Those were the noises that woke Mr. H.C Hollins at one o’clock in the morning on June 4, 1907—WHACK and CLUNK—resounding off the side of his house. The insurance man and real estate agent hastily dressed and went outside only to discover that his porch was littered with shoes, of all shapes and sizes and descriptions: old shoes, new shoes, red shoes, blue shoes, short shoes, tall shoes, spring shoes, fall shoes.
Befuddled, Mr. Hollins scratched his head until he heard a “Pssst” from next door and looked up to the see the heads of the two sisters Morgan sticking out of their second floor window. They informed Mr. Hollins that they were alone for their brother, the manager of the Morgan Lumber Company, was out of town on business and that a burglar was at that very moment taking a tour of the first floor of their house.
Filled with a sudden bravado for the pair of mistresses in distress, Mr. Hollins ran inside and chased the burglar who ultimately escaped through a kitchen window. The sisters and their neighbor-turned-hero inspected the house to find nothing had been stolen, whereupon the sisters admitted to Mr. Hollins that they had been throwing shoes at his house for a half an hour before he finally woke.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: All right…it’s wholly understandable why the Morgan sisters threw their shoes at Mr. Hollins house: the shoes were on hand, telephones were a rarity in 1907, and the sisters didn’t want to call attention to themselves by screaming. This story, however, still begs two questions. 1) How many pairs of shoes can you own and still be throwing them a half hour later? 2) What sort of inept crook burgles a house for a half hour and comes away with nothing?
For more information about incompetent thieves and quirky attention-getting techniques, please visit the Local and Family History Department of the McCracken County Public Library.