Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Horse-whipped: A Disgraceful Affair

Mallory's Castle

What with “Downton Abbey” and all, I’ve been thinking of producing a period soap entitled “Mallory’s Castle,” based upon the lives of the Mallorys, looked upon as Chariton’s first family from 1867 until 1909, and their legendary home, the Ilion (aka Mallory’s Castle).

The Mallorys generated enough enough sturm and drang during their tenure here to justify serialization, but the disappointing thing is that Chariton newspapers almost invariably enforced a code of silence around their routine scandals --- so details are lacking.

One partial exception to that is a report in The Chariton Herald of March 15, 1886, detailing an encounter between one of the lesser Mallorys --- Albert Douglas “Bert” Mallory, born 1861 and the youngest brother of family patriarch Smith H. Mallory; Bert’s wife, Susie (Kubitshek) Mallory; and a young Chariton attorney, Virgil G. Baker.

Although the encounter is described in great detail, the reporter chickened out and disappointingly did not provide comparable detail regarding what led up to it. So there’s plenty of room here for imagination.

A little background might be useful. Bert Mallory was not the brightest star in the Mallory constellation, taken in hand by his elder brother and placed in jobs over the years in Mallory banks in Chariton, Lucas, Creston and Kansas. It is possible that he was something of a brat. Bert had married in 1882 Chariton girl Susie Kubitshek. Although the marriage lasted about 10 years and produced two children, there are signs the balance of the Mallory family thought Bert had married beneath himself --- Susie’s father, Russian-born Henry Kubitshek, was a grocer and Jewish. The Kubitshek family, however, was widely respected in Lucas County. At the time this incident occurred, Bert and Susie were living in Lucas where he had been installed as manager of Farmers & Miners Bank, founded by his elder brother.

Bert and Susie left Lucas County soon after this incident and so did Virgil Baker, who moved to Santa Ana, California, where he died in 1894 at age 33. We’ll probably never know the juicy details, since nothing further was published and it is extremely challenging to penetrate court records of that era.

But this wonderful, gloriously self-righteous story made it into print, and we can be grateful for that.


Mrs. A.D. Mallory, Protected by Dave Ferris, Assaults V.G. Baker Esq.,
 While Her Husband, From His Hiding Place Across the Street
Watches the Performance.

It becomes our duty this week to record one of the most disgraceful affairs that has ever occurred in our city. It appears all the more disgraceful when the social standing of the principals is taken into account. It wears still darker hue on account of the innocent people who are compelled to endure the humiliation and mental suffering consequent upon the reckless conduct of those who should have known better. Did we consult our feelings only in reference to those who, through no fault of their own, are made to suffer through the act of another, this article would not be written. But the sentiment of the community is a unit that these innocent people, who were in no manner responsible for the disgraceful proceedings, are in no manner disgraced thereby. They may feel humiliated, and no doubt do; they certainly feel hurt and heart-sore, but they can rest assured that they have the heartfelt sympathy of every man and woman in the entire community. But it is due the readers of the Herald that the facts, so far as we have been able to obtain them, should be given.

On last Saturday morning, between eight and nine o’clock, a boy was sent up to the office of Mr. Virgil Baker, to inform him that a lady wished to see him at the foot of the stairs. On reaching the street he was met by Mrs. A.D. Mallory, who, after saying: “So you won’t speak to me won’t you,” attempted to strike him with a whip. He seized the whip, when he was caught from behind by a man named Ferris, who attempted to hold him while Mrs. Mallory applied the whip. Virgil jerked loose from the fellow and informed him that if he laid his hands on him again he would kill him, at the same time making a motion for his pistol picket. The fellow backed off, and Virgil, to escape the disgrace, turned and walked up the stairway. At this time A.D. Mallory, who had been conveniently under cover on the opposite side of the street, ran across to the stairway, armed with a brick, and following up into the hallway, attacked Mr. Baker, attempting to strike him with the brick. The attack was soon ended by Virgil taking the brick from him, and choking him up against the wall. When he was released, he and his wife proceeded down the stair and out on the street.

