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Volume 1766

The ERB/Hickman Connection - Part IV
The Hickman Family Archive
Photos ~ Letters
ERB Reports
in the LA Examiner
Columns 1 - 6 
ERB Reports
in the LA Examiner
Columns 7 - 13
Hickman Family Archive
Nephew Edward Hickman 

After the appearance of Part I of this series
we were contacted by W.E.H. nephew Edward Hickman.
Mr. Hickman has shared memories, photos, and documents of this tragic event.
From: Edward Hickman
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2007 8:01 PM
Subject: ERB Hickman columns.
Thank you for running this series of articles about my uncle. I did not know there was a connection between him and Edgar Rice Burroughs except for the autograph of Mr. Barlow in a Tarzan book. Mr. Barlow was the man who obtained William Edward Hickman's fingerprints. I will look forward to the next two installments.
Thanks again.
Edward H.

I have a collection of things related to William Edward Hickman.  Here is one of my newspapers, closest to San Quentin.
Many newspapers had an article about the hanging, but none nearly as dramatic as this one. 

Minute by minute the life of William Edward Hickman was shortened today 
as he sat in death cell of San Quentin in posture like that sketched above. 
Only here there were lines of sleeplessness. 
He heard hushed final arrangements of the gallows and inspection of the executing device by guards.
A few moments later he had paid for killing the Parker child.
By Carroll Peeke
William Edward Hickman fell through the trap of the gallows at San Quentin today at 10:10 o'clock. He was pronounced dead just 15 minutes later, at 10:25 o'clock. Hickman paid the penalty for kidnaping and murdering 12 year old Marion Parker, daughter of a Los Angeles banker, in December of last year. He collapsed just before the trap was sprung and fell sidelong to his death.

When Hickman appeared at the door of the gallows room, his lips were mumbling the responses to the Litany which the Rev. Father Walter A. Fleming was reciting. The moment he entered the room, the doomed man flung his head back, apparently to look up at the scaffold. His head remained held back until the black cap was slipped over it. With his arms strapped stiffly at his sides, the young man was rushed up the thirteen stairs to the gallows by two guards, each one holding a hand under the armpit.

The two guards, Charles Alston and Fred Hageboom, held the youth on the trap while Robert Hageboom, the hangman, brother of the guard, adjusted the noose, the black cap and the straps about his legs. Father Fleming stood near by reciting the Litany, but Hickman seemed to have lost all capacity for hearing or for formal response. Head still strained backwards, the young man's lips framed voiceless words, and those in the crowd of some 345 persons who stood nearest believed that the words were, "Oh, my God! Oh, my God!"

Then standing there on the trap he collapsed as the guards withdrew their hands. His knees slipped, and his whole body tilted down to one side. The guards reached their hands forth to steady him.

But at this second -- and it was only 22 seconds since Hickman had appeared at the door and caught that one sight of the gallows -- the hangman raised his hand. The three men hidden behind a low partition on the back of the gallows, sitting there in a little room awaiting that signal of the uplifted hand, slashed three cords with their knives.

One of those cords released the trap and with a clang it fell. The condemned youth, because he had been about to fall to one side when the trap was sprung, struck one foot against the side of the suddenly opened aperture as he fell, and the blow knocked off the slipper from that foot.

The slipper fell softly to the floor below. Hickman smashed downward like a man taking a clumsy dive, his feet being almost on a level with his head when he reached the end of the rope.  The body dropped violently downward to a perpendicular position, but before it could start swinging a trusty rushed forward, placed his hand against the back and held it steady.

Dr. Ralph Blecher stepped forward into a small roped-off area at the foot of the gallows, mounted a little stepladder and ripped the white shirt of the suspended man open at the neck. Then he applied the stethoscope and listened carefully. Dr. L. L. Robinson held the pulse. Hickman's hands during the first few minutes clutched convulsively.

Detective Dick Lucas of the Los Angeles police department, who obtained Hickman's confession after the murder of Marion Parker, already had fainted before that convulsive movement of the young man's fingers commenced. While the doctor listened through the stethoscope, the crowd wondered what went on behind the black cap -- whether the fall had broken Hickman's neck or whether he was strangling to death. Dr. S. M. Marcus of Los Angeles, the psychiatrist who first declared...

Con. on Page Thirteen, Column Three

William Thomas Hickman deserted the family and moved to New Mexico leaving Eva Hickman alone to raise all her children. I know from stories I was told that she took all her children with her wherever she went, to the store, to visit, anywhere. William Hickman was so hated that she listed herself as a "widow" in the Kansas City Directory for 1926. I know Edward hated his father so much that he got very upset when anyone called him William and that when his father visited him in San Quentin he let loose with a stream of cussing after his father left.

