Walworth,  Francis Hardin

Walworth, Francis Hardin

Male 1853 - 1886  (33 years)

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  • Name Walworth, Francis Hardin 
    Born 17 Aug 1853  Saratoga Springs, Saratoga, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Find A Grave Memorial 20151773 
    Name Frank 
    Residence 1870  Gilmans, Jefferson, Kentucky, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence 1880  Saratoga, Saratoga, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died 29 Oct 1886  Saratoga Springs, Saratoga, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried Saratoga Springs, Saratoga, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • Greenridge Cemetery
    Person ID I33075  Sullivan Burgess Family Tree
    Last Modified 15 Sep 2018 

    Father Walworth, Mansfield Tracy,   b. 3 Dec 1830, Albany, Albany, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Jun 1873, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 42 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother Hardin, Ellen,   b. 20 Oct 1832, Jacksonville, Morgan, Illinois, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Jun 1915, Washington, District of Columbia, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 29 Jul 1852  Saratoga Springs, Saratoga, New York, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Walworth, Ellen Hardin
    Walworth, Ellen Hardin
    Family ID F11266  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 17 Aug 1853 - Saratoga Springs, Saratoga, New York, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1870 - Gilmans, Jefferson, Kentucky, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1880 - Saratoga, Saratoga, New York, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 29 Oct 1886 - Saratoga Springs, Saratoga, New York, USA Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Saratoga Springs, Saratoga, New York, USA Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    Walworth, Mansfield Tracy and Frank
    Walworth, Mansfield Tracy and Frank
    Walworth, Francis Hardin 1
    Walworth, Francis Hardin 1
    Walworth, Francis Hardin
    Walworth, Francis Hardin
    Walworth, Mansfield Tracy and Frank
    Walworth, Mansfield Tracy and Frank
    Walworth, Francis Hardin
    Walworth, Francis Hardin

    Walworth, Francis Hardin Grave Stone
    Walworth, Francis Hardin Grave Stone
    Walworth, Francis Hardin Grave Stone
    Walworth, Francis Hardin Grave Stone

  • Notes 
    • A Boy shoots his Father in a New York Hotel
      New York June 3--[1873] Frank Walworth, aged 19 years, shot and killed his father Mansfield T. Walworth, in the Stuyvesant House this morning. The deceased was an author, and boarded at the Stuyvesant House away from his family. Domestic trouble is assigned as the cause of the tragedy. Young Walworth, who lives at Saratoga, directly after the shooting went to the 29th precinct police station and surrendered. He tells the following story concerning the shooting and the causes which led thereto; I reside with my mother at Saratoga, N.Y, father having parted from her some years ago. My father is an author and I have been studying law. I think my father is about 41 years old, but do not know where he was born. My father has [not] lived with my mother since he left, three years ago, but he has repeatedly sent us threatening and insulting letters. Only a short time since, he threatened to shoot my mother and myself. I shot him because of this. Not long ago I met him in the street in Saratoga and I then told him that if he did not keep away from us, or if he insulted my mother again I would shoot him. I told him that there were bounds which I would not allow any man to go beyond with impunity, and especially when my mother was being insulted. I went to his house yesterday and left a note for him to call on me, which he did this morning. When he came in the room I drew out a revolver and told him to promise me that he would not threaten or insult us any more, which he promised. Shortly afterward we began speaking on family matters, and he used some very insulting language and put his hand in his pocket as though to draw out a pistol, when I shot him. He then come towards me and I fired three other shots at him. When I fired the last shot he had me by the collar. I only regret his on account of the effect it will have on the family. I would like to have Judge Barbour know this, as he was interested in the case before. Dr. Marsh did not find any pistol in the pockets of the decease, but found a note left for him by his son in his breast pocket. The following is a copy of the note; 3 O'Clock -- "I went to try and settle some family matters; call at the Stuyvesant House after an hour or two. If I am not, there I will leave word at the office. (signed F. H. Wolworth" Coroner Young committed the murderer to the Tombs until such time as the inquest takes place.

