June 12, 1895
Out in Elmwood cemetery in the suburbs of Kansas City, lie buried, in a new made grave, the remains of a once comely and artless young lady. No marble slab or monument stands above her resting place, and never will. Only the weeds and grass of coming years will mark the spot. No stranger carelessly passing by will ever know her name or whence she came and her misfortunes and misdeeds will be forever veiled in secrecy. The story of ‘Ogler Joe and Annie Smith is not more pathetic than the romance of this young lady’s life. She was reared in one of the wealthiest homes in western Missouri and enjoyed in early girlhood those luxuries which money alone can provide. In society she moved as a queen, honored by all. No ball was given without her presence. Everywhere she was a favorite. Young men of rank sought her hand, not for the gold that might someday be hers, but for the overwhelming delight of sharing in the sunshine of her countenance. She possessed an ardent love for the stage, but was compelled to abandon all thought of entering upon such a career because of the furious dislike her mother cherished for the theater. By reading history and books of travel and art she had formed a pronounced desire to go abroad, but her father rebelled against this idea and declared that she was yet too young to leave the domestic shrine and bade her be contented with the many luxuries of their wealthy home. But this she could not do. She had plead with her father and mother in vain to have her way. They had repulsed her at every turn, not in unkindness nor in wrath, but because they did not seem to share in the disposition that characterized her being.
One July night five years and more ago she left home, and on the following morning there gathered in that rich man’s house which remains until even now, growing darker and denser every time the name of Jennie is whispered. No trace of her could be found. She eluded the most searching scrutiny of every detective who sought to find her out and restore her to her anxious parents. Five years passed and during that period she was as one dead, for none knew whither she had gone or what her fate might have been. The mother had fretted herself almost into idiocy while thinking of her lost daughter and wrinkles of care had distorted the father’s face. Under an assumed name Jennie had traveled thro’ the southern and eastern states and visited most of the large cities. How did she journey from place to place without money and alone in the world? And it is the same sad story, and the once fair daughter of a rich man’s home was a wrecked and ruined woman. Lustful men of wealth and station were now her companions, and down, down she descended into the oblivion of shame, till her beauty left her, as the fragrance leaves a withering flower. She went back to Kansas City only a few weeks since, and having nowhere else to go she went to live in a nameless place on the north side. But sickness came, and when she was told that in a few more hours she must die, then, in that last fitful season of consciousness, she related the history of her life and begged that her father and mother be summoned to her bedside. It was done, but when they gathered around her she was dead. Thus ended the career of Jennie.