By Elizabeth Urban Alexander

The criminal campaign of Myra Clark Gaines (1804?-1885) has the entire trappings of classical melodrama--a misplaced inheritor, a lacking will, a bootleg courting, a questionable marriage, a bigamous husband, and a homicide. For part a century the daughter of recent Orleans millionaire Daniel Clark struggled to justify her declare to his huge, immense fortune in a case that captivated the nineteenth-century public. Elizabeth city Alexander faucets voluminous court docket documents and letters to resolve the twists and turns of Gaines's litigation and demonstrate the reality at the back of the mysterious saga of this infamous girl.

Myra, the daughter of actual property inheritor Clark and Zulume Carriere, a stunning younger Frenchwoman, was once raised via buddies of Clark and stored blind to her genuine parentage until eventually 1832, while she came across her actual lineage in letters between her foster father's papers. She thereupon lower back to Louisiana with stories of a misplaced will and a mystery marriage among Clark and Carriere and claimed to be Clark's lacking inheritor. was once Myra the valid daughter of the well-known service provider, or the "fruit of an adulterous union?" The courts could make a decision.

The nice Gaines Case wound it tortuous course throughout the usa felony method from 1834 until eventually 1891. It was once thought of through the U.S. very best courtroom seventeen instances and pursued even after Gaines's loss of life by means of attorneys attempting to recoup charges. by way of courageously bringing her case to the court and doggedly protecting it there, Alexander asserts, Gaines helped instigate a brand new form of relatives legislation that supplied particular safeguard of ladies, youngsters, and marriages.

Though Gaines by no means recovered greater than a tiny fraction of the rumored thousands, this riveting chronicle of her fight for legitimacy and legacy as advised by means of Elizabeth city Alexander is a goldmine for an individual attracted to criminal historical past, women's experiences, or an excellent yarn beautifully spun.

Show description

Read or Download Notorious Woman: The Celebrated Case of Myra Clark Gaines PDF

Similar legal history books

Early Greek Law

Drawing at the proof of anthropology in addition to old literature and inscriptions, Gagarin examines the emergence of legislation in Greece from the eighth during the sixth centuries B. C. , that's, from the oral tradition of Homer and Hesiod to the written enactment of codes of legislations in so much significant towns.

Kings, Barons and Justices: The Making and Enforcement of Legislation in Thirteenth-Century England

This booklet comprises a learn of 2 very important and comparable items of thirteenth-century English legislation--the Provisions of Westminster of 1259 and the Statute of Marlborough of 1267. In setting up the political and felony context of those statutes and interpreting the method of drafting them, the amount makes use of a really wide selection of manuscript assets.

Civil society in China : the legal framework from ancient times to the new reform era

This can be the definitive e-book at the felony and financial framework for civil society businesses (CSOs) in China from earliest occasions to the current day. Civil Society in China strains the ways that legislation and laws have formed civil society over the 5,000 years of China's historical past and appears at ways that social and financial historical past have affected the felony adjustments that experience happened over the millennia.

Jury, State, and Society in Medieval England

This booklet portrays the good number of paintings that medieval English juries performed whereas highlighting the dramatic raise in calls for for jury carrier that happened in this interval.

Additional info for Notorious Woman: The Celebrated Case of Myra Clark Gaines

Example text

A Journey of Discovery 17 forces defending the East Coast ports. His leadership in the heroic defense of Lewes against British bombardment gained him a commission from President Madison as lieutenant colonel in the Thirty-Second Regiment, United States Infantry. "12 After transferring to the Forty-Fourth Regiment, composed of fellow Louisianians, and reaching the rank of colonel, Davis commanded the defense of the entrance to New York harbor at Sandy Hook. Later that year (1813) he acted as one of the judges in the court martial of General William Hull, who had surrendered Detroit to the British in 1812..

But Myra remained with the woman less than two weeks. The wet nurse had a child of her own, and Myra appeared neglected. When Davis told his wife of his concern for the infant's welfare, Marian Davis went at once to see her. "Touched with compassion at her forlorn and desolate situation," Davis insisted on taking the little girl into her own household. A niece of Davis had a child at the breast and consented to nurse Myra, too. According to the colonel, his wife's actions sprang from "a prompt and feminine benevolence" that Clark appreciated.

Many years later, in a deposition given in 1849 shortly before his death, Davis testified that Zulime frequently came to see her daughter while Myra lived with his family. After the Davis household moved north in 1811, Zulime never spoke to Myra again during her childhood. Davis described one short meeting that took place on the streets of Philadelphia when Zulime "looked very hard" at the child. 10 Although Clark refused to claim Myra openly as his daughter, Davis explained that her father often visited her as a child and seemed proud of her.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.56 of 5 – based on 29 votes