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Thread: Willie L Douthit

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  1. #1
    us
    Apr 2009
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    Willie L Douthit

    The Willie Douthit Story (Part 1)

    If we have any chance of understanding Willie Douthit’s story, I believe it behooves us to know as much about Willie’s background and who he is as possible.

    I will break Willie’s timeline into several posts over the next few days so please be patient. Even then, it will still be a work in progress since I have a couple of unanswered letters outstanding and plans for pursuing additional parts of the story.

    Background:

    Willie Douthit was supposed to have found a cave of gold bars in 1929 in the Caballo Mountains of New Mexico. As the story goes, a few years after finding the gold, Willie left New Mexico and went to California where he changed his name to Larry Foreman and spent the remainder of his years. He died very wealthy in San Diego.

    According to one version of the story passed on by Mike McChesney, Willie showed up out of the blue at Victorio Peak during Operation Goldfinder in 1973 and made himself known. Had it not been for that, we might have never known that he changed his name to Larry Foreman and resided in California, etc. This information allowed us to follow the trail of Willie.

    The Gold House books, by John Clarence, are the foundation for the Victorio Peak story and they provide a plethora of sources that cannot be found anywhere else. Great Books! I may disagree with many of John’s conclusions but in no way would I slam his books! The Willie Douthit story is a very small appendage to the Victorio Peak story.

    The Timeline:

    A treasure story in which the finder ends up rich, seems to be a story worth researching. It certainly isn’t typical! Hence my interest.

    I have paraphrased several paragraphs from Gold House, Book 1, The Discovery, Page 3 and Page 46 by John Clarence and I hope I haven’t strayed anywhere and changed any meaning. If I have, I apologize!

    In the 1930’s a man named Willie Douthit found a fortune in gold in a cave somewhere in the Caballo Mountains. Willie Douthit was born poor in 1908 in Midland, Texas and died wealthy.

    In 1933 Willie left New Mexico for California and took a fortune in gold bullion with him.

    When Willie died in 2001 at the age of 83, he left an estate of over $3,500,000.00, not including the more than one million dollars a lady friend ran off with, the gold Willie buried and never recovered, nor what a partner, Buster Ward, had taken with him when he moved to California.

    The alleged large estate owned by Willie, upon his death, had to come from somewhere and had to be dispersed after his death. There is surely a paper trail.

    This account looked like a good place to start researching and building a timeline for Willie Douthit.

    What follows is what I would call a condensed version of Willie’s timeline. It is only a small portion of the research that includes well over one hundred associated relatives, numerous sources, etc.

    I’m sure many will feel that the timeline could be condensed even further and not lose much but there may be a few who like the details.

    Garry
    Last edited by Garry; Nov 21, 2014 at 02:36 PM.

  2. #2
    us
    Apr 2009
    234
    452 times

    The Early Years

    The Willie Douthit Story (Part 2)

    Willie L. Douthit was born March 27th, 1908 in Texas, the oldest child of Ian Douthit and Claudie McCown. Willie first shows up in the public record in the 1910 Midland, Texas census. He is with his parents, Ian and Claudie Douthit.

    Note: The census taker erred when he recorded Willie as a female. Willie was a popular girl’s name in this time period but this is certainly our Willie.

    On December 6th, 1912 a sister Mary L. Douthit was also born in Texas.

    In 1914, Ian and Claudie were divorced and Claudie, with the children, came to Portales, New Mexico where her parents, Henry and Olivia McCown were living.

    IN 1915, Claudie married Clarence Lee Cross who also had family ties to the Portales area.

    In the 1920 Roosevelt County, New Mexico Census, Claudie and Clarence were living with his mother and step-father. They had two children, Earl Cross (3) and Vivian Cross (1). Claudie’s older children by Ian Douthit (Willie and Mary) were living in Portales with Henry and Olivia McCown, Claudia’s parents.

    The 1930 Roosevelt County, New Mexico Census confirms this living arrangement with Willie and his sister, Mary, still living with their grandparents. Claudia and Clarence Cross were living nearby with their two children.