Pictures of the apartment in 1927 and 2006. There was a fire there in 2005 but #315 wasn't harmed. The owners of the building decided to gut the interior and it will be made into condominiums. They are trying to preserve the exterior. Here are two photos then and now. Edward Hickman's bathroom window is the smallest window on the top to the upper left of the stone arch. (Dark, with a little white rectangle within the upper half). His livingroom is hidden by the exterior of the left side of the building.
I was curious about the apartment where these events took place and I arranged to go see it. I had never been there before. The woman who was in charge while they were renovating the building after the fire was someone who knew the son of Marian Parker's sister's best friend.  I didn't tell her my connection for fear she would be angry and not let me in. All the walls were stripped, there was nothing left of the room except the wood braces, etc. While we were there and looking around, she noticed a piece of cloth up in the space above the ceiling. She poked at it with a stick and knocked it to the ground and I picked it up. It turned out to be a small sleeve, blue with an English lace cuff and the sleeve was stained with a red rusty color. Marian Parker was last seen in a blue dress with long sleeves with lace cuffs. The woman I was with said that before the building was being rebuilt, the ceilings had panels you could lift. Due to her strong feelings for Marian Parker and her connection with Marian's sister I didn't want to keep any part of it. I sort of felt creepy about it anyway. It was a tangible clue connecting Edward Hickman and Marian Parker and that crime.
Here is a copy of the page of the Centralian yearbook where his senior picture is. He was on a separate page where the photos were larger because he was the vice president of the senior class. He autographed the yearbook next to his write-up. He tried so hard to succeed. He was on the staff of the Centralian yearbook, the Central Luminary school newspaper, he was an officer or member of a number of clubs. Money was short because his father deserted the family and there was a good prize for the oratory contest. Edward practiced for hours almost every day for this contest. He got second place and a check for $5.

(The marcel was a popular 
wavey haircut of the 1920s)

Edward was on the staff of the Central Luminary. They had a "gossip column" and he was mentioned many times. Here are a few examples to show he was just "one of the guys" and had a few eccentricities to joke about.
Our family has sort of scattered into the wind. My parents divorced when I was a child. My mom never mentioned anything about the events of 1927. My last memories of my dad was when I was around four and one of them was when he said I was named after his brother whom he loved and missed. He said his brother was his best friend growing up but he made a big mistake that he was sorry for and we'd see him in heaven. It was years later, while I was in High School, that my mom told me a little about what happened. It was a subject I learned not to talk about.

I went to Hartford, Arkansas, where the family used to live. I wanted do a little research. There is a small museum in the town with lots of artifacts from the late 1800s and early 1900s. There were pay ledgers and photos from the Coal Co. my grandfather worked at, plus lots of other local items. Nobody there had heard of the Bucks or Hickmans. I went to the Sebastian Co. Court House and saw the deed to the family farm from the 1890s, Thomas and Eva's marriage license from 1900 and a couple other things. I visited the site of the old farm. I know that William Thomas Hickman deserted the family and moved to El Paso, New Mexico and signed the Hartford house over to Eva and that later she moved to Kansas City. Thomas remarried to a Latina woman and they had some children together.

A photo of the marriage license of Eva and Thomas Hickman in 1900
Central High School's Champion Contenders, 1925. Edward Hickman, bottom row second person, Alfred Hickman, bottom row last person. Edward was a Junior and Alfred was a Senior.


Hickman's profile and full front view and prison's official caption as recorded in felons' index archieves at San Quentin. Those raven locks he took pride in, fell to the penitentiary barber's shears upon his arrival.

~ Photo by Bell System.
W.H. Hickman Age 20
Murder 1" Deg. Death
Life and 10-Life
Los Angeles
Nat. Ark
To Be Executed April - 27 - 1928
March - 17 - 1928

In a blurb from the school newspaper Edward's school friends kidded him about his Marcel (that wavey haircut popular in the 1920s). Later on, after the trial when he was sent to San Quentin they shaved his head bald. Before sitting down in the barber's chair he said "Give me a Marcel."

While he was in the Los Angeles County Jail, about eight months before his execution, Edward wrote this poem that was reprinted in the newspapers. I wrote it her exactly as it was printed, punctuation and  all.

"When day's begun and death cell's light
"With morning on,
"When warden talks and death fear stalks
"Upon the dawn.

"What mourning - that warning,
"That skip from cell to doom.
"There's no hike - I know like
"Those thirteen steps within that room.

On scaffold high they slip the noose
"And bind your shivering frame.
"They slip the hood as hangmen should.
"There is one you can blame.

"After you've had a word or two
"And you're all through,
"The trap-door falls, the Fox, he squalls,

One of several records I have. These ballads apparently were a common way to spread the news in those days. The singing was terrible and repetitious but they told a story.

In a 1937 photo magazine, there was a large spread about Edward Hickman (ten years after the event) and one of the photos was from a  camera someone snuck into the execution chamber. The caption said it  was taken seconds after the trap was sprung. Until very recently, I  had no idea such a photo existed.
Edward H.
~ Supplementary research material by Bill Hillman

The ERB / 1928 Hickman Trial Connection

Photos ~ Letters
ERB Reports
in the LA Examiner
Columns 1 - 6 
ERB Reports
in the LA Examiner
Columns 7 - 13
Hickman Family Archive
Nephew Edward Hickman 

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