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Montgomery Advertiser, July 5, 1902

 By Ralph Poore

In 1902, newspapers across the country for months splashed sensational headlines about a young Mobilian supposedly involved in a love triangle with a married woman. Detectives alleged that the woman, Mrs. Ailene Ellis O’Malley, had plotted to poison her husband, a prominent Notre Dame University professor and 20 years her senior, and run away with the young man.

The Mobilian was 20-year-old William Jefferson Hearin, then a student at Cornell University and the future father of Mobile Press Register publisher William Jefferson Hearin, Jr.

The murder plot turned out to be more speculation and rumor than fact, and all charges were eventually dropped. The “young Hearin,” as the papers called him, returned to Mobile, married in 1908 and led a largely obscure life.

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Map of flooding in Mobile following storm of 1906, St. Louis Dispatch, September 29, 1906.
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Evening Times, September 29, 1906