San Francisco History

Chambliss' Diary

Chapter II.

FROM the San Francisco Examiner I copy the following article:

"So frequent has the exchange of American dollars for European titles become that the public hardly realizes what it means. The papers chronicle the engagement between the daughter of an American multi-millionaire and the scion of some impoverished, but long-pedigreed, noble house across the water. Pictures of both the young people appear in the larger papers throughout the country, in which pictures the beauty of the girl is generally in vivid contrast with the insignificant appearance of the man.

"Then follow columns upon columns concerning the trousseau and wedding preparations; finally a brilliant account of the marriage, and generally a year later divorce proceedings or something of that sort.

"The American public has almost ceased even to make fun of this remarkable barter of American girls. The average citizen is only mildly interested, and if he thinks about it at all dismisses it from his mind with the comforting belief that for every millionaire's daughter who carries her father's hard-earned dollars across the ocean to be expended in paying gambling debts or refurnishing wornout estates, there are a half hundred left. People consider the supply inexhaustible, but a careful investigation of the facts shows a state of affairs that is perfectly astounding.

"A complete list of all the marriages of American women to titled men, for the past thirty-five years, shows that at least TWO HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS have gone away from this country in that period.

"What is even more alarming is the fact that eighty per cent. of this huge sum represents the marriages of the past six years only. This shows how the foolish fashion is growing. California has had more than her share of the burden to bear. Seven California girls have taken away from this State alone nearly twenty millions of dollars, or ten per cent. of the entire amount, in exchange for seven titles, most of which are both shabby and shop-worn.

"Prince Colonna has probably cost, up to date, in the neighborhood of five million dollars; Prince Hatzfeldt, an equal, if not a larger, sum. Prince Poniatowski came cheaper; a quarter of a million was about his price. Viscount Deerhurst and Lord Hesketh cost in the neighborhood of two and five million dollars respectively. The dot of Lord Wolseley's California bride was probably something under a million, but with moderate luck Sir Bache-Cunard will get some two millions of old man Carpentier's accumulation of dollars, as his bride, Miss Burke, is the Oakland capitalist's favorite niece, and should come in for a large slice off his estate.

"The appended list of American girls who have married titles has been carefully verified.* It speaks for itself, and shows an expenditure of about two hundred millions for some seventy titles, most of which are out of date.

[*Note : By the Examiner.]

"Anglesley.--The Marchioness of Anglesley was Miss Mary Livingston King, daughter of J. P. King of Sandhills, Ga. She was the widow of the Hon. Henry Wadehouse of England, and was married in 1880 to Henry Paget, fourth Marquis of Anglesley. The Marchioness of Anglesley took $250,000 to England.

"Agreda.--The Countess Casa de Agreda was the widow of George Lorillard, and took $1,000,000 abroad.

"Amadei.--The Countess Amadei was Miss Mary Lewis, daughter of T. Lewis of Connecticut. She carried $100,000 abroad with her.

"Aylmer.--Lady Aylmer was Miss Ann Reid, the daughter of T. Douglass Reid of New York, and the divorced wife of George Steele of Chicago. In 1883 she was married to Sir Anthony Percy Fitzgerald Aylmer of Dono deo Castle, Kildare, from whom she was divorced in 1886. Lady Aylmer took to England a quarter of a million.

"Bache-Cunard.--Lady Bache-Cunard was Miss Maud Burke of Oakland, Cal.,* a niece of Horace Carpentier. She was married in 1895, and her dot may reach $2,000,000 upon her uncle's death. Her marriage settlement was probably a large one.

[*Note : She was engaged to penniless Prince Poniatowski in 1894, but that mercenary wretch jilted her because her uncle refused to "put up" ready cash.]

"Brancaccio.--Princess Salvatore Brancaccio, wife of an Italian prince of the House of Savoy, was Miss Elizabeth Field of New York. She married twenty-five years ago and carried a fortune of $1,000,000 to her Italian home.

"Blackwood.--Lady Terence Blackwood was Miss Flora Davis, daughter of John H. Davis of New York. She was married in 1893 to Lord Terence John Temple Blackwood, second son of the Earl of Dufferin and Ava, the British Ambassador to Paris. Fortune of $200,000.

