Morgan - Ruth - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Morgan - Ruth

Source: Tri-County News, Waveland, Montgomery County Indiana April 12, 1956

If Ruth  MORGAN was excited that February night way back in 1932, when the Waveland Bank was being subjected to a series of dynamite explosions, it probably was a mild experience for her compared with the thrills and excitement she must have felt last night when, as Ruth Joiner, she was the honored guest on "This is Your Life" television program. Ruth's life has been chocked full of excitement and suspense along with an undue amount of disappointments and heartaches. And this was all well portrayed on the popular Ralph Edward's broadcast Wednesday night from Hollywood, California. To her many friends in Waveland, Crawfordsville and other areas of the state, her presence on the program also came as a thrilling moment. To the many friends and acquaintances  who necessarily had to know about the event beforehand, it was even more suspenseful because the element of complete secrecy had to be maintained at all costs. Teacher of the third grade  in Mt. Zion school, Union Twp, Ruth had to be persuaded to go to Hollywood on some pretext which would not arouse her suspicion.   This was done thru the Montgomery County Superintendent of Schools, John W. Ward, who told her that one teacher from the county was eligible to attend classes at UCLA for special training and that he had selected her. At first reluctant to leave her work, Ruth was finally prevailed upon to accept the honor and left Tuesday for California. The people who plan the "This is Your Life" shows had meanwhile began an intensive research into Ruth's past history, made dozens of contacts with her friends  and acquaintances and arranged for some of them to come to Hollywood to appear on the program. They requested that all should maintain     the strictest secrecy, saying that the program would have to  be cancelled if Mrs. Joiner learned about it. So it was very natural that everyone - and that included a major portion of the population in central Western Indiana - was unduly nervous waiting the beginning of the program Wednesday night. Mr. Edwards made his appearance among the audience as the show opened and gradually worked his way towards Mrs. Joiner who was seated  with Mr. and Mrs. Ward. She appeared to be completely astounded when she read her own name on the book titles, "This is Your Life." The biographical portion of the program began by showing  three persons drawing straws, and Ruth related how she and two                 fellow workers had selected this means of determining who should make a visit to the Indian State Prison at Michigan City. Ruth  won - and thereby nearly lost her life. While walking down a   corridor, she and a coworker, Mrs. Georgia Cole were grabbed  by three prisoners who were attempting to escape. For two hours and 20 minutes, the trio held her hostage in the doctor's office in the prison hospital while they negotiated with Warden Alfred F. Dowd in an effort to secure guns and passage from the prison.  Frequently, they threatened Mrs. Joiner with death. Held prisoner with her was Leroy Hunt, a hospital worker, now of Detroit.  Previously, a guard Joe Petroski had been severely wounded in       an attempt to rescue Mrs. Joiner from the prisoners. Warden Dowd, stalling for time, had called in state troopers and when the prisoners' attention was diverted from Ruth for a brief  moment, the troopers fired at the prisoners, wounding and recapturing  them. Two ricocheting bullets wounded Mrs. Joiner. The program  adopted a flash-back style to portray some of Mrs. Joiner's history, recalling her childhood days on the farm near Waveland  and presenting her sister, Mrs. Lee Brookshire of Converse and  brother, Robert Morgan of Crawfordsville. Her struggle to work her way thru ISTC at Terre Haute was told by a roommate, Agnes Moore, now of Evansville. The incident of the attempt to burglarize   the State Bank of Waveland in 1932 was recalled for the program  by Theron Banta who paid tribute to Ruth as a real heroine as  she worked at her job as night operator in the Waveland telephone office despite bullets whizzing into and around the building.    Ruth alerted enough of the town's vigilantes to give battle to the burglars and defeat them in their attempt to loot the bank. As a fitting climax her daughter, Mrs. Jerry Lou Garrett  appeared on the program and was followed by one of Ruth's pupils,               Judith Dye, from Mt. Zion school who summed up the attitude  of all the pupils and a great many of Ruth's friends when she said, "We think Mrs. Joiner is just the best teacher in the whole world." Among the gifts Mrs. Joiner received was a 1956  Mercury Phaeton and she along with all the people previously mentioned who appeared on the show were guests at a party given at the Hotel Knickerbocker in Hollywood following the program.   Much of the material used by Mr. Edwards in compiling data for  the show had been taken from a scrapbook owned by Ruth's aunt,  Mrs. Carl Smith of Waveland. A tri-County News photo of this  material is shown here. Ruth is the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Morgan and spent her early years in Waveland  graduating from the local high school. She expects to receive her Master's Degree from Indiana State Teachers College this summer.
Note: Ruth Morgan (Joiner Thomas) was my mother's 1st cousin. My mother,Kate Smith Bazzani was the one who wrote to Ralph Edwards on This is Your Life and did all the paper work and phone calls, and letters to get Ruth on the show. Although mom didn't get asked to be on the show much to her disappointment, she did have a huge party the night of the show (we had one of the few tvs in town) and our large living room was jammed-packed. I remember sitting on top of someone's shoulders watching the show live. Very exciting! - Karen Bazzani Zach, 20-year coordinator for Montgomery County GenWeb
Source: Crawfordsville Journal Crawfordsville, Ind, June 28 -

