Tuesday, February 27, 2018

James H. Wallick, the Bandit and Cattle King – An Owner of Hollyrood Farm (Part 1)

See note #1
James Henry Wallick (a.k.a. Henry “Hank” Wheeler, Patrick J. Fubbins, and James Fubbins Wallack) & his wife Mary (McInnis) Wallick  

(Owners of Hollyrood Farm for 7+ Years, 1888-1895, 1897, 1903)

On May 15, 1888 Henry Low sold a farm near Circleville, New York to Mary McInnis (or McGinnis) Wallick, wife of James H. Wallick, for $32,000, making a nice profit of $6000 on the 264 acres. [2] It was under the ownership of the Wallicks that the farm was first called by the name Hollyrood. James was an actor and traveling showman. Between January and mid-May of 1888, when he and Mary purchased the farm, Wallick’s company of actors had performed his popular equestrian plays The Bandit King and The Cattle King in a host of cities, including Boston, New York City, Montreal, Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Cincinnati. After the purchase, he would take the troupe from Chicago to San Francisco and then back to New York and Boston. [3] The last few years had been good ones for the Wallicks––they were finally making a profit and out of debt. In 1888 the Chicago Times reported on some of their earlier troubles with this article:

“I wish I had the money you have paid on debts,” said George Fair, the treasurer of the Haymarket Theater, to James H. Wallick, who is playing “the Bandit King” there this week.

“You could retire on it,” said Mr. Wallick, “but I don’t think you would care to go through what I did when I was paying those debts. I shouldn’t care to again. I believe I have had more summonses served on me than any other man in America. Why one morning, as I stood talking with a friend in front of the Windsor Theater, in New York, a constable came up and served the papers on seventy-two suits against me all at once.”

Certainly Mr. Wallick has had his ups and downs, and, while his struggles have sometimes been desperate, it must be very satisfactory to him to look back at the manner in which he fought his way through them. In the spring of 1880 Mr. Wallick published an advertisement in the New York and Chicago papers asking everybody who had a claim against him to send it to Mr. Thomas Cratty, the well-known Chicago lawyer. He then deposited every cent he could rake and scrape––about $9,000––with Mr. Cratty and told him to sprinkle it over the claims in such a manner as to keep off attachments until he could earn some more. In a few week he called on Mr. Cratty and asked him if any claims had come in. Cratty put his feet on his table, lighted a fresh cigar, and, with awful calmness looked at his client.

“What I want to know,” said the lawyer finally, “is how the devil a man without any money can get into debt as you have. Why, man, I’ve got claims for more than $50,000 against you.”
“Is that all?” said Wallick. “That’s only a patch of the whole.”

He then gave Cratty a list of his indebtedness, and after the $9,000 that had been paid was subtracted, there still remained more than $65,000, and he had not one dollar of assets in the world. Mr. Cratty said:

“Of course you can never pay all this. The best thing you can do is to go through bankruptcy.”
Mr. Wallick said he meant to pay every dollar of it and would not go through bankruptcy. The lawyer said he was crazy, but subsequent events have shown that he was not.

“Three years ago,” said Mr. Wallick, “I closed my season out of debt and went into New York for the first time in my life with money enough to carry me over and start me out on the road the next season.
Day before yesterday, Mr. Leroy Payne offered Mr. Wallick $42,500 for his interest in the livery business of Leroy Payne & Co., and Mr. Wallick declined to sell. [4]

Schedule and route for James H. Wallick’s traveling company for the year 1888. The shows being presented this year were The Cattle King and The Bandit King and they typically played to sold-out houses. The information sources for this chart and map come from newspaper accounts and advertisements found at GenealogyBank.com, Newspapers.com, NewspaperArchive.com, and Chronicling America (Library of Congress) websites. Some locations where the troupe performed are likely missing due to lack of available digitized newspapers on the source sites used, but the picture is still fairly complete. The question marks on the map represent gaps in the performance record and may indicate that other cities in these areas were places where the plays were performed.
Now, by the end of May, the same year (1888) that they purchased the farm, James and Mary were doing well enough that they were able to buy from a Mr. C. F. Emery a large quantity of trotter stock from Emery’s Forest City Farm near Cleveland, Ohio. [5] The purchase of Hollyrood farm and the new career as a trotter breeder perhaps gave some measure of stability to the couple’s wandering lifestyle. They seemed to truly enjoy the time they spent at Hollyrood, and when they had the opportunity, James and Mary entertained local guests and endeared themselves to the local merchants by spreading their wealth around. [6] The farm was, after all, a place to go home to, a place near James’ roots in Ulster County just a few miles to the north.