      New York, June 3 [1873]--When Chief Justice Barbour was informed of the death of Mr. Walworth, he immediately adjourned his court, the gentleman being his nephew. Walworth arrived in the city on Monday to attend a communication of the Grand Lodge of th Masonic Fraternity for the State of New York, which opens here to-day. Mr. Walworth was son of the late Chancellor Walworth, one of the most distinguished citizens of this state and a man identified with the great Temperance Tract and Bible Society. The Chancellor died in 1867, aged 80. A brother of the deceased is a popular and eloquent ; mission preacher of Paulists, whose religious house is in Fifty-Ninth Street, wet of the Central Park. The family have been largely identified with the most prominent interests of this State.

      The Quincy Daily Whig, Saturday, June 07, 1873, page 1, Section; none
      Apperance of Young Walworth at the Inquest on his Father's Remains. New York, June 6--During the inquest held on the remains of Mansfield Tracy Walworth, young Walworth appeared to be most unconcerned person present, and as the story of the murder was repeated, no sign of remorse or of dread or terror as to his fate was visible in his countenance. In answer to the question what he had to say, if anything, he replied, "I am guilty of no crime. I am guilty of no crime. I will made a statement, My father treated my mother very cruelly for years Incensed at his own father because he put his little share of property at interest so that my mother and family got something out of it, may father kept writing letter to my mother full of imprecations. My father wrote among other things, "I will kill your boys, and defeat the d--d scoundrel in his grave, and cut off his d--d name fore ever." He wrote his uncle that I must go and see my father, and whether I could go to Europe or not would depend on the interview, from the fact that I would get reliable assurance that he would not molest my mother during my absence. I had no intention of killing him when he came into my room. I asked him to set down, he did so when I spoke to him of his conduct, and said; Prosmise me you will neither shoot my mother or insult her, or any of the family any further, and he answered, "I promise, but the look which to my mind implied contempt." After the conclusion of the inquest, the . . .

      Chicago, May [date seems to be wrong month] 3 [1873]-- Young Walworth Telegrayhs, "Shot Father this morning." (signed) Frank

      The Walworth Case
      The testimony in the Walworth Murder Case is in, and now the contest of intellect which is to result in condemning Frad H. Walworth as a parricide, in sending him to a lunatic asylum as insane, or in acquitting him as having committed a justifiable if not commendable act, begins. The killing was not denied and, as there were no witnesses of the act except the parricide himself, the prosecution had little testimony to offer. What has been offered came chiefly from the family of the deceased and his slayer, and its tenor is mostly of a defensive character. It leaves no doubt that the plea set up by Mr. O’Conor for the defense will be two-fold; violence and persecution on the part of the elder Walworth, and an unbalanced mind, if not actual insanity on the part of the accused. Though the younger Walworth was described by several witnesses as young man of unusually mild and gentle disposition, there was yet evidence adduced that, on one or two occasion he had given exhibitions of extraordinary violence, of which he seemed to have no consciousness afterwards, and the Superintendent of the Utica Lunatic Asylum testified that these cases afforded evidence that he was a victim of epilepsy in a marked degree. On the other hand, Mrs. Walworth testified to the belief that her husband sometimes exhibited signs of insanity, while his published letter show that he was subject to fits of great violence, exciting much sympathy in behalf of the mother and very much modifying public sentiment with reference to the accused. Although the elder Walworth was a splendid looking man, there is a bare possibility there was a similar taint in the blood of both father and son, which resulted in the taking of the life of the former by the latter. From the peculiar relation of the deceased to the accused, there will be a disposition to deal gently with his memory, and probably the most claimed will be that both the slayer and slain, at the time of the tragedy, were insane. It may be pretty safely assumed, in the view of this testimony, that your Walworth will not be found guilty of murder in the first degree even if the jury should not be convinced that he was insane. There are already doubts in the minds public, is which the jury are likely to partake, that will pretty effectually preclude absolute conviction.

      The Quincy Daily Whig, Wednesday, June 11, 1873, page 1, Section' Front page
      young Walworth arraigned. New York, June 11.--Frank H Walworth was arraigned in the Court of Over and Terminer today on the charge of having murdered his father. He pleaded, though his counsel, Judge Garvin, "not guilty." The counsil for the defense are to arrange with the District Attorney for a day of trial, which will be in about two weeks.

      The Quincy Daily Whig, Tuesday, June 24, 1873, page 1, Section; Front page
      Trial of Young Walworth --New York June 24-- The trial of young Walworth for the shooting of his father commenced in the Court of Oyer and Treminer, to day. The court room was Crowed. The mother and two young brothers of the defendant sat near him; also Reverend Mr. Backhouse, husband of the sister of Mrs. Walworth and several other friends.

