Point Isabel, Texas, in Civil War


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, April 13, 1861

The April 13, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly features news of the Civil War with important content on slavery and Abraham Lincoln. Newspaper thumbnails will take you to a large, readable version of that page.


Point Isabel, Texas

Point Isabel Description

A Slave Murder

Ft. Pickens

Scenes Around Ft. Pickens

Abe Lincoln Cartoon

Abe Lincoln Cartoon


A Slave Family







VOL. V.—No. 224.]



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the Year 1861, by Harper & Brothers, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.



WE publish herewith a portrait of Mrs. General Gaines, the heroine of the most remarkable lawsuit ever prosecuted in our civil courts. This lady has just won a case which entitles her to a property variously estimated at from ten to fifteen millions of dollars. The circumstances which gave rise to that case constitute a romance stranger than the boldest fancies of novel writers.

Just sixty years ago a young man, handsome, polished, brave, energetic, who, from some strange whim, had devoted himself to a life of trade among the Indians and French settlers on the Mississippi, spent a winter in the American metropolis of that day—Philadelphia. The young man's name was DANIEL CLARK. He was fond of gayety and social pleasures. In some social haunt he met a French lady of uncommon beauty and rare wit, named ZULIME CARRIER. She was living with a Frenchman named Lagrange, a common adventurer, whether legitimately married to him or not it is now not easy to discover. In 1805 this lady left Lagrange, and went to live with Daniel Clark. The theory accepted by the Supreme Court of the United States is that Zulime Carrier was never married to Lagrange, and that she was married, privately, to Daniel Clark. In 1806, at Philadelphia, the only issue of her union with Clark—Myra, the present Mrs. Gaines—was born.

After the birth of this child it would seem that Clark sent Zulime to New Orleans, and prosecuted his amatory career at Philadelphia with the gay freedom of a bachelor. He engaged himself in marriage to the celebrated Miss Caton, who after-ward married the Marquis of Wellesley. He formed other connections, the offspring of which have figured in the Gaines case. After a time Zulime returned to Philadelphia, and claimed her rights as a wife. Clark denied her right to the title, and she was unable to maintain it. She seems herself to have recognized the feebleness of her claim ; for soon afterward she married or accepted the protection of a Dr. Gardette, with whom she lived till his death.

Meanwhile Daniel Clark grew tired of Capua, and returned to New Orleans. He formed extensive business connections, and being gifted with rare mercantile capacity, made money in every thing he touched. He soon became the leading merchant on the Mississippi. Those were the days when fortunes were made in judicious trading with the Indians. Daniel Clark was one of the wise men who saw the opportunity and turned it to ac-

count. When his daughter Myra was yet a child, her father was a rich man, whose wealth was daily increasing.

It does not appear that he ever took steps to re-unite his fortunes with those of his much-loved

Zulime. But he certainly took charge of her child Myra, had her properly educated, and testified much affection for her on all occasions.

In 1813 Daniel Clark died, leaving an immense fortune, mostly invested in land in New Orleans

and other cities on the Mississippi. A will was produced, bequeathing his fortune to his mother and to the city of New Orleans. The legatees and executors entered into possession. Some thirteen years afterward Myra, his daughter, married a Mr. Whitney, of New Orleans, and set up a claim as heir to the property. Thus the great Gaines suit began. Myra claimed to be the only legitimate daughter of Daniel Clark, and sought to have the above-mentioned will set aside. It was natural that, where so much property was at stake, the claim should be hotly contested. It was so; and Mr. Whitney, Myra's husband, died during the first campaign in the war. His widow —young, beautiful, and as energetic as her father —continued to prosecute the suit. Meeting General Gaines shortly afterward, she married him, and he espoused her cause with warmth. The case was tried and lost at New Orleans : it was carried to the Supreme Bench at Washington, and lost there too. In 1852 the hopes of Mrs. Gaines seemed utterly extinguished, and the death of General Gaines appeared to crush out the last ember of expectation.

But the lady had an indomitable spirit. After the judgment of 1852 a will was discovered, duly executed by Daniel Clark, certifying that Myra was his only legitimate child, and creating her his sole heir. This will Mrs. Gaines offered for probate, and sued the possessors of her father's property thereupon. In the New Orleans Court the case went against her. She appealed again to Washington ; and after several years of tedious legal proceedings, she obtained a judgment on March 14, 1861, confirming the will, declaring her the only rightful heir of Daniel Clark, and entitling her not only to the whole property left by him, but to the rents of the same during the thirty odd years which had elapsed since she first set up her claim.

So the case now stands. The judgment was de-livered by Mr. Justice Wayne, of Georgia, who significantly remarked that the Supreme Court would have their decree carried out in Louisiana. No one knows how far the secession of that State may have impaired the power of the United States Supreme Court within the State limits. Mr. Justice Wayne's diction looks as though the judgment would be acknowledged. If it is, Mrs. General Gaines will soon be the richest woman in America. The portrait which we publish herewith reveals something of the indomitable spirit and energetic will which has enabled this lady to prosecute her case through so many courts, and for so many weary years.


Mrs. Gaines
Point Isabel, Texas, In Civil War

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