Norman Couple Fascinated By Former Gangster's Home

Saturday, September 11th 2010, 1:06 pm
By: News On 6

Associated Press

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- When Jay and Shandi Williams first saw their home in far eastern Cleveland County, they didn't realize it would come with such a history lesson. The abandoned two-story stone house was the home of one of Chicago's top mobsters, Llewellyn Murray Humphreys, second in command to Al Capone in the 1930s.

The property, located off E State Highway 9, came with a hideout, including a lookout tower and Olympic-size swimming pool. The 80-year-old house was hidden from the highway by overgrown trees and bushes. The inside of the home, however, hadn't changed, with original woodwork, a secret room and custom wood designs by Humphreys.

Included on the land Humphreys owned is a large blue marble crypt, now surrounded by a trailer and mobile home park, with the remains of Humphreys, his only daughter, Llewella, and ex-wife, Mary "Clemie" Brendle.

Shandi Williams said the couple bought the house a year ago from Humphreys' ex-wife's nephew, Ernie Brendle, who has since died.

Since buying the house in 2009, the two have become fascinated with Humphreys and the house. They have learned a lot about Humphreys through word-of-mouth and research.

Williams believes Humphreys came to the house to hide out. "There were always guards at the entrances, and only certain people were allowed onto the property," Williams said.

"We've heard so many things about the house, including supposed tunnels that go from the house under Highway 9, and that the Olympic-size pool at one time was lined with silver dollars," Williams said. "And we've heard those things from more than one person."

On a recent walk around the property, Williams' brother, Brett Rogers, said he picked up some bones that looked too large to be animal bones. He wondered if they were bones of a human.

"They look big enough to be leg bones," Rogers said, examining the bones he brought back to the house.

Williams found a tree that had grown around a pair of plaid pants.

"These pants look like they are from the 1920s or 30s growing into a tree," she said. "We've tried to get them out, but they are stuck in there really good."

Williams said they have saved everything that was in the house when they bought it, including a sign that was placed on the front gate that said, "George Brady's Ranch."

Brady is Humphreys' grandson, who now lives in Oregon.

"People have come by wanting to purchase things from the house or parts of the house, but we aren't selling," Williams said.

Her favorite part of the original 1930s home is the woodwork done by Humphreys himself.

"To know that he built this house and that he did all of the intricate woodwork, it's incredible," Williams said.

Williams and her husband were looking for a place for her younger brother, Rogers, who is slightly disabled because of recent hip and shoulder replacements, and came across the property.

Williams had previously heard about the history of Humphreys, while growing up in Noble, but never paid close attention and didn't know where the house was located.

"I heard 'gangster' growing up, but never thought too much about it," Williams said. "And my husband is from Florida, so he knew nothing about it."

Williams said they think the property would be a good site for a bed-and-breakfast or restaurant.