      The Walworth Trial --- Yesterday's Proceedings -- Testimony of Mrs. Walworth
      New York June 26 [1873]-- Mrs. Ellen Hardin Walworth, mother of the murderer, testified that she was married to M. [Mansfield] F.[Tracy] Walworth at Saratoga, in 1852, resided there until 1861, when she went to Kentucky, and remained there until 1867, without her husband. She was 15 months a Department Clerk at Washington, when she returned to Saratoga and opened a boarding house. During this time her husband made occasional lengthy visits, but she has not seen him for two years. A divorce was obtained in April 1871. The deceased very frequently wrote to his former wife, but some of his letters never reached her. On the Friday before the murder, Frank went fishing with his younger brother to Saratoga Lake, and returned about six o'clock in the evening and retired early. On Saturday he was arranging his clothes, books and other things, and went swimming in the grove. On Sunday he slept until late. Some young friends of his called in the afternoon and they went to walk in the woods. He wrote a letter on that day and asked me for some note paper, which I gave him. On Monday morning I came down early and seeing Frank in the hall said, "your are up early." He made some casual reply and went out the front door. I thought he had gone to the springs and at the breakfast table I asked why he did not return. Some one said he had gone away and left a message that if he was not back to supper he would not be home that day. I went to his room and on looking around found an empty envelope in the hand writing of M. T. Walworth. I telegraphed to father Walworth and to Judge Barbour, but could ascertain nothing about him, and I then believed he had gone to Troy. While she lived with M. T. Walworth, he always carried a pistol. She was given a large package of letters by Frank under the promise that she would not read them. They were from Mr. Walworth. She had also found several of his letters since his death in Frank's secretary. Walworth's last letter to his wife, dated May 30th is as follows: "Prepare yourself for the inevitable. I am getting over my wasting fever; I am going to, call on my children; my heart is starving for their caresses. I will see them peacefully if I can, but with a tragedy if I must. Keep Frank Walworth out of my way; you do not rouse the frenzy that is within me. I want to see my children. There is a reasonable way to lead now; I am going to see my children; I am a broken hearted desperado. Save this letter for the lawyer and courts if you please; God is my lawyer now, not the remorseless brutal God that Eliza Backus and C. E. Walworth Worship."

      July 1- The Walworth triai was continued this morning. Dr. J. P. Gray, of the Utica Lunatic Asylum, testified to the nature of eplilepsy and said the acts committed by the prisoner showed his case was baseded entirely on the truth of the facts stated.

      The Quincy Whig and Republican. Monday June 9 1873
      The Walworth Parricide
      A very large degree of interest has been attracted in all parts of the county to the killing of Mansfield T. Walworth by his son, Frank H. Walworth, at New York the other day, not merely on account of the prominence of the family with which the parricide and his victim were connected, but the unnatural character of the crime. Young Walworth is represented to be a mere boy, being only 19 years of age, while the father was in the very hey-day of life, having just turned forty-one years. This crime has been the means of bringing to light a terrible family scandal, which indirectly led to its commission, and which, but for these events, might have remained known to a comparatively small circle. The wife of the deceased Walworth, who is mother of the young parricide was Miss Nellie Hardin, daughter of the late Gen. John J. Hardin, of Jacksonville in this State, about thirty years ago a popular and prominent Whig Politician of Illinois, having represented the Jacksonville District in Congress, and who was killed at Beuna Vista. Miss Hardin is well remembered by the citizens of Jakcsonville about twenty-five years ago, where she resided with her widowed mother for some years after the death of her distinguished father. Some twenty years ago Mrs. Hardin married the distinguished Chancellor Walworth, one of the most prominent and learned, as well as reputable citizens of the State of New York, and soon afterwards, the daughter married the Chancellor’s son, who has just lost his life at the hands of his son-and the latter was the earliest born after that marriage. It is now alleged that improper relations subsisted between Mansfield Walworth and Miss Hardin before their marriage; but however that may be, it is evident that quarrels eventually arose between them, which resulted in a separation and final divorce, at first with alimony for the wife, but this was subsequently surrendered. The quarrel appears to have continued, notwithstanding the separation of the parties, young Walworth taking the side of his mother. According to the statement of the latter, he had on opportunity of going to Europe with his uncle-his father’s brother-but was unwilling to do so without making some arrangement that would secure his mother from further annoyance from this source. For this purpose he says he went to New York and the interview took place which resulted in the death of the father. The statement made by Young Walworth at the Coroner’s inquest over his father’s remains, betrays an apparent insensibility to the character of his crime. He says; “I am guilty of no crime. My father treated my mother very cruelly for years. Incensed against his own father for putting his little share of property in trust, so that my mother and finally got something out of it, my father kept writing letter to my mother, full of imprecation among other thing; “I will kill your boys and defeat the d-d scoundrel in his grave, and cut off his d-d name forever.”He also threatened my mother’s life. About three years ago he beat my mother cruelly. I was not present, but saw the marks.”

