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SOHS Presents: Murder in Lower Berth 13 - A Wartime Episode

         January 23, 1943, Martha Brinson James was found stabbed to death in a Southern Pacific sleeping car near Tangent, Oregon. The young bride was traveling from Seattle with her husband of four months to their home in California. In an interview about this murder, Author and Historian Larry Mullaly said, “This was probably the most widely publicized railroad murder of the century,” and added, “The case smacked of racism, shoddy and questionable police work, and a trial that was anything but fair and open.”
         March 5, Larry is guest speaker at the First Tuesdays Pub Talk at the Four Daughters Irish Pub in Medford. Using court transcripts and Southern Pacific investigative reports, Mullaly will review the details surrounding the death of this young woman, and the fairness of the trial of the man convicted of the murder. What are the circumstances surrounding this crime? Was the 20-year-old black railroad cook charged with the murder guilty? Or was he innocent? This is a case that continues to baffle crime scholars today.
         First Tuesdays Pub Talks are free monthly historical talks sponsored by the Southern Oregon Historical Society, held upstairs at the Four Daughters Irish Pub, 126 West Main, the first Tuesday of the month. Talks begin at 7:00 p.m. and last approximately an hour, with ample time for questions and discussion afterwards.
If you have questions or would like to arrange an interview, please contact Ben Truwe
at 541-773-8369, or

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