Over the years, Joplin saw its share of characters. Alvin Clarence Thomas, the pool shark better known as “Titanic” Slim Thompson; Bonnie and Clyde; and Jim McCormick were just a few of the colorful folks who stopped but never stayed.
You may not recognize the name Jim McCormick unless you are a hardcore boxing fan. McCormick, a native of Galveston, Texas, was at one time a notable boxer. During his career he fought both John L. Sullivan (Sullivan’s last match) and Jack Johnson (twice).
McCormick ran into trouble when he came to Joplin with business on the mind. After meeting with a man named Dunham about opening a boxing school in Joplin, an altercation ensued, and McCormick was picked up for assault and robbery.
His wife, Lucretia Vincent McCormick, hired the Joplin law firm of Clay and Shepherd to defend her husband. The two reportedly met when McCormick worked as Sullivan’s sparring partner and Vincent, a vaudeville singer, was part of Sullivan’s entourage while in Seattle, Washington. They married in March, 1905, and had lived previously in Topeka, Kansas. Interestingly, Lucretia noted that her husband’s real surname was Heiman, but used his mother’s surname of McCormick as his ring name.
Although the details of McCormick’s life are incomplete, it can be assumed that after he and Lucretia hit the road in search of better luck.
Source: Joplin Globe