Rabbit Trails: Mary Sallade & The One-Eyed Pickpocket

George AppoI’ve been looking into the “divorce industry” in Oklahoma Territory (1889 – 1907). I’ve posted once on the topic, and I’m a bit overdue in following up. This particular line of inquiry evolved from my interest in author and Renaissance Woman Helen Churchill Candee, who came to Guthrie to sever her own marital bonds in 1896, and who stayed long enough to write about life there – multiple times and quite effectively.

So I spend more time than seems reasonable searching online newspaper archives for terms like “divorce” or “Oklahoma.” I’m not sure this makes me a crack researcher, but it has certainly led me down some weird paths. Not every result fits what I’m after – they’re just keyword searches, after all – but history is a twisted, taunting little minx. Pick any topic – ANY topic – and start scratching at it. Something fascinating will almost always unfold… and yet leave you with a congress of unknowns, smirking and smug like Alice’s cat.

MRS. MARY F. SALLADE IS MARRIED
Her Third Husband Harrison E. Havens of Enid, Oklahoma.

Mrs. Mary F. Sallade, who figured in court several times as the accuser of the proprietors of resorts in West Twenty-fourth Street, between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, has been married for the third time.

OK – so third time, huh? Surely that was a bit unusual for that era. And… “accuser of the proprietors of resorts…”? There’s got to be a story there, one with which the Times assumed readers were already familiar.

She is now Mrs. Harrison Eugene Havens, having been married April 3 by the Rev. Dr. Parkhurst. Enid, Oklahoma, will soon be her home. Mr. Havens, who is a lawyer, procured for her a divorce from her second husband, whose name was Sharpe.

Ah, the plot thickens! Divorce Husband No. 2 while hooking up with your lawyer. Sly little thing, wasn’t she?

Mrs. Sallade gave $500 security for the appearance in court of George Appo, to answer the charge of having stabbed policeman M.F. Rein. Appo is missing and Mrs. Sallade may lose her money.

The New York Times (April 18, 1895)

Um… what? Who is – and he stabbed – and… WTF?!

George Appo, it turns out, was a notorious pickpocket and con man, easily recognized as the half-Irish, half-Chinese guy with one eye non-surgically removed. Several months after this piece was published he was sentenced to six months in a New York penitentiary for assaulting Officer Rein.

None of which explains how or why Mary Sallade was involved. But no matter – I should get back to that Oklahoma divorce stuff. I so rarely have the time to properly—

*sigh*

OK. One quick Google search. That’s all. Then back to my original quest.

Police officer Michael Rein charged Appo with stabbing him while placing him under arrest for creating a disturbance. Under cross-examination, however, Appo’s counsel, Frank Moss, challenged the veracity of Rein’s story and the media coverage of the event.

Sensationalized media coverage distorting the facts in 1895? The more things change…

The officer testified that after the confrontation with Appo, he returned to the precinct house, undressed, and slept in the station that evening. Only the next day, he admitted, did he bother to notice the stab wound…

So it really wasn’t even a proper stabbing? That would explain the relatively short sentence.

Appo was… represented by Frank Moss, but his five-hundred dollar bond was furnished by Mary F. Sallade, a prominent figure in moral reform circles in New York and sometimes called “the female Parkhurst”… Such encouragement bolstered Appo. He insisted that “no matter what the police tried they could not again drive him into the ranks of crooks”…

Sallade was “a prominent figure in moral reform circles”? The Sallade now on Husband No. 3, who helped her dump Husband No. 2, and seems to have brought her all the way to Enid, OK?

Rev ParkhurstThere’s another reference which presumably meant something to contemporaneous readers – “the female Parkhurst.” From context, we can reasonably infer he must have been some sort of reformer, perhaps a—

Wait, “Parkhurst”? Parkhurst. Where have we heard—

The guy who married Mary to her third husband, who helped her divorce her second husband, while she was putting up bail for the ne’er-do-well who’d supposedly stabbed a cop but now it seems like maybe he really didn’t? THAT Parkhurst? He was a household name of some sort?

But I’m not Googling him. I’m just not. Too much to do! Be strong.

Dammit.

On Valentine's Day in 1892 an obscure minister delivered a sermon that changed the fate of New York City. The jeremiad by the Rev. Dr. Charles H. Parkhurst inspired a campaign that unmasked New York's first major police scandal, that contributed to the creation of a five-borough city and that placed Theodore Roosevelt on the road to the Presidency…

"Parkhurst proved that one just man could singlehandedly defeat a powerful and evil machine like Tammany Hall and reform an entire police department"...

"Taking on Tammany, 100 Years Ago" (Selwyn Raab - The New York Times, February 14, 1992)

*sigh*

He has his own Wikipedia entry. The Rev. Parkhurst mentioned in such casual passing as having hitched Mary Sallade to Husband No. 3 helped take down Tammany Hall, a task normally more closely associated with political cartoonist Thomas Nast, who popularized our current image of Santa Claus. I have no doubt they both connect directly to Kevin Bacon from here.

Rev. Dr. Charles Parkhurst is not to be confused, of course, with Charley Parkhurst, the cross-dressing (possibly transgendered) stagecoach driver and cowboy from a few short decades before. Born biologically female, and orphaned, she lived most of her life as a male and was best-known by the nickname "One-Eyed Charley." Wanna guess why?

None of which helps Mary, who lost her bail money:

A week later Appo failed to appear for his trial, thus forfeiting Sallade’s bond. Appo later defended his flight as self-defense.

A Pickpocket's Tale: The Underworld of Nineteenth-Century New York, by Timothy J. Gilfoyle (2007)

Sallade comes up a half-dozen times more in Gilfoyle’s book. She gave Appo honest employment at “the Sallade Dress Factory” and is listed as one of the few “evangelically motivated reformers” who reached out to men like Appo offering pathways to redemption, no matter how many times they fell back into a life of crime. Appo mentioned her specifically near the end of his life, giving thanks to those who’d cared.

Fascinating. And I want so badly to make some sort of “Sallade” and “Dresses/Dressing” remark, but…

I've got a semi-legit post to compose. Surely the next result will be more useful.

BROOKLYN DIVORCE CASE: Aged Mr. and Mrs. Meinekhein in an Oklahoma Court.

PERRY, Oklahoma, Dec. 23.—Although seventy years old, with hair (when not dyed) as white as cotton, so her husband says, Mrs. Lucinda C. Meinekhein, school-teacher, of Brooklyn, N.Y., has come to Oklahoma to fight her husband, B.G. Meinekhein, in his divorce suit, which began to-day.

Ah, here we go. He came here to get an easy divorce, and she showed up to contest it!

Wait – did that say she was SEVENTY YEARS OLD?

Menekhein was married to Lucinda in 1868, and he says she treated him very cruelly. One charge is that she doused him with cold water several times while he was in bed. Mrs. Meinekhein introduced many love letters, purporting to have been written by Meinekhein to New York City Women.

The New York Times (December 24th, 1896)

She was a teacher? What color did she dye her hair normally? And these letters… how long ago had they been—

Nope.

But “Lucinda”? And what prompted the cold water? Was it just “you’re an a-hole!” cold water or was it “take a cold shower, you lecherous old goat!” cold water? If I research such an unusual name, surely--

Nope.

Nope.

Nope.

No more distractions. I have a post on the divorce industry in Oklahoma Territory to get compose. We'll try again next time.

The Knack - "Lucinda" - Miami 1979

 

Add new comment