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02-29-2008, 10:14 AM #1Registered User
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PA - Beverly Sharpman, 17, Philadelphia, 11 Sept 1947
This girl is probably still alive, a grandmother by now I bet. She may not know her family is looking for her. She may have felt too ashamed or guilty to get in touch with them.
03-01-2008, 01:00 PM #2Registered User
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Beverly Sharpman, 17, Missing since September 11, 1947 from Philadelphia, PA
Missing since September 11, 1947 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Classification: Endangered Missing
Age at Time of Disappearance: 17 years old
Distinguishing Characteristics: White female. Dark hair.
Circumstances of Disappearance
Beverly Sharpman was last reported seen at a train station with a suitcase, and sent her parents a telegram telling them she was leaving home to marry and not to worry.
She was never heard from again.
On September 10, 1947 Beverly told her mother she had something to tell her. Beverly seemed "troubled," her mother later told police.
Nettie Sharpman went to make tea and did not pressure her daughter to reveal her secret. And Beverly, apparently reconsidering, later went to bed without confiding her concerns. The next day, she disappeared, leaving her parents and brother agonizing over what could have driven the teen away.
Police labeled Beverly a runaway. Although she'd gone to Overbrook High School to register for her senior year the day she disappeared, she was last seen carrying a suitcase at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Station at 24th and Chestnut streets.
Her parents received a telegram that night: "Got married. Leaving town. Will not be back. Don't worry. Babe."
Beverly had no boyfriends, and her friends told police and relatives that they knew of no men in her life, nor of anyone with whom she might have eloped.
Police found that Beverly had taken $173 from her savings account, resigned her clerk job at a downtown firm the day before she vanished and told co-workers she was going to Chicago. Although she seemed to have left willingly, police still searched for her.
Detectives checked marriage-license bureaus in all 50 states but found no evidence that Beverly had married. And although the Sharpmans had family in Chicago, those relatives reported that they hadn't seen or heard from Beverly.
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Philadelphia Police Department
Detective Valarie Miller-Robinson
The Doe Network: Case File 2220DFPA
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03-03-2008, 06:29 AM #3Registered User
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I had started a thread for her here: http://websleuths.com/forums/showthr...verly+sharpman With her Charley casefile: http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/...n_beverly.html
A NewspaperArchive search turns up one article where her parents appealed to her to come home for her birthday. Beverly's date of birth was August 18, 1930.
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03-24-2008, 01:55 PM #4Registered User
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- Southwestern Maine is home but I'm not there nearly often enough
Obviously a runaway, and in those days 17 was considered a proper age for marriage so I doubt police did much to locate her, they probably considered her leaving a private matter between her and her family.
If she wasn't pregnant -personally I think that's the most likely explanation- then perhaps what she wanted to tell her mother was that she was being abused by a family member? This could explain why she never wanted anything to do with them anymore.
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07-10-2010, 10:57 AM #5
I've been reading about Beverly and wondering what happened. She registered for her senior-year classes the day she disappeared. Was she still undecided about running away that evening or had she made the appointment in advance and was worried a guidance counselor would call her parents if she missed registration?
Her family and friends knew of no boyfriends she might have eloped with, but could there have been an unknown man at work, possibly someone older, whom she could have been in a relationship with? A coworker or superior could have overstepped his bounds, although I'm not sure if most workplaces in 1947 would have had rules in place against interoffice dating and relationships.
This is probably completely unrelated, but on June 7, 1954, two executives of Trilling & Montague, the company where Beverly had worked, killed themselves five hours apart. Both left notes, although I can't find anything about the content of the three notes other than one of the men complained of depression over severe pain.
07-13-2010, 08:20 AM #6
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09-10-2010, 09:57 AM #7
In 1947 would a judge or anyone have asked for proof of ID? Many young women didn't have driver's licenses at that time & would not have had ID. Maybe she married under a false name? You can tell from the planning that went into this that she apparently disappeared voluntarily.
Also, I don't know if this was true in all states, but my parents eloped together in 1947 to marry but blood tests & a waiting period were required for them. They secretly went ahead & got the blood tests done & waited the required time. Then on the day they married, my mom got on the bus as if she was going to work. At the point where her bus stopped & she was supposed to get on the next bus to go on to work, my dad picked her up & they went to the courthouse. That might be what Beverly was doing, meeting a man where the bus stopped next. So I was wondering if all 50 states required the blood tests back then, though Beverly still might have done it under a false name. I doubt the legal age limit for a woman to marry was 18 then, maybe it was 16. Lots of guys in the 40s pretended to be a year older than they were to join the military so it doesn't seem like a lot of proof of age was required.
