Sunday, May 8, 2011

William Pendleton Gaines (1851-1920)

After a bit more digging around, I found an interesting addition to the Gaines family history. The son of William Baxter Pendleton Gaines and Eugenia Gratia Harris was William Pendleton Gaines, born in Richmond or Columbia, Brazoria Co., Texas on November 20 or 21, 1851 and died in Austin, Travis Co., Texas on March 18, 1920.

William graduated from Lafayette College (Easton, PA), admitted to the bar in 1874, and practiced law in Texas. For a while he dealt in real estate, but ending up entering journalism and seems to have become owner (or at least, part-owner) of the Austin Statesman newspaper. 

He married twice, first to Augusta Evans in 1883, and second to Reba [last name unknown], about 1899. He had one daughter, Celeste, by his first wife, and a son, William Junior, by his second.

The first marriage ended badly, to say the least. I was able to track down a New York Times article dated October 19, 1891, describing the pending court proceedings dealing with the divorce and surrounding events, which make for quite a tale. Further research has not found how the court case was resolved.

St. Louis, Oct 18 [1891]. news article about the divorce proceedings between Mrs. Augusta E. Gaines, "the daughter of one of the most prominent citizens of St. Louis, Capt. Albert J. Evans." The defendent is Col. William P. Gaines of Austin, part owner of the Austin Statesman. Their marriage at St. George's Church in SL, 1883 "was a great social event."

"The fight is for the possession of a little daughter. When the couple separated Mrs. Gaines came to the home of her parents, bringing her little four-year-old daughter with her. Col. Gaines followed and abducted the child under sensational circumstances. The mother employed detectives and soon located the little one in Austin. For eighteen months, the mother made continuous, but fruitless, efforts to get the child, making three trips to Texas for the purpose. Then she resolved to do as her husband had done - steal the girl. She was assissted by her father in making all arrangements. She dressed herself as a school girl and went to Austin, and soon discovered that Col. Gaines, who traveled about considerably, always took the child and a nurse with him.

"She followed the about, and finally her opportunity came in Houston. She drove in a closed carriage to where the child was at play, seized it, and drove to a landing on a bayou that runs into Galveston Bay. Her father, Capt. Ebvans, had a tug waiting, and they boarded it. They were caught in a storm on the bay, and after a rough experience were forced to abandon all hope of reaching Galveston, and put in at a point where the Southern Pacific Railroad could be easily reached. Meanwhile her husband, with a posse of rangers, had started in pursuit, and at the railroad station overtook the abductors. The little girl was disguised in boy's clothes, but the Sheriff insisted on making an examination. The mother, revolver in hand, said she would kill him if he touched the child. Then one of the posse of rangers, shotgun in hand, came to the front and said:

"I will never assist in taking a child from its mother, Madame. I will be your escort to the Louisiana State line."

"He kept his word, and they got away. All this and much more will be brought out during the trial." [New York Times, October 19, 1891]

1 comment:

  1. I am an Evans researcher and am currently working on this lineage. Do you have a link to the NYT 1891 article? Thx!