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One of the most prolific female serial killers in U.S. history.
Nannie Doss was a serial killer who earned the monikers "The Giggling Nanny", "The Giggling Granny" and "The Jolly Black Widow" after going on a killing spree between the 1920s to 1954. Nannie Doss - Her Childhood Years
Nannie Doss was born Nancy Hazle on Nov. 4, 1905, in Blue Mountain, Al., to James and Lou Hazle. Much of Doss' childhood was spent avoiding the wrath of her father who ruled the family with an abusive iron fist. James gave little thought to pulling the children out of school if they were needed on the farm. With education being of little priority in the Hazle family, it is no wonder Nannie left school after only completing the sixth grade.
At the age of seven Nannie was on a train that suddenly stopped causing her to fall forward and hit her head. After that incident she suffered for years with migraine headaches, blackouts and depression.
From early on James Hazle refused to allow his daughters to do anything to enhance their appearance. Pretty dresses and makeup were not allowed along with friendships with boys. It wasn't until Doss got her first job in 1921 that she had any real social interaction.
At the age of 16, instead of attending school and worrying about prom night, Doss was working in a linen factory and spending her spare time with her head buried in her favorite pastime - reading romance magazines, especially the lonely hearts club section.
The One Who Got Away: Charley Braggs
While working at the factory Doss met Charley Braggs who worked and took care of his unmarried mother. The two began dating and within five months they were married and Doss moved in with Braggs and his mother.
If what she hoped by marrying was to escape the oppressive environment she grew up in, than she must have been disappointed because Ms. Braggs turned out to be extremely controlling and manipulative.
The Braggs had their first child in 1923 and three more followed over the next three years. Doss' life had become a prison of raising children, taking care of her demanding mother-in-law and putting up with Charley who was an abusive, adulterous drunk. To cope she began drinking at night and managed to get out to local bars for her own adulterous fun. No doubt, the marriage by now was doomed.
The Death of Two Children and a Mother-In-Law
In 1927, soon after the birth of their fourth child, the Braggs' two middle children died by what doctors labeled as food poisoning. Suspecting that Doss had poisoned the children, Braggs took off with the oldest child, Melvina, but oddly enough left the newborn, Florine, and his mother behind.
Not long after he left his mother died. Doss remained in the Bragg home until a year later when her husband returned with Melvina and his new girlfriend. The two divorced and Doss left with her two daughters and moved back to her parent's home.
Husband #2 - Frank Harrelson
Alone again, Doss returned to her childhood passion of reading romance magazines and the lonely heart's column only this time she began corresponding with some of the men. This is how she met her second husband, Robert Harrelson. Doss, 24, and Harrelson, 23, met and married and the couple, along with Melvina and Florine, lived together in Jacksonville.
Once again Doss would find out that she had not married a man with the character of her romance novel men. Quite the opposite. Harrelson turned out to be a drunk who was in debt and who liked to get into bar fights. But somehow the marriage lasted until Harrelson's death, 16 years later.
Doss Becomes a Grandmother, But Not for Long