      New York June 16 [1873]- The Trial of young Walworth for the shooting his father, Mansfield Tracy Walworth, was resumed this morning. About thirty friends and relatives of the prisoner were in court in deep mourning. The prisoner's mother sat beside him. The other relatives present were Mrs. Chancellor Walworth, Rev. Clarence Walworth, brother of the deceased, three young sister and young brother of the deceased, Gen. Hardin and L. Hardin, uncles of the accused, Rev. Dr. Backus and wife, brother-in-law and sister of the deceased. Clarence A. Walworth, Catholic clergyman testified he was the oldest and only brother of the deceased. He made no allusion to family scandals expected to be paraded for the defence, and said he knew the accused from his infancy, that he was a kind, gentle and courteous youth, whose character was as near perfect as may be. The witness contemplated traveling in Europe a year with the prisoner for companion, and on that subject read a letter from him in Albany, dated the Sunday before the tragedy. Monday, before receiving the letter, he got a telegram from the prisoner's mother, saying Frank had gone to New York, she feared, to meet his father. The next communication was a telegram. Tuesday, announcing that Frank had shot his father.

      The Quincy Daly Whig, Tuseday, June 24, 1873, page 1; section; Front Page
      Trial of Young Walworth New York, June 25-- A Jury having been obtained in the Walworth cas, Assistant District Attorney Rollins opened for the prosecution, reviewing the details of the tragedy, and say the defendant had traveled 300 miles to commit the crime. The testimony for the prosecution has begun. The prisoner is attended by his mother and younger brother.

      The Quincy Daily Whig, Saturday, July 05, 1873, page 1, Section; Front page
      Frank H. Walworth sentenced to Imprisonment for Life. New York, July5-- Frank H. Walworth, who shot his father and has been convicted of murder in the second degree, was sentenced this morning to imprisonment for life. Walworth was attended in court by his mother, brother, and sisters and a number of relatives and friends. Hi counsel, except Mr. Beach, were present. Mr. O'Conor, setting beside the young criminal. Walworth preserved the demeanor which has characterized him throughout the trial. Apparently wholly insensible of the position he occupies in the estimation of the great body of people, he heard, unmoved, the sentence to the State prison for life, and at the close retired from the Court Room accompanied by his mother and the Sheriff''s Officers.

      The Quincy Daily Whig, Friday, June 27, 1873, page 1, Section; Front page

      Proceedings To-day--Letter from Mansfield T. Walworth
      New York June 27-- Walworth's trial was resumed to-day before a crowed court room. Many women, young and old, were present, and the prisoner, as on previous day, was surrounded by his relatives. The argument was continued by counsel on the admission as evidence of a letter of the deceased dated August 12th 1882 [?]; but Judge Davis decided he would admit only such portions as continued threats. Charles O'Conor then read the admitted portions of a letter from the deceased. When the District Attorney withdrew his objections, and the whole letter was read. It was addressed to Mrs. Walworth and opens with a command to listen to the terrible words there contained for they will show her how keenly and fiercely the writer feels the humiliation of Reuben H. Walworth, He then traduces in the grossest terms the memory of his father, assails vilely his brothers and sister, and wife, and in awful language threatens, in case his wife will not see that he has something for his entire life to kill Frank and wipe out the name of Walworth forever. The closing part of the letter was characterized, in a special manner, by obscenity and blasphemy, and when the reading was finished, Mrs. Walworth was recalled and testified she once screamed for help, when her husband assaulted her and Frank entered their room saying. "Be quiet, Father." He remained until his father had left. When Frank red the letter just introduced, he became violently excited, frothed at the mouth, then remained perfectly rigid for an hour, when he fell into a deep sleep. Similar paroxysms seized him subsequently, and once when witness showed him a brused on her arm made by the deceased, he acted in a very peculiar manner.

