Frances Louis Campbell Martin Eftimoff (1893-1955)
My Great Grandmother
Francis grew up in E. St. Louis, Illinois and lived at 901 Valentine, when her only son William Scott Martin was born in 1915. Frances and Willam Marvin Martin 1885 - 1949 married in 1914, St. Louis. Additionally, we know that he was employed at the Funsten Nut and Fruit Company in St. Louis when their son, Willam Scott Martin 1915 - 1957 was born. William Marvin Martin was the manager of that same company after they divorced. Her nickname was "Babe" but was likely named after her maternal grandmother and her mother's sister - Louise.
Frances and son, William Scott Martin
Where was Francis in 1920? At some point, her son, William Scott Martin, was studied to be an understudy for child star - Jackie Coogan - photos would indicate ca 1920 - 1923.
Frances married a second time to Pete Eftimoff. They lived together until 1950 when they separated and divorced. Pete was an immigrant from Sophia, Bulgaria. Pete was kind and friendly and could fix just about anything. He worked in the steel industry as many men did in Granite City during the war years of the 1940's.
There are many great stories about Frances. As a young woman, she was very beautiful. She dresses as many young women of the 1920's dressed with bobbed hair and a shorter skirt. Her nickname was "Babe" probably due to her birth order, she was the youngest of the 5 children born to George Scott Campbell and Emma Cassell Campbell.
During the 1940's Pete and Frances has a little bar-b-que stand and sold sandwiches and such. Like many women of her era, Frances loved her flower bed and tended to the flowers regularly. However, unlike most of us, she would bury jars of money among her flowers. She was also known to put a jar filled with money in the coal pile just before the delivery man was due to arrive (for safe keeping). She lived near Horseshoe Lake on Sand Prairie Lane outside of Granite City, Madison County, IL.
The area near Pete and Frances's home was high traffic area where the criminal underworld would travel. Granddaughter Saundra Martin told stories of spending time with her grandmother. One evening when returning home from the movies, Saundra insisted that she saw a body laying along the side of the highway. Frances dismissed the young girl but finally Pete went out to check the highway, he found what Saundra insisted she saw, a dead man on the side of the road. Apparently, the man was killed and dumped along the road.
Vice and gambling ran wild near Horseshoe Lake. The area was near the county line of St Clair County and Madison County and a number of criminals ran taverns and houses of ill repute in the area. William Scott Martin had had enough of the criminal element operating near his mother's home and created a group called the Tri-City Vigilante Committee. The committee consisted of Bill and his family. Eleanor, Bill's wife, dressed up Saundra in a wig and heels and had her leave an envelope on the front door of the local Granite City, IL newspaper, the Press-Record. Saundra told the story about licking the envelope but it would not stick and a cleaning lady saw her leaving it on the front door.
The story is documented in the Granite City Press Record but our personal copy seems to lost in the piles of genealogy materials hidden away in boxes. But the story made front page news. Eventually the brothel was shut down but only temporairly. Bill not being a man to step away from a challenge, took his daughter to the building during the day when no one was around and instructed her to put a penny in the fuse box behind a fuse. Any good electrician will know that eventually the circuit with overload, which it did, and the place burned down.
While the Press-Record is not one of the many newspapers available on-line, I did find a number of stories about these taverns in the Edwardsville, IL newspaper. A newspaper dated 7 April 1926, the editor of the Granite City "Press-Record" took on the state's attorney when the newspaper took on the vice problem at Horseshoe Lake. The case mentioned in the article is the Balke-Hockett case. While the name of the murdered man is unknown, the problems near the home of Frances and Pete was pretty dramatic. 1926 is well before Saundra saw the body but the history is clear, Horseshoe Lake was the home of alot more than fish.
After her aged mother fell and broke her hip, Emma Cassell Campbell could no longer live alone. Pete converted a chicken coop in the yard to accommodate his mother-in-law. Later, Ada Campbell, Frances's sister-in-law also came to live with Frances.
1900 East St. Louis, St Clair County, IL
Lived at 900 Valentine
1910 St. Louis Ward 5
Lived at 1818 Morgan Street
1920 not found
William Scott Martin lives with his grandmother, Emma Cassell / Kassell Campbell