Part 11:
While the crash of the Citizens' National Bank in Oberlin and its effect on its president, Charles T. Beckwith, made for the biggest human interest story of the Cassie Chadwick banking scandal, it was the suit filed by Herbert E. Newton, the Brookline, Massachusetts, financier that sounded the alert there was something fishy about the free-spending woman from Cleveland.

And as soon as Newton's suit became widely known, so did a rumor that had been circulating in northern Ohio for years — that Mrs. Cassie L. Chadwick, in a previous life, had been Lydia Devere, the clairvoyant forger who'd spent time in the Ohio Penitentiary. Well, this was more than a rumor to several people, but their warnings about the woman were ignored until Mrs. Chadwick ran into legal problems.

You may recall that on the marriage license it was stated Cassie L. Hoover was born in New York State. That was an attempt to separate herself from Lydia Devere, whose Canadian birth and real name (Elizabeth Bigley) were well known to authorities.

Also, Andrew Carnegie finally became aware that his signature appeared on notes held by Mrs. Cassie Chadwick of Cleveland, who'd told people she was his illegitimate daughter. Carnegie said he didn't know the woman and certainly had not signed any documents on her behalf. However, he was flattered that his signature — even when forged — was worth more than a million dollars.

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Mrs. Chadwick had help from God
While Mrs. Chadwick hadn't had luck in being accepted by the right people in Cleveland, she knew how to take advantage of her location. A little more than a mile from her home was Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, attended by John D. Rockefeller, whose home also was about a mile from the Chadwicks.

Mrs. Chadwick wasn't a churchgoer, but that didn't stop her from visiting Euclid Avenue Baptist Church to talk to the pastor, the Rev. Charles A. Eaton, telling him she was seeking financial advice, specifically, where she could raise money. She showed him an attest signed by Iri Reynolds of the Wade Park Bank, saying he held $5,000,000 worth of her securities.

The Rev. Eaton must have been taken aback, but he gave her the obvious reply: She should seek a loan from Cleveland bankers. She managed to convince him she had a good reason not to do that. She didn't want bankers in her hometown to be aware of her temporary financial embarrassment. I'm sure she didn't admit she already knew the Rev. Eaton had a well-connected brother who was a Boston lawyer.

Long story short, the pastor agreed to contact his brother, John E. Eaton, who soon received a phony note for $500,000 bearing Andrew Carnegie's signature, plus a list of securities. As a favor to his brother, lawyer Eaton set out to connect Mrs. Chadwick with a banker. She wanted to borrow $200,000, but was turned down.

Next, lawyer Eaton turned to one of his clients:

Chicago Sunday Tribune, December 11, 1904
Herbert E. Newton, the Brookline, Massachusetts, financier, was Mrs. Chadwick’s next victim. The woman of mythical millions was introduced by John E. Eaton, an attorney who was a relative of the Rev. Charles A. Eaton, pastor of Euclid Avenue Baptist Church of Cleveland, attended by John D. Rockefeller. Newton met Mrs. Chadwick in Boston.

“Mrs. Chadwick came to Boston last April,” said Mr. Newton. “She was sent here by the Rev. Charles A. Eaton, pastor of the Euclid Avenue Baptist Church of Cleveland. Dr. Eaton had been appealed to by her as a woman in distress, and had acted as a pastor to help her out. She came to the office of Mr. John E. Eaton, in the Tremont Building, where Mr. Eaton is a member of the law firm of Eaton, McKnight & Carver. From Dr. Eaton of Cleveland, she carried his instructions to give her assistance, if, after examination of her securities, her statements could be verified.

“It was in Mr. Eaton’s office in the Tremont Building that Mr. John E. Eaton introduced
Mrs. Chadwick to me. At this meeting, Mrs. Chadwick showed me the securities she held, and among them was the $500,000 note signed ‘Andrew Carnegie,’ and also the certificate signed by Iri Reynolds, which stated that he had in his possession $5,000,000 in securities belonging to Mrs. Chadwick. We communicated with the Rev. Dr. Eaton, and he confirmed the signature of Mr. Iri Reynolds. The signature on the $500,000 Carnegie note was never verified beyond Mrs. Chadwick’s own statements.”

Newton went to Cleveland and interviewed Iri Reynolds, who “personally acknowledged his signature to the certificate of securities, and the strictest inquiry showed that Mr. Reynolds was supposed to enjoy in the city of Cleveland the reputation of being a man of the highest integrity and honor.

“Upon these representations, I decided to help Mrs. Chadwick and agreed to let her have $14,000. I paid the money to John E. Eaton, and he gave Mrs. Chadwick his check. After this first loan, I negotiated with Mrs. Chadwick myself and made the loans under which she became so heavily indebted to me.”

While the bank directors in Oberlin tried to keep their problem quiet after lawyer Bedortha's discovery in July, word reached Newton that there were problems with Mrs. Chadwick's other loans. Just the fact she had those loans and came to him for more money made Newton nervous, and, in November, he filed suit against the woman.
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Somewhere beyond the sea
So where was Cassie Chadwick's husband while she was under suspicion, squirreled away in a New York City hotel suite, being watched by Secret Service men? Dr. Chadwick and his daughter were in Europe, and would remain there for weeks even after his wife was arrested. Those investigating his wife's financial dealings had plenty of questions for Dr. Chadwick, but none of them concerned that $2,500,000 he supposedly received from his wife. Everyone knew it didn't exist, because if it did, Dr. Chadwick's two $25,000 checks to Herbert B. Newton, the troublesome Brookline, Massachusetts financier, wouldn't have bounced. (The doctor's excuse: His wife was supposed to cover them. Truth was, Dr. Chadwick was broke.)

There was much dispute over the actual amount of money Newton had loaned Mrs. Chadwick. Her lawyer, Edmund Powers said Newton arrived at $190,800 by adding in a bonus and the interest on the loan. Newton claimed he'd actually given the woman $190,800.

Karen Abbott, in "The High Priestess of Fraudulent Finance," wrote that Newton loaned Mrs. Chadwick $79,000 from his business, and wrote her a personal check for $25,000 — $104,000. In return, she signed a promissory note for $190,800 without questioning the outrageous interest, which is understandable if she had no intention of paying him anything.

Mrs. Chadwick would claim during a bankruptcy hearing in March, 1905, that she had received $78,000 from Newton, and what he was suing for included $112,800 in interest and a bonus.

Once Newton took action to force the woman to pay, several other creditors jumped into the act, though the other suits filed were by merchants owed much smaller amounts of money. This aroused much public interest, and for several days after Mrs. Chadwick arrived in New York City in late November, she was a virtual prisoner at the Holland House Hotel, which attracted reporters and other curious people, much to the dismay of hotel management, as well as Mrs. Chadwick.

On November 30, Newton's attorneys announced a settlement had been reached with Mrs. Chadwick, and the next day newspapers indicated she had resolved one of her problems, but, of course, she hadn't. What she told Newton's lawyers was her version of, "The check is in the mail." Like Beckwith, Newton and his lawyers finally realized the woman had no intention of making good on her promises. Her arrest was inevitable, and she already was behind bars when this news broke in Ohio:

New York Evening World, December 12, 1904
CLEVELAND, