Friday, August 22, 2008

Shipherd's Love Letters.

New York, 1895

The love letters that Shipherd wrote to Mrs. Crowell are a strong link in the scoundrelism of the whole case. Shipherd had had at least two wives before he became infatuated with Mrs. Crowell, or rather before he hypnotized her. One of these he divorced in Utah by a power of attorney, and then married the other, and it has always been a mooted question among lawyers whether he had not committed bigamy. The last woman that he is known to have married lives on Staten Island and, so far as any one knows, is still his wife, in law. If Shipherd has married any other women the fact has not appeared, but the language in some of his letters creates the impression that if he has not had other wives he has been a villainous woman hunter. Mrs. Crowell regards him as her "husband" and he recognizes the validity of it in his reply to her letters, but that may be based on their free love ideas rather than on the substance of a ceremonial marriage. She said to him as they parted in Philadelphia and he promised her a letter: "A piece of paper instead of my husband! No. I want my husband!" Then he writes to her from Atlanta: "A great many times those words have come back to me, and I have found my respect for them steadily increasing." * * "And then like a flash from heaven came back your words to me, 'A piece of paper instead of my husband! No. I want my husband!' And all my soul cried out, 'Those words are true."' * * "The words above all others in this No. 6 that my soul responds to this morning are these: 'When I am with my husband I feel as if I would like to shut out the world and be alone with my dearest, dearest.'"

Shipherd's ideas of a husband's responsibilities were well illustrated by his defence to an action brought against him for the recovery of property by the children of his last (legal) wife. He offset the children's claim to the property by charging them with the support of their mother, his wife, for a number of years, and for her hotel expenses at Washington during the time of his trouble with Secretary Blaine. Shipherd was beaten in this action. He could not have the services and comfort of a wife at some one else's expense, with the sanction of the court.

—The Long Island Farmer, Jamaica, NY, June 21, 1895, p. 4.

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