FLOSSIE McCUTCHEON – The Silly Old Fools:

Flossie’s story can be found under Chapter 5: John McCutcheon D: James Cleaver (Beck) McCutcheon:

The 5 newspaper articles found reporting on the McCutcheon-Powers trial shed some light on the plight that women faced in the early part of the 20th Century. Sexual relationships outside of wedlock between two parties traditionally were always the ‘fault’ of the female. However, Mary initiated a lawsuit claiming Flossie was ‘seduced’ by an older married man. Mary Ann took matters into her own hands and made an attempt to do something about it. It is not known if Mary Ann first contacted the police. It is also not known if this coupling produced a child.  In today’s terms, this act would be called statutory rape.

After several court cases, she failed and it seems that both mother and daughter changed their last name to “Hughes” for the duration of their lives. These court events – especially the very public false accusation of Flossie having sexual relations with several men – probably caused them a large amount of shame.

FLOSSIE McCUTCHEON – The Silly Old Fools:

Cook County Herald; 26th November 1904:

Duluth Tribunal: The celebrated Ham-Potter breach-of-promise case which was tried at the September term of Court, was nasty enough and filthy enough to satisfy any lover of salacious, but the McCutcheon-Powers damage suit, which is now on the docket, in which Mrs. McCutcheon, for her minor daughter, Flossie, seeks damages in the amount of $50,000 from A.H. Powers, a wealthy contractor of Hibbing, who is a married man with a family of grown-up children, bids fair to be filthier still.

Mr. Powers claims of course, that this is a case of blackmail, but even if this should be proven to be true, we presume that he will admit that it is another case of an “old fool” and of all fools an “old fool” takes the case for silliness. By the way, what in the mischief ails so many of the “old bucks” in this ‘neck o the woods?’

Don’t they know that if they get to browsing around in outside pastures they are very apt to get into trouble sooner or later? 1


4th February 1905; Minneapolis Journal: Page 19:

Flossie McCutcheon Acquitted – Was Charge Trumped up?

Duluth Minnesota: The jury in the case of the state versus Flossie McCutcheon of Superior last evening found her NOT GUILTY of forgery after 15 minutes of deliberation.

Miss McCutcheon was charged with having forged the name of T. S. Silliman of Hibbing to s receipt for $30. She and her mother conducted a cigar and confectionary store at Hibbing last summer. All though the case just ended a certain thread ran bearing on the case of Mary McCutcheon against A. H. Powers to come up in the federal court in a few days. Mrs. McCutcheon on behalf of her daughter Flossie McCutcheon is suing the well-known logger for $50,000 damages.

The arrest of the girl for alleged forgery a week before the trial was a surprise. Had she been convicted of forgery her testimony in the case yet to be tried would have been discredited and her attorneys strongly intimated that the charge was brought to have this affect. 2


The Evening Statesman, 5th February 1905: Page 2:

Miss McCutcheon Faces Forgery Accusation at Duluth:

Duluth Minnesota, February 7: A sensation was sprung in district court today when Miss Flossie McCutcheon of Superior was arraigned on a charge of forgery. Miss McCutcheon has begun a damage suit against A. H. Powers, a prominent logger and mining man of Hibbing, charging him with seduction and kindred crimes.

The indictment on the charge of forgery was returned by the grand jury, but as Miss McCutcheon lived in Superior, she was not arrested although efforts were being made to procure requisition papers in order that she may be taken into custody on a bench warrant. Theodore Hollister and George Spangler of this city, attorneys for Miss McCutcheon, upon hearing of the indictment, advised her to come to Duluth.

The indictment charges that Miss McCutcheon forged the name of T. S. Silliman of Hibbing to a receipt in June of last year. It is asserted by Mr. Silliman that he had some accounts against her for collection and that she now exhibits a receipt for $30, purporting to be from him as representative of one of her creditors. Mr. Spangler, for the defence, says that the charges against Miss McCutcheon are trumped up in order to prejudice her case against Mr. Powers, which will come up in the United States court next week. 3


14th February 1905: Woman who accuses him sticks to her story;

Denies suggestions relations with other men prior to meeting the defendant – Mrs. Powers hears the damaging evidence against her husband in trial at Duluth; Special to the Journal:

Duluth, Minnesota; February 14th: After being on the stand through the whole of four sessions, a total of 10 hours and a half, the young woman for whose ruin Albert H Powers, the Hibbing lumberman, is asked to pay $50,000.00, left the stand today.

She withstood the ordeal of cross-examination with surprising calmness. The questioning of Senator Baldwin, attorney for Powers, was apparently intended to lay a foundation for her impeachment, which she was made to deny relations with several men prior to her affair with Powers. The defence is said to have about 60 witnesses to call.

Miss McCutcheon swore that Powers told her he was separated from his wife; that their marriage was a mistake, and that he was sorry he had not met her before he married. Questions as to her borrowing money from different men to pay her debts brought the admission that she had done so, but she asserted the amounts were much smaller than the counsel had intimated.

Mrs. Powers, wife of the defendant, heard the testimony. 4

27th February 1905 – Duluth Minnesota: Trial ended in a hung jury. The jury was unable to arrive at a decision. Re-trial was first set to the July 1905 Court term, then postponed until January 1906.

CLASSIFIED AD addressed to Flossie McCutcheon:

Minneapolis Journal: 25th November 1905: Page 15:

If Flossie McCutcheon will send PO Box address to address below, she will hear of something to her advantage. ADDRESS 1113 Journal. 5

18th January 1906: Lawsuit of Mrs. Mary A McCutcheon against Albert H Powers was dismissed on the motion of Mrs. McCutcheon’s attorney citing failure to round up witnesses. Judge dismissed the suit.

23rd June 1911 – Ruth Eileen Walsmith – On Birth registration – mother’s maiden name: Flossie M Hughes.

1910 US Census – Flossie’s mother, Mary Ann HUGHES McCutcheon was using her maiden name.

1917 State Census – Flossie OCCUPATION:  Teller for First National Bank in Sioux City. She was still living with Frederick Walsmith.

1918 WW I draft – Flossie and Fred were still together in Montana. He was a Banker for First National Bank.

1925 State census – Fred was living in Washington State with his 2 children and he was divorced. Flossie and Frederick Walsmith divorced shortly after their second child was born and he retained custody of their two children.  Shortly after she divorced Fred, Flosie joined the Aimee Semple MacPherson Evangelistic group and went to California.

5th December 1995 – Frederick Walsmith’s, Flossie’s son, death registration states his mother’s maiden name as ‘Hughes’.

1965:  Flossie was buried at the Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills Memorial Park Cemetery, Age: 81; Aimee Semple MacPherson is also buried in this cemetery.


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