Fascinating True Stories From the Flip Side of History

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1931: Mistaken Identity Finally Ends

The Knoxville News-Sentinel ran a story on August 21, 1931, about Lucille Ragain (pronounced Reagan) who was thrilled that Lucile Reagan had gotten married.  Most women are thrilled when they get married, but that was not what was happening here. They were two different Lucilles.

Lucille Ragain yearbook photo.
Lucille Ragain yearbook photo.

While their names were spelled with slight differences – unmarried Lucille Ragain vs now married Lucile Reagan – they both pronounced their names identically.  Not only that, but they had both brown eyes, reddish-brown hair, and were small in stature.  To make matters worse for the two young women, they both lived on Fourth Avenue in Knoxville and attended Knoxville High School at the same time.

Needless to say, it confused everyone.

Lucile Reagan yearbook photo.
Lucile Reagan yearbook photo.

“We have been frequently amused, and often embarrassed,” the unmarried Lucille told the reporter.

The married Lucile – now to be referred to as Mrs. Hugo Babcock – added, “Yes. I remember even when we were in high school together our boy friends would often call up the wrong Lucile.”

To which the unmarried Lucille commented, “And we have been getting each other’s mail for years.”  

Mrs. Babcock added, “I guess she is glad that I’m married, for perhaps this mistaken identity business will end.”

The unmarried Lucille just laughed and stated, “Well, maybe I’m just envious.”

Interestingly, this constant confusion could have easily been avoided.  That’s because the first name of both women was not Lucille.  Their complete names were Elizabeth Lucille Ragain, who had graduated from Knoxville High School in 1925, and Frances Lucile Reagan, who graduated in 1927.  Just one more coincidence in that they both preferred to go by their middle names.

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