Book Review of Chris Enss’s title: Wicked Women: Notorious, Mischievous, and Wayward Ladies from the Old West. This nonfiction, informative, entertaining book presents women of the Old West–their impact and influence on mining towns, settling the west, and men from prospectors to politicians.
In Part 2 of this blog series, I share 70 newspaper clippings from Victorian America, wherein reports abound that husbands have sold their wives. Prices range from $0.05 (5 cents) to thousands of dollars (US, Victorian). I provided price comparisons, just for impact. Throughout, I provided my opinions regarding TRUTH or JOKE. Ultimately, there had to be some of both. What a bizarre practice!
One common thread through all Articles in this series (Nineteenth Century Mail-Order Bride SCAMS) is the criminal’s intention to capitalize on their victims’ loneliness and desire for love and companionship.
Some brides-elect and grooms-elect actually had their intellect about them enough to recognize when things weren’t quite right (even if fraud was not involved in one out of three incidences)… and made prudent decisions about their course of action.
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.
A man with two wives (neither knows about the other) seeks yet two more, entirely to swindle them of their means. This 1899 tale is so well worth reading.
Franks, as he presents himself on the West Coast, in the middle of defrauding women through multiple marriage agencies is scammed, himself, by a wealthy widow in demand of a expensive courtship.
Amateur historians will find myriad details worth noting, such as the communication of chiefs of police, use of the term “dead beat,” laws on the books, and so much more.