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In Search of Lash LaRue - Page 2, the long version


Birth name: Reu Alfred Wilson
Born: June 15, 1917 in Watervliet, Michigan
Died: May 21, 1996 at St. Joseph Medical Center, Burbank, California


Updates to this page:

September 20, 2018 - added death certificate info which is in Box 9., near the bottom of this webpage.
May 28, 2019 - drummer Earl Palmer video interview and he briefly talks about Lash and the Dew Drop Inn in Box 5.
May 29, 2019 - more on Lash and Gretna, Louisiana from newspaper reporter Sevilla Finley. In Box "5B. Gretna, Louisiana, Part II".
June 24, 2019 - new Box 10. added and is the last item on this page - received Lash's birth certificate from the State of Michigan.
October 15, 2021 and closure on his real name and birth location. Found his World War II draft registration. And in a January, 1966 newspaper interview, Lash confirmed his birth name was "Reu Alfred Wilson" and born 1917 in Watervliet, Michigan. Scroll down to Box 10, or click HERE to go to that section.


Below are info boxes with all kinds of nitty gritty on Lash and family.

For those not interested in wading through all these details, I've highlighted the more important tidbits with a
 


1. My search for Lash began with these records, sources, and dates.

Over the years, I collected many magazine and newspaper articles, movie pressbook clippings, book biographies, etc. on Lash.

Online sources included the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) and California Death Index, and I've capitalized several names and places to highlight them:

The source data for the California Death Index is the death certificate. The Index has a record for Alfred Lash LaRue, mother's maiden name of BUSSELLE, father's last name was WILSON. His birth date and location are June 14, 1917 and MICHIGAN and he passed away on May 21, 1996 in California: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VPZD-FDX

In the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), Alfred L. Larue (and no names of parents or birth state) was born June 14, 1917 and passed away on May 21, 1996 in California: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JG4T-PPR

Ancestry.com had the Social Security Applications and Claims Index for a duplicate SSN, change or replacement:

dated September 3, 1968 - his name is Alfred L. Larue.
dated August 11, 1975 - Alfred Lash Larue was born June 14, 1917 in GRETNA, LOUISIANA. Parents were Charles F. Larue and Saraha [sic] L. Bussell [sic].


2. Family Trees on ancestry.com
And where is Watervliet, Michigan?

Subscribers to Ancestry.com can build family trees and include additional items such as photos and comments. Several family trees on ancestry identify Lash as "Alfred Larue Wilson", born June 14, 1917 in Watervliet, Berrien County, Michigan.

And his parents were:

Lash's father: Charles Alfred Wilson (1885 or 1887 - 1957) ... he was born Charles Wilson John / Johns and his parents were Ezra John / Johns and Melinda / Malinda / Linda Troy.

Lash's mother: Sarah Louise Busselle or Louise Sarah Busselle (1895 or 1897 - ?).

and Charles and Louise married in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio on May 29, 1913. On the marriage license to Charles Wilson, she signed the license as "Louise Busselle".

In box 4 below, there are many details on Lash and family. Soon after their 1913 marriage, Charles Wilson and Louise Busselle Wilson moved from Ohio to the Martin farm in Watervliet, Michigan. They had two children - daughter Leora A. Wilson was born July, 1914 and son Reu Alfred Wilson was born June 14 or 15, 1917. The marriage was short-lived - Louise filed for divorce from Charles A. Wilson on July 30, 1918. The divorce was granted on May 13, 1919, and she received alimony and custody of the children.

Between Charles' 1918 World War I draft registration and the 1920 census, Charles and Louise were living apart in Berrien County, Michigan. In late 1920, Charles married Gertrude Berndt in Berrien County, Michigan. Circa 1930, Charles had married again and was operating his own business in Chicago.

Lash's mother Louise also married again - she was visiting or living in Ohio in 1927 and tied the knot with a Henry Sykes. Appears that was short-lived. And by the late 1920s, Louise and her two siblings - brother Scott Busselle and sister Virginia Ruth Busselle - had moved to California. Leora and Reu Wilson were also in California.

Watervliet, Michigan is located about 90 miles north of South Bend, Indiana and about 350 miles north of Cincinnati, Ohio and Clermont County, Ohio. This link to Google maps will open in a separate window/tab: https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Watervliet,+MI/Clermont,+Ohio/@40.6908864,-86.8640521,8z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x8810b54cc6c1b4a9:0xfa655d1c9b247f4d!2m2!1d-86.2605776!2d42.1867052!1m5!1m1!1s0x8840e4b121e3d8b7:0x24865fe63393aade!2m2!1d-84.1857115!2d39.0928449?hl=en


3. Lash's first wife was Wilda Cruthers (1918 - 1989) and married in 1937.
Son Ronald Alfred Wilson / LaRue was born in 1937.
And did Lash work as a hairdresser?

1920 census summary and census takers worksheet - living in Carbon County, Montana are 29 year old William Cruthers (born Pennsylvania; occupation "foreman - coal mine"), 23 year old wife Louis [sic] (born Alabama, no occupation), and 2 year old Wilma [sic] (born Montana): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M83F-PHT

1930 census summary and census takers worksheet - living in San Francisco are Lois Cruthers (age 33, born Alabama, divorced), daughter Wilda Cruthers (age 11, born Montana), daughter Constance Cruthers (age 8, born Montana), and Lois' 60 year old mother Kathrinn Morgan: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XC6T-WX7

The San Francisco Genealogy website has Wilda Cruthers as a 1936 graduate of the High School of Commerce, San Francisco, California: https://www.sfgenealogy.org/sf/schools/comspr36.htm

1937 San Francisco City Directory is available on Ancestry.com: Lois Cruthers and daughter Wilda J. Cruthers are living in San Francisco. Wilda's occupation is listed as "sten", an abbreviation for stenographer.