The news of the attack quickly flew over town, and all sorts of rumors were afloat, while comments were heard on every hand. Mr. Baker at once filed an information against Mrs. Mallory and Dave Ferris, and another against A.D. Mallory, charging them with assault and battery. Warrants were issued and the parties arrested Saturday evening at Lucas. They gave bonds for their appearance before Mayor Davis on Monday. At the appointed time Ferris appeared and entered a plea of not guilty, but a short time afterwards T.M. Stuart Esq. appeared and entered a plea of guilty for the three. Mayor Davis assessed the fines as follows: David Ferris, $25.00 and costs; A.D. Mallory and Mrs. Mallory each $50.00 and costs. The fines and costs were paid a few minutes after they were imposed by A.D. Mallory, and the first chapter in the affair was ended.

Since the parties who were arrested for the assult have seen fit to enter a plea of guilty, and have paid up the fines and costs without attempting anything in the shape of justification, and without even making any showing in extenuation, we leave the matter of provocation just as they have left it, and our readers will have to draw on their imagination for conclusions. But so far as the assault itself is concerned there seems to be but one opinion prevalent, and that is that it was a most ill-advised affair, and one that the parties will regret as long as they live. Still another opinion seems to have taken deep root in the minds of our citizens and that is, that it was not the voluntary act of Mrs. Mallory. She has grown up from childhood in Chariton and has ever been held in the highest esteem by all who know her. She is the daughter of eminently respectable parents, and has been surrounded with home influences that could not fail to develop her into a perfect lady. Possessed of a modest and unassuming disposition, her host of friends feel assured that the act of Saturday morning is so utterly foreign to her nature that she must have been either coaxed, threatened or driven to it. That she should have voluntarily selected the man Ferris as an escort and protector is an idea that is utterly abhorrent to all who know her.

And closely following this opinion naturally comes another, that her husband, A.D. Mallory, has been wholly responsible for the entire business. Everything connected with the affair seems to point directly to him as the responsible party. That he knew the assault was to be made, there is not the shadow of a doubt. That he was conveniently near the location, and where he could watch the whole transaction is also beyond question. What was he doing there? Waiting for his wife to do the work that he himself was too cowardly to undertake? Skulking behind a wall and leaving his wife to the protection of Dave Ferris. Knowing that his wife was waiting to commit an act which would be certain to compromise her in the minds of the public, and raising neither his voice nor his arm to prevent it! Waiting and watching, from his secure position behind a wall, for the moment to arrive when the curtain should rise on the first act. It is not at all surprising that those who know these facts are unanimous in condemnation of his course. There is not a single redeeming feature in the entire transaction for him. There is not a single Palliating or mitigating circumstance for him. No matter what the provocation may have been, it would not, and never could justify A.D. Mallory in either driving or permitting his wife to enter an arena where her own native modesty and usuages of polite society forbade her entrance. If his motive was to bring disgrace upon Virgil Baker, by having it said that he was horse-whipped by a lady, he has ignominiously failed, for the reason that Virgil’s temporary humiliation is entirely lost sight of in the feeling of utter contempt that is felt for A.D. Mallory himself. He it is who must stand alone and bear every whit of the disgrace that results from the affair. The community will not permit any of his innocent friends to bear one iota of the burden of ignominy which he has brought upon himself.

The affair is not ended yet. Soon after the fines above named were assessed, Mr. Baker filed an information before Mayor Davis, in which he charged A.D. Mallory, Dave Ferris and Mrs. Mallory with the crime of conspiracy, and warrants were issued for their arrest. On this charge they waived a preliminary examination and were bound over on bonds of $500.00 for their appearance at the next term of the District Court, which convenes on Monday. As an investigation of this matter is to be made by the grand jury, we deem it proper to refrain from expressing any opinion until after that tribunal has acted on the information that will be brought before it.

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