to Murder the Deputy. I Save Morey's Life. Howling in the Black Hole.
Taking Off Hall's Irons. A Ghastly Spectacle. A Prison Funeral. I am Let
Alone. The Full Term of my Imprisonment.
CHAPTER XI. ON THE TRAMP. The Day of my Deliverance. Out of Clothes.
Sharing with a Beggar. A Good Friend. Tramping Through the Snow. Weary
Walks. Trusting to Luck. Comfort at Concord. At Meredith Bridge. The
Blaisdells. Last of the "Blossom" Business. Making Money at Portsmouth.
Revisiting Windsor. An Astonished Warden. Making Friends of Enemies.
Inspecting the Prison. Going to Port Jervis.
CHAPTER XII. ATTEMPT TO KIDNAP SARAH SCHEIMER'S BOY. Starting to See
Sarah. The Long Separation. What I Learned About Her. Her Drunken
Husband. Change of Plan. A Suddenly-Formed Scheme. I Find Sarah's Son.
The First Interview. Resolve to Kidnap the Boy. Remonstrance of my Son
Henry. The Attempt. A Desperate Struggle. The Rescue. Arrest of Henry.
My Flight into Pennsylvania. Sending Assistance to my Son. Return to
Port Jervis. Bailing Henry. His Return to Belvidere. He is Bound Over to
be Tried for Kidnapping. My folly.
CHAPTER XIII. ANOTHER WIDOW. Waiting for the Verdict. My Son Sent to
State Prison. What Sarah Would Have Done. Interview with my First Wife.
Help for Henry. The Biddeford Widow. Her Effort to Marry Me. Our Visit
to Boston. A Warning. A Generous Gift. Henry Pardoned. Close of the
Scheimer Account. Visit to Ontario County. My Rich Cousins. What Might
Have Been. My Birthplace Revisited.
CHAPTER XIV. MY SON TRIES TO MURDER ME. Settling Down in Maine. Henry's
Health. Tour Through the South. Secession Times. December in New
Orleans. Up the Mississippi. Leaving Henry in Massachusetts. Back in
Maine Again. Return to Boston, Profitable Horse-Trading. Plenty of
Money. My First Wife's Children. How they Have Been Brought Up. A
Barefaced Robbery. Attempt to Blackmail Me. My Son Tries to Rob and Kill
Me. My Rescue Last of the Young Man.
CHAPTER XV. A TRUE WIFE AND HOME AT LAST. Where Were All my Wives? Sense
of Security. An Imprudent Acquaintance. Moving from Maine. My Property
in Rensselaer County. How I Lived. Selling a Recipe. About Buying a
Carpet. Nineteen Lawsuits. Sudden Departure for the West. A Vagabond
Life for Two Years. Life in California. Return to the East. Divorce from
any First Wife. A Genuine Marriage. My Farm. Home at Last.
SEVEN WIVES AND SEVEN PRISONS
CHAPTER I. THE FIRST AND WORST WIFE
MY EARLY HISTORY—THE FIRST MARRIAGE—LEAVING HOME TO PROSPECT—SENDING FOR MY WIFE—HER MYSTERIOUS JOURNEY—WHERE I FOUND HER—TEN DOLLARS FOR NOTHING—A FASCINATING HOTEL CLERK—MY WIFE'S CONFESSION—FROM BAD TO WORSE—FINAL SEPARATION—TRIAL FOR FORGERY—A PRIVATE MARRIAGE—SUMMARY SEPARATION.
SOME one has said that if any man would faithfully write his autobiography, giving truly his own history and experiences, the ills and joys, the haps and mishaps that had fallen to his lot, he could not fail to make an interesting story; and Disraeli makes Sidonia say that there is romance in every life. How much romance, as well as sad reality, there is in the life of a man who, among other experiences, has married seven wives, and has been seven times in prison—solely on account of the seven wives, may be learned from the pages that follow.
I was born in the town of Chatham, Columbia County, New York, in September, 1813. My father was a New Englander, who married three times, and I was the eldest son of his third wife, a woman of Dutch descent, or, as she would have boosted if she had been rich, one of the old Knickerbockers of New York. My parents were simply honest, hard—working, worthy people, who earned a good livelihood, brought up their children to work, behaved themselves, and were respected by their neighbors. They had a homestead and a small farm of thirty acres, and on the place was a blacksmith shop in which my father worked daily, shoeing horses and cattle for farmers and others who came to the shop from miles around.
There were three young boys of us at home, and we had a chance to go to school in the winter, while during the summer we worked on the little farm and did the "chores" about the house and barn. But by the time I was twelve years old I began to blow and strike in the blacksmith shop, and when I was sixteen years old I could shoe horses well, and considered myself master of the trade. At the age of eighteen, I went into business with my father, and as I was now entitled to a share of the profits, I married the daughter of a well-to-do neighboring farmer, and we began our new life in part of my father's house, setting up for ourselves, and doing our own house-keeping.
I ought to have known then that marrying thus early in life, and especially marrying the woman I did, was about the most foolish thing I could do. I found it out afterwards, and was frequently and painfully reminded of it through many long years. But all seemed bright enough at the start. My wife was a good-looking woman of just my own age; her family was most respectable; two of her brothers subsequently became ministers of the gospel; and all the children had been carefully brought up. I was thought to have made a good match; but a few years developed that had wedded a most unworthy woman.
Seventeen months after our marriage, our oldest child, Henry, was born. Meanwhile we had gone to Sidney, Delaware County, where my father opened a shop. I still continued in business with him, and during our stay at Sidney, my daughter, Elizabeth, was born. From Sidney, my father wanted to go to Bainbridge, Chenango, County, N.Y., and I went with him, leaving my wife and the children at Sidney, while we prospected. As usual my father started a blacksmith-shop; but I bought a hundred acres of timber land, went to lumbering, and made money. We had a house about four miles from the village, I living with my father, and as soon as found out that we were doing well in business, I sent to Sidney for my wife and children. They were to come by stage, and were due, after passing through Bainbridge, at our house at four o'clock in the morning. We were up early to meet the stage; but when it arrived, the driver told us that my wife had stopped at the public house in Bainbridge.
Wondering what this could mean, I at once set out with my brother and walked over to the village. It was daylight when we arrived, and knocked loudly at the public house door. After considerable delay, the clerk came to the door and let us in. He also asked as to "take something," which we did. The clerk knew us well, and I inquired if my wife was in the house; he said she was, told us what room she was in, and we went up stairs and found her in bed with her children. Waking her, I asked her why she did not come home, in the stage? She replied that the clerk down stairs told her that the stage did not go beyond the house, and that she expected to walk over, as soon as it was daylight, or that possibly we might come for her.
I declare, I was so young and unsophisticated that I suspected nothing, and blamed only the stupidity, as I supposed, of the clerk in telling her that the stage did not go beyond Bainbridge. My wife got up and dressed herself and the children, and then as it was broad daylight, after endeavoring, ineffectually, to get a conveyance, we started for home on foot, she leading the little boy, and I carrying the youngest child. We were not far on our way when she suddenly stopped, stooped down, and exclaimed:
"O! see what I have found in the road."
And she showed me a ten dollar bill. I was quite surprised, and verdantly enough, advised looking around for