      The Walworth Pardon Movement Denied. [31 Jul 1873] The Walworth Pardon. It seems the District Attorney's office has nob eeen addressed upon the subject of the pardon for Frank E. Walworth; that there is no petition for his pardon in circulation; and that the published letter relative to it purporting to come from the pardon clerk at Albany was written in this City.

      [no date] The Walworth Letters Letters from Mansfield Tracy Walworth to his wife. It has been given out that much light would-be thrown on the violent character of Mansfield Tracy Walworth, who was shot by the hands of his own son, Frank. H. Walworth at New York, a few weeks ago, by the production of the letter of the elder Walworth on the trial of the young parricide, which is now in progress. The following, which is said to be the last letter ever written by Walworth to his wife, was produced in the evidence on Thursday last; Seve O'Clock in the morning May 30.
      "Prepare yourself for the inevitable. I am getting over my wasting fever, and shall be out of my room in a few days. I am going to call on my children. My heart is starving for their caresses. Make the interview, when I come, just as easy and pleasant as possible. I cannot stay from them much longer. I will see them, peaceable, if I can, or with tragedy, if I must. Their little faces haunt me, as they are mine. Popish cruelty must bend to the demand of a father's heart, or the Walworth name goes out in blood. Keep Frank Walworth out of my way; you have taught hem to hate me, and his presence is an obstruction in my way that will only excite fatal exasperation. I [can't read until] little girls and come away peacefully. Beware that you do not in any way arouse the frenzy which you have know to exist since you left me. There is a reasonable way to deal with me. I shall have my right under that decree with no further legal belay or expense. I have conceded promptly everything to you under that decree and I am going to see my children and you shall not bring them up to hate their loving father. Eliza Backus has written to me that you will do it if you can .... your associations with them, and then I shall shoot you and myself on those doorsteps, for I have nothing further to live for. Do right, Ellen Hardin and you will find me prompt to do right. I am a broken hearted desperado. Save this letter for the lawyers and courts, if you please; God is my lawyer not not the remorseless brutal god that Eliza Backus and C. E. Walworth worship; but god that planted love for my little girls in my heart, and that says to the bereft tiger. "Kill." Oh, you wrench that kept me two years from the little hands and hearts that love me. Your only excuse was poverty and misfortunes. Should my children refuse to speak [missing word until] and I shall say to myself that she is teaching them all to hate a broken-heated father. All is lost and a tragedy must come. When I know from the conduct of the little girls that you have taught them to hate me, two pistol shots shall ring about that house, one slaying you and the other myself. I know that you have not personal fear--no more than I have--but we both must die when that discovery reaches my brain that you have estranged my young children from me; you shall have your life. If my little girls do not love me, then my life is valueless, and I shall die with a feeling of luxury and rest. But you will have to attend me to the spirit land the God of Justice demands it. If you do right, under that decree, all may be well; but now me Heart is agonized for my little children. If you have common [the rest missing] "
      The following is the letter which is said to have so much excited young Walworth and is dated at the Franklin Pub. Hous of Carlton and Co. Under the Tenth Ave. Hotel, New York.
      "Listen to these terrible words, they will show you how keenly and fiercely
      feel the humiliation of Reuben H. Walworth. Reuben H. Walworth always hated anyone who was high spirited and [missing words] ways liked a [words missing] .hypocrite like Eliza Backus and Clarence Walworth. Althught he saw my ambitious spirit he hated because it would not toady Yankee ideas. [missing words] cradle, and he persecuted me and headed me off in every [words missing] could not please him in anything because I would not [missing words] to him about [missing words] Everything that I ever wrung from him, even my pay in the Speke case was wrung, form his fears and the only reason that he did not omit my name from his will altogether was that he respected my family and hoped that I would write hi life. He [the rest missing]

      28 July 1873, The Quincy Daily Whig, Monday, Jul 28, 1873, page 1
      New York, July 27.-- The News says a petition has ben presented to Gov. Dix signed by many prominent men in the State of New York, to grant youn Walworth a pardon. The proceedings have been kept very quiet and Gov. Dix has written to Judge Noah Davis, asking him to transmit him a copy of all the testimony, letter and records in the case.