 San Francisco, California marriage index - La Rue A. Wilson married Wilda Cruthers on March 25, 1937. Below is a crop from that index sheet with the names of the bride and groom. You can view the full marriage index sheet at: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-G5DC-918?mode=g&i=39&wc=3192-PTR%3A20726701%2C21582901%3Fcc%3D1402856&cc=1402856

California Birth Index: Ronald Alfred Wilson (Lash's son) was born October 24, 1937 in San Francisco, California and his Mother's maiden name was Cruthers: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VLNR-YRX

 Alfred L. Wilson and Wilda J. Wilson are in the 1939 Stockton, California City Directory which is available on Ancestry.com. They are living at 3299 N. Cal in Stockton, and Alfred is an employee of Mrs. M. J. Reveal:

 In that same 1939 Stockton, California City Directory is Mrs. Maude J. Reveal and her beauty shop at 38 E. Acacia, and this confirms Lash's early work as a hairdresser ... or employed at her beauty shop:

 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - Alfred Wilson and wife Wilda Wilson were lodgers residing with the Garibaldi family at 4069 Oakwood, Los Angeles. But they moved before the census taker could record details. The census taker added the following notation next to Alfred and Wilda's names: "(Moved and took Individual Form; address unknown)": https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9CZ-9X7

1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - renting at 190? Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco is Wilda's mother Louise [sic] Cruthers (43 years old, born Alabama, widowed, occupation "clerk-retail dept store") and her mother, Francis Morgan (71 years old, born Alabama, occupation "clerk-W.P.A."): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9D9-16G

California Death Index and Social Security Death Index (SSDI) have records on Wilda Juanita Grozea, born April 16, 1918 in Montana, and passed away December 24, 1989 in the San Bernardino, California area. Her Mother's maiden name was Morgan and her father's last name was Cruthers.

Find A Grave website has Wilda Juanita Cruthers Grozea interred at Hollywood Forever, Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/122778573/wilda-juanita-grozea

 Bobbi Ann Johnson Holmes was a friend of Lash's late son Ronald Alfred Wilson (1937 - 2007) who later changed his name to Ronald Alfred LaRue. She did an interview with Ron, and there's lots of details on Lash and Ron's mother Wilda J. Cruthers. After high school graduation, Ron and his first wife traveled the carnival circuit with Lash for about three years.: https://bobbiholmes.com/ron_larue/

Following are excerpts from the article (I've capitalized several names to highlight them):

"Ron LaRue was born RONALD ALFRED WILSON on October 24, 1937, to parents ALFRED WILSON and WILDA CRUTHERS WILSON, in San Francisco California. Ron's parents were about 18 years old, in love, and Alfred, like Alfred's mother, was a hairdresser. Alfred had not yet become an entertainer, and hadn't yet changed his surname to LaRue."

"By the time World War II broke out Ron's parents separated, and Wilda moved to southern California with her young son. Wilda's parents were longtime residents of San Francisco, but Wilda thought Southern California of the 1940's would be a healthier environment for her son."

"Shortly after Ron and his mother moved to Southern California Alfred moved to the area. Yet, it was not for a reconciliation. After about eight years of marriage Alfred and Wilda officially divorced. Alfred pursued his career as an entertainer, creating the western persona known as Lash LaRue, with his trademark whip."

Question on Lash's birth year - "Ancestry.com lists the birth year as 1917, which corresponds with the information given to me by Ronnie."

May 13, 1957 California marriage license of 19 year old Ronald Alfred Wilson, AKA Ronald Alfred Larue, to 19 year old Marleen Beth McPherson. This is the first marriage for both. Ron's parents were Alfred 'Lash' La Rue (born Louisiana) and Wilda J. Cruthers (born Montana): https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L93W-XPR4?mode=g&i=2784&wc=96PJ-K66%3A147738401%3Fcc%3D1804002&cc=1804002

Photo of Lash's son Ron Larue and first wife Marleen McPherson at the Los Angeles Public Library digital collections: https://tessa.lapl.org/cdm/ref/collection/photos/id/128245

Ancestry had the November 15, 1961 marriage license of 24 year old Ronald Alfred Wilson to 25 year old Elaine Marie Van Cleave (maiden name of Gottschalk) in Arlington, Virginia. His occupation is "U.S. Army" and this is the second marriage for both. His parents were Alfred Larue Wilson and Wilda Juanita Cruthers.

Lash's son Ronald Alfred Wilson / Ronald Alfred LaRue passed away in 2007 in Lake Havasu City, Arizona: http://obits.arizonagravestones.org/view.php?id=41014


4. There's many records and newspaper accounts of father Charles, mother Louise and daughter Leora ... as well as Lash.
Early family ties were in Missouri, Ohio, and Michigan. But by the late 1920s, most of the family members were in California.
Summary:

  • Charles Wilson John / Johns was born in Ohio in 1885 - 1887. He dropped the John / Johns last name and became Charles Wilson.
  • Louise Busselle was born circa 1895 in Canada.
  • Charles A. Wilson married Sarah Louise Busselle in 1913 in Ohio, and soon after the marriage, they moved to the Martin farm / Martin house in Watervliet, Michigan.
  • Daughter Leora A. Wilson was born July, 1914 on the Martin Farm in Watervliet. Her nickname was "Lee".
  • Son Reu Alfred Wilson was born June 15, 1917 on the Martin Farm in Watervliet. This is Lash and he got the "Reu" name from mother Louise's father (who was Reu Busselle).
  • Louise filed for divorce from Charles A. Wilson in 1918 and the divorce was granted on May 13, 1919. She got custody of the children.
  • in the late 1920s, mother Louise and her two siblings - brother Scott Busselle and sister Virginia Ruth Busselle - were living in Long Beach, California. Leora and Reu Wilson were also in California.
  • in the 1940 census, mother Louise was living in Long Beach, California with daughter Leora and her husband.

