the  Mabel Mackey story with pictures parkersburg wv - Mackey's Antiques & Clock Repair

THE MABEL MACKEY STORY WITH PICTURES PARKERSBURG WV

Mabel Mackey 1930s

Mackey's Antiques & Clock Repair
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Parkersburg WV 26101
 

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THE MABEL MACKEY STORY

This story is not the complete biography of Mabel Mackey. for the people that never herd of Mabel Mackey she was a well known Madam from Parkersburg WV in the 1940s 50s and 60s she was my aunt - my dads sister and 54 years after she passed her name still comes up. like her or not she will always be a part of Parkersburg History.   

About Early Parkersburg WV

while leaders succeeded in making Prostitution Illegal, it did little to stem the tide of the sex trade. for many years, prostitutes Operated out of Houses and Hotels, Under the guard of Madams, and often with the Protection of organized crime. Since the Civil War Parkersburg has always been known for its Bordellos and red light districts. Ray Swick Historian for the Blennerhassett Island Park, said part of Downtown Parkersburg was the center of the red light district, that featured many colorfully named Bordellos, such as the Red Onion, Noah's Ark, Hawk's Nest and Little Egypt, Over the years there were dozens of Parkersburg madams, generally protected by organized crime or corrupt officials, but probably the most famous—and legendary—was Mabel Mackey, who in the 1950s ran a two-story establishment at 213-1/2 Williams Court Alley, less than a minute’s walk from Court Square.  

 

Growing up in Parkersburg with the last name Mackey 

Growing up in Parkersburg West Virginia and having the Mackey name was not easy. even at 5 or 6 years old it was a common thing when some kids dad would ask you what you name was and when you told them your name was Mackey. you were no longer permitted to be friends with there kids. or growing up as a teenager, you would have a girl friend and there dad would say what is your name. most of the time you no longer had a girl friend. I was about 12 years old when I found out what my aunt did to make a living and why you would get dropped like a hot potato if your name was Mackey. it was Because my Aunt was the { Madam } Mabel Mackey. 

not all parents treated the Mackey's bad, our very close friends there parents knew about Mabel Mackey but the name was never brought up. they could spend the night with us and go any place with us

when i started seeing Pauletta who is now my wife of soon to be 43 years. her Mom never brought up the Name Mabel Mackey. i thought it was because she never herd the name before. after about 2 weeks seeing Pauletta I went over to her house one night and her Dad had been drinking and was not filling any pain. out of the clear blue sky he said i knew your aunt Mabel Mackey. first thing i thought was here we go again it was nice knowing you Pauletta. but to my surprise he liked her and when he drove a Cab he use to take people to her house of prostitution. he was telling me about how she helped a lot of poor people he knew.

What You Need To Know About Mabel

the first thing you need to know about Mabel Mackey a lot of the story's are told about Mabel Mackey are False. people that was born after she Died on February 1963, or was very young and no way they could have known her. 50% of the story's going around about her are False. Mabel was my aunt, my dads sister. how story's get told that is not true is when the first person tells the story, then the second person will tell the same story but ad a few things to the story that never happened to make it interesting. then the 3rd person will ad more and on and on till only about a 3rd of the story is true.  

STORY'S ABOUT MABEL NOT TRUE

one Story tells people Mable was audited by the Internal revenue and since she did not keep records they counted the number of Sheets she had, keep in mind when you get audited it is to see how much money you have made, now could you look at a sheet and tell how much money was made on it. now for someone to believe that would have to be a Nut Case.

 

Mabel Mackey Bought Off the Parkersburg Police department

 

If this was true, why would she get raided and arrested so many times, would she pay someone off, to raid her and put her in jail. Of course that is not true.  

 

 

 

MABEL MACKEY IS BORN

Mabel was born Maude Jane Mackey at Macfarlan in Ritchie County West Virginia on December 27 1904, the Daughter of George & Etta Gump Mackey she was the oldest of eight children. with Brothers Sam, Burl, Tom, Raymond, and George and Sisters Ela and Edith. the Mackey family was very Poor and had to hunt to Eat. if the Family did not Grow it or Trap it, or Shoot it, they did not eat.  

George & Etta Gump Mackey

the log cabin they lived in had a dirt floor and the roof leaked when it rained and snow would blow in through the cracks through the walls and roof. the Mackey Family was Poorer then Poor. if the girls got a dress it was made from old feed sacks. Some of the people would laugh and make fun of the Mackey Kids.  

