Dirty Rotten Scoundrel

According to the Lubbock Morning Avalanche (Lubbock, Texas)  on· 30 Aug 1934, Governor, Mariam A Ferguson on 29 Aug 1934 pardoned 6 inmates.  Leon O Steed, who was convicted in Angelina County in January, 1934 and sentenced to one year, received a full pardon.

Leon O Steed was born on 10 Oct 1891 in Sulphur Springs, Hopkins County, Texas.  He was married at least 3 times.  First to Eva Mae Fears on 4 Jan 1926 in Lamar County, Texas.  It appears not to have lasted very long because he married Viola Mae Fowler on 10 Oct 1927 in Collins County, Texas.  This marriage failed as well.  Viola married Oscar Killian on 24 Dec 1928 in Lubbock County, Texas.

Sometime between 1930 and January of 1934, Leon O Steed married Meady “Oates” Nerren, widow of Benjamin Holt Nerren.  This marriage also ended abruptly, but this time because of the untimely death of Meady on 27 Aug 1934 in Lufkin, Angelina County, Texas.

Leon didn’t take long to petition the Governor for an early release.  He claimed in his petition that he needed to care for his newly deceased wife’s young children.   It appears that the Governor’s office accepted the assertion from a known criminal at face value.

The issue is that Meady didn’t have young children.   She had 5 daughters, 4 of which were already married and a 16 year old daughter, Bernice.  Bernice was living with her grandmother in 1930, and most likely in 1935 as well.  By 1940, Bernice was living in the Austin State School in Austin, Travis County, Texas where she died in 1948 of  tuberculosis.

Leon was living in Springfield, Green County, Missouri in 1935 and De Queen, Sevier County, Arkansas in 1940.  By 1942, he had returned to Texas, living in Fort Worth when he registered for the WWII draft.  He then made his way to Oklahoma and died in October, 1949 and is buried in an unmarked grave in Chickasha, Grady County, Oklahoma.


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