Searching old records is difficult because of missing data as well as spelling variations and issues with birth dates and birth locations. Lash's father Charles left a confusing trail:

Charles Wilson John / Johns was born December 17, 1885, and his birth location is either Ohio or at sea. Circa early 1900s - and before he married Lash's mother - Charles Wilson John / Johns dropped the Johns last name and became plain ol' Charles A. Wilson. My research indicates that he was married four times - marriage number two was to Sarah Louise Busselle, the mother of Lash. By the 1930s, he and fourth wife Dollie Ellis Wilson were in Chicago, and Charles had his own business. Charles and Dollie moved back to Michigan sometime in the 1950s. He passed away in 1957 and Dollie passed in 1967.

While there were issues in tracing Charles, I found several consistencies in his data: his mother's maiden name was Troy; his father's first name was Ezra; and his December 17 birth date. And he most often identified Ohio as his birth location.

Clermont County, Ohio birth register (not the birth certificate) for Charles Wilson John, born December 17, 1885 in Clermont, Ohio to Ezra John and Linda Troy. Their home is Locust Corner, Ohio, an unincorporated community in Pierce Township, Clermont County, Ohio: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X6F5-GXV

1890 census is unavailable - it was lost in a 1921 fire (and water damage) at the Commerce Building in Washington, D. C.

1900 census summary and census takers worksheet - 39 year old Ezra Johns (born Ohio; occupation "farmer"), his 26 year old wife Nellie (born Indiana), 14 year old son Charles W. Johns (born December, 1885 in Ohio), and five other children (3 daughters, 2 sons) reside in Clermont, Ohio. If you view the census takers worksheet, note that wife Nellie has had 3 children and 3 are living ... which indicates that Ezra had a prior marriage and wife: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MMCV-64Q

1900 census summary and census takers worksheet has the Busselle family as boarders in the home of Fred E. and Francis Bryant in Junction City, Nodaway County, Missouri - there's 49 year old Reu Busselle (born Indiana), his 25 year old wife Jennie (born Ohio), 6 year old son Scott (born Minnesota), 5 year old daughter Louise (born Canada), and 1 year old daughter Ruth (born Iowa). The occupation of Reu Busselle is "Journalist". And wife Jennie has had four children, three of which are living: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M38M-WH9
(Note: further down this webpage, you'll find info and a link to the December 20, 1924 Orange County, California marriage license of Louise's sister, 25 year old Virginia Ruth Busselle to 31 year old Frank Ellis Delavergn. Her parents were La Rue Bussell and Jennie Clark Doggett.)

November 25, 1905 Greene County, Ohio marriage license of Charles W. Johns to Eva Blanche Kester. Charles' occupation was "farming"; he lived in Xenia, Ohio; was born in Clermont County, Ohio; parents were Ezra Johns and Malinda Troy. The license notes that he was "21 years of age on the 17 day of December 1904 (which would indicate a December 17, 1883 birth date)": https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939K-BPSK-XK?mode=g&i=137&wc=Q3XY-4WL%3A121348001%2C122095601%3Fcc%3D1614804&cc=1614804

1910 census summary and census takers worksheet for 36 year old C. L. Tewell (born Kentucky; occupation "farmer") and his 34 year old wife Jennie (born Ohio) in Clear Creek, Warren County, Ohio. This was the second marriage for both. The large family includes 15 year old stepson Scott Busselle (born Minnesota), 14 year old stepdaughter Louise Busselle (born Canada), 11 year old stepdaughter Ruth Busselle (born Iowa) as well as five Tewell children from his first marriage: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/ML88-844

 May 29, 1913 marriage license in Cincinnati, Ohio of 27 year old Charles Wilson (born Clermont County, Ohio; occupation "laborer") to 18 year old Louise Busselle (born Canada). His parents were Ezra Wilson and Lindia [sic] Troy. Her mother was Jennie Doggett and her father was Reu Busselle. The license notes that he was "27 years of age on the 16 day of December 1912" (which would indicate a December, 1885 birth date). And Louise was "18 years of age on the 25 day of May, 1913" (which would equate to a May, 1895 birth date). Her signature on the license was "Louise Busselle": https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18059-57930-35?cc=1614804
(Note: several interesting things with this record - "Charles W. Johns" has become "Charles Wilson"; his father Ezra Johns has become "Ezra Wilson"; and the license indicates that Charles was not previously married.)

 September 5, 1913 Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper: "Charles Wilson and wife have moved onto the Martin farm west of this village. They were formerly of Loveland, Ohio ..."
(Note: the mileage between Loveland, Ohio and Cincinnati, Ohio is about 30 miles.)

July 24, 1914 issue of the Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper: "A daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Wilson on the A. Martin farm Sunday."
(Note: this paper was from Friday, July 24, 1914. The previous Sunday would be July 19.)

January 1, 1915 edition of The Coloma (Michigan) Courier newspaper had 1914 birth announcements for Watervliet Township: "July 8 (1914) - Leora A. Wilson to Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Wilson"

 June 22, 1917 issue of the Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper: "A son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Wilson Thursday, June 14 (1917)." (Should be June 15, 1917.)

 January 25, 1918 Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper: "The Cradle Roll mothers held their sock social ... Rue A. Wilson won the prize for being the youngest baby to take his first step. He is 7 months old."
(Note: 7 months old would equate to a June, 1917 birth.)

World War I draft registration dated September 12, 1918 for 33 year old Charles A. Wilson. He was living in Benton Harbor, Michigan and wife Louise Wilson was in Watervliet, Michigan. He was born December 17, 1885 and is a "Switchman" for the Pere Marquette Railroad in Benton Harbor, Michigan: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-G1HX-C4Z?mode=g&i=2410&wc=9FC5-DP6%3A928310701%2C928360001%3Fcc%3D1968530&cc=1968530
Wikipedia has a webpage on the Pere Marquette Railroad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pere_Marquette_Railway

June 27, 1919 issue of the Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper: "Mrs. Louise Wilson returned last week from Dayton, Ohio, where she went after her children, and will make her home here."

