Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Hotel Hijinks

By Sue Schuurman

SEPTEMBER 14, 1998: 

100 Years Ago This Week

Those who think journalists today pry too deeply into citizens' private lives won't believe what The Albuquerque Daily Citizen published as front-page news a century ago. The libelous analysis described in great detail the comings and goings of an allegedly adulterous couple who were arrested the next day under the Edmund's Act, a law that made adultery a crime. (Thanks to the staff at UNM's Center for Southwest Research, especially Mary Alice Tsosie, Marilyn P. Fletcher and Nancy Brown, for making the old newsprint available.)

"A Wife's Queer Capers

"On Wednesday night a man and woman registered at the Sturges European as O. W. Laing and wife, of Los Angeles, and were assigned to room 20 for the night. Yesterday morning, at about 5 o'clock, the man called at the Hotel Highland and asked for a suite of rooms. He was in a highly nervous state of mind and forgot even to inquire the price of rooms 22 and 28, which he selected. In about half an hour he returned with his trunks and a woman. They registered this time as G. W. Laing and Mrs. L. M. Martin, and thereby hangs a tale.

"About two months ago Mrs. A. H. Martin, the wife of a carpenter of the Santa Fe Pacific shops, with her mother, Mrs. Miller, and her two children, left for Los Angeles on a vacation. There Mrs. Martin made the acquaintance of Laing, whom she introduced to an Albuquerquean in Los Angeles, about three weeks ago, as 'her friend from Wisconsin.' She unceremoniously abandoned her children, whom she left in charge of her mother, and came on to Albuquerque with her paramour.

"The couple after being comfortably located at the Hotel Highland yesterday went down to the Martin residence, where some of the neighbors saw her and so reported to her husband. He scanned the hotel arrivals in The Citizen and came to the conclusion that Mrs. L. M. Martin was his wife. ...

"Laing is a small, inferior looking specimen of a man who can best be described as a runt, in whom it would take remarkably keen and possibly abnormal eyes to discover anything attractive.

"Mr. Martin on the other hand is a man of attractive appearance and besides is the possessor of manly qualities. ...

"Whatever could have induced the couple to behave as they have is a mystery. It is hardly the act of rational people and further investigation may develop a pronounced case of 'loco.'"

--compiled by Susan Schuurman

Source: The Albuquerque Daily Citizen;

Sept. 9, 1898

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