This Day in Local History: Murder at the Fox and Fennel


Fanny Winston

April 28, 1926. DOYLE, CALIFORNIA. With pistols drawn, three deputies arrested Samuel Winston for the murder of his wife, local fortune teller, Fanny Winston, who was found dead in the woods behind the Fox and Fennel Social Club on April 20th. He was taken to the Doyle Sheriff’s station shackled and closely guarded, and where he must face charges.

Mr. Winston admitted to being at the Fox and Fennel on the night of his wife’s death. Mrs. Winston was known for her love of late night parties at the Fox and Fennel. The night of her death, Mr. Winston engaged in a fight with jazz musician Reginald Harper, and accused the piano player of interfering with their marriage. Witnesses stated he also accused Fanny of using spells to keep him from learning of the affair, but he had managed to break the spells with the help of a voodoo woman.

Fox and Fennel management denied that alcohol was involved. “Rumors of alcohol are just that – rumors,” said owner Rafe Colorado. “And if there was a fight, it ended quickly, because I’m usually out on the floor, making sure our club members are having an enjoyable evening of music and conversation. But I can’t say as I’m surprised,” he continued. “Fanny was a looker, and she liked to have fun. Sam was a real stick in the mud.”

Mr. Winston will be arraigned on April twenty-fourth.

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