August 22, 1919 issue of the Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper: "Miss Ruth Busselle of Dayton, Ohio, has been visiting her sister, Mrs. Louise Wilson, for the past ten days."

Ancestry.com had Divorce Records from the Berrien County, Michigan Circuit Court - Louise filed for divorce from Charles A. Wilson on July 30, 1918. Divorce was granted on May 13, 1919, and she received alimony and custody of the children.

November 21, 1919 Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper listed several divorces that were granted including Louise Wilson vs. Charles Wilson.

December 12, 1919 Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper had a letter to the editor from Louise Wilson: "Please correct the statement made in Watervliet Record two weeks ago concerning the time I obtained my divorce, which I have had for a year or more ..."

1920 census summary and census takers worksheet for 32 year old Charles Wilson, born about 1888 in Michigan. He was divorced; occupation was "Freight Brakeman - Railroad"; and was a roomer living in Benton Harbor, Berrien County, Michigan ... and no children are with him: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZSZ-5HH

1920 census summary and census takers worksheet for 23 year old Louise Wilson, born about 1897 in Canada. She was divorced; became a U.S. citizen in November 1913; and her occupation was "operator - metal plant"; and she was renting and living alone in St. Joseph, Berrien County, Michigan ... and no children are with her: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZSD-H62

January 3, 1920 census summary and census takers worksheet - Benton Harbor, Berrien County, Michigan: John Charwood, wife Mildred, and daughter Eileen have two boarders - 5 year old female Leora Wilson and 2 year old Rue Wilson (who is listed as female). Both were born in Michigan; their father was born "at sea U. S."; their mother was born in Canada: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZSZ-MFD

About two weeks later, both kids show up in another census. Rue is misspelled as "Rur" but is correctly identified as a male:

January 16, 1920 census summary and census takers worksheet - St. Joseph, Berrien County, Michigan: 5 year old female Leora Wilson and 3 9/12 year old male Rur [sic] Wilson were listed as "inmates" at the Michigan Childrens Home in St. Joseph. Both were born in Michigan; their father's birth location was unknown; their mother was born in Canada. Assuming that 3 9/12 was his real age, his birth year would be 1916: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZSD-S1S

April 2, 1920 issue of the Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper: "Mr. and Mrs. Scott Busselle arrived from Dayton, Ohio ... They are enroute to Los Angeles, California. Mr. and Mrs. Busselle are spending the week visiting friends in Watervliet and vicinity."

November 16, 1920 Michigan marriage license of 33 year old Charles A. Wilson to 25 year old Gertrude Berndt in Berrien County, Michigan. This was his second marriage and her first. He was born on the "High Seas"; is a conductor; lives in New Buffalo, Michigan; and his father was Ezra (with no last name) and his mother's last name was Troy:
https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939J-CPDP-2?mode=g&i=1672&wc=M6XM-329%3A150751701%2C155401101%3Fcc%3D1810350&cc=1810350
https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939J-CP8R-6?mode=g&i=1673&wc=M6XM-329%3A150751701%2C155401101%3Fcc%3D1810350&cc=1810350

December 20, 1924 Orange County, California marriage license of Louise's sister, 25 year old Virginia Ruth Busselle (born Iowa; occupation "telephone company chief opr") to 31 year old Frank Ellis Delavergn (born Montana; occupation "Post Office Clerk"). Her parents were La Rue Busselle (born New York) and Jennie Clark Doggett (born Ohio): https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L93W-N9BL-D?i=505&wc=96PK-2NG%3A148351301%3Fcc%3D1804002&cc=1804002

June 23, 1927 Clark County, Ohio marriage license of 38 year old Henry E. Sykes (born July 26, 1888 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania) to 30 year old Louise Sara Busselle Wilson (born May 25, 1897 in Ontario, Canada). His home was Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; occupation was "Factory worker"; and this was his first marriage. Her parents were Rue Busselle and Jennie Doggett. She was living in Springfield, Ohio; was married once; is a widow; and her married name was Wilson: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XZL7-G2T

 November 30, 1928 Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper had a long letter from a Mrs. Hoffman describing her trip to California, including the Long Beach area. A few excerpts:

"We went to see Scott Busselle and family. What was our suprise to learn that our dear old friend, Louise Wilson, was in Los Angeles. We were invited to a Halloween party at Scott's and Louise's sister's home. The entire Busselle and Tewell family are here so there were 12 people at the party whom we had known."

"Before Louise arrived Mrs. Harp (formerly Ruth Busselle) ..."

"Leora and Rue Wilson of course are well grown up."

1930 census summary and census takers worksheet for Leora Wilson, about 15 years old, born in Michigan, and her mother was born in Canada. Leora is a roomer living with the George and Selma Dorner family in Long Beach, California: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCJP-ZTK

January 3, 1937 Orange County, California marriage license of 22 year old Leora A. Wilson (born Michigan) to 22 year old Neil Frank Swanson (born Washington) and both live in South Gate, California. This is his second marriage and her first. Her parents were Charles Wilson (birth location unknown) and Louise Busselle (born Canada). The occupation of both Frank and Leora is "soda fountain work": https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8FN-8QW

Appears that Leora divorced Neil Frank Swanson. Ancestry.com had a 1939 New Mexico marriage index record (not the marriage license) for Charles W. Hughlett and Leona [sic] Swanson in Bernalillo, New Mexico.