THE LOG CABIN THE MACKEY FAMILY LIVED  IN

Mabel's dad was a drunk, and her mom was a God fearing Born again Christian. when Mabel was in her teens or early 20s she disappeared off the face of the earth. no one knew what happened to her, my Grandma Mackey was heart broken trying to find out were her daughter, and What happened to  her or if she was still alive.  

many years later Mabel showed up one day with a new car, a Chauffer to drive her around, ( she never drove a car ) and a car load of food and flour & Corn Mill for the family to eat. none of the family knew how she was making her money but she had a lot of it. she told her mom she was working in a steel mill plant in Weirton WV and had to go back to work. we have  Documented that she did work in the Steel Mill. and was a member of the union, Weirton Steel Workers Union  ( Weirton Independent Union ) During World War 11.

 she give everyone some money and she said good by to all her family and said she would be back soon.  

in the years before moving back to Parkersburg she would make more trips to Macfarlan with ,money and food for her Family. what her family did not know was Mable was working out of Parkersburg as well as Stubenville Ohio and when she would come to Parkersburg she would make the 30 mile trip to Macfarlan to visit .

no one knows fore sure when Mabel started her own business as a Madam and no one knows if she was a Madam in Steubenville or if it was just Parkersburg.  

 

 

 

Was Mabel ever Married

A lot of people wanted to know if Mabel Mackey ever got Married. well Mabel was suppose to have been married to Dick Durala, but there is no record of that any were that she was ever Married, they think that Dick Durala was just portending to be married to Mabel, that he was only part of the protection from the Organize Crime boss out of Steubenville Ohio. but no one knows for sure. these Madams especially Mabel at times carried huge amount of Cash and I think they were protected and controlled by organized crime from Steubenville and Wheeling.  

Dick Durala with Mabel's Horses

 

 

New Information Uncovered Yes she was Married

Here is the thing that amazes me, 90 years after Mabel was married Feb. 27 1927 for all these years no one at all in our family knew Mabel was married, how could Mabel keep a secret like this that she took to her grave.  how could Mabel keep a secret like this that she never talked about being married so no one in our family knew she was married. although I guess the name Logan Walker Drake, was talked about by Mabel but no one knew they were Married.

A license in Washington County Ohio was issued, documenting a marriage between Maude J. Mackey, daughter of George Mackey and Etta Gump, to Logan Walker Drake on 7 Feb 1927.  She and Logan were listed in the Marietta Ohio City Directory in 1928, living at 303 Church St. No one know how Mabel ended up in Marietta Ohio or how she knew Logan Walker Drake or how she met him.

An article about Logan Walker Drake, who apparently, after just a month of marriage, was arrested for "stealing junk" and then broke out of jail with his "gang."  He managed to give the posse the slip, but his friends were captured.  The last names of his "partners in crime" are familiar in the Gump/Mackey family tree  - James Deems  and Hugh Allender - so that probably gives a clue to how Logan met and married Mable.  The 1930 ensus has Logan in the Ohio State Penitentiary. 

To shed some light on these names James Deems & Hugh Allender. my Grandmother Mackey's sister Sina Gump her son was James Deems which would be a cousin to Mabel Mackey. Mabel Mackey had a Sister Edith Allender she was married to Robert ( Bob ) Allender but divorced after a few years. Bob Allender had a Brother Hugh Allender. Not sure how My aunt Edith Allender ended up in Marietta Ohio and got to know Bob Allender

 

Mabel Mackey & Sister Edith Allender

 

 

In the front right is Edda Gump mackey My grandmother the women behind her is Sina Gump her sister.

 

 

 

In 1935 there was a legal ad in the paper stating that Maude had filed for a petition of divorce from Logan on the grounds of "willful absence."  I'm guessing that it was granted, but I couldn't find any paperwork on line.

also found an article from 1923 that said that Logan had escaped from a reformatory, with an original charge of carrying concealed weapons. 

So with this new information it fills in some of her lost years where she was but it leaves me with more questions then answers.

Question 1 since just a month after getting married her husband was in jail. in the 1930 census has Logan in the Ohio State Penitentiary. 5 years later Mabel filed for a petition of divorce from Logan on the grounds of "Willful Absence." so was her husband in jail all those years she was married.

Question 2 Mabel Mackey was in Marietta Ohio before she was in Steubenville Ohio. --  was Logan Drake the one that picked up Mabel around her home town of Macfarlan and take her to Marietta Ohio. --- did she get started in Prostitution in Marietta Ohio, Did Logan Walker Drake get her into Prostitution. this maybe something we will never find out for sure.

Question 3 Here are things we have Documented proof Mabel was in Marietta Ohio in 1927 & 28 she was Married in 1927. but what is unknown, when did she first get to Marietta Ohio. how long before she was married.

Question 4 we have Documented proof Mabel was in Steubenville Ohio. in 1937 She bought a new Desota car but what is unknown is when did she first come to Steubenville Ohio?

Question 5 we have Documented proof Mabel worked at Weirton Steel in 1943-44 by a union card this is just about 5 miles from Steubenville Ohio were Mabel lived. but what is unknown is when did she first start work at Weirton Steel

Question 6 Why was it important to Mabel to keep it a secret that she was married. 90 years after Mabel was married Feb. 27 1927 for all these years no one at all in our family knew Mabel was married, how could Mabel keep a secret like this that she took to her grave.

Mabel and Logan were listed in the Marietta Ohio City Directory in 1928, living at 303 Church St

 

 

Mabel Mackey Marriage Record

 

WHEN DID MABEL END UP IN STEUBENVILLE OHIO

Mabel Mackey in late 20s or early 30s

no one knows the correct date or who took Mabel but she ended up in Steubenville Ohio and working in the prostitution profession. no one  knows who got Mabel to start in prostitution but the family thinks that she was picked up and told they need people to work in the steel mills and after getting to Steubenville was forced in to prostitution. being in a big town and did not know anyone and no one to turn to for help she had no choice. and after all her life not having anything other then the old feed sacks for dresses and now making money hand over fist to buy anything she wanted, she did not want to go back to the poor days.  

No one knows the correct date she ended up in Steubenville Ohio but they think in the early to mid to late  1930s we have documented proof she was there in 1937 by a car registration

 

Mabel Mackey 1944 working at Weirton Steel Mill 

 

Mabel Mackey Weirton Steel Mill Union Card

 

 Mabel Mackey Registration card for a new 1937 Desoto car

 

 

 

WHEN DID MABEL COME TO PARKERSBURG

Mabel Mackey 1940s

Some time in the late 1940s or early 1950s Mabel moved to Parkersburg and took up Residence at the Monroe hotel, and opened her whorehouse, reportedly under the protection of Steubenville crime figures. by this time my dad Raymond Mackey moved to Parkersburg and was working at the Parkersburg Rig & Reel Plant. he did not know Mabel was living in Parkersburg. Mabel Mackey Her companion, Carl A. “Dick” Durala, is believed was a bag man and enforcer for the Steubenville syndicate who lived with her for many years until he went to prison in 1958 for fatally shooting a man. Through Durala’s contacts, mobsters ran a circuit of women from city to city Steubenville, Wheeling, Parkersburg and other towns along the Ohio River.

 

Monroe hotel,

Mabel would make several trips back to her home at Macfarlan to see her mom and brothers and sisters. and would bring lots of food and money.  it is not known for sure how long Mabel lived at the Monroe Hotel. around 1950 she  purchased a two-story house at 213-1/2 Williams Court Alley, no one Knows how many Girl's worked for Mabel in prostitution but over the years it was a lot . Mabel Mackey made a lot of Money running her Whorehouse. Mabel never drove a car but would  Purchased a new car every few years. over the years Mabel had several Drivers that would take her were ever she wanted to go. one driver was my Cousin Gary Bennett. when Gary was only 16 and just got his drivers license he was driving his aunts ( Mabel Mackey ) new car

it is not known for sure if it was at the Monroe Hotel or her house on Williams Court Alley . but the Parkersburg Police had a under cover cop make a buy for sex her house of prostitution. Mabel and several of her Girls were arrested and booked on prostitution charges. when it come out in the newspaper that she was arrested on prostitution. some one took the paper to my grandma Mackey and it broke her heart knowing her daughter was a prostitute. over the year Mabel Mackey's Whorehouse would be raided bt the Parkersburg Police and Mabel and her Girls would go to Jail and every time Mabel would bail her and her girls out of jail.   