Mrs. Ruth Joiner, attractive Montgomery co unty welfare worker, thought when she and other workers in the office .... ... -- now she's at St. Anthony's hospital in Michigan City suffering fr om bullet wounds received in a harrowing rescue after she had been impriso ned by unruly convicts holding her hostage in an attempt to obtain their f reedom.  Now there's a question whether it may be necessary to amputate h er right arm - the arm that was used so efficiently at a telephone switchb oard back in Feb 1932, when a bandit gang invaded her home town of Wavela nd and shattered a bank safe with explosives.  The orbbers had cut the tel ephone wire and they entered Waveland but Mrs. Joiner, then Miss Ruth Morg an, calmly remained at her post in the exchange office above the bank a nd summoned many men from the countryside to hurry in and frustrate the ro bbery attempt.  A number of nitroglycerin charges were set off by the robb ers.  Finally, with the coming of the vigilantes summoned by Miss Morga n, they shot it out with the robbers who escaped empty-handed.  The batt le was badly managed.  Miss Morgan, the heroine of the hour remained cal m, as she did when seized by the convicts at Michigan City.  Mrs. Joine r, the daughte rof Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Morgan, formerly of Waveland and n ow of Crawfordsville is the oldest of a family of 11 children.  She work ed her way through Indiana State Normal and received her degree in 193 2.  Following her graduation, she taught a year in Waveland High SWchoo l.  After her marraige she gave up her high school teaching.  Later, aft er the birth of her daughter, Geraldine, now three years old, she sought w ork as a bookkeeper in a Crawfordsville Business office (Busenbark  Electr onics?)  For the last nine months she has  been connected with the welfa re office here, where her efficiency and interst in her work have made h er a valuable member of the office staff.  Two of her brothers drove to Mi chigan City late yesterday afternoon to be with her in the hospital. ----- --- (some missing from article)  Ruth said, They mistreated her in no wa y, although they were determined in their efforts to carry out their pl an to escape.  Evidently they had planned the thing in advance.

Source: Unknown
Operator Jerry Garrett flew to the West Coast in mid-April to appear on t he nationally televised, "This is Your Life' program originating from Holl ywood.  The program televised the story of the career of Jerry's mother, M rs. Ruth Joiner, who is a Mt. Zion schoolteacher and former parttime telep hone operator at Wavleand. The whole thing, including Jerry's appearance, was a surprise to Mrs. Joiner.  Jerry was bursting with excitement f or several weeks before the program as arrangements were being completed but she kept the program secret from her mother. Mrs.  Joiner was in the national news healdlines several years ago when she was seized and held as a hostage for two hours by a group of prisoners while she was touring the Michigan City prison for the Department of Welfare.  Before that, while working as a Waveland operator, she discovered an attempt to burglarize the local bank and sounded the alarm ..... (missing -- but may be from Crawfordsville paper -- might check)

Source: Waveland Independent Aug 31, 1939

Mrs. Ruth JOINER is in Robert long ho spital taking treatment for the injury to her arm received in the prison b reak at Michigan City.  Some important nerves were severed and an attempt will be made to unite them by surgery
Source: Waveland Independent June 29, 1939

