Saturday, March 24, 2007

Woman's Face Proves She's No Place

Eunice Gray (aka Ermine McEntire) ran a "house of ill repute" in Fort Worth, Texas, in the early 1900s. Long after Gray's 1962 death, amateur genealogist Donna Donnell set out to investigate an intriguing rumor: Was Eunice the "Etta Place" who accompanied fugitives Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to South America?

With a few keystrokes she found a surprising document that caused her heart to quicken. On the screen appeared a copy of an alphabetized passenger list of the S.S. Turrialba, which sailed from Colon, Panama, on May 11, 1911.

The 11th name on the manifest, penned in a delicate cursive, was a Eunice Gray. Age 30. Destination: Fort Worth, Texas.
Her investigation led Donnell to Mrs. D.S. O'Leary, Eunice Gray's niece.
Donnell found her answer the moment she spotted a framed photo on a wall in O'Leary's home. In the picture, taken during the 1920s, a young Ermine McEntire - Eunice Gray - is sporting a wide-brimmed hat. Another photo, circa 1896, pictures Gray wearing her high school graduation dress.
"Eunice isn't Etta Place," Donnell said with certainty. O'Leary compared photos of her aunt with one of Place and agreed. [Link]

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