A parade through historical newspapers taking a look at the wild and colorful history of one Charles H. Rowan, proprietor of a matrimonial agency in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the late 1890’s. He was accused, arrested, tried, found not-guilty, allegedly bribed government officials, retried–and the story doesn’t end there.
A murderer finds his victims through a matrimonial bureau; and two wealthy (and married) women entrap unsuspecting swains into expensive courtships, engagements, marriage– or close enough– broken hearts and shattered illusions.
Part 5: Chicago’s 100 Matrimonial Agencies–all shut down by one Police Detective, Clifton Wooldridge.
ONE HUNDRED FALSE Matrimonial Agencies in Chicago at the Turn of the Century?
Note the two new crime method additions (as addressed in my series of Nineteenth Century Mail-Order Bride SCAMS, Parts 1-5 so far): stock matrimonial letters and stock matrimonial photographs– more than one million, each.
I believe FACT is stranger than FICTION.
And often the BEST fiction is solidly founded in FACT. Hence my keen interest in the truth of Matrimonial Agencies, Matrimonial Personal Advertisements, and real-life stories of couples connected through the mail in the nineteenth Century.
Often, FACT is stranger than FICTION.
Interestingly enough, readers of Mail-Order Bride-themed Historical Romance aren’t likely to find much in the way of FACTS in the fiction we so love to read. But that doesn’t mean the true history behind the popular niche isn’t fascinating to those of us who read and write it. Risks were very well known. Newspaper reporters often were behind advertisements. Boredom lead truly unmarriageable people to engage in entertainment through the mail system and matrimony agencies. Practical jokes accounted for many…considered a gentleman’s sport in the era.