 

  

 

Mabel Mackey Late 1940s

Mabel Mackey 1950s note her boots and Gun 

HUMANITARIAN SIDE OF MABEL MACKEY

Knowing what it was like growing up Poor Mabel would help the Poor any time she got the chance. there was one family every year about the time school was going to start Mabel would buy this Horse so there kids could have new clothes to start school. Mabel knew the Horse was the kids pet so less then 2 weeks later Mabel would bring the Horse back and tell them she did not have room for the Horse and would give it back free. Mabel owned a 180 acre Farm and had plenty of room. every year for several years Mabel would buy that Horse just before school would start and bring it back and give it to the Kids

in 1952 at the Pennsboro fair she seen this Woman with kids running around with no Shoes, she ask this one kid were there mother was, when the kid pointed out there mother Mabel give the woman a Hundred Dollar bill and said go buy your kids some Shoes  

there was this Man Mabel knew that she found out he was off from work and had surgery with no insurance and no money and with 4 kids. every week a cab would stop at his house and give him a envelope and when he ask who sent this, the driver would say sorry I can not say. the envelope would have money in it. the man went to the bank to try and work out something about his house that he was behind with his monthly payment, he was surprised to find out his payments was all caught up and a few more in advance. he ask who made the Payments but the Bank was informed not to tell. he found out a few years later that Mabel Mackey was the one that was helping him out.

Mabel was not helping the people she helped for anything in return, most of the time she did not want the people know were the money come from. 

there was a lot of Families in Wood and Ritchie County that would not has school close or a Christmas if Mabel had no provided the Money.

a man told me a few years a go that he worked at Sears back in the early 1950s when it was on 5th street. Sears just got these Bicycles in and Mabel told him that she wanted the best Bicycle in the store it was close to $100.00 that was a lot of Money for a Bicycle in the 1950s. she Bought it for the kid of one the the girls that worked for her.      

I could go on for a long time the people she helped. new stories I am told today that would go on untold for years because being friends with a madam it was not cool back in the 1940s 50s & 60s   

 

 

Mabel Mackey Left with unknown girls 1940s

Mabel Mackey " Right " with unknown girl  1940s

 

Mabel buys a Farm in Ritchie County WV

in the early 1950s Mabel Mackey purchased a 180-acre horse farm in Ritchie County at Beatrice just a few miles up Route 47 from were she was Born At Macfarlan. She painted her two-story farmhouse pink. even some rooms inside the walls was painted Pink. she filled the house with Antiques old Guns over the fire place and Antique Furniture all through the house. to accommodate her love of horses. she always loved horses and purchased a lot of horses and other farm Animals.   

Mabel Mackey and some of her Horses 1950s

Mabel Mackey inside her Farm House 1950s

 

Mabel & her brother Burl on the front porch of her farm house 1959

Mabel Mackey right at her farm 1958 

 

 

 

Mabel Mackey - Eugene Allender - Jim Allender - Edith Allender - Gary Bennett at the Pennsboro Fair 1952

 

 

Mabel Mackey at her farm with a Navy Sailor & her Jukebox 1950s

 

Mabel Mackey at her farm I think with her Richard Parson

 

 

Mabel Mackey downtown Parkersburg 1950s

 

WHEN DID MABEL DIE

Mabel Mackey lost her battle with Cancer on February 17th 1963 

Mabel with 2 of her Brothers Burl & Sam visiting her dads grave 1959 

Mabel Mackey Born Dec 27 1904 Died on February 17th 1963 

 

The last part of January 2011 Jody Murphy of the Parkersburg News & Sentinel sent me a email asking if i knew Mable Mackey and if i did he would like to Talk to me. with the History of the name of Mabel Mackey I was not going to response to his email knowing what the unkind things some people would say about Mabel over the years. but my wife Pauletta said I should and let him know the other side of the Story's being told. so me and my 2 cousins Jim Allender and Garry Bennett talked with Jody Murphy. with that information from us and More he got from other people. I give him permeation to use any of my pictures he wanted.  on February 13 2011  Jody Murphy of the Parkersburg News And Sentinel did a story on Mabel Mackey titled Old-time Parkersburg Madam Remembered you can see the story.  

Old-time Parkersburg madam remembered

By JODY MURPHY

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

PARKERSBURG - Prostitution is the world's oldest profession and its workforce is no stranger to the Mid-Ohio Valley. Since the Civil War - probably before - Parkersburg has been known for its bordellos and red light districts. Ray Swick, historian for Blennerhassett Island State Park, said part of the downtown area was the center of Parkersburg's red light district that featured many colorfully named bordellos, such as the Red Onion, Noah's Ark, Hawk's Nest and Little Egypt.

Newspaper articles from the early 20th century detail local government efforts to clean up the district and "inmates of houses of ill fame." While leaders succeeded in making prostitution illegal, it did little to stem the tide of the sex trade. For many years, prostitutes operated out of houses and hotels, under the guard of madams, and often with the protection of organized crime.