 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - living in Long Beach, California were 27 year old Charles Welch Hughlett (born Maryland), his 25 year old wife Leora (born Michigan) and his 44 year old mother-in-law Sarah Louise Wilson (born Canada). Charles Welch Hughlett was an electrician in the U. S. Navy and Leora was a "Waitress - Cafe". Leora's mother Sarah Louise Wilson was widowed and no occupation: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9HW-W1B
If you view the 1940 census takers worksheet, their info is on two census worksheets:

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9MT-F7Q2?mode=g&i=29&wc=QZX5-7WV%3A790105301%2C796133301%2C799984901%2C799996901%3Fcc%3D2000219&cc=2000219

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89MT-F7WV?mode=g&i=30&wc=QZX5-7WV%3A790105301%2C796133301%2C799984901%2C799996901%3Fcc%3D2000219&cc=2000219

Louise's sister Virginia Ruth is living in Los Angeles, California at the time of the 1930 and 1940 census:

1930 census summary and census takers worksheet for Virginia who has re-married. 28 year old Menard Harp (born Michigan; occupation "Fireman"), 30 year old wife Virginia (born Iowa), a son and stepson were living in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XC89-TZ9

1940 census summary and census takers worksheet for Louise's sister Virginia Ruth - living in Los Angeles are 38 year old Menard E. Harp (born Michigan; occupation "Fireman"), his 39 year old wife Virginia Ruth Harp (born Iowa), and their two sons: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9ZK-SJB

Louise's brother Scott Busselle, his wife and son were also living in Long Beach, California at the time of the 1930 and 1940 census:

1930 census summary and census takers worksheet for 36 year old Scot [sic] W. Busselle (born Wisconsin), 36 year old wife Harriet B. (born Kansas), and 7 year old son Scot W. (born California). They own their home at 5917 Cerritos Avenue, Long Beach, California. His occupation was "Head-light Adjuster - Automobile", and he was a World War I veteran: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCJP-YPG

1940 census summary and census takers worksheet for 46 year old Scott Busselle (born Minnesota), 46 year old wife Harriett (born Kansas), and 17 year old son Scott Jr. (born California). They own their home at 5917 Cerritos Avenue, Long Beach, California. No occupation is listed for Scott: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K96Y-T46

As noted in the 1928 newspaper article above, the three Busselle siblings had moved to California. Also re-locating to California were Louise's mother and step-father, Jennie Clark Doggett Tewell (1876 - 1940) and C. L. Tewell (1873 - 1944):

1940 census for the widowed C. L. Tewell (about 66 years old; born Kentucky) who was renting in Downey Township, Los Angeles County, California: https://familysearch.org/search/record/results?count=75&query=%2Bsurname%3Atewell&collection_id=2000219&residence_place1=10%2CCalifornia

California Death Index has a record for Jennie Clark Doggett Tewell, born December 10, 1876 in Ohio, and she passed away in the Los Angeles area on February 2, 1940: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VP3B-WVV

California Death Index has a record for Cassuis Lamott Tewell, born July 2, 1873 in Kentucky, and he passed away in the Los Angeles area on May 14, 1944: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VG5J-1WW

By the time of the 1930 census, Lash's father Charles Wilson Johns / Charles Wilson was in Chicago and was re-married to a woman named Dolly / Dollie:

1930 census summary and census takers worksheet - 42 year old Charles Wilson (born United States) and his 42 year old wife Dolly (born Tennessee) were renting at 5809 Hermitage Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. His occupation was "Erector - Steel Goods", and he was a World War I veteran: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XSL2-VH5

1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - 53 year old Charles Wilson (born Ohio) and 53 year old wife Dollie (born Tennessee) were renting at 5809 South Hermitage Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. His occupation was "Steel cabinet erector": https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KWB9-PS5

World War II draft registration for 54 year old Charles A. Wilson, born December 17, 1887 in Claremont [sic] County, Ohio. He and wife Dolly Wilson live at 5809 S. Hermitage, Chicago, Illinois, and his occupation was "In business for himself" and "Steel office equip repair": https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V1KK-MZQ

Michigan Death Record for 69 year old Charles Alfred Wilson. He was born December 17, 1887 in Cincinnati, Ohio, passed away on May 28, 1957 in Rural Milton Township, Cass County, Michigan and burial in Chicago, Illinois. His occupation was "Sheetmetal Worker"; his parents are listed as Milanda [sic] and Ezra Wilson; and his wife's name was Dollie: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FHZC-GJ9
(Note: ancestry.com had a few more details including his home address of RR #2, Niles, Milton Township, Cass County, Michigan.)

Lash's sister Leora re-married - August 3, 1941 marriage license in Duval, Florida for 25 year old Carl E. Gill (born Iowa) to 27 year old Lee Hughlett (born July 14, 1914 in Watervliet, Michigan). His address was the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida and she was divorced and lived in St. Augustine, Florida: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:9392-MJ9C-LV?mode=g&i=326&wc=32KP-YWL%3A145392901%3Fcc%3D1803936&cc=1803936

 June 20, 1947 Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper had a 'Thirty Years Ago' column: "A son was born to Mrs. and Mrs. Charles Wilson on Thursday, June 14th (1917)."

 January 20, 1966 Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper had an article on Lash which mentioned his childhood in Watervliet, Michigan. Excerpts:

"Dark and evil days have come to a former resident of Watervliet, one Lash Rarue [sic]. If that name doesn't ring a bell to jog your memory, perhaps someone will remember Reu Alfred Wilson. (someone had) sent a clipping from the Tampa Tribune concerning him and his fallen fortunes.

It seems that Reu, alias Lash, was born here ..."

The article continues with more on Lash being down on his luck.

(The complete Tampa Tribune article is available for viewing. Scroll down to Box 10.)

 There was a follow-up in the February 24, 1966 issue of Watervliet (Michigan) Record newspaper. Excerpts:

"More news of Reu Wilson from the Charles Wigents vacationing in Florida. Reu, better known as Lash LaRue, lived in the Martin house across from the Wigent farm on Red Arrow highway, just this side of the Midway Baptist Church, when he was a little boy and Mr. Wigent remembers him well.

Some years ago his parents separated and his father made his home in Niles (Michigan) until his death about three years ago. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wigent and Mr. and Mrs. Glen Nichols used to visit Mr. Wilson in Niles."

The article continues with more on Lash in Tampa, Florida, his visits to the local children's hospital, etc.

