Thursday, April 03, 2014

Chariton football heroes --- and lawyers

Theodore Mallory "Ted" Stuart as he looked in 1904, when a member of the University of Michigan football team.

Ted Stuart was a member of Chariton's premiere legal dynasty, a renowned San Francisco attorney (in part because of a $50,000 judgement for legal fees he won against the chief justice of the California Supreme Court), a successful entrepreneur and, for a time, was married to the daughter of Centerville's richest man.

But he was a football hero, too --- one of Chariton's first; and that's why he's remembered today; to the point that he even has his own Wikipedia biography, which you'll find here.

Here's how his obituary in the San Mateo Times of Jan. 16, 1946, put it: "Stuart was a member of the 1906 "wonder team" at the University of Michigan, which played the first Rose Bowl game against Stanford, and was named an all-American halfback on Walter Camp's 1906 selections."

It's useful to know, however, that the obituary is inaccurate. Stuart did not play in the first Rose Bowl (1902), although Michigan did, nor can I find a record of him as an all-American. So it would be interesting to know who developed this bit of lovely fiction. It does not, however, detract from Ted's football prowess.

Ted --- Theodore Mallory Stuart --- was born in Chariton on June 24, 1883, to Theodore M. and Sarah (Walker) Stuart. His father and three of his father's brothers, Thomas B., Adelbert (Dell) and Frank Q. Stuart, had established the Stuart Brothers law firm in Chariton in 1860.

Ted and his brother, Corwin W., from whom the late Bill Stuart was descended, were the only lawyers in the second generation, however. Bill Stuart was the last of the family to live and practice in Chariton.

Although hardly wild, Ted was a restless young man and after completing his education in Chariton moved to Denver, where his uncle, Thomas B. Stuart, then was practicing law. He enrolled there at the University of Denver and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1904.

Ted erolled during the fall of 1904 at the University of Michigan to study law and earned his degree there in 1906, after establishing a memorable athletic record.  Here's how Wikipedia contributors summarize his career at Michigan:

While attending Michigan, Stuart played as an end and halfback for Fielding H. Yost's "Point-a-Minute" football teams in 1904 and 1905. During Stuart's two years as a varsity football player, Michigan "Point-a-Minute" teams compiled a record of 22-1 and outscored opponents 1,062 to 24. The 1906 University of Michigan yearbook praised Stuart as one of the team's heroes:

"Ted Stuart is a striking exemplification of the fact that a light man can make good in football provided that he is possessed of the proper amount of grit and determination. . . . In the fall of 1904 he entered the law department with a year's advanced standing. His punting ability attracted the attention of Coach Yost . . . No man ever showed greater improvement in one year's time than did Stuart. During the season just closed his work throughout was of a high order. He was stationed at right end in the early games and his plucky playing after he had been injured in the Nebraska game is still fresh in the minds of the rooters. In the Chicago game he was selected by Coach Yost to start the game at left half and certainly the coach had no reason to regret his choice. Speed, courage and kicking ability -- these are the attributes which have given Ted Stuart a place on the roster of Michigan's football heroes."

Stuart was also a member of Michigan's tennis team team. He placed second in the singles competition at the Western Intercollegiate Tournament in June 1905. While at Michigan, Stuart was also the university tennis champion, a member of Beta Theta Pi, Phi Delta Phi, the Friars, The Barristers, and the Iowa Club.

In 1906, Ted returned to Chariton to practice law with his father and brother, but was involved in a number of other fields. Chariton was home to an Iowa National Guard unit at the time and Ted enlisted. He also retained an abiding interest in football. 

During the 1909 season, Ted served as head football coach at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, and coached the Wildcats to a successful season --- three wins and one tie.

During 1910, Ted left Chariton and moved to Denver to establish his own law practice. Not yet done with football, however, he served as head football coach at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden during the 1910 and 1911 seasons --- while establishing his practice.

During December of 1911, Ted returned to Iowa to marry Bettina B. Bradley, of Centerville. Their courtship had commenced while he was practicing law in Chariton and had continued via letter after Ted's move to Colorado. 

Bettina was the only daughter of David Campbell and Cora M. (Stubbs) Bradley --- Centerville's power couple of the time. Their new home on Drake Avenue, constructed during 1909, was a Centerville show place. Today, the huge stone and green-tiled house is known as Bradley Hall, and houses Morgan Cline's vast gift emporium.

Ted and Bettina exchanged vows in the drawing room, then guests climbed to the third floor ballroom, converted into a "Japanese tea garden," for the wedding supper. The ballroom now serves as the Bradley Hall Christmas shop.

Following their marriage, the young Stuarts settled down in Denver and Ted's career flourished. He served as assistant attorney general of Colorado during 1911 and 1912 and moved on to represent as solicitor various railroads, including the C.B.& Q., Colorado & Southern and the Denver & Rio Grande. He also made a good deal of money in banking and mining.

During World War I, Ted Stuart was appointed a captain in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate's Division and during November of 1918 traveled through Iowa with Bettina en route to Washington, D.C., where he would be commissioned for a posting in San Francisco. Ted dropped Bettina off at her parents' home in Centerville, then continued on to Washington.

The influenza pandemic still was affecting the United States at that time and Bettina became critically ill while visiting her parents. She died in Centerville on Nov. 9, 1918. Ted arrived in Centerville after an emergency trip from Washington three hours after her passing.

After the war, Ted settled permanently in California, where he practiced in Fresno until approximately 1930, then relocated to San Mateo. He married as his second wife a California native, Antoinette, during September of 1929.

The Stuarts apparently lived happily in San Mateo, where he prospered, until his death of a heart attack on Jan. 14, 1946, at the age of 62. In addition to a lucrative San Francisco legal practice, he also had a variety of business interests.

Antoinette continued to live in San Mateo and San Francisco, but the Iowa family seems to have poisoned relations with their aunt soon after Ted's death.

Because Ted Stuart had no children, he and Antoinette had made wills not long before his death providing that upon their deaths, property they held jointly would be divided between Ted's Stuart nieces and nephews in Iowa and Antoinette's nieces and nephews in California.

However, when Antoinette attempted to claim clear title to the couple's home in San Mateo, her husband's life insurance policies and assets she had inherited from her parents, Ted's nephew, George C. Stuart, of Chariton, raised a fuss. He contended in California courts that under terms of the wills, all of the couple's assets were joint and that Antoinette had no clear legal right to anything, outside court jurisdiction, pending the ultimate division upon her death. The estimated value of the estate was $120,000. George expected Antoinette to live on a court-negotiated allowance, set at approximately $700 monthly in 1946, for the remainder of her life.

California courts did not agree, however, and it seems unlikely that Antoinette was left with pleasant memories of and warm feelings toward her Iowa kinfolk.

In the end, Antoinette outlived her litigious Iowa nephew by several years --- dying in San Francisco on Sept. 17, 1967. She is entombed with Ted at Woodlawn Memorial Park, Colma.

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