Mayor Bob Newell, a former city police officer and chief, recalls the city had at least a half-dozen madams who operated bordellos. Larry Gibson, another former officer with a long service in the department, remembers many of the same names and raids on downtown homes and hotels. Of the city's madams, none was more well-known than Mabel Mackey.

"Every boy knew the name Mabel Mackey like his own," recalled Parkersburg native Jim Dawson. "She was a legend to us, as well as a punchline for all that was forbidden and naughty." Mackey's name may be associated with sex in the city, but it wasn't for her good looks. A large woman with big glasses and dark red hair, she stood 5-feet-10 and weighed close to 200 pounds.

One resident who did not wish to be identified would wait on Mackey at Stout's Pharmacy. She would buy perfume in large quantities, she recalled."She did not look like any prostitute I would imagine," the woman said of Mackey. "She wore work boots and overalls. Work clothes."

Jim Allender, one of Mackey's nephews, remembers her style: western-style snap shirts with her work pants tucked into her boots."She'd wear a cowboy shirt and wear her hair in a bun and have cowboy hats on," he said. "That was her style." Mackey's style - and her lifestyle -made her an unforgettable figure in local lore, which over the years has become mixed with fact and fiction.

Mackey is a lot like Woodstock, according to her nephew Roger Mackey. "A lot of people said they knew Mabel, but didn't really know her," he said. "There is more fiction out there than facts." A fact on which everyone agrees is Mackey's profession. She was a madam in Parkersburg, operating out of a two-story house on Williams Court Alley. Gibson, who started on the city police force in 1961, two years before Mackey's death, said most prostitution was centered on the lower end of town.

New officers were often sent on "buys" for prostitution and liquor, he said. Gibson said he made several buys at many houses, including Mackey's place He also recalled a failed buy at Mackey's. "I walked in civilian clothes and was proceeding down a hallway and she stopped me," he recalled, chuckling. "She said 'You know something? You walk like a cop,' and she ushered me right out the back door. I didn't get the buy."

It's unknown how many girls were employed by Mackey, but she made good money. Despite not having a driver's license, Mackey always had a nice car, purchasing a new one every year or so. Her nephew, Gary Bennett, often served as her chauffeur. Bennett said he was never allowed in the house at Williams Court. "She would always tell me to drive around back to pick her up and she'd come out," he said. "I wasn't allowed to go in there. She always came out."

Mackey was also fond of horses, owning several kept on her 180-acre farm near Beatrice in Ritchie County. The farm was punctuated with a large two-story farmhouse. Allender said when Mackey purchased the place it was promptly painted pink - to advertise. Roger Mackey recalled the farm had "pleasure cabins" on the hill behind the house. David Scott, head of the Ritchie County Historical Society, remembers while growing up in Ritchie County, he always heard the same activities that went on in Parkersburg also happened at Mackey's pink farmhouse.

Mackey was more than just a madam. According to many, she was a humanitarian who provided for many poor children in the area.

Roger Mackey describes his aunt as the original hooker with a heart a gold. "She was a real nice woman, with a golden heart who helped a lot of poor people," he said. "She had no kids, but she took care of everybody else's." Mackey's soft spot for children, particularly the poor, likely stemmed from her own childhood.

***

Born in 1904, Maude Jane "Mabel" Mackey was the oldest of eight children. Roger Mackey said the family was poor, hunting for food in the woods of Ritchie County. "If they didn't kill it, they didn't eat," he said. According to Roger Mackey, Mackey was likely the victim of sexual abuse. Her father, a drunk, allegedly made her sleep with his friends. When Mackey was a young teen, she left home without telling anyone where she'd gone or why. Roger Mackey and his cousins suspect she ran away to Steubenville, Ohio.

Sifting through old family photos and records, Roger Mackey and Bennett uncovered proof Mackey resided in Steubenville in the late 1930s and was a member of Weirton Steelworkers Union (Weirton Independent Union) during World War II. At some point, family members say Mackey got involved in prostitution and returned to Parkersburg in the late 1940s when she up shop as a madam. According to former law enforcement officials and relatives, Mackey was one of the city sex trade's key figures for about 15 years.

***

Dawson, a Parkersburg native and author, recalls the area as a middle school student in the 1950s. "When I was attending Washington Junior High School at Seventh and Green streets in the late '50s, some of us boys would walk down to Williams Court Alley either during lunch hour or after school, hoping to get a glimpse of the girls," he said. "One time a couple of them waved and said hello to us. Naturally, we were thrilled to have something to tell everyone back in class."