James H. Wallick was a man who rose from poverty to become one of the most popular entertainers of his day. He was born 26 June 1844 in Hurley, Ulster County, New York, the son of Susan (probably Ellsworth) and perhaps Jacob Wheeler. [7] Because of later accounts, the name of his father is in doubt, even though at the age of 7 years he was living in Hurley in the household of Jacob and Susan Wheeler and listed as Henry Wheeler. In 1908, at the time of his death, several papers gave his original name as Patrick J. Fubbins. [8] Charles Carroll Dominge, in recalling his own boyhood in 1944, recounts that, “His parents died and left him an orphan and he was adopted by the Wheeler family and chose the stage name of James H. Wallick as he admired the famous actor Wallack. I admired this actor as a boy when I exercised his famous acting horses...” [9] He is also referred to as Patrick Fubbins or James H. Fubbins Wallick in a few other newspaper stories all published between 1879 and 1882 [10], a period of time when James was in considerable debt. None of the reports where Fubbins is used during this time period are particularly complimentary of him. However, in published advertisements and stories prior to this time, even as early as 1874, he was using the name James H. Wallack and performing plays with the Wallack Combination, a group of actors that included his wife Mary. [11]

One other account of his youth published in 1923 by someone named Elmendorph, who claimed Wallick lived with his family as a youth, names him James Henry Wheeler and explains that Wallick’s boyhood was “spent in Hurley––known in those days as Old Hurley. His family, who were poor, sought aid from the town, and [my father] John L. Elmendorph, at that time ‘poormaster’ took the boy to live in his own family, where he had the advantage of a good home and some schooling. Later he was apprenticed to a wagon-maker in Hurley, and learned the trade. The boy, however, was ambitious, and in the years following, was tempted to join a circus, thus laying the foundation of a successful business career. His mother, who was Susan Ellsworth, married a person by the name of Wheeler, and lived the greater part of her life in Rondout. The boy, James Henry, developed a keen intelligence and later proved himself a man of ability, and I may say nobility as well. He disliked the name of Wheeler, and so when he had fitted himself into a different sphere, he had it legally changed to Wallick. Thus the two names, “Hank” Wheeler” and “Jim” Wallick, became identical.” [12] According to what was likely the same source, Henry Wheeler supposedly served in what was called the “Canal Brigade” during the Civil War. [13]

Which of these accounts is most accurate? After reviewing the evidence, it seems probable that the Elmendorph account is closer to the truth. This account is the only one to claim intimate knowledge of Wallick as a young boy and also knowledge of him at the time of his death and burial in Middletown next to his mother and sister. [14] Other available records verify Elmendorph’s story to some extent. The 1850 U.S. Census of Hurley, Ulster County, New York has, as was mentioned earlier, a Henry Wheeler, age 7, in the household of Jacob Wheeler (age 32 years), Susan Wheeler (age 33 years), and Matilda Wheeler (age 3 years). [15] Interestingly, Susan, not Jacob, is listed as a “pauper” in this census and, although they are listed as a separate family, she and Jacob and the children are living in the same dwelling as James (age 31 years) and Maria Ellsworth and next to the dwellings of William Ellsworth (age 36 years) and Margaret Ellsworth (age 65 years). This appears to be a family group with Margaret Ellsworth likely the family matron and James and William as siblings. It may be that Susan married one of these Ellsworth men later on to become Mrs. Ellsworth or, more likely, this was her maiden name that she reclaimed after Jacob Wheeler disappeared from the picture. She was likely the Susan Ellsworth (age 50 years) listed as a domestic servant in the Jeremiah Ten Broeck household of Saugerties, Ulster County, New York in 1870. [16]

