The Photo Request has been fulfilled.

 Lawrence Converse

Lawrence Converse

Avoca, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, USA
Death 27 Jun 1914 (aged 24)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Glendora, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Memorial ID 104605409 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Courtesy of Anne Shurtleff Stevens:

Lawrence Floyd Converse, Sr. was born in Avoca, Pottawattamie County, Iowa in December 1889. He attended one year at Harvard Military School in Los Angeles, California. He made his way to Texas where he got tangled up in the 1910 Mexican Revolution. It was likely in Texas that Lawrence met and married Amelia Sara Spencer, a native of Utah born to parents from Canada and Poland. They had three children before his tragic death in 1914:
* Lawrence Floyd Converse Jr 1912-1979
* John Charles Converse 1913-1973
* Lorraine Converse b 1915

Amelia had worked as a stenographer for a hardware store in El Paso, El Paso County, Texas, before she met Lawrence. In early 1911, while still in Los Angeles, Lawrence is believed to have been recruited by Madero's forces and departed for the border town of El Paso, Texas. The first week of February he received a commission as a captain in Madero's army, where he served as a cross-border courier, making three or four runs a week, and wearing his military school uniform.

On February 20, Lawrence and Edward M. Blatt went to the home of Melquisiades Perea, on the Rio Grande, located about five miles south of the Tornillo Station on the Santa Fe, Texas & Southern Railroad. It was there, while they were warming themselves by an outside fire, that Ramon Nunez, Leonardo Jiminez and Diogracio Archuleto captured them and handed them over to soldiers (led by Colonel Cuellar and General Navarro) waiting on the other side of the river. They were told that they had violated neutrality laws (which they undoubtedly had) and that they would be shot in the morning.

Their capture boiled into an international incident, as Lawrence and Blatt defended their innocence and claimed they were captured on American land. Since testimony from many witnesses at the Perea house, personal items of Converse and Blatt were found in their captors' possession, and evidence of their fire on the Perea property, Díaz was forced to release the prisoners. It also helped that Lawrence's father, Charles Henry Converse, had somehow been acquainted with Díaz himself (through the help of Harrison Gray Otis, of the Los Angeles Times), and was able to expedite his son's release. They walked out of prison on April 22 and were met by an overjoyed Flora Converse, who took the two boys back to America where a festival was held in El Paso in their honor. Blatt was invited to stay for the summer in Glendora with the Converses.

The following year, 1912, Lawrence's first son was born in California and a month later Lawrence's father was tragically killed in a train accident in Glendora.

That September, Lawrence was recalled to El Paso to testify before Senator Michael Hoke Smith, who concurrently was serving as both Senator and Governor of Georgia, in regard to his activities during the Mexican Revolution. The following year Lawrence and his family left for Cuba where their second son was born in Havana in 1913.

In the spring of 1914, Lawrence fell in love with the young, intoxicatingly beautiful widow Barbara La Marr, just seven weeks shy of her 18th birthday. Barbara, born Reatha Watson, had changed her name following her earlier arrest for dancing in burlesque while under age -- she had been dancing since as early as the age of 14! They wed on June 2, 1914, and the following morning Lawrence was arrested for bigamy. They had the marriage annulled a few days later.

Just a month after this episode, Lawrence Floyd Converse, Sr. died from a head injury in early July 1914 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California. He was only 24 years old and left a pregnant wife and two toddlers. Lawrence, Sr. is buried at the Oakdale Memorial Park in Glendora, Los Angeles County, California as are his parents.

Barbara La Marr went on to wed three more times and became a screen writer and silent movie star -- billed as "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" -- making 30 films between 1920 and her early death in 1926. She died in Altadena, California at the young age of 29. She is remembered with star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Amelia remarried a Mr Payne, and died in El Paso.

Family Members

Siblings Half Siblings





  • Created by: TLS
  • Added: 3 Feb 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 104605409
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lawrence Converse (17 Dec 1889–27 Jun 1914), Find A Grave Memorial no. 104605409, citing Oakdale Memorial Park, Glendora, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by TLS (contributor 372) .