 Link to the Coloma, Michigan Library and their online archive of the Coloma, Michigan Courier, Watervliet, Michigan Record, and Tri-City Record newspapers. There's a dozen or so articles on Lash as a youngster as well as later articles with local citizens remembering him and his family: http://23.25.1.108/colomas.html

If you go the library website, be aware that their search function requires EXACT text matching. Thus, you'll need to run searches on specific names, including:

Rue A. Wilson
Rue Wilson
Reu Wilson
Reu A. Wilson
Chas. Wilson
Charles Wilson
Charles A. Wilson
Leora Wilson
Leora A. Wilson
Louise Wilson
Lash Larue
Lash Rarue


5. Wasn't Lash born in Gretna, Louisiana? Nope!
What about Lash playing guitar and singing at the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans? Doubtful!

Most sources have Lash's birth location as Gretna, Louisiana and death notices on Lash mention Gretna (along with other misinformation). Am unsure when and how that came about. Excerpt from the May 31, 1996 death notice on Lash from the New Orleans Times Picayune newspaper:

"... known as Alfred LaRue, the son of Charles and Sarah Louise LaRue of Gretna. After his father was killed in World War I, his mother moved the 10-year-old boy and an older sister to Ohio, then to California, where he began working in pictures."

I checked both Family Search and Ancestry.com for any trace of the following:

Charles Larue with a wife named Sarah or Louise; residing somewhere in Louisiana in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census; and with a son named Al, Alfred, Reu, Rue, etc. born circa 1910-1920.

Charles Wilson with a wife named Sarah or Louise; residing somewhere in Louisiana in the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census; and with a son named Al, Alfred, Reu, Rue, etc. born circa 1910-1920.

And I found nothing.

If Lash had ties to Gretna, Louisiana and the Dew Drop Inn, I was hopeful that newspaper articles would be found. I checked newspapers.com and the Newspaper Archive using the following search terms:

"Lash Larue" and "Dew Drop" during the years 1950 - 1990.

"Lash Larue" and "Gretna" during the years 1950 - 1990.

And nothing was found based on those search combinations.

If anyone has solid information on Louisiana, please shoot an e-mail to ye Old Corral webmeister. And please - no quotes from Lash bios, Wikipedia, etc. as that (questionable) Gretna, Louisiana information was probably culled from a death notice or a Larue book biography.

Some Lash biographies (such as Wikipedia) have our western movie hero as a guitar playing wizard. That reference is due to drummer Earl Palmer, who played on 1950s recordings in New Orleans. In his autobiography titled Backbeat: Earl Palmer's Story by Tony Scherman, there's mention of Lash performing at the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans:

"Lots of white people wanted to come to the Dew Drop. Most were turned away, but they let a few in. Every time the cowboy actor Lash La Rue came in town, he came by. He played a hell of a guitar and was a regular guy."

However, there's a different take about Lash in an interview with Red Tyler and Earl Palmer - quote from that:

"I remember a time the cowboy singer and guitar player Lash LaRue came in here one time and I don't know why they didn't bust him because maybe they didn't know whether he was black or white, but they sure should have seen them boots. No blacks around here were wearing boots and he was bombed out of his bird, man. I mean he sat over at the bar and listened to the music all night long and wanted to play his guitar and we wouldn't let him."

A video of that interview is online and runs about 17 minutes. The comments on Lash occurs at around the 13 minute mark: https://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_65C4E011F1AE4A0ABDFE190010AC6D1E

Regardless of those claims, Lash being a singer and musician doesn't ring true. He attended many nostalgia / film conventions in the 1970s and 1980s so I sent off e-mails to folks who coordinated or attended those conventions. Heard back from Ray Nielson, Tommy Hildreth, Minard Coons and Bill Sasser. In summary - none recalled Lash singing ... or playing a guitar ... or playing any musical instrument. Couple comments in their e-mails: "I saw his stage show 2 or 3 times and he never sang or attempted to play any instrument." and "I saw Lash at least 10 plus times at festivals, gatherings, etc. He always was quick with a poem but I never saw him play any musical instruments or sing."

Did drummer Earl Palmer make an error in identifying Lash as a guitar player? Or was there a guitar player in New Orleans who might have been a LaRue but not Lash? Or was someone pretending to be Lash? That video about Lash visiting the Dew Drop Inn is probably the real answer.

Article on the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans: https://www.npr.org/2015/08/24/434209433/will-the-dew-drop-inn-swing-again-attempts-to-revive-new-orleans-hot-spot


5B. Gretna, Louisiana, Part II
Sevilla Finley was a reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper. She began a friendship with Lash LaRue in the 1980s when she wrote several articles on him for the paper. Sevilla and ye Old Corral webmeister connected in early 2019 and I asked for her remembrances of Lash ... and his ties to Gretna, Louisiana. Sevilla writes:

"It was in the 1950s, and I was a young girl of 12 or so, when I attended Lash's stage appearance at the Tower Theater on Huey P. Long Ave. in Gretna. The theater was filled with Gretna youth and Lash advertised that he was one of us - a Gretna native son. Wow - a cowboy movie star from our home town! He entered the theater from the back thru the middle isle dressed all in black leading his white horse and cracking a long bull whip. His old sidekick cowboy joined him on the stage. I was stunned, thunder-struck, as they say; it was love at first sight. I had never witnessed anyone so handsome. His image became indelible in my memory.

Then over 30 years later, in the late 1980s, when I was writing freelance for the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper, I had the occasion to learn that Lash was coming to Kenner (a city on the east bank of Jefferson Parish) to appear at a gun show. I contacted him by phone and asked him to stop in Gretna. I then arranged for then Gretna Mayor Ronnie Harris to present him with a key to the city during his visit. But my real motive was to meet with, and interview Lash for a story.