    It certainly appears that Willie and Mary were raised by their grandparents, Henry and Olivia McCown, from a young age to adulthood. They both continued to go by the last name of Douthit.

    A public tree on ancestry.com has a couple of interesting photos attached to the family. One looks to be the wedding photo of Ian Douthit and Claudie McCown (Abt 1907). The other is a photo with Willie and his sister Mary, along with their grandparents, their mother and an Uncle George. Judging from the ages of Willie (about 6 or 7) and Mary (about 3 or 4), the photo was probably taken shortly after Claudie’s divorce and their return from Texas to Portales, New Mexico to live with Claudie’s parents. Willie reminds me of “Little Lord Fauntleroy” and he appears full of mischievousness.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Willie Douthit was enumerated twice in the 1930 Census and he also was married in this time period.

    The 1930 US Census collection began on the 1st of April and the enumerator reached Henry McCown’s home on April 17. The household consisted of Henry McCown (62), Olivia (61), Willie Douthit (22), Mary L (Douthit) Harrison (18) and her son George Harrison (1).

    April 17, 1930 Willie married Ina Mae Stirman in Roosevelt County, New Mexico.

    April 23, 1930 we again find Willie being enumerated living with his new in-laws. In each census, Willie’s occupation was listed as a laborer doing odd jobs.

    In 1931, Willie and Ina would have a daughter.

    Willie’s mother died June 6, 1933 and is buried in the Portales Cemetery in Roosevelt County, New Mexico.

    Garry
    Last edited by Garry; Nov 21, 2014 at 08:10 AM.

  3. #3
    us
    Apr 2009
    234
    452 times

    Willie's Father, Ian Douthit/Foreman

    The Willie Douthit Story (Part 3)

    We need to pick-up Willie’s father again since he and Willie would reestablish their relationship later.

    After Willie’s father, Ian’s, divorce in 1914, Ian shows up registering for the World War I Draft in 1917. Ian was a miner living near Jerome, Yavapai County, Arizona. He lists himself as divorced and the father of two children. The kicker here is that instead of Douthit, he is now using the surname of Foreman.

    It’s not clear why the name change at this time. Ian’s mother, Mary P Collins, had first married Julius C. Douthit (about 1878) but they were later divorced and Mary married Joseph B. Foreman (about 1900). Ian had three siblings including a younger brother, Thomas, who also chose to go by Foreman. Both Ian and Thomas took their step-father’s name when they were in their 20’s, while Ian’s children, Willie and Mary, continued to go by Douthit.

    The name change becomes important later on as we trace Willie into the late 30’s and 40’s. Willie, like his father, would also change his surname from Douthit to Foreman.

    Ian Foreman married Lulu Bergman in Nov 1917 in San Diego. Bergman was not Lulu’s maiden name as she had also been married before and she had a son, George Bergman.

    Ian Foreman enlisted in the U S Army, September 11, 1918 and would end up serving toward the end of World War I.

    Ian and Lulu lived in San Diego for a few years but they divorced and we lose touch with Ian in the records until he shows up living with his son Laurence W Foreman in 1936 in Los Angeles.

    While I have been following a rough chronology for Willie Douthit, I’m going to skip the years of Willie’s Caballo Mountain Gold Bar stories. First of all, it has been beat to death on the Treasure Forums and I would like to be able to continue the timeline up until Willie’s death without having to deal with the endless speculation. Also, the primary documents that we are dealing with in this thread are limited in number when compared to the scope of alleged events in that time period. Anyway, for the "time being", I would like to stick with the “minutia”.

    More Later, Garry
    Last edited by Garry; Nov 21, 2014 at 07:10 AM.

  4. #4
    pt
    Sep 2014
    2,016
    5153 times
    The facts behind the factoids
    Thanks much for your efforts Garry - your additional results will also be appreciated.

  5. #5
    us
    Fortune Favors the BOLD, while Karma Favors the Wise!

    Jan 2006
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    Excellent work as always Garry.

    Thanks - Mike
    My Motto: "KEEP AT IT!"

    ............... ALWAYS REMEMBER: When you make a typo, the errorists win...................Aloha Snackbar!