      The Quincy Daily Whig; Wednesday, July, 09, 1873, page 1, section; Front Page

      The treatment of Young Walworth-- New York July 24-- The Warden of Sing Sing Prison give a complete denial to the stories recently published of special favors being granted to the convict Walworth. He says, "Young Walworth is treated just the same as other prisoners. When it was known that he was coming, an application was made by those having charge of the show shop, as they wanted a man in their office who was not a common thief and I sent them Walworth. As to his refusing food, he has been suffering a few day from sickness brought about by confinement and change of mode of life. He has seen his mother, but on on else here, but three times. His cell is furnished the same as others. He received no better treatment or attention than any of the other prisoners.

      The Quincy Daily Whig, Tuesday, July 08, 1873, page 1, Section; Front page
      Young Walworth to go to Sing Sing Today
      New York, July 8--By the direction of the Sheriff, yong Walworth was moved from the quarters in Tombs thither occupied by him a cell on murderer's row It is said when the friends of Walworth [missing words] of this [word missing] they were very much annoyed. Yesterday a deposition including Mrs. Walworth, Gen. Hardin and Thurow Weed, waite up sheriff Brenen to ascertain if it was not possible to place Walworth in some other cell not in the neighborhood of convicted felons. The sheriff commented on the deposition that he had [too garbled to read] The deposition requested the Sheriff to keep Walworth in the Tombs as long as he could, but the Sheriff expressed a determination to send him to Sing Sing tomorrow.

      The Quincy Dailey Whig, Thursday, July, 09, 1873, page 1, section; Front Page
      The jury in the Walworth Case yesterday returned a verdict against Frank H. Walworth for killing his father of "murder in the second degree." It was scarcely anticipated that young Walworth would be convicted of murder in the first degree, and now an application fro ane trial is highly probably THE WALWORTH CASE The verdict, Young Walworth found guilty of murder in the second degree. New York, July 2-- Judge Davis said that if the Jury were satisfied from the evidence that young Walworth caem to New York with the intent to murder in the first degree; but if the crime was committed in a sudden manner, in an instant it would be murder in the second degree, Judge Davis, continuing, said that the defence interposed was two fold--that the prisoner was insane at the time of the act, and secondly, that the act was done in self-defense. The jury retired about 3 o'clock, and at 8:10 brought in a verdict of murder in the second degree.

      The Quincy Dailey Whig, Wednesday, July, 09, 1873, Page 1, Section; Front page
      Removel of Young Walwoth to Sing Sing.
      New York, July 9--Young Walworth was taken from tombs today in company with other crminals and dirven to the Hudson River R.R. Dept en route for Sing Sing. Mrs. Walworth was at the Tombs in a carriage when her son was brought out. She requested that he might be conveyed with a Deputy Sheriff in a carriage to the R.R. station. This request was refused. Young Walworth was Ironed like other prisoners and placed with them in the prison van.

      The Quincy Daily Herald, Friday, December, 21, 1883, page 4, Section; none
      Several years ago a tragedy of a most sensational character was enacted in New York. Frank H. Walworth, a grandson of the eminent jurist, Chancellor Walworth, and also of Colonel Hardin, of Illinois, shot his father, Mansfield Tracy Walworth, a novelist of considerable reputation, who had been for some time separated from his wife, the mother of the parricide. The incident was the leading sensation of the period. After a trial, the incidents and evidence in which were fully reported in all the leading journals of the country, young Walworth was found guilty, and sentenced to imprisonment in the penitentiary for life. The plea of insanity had been urged at the trial. Sentimental people interested themselves in behalf of the youth. Petitions with long list of name were presented to Governor, and Frank H. Walwort, after a period of service in the State Prison at Albany, was pardoned. For several years the public has known nothing of the parricide. The telegrams announce that Frank H. Walworth was married last evening at Mechanicsville, New York to Miss Corinne B. Bramlette, a daughter of the ex-Governor Thomas B. Bramlette, of Kentucky.

      The Quincy Daily Whig, Monday, Jul 28, 1873, page 1, Section; Front Page
      A novelist is said to be already on way to secure from Gov. Dix the pardon of young Walworth, the parricide. Many who believe that the elder Walworth's conduct toward his family was brutal in the exstream, will regard any such act of executive clemency as highly injudicious.

