Sunday, August 28, 2011

M. Carrie Ellis - A Mystery

A reader sent me a reference to a newspaper article on M. Carrie Ellis. Carrie Ellis lived in Delmar in the 1890's and 1900's. Her son-in-law was Dr. James Brayshaw, whose name a house on Jewell Street carries. I had done a post on The Brayshaw House some time ago.

Mary Carrie Chaworth married Jonathan Waller Ellis on January 13, 1874 in Cambridge Maryland. Her mother was Margaret Phillips Chaworth and her father was L. Byron Chatworth. The two of them were married June 2, 1852.

The newspaper article I keyed in to this post and is interesting. I know that altho the house was called The Brayshaw house it was owned by M. Carrie Ellis. Perhaps this inheritance mentioned in the article was the source of the money for the house - one can only guess. Googling Chaworth and you find only confusion with no reference to L. Byron Chaworth than in marriage license and this newspaper article. So it is a bit of a mystery.

So back to Dr James Brayshaw, in 1896 he married Agnes Ellis, a young lady 27 years his junior. She was the daughter of Jonathan Waller Ellis (1840-1915 son of James Ellis and Eleanor Ann Waller) and Mary Carrie Ellis (1854-1930). James and Agnes had one son, James Ellis Brayshaw (1897-1931). The son married Laura Rodney (1897-1930). Altho the house is called the Doctor James Brayshaw house from what I can determine the house was owned by his mother-in-law, M. Carrie Ellis. The house was built between 1903 to 1906 (fits the time of an inheritance). It is unclear when the house was sold. It could have been after Jonathan Ellis died in 1915 or after Carrie Ellis died in 1930. Regardless, in the 1920 census Dr. Brayshaw is practicing medicine in Delaware City and his mother-in-law is living with them. James Brayshaw died in 1927 and Agnes Brayshaw died in 1957. The Brayshaws and Ellis' are buried in Parson Cemetery in Salisbury.

So here is the article;

A Romance of Maryland

Marriage In Dorchester County of L. Byron Chaworth

From The Evening Times May 7, 1901

CAMBRIDGE, MD May 6, - A letter from an attorney in the South to Mayor Robert G. Henry, of Cambridge, inquiring the whereabouts, if living, of a certain lady, has revived an old romance that has been forgotten for 40 years.

Somewhere about 1850 or ’52 a young Englishman came to Cambridge and announced himself as L. Byron Chaworth, of England. He came, he said, to make the Eastern Shore his home and wanted employment. He was a comely young fellow with the thews and sinews of a trained athlete and accomplished in feats of strength and agility then quite uncommon in this region, In addition to this he performed some creditable tricks in legerdemain and ventriloquism, which added to his graceful manner and charm of an educated cultivated mind, soon made him a welcome guest in the best homes in Dorchester county.

He had very little means at his command and engaged in teaching school at Antioch, several miles from Cambridge. His athletic training stood him in good stead in those days when big boys in country schools were very hard customers to handle. Young Chaworth proved to be an all-round good fellow and waxed popular with young men and maidens. He could hold his own with the best educated gentlemen in the country, back a horse as well as the most cunning jockey and play a stiff hand at poker with the best adepts of the game.

It was the possession of such accomplishments as these that caused Farmer Henry Phillips to refuse Chaworth the hand of his pretty daughter Margaret when the Englishman sued for it. But the objection was of no avail, for one dark night pretty Maragret escaped out of a second-story window into the arms of her lover and was married to him by the most convenient minister. The elopement was the talk of the county for a while and many thought that the young lady had “carried her ducks to a bad market.” Pretty soon Chaworth began to show himself in colors other than those exposed to the public eye before his marriage. He treated his wife badly and became very dissipated and reckless in his conduct. A year after the marriage a girl child was born. She was named Karee. The child was yet an infant when Chaworth left his wife and went South. He never came back to Maryland nor communicated with his wife so far as known. He was heard of during the Civil War as a spy in the Confederate service. Chaworth said his full name was Lord Byron Chaworth and created the impression that he was of the same family of Chaworths into which the poet Byron tried to marry. He also claimed to be a scion of a noble house and possible heir to wealth and title. No one believed this to be true after his bad conduct in the county.

Now, however, comes a letter from a Southern Lawyer to Mayor Henry asking after the daughter of L. Byron Chaworth, in which it is stated that such a person was known to have been born in Dorchester county in the fifties. The letter also stated that the inquiry was made through the request of the London solicitor of Count Chaworth. Mayor Henry declines to disclose the name of the lawyer who wrote the letter and the name and residence of the lady. But, he says, the lawyer stated that there is a considerable estate in which the daughter of Lord Byron Chaworth is interested aboard, presumably in England. The lady in question was married many years ago and lives in Delaware. She was located by Mayor Henry after some effort and told of her probable good fortune. The lady requested Mr. Henry to withhold her name from the public until she learned more about the matter, to which he gave assent.

Now, then, comes an interesting point, Why should an English solicitor be writing to a lawyer in the South about a lady who presumably could be found in Cambridge , Md.? It looks as if there are some people in the South who may be interested in any estate that rightfully belongs to the heirs of Byron Chaworth, that worthy gentleman having been long since gathered to his fathers, and his wife, poor woman, having died seven years after giving birth to his child. It may be that Chaworth married in the South and left a family there and that the lawyer mentioned might be their attorney. At any rate, the parties interested are moving warily and some developments are soon expected to throw more light upon the situation.

The resurrection of this old romance brings up memories of another person who figured in Cambridge for many years and who though as well known as any man in the county during his life, passed into the beyond and left behind an impenetrable mystery. This man, George Winthrop, was closely connected with this romance of the Chaworths, inasmuch as he was appointed guardian of Karee Chaworth by the court upon the death of her mother and administered the property her mother left her faithfully and well until she grew to womanhood, married and left the State.

George Winthrop came to Dorchester about 1832 as the tutor of the children of Levin Richardson at Elsing, on the Little Choptank river. He said he was from Massachusetts and of the same family as the historic Governor Winthrop. Later on he abandoned school teaching and created the impression that he had become well off through a family inheritance.; He lived in Cambridge in good style always had money and all thought him comparatively rich, though he never possessed property here. He was highly respected all his long life and died full of years and honors, leaving behind him only about enough money to pay funeral expenses.

Some of his close friends here wrote to the people in Massachusetts that George Winthrop claimed as his relatives and whom he ostensibly visited in his annual trips North and were amazed to learn from their replies that none of them had ever heard of him. From that day to this no one has been able to find the slightest clue to either the supposed fortune or the birthplace or a single Northern friend of George Winthrop.








2 comments:

Carol said...

I enjoy a good mystery would hope for an enlightening end.

Howard said...

Yes it would make a great novel; married by eloping, leaves wife and daughter, southern spy in civil war, may have remarried, and could be nobility. I see Fabio bare chested and a half naked heaving Bosoms in lace woman in moonlight on the cover with the Cambridge Maryland Courthouse in the background.