I've always wondered if Beverly was mixed up with an older man from work, maybe even a married man, who got her pregnant & then promised to run away with her & leave his former life behind. He may have met her somewhere & killed her & therefore no man from the area would have been missing. The fact that her family & friends knew nothing about a boyfriend makes it sound like a relationship she might have been ashamed of, such as with a married man. Plus that might explain why she said she wouldn't be back, because maybe the man had a wife & kids there & she believed he was running away with her & couldn't come back without being financially responsible for his legitimate family.
Hard to believe she'd disappear voluntarily forever.
Last edited by dogperson; 09-10-2010 at 10:03 AM.
09-25-2010, 02:45 PM #8
I just came across this case. These old cases always interest me for some reason. Though she was most likely did not meet foul play or any danger, it would be interesting to find out who she became. I wish the show Unsolved Mysteries was still around. It seems like these kind of cases could be easily solved. Someone out there would recognize the pictures as an old friend or neighbor.
09-27-2010, 02:54 AM #9
Unsolved Mysteries is still on. Spike at like 3am some mornings. But they mostly run older cases that they've already aired.
nothing seems black when i see your red shoes
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05-19-2011, 06:04 PM #10
This is still one of my pet cases. I wonder if anybody checked the telegram office to find out if Beverly was actually the one who sent the telegram. If not, then I think she almost certainly met with foul play & it was by someone who knew her family's nickname for her was "Babe."
Other than meeting with foul play, I think one of the most likely explanations was that she got pregnant by a man who either wouldn't marry her or couldn't because he was already married. If she were legally marrying someone, why would she be so certain she was never coming back? Maybe she wanted to avoid shaming her family by being an unwed mother (this was the 40s, after all) & so she went away & took on another identity, such as claiming to be "Mrs. Smith" whose husband tragically died. She may have lived her whole life somewhere else, ended up marrying & having more children, & just never felt up to facing her family.
I think if she really married anyone on the day she ran away, a man from her hometown would also have been missing.
One other scenario is that she may have had a FEMALE lover rather than a male & she ran away with another woman. Nobody knew of any boyfriends she had, but nobody would have thought much about her having a really close woman friend. I wonder if any woman in her hometown moved away along about that time. Most likely nobody would have connected her with Beverly unless she too disappeared unexpectedly. It could have been a more mature woman who claimed to be moving away for a job opportunity or to live with family, when instead she was meeting Beverly in another town.
This one will always puzzle me. It seems like she left voluntarily, at least at first. She did quit her job & claim to be moving to Chicago, she took her money with her, she was seen at the station with her suitcase. Another odd thing is that the telegram said "GOT married" as if she'd already done it, yet there was no record of a marriage. I really doubt she married anyone but was instead trying to hide a pregnancy or an illicit love affair.
06-08-2011, 01:22 PM #11
Just found this case and i think she ran off and maybe lived out her life somewhere or ran into foul play. Maybe the man she wanted to be with was of a different race? I know of a case where a 16 year old white girl ran off and married a black man. she had kids and everything.Rest in Peace John 08/09/86-04/24/2014.
Husband, father and son. I miss you and so does your son.
06-08-2011, 02:57 PM #12
Burbqueen and Dogperson-that is exactly what I was thinking of when I read this thread. I immediately thought that perhaps she ran off with a guy who was of a different race or with a woman. I was going to guess that she went to have an abortion, but it doesn't make sense that she would say she wasn't coming back. She could have also been running away with a married man who was deserting his wife for Beverly. It wasn't exactly a spur of the moment decision since she seemed to want to tell her mother something. Since she wasn't known to have any boyfriends, I tend to think that she was leaving to be with someone who would have been seen by her parents as "unacceptable".
06-08-2011, 02:59 PM #13
Oops...I hit reply too quickly. The other reason why I think she left to be with someone "unacceptable" is because there were never any records of an application for a marriage license found. If I recall correctly, she certainly wouldn't have been able to marry a woman, and I also wouldn't be surprised if it was illegal for her to marry someone of a different race. She also wouldn't be able to marry a married man.
06-08-2011, 03:04 PM #14
Never mind...Pennsylvania repealed their laws banning interracial marriage in the 1700s. Illinois also repealed their law in 1874. Of course this doesn't mean that she didn't run off with someone of a different race.
Here's an article that mentions a sighting of her in Charleston in 1948. It reports that she was allegedly living with a woman named Bobby Wilson:
Last edited by marie-chantal; 06-08-2011 at 03:24 PM.
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06-09-2011, 11:55 PM #15
Thanks marie-chantal, You really have a knack for finding these informative old articles. It's like a little trip back in time to take a peek into the lives of the key players in these cases.
I have followed this case in the past and I truly believe she went on to live a fulfilling life on her own terms. None of her actions before her disappearance point to foul play.
I would love to know what happened though.
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