"Butler.--Lady Arthur Butler was Miss Ellen Stager of Chicago, daughter of the late General Anson Stager, United States Army. She was married in 1887 to Lord James Arthur Wellington Faley Butler, second son of the second Marquis of Ormonde. Lady Butler carried $1,000,000 to England.

"Castellane.--Countess de Castellane was Miss Anna Gould, daughter of Jay Gould. In March, 18958 she was married to Count Jean Paul Boniface de Castellane. Countess de Castellane carried the greatest fortune which has ever gone abroad with a bride. Her inheritance, most of which will be spent in France, amounted to $15,000,000.

"Churchill.--Lady Randolph Churchill was Miss Jennie Jerome, daughter of Leonard Jerome of New York. She was married in 1874 to the Rt. Hon. Lord Randolph Spencer Churchill, third son of the seventh Duke of Marlborough. Lady Randolph Churchill too $200,000 to England with her.

"Colonna.--The Princess of Galatio, Colonna, and of Stigliano was Miss Eva Julia Bryant Mackay, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Mackay of New York and London.* In 1889 she married Prince Ferdinand Colonna. The princess took abroad with her the income of $5,000,000.

[*Note : It is said that the Princess Colonna is not Mr. Mackay's daughter at all; that she was Mrs. Mackay's child by "a former husband."]

"Craven.--The Countess of Craven was Miss Cornelia Martin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bradley-Martin of New York. She was married in 1894 to the Earl of Craven. The Countess of Craven carried $1,000,000 to England.

"Cumming.--Lady Gordon Cumming was Miss Florence Garner, daughter of William T. Garner. Lady Gordon Cumming took $1,000,000 to England.

"Frankenstein.--Countess de Frankenstein was Miss Brewster, daughter of William Cullen Brewster of New York. She was married in 1894 to Count Henri de Frankenstein, now of Rome, but a Russian by birth. Her fortune amounted to $400,000.

"Graham.--Lady Graham of Esk was Miss Eliza Jane Burn, the daughter of Charles Burn of New York. Her fortune was small. In 1874 she married Sir Robert James Stuart Graham of Esk, Cumberland.

"Grantley.--Lady Grantley was Miss Katherine McVicker, daughter of William Henry McVicker of New York, and divorced wife of Major Charles Grantley-Norton of the Twenty-third Fusiliers, who is the uncle of her present husband, John Richard Brunsley-Norton, Lord Grantley, whom she married in 1879.

"Grey-Edgerton.--Lady Grey-Edgerton was Miss May Cuyler of Morristown, N. J. She was married to Sir Philip Grey-Edgerton in 1892.

"Hatzfeldt.--Princess Hatzfeldt was Miss Huntington, daughter of Collis P. Huntington.* She carried $5,000,000 abroad. It has almost all been spent.

[*Note : The Princess Hatzfeldt was never known as Mr. Huntington's daughter. She was supposed to have been the daughter of a man named Prentiss. She was probably "adopted" by Huntington's "second wife," prior to the death of Mrs. Huntington number one.]

"Choiseul.--The Marquise de Choiseul was Miss Claire Coudert, daughter of Charles Coudert of New York. She was married in 1892 to the Marquis de Choiseul of Paris. The Marquise de Choiseul took to France $100,000.

"De ca Cez.--The Duchess De ca Cez was Miss Isabella Singer, daughter of Isaac M. Singer. She carried abroad with her $2,000,000.

"De Dino.--The Duchess de Dino was Miss Adele Sampson, daughter of the late Joseph Sampson of New York, and the divorced wife of Frederick Livingston Stewart. She married, as the second wife, in 1887, Maurice, Marquis de Talleyrand-Perigord, Duke de Dino. The Duchess de Dino took abroad $3,000,000. The first wife of the Duke de Dino, whose title is Marquise de Talleyrand-Perigord, was Miss Curtis of Boston. She spends most of her time in America.