      The Quincy Dailey Whig, Tuesday, July 15, 1873, page 2, Section; none
      The humorous comments of young Walworth on the prison uniform and other matters, while en route to Sing Sing, the other day, however amusing they may be to those who regard him as a sort of a hero, indicate that he either had no adequate conception of the fate in store for him, or was determined to "brave it out" or--which is more probable-that he b elived that he would soon be released under an executive pardon. In fact, he has never manifested evidence that he had anything like a true conception of the terrible character of his crime, or that in killing his father, he had not done something which entitled him to the thanks and admiration of the world. But, that a young man scarcely out of his "teens," with all the advantages which education, social and hereditary position (if not wealth) could give him, should stand at the threshold of a prison and, as he sees the doors close which shut him out forever from association with the honorable and virtuous of man and woman-kind, and shut him in the society of the most degraded and abandoned of his . . .

      The Quincy Daily Whig, Monday, Jul 07, 1873, page 2, Section; none
      Walworth on his way to the Tombs after sentence, said "I am glad I did not have to endure the long lecture I anticipated Judge Davis would inflict upon me, I thoroughly understand my position, and did not desire any instruction in relation thereto. I simply wish time to arrange my affars, and I shall then submit myself to my fate with all the equanimity I can command." Upon being taken to his cell, he parted cheerfully with the Deputy Seriff, saying that his was a case which he thoroughly understood, but did not blame the world for not understanding.

      The Fall of the House of Walworth
      By GEOFFREY O'BRIENReviewed by Brooke Allen

      True Crime books are one of the world's great guilty pleasures. Why tales of gruesome murders should make for such delicious reading is a mystery in its own right, and one that will probably never be fully explained. When such murders involve people in high places an extra frisson is added, along with the perhaps unworthy satisfaction of seeing the mighty humbled.

      But Geoffrey O'Brien's Fall of the House of Walworth: A Tale of Madness and Murder in Gilded Age America, isn't this type of book: instead of providing readers with a dose of Schadenfreude and agreeable shudders, it will probably bathe them in an overwhelming sense of sadness and waste. Yes, it's True Crime, but this story of a nineteenth-century parricide is tragic and pathetic rather than pleasantly gory. In truth it is more pathetic than tragic, for the Walworth family's downfall stemmed not from their own sins (as in real tragedies) but rather from a terrible mental illness that might have been controllable with medications had the Walworth family lived a century later.

      The Walworths owed their position at the top of nineteenth-century Saratoga society to the energies of their patriarch Reuben Hyde Walworth, the last of the New York State Chancellors to serve before the position was abolished in 1848. Chancellor Walworth (who continued to enjoy the title until his death in 1867) was a considerable grandee in his day, and his two sons grew up in an atmosphere of privilege and prestige. The elder, Clarence, converted to Catholicism under the influence of the Oxford Movement and became a powerful force within the church. Mansfield, ten years younger, was a third-rate littérateur with delusions of greatness; his famous name helped to sell his highflown romances, which were preposterous even by the over-the-top standards of the day.

      At what point Mansfield's eccentricities crossed the line into true mania is unclear, though some astonishingly twisted passages O'Brien has included from Mansfield's novels would seem to indicate that it was earlier than his wife Ellen might have realized. He had married Ellen Hardin, an energetic and highly intelligent woman, in 1852, and the couple would produce five children over the next few years. They had not been married long when Mansfield began exhibiting definite signs of mania and, worse, became extremely abusive, often beating Ellen and (it is implied) possibly raping her as well. After years of enduring such treatment Ellen was driven to the desperate expedient, very much taboo in her time and social class, of divorce; she stayed with the children in Pine Grove, the Walworths' Saratoga estate, while Mansfield moved into bachelor digs in New York City.

