Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Philandering Financier 

            Carrie Jones divorced Albert in March 1889, charging adultery. Evidence suggests that his adulterous life began as early as 1882. The Leighton, Pennsylvania, Carbon Advocate reported Jones’ visit to Edwin F. Luckenbach. Instead of his wife, he traveled with “Mrs. Hopper of New York” and “Mrs. Agene of New Jersey.”[1] Luckenbach (Oct. 11, 1842 – Mar. 3, 1912)) was a merchant in Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, combining a fresco painting business with a stationery, wall paper and paint store. He was a factor in local politics.[2] We don’t know why Jones visited him in mid-June 1882. But it seems improbable that a married Christian would travel from New York City to Mauch Chunk with two women but without his wife, especially so in an era when appearance mattered.

“Mrs. Agene” was most certainly Mrs. A. Agens of New Jersey, a Watch Tower adherent whose poetry was published in Zion’s Watch Tower. If he was sexually involved with Agens, we have an uncomfortable picture of Jones as a predator within the congregation. Of course, both women could have been in doddering old age, and Jones may have escorted the two grannies on a vacation. We are suspicious, but we can’t identify these women and don’t know.

Jones’ infidelities became public in the late 1880s through gossip and a law suit. By 1886 he was having significant money problems. He commissioned Ada L. Cone, an artist, “to make for him a crayon portrait of a woman.” He told her to send it to the Hoffman House where he rented a suit. Jones failed to pay and was sued by the Working Women’s Protective Union in Cone’s behalf. A newspaper report says that, “Mr. Jones wanted to compromise, and to give him an opportunity to do so the Justice at his request adjourned the case for one week.” He still failed to pay, and judgment was entered in Cone’s behalf.[3] The New York World, without naming Jones, described him as “a broker with an office in the Mills Building and sumptuous apartments at the Hoffman House. According the The World, “he defaulted and … left for parts unknown when an officer attempted to execute the judgment against him.”[4]

William H. Conley’s testimony during the Jones’ divorce adds to this story: 

About 2 years ago last June [1887] in New York City I saw him one night about 9 o’clock walking on 5th Avenue with a woman other than his wife – did not know who the woman was. I believe I have heard that he had got into trouble with some woman and had to pay her a large sum of money to get rid of her – am not sure that I have the letter now – I burned about a bushel of letters – but I did get from him such a letter. I cannot state what the amount was but it was a large sum he had to pay – I judge that the reason for sending this letter must have been that I had written him a dunning letter as he had dealings, with us and owed us considerable money, and that would be his excuse (that he had to pay so much money on account of this woman) for not remitting to us. This letter I spoke of was received by me from him before I saw him walking with a woman as above mentioned. I think it must have been from 6 to 9 months before that.

I had a conversation in Albert Jones’s presence with H. B. Adams and Eugene F. Smith of New York and Thomas B. Riter of Allegheny City, Penna – there were three of us together at Mr. Jones’s offices in New York City about 2 years ago. During this conversation Mr. Adams and Mr. Smith accused Mr. Jones of keeping the woman besides his wife– They called him all kinds of vile names and he did not deny the accusation. He was accused of maintaining a house and a woman other than his wife in it in the upper end of New York, and Mr. Adams (who was in the House Furnishing business then) stated in Mr. Jones’s presence that he (Adams) had furnished the house and he (Mr. Jones) admitted the whole thing. I cannot state from recollection the precise location of the house spoken of.  

            While the first page of one of the Jones divorce papers is missing, we learn much from the surviving last page. In July 1886, when Albert was commissioning his paramour’s portrait, Carrie Jones returned to the Newark house. She found absolute proof of his infidelity and, taking her three children, returned to her father’s house in Pittsburgh. Carrie named an Annie Raleigh as Albert’s paramour, and counsel called Albert’s father to testify. He denied knowing Miss Raleigh, naming her as Annie Raleigh, Annie J. Raleigh, and finally as K. A. Raleigh. We have not identified her more closely.  Her statement says that after April 8, 1886, Albert contributed “very little” support for her and their children. What little he paid for their upkeep dried up, and by 1889 he was paying nothing. She believed he had “a fair income.” In fact, his financial empire was precarious. Albert refused to appear, and divorce was finally granted.