An attempted prison break at Michigan City on Tuesday involved a former Waveland girl, Mrs. Ruth Morgan Joine r, very unpleasantly.  She accompanied a party of welfare workers on an in spection trip.  As they were passing the hospital room a convict caught er her by the arm and pulled her in.  Two other convicts were in the room, armed with butcher knives. They telephoned the warden that unless they were furnished with guns & a car for getaway, Mrs. Joiner would be killed.  After two hours of negotiation prison guards broke in windows and opened fire, disabiling all the convicts, but unfortunately shooting Mrs. Joiner in the shoulder. The first report was that she would lose her arm but it is hoped now that will not be the case.
Source: Tri-County news Waveland, In May 3, 1956 pg 3

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Bazzani and family and Mrs. Carl Smith attended the family potluck supper, Sunday night at the Milligan Memorial Presbyterian church in Crawfordsville, honoring Mrs. Ruth Joiner.  Approximately 100 people enjoyed the evening including about 25 members of Mrs. Joiner's family.  Mr. and Mrs. John Ward were guests.  Mrs. Joiner, her family and guests were seated at a long table covered with a white cloth, centered with a beautifully decorated cake.  The cake was white with red roses and the inscription, "Congratulations Ruth Joiner."  The other tables were centered with potted greenery.  Group singing was enjoyed and several talks were given.  Mrs. Joiner expressed her happiness and thanks and also displayed her charm bracelet and the book containing the entire script of the television program on which she was recently featured.  The evening was closed with prayer by Rev. McMullen.
Source: Waveland Independent -- ? date -- Miss Ruth MORGAN and Basil E. JOYN ER of Rockville were married in Danville, Illinois, April 24.  Mrs. Joyn er is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Morgan.  She is a graduate of W aveland High School and the four-year-course at the Indiana Teacher's Coll ege at Terre Haute.  She has taught one year in the Waveland schools.  Mr s. Joyner is a baker by trade.  They will live in ROckville.

From: Mr. and Mrs. Edward Servis Rt 5, Lafayette IN

11 April 1956 -- Dear Hazel & All, I am writing this for Mother & Dad (Alf red & Manda Swanson).  They got your card yesterday.  We will all be watching the program on TV except mother. She is in the Lafayette Home Hospital.  Been there since March 6.  had a tumor removed from her leg (the one s he had broken 11 years ago).  Doctors were sure it was cancer but tests pr ove it wasn't.  Sure glad too because if had been they would have had to a mputate. She is getting along just fine. It is healing better than they ex pected. They think they will have the graft some skin as some of it was de ad. I expect they are waiting for it to heal all it will itself. She hasn 't been out of bed since March 6.  Dad is fine. Working every day. Mother 's birthday is Monday April 16.  We girls are telling everyone to send h er a card Room 218, Lafaytte Home Hospital.  Tell the otehrs down your w ay maybe they would like to send cars, too.  Ido n't know anybody's addres s.  How are you folks? Certainly been a bad winter, hasn't It/  still seems like winter it's so disagreeable. Well, thought I'd write and tell you about Mother. Come up & see all of us anytime. We'll be watching tv tonight at 10:00 P.M.

This is in reference I'm sure to the program about Ruth Morgan Joiner
Source: Tri-County News, October 25, 1956

The annual luncheon for former students of Indiana State Teachers College will be held during Teachers Convention in the Chateau room of the Claypool Hotel at noon today, Thursday Oct 2 5.  James C. Farmer, director of alumni relations is in charge of the affair.  This year, Mrs. Ruth Morgan Joiner class of 1931, who was featured last spring on the TV program, "This is Your Life" will be the special guest seated at the speaker's table.  Mrs. Joiner is a teacher at the Mt. Zi on School in Crawfordsville.  The story of Mrs. Joiner's life was sent to Ralph Edwards by her cousin, Mrs. Fred Bazzani.

Source: Howard township, Parke County Indiana Birth Record H-2 p 73 - Certificate #37871
Ruth Hazel Morgan
Female-  #2 in order of birth (of 2).  Born Nov 6, 1909 at 8 a.m.
Father: Stanley Morgan resides Parke County  Age: 24 born Indiana - Farmer
Mother: Stella Blanche Scott resides Parke County age: 23 Housewife
Dr. Thomas Z. Ball Waveland, Indiana
Source: Waveland Independent April 11, 1940
Richard Sweet, the convict who seized Mrs. Ruth JOINER in  Michigan City penitentiary, threatening her life unless he and  some other convicts were released, has been convicted on a  kidnapping charge and sentenced to death in the electric chair.  At the time he was serving a sentence for kidnapping Dr. Rufus  Dooley of Montezuma.

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