      But absence from Ellen seemed only to inflame Mansfield's rage and he began harassing her with threatening, demanding, and frequently obscene letters of which the following is typical:
      That same pleading, ever-present determination is working me up to the final tragedy. I go down in five minutes to see if my lawyer has received and filed the agreement signed. But my superhuman second sight tells me that you have again prevaricated, and that Chancellor Walworth's younger son must be a murderer and a suicide. So be it!...You are pushing your doom….All the intensity of hate in my life is centered on you. Listen for the crack of the pistol!
      Protectively, Ellen tried to keep the extent of his threats a secret from their children, but in the end their nineteen-year-old son Frank learned what was going on. Until that time a normal and well-liked boy, he soon became brooding and distracted. Eventually, after a particularly frightening flurry of letters, he went down to the city and booked a room at the Sturtevant Hotel, invited his father to visit him there, and shot him.

      Was the crime premeditated or, as Frank's defense team claimed, self-defense? Was Mansfield actually threatening his son at that moment or did Frank shoot him in cold blood? The answers to these questions were never finally determined, but Frank was convicted of murder in the second degree and sentenced to life in prison. The question of whether the sentence was a just one fascinated New York society. There were those, as there always are, who enjoyed seeing the mighty fallen: "There was a certain satisfaction in seeing this foppish mother's boy from Saratoga, the spoiled product of boarding schools and starched cotillions, tossed among the worldly-wise pimps, whores, and confidence men…." Others sympathized with a young man they saw as having chivalrously protected his mother from the depredations of a husband who had truly turned into a fiend; they thought the dread crime of parricide to have been mitigated by the circumstances.

      Frank behaved with dignity throughout the trial and its attendant media circus, which could be just as toxic then, it seems, as now. He was transported from the Tombs in Manhattan up to Sing Sing, where his health began to deteriorate. Appeals were ignored, for he was being turned into an example: there had been too many recent cases of VIPs getting special treatment in the courts, and it was important for the New York judicial system to establish that a Chancellor's grandson was no better, before the law, than anyone else. But in 1877 a new governor took office, one more sympathetic to Frank's plight, and granted the young man an official pardon. Frank came home to Saratoga and began belatedly studying for a career in law. He took up archery and won the national championship. He married and fathered a daughter.

      But he never recovered the health he had lost in prison and he died in 1886, just a few months after the birth of his little girl. Ellen's other children fared not much better. One became a nun-a fate, as far as her intellectual mother was concerned, even worse than death. Another son, Tracy, inherited his father's madness and died a suicide. Reubena, the most emotionally stable of the family and her mother's strong right arm, died from typhoid that she contracted while nursing wounded soldiers from the Spanish-American war. The heartbroken Ellen continued her work as an educator and civic activist, co-founding, among other projects, the Daughters of the American Revolution.

      It's all terribly sad, and one wonders why the author has chosen to revive this grim and unedifying tale. None of its characters seizes the imagination, and while their connection with the Chancellor would have rendered them interesting to their contemporaries it means nothing to today's readers. It seems clear that the unfortunate Mansfield was suffering from some horrific mental illness-probably an extreme form of bipolar disorder-that had nothing particular to do with his actual marriage or circumstances. The other major players, Frank and Ellen, remain ciphers: in the manner of upper-class WASPs of their era they kept their emotions to themselves and carefully ignored unpleasantness, even in their diaries, where they couched their feelings in vague generalizations or flowery Byronic verse. O'Brien digs around in these diaries but strikes no gold. Instead, he has had to pad out his narrative with irrelevant details about the trial or about Saratoga society. The Walworths, in the end, were a pitiable family, and their story would probably have best been left forgotten.

      Frank returned to Saratoga, for a short three years of billiards and archery, and a marriage, before the illnesses instilled into his lungs during prison killed him. His mother outlived Frank and other children, running a school, writing a book about the Battle of Saratoga, and helping to found the Daughters of the American Revolution. Frank's brother Tracy lived as a hermit in the Virginia woods before he killed himself in 1928. Frank's baby daughter was to be the last resident of the Chancellor's grand home, living in seclusion until she died in 1952. O'Brien can't resist bringing in other related episodes of madness to this bizarre story. The superintendent of an asylum who testified to Frank's insanity was years later shot by a man who thought himself an ambassador from heaven and who felt "insane joy" at having succeeded in his mission. The owner of the hotel where Frank shot his father was eventually admitted to an asylum, and a headline proclaimed, "Another Hotel Proprietor Insane." It isn't all madness; O'Brien gives observations, for instance, about Saratoga's place as a society watering-hole, and the region's participation in the Civil War. The family saga, however, makes this a page-turner. It is as lurid in some ways as Mansfield's plots, but far better written.