"I never read either the dailies or the weeklies, I do not know Mr. Chambliss, and take no interest in the matter they publish; therefore society should treat all such with silence and contempt."--Mrs. Crocker's Interview, Examiner, March 16th, 1895.

"Devonne.--Countess Devonne was Miss Florence Audenriel of Washington. She was married in 1891 to Count de la Forrest Devonne. The countess carried $200,000 abroad.

"Essex.--The Countess of Essex was Miss Adele Grant of New York. When she married the Earl of Essex, several years ago, she brought with her a fortune of $1,000,000.

"Halkett.--Baroness Halkett was Miss Sarah Phelps Stokes, daughter of Anson Phelps Stokes of New York. She was married in 1891 to Baron Hugh Halkett. Baroness Halkett carried $1,000,000 abroad.

"Harcourt.--Lady Vernon Harcourt was Miss Elizabeth Motley, daughter of the Hon. J. L. Motley, the historian, and the widow of J. P. Ives. In 1876 she married the Rt. Hon. Sir William George Granville Venables Vernon Harcourt., M.P. Lady Harcourt took to England $200,000.

"Hesketh.--Lady Fermor-Hesketh was Miss Florence Emily Sharon, daughter of the late Senator William Sharon of Nevada.* She married, in 1880, Sir Thomas George Fermor Fermor-Hesketh, and took to England $2,000,000.

[*Note : Senator Sharon's contract wife (Sarah Althea Terry) is now in an insane asylum in California. Old "mammy" Pleasant still lives, also.]

"Hornby.--Lady Edmund Hornby was Miss Emily Augusta Roberts, daughter of John Pratt Roberts of New York. She carried away $100,000.

"Kaye.--Lady Lister-Kaye was Miss Natica Yznaga del Valle, daughter of Senor Antonio Yznaga del Valle of Cuba and Louisiana. She married Sir John Pepy Lister-Kaye in 1881. Her fortune was $50,000.

"Kortright--Lady Charles Keith Kortright, Miss Martha Ella Richardson, daughter of the late John Richardson of Philadelphia.

"Lante-Monfeltrio.--The Duchess of Lante-Monfeltrio della Royere was Miss Mathilde Davis, daughter of Thomas Davis of New York. She took abroad with her $3,000,000.

"Langier-Villars.--The Countess Langier-Villars was Miss Carola Livingston of New York. She was married to the count in 1893, and took abroad with her $500,000.

"Linden.--Countess Eberhard von Linden was Miss Isabella Andrews, daughter of Loring Andrews. She carried $1,000,000 abroad.

"Manchester.--Duchess of Manchester was Miss Consuelo Yznaga del Valle. She married George Victor Drogo Montague, Viscount Mandeville, 1876. Her husband succeeded to the title of Duke of Manchester just before his death, two years ago. Her fortune was small.

"Marlborough.--The Duchess of Marlborough and Princess Mendelheim was Miss Lillian Price, daughter of Joshua Price of Troy, and widow of Louis Hammersley of New York. She was married in 1888 to George Charles Spencer Churchill, eighth Duke of Marlborough. The duchess took the income of $7,000,000 to England.

"Mores.--The Marchioness de Mores was Miss Medora Marie Hoffman, daughter of J. Hoffman, the New York banker. In 1882 she married Antoine de Manca-Smat de Vallambrosa de Mores and Monte-Maggiore. She took abroad $5,000,000.

"Northcote.--The Hon. Mrs. Northcote was Miss Edith Livingston Fish, daughter of Hamilton Fish of New York. She married Sir Arthur Paget. Lady Paget took $500,000 to England.

"Pappenheim.--Countess Pappenheim was Miss Wheeler of Philadelphia. She carried $1,000,000 to Europe upon her marriage with Count Pappenheim.

"Playfair.--Lady Playfair, wife of Sir Lyon Playfair, was Miss Edith Russell, daughter of S. H. Russell of Boston.

"Plunkett.--Lady Plunkett, wife of Sir Francis Richard Plunkett, was Miss May Tevis Morgan, daughter of Charles W. Morgan of Philadelphia. She took $1,500,000 away.

"Poniatowski.--Princess Poniatowski, wife of Prince Andre Poniatowski, was Miss Beth Sperry of California.* Her wealth was $250,000.