Further substantiating the Elmendorph account, we find, in the 1855 New York State Census of Hurley, that Henry Wheeler (age 12) was a servant in the household of  Jane Elmendorf (age 73, spelled with an ‘f’ rather than a ‘ph’ in this census), who also had in her household a nephew, John L. Elmendorf (age 25) and his wife Elizabeth (age 20). [17] In 1860 the only Henry Wheeler of the right age (17 years) was living with the Anthony Dumond family in Hurley and working as a blacksmith apprentice––not exactly what the Elmendorph account had suggested, which was wagon-maker apprentice, but closely related and might have been confused by either the census taker or by Elmendorph as he recalled the history. In addition, on 8 November 1898 the Middletown Argus reported that “Mrs. Ellsworth, mother of James H. Wallick, died at Rondout.” [18] She was buried in the Hillside Cemetery in Middletown, New York along with her daughter Matilda, who died the next year. [19]

Another record that backs up the Elmendorph account is the Civil War service record for a Henry Wheeler who enlisted at Rondout, New York on 13 November 1861 at the age of 22 years, was mustered in as a sergeant in Company G, of the 102nd Infantry (also known as the “Canal Brigade”), but was later demoted to corporal, and finally deserted on 1 November 1862, less than one year into his 3-year commitment. [20]

So, was his name originally Patrick Fubbins? Or was it Henry Wheeler? Other than the newspaper accounts of people who knew him later in life, there is no evidence that his birth name was Fubbins. Patrick Fubbins may have been an earlier stage name created by James Wallick or simply a name he used as he told stories to others about his early life. I will concede it is also possible that he was born out of wedlock to his mother, Susan, and to a man named Fubbins. The only problem with this hypothesis is that I have been unable to find any possible fathers, or even any other Fubbins families, in the Ulster County area during the time that James was supposed to have been born, and all the early records we do find have him as Henry Wheeler. One additional possibility is that after he deserted from the infantry during the Civil War, he changed his name to Fubbins to cover his tracks.
 In summary, from all of the accounts, it appears that the boy known as Henry Wheeler in Ulster County was later known by Patrick J. Fubbins, perhaps by James Fubbins Wallack, then by James H. Wallack, and finally by James H. Wallick. It has been suggested that he was an admirer of the great British/American actor, James William Wallack, Sr., who was the founder of the Wallack Theater in New York City and that this was the reason he took for himself the name of James H. Wallack. [21] Actor James William Wallack died on 25 December 1864, but he left two sons, Lester Wallack and Henry Wallack, and a grandson, James W. Wallack, Jr. who continued acting on the stage in New York. [22]

A second opinion on why Henry Wheeler chose the name James H. Wallack was given by the New York Dramatic Mirror claiming that he was using the name because he wanted people to believe that he was connected to the more famous Wallack family of actors. [23] It seems likely that this is at least partially true. James (Henry) was an opportunist. Using the well-known Wallack name in places across America where most people would not know the difference certainly did not hurt business. An advertisement from the Daily Arkansas Gazette in September of 1874 lauds the traveling company as the “Great and Only Wallack Combination” starring May [sic.] Wallack and James H. Wallack. [24] Since this is one of the first documented appearances of the Wallack Combination, it was a bit presumptuous of James to claim that it was the “Great and Only” Wallack Combination and adds credence to the suggestion that he was using the Wallack name to attract customers. Later, when James and his company became more popular and widely known, his use of the Wallack name irritated the Wallack clan of actors in New York, so he changed his name to Wallick with an “i” rather than an “a.” The change was apparently forced on him when actor Lester Wallack obtained an injunction forbidding him from using the name Wallack. [25]