    Check out 1ORO1.COM

  6. #6
    us
    Apr 2009
    234
    452 times

    Laurence Foreman's Marriage to Mary Wells

    The Willie Douthit Story (Part 4)

    I‘m jumping ahead in the timeline and posting Laurence W Foreman’s (Willie Douthit) marriage record to Mary A Wells in 1942. It provides useful information in highlighting some of the ties that indentify Willie L. Douthit and Laurence W. Foreman as the same person.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    From the marriage certificate, the mother of Laurence Forman is Claudie Carolyn McCown and his father is Ian Foreman. This along with the other various documents associated with the parents provides the confidence to conclude that Willie L. Douthit and Laurence William Foreman are one and the same.

    Note the 334 1/2 West 33rd Street address appearing as Mary’s address and also as the place of marriage. We will see this address numerous times in Willie’s timeline.

    There is an error on the marriage record. Mary Wells was not 35 years old at the time of the marriage. She was actually 43. Mary was more than 8 years older than Laurence.

    [BTW, Willie was telling the truth about his name change in the interview conducted during Operation Goldfinder in 1973]

    Garry
    sdcfia, Oroblanco, JudyH and 6 others like this.

  7. #7
    us
    Apr 2009
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    Willie Douthit's California Years

    The Willie Douthit Story (Part 5)

    Using available Los Angeles City Directories, California Voter Registrations and Los Angeles Street Directories, all accessible on the internet, we can track Laurence Foreman (Willie Douthit) reasonably well into the early 1970’s when these resources are unavailable. These types of sources almost surely exist beyond this time period in local libraries.

    While the following is
    certainly overkill, it does provide us with a sense of stability and continuity for Willie Douthit during his Laurence Foreman years.

    We first pick up Laurence W Foreman in the California Voter Registrations in 1936.

    1936 Laurence W Foreman and his father Ian Foreman are living in Los Angeles at 1411 DeLong Street. Both Laurence and Ian list their occupation as bakers. BTW, they are also registering as Democrats. [Santa Monica City Directory and Voter Registration]

    1937 Laurence W Foreman - Kitchen Worker General Hospital – Address: 657 1/2 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles. [City Directory]

    1938 Laurence W Foreman - Baker - Address: 341 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Voter Registration]

    1939 Laurence W Foreman - Kitchen Worker General Hospital – Address: 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [City Directory]

    Note the address, 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, where Laurence is living. You will notice that this is the same address where Mary A Wells was living when she and Laurence married. In fact this is the same address where Mary‘s father, Charles J. Wells was living in the 1920 Census. Mary’s mother died in 1917 and her father died in 1921. Mary and her older sister Florence are shown living at this address in both the 1930 and 1940 census. Florence died about 6 months after Mary and Laurence’s marriage.
    Laurence and Mary would be associated with that address until at least 1973 and perhaps several years beyond that.

    1940 Laurence W Foreman - Kitchen Worker General Hospital – Address: 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [City Directory]

    1941 Laurence W Foreman - Kitchen Worker General Hospital – Address: 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles [City Directory]

    1942 Laurence W Foreman - Baker - Address: 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Voter Registration.

    1942 Apr 4 (Marriage of Lawrence William Foreman to Mary Augusta Wells in Los Angeles)

    It may be worthy to note that Laurence listed his occupation as being involved in the defense industry in 1942 on his marriage record.

    1944 Laurence W Foreman – Baker – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. He is listed with his wife Mary [Voter Registration]

    The occupation listing for the individuals disappear from both the Voter Registration and City Directories from 1946 forward.

    1946 Laurence W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. He is listed with his wife Mary. [Voter Registration]

    1948 Laurence W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. He is listed with his wife Mary. [City Directory]

    1950 Laurence W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. He is listed with his wife Mary. [Voter Registration]

    1952 Laurence W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. He is listed with his wife Mary and his father Ian Foreman. [Voter Registration]

    1954 Laurence W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. He is listed with his wife Mary. [Voter Registration]

    1956 Laurence W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Street Directory]

    1960 Laurence W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Street Directory]

    1961 L W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Street Directory]

    1962 L W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Street Directory]

    1963 L W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Street Directory]

    Willie’s father, Ian Douthit Foreman died May 24, 1963 and is buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, San Diego County, California

