Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Walk in town's street, and spirits of the past

The manifestation of a spirit, a ghost, something that you couldn't quite see, or taste or smell — but sensed was there, nevertheless. Perhaps you felt it. You might walk down Central (or Main) between Fourth and Fifth Street back then, when the buildings were still there. Conversations from the past, tracks from memories, a phantom where a town once lived... walked with you.
"Dolores was the scene of a deplorable tragedy Wednesday when Mrs. Almeda Majors was shot and almost instantly killed by a shotgun blast fired allegedly by Mrs. Ruth Baldy, a resident of this place," read the front page of Dolores Star that week, June 4, 1948.
"Mrs. Majors, whose husband was killed almost two years ago by the Cortez town marshal, was employed in the office of H.V. Pyle, a local real estate and insurance man at whose office the shooting occurred."
The Del Rio Hotel building still rises three stories above the sidewalk, across the road from Flanders Park.
"Mrs. Pyle and Mrs. Majors had returned noon from a business trip to Cortez and drove to the office. Mrs. Majors went up the street where she did some shopping and returned to the office. In the meantime Mrs. Baldy had met Pyle near the office where some words were exchanged. The two went to the office and into the inner office where there were more words and Pyle lay down on the couch. Mrs. Majors came in the office and to the door leading to the inter office. Seeing Mrs. Baldy with the shotgun, a single barrel 410 gauge, she remarked jokingly that it was a "nice gun." Realizing that the situation was serious, according to a statement by Pyle, she started to leave and got to the front door of the office. Pyle, who is recovering from an operation and illness, said he was unable to rise quickly, but heard the shot," the Star account said.
Apparently, so did much of the nearby town, as several eating lunch at Green Frog recalled later in personal accounts.
"Mrs. Majors was struck in the back and the charge, fired at a short distance, passed through body in the region near the heart. She called for help and said she was shot and staggered to the alley adjoining the building and collapsed. She died within a few seconds," reported the Star.
"The Ertel ambulance and Sheriff Frank Weaver arrived within a a few minutes and took Mrs. Baldy into custody, and Mrs. Majors body to Cortez. Ben Caylor, who lives across the street from the Pyle office said he heard the shot and looking out saw what happened and called Town Marshall Edward Lockett and Dr. E. G. Merritt," according to the paper's account.
"Mrs. Ruth Spurgeon, who lives near the Pyle office ran out and saw Mrs. Majors lying on the sidewalk struggling to rise.
"District Attorney Byron Badford came in and investigated the case, and stated that as far as he knew at the time first degree murder charges would be filed against Mrs. Baldy. The trial will not called before the fall term of the district court," reported the paper.
But according those familiar with the case's history, Baldy served no time.
"Mrs. Majors, formerly operated the Green Frog cafe and recently took a short business course in Grand Junction preparatory to taking over the work in Pyle's office. She was the mother of two small sons," the Dolores Star said.
In the center of the town, phantoms, memories, tracks in time, conversations from the past, a spirit, a ghost, something that you couldn't quite see, or taste or smell — but sensed was there, nevertheless.

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