It's hard enough for today's ex-convict to complete his prison term and return home as a rehabilitated member of society. As impossible as it might have been, at the time of John Hogue's 1917 trial for murder in Canada, to predict he would at some point see this day, his opportunity to return home came in the late 1920s.
If you are thinking in the historical context of a bigger picture, you are realizing just what type of economy those wings of freedom were escorting him into. Perhaps in the upheaval of the stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing depression, life in Charleston, West Virginia, took on a very guarded shade of gray for everyone alike—no matter what role they assumed in the community.
Although no mention could be found concerning John Hogue's first years after returning to civilian life back home in Charleston, hopefully, he found a place to stay, a job and some means of re-integrating into the social fabric of his hometown. In later years, newspaper articles gave the occasional glimpse that John Hogue was still there, taking his place as part of the extended family, thanks to those long litanies of honorary pall bearers at funerals or guest lists for the gala celebrations of golden wedding anniversaries of his elders or exchanges of first vows of his siblings' children.
There was, however, one sad note capturing a moment in Hogue's life in the earlier years of his return home: the funeral notices of Susan Harvie Hogue, John's mother. As is often hoped by family historians, I found one of these notices—from The Charleston Daily Mail of Saturday evening, December 30, 1933—to confirm her relationships, along with some pertinent dates for this twice-married widow.
Funeral services for Mrs. Susan Harvie Hogue, 79 years old, who died unexpectedly at her home in Brooks street Friday afternoon, will be held at the St. John's Episcopal church at 2:30 o'clock Sunday. Rev. John Gass will officiate, and burial will be in Spring Hill cemetery.
Until a short time before her death at 5 o'clock Friday, Mrs. Hogue had been in her usual good health.
Although she lived most of her life in Charleston, Mrs. Hogue was a native of Richmond, Va., where she was born in 1854. She was the daughter of Dr. Spicer Patrick and Mrs. Virginia Harvie Patrick.
In 1872 she was married to Henry Poindexter, who died in 1879. In 1884 she was married to John Syme Hogue, who died in 1917.
The obituary went on to list Susan Harvie Hogue's six surviving children: a son and daughter from her first marriage, and three sons and an additional daughter from her second marriage, including her oldest, the recently-returned junior John Hogue. All were now living in Charleston at the time of her passing, in addition to two grandchildren and three brothers.
The funeral notice went on to conclude, "The family has requested that no flowers be sent," making me wonder whether to take the bait to read between the lines—shock of suddenness? Allergies?—or just be grateful for the written review confirming the family constellation as I presumed it would be.