There are a couple of things which do not help to clarify what happened to her.
The Library of Congress copyright of Headlines is given to a Rhoda Cameron of Stamford, Connecticut. Although this lady appears in directories from 1930s, 1940s etc., sometimes with an Horace Cameron, she does not appear on 1930 or 1940 census. She may be the Rhoda Cameron born 3 April 1894 who died in Connecticut in 1978, who is Rhoda M Cameron in her Connecticut state death registration.
The reports on Campbell’s trial state that he was a bigamist and had married several times without divorcing the previous wife. He is on 1910 census living with Emma Campbell and three children. In the trial report Emma Bullock Campbell says she was never divorced after Campbell left her, apparently to marry Rosalea! And while married to Rosalea, he had married his victim Mildred Mowery.
I have no idea what Roselea’s status was after the trial and execution. Was any evidence found to say her marriage was definitely bigamous? Whatever, I cannot find her on 1930 census. Even a search for the children failed to find them. Did she change her name to escape the media hunt?
And what is the connection between Rosalea and the mysterious Rhoda Cameron in the copyright entry. Are they possibly the same person?
I would appreciate if you can do a bit on this, to see if anyone out there knows anything about Rosalea and what happened to her.
Editorial Comment: The description of the book as given on the cover says: “The wife of a man electrocuted for murder tells her own story.”