Mackey's operations and many of the old red light district homes and hotels are long gone, demolished during the era of urban renewal to make room for the Bureau of Public Debt next to the Wood County Courthouse. Roger Mackey said his grandmother, who was Mackey's mother, had no idea how her daughter earned money until she was raided and it appeared in the newspaper. "It broke her heart," Mackey said.

Roger Mackey himself learned of his aunt's profession when he was 12. "I didn't know what a madam was," he said. "I thought people were trying to be nice calling her ma'am." Being associated with Mackey wasn't easy. Roger Mackey recalls of losing friends as a result of his last name. "When people found out my name was Mackey they would drop me like a hot potato," he said.

He also remembers his sister, Nina, being teased by school children who called her "Mabel."

Even years after her death, Roger Mackey says Mackey still stirs inquiries. He recalled looking at a cabin in Lake Washington. "I was asked what my intentions were," Roger said. "Mabel Mackey's name was brought up."

***

Not every association with Mackey is bad. Pauletta Mackey, Roger's wife, said an acquaintance of her's claims Mackey used to buy a horse from her father every year - the same horse. "She'd pay money for the horse and come October, November bring the horse back telling him she didn't have any place to put it and ask them to take it back," she said. Pauletta said Mackey bought that same horse for years. The annual purchases help provide school clothes for the man's daughter.

Roger Mackey said Mackey doted on children, including her nieces and nephews, particularly those who were poor. "She was good to us," Allender said. "She was good to everybody." Allender said his parents divorced when he was 2, leaving his mom, Mabel's sister, with the kids.

"If it wasn't for Mabel, those kids would never have made it," Bennett said. Allender recalls accompanying Mackey to the Pennsboro Fair one summer. A kid had a runny nose. Mabel told the kid to come here a minute and he didn't have no shoes," Allender said.

According to Allender, Mackey asked the boy about his mother. And the boy took them to her. "(Mabel) pulled out a $100 bill and said, 'You take those kids and get them some damn shoes,'" Allender said.

"Many, many people we have met over the years say if it wasn't for Mabel Mackey we wouldn't have been able to raise our kids," Roger Mackey said. Many people recalled Mackey's generosity, including Gibson.

"She was a matronly-looking lady," he said. "I recall she took care of a lot of the small children in the area. It was rumored Mabel took care of them and gave them clothing and shoes to small kids. Regardless of her occupation, she apparently had a heart." Mabel Mackey also had a business that may have been backed by organized crime.

According to Mackey's nephews, Carl A. "Dick" Durala followed her from Steubenville and the two lived together for a number of years. While Mackey's death certificate lists her marital status as divorced, her relatives are unsure. Allender remembers Mackey living with Durala and said they referred to him as "Uncle Dick." Allender said the two may have been married or it may have been a cover. He remembers Durala always carrying pistols. He suspects Durala was Mackey's enforcer and also perhaps a bag man for an organized crime syndicate in Steubenville.

Newell said much of the city's prostitution was run by organized crime from Steubenville and Wheeling. Newell said prostitutes worked a circuit, spending a week or two in different cities along the Ohio River before moving on to the next stop. Durala went to prison after fatally shooting a man at Mackey's farm during a 1958 Fourth of July party.

A few years later Mabel Mackey was diagnosed with cancer. As her health got worse, Mackey left her farm and spent the last few years in Parkersburg, living with her sister, Ellie Mackey. She died in February 1963 at Camden-Clark Memorial Hospital.

The family is hesitant to claim Mackey was rich. Bennett admits if Mackey wanted to buy something, she bought it. Mackey carried no purse or wallet. She kept her money, often in a large roll, in her breast pocket, according to Allender. When discussing Mackey's vehicles, they quickly recount more than a half-dozen cars she owned during their lifetime.

By the time she died, whatever money Mackey had disappeared. Family members insist she was swindled as she was dying, signing a power of attorney to crooked doctors and attendants.

Attempts to locate a will in Wood and Ritchie counties were unsuccessful.

 

Buried near her parents and siblings at Nutter Cemetery near Macfarlan in Ritchie County, Mackey's grave is marked by a simple, small bronze plaque. She remains a standout character in the city's history. Historian Bernie Allen recalls discovering Mackey through a classroom of older, non-traditional students in the early 1980s.

When city officials held their Bicentennial Ball last year, one of the actor participants portrayed Mackey.

Roger Mackey said his aunt is well-known for business activities, but she should be remembered for her charity to others.

"She is not the bad person she is made out to be," he said. "She was a real nice woman with a golden heart, (and) helped a lot of poor people."

 

 

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