While most eyes focused on far-flung southern battlefields in October 1862, one New Yorker’s eyes focused on a particular young lady — and the farther and the sooner the Lothario could get her from the Empire State, the better.
If she was from New York.
Circa-October 20 or so, “a man came to one of our hotels with a lady,” a Bangor newspaper reported on the handsome couple arriving in the Queen City, likely via the Maine Central Railroad. Asked to sign the hotel’s register, the gentleman wrote, “H.S. Lombard and lady, Watkins, New York.”
The desk clerk never blinked as he gazed over the counter at the comfortably dressed couple. “The man was looked upon as any gentleman coming to a public house,” the paper commented in a wink-wink nod to similar men who liked to escort women, usually not their wives or at least somebody else’s, to Bangor hotels.
Referring to Mr. Lombard, the paper observed, “So little notice was taken of him that no one observed that the ‘lady’ appeared every day under a new form.” Apparently Lombard liked shapely women, and he swept a new “lady” through the hotel’s doors daily.
Clinging to the arm of Lombard, “his wife” — “the last lady” called so — walked through the doors around October 24 or so. She was pretty — and pretty young, as the desk clerk and Bangor authorities learned after her parents boiled up from Ellsworth. Dad was probably steaming mad, and we can imagine Mom wielding a rolling pin.
Mrs. Lombard du jour “was only 17 years of age,” hailed from Ellsworth, “and consequently her ‘parients,’ [sic] having missed her, came up and found her comfortably ensconsed [sic] under the protection of this ‘lovier’ [sic]” in the hotel, the Bangor paper chortled.
Imagine that! A flatlander was squiring a 17-year-old Ellsworth girl under the roof of our favorite hotel! Well, we never …
Mr. Lombard “had promised to marry her, for perhaps the half dozenth victim,” but her parents bundled their precocious daughter back to Ellsworth. A Bangor policeman named Walker “was put on the man’s track, and arrested him.”
Hauled into Bangor Police Court, Lombard “then gave his name as Brainard,” the press chortled. “It is said he has a wife somewhere in New York.”
A reporter sat in while Lombard/Brainard met a Bangor judge. “The scamp had the hardihood to tell the judge that though Brainard was his name, he never got married under it.” Not even blinking, the judge bound the suspect “over in the sum of $100,” which was “a good comfortable little sum to run away from, if the man gets sureties.”
Source: Republic Journal, Friday, October 31, 1862
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Brian Swartz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He enjoys hearing from Civil War buffs interested in Maine’s involvement in the war.