[1]               From the County Seat, The Leighton, Pennsylvania, Carbon Advocate, June 17, 1882.
[2]               J. W. Jordan: Historic Homes and Institutions of the Lehigh Valley, Lewis Publishing Co., New York, 1905, Volume 2, page 224.
[3]               Mr. Jones’ Friend’s Picture, The New York Sun, November 17, 1887.
[4]               Dead-Beats on the Rack: Where Workingwomen Get Redress for their Wrongs, The New York World, December 29, 1887.

1 comment:

roberto said...

A. D. Jones: Il finanziere donnaiolo

La testimonianza di H. Conley durante il divorzio aggiunge particolari a questa storia:

“Circa due anni fa, a giugno [1887] una sera alle nove in punto lo vidi passeggiare alla 5th Avenue di New York con una donna che non era sua moglie – e non ho idea di chi fosse. Mi pare di ricordare di sapere già che aveva avuto dei problemi con una certa donna a cui doveva pagare una grossa somma di denaro per liberarsene – Non sono sicuro di avere ancora una certa lettera – ho bruciato una gran quantità di lettere – ma allora ricevetti una lettera da lui. Non riesco a stabilire quale fosse l’ammontare esatto ma quello che doveva pagare era una grossa somma – Ritengo che mi abbia mandato quella lettera perché in precedenza gli avevo inviato un sollecito di pagamento per come accordato perché ci doveva restituire una considerevole quantità di denaro, e la sua scusa ora era che doveva molto denaro a quella donna e perciò non poteva restituirlo a noi. Questa lettera di cui parlo fu da lui inviata e da me ricevuta prima che lo vedessi passeggiare con la donna sopra menzionata. Credo che sia stato circa 6-9 mesi prima.
Ebbi una conversazione alla presenza di Albert Jones con H. B. Adams ed Eugene F. Smith entrambi di New York e Thomas B. Riter di Allegheny City, Pennsylvania – Tre di noi andammo all’ufficio del sig. Jones a New York circa due anni fa. Durante questa conversazione il signor Adams e il signor Smith accusarono il signor Jones di mantenere quella donna oltre alla propria moglie – Lo chiamarono con ogni sorta di nome spregevole e lui non negò l’accusa. Fu accusato di mantenere una donna che non era sua moglie e anche una casa per lei nella parte buona della città di New York, e il signor Adams (che a quel tempo aveva un’attività commerciale di mobili per casa) dichiarò alla presenza del sig. Jones che lui (Adams) aveva ammobiliato quella casa e lui (Jones) ammetteva l’intera faccenda. Non riesco a ricordare la precisa ubicazione della casa.” - [fine della testimonianza di Conley]

Sebbene la prima pagina di uno dei carteggi del divorzio di Jones è mancante, sappiamo molto dalla sopravvissuta ultima pagina. Nel luglio 1886, quando Albert D. Jones stava commissionando il ritratto della sua amante, sua moglie Carrie Jones fece ritorno alla casa di Newark. Vi trovò inconfutabili prove dell’infedeltà di suo marito e, prendendosi i suoi tre figli, fece ritorno a casa di suo padre a Pittsburgh. Carrie identificò in Annie Raleigh l’amante di suo marito Albert, e l’avvocato chiamò il padre di lui a testimoniare. Egli negò di conoscere la signorina Raleigh chiamandola prima Annie Raleigh, poi Annie J. Raleigh e infine K. A. Raleigh. Finora non siamo riusciti a identificare meglio questa donna. La deposizione della moglie afferma che dopo l’8 aprile 1886, Albert le dava un piccolissimo contributo per sostenere lei e i loro figli. Per quanto piccolo fosse quel contributo si prosciugò, e a partire dal 1889 non le mandò più nulla. Lei credeva che lui avesse una “discreta entrata”. In realtà, il suo impero finanziario era precario. Albert rifiutò di comparire, e il divorzio fu infine rilasciato.