History du Jour
The Best of Times|November 2020
Will Youree, the Missing Heir
Lani Duke

The Twentieth Century had begun. A world of innovative technology beckoned. The adventurous William Scott Youree, only son of Shreveport’s wealthiest man, was one year into an exciting job, managing a family business, a wire nail factory, just south of the border, in Monterrey, Mexico.

Will was handsome, college-educated, athletic, popular, and musically talented. The world seemed to be his oyster.

Will’s fantastic life ended in 1904. Historians ponder why and how.

He had come “home” to his family’s mansion on Fairfield Avenue, celebrating his 31st birthday November 28 there, and stayed through the Christmas season. He died on January 15. Gossip ascribes his death to a duel, an accident, a failed romance, or disease, none of those causes substantiated.

Newspaper archives reveal Will had taken over management of the factory or perhaps even had it built, after his “departure for Mexico on a prospecting trip” (The Times, Jan. 30, 1898). His prospecting was apparently so successful that he decided to stay. His mother and sister visited Will there, staying several weeks, returning with Will’s father Capt. Peter Youree near the end of August.

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