Tag Archives: idaho

Mrs Elizabeth Pryor Lewis – Can we match her to a family?

A few years ago I wrote about an Elizabeth Prior who became a victim of a bigamist and serial killer.

Elizabeth Prior, Death At The Hands of A Serial Killer (1919)

I recently came across a photo of her in a New York newspaper. The account in the the Daily News on April 30, 1919 is that Huirt was the accused killer; he had married 7 women in 10 months and 5 of them were missing. Is this the same case?– the man in San Quentin was named Watson or Lewis or something else! The account in the Daily News reported he married women also under the names of Harvey and Hilton. Perhaps his prison record sheet was too small to add all of his alias.

The story gets even wilder in other newspapers. The Akron Evening Times had more room to print the story (slow news day?), reporting Huirt married 25 women and also used the surname Gordon.

I haven’t matched Miss Pryor to her family.

Elizabeth Prior, Death At The Hands of A Serial Killer (1919)

gillam

James P Watson, serial bigamist and serial killer. Mug shot courtesy of Ancestry.com

It looks like we may have some information on another Pryor who disappeared from records. I’m not sure if she was a Prior by marriage or birth, however there’s an Elizabeth Prior who is reported to have been murdered.  She was murdered by J. P. Watson who The Oregon Daily Journal described as an “arch-murderer” and “super-bigamist”. The article published on 11 May 1920 states he was known by many aliases and was accused of killing 9 wives and many more.  His real name was reported to be Joseph Gillman, yet his record from San Quentin (see image above) stated his surname as Gillian. Included in the long list of multiple wives and murders was Elizabeth Prior who was killed with a hammer near Plum Station, WA.

This nasty convict died almost 20 years later at San Quentin, CA and is buried in the “Boot Hill” cemetery on the premises. There’s a post on Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=112945633). Which quotes the Idaho Post from 1919:

Elizabeth Prior of Wallace, Idaho, married March 15, 1919, at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, skull crushed with a sledge hammer and body buried near Plum station, Wash., where it was found.

There’s a marriage for an Elizabeth Prior on 25 March 1919 in Kootenai, ID to a Milton Lewis.  There were no ages on the marriage record, however the record states that both the bride and groom were from Sacarmento, CA. Did we just find another alias for J.P. Watson? Appears so. Crimezzz.net has an article on J. P. Watson (yes, under the section “Serial Killers”). It also gives this same marriage date. 

Got any ideas of who this Elizabeth Pryor might be?