    1964 L W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Street Directory]

    1965 L W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Street Directory]

    1967 L W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Street Directory]

    1968 L W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Street Directory]

    1969 L W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Street Directory]

    1973 Laurence W Foreman – Address 334 1/2 West 33rd Street, Los Angeles. [Street Directory]

    This is the end of the available Internet Directories and Voter Registration Records

    In 1973, Laurence W Foreman is still living in Los Angeles at the address where he and Mary have resided for the last 30 years. I would like to know how much longer they lived in Los Angeles before moving to San Diego but that information will probably require a personal research trip to the the area.

    Garry
    Last edited by Garry; Nov 22, 2014 at 07:25 AM.

  8. #8
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    14,603
    11767 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Soooo, Willie was not wealthy ? Sigh, one down, a few to go/
    doc-d likes this.
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  9. #9
    us
    Jul 2012
    Albuqerque, NM / Durango, CO
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    I haven't seen anything presented here that proves Willie wasn't wealthy. He may have just been living under cover with his wealth.Which was a good idea, considering the questionable, likely circumstances surrounding how he acquired his wealth. Lots of very wealthy people live very simple lives, without trappings of their wealth in view.

  10. #10
    us
    Jul 2012
    Albuqerque, NM / Durango, CO
    Garrett Infinium & Gold Bug II, Bazooka Super Prospector Sluice
    2,308
    2295 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    May I suggest a search of assessor records in the relevant counties involved to determine when a move was made to San Diego? The problem is, most of those offices have only scanned in more recent documents to their databases that are made available online, but you never know. As you surmised, you may indeed need to go to those office in person to search their older records.
    doc-d likes this.

  11. #11
    us
    TEA...taxed enough already

    Oct 2005
    San Diego California
    Bounty Hunter
    325
    67 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Garry, is the SD timeline coming. That,s where I am.
    Bob

  12. #12
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    14,603
    11767 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Matt, I would consider that anyone working in a hospital kithcn as a helper is not living a frugal life.as a cover, but living as circumstances demanded..
    Last edited by Real de Tayopa Tropical Tramp; Nov 22, 2014 at 04:49 PM.
    Crow, coazon de oro, doc-d and 2 others like this.
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  13. #13
    fm
    Raggedy old Crow

    Jan 2005
    In a tax haven some where
    ONES THAT GO BEEP! :-)
    1,754
    3565 times
    Growing old disgrace fully as possible.
    Garry

    Some excellent research!

    For me it does show Wilie in more of a true light than some times the claims around him.

    Crow

  14. #14
    us
    Fortune Favors the BOLD, while Karma Favors the Wise!

    Jan 2006
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    What I can't believe is that nobody else has noticed this:

    All that tells me is that Willie didn't initially get away with as much gold as we have always believed. If Willie was on the run from his captors, he probably didn't get much of a chance to haul much of anything from his cave. Maybe just enough for a grubstake on a new life. Maybe he had to take jobs to pay the bills until say, oooohhhhh,

    The occupation listing for the individuals disappear from both the Voter Registration and City Directories from 1946 forward.
    So, lets say Willie gave himself about 10 years from the date he hightailed it from NM. That would give enough time for people to forget about him and not be watching the mountains every day. So, in about 1944-1945, Willie startes going back and forth to NM retrieving small amounts of gold until he has enough to live the rest of his life.

    Mike
    UncleMatt, sdcfia, JudyH and 4 others like this.
    My Motto: "KEEP AT IT!"

    ............... ALWAYS REMEMBER: When you make a typo, the errorists win...................Aloha Snackbar!

    Check out 1ORO1.COM

  15. #15
    us
    Fortune Favors the BOLD, while Karma Favors the Wise!

    Jan 2006
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    Here is a satellite shot of the empty lot where Willie and Mary lived:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	WilliesHouse.jpg 
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    My Motto: "KEEP AT IT!"

    ............... ALWAYS REMEMBER: When you make a typo, the errorists win...................Aloha Snackbar!

    Check out 1ORO1.COM

 

 
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