It was very exciting and I kept the news to myself of his arrival for several weeks, fearing I'd lose my scoop if more seasoned writers at the paper found out about it. We communicated by phone and planned to meet at Mother's, the Greek restaurant in the first block of Huey P. Long Avenue near the river across the street from where the Tower movie theater used to be. (The old theater where Lash appeared had been long demolished and the space became a large cement parking lot.) When I walked in Mother's, Lash was already at a table eating a bowl of seafood gumbo. He complained that it wasn't very tasty and I laughed and commented, "well this is a Greek restaurant, what did you expect?" I remember the day well because the second bridge over the Mississippi River was officially opening and my aunt, Helen Hock White, was ceremoniously the first to cross over in a chauffeured limousine. As my article in the Times-Pic stated, Lash was driving a white convertible Caddy with red interior and was parked at a meter across from where the old Tower once stood. Gretna City Hall was in plain sight. Lash reached in the trunk and retrieved some photos of himself and a couple of guys noticed him and moseyed on over to chat. Bobby Steiner, a fan and photographer with the Times-Picayune, took photos.

We decided he'd drive around New Orleans uptown while I took notes and interviewed him. We crossed on the Gretna-Jackson avenue ferryboat and sat side by side in the front seat as Lash related his story. He was a little hard of hearing in his right ear, and as I was a bit hard of hearing in my left ear, so it required us to sit fairly close together. Some religious group had purchased his movie rights so there was no opportunity to reactivate his film career. Lash spoke about his many marriages but wouldn't say how many. He had a strong charisma and I found myself strongly attracted to him. I might have even proposed - I didn't. I later spoke to him by phone several times where he lived in Carolina, and the woman at whose home he lived disclosed that he was born in Michigan. It didn't really matter that he lied, and wasn't born in Gretna. Lash could have said he was born on the moon and we would have still loved him."

Sevilla Finley
Spring, 2019



(Courtesy of Sevilla Finley)

Above - Sevilla Finley and Lash ... and Lash's Caddy convertible in the background.


6. Wasn't Lash born and/or raised in Ohio? Nope!
But he spent time in Ohio with the family of mother Louise after her divorce.

Circa 2000, I was contacted by a friend of Lash who said that Lash was raised with a family in Ohio (in the 1920s) after his parents split. He mentioned that Lash's real name was Rhew Alfred Wilson and he had a sister named Lee.

Alas - after several e-mails, we lost contact.

Appears that Rhew and sister Lee were Reu and Leora in box 4 above.

I'm guessing that the Ohio connection to Lash MAY be related to Charles A. Wilson and Louise Busselle, who, at the time of their marriage in 1913, were living in Ohio. And during or after the breakup of their marriage, newspapers indicate that both kids spent some time with the Busselle/Tewell relatives in Ohio. However, by the mid to late 1920s, both Leora and Reu - along with mother Louise - were living in the Long Beach, California area.

And mother Louise did spend some time in Springfield, Ohio when she married a Henry E. Sykes on June 23, 1927 in Clark County, Ohio.


7. Lash arrives in Hollywood circa 1944 ... and a few more tidbits.



(From Old Corral collection)

Pressbook bio is mostly fiction.
Above is LaRue doing an early movie role in the thirteen episode serial THE MASTER KEY (Universal, 1945) which was released in April, 1945. From left to right are Milburn Stone (who later portrayed 'Doc' in TV's GUNSMOKE), LaRue, and Dennis Moore. In this, he is billed as Alfred La Rue and plays "Migsy", the street smart leader of a group of teenagers helping Stone, Moore and heroine Jan Wiley outwit Addison Richards.

Universal signed Al to a (brief) term players contract. He had a minor role in the Deanna Durbin LADY ON A TRAIN (Universal, 1945) which was released in August, 1945. By then, he was gone from Universal and playing "The Cheyenne Kid" in the Eddie Dean Cinecolor SONG OF OLD WYOMING (PRC, 1945).

The "Hollywood - The news roundup" piece in the November 20, 1944 issue of Film Daily has tidbits on various people including Al: "... "U" has handed a termer to Alfred LaRue ..." (meaning Universal has given LaRue a term contract). That Universal contract was brief, and Al's next Film Daily mention is an August 22, 1945 review of SONG OF OLD WYOMING (PRC, 1945).

Left is an Al LaRue biography from the pressbook for SONG OF OLD WYOMING (PRC, 1945) and is more hype than truth. Note the mention of him doing radio, writing and producing amateur plays, and his father was a real estate broker. Great piece of fiction from some creative writer.

He gets more coverage (as Lash LaRue) in 1946 Film Daily issues as the star of a new eight film series at Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC) with Al 'Fuzzy' St. John.

Rick Albright did some detective work and found A. Larue, age 20, in the 1937 class roster for Pasadena Junior College. No gender given, but the age works for Lash.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Lash LaRue: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0479017/

In the 1980s, Jerry Whittington was working with Sunset Carson on a possible TV series. Jerry filmed Sunset chatting with many B western performers, including Lash. This link will open in a separate window/tab and Lash has positive comments on his mother ... and notes that she was a widow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPk4gx0MCbE


8. How many times was Lash married? Some sources speculate that he had a dozen or more wives. Unsure of the real number, but there's magazine, online references, and other info sources on many marriages / divorces.


Lash's (first) wife was Wilda Juanita Cruthers and they married on March 25, 1937 in San Francisco. Son Ronald Alfred Wilson was born October 24, 1937 in San Francisco, California. More in box 3 above.

The January, 1953 issue of Screenland Plus TV-Land magazine had a "Hollywood Facts of Life" article about 1952 romances, divorces, etc. There was a mention that in June, 1952, "Barbara Fuller (Claudia of radio's 'One Man's Family') divorced Western star Lash LaRue."

Ancestry.com had 1960 and 1961 Long Beach, California City Directories - Lash LaRue (actor) and wife Pattie are living at 857 Lime Avenue, Long Beach, California.

