As many of you know, I've researched old stories about early Fords (primarily Model K and N and early Ford racers).
Some of the stories have been technical, some human interest, and many just automotive news accounts. I've also found several Ford related stories involving terrible accidents.
However, sometimes you find a story, and say to yourself, what's up with this? This is one of them. In Bismark, ND, no less. What do you think is up with this one? This is a pretty expensive gift.
Have a little fun with it
I Googled the following and came up with some interesting things:
"R.N. Stevens" Bismarck
I found many references that he was an assistant attorney general for the State of North Dakota. He was also a publisher.
Here is a pretty comprehensive biography.
If you are hardcore, you could consider tracing down living descendants and see if they have any family photo albums with pictures of the car.
Here are the Google results. Have fun.
http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=r.n.+stevens+bismarck+broken +neck&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#client=safari&rls=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=%22r.n.+stevens%22 +bismarck&oq=%22r.n.+stevens%22+bismarck&gs_l=serp.3...7468.353863.1.354193.13.1 188.8.131.52.0.243.1715.0j11j2.13.0....0...1c.1.19.psy-ab.6WaYLPvlNXo&pbx=1&bav=on.2, or.r_qf.&fp=b624e1cb94b2eded&biw=1278&bih=702
Could your W. D. Boyce actually be William D. Boyce? The founder of Boy Scouts of America? The timing 'works'
I may be reading more into this story then I should, but I read it as he had his "fast six cylinder" car put into his girlfriends name so when he gets killed driving so fast that she gets the car instead of the estate. The last sentence is: "The city council better hurry up with that ordinance regulating automobile speed".
Well, the BSA founder Boyce was indeed wealthy enough, he was called W. D. and did live in Chicago - plus he had some marital problems that ended in divorce in 1908. Even though he married a younger woman for a couple of years (not Mrs Stevens though) he did reconcile and remarry his former wife in 1913. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_D._Boyce#Personal_life
When I first read the story, I suspected something "unbecoming", however, as I read it again, I think there is a little bit of joking going on, with Mr. Boyce gifting the car in Mrs. Stevens name, so "that when R. N. (Mr. Boyce) broke his neck (driving too fast?), the car would not pass into the hands of his administrator (Estate Executor?).
This certainly seems to indicate wealth, and who knows what the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Boyce and Mr. Stevens is. An expensive gift, with some interesting commentary to the press. If it is the founder of the Boy Scouts gifting the car, that would ad another "twist".
Aha, more to the story. Looks like W.D. Was granted a divorce a few weeks later.
Just back to this. Turns out that Mrs. R. N. Stevens was at a coming out party in Chicago in November 1907 when $4,000 worth of jewelry is stolen (at the Boyce's).
And her husband is the Attorney General for North Dakota. Seems strange the paper would comment about needing to enact speeding laws (in the original article) to catch the husband speeding with his new Ford (and Attorney General). Also a substantial "gift" for a wealthy businessman to send a state level office holder (maybe that is why it was in Mrs. Stevens name).
According to the 1907 North Dakota Blue Book, R.N. Stevens was an assistant in the attorney generals office - not THE attorney general.
I guess in the paper it sounds better to say "state's attorney general, which he is (although assistant). Sounds like quite a haul ($4,000 worth of jewelry) by the thief.