Howard Hadley became known for his drinking, womanizing and brawling

Howard Hadley was born at home on Sept. 3, 1923, to Nathan and Velma Hadley of Yoknapatawpha County. His father was a railroad foreman, supervising a line crew, and his mother was a housewife.

Howard Hadley was the youngest of two Hadley sons. As a child, he'd go fishing or hunting as often as he could with his older brother.

In 1940, when Howard was 16, his older brother died in a farming accident. Howard dropped out of school and took his brother's job, working full time in the fields.

Most Friday nights would find him wrestling other men for money, and those who bet on Howard usually won. When he couldn't get a match, he'd pick a fight just for fun.

Some people learned quickly that when Howard Hadley entered a bar, they should leave. He had numerous brushes with the law being arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct and assault on several occasions in 1940 and 1941.

He landed a warehouse job at the Bowlan Glove Factory in October of 1940.

He joined the army in July of 1941 and served in Europe for 18 months. But he continued to have difficulty with authority and narrowly escaped a dishonorable discharge. He received a general discharge in February 1943 and returned to Oxford, where went back to his job in the warehouse at Bowlan Glove.

Nathan Hadley died in May of 1943, and Howard moved back home to support his mother. After her death in 1949, he began courting Merrilyn Kent, and they were married on May 10, 1951 — her 27th birthday.

The Hadley marriage was known to be an unhappy one. Howard Hadley continued his habits and problems with drinking binges, gambling, wrestling for money and brawling.

In 1953, Howard reportedly began womanizing and established a relationship with a local woman, Beatrice Carmichael, which continued for some years. The family finances were continually strained by Howard's excesses, and while Howard continued his job at Bowlan Glove, the main support for the family came from what money Merrilyn made by taking in laundry and ironing.

Howard's record of arrests continued, including several calls to his home for domestic battery in 1953 and 1955. Merrilyn Hadley was pregnant with her first child in 1955 at the time of the last known assault. She died from complications following the birth of her daughter, Doris, on July 18, 1955.

Following the death of his wife and birth of his daughter, Howard was said to have been overwhelmed with guilt, grief and regret. For several years, he appears to have made an effort to curb his excesses and provide for his daughter.

Apparently, the financial strain and caring for an infant became too much for Howard, and he reverted to his prior lifestyle. He arranged for a neighboring family, the Otts, to care for Doris while he worked and most weekends.

After he was laid off from Bowlan Glove on April 11, 1958, Howard had trouble getting and holding a good job in Yoknapatawpha County. In September of 1958, he left Oxford to look for a job with one of the unionized factories he'd heard about up North.

He rented out his house and property to a Bowlan Glove co-worker, Elbert Warren, and left his daughter in the care of Beatrice Carmichael. According to Miss Carmichael, he eventually found a job and his daughter went to live with him.

The rest of his history is unknown.

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