Family Search and Ancestry had a marriage index record (not the marriage license) - 40 year old Alfred W. LaRue married 37 year old Josephine R. Clarke (this is actress Reno Browne/Blair) on January 10, 1962 in Placer, California: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V66V-Y2L

Family Search and Ancestry had the California Divorce Index - Lash Larue divorced wife Alice B. Larue on March 20, 1979 in Orange County, California: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VPP7-95K

The Gaffney (South Carolina) Ledger newspaper has the 2010 funeral notice/obituary on Frances Ida Coyle Bramlett La Rue: https://www.gaffneyledger.com/articles/frances-la-rue/

Marion Larue was Lash's last wife and was the informant on his death certificate. (She was Marion Carney, the wife of B western bad guy Terry Frost through his death in 1993.)


(Courtesy of Bill Sasser)

Above - Lash was re-united with ex-wife Reno Browne (Reno Blair) at the 1987 Charlotte Film Fest. Her real name was Josephine Ruth Clarke and she is suffering from cancer that would claim her life in 1991.

She was a great rider and made a batch of films at Monogram in the 1940s with Johnny Mack Brown, Whip Wilson, others.



On January 10, 1962, she married Lash LaRue. They resided in Reno, Nevada and ran the Clarke family owned El Ruth Court motel which was re-named to "Lash LaRue's Lodge". January, 1964 newspaper want ad above.


9. Lash's death, cremation, death certificate, and amended death certificate.


Ye Old Corral webmaster has newspaper articles about the funeral service arrangements for Lash. When his wife (and/or family members) went to Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California to prepare for his funeral service, she (or they) discovered he had been cremated. There were lawsuits - or threats of lawsuits - and I'm not sure if and when anything was ever resolved. If anyone wants copies of the newspaper articles, shoot the Old Corral webmeister an e-mail.

Find A Grave website indicates that Lash's cremains were given to family or friend: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/6699730/lash-larue

The Los Angeles Times newspaper has an obituary on Lash: https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1996-05-31-mn-10514-story.html

The New York Times newspaper has an obituary on Lash: https://www.nytimes.com/1996/05/31/arts/lash-larue-79-western-star-with-a-whip.html

 Death certificate:

78 year old Alfred Lash LaRue was born June 14, 1917 in Michigan to Charles A. Wilson (birth location unknown) and Sara Louise Busselle (born Michigan). His residence was 10050 Toluca Lake Avenue, Toluca Lake, Los Angeles County, California; he was married; a self employed actor; and informant was wife Marion LaRue who resided with him at the Toluca Lake address. Lash passed away May 21, 1996 at St. Joseph Medical Center, Burbank, California. Immediate cause of death was shock due to Ischemic Cardio Myopathy, Coronary Artery Disease, and Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease. His other medical conditions included Severe COPD and Renal Failure. Also listed is a March 1, 1996 coronary artery bypass operation. Funeral director was Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.

There's four boxes on the death certificate which provide more on Lash's cremains which were given to wife Marion LaRue:

Box 26. Informant: "Marion LaRue, Wife"
Box 39. Disposition Date: 5/31/1996
Box 40. Place of Final Disposition: "Marion LaRue, 10050 Toluca Lake Avenue, Toluca Lake, California"
Box 41. Type of Disposition: has a CR/RES code which indicates cremation.

 Amended (corrected) death certificate:

About six years after Lash's death, there was an amended (corrected) death certificate. Dated February 22, 2002, the change was to Box 40. Place of Final Disposition of Lash's cremains:

from: Marion LaRue, 10050 Toluca Lake Avenue, Toluca Lake, California
to: Pat LaRue - son, 23970 Via Bocina, Valencia, California

If anyone wants copies of the original and amended death certificates, e-mail the Old Corral webmeister.

The California Death Index mirrors the death certificate - Alfred Lash LaRue was born June 14, 1917 in Michigan and he passed away on May 21, 1996 in California. His mother's maiden name was Busselle and father's last name was Wilson: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VPZD-FDX

The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) has a record for Alfred L. Larue (and no names of parents or birth state) and he was born June 14, 1917 and passed away on May 21, 1996 in California: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JG4T-PPR


10. Lash's World War II draft registration, his birth certificate ... and a 1966 interview in which Lash confirms he was born Reu Alfred Wilson on June 15, 1917 in Watervliet, Michigan.
In June, 2019, I sent for Lash's Michigan birth certificate, and below is a crop from the full page document. If you'd like the full page birth certificate, shoot ye Old Corral webmeister an e-mail.

 Lash was born Reu Alfred Wilson on June 15, 1917 in Watervliet, Berrien County, Michigan. Parents were 22 year old Sara Louise Bussell [sic] (born Canada) and 31 year old Charles A. Wilson (born High Seas).




 ProQuest Military records had the World War II draft registration dated October 16, 1940 for 23 year old La Rue Alfred Wilson. He was born June 15, 1917 in Watervalette [sic], Michigan; lives at 454 South Norton, Los Angeles; occupation is Self employed. His contact is uncle Menard E. Harp in the Wilmington neighborhood in Los Angeles County. (Menard E. Harp was married to Virginia Ruth Busselle, the sister of Lash's mother Louise.) The reverse side of the registration card (not shown) has Lash at 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 145 pounds.



 In the 1960s, Lash was battling various issues including depression and money problems. In January, 1966, he had 35 cents in his pocket and was jailed on a vagrancy charge in Miami, Florida. He had been working the carnival circuit and a carny employee bailed him out. Soon after that incident, Lash did an interview which was published in the January 11, 1966 Tampa, Florida Tribune newspaper. In that interview, Lash confirmed his REAL name and REAL birth location - excerpt:

"The former cowboy star admits his real name is Reu Alfred Wilson. He also admits to being 48 years old. According to Larue, publicity has always had it that he was born in Gretna, La. 'But I wasn't, I was born in Watervliet, Mich., he said.' "

(That "48 years old" is accurate. The duration between his June 15, 1917 birth date and the January 11, 1966 article is 48 years and about 7 months.)

Link to that January 11, 1966 Tampa, Florida Tribune newspaper interview of Lash: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/86350463/the-tampa-tribune/


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