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Essay Example: Another Earl Addendum

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In my previous posts (here and here), there were several unanswered questions. Now, thanks to a few city directories, I can fill in some of the blanks regarding Robert E. Howard’s cousin, Earl Lee Comer.

As we have seen, Comer received training as a draftsman for part of his World War I enlistment. Following his discharge at the beginning of 1921, he went to live with his mom’s sister, Hester Howard, in Cross Plains. In my previous post, the best I could do as far as when Comer left was to say it was before Christmas 1923; it was earlier than that. A 1922 Dallas city directory has “Earle L” Comer listed as “draftsman W U Tel Co” and living on McKinney Avenue. There is no listing for him in the 1921 directory, so Earl must have left Cross Plains late in 1921 or early in 1922. One mystery solved.

The 1923 Dallas city directory again has “Earle L drftsman,” but now he’s at “Texas P & L Co” with rooms on Worth Street. He is not listed in the 1924 edition. So, where did he go?

As Howard suggests, in Post Oaks and Sand Roughs, and the letter from “Earl C. Comer” to Weird Tales seems to verify, our man had relocated to Los Angeles, California. The move appears to have occurred in 1924, as Earl L. Comer, “drftsmn” is living on S. Union Avenue in LA in time to be listed in that city’s 1925 directory.

I haven’t found him in 1927, but he’s back in Dallas in 1928 and listed as “drftsmn Texas P & L Co” living on Annex Ave. The same information is repeated in the 1929, 1930, and 1931 directories. In 1933, he’s listed as “sta mgr Humble Oil & Refg Co” now living on Travis Street. This may be a different Earl as the 1937 and 1939 directories have him back at the P&L Co., though now living on Richard Ave. in ’37 and Marquita Street in ’38. No Mrs. Comer is listed.

The 1948 Dallas directory has Earl L. Comer as “drftsmn US Bur of Mines Pet Div” now living on Newton. In 1953, he’s living on Purdue. In 1960, there’s an Earl L. Comer working for the US Geological Survey and living in an apartment on Rawlins Street. And I haven’t found any directories after 1960, but we know that Earl died in Gelveston in 1970.