[*Note : It is alleged that she is of American Indian extraction.]

"Rochefoucauld.--The Duchess de la Rochefoucauld was Miss Mattie Mitchell, daughter of Senator Mitchell of Oregon. She was married to the duke in 1891 and took with her $300,000.

"Rottenburg.--Countess von Rottenburg was Miss Marian Phelps of New York. Her fortune was small.

"Selliere.--Baroness de Selliere was Miss o'Brien, daughter of the New York banker and widow of Charles A. Livermore. She was married in 1892 to Baron Raymond de Selliere, and carried $2,000,000 to France.

"Sierstoepff.--Countess Sierstoepff was Miss May Knowlton, daughter of Edwin F. Knowlton of Brooklyn. She was married in 1873 to Count Johannes von Francken Sierstoepff. The countess carried abroad $1,000,000.

"Scey-Montbeliard.--Princess Scey-Montbeliard was Miss Winneretta Singer, daughter of the late Isaac M. Singer. She carried $2,000,000 abroad.

"Vernon.--Lady Vernon, wife of Lord George William Venable Vernon, was Miss Margaret F. Lawrence, daughter of Francis Lawrence of New York. Lady Vernon took $1,000,000 to England.

"Wolseley.--Lady Wolseley, wife of Sir Charles Michael Wolseley of Wolseley, Staffordshire, England, was Miss Anita Theresa Murphy,* daughter of the late Daniel Murphy of San Francisco. Lady Wolseley took $2,000,000 to England.

[*Note : She wrote some sweet letters in connection with the scandalous Murphy will contest.]

"Vriere.--Baroness de Vriere was Miss Annie Cutting, daughter of the late Heyward Cutting of New York. The baroness took abroad $1,000,000."

What right have those un-Americanized parvenucratic heiresses, some of whom are said to be uncertain as to their genealogy, to parade through this country with those unnatural alien "husbands," purchased with the ill-gotten gains of their supposed fathers or relatives? What right have they to come back and beg our judges, whom they formerly treated with contempt, to divorce them from the reprobates for whom they deserted their country and forfeited their birthrights? Why, the Society for the Prevention of Vice should take up all such cases. I don't mean the "vice preventers" who raided the dance halls of the M. H. de Young Midwinter Fair, and made such a sanctimonious parade of the girls whom they arrested there for indecent behavior, and then never said a blessed word about the owner of the hall and leader of that branch of the cotillion industry known as the "muscle dance," that pious old saint and "salter" of mines--to the ecstasy of trusting English capitalists--Alexander Badlam.

The man who marries a woman for her money, no matter who he is,--prince, duke, count, or any other individual,--becomes the property of the woman, the same as does the Chinese dancing-girl become the property of the Dupont Street or Tenderloin District opium fiend who buys her outright from the dealer in female flesh. The Chinaman who goes to the market to purchase a wife always gets more for his money than does the American heiress who goes shopping for a titled husband; for no man, even if he is a Chinaman, is foolish enough to pay out good money for a physical wreck, such as some that the women of the Parvenucracy have paid fabulous prices for.

"It's a cold day when I get left."-- A. Badlam, owner of the muscle dance hall of the Midwinter Fair.

If those feeble-minded daughters of railroad magnates and others of the new rich Parvenucracy have a right to bring their purchased husbands over here, then the Chinese merchant who owns property enough to entitle him to a residence certificate has a right to bring his wife over, provided he can prove that he has paid for her.

Those purchased wives and husbands are personal property, and if they are to be brought to this country at all, their owners should be compelled to enter them on their baggage lists as household goods. For instance, when Miss "Beth" brings the penniless Poniatowski over, her list of articles, necessary for her comfort and pleasure on the voyage, should read about as follows:

One steamer trunk.

One valise.

One bundle, done up in a shawl strap, containing fur robes, rain coat, pillow, etc., etc.

One canary bird, in cage.

One pug lap dog.

One prince (in glass case).

One dozen bottles of perfumery and deodorizers.

In the name of common sense, will our novel-reading girls never learn that a foreign title amounts to nothing more than the paper that it is written on? It makes me sick to hear ladies mention some of those good-for-nothing titled sports. It is enough to nauseate a pig to hear such specimens of broken-down humanity referred to as noblemen.

If the penniless Poniatowski could only induce his new owner to dress up in good, old-time American style,--the style of her ancestors, so to speak,--I think she would make a great hit on the Boulevard, and on Fifth Avenue, or even on our own Market Street promenade, where wildness and wool and papoose baskets are fresh in the memory of men still living in San Francisco.

Of course, that is all bosh about the Sperrys being ashamed to admit that there is Indian blood in the family. It is simply absurd to accuse a man of Mr. Crocker's caliber of trying to deny that his wife is of Indian extraction, just because he does not think that it sounds nice in "society," or perhaps, because he was fortunate enough to inherit a big slice of Southern Pacific Railroad stock, and feels that he needs a prince brother-in-law in the family to give a proper European flavor to its uncertain standing in foreign "society," in case he should be forced to give up his inherited fortune to help pay the Government what the man who left him the money owed in connection with Mr. Huntington and other octopuses.

The style of her ancestors, so to speak.

And then again, I am much inclined to the belief that the story to the effect that Mrs. Carolan thinks that Mrs. Crocker's manners entitle her to the leadership of that society which we hear of away up in the Black Hills, where the ladies wear feathers in their heads and pack their papooses about in little baskets, artistically strapped on their backs, has been very much exaggerated. Even admit the fact that Mrs. Crocker did refuse to receive Mrs. Carolan one day when the latter called on her to say "Good-by," before going East, that, after all, is only circumstantial evidence that Mrs. Carolan has said unkind and cutting things about the "queen" of Nob Hill, or "Snob" Hill, as I believe some thoughtless persons call that part of our city.

I think that the stately daughter of George M. Pullman, the ex-cabinet-maker-car-builder, who reduced the wages of his employees 33 1/3 per cent. in order to be able to purchase a one hundred thousand dollar bond issued by the disciples of Henry VIII., and payable on presentation to St. Peter at the Universal Bank of Heaven, is too much of a lady to dig up the history of Mrs. Crocker's ancestors. Besides this, she has too much pride and self-esteem, to say nothing of hauteur, to bother her head about such a trifling matter as getting snubbed by a lady whose ideas of politeness would admit of such a bad break as refusing to receive, when she was "not at home to callers." Even the daughter of the man who precipitated a strike that paralyzed commerce, and made it necessary for the President to declare martial law in Chicago, deserves some consideration.*

[*Note : Mr. Pullman took $100,000 from the wages of his employés to pay for a church to be dedicated to himself. Rather than acknowledge his hypocrisy, and refund the money, he fled, and allowed Anarchist Debs and his lawless strikers to destroy millions of dollars of other people's property.]

The State of California is indebted indirectly to Mrs. Carolan's father for causing General W. H. Dimond to establish, beyond any question or doubt, the fact that he (Dimond) was eminently qualified to command the National Guard of California--whenever there was no fighting to be done.

General Dimond was about as far out of place in command of the militia at Sacramento during the great strike as is John H. Wise in the office of Collector of the Port at the present time.

The Chinese Exclusion Act has been a law for several years, and it would be a good thing if properly enforced--by honest officers.

The Modern Bombastes Furioso, N. G. of Cal., who allowed the State Troops to drink beer with the enemies of law and order at Sacramento. July, 1893.

Under this act no Chinese can come into the country without a certificate showing him to be a resident and a property-owner returning from a visit to China--except those who can raise ready cash enough to pay their way in through courts of justice--beg pardon--corruption. I happen to know positively that the repeated assertions of our daily papers, the Examiner, Call, Report, and Bulletin, that a great many Chinese come into San Francisco on bogus certificates, are only too true. I occupied a position in the Pacific Mail Steamship Company that enables me to verify not only the statements that Chinese by the hundreds have been admitted on payment of certain fees to our corrupt officials, but also, that tons upon tons of contraband goods, such as opium and silk, have been smuggled in by certain dishonest officials of the United States Customs service and their colleagues in knavery.

I don't mean the hard-working inspectors who get three dollars per day for searching the baggage of passengers, and watching, day and night, the officers of ocean steamers in port, and occasionally, for the sake of appearances, arresting some poor quartermaster or engineer for trying to bring a silk handkerchief ashore for some lady friend: I mean such persons as ex-Deputy Collector of Port John T. Fogarty, and his partner Whaley, and such well known local "business men" as arch-smuggler Bernard Reiss, of Newberger, Reiss & Co.

I was connected with the Pacific Mail service, and Spreckel's line, from 1887 to 1891, and made a great many voyages to Japan and China, Panama, Mexico, Central America, Australia, Honolulu, and other foreign places.

Apropos of bogus Chinese "certificates of previous residence," I have seen with my own eyes numbers of them. Chinese passengers en route to San Francisco have come to me during voyages and asked me to give them a description of the signers of their return certificates which they had purchased in China. Many of those papers were signed by Mr. Fred Davis, "the Chinatown detective" of the Palace Hotel, and formerly bodyguard to the late Senator Sharon, of divorce court "fame."

If the following certificates are not sufficient proof that I know what I am talking about, I will, after reproducing these papers, give a few extracts from my private diary, which I have kept for the past twelve years, during which time I booked thousands of full names in connection with many cold, stubborn facts, which I shall not hesitate to lay before an honest law-abiding public. These certificates will show that the positions that I held undoubtedly brought me into contact with various classes of society during the performance of my regular duties. Therefore I present them just as they are:



SAN FRANCISCO, March 16, 1892.

To whom this may concern:

This is to certify that Mr. W. H. Chambliss entered this company's service as quartermaster of the Steamship City of New York, November 9, 1887, and that on November 15, 1889, he was appointed third officer of the Steamship City of New York, and served in that capacity until October 29, 1890, when he was transferred to the Steamship City of Peking, and served as third officer of that vessel until October 21, 1891, when he went East on a leave of absence, since which date he has not returned to duty on account of his health.*

[*Note : There was nothing wrong with my bodily health; but I did not care to endanger the health of my reputation by remaining in the Pacific Mail Company after it fell into the hands of C. P. Huntington.]

Mr. Chambliss, during his term of service in the Company, has always performed his duties with entire satisfaction to the Company in every way.   (Signed)   ALEXANDER CENTER.



SAN FRANCISCO, June 7, 1894.

To whom it may concern:

This is to certify that Mr. W. H. Chambliss has served as an officer of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, as follows:

He entered the service as quartermaster of the Steamship City of New York (3,019.56 tons), November 9, 1887, and was promoted to the position of third officer of the same vessel November 15, 1889, and served in that capacity until October 29, 1890, when he was transferred to the Steamship City of Peking (the largest ship in the fleet, 5,019.62 tons), and served as third officer of that vessel until he went East on a leave of absence, since which time he has not returned to duty on account of his preferring to remain East, rather than continue in the service on the Pacific.

Mr. Chambliss, during his term of service as an officer of this Company, has given entire satisfaction.

ROBT. R. SEARLE, Senior Captain P.M.S.S. Co.*

[*Note : Captains Searle, Cavarly, Seabury, Clark, Ward, Mortensen, Smith, Friele, Dow, Taylor, Johnston, Russell, Pitts, Passmore, and others whom I have met, were in the Pacific Mail Service many years before Huntington ever had anything to do with the institution. When Mr. Huntington took charge, as president, he showed his appreciation of the long and faithful services of the old officers by reducing their salaries from $3000 a year to $2400. And then, as if to add parvenu insult to robber baron injury, Mr. Huntington placed "Lieutenant" Schwerin in the position of "manager," over the heads of Messrs. Center, Rice, Wiggins, Green, Avery, Armstrong, and other practical men who had forgotten more about managing the company than little "Lieutenant" (?) Schwerin ever knew.]

Commanding S.S. City of Peking.

Source: Chambliss, William H. Chambliss' Diary; Or, Society As It Really Is. 1895: New York.  Library of Congress, "California as I Saw It:" First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900.


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