Picher, OK 74360
Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery Miami, Ottawa County, Oklahoma, USA
Alice Delores "Tiny" Hayes, aka George Hayes, (May 10, 1914 – March 21, 1991) should be honored as a lesbian pioneer who fought for the right to dress as she liked and to marry the girlfriend she loved--and all of this was over 75 years ago.
In July of 1935, there were just scads of newspaper articles concerning the ten-day marriage between Alice Delores (George) Hayes and Margaret La Vernia Fowler. Margaret was just 14 years of age (Alice/George was 21), and the "bride" was purportedly surprised to find out that the "groom" was "no gentleman." Though Margaret "refused to say" when the "discovery" was made, she insisted that she entered into the marriage in "good faith," which implies--without actually saying so--that she was ignorant of Alice/George's sex before she took her vows. For her part, Alice/George (allegedly) claimed the marriage was "all a prank."
It is strongly suggested that Alice/George not only "passed" as a man both at work and in her personal life, but was something of a cad. Charming, good looking, a snappy dresser--but a cad. A cad who played the field, toyed with the hearts of many girls, and who had dumped the girlfriend she had been dating for the past year to take up with a girl who was barely into her teens.
As a child, Margaret was listed in the 1925 state and 1930 federal censuses as Lavenia M. Fowler. It seems she was an only child, born around 1921. Her parents were Harry C. and Florence Fowler. Margaret appears in the Galena High School yearbook for 1936--she was in the Girls' Pep Club--so she apparently completed her sophomore year. Her father, who worked as a lead smelter, died in December of 1938 at the age of 45. He is buried in Galena. Margaret seems to utterly disappear from the public record after that.
With Alice/George, the name complications are even worse as she was apparently in the habit of using many different names or aliases over the course of her lifetime. In addition to the name Alice Delores Hayes, she is listed in various places as Alice Deloris Hayes, Alice Lou Hayes, Alice L. Hayes, Tiny Hayes, and Tiney Hayes. Alice was born in Miami, Oklahoma on May 10, 1914. She was the daughter of Frank "Pink" Hayes and Georgia Ann Wyrick (perhaps Alice borrowed the name "George" from her mother or her maternal grandfather, George Wyrick). There were also two sisters, a brother, and a half brother in the family. In 1920, her father was working as a teamster, by 1930 he was working in the zinc mines (he died at the age of 57). By that time (1930), the family had moved to Quapaw, Oklahoma. Alice, who would have been around 15, was apparently calling herself Tiny or Tiney by then (she was listed as such in the 1930 Census). When her brother Lonnie was murdered in Picher in 1936, his obituary lists one of his surviving sisters as "Alice Delores Hayes" who was living in Hockerville, Oklahoma. But when Alice's father died in 1942, she was identified in the funeral notice as "Tiny Hayes of Picher." Her social security death entry is recorded under "Tiny Hayes." She died on March 21, 1991, either in Picher or Miami, Oklahoma (reports differ).
Picher, Oklahoma is now a ghost town, officially closed down and evacuated by the Environmental Protection Agency because of cave-in risks and severe toxic metal contamination from the long years of lead and zinc mining.
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