Continued in PART 2

1. Sketch of James Wallick taken from Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, 30 August 1891, p. 10.
2. Orange County Deeds, Book 358, p. 593.
3. See the included schedule and route of his traveling show that was compiled from available newspaper accounts for 1888. There are likely several places that the show stopped for one or more nights that have not been identified and are not shown on the map and chart.
4. Article originally published in the Chicago Times, but republished in Indianapolis News, Saturday, 2 June 1888.
5. Cleveland Plain Dealer, Wednesday, 30 May 1888, p. 6.
6. See for example, Middletown Times Press, Middletown, New York, Tuesday, 23 August 1892 and Tuesday, 25 April 1893; Middletown Daily Press, Middletown, New York, Tuesday, 23 August 1892.
7. Gravestones in Hillside Cemetery, Middletown, Orange Co., New York (Susan’s gravestone gives her name as Susan Wheeler Ellsworth and James is engraved as James Henry Wallick); 1850 U.S. Census, Hurley, Ulster Co., N.Y., p. 479 (written) and 240 (stamped), household 217, family 226; 1855 New York State census, ED 2, Hurley, Ulster Co., dwelling 14; The Kingston Daily Freeman, Kingston, Ulster Co., New York, Tuesday, 27 February 1923, p. 11.
8. Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly Newspaper, v. 106, p. 475, 14 May 1908; The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, New York, Sunday, 3 May 1908, p. 15; The Tri-States Union, Port Jervis, New York, Thursday, 7 May 1908, p. 1; The Boston Post, Wednesday, 2 December 1908, p. 1.
9.  Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sunday, 6 August 1944, p. 15.
10. Chicago Daily Tribune, Wednesday, 13 August 1979 and Sunday, 14 December 1879; New York Dramatic Mirror, Saturday, 12 July 1879, p. 2 and Saturday, 2 August 1879; Cincinnati Enquirer, Friday, 15 August 1879; Daily Inter Ocean, Chicago, Saturday, 8 May 1880, p. 9; New York Dramatic Mirror, Saturday, 17 January 1880, p. 3; Bloomington Daily Leader, Bloomington, Indiana, Saturday, 24 June 1882; Fort Wayne Daily Sentinel, Saturday, 8 April 1882 and Friday, 17 November 1882; Logansport Daily Journal, Wednesday, 29 November 1882.
11. Daily Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, Arkansas, Thursday, 10 September, 1874, and Sunday, 13 September 1874; The Atchison Daily Champion, Atchison, Kansas, Friday, 15 February, 1878, p. 4; The Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, Kansas, Saturday, 7 December 1878, p. 1.
12. The Kingston Daily Freeman, Kingston, Ulster Co., New York, Tuesday, 27 February 1923, p. 11. This history published in the paper was submitted by one of the children of John L. Elmendorph in whose home Wallick spent part of his boyhood; see also The Kingston Daily Freeman, Kingston, Ulster Co., New York, Friday Evening, 23 February 1923, p. 8.
13. The Kingston Daily Freeman, Kingston, Ulster Co., New York, Friday Evening, 23 February 1923, p. 8.
14. James and his mother and sister Matilda are all buried in the same family plot in the Hillside Cemetery in Middletown, Orange Co., N.Y.
15. 1850 US census, Hurley, Ulster Co., N.Y., p. 479 (written) and 240 (stamped), household 217, family 226.
16. 1870 US census, Saugerties, Ulster Co., N.Y., p. 107 (written) and 244 (stamped), household 674, family 836.
17. 1855 New York State census, Hurley, Ulster Co., E.D. 2, dwelling 14.
18. Middletown Argus, Middletown, Orange Co., N.Y., Tuesday, 8 November 1898, p. 5.
19. Both women are listed on the same headstone.
20. Annual Report of the Adjutant-General of the State of New York for the year 1902, V4, Registers of the 100th - 106th Regiments of Infantry, p. 685.
21. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sunday, 6 August 1944, p. 15; Boston Daily Advertiser, Wednesday, 28 December 1864.
22. Boston Daily Advertiser, Wednesday, 28 December 1864; The Daily Evening Bulletin, San Francisco, California, Saturday, 8 April 1865; Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Friday, 9 September 1870.
23. The New York Dramatic Mirror, Saturday, 2 August 1879.
24. Daily Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, Arkansas, Thursday, 10 September, 1874, and Sunday, 13 September 1874.
25. The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, New York, Sunday, 3 May 1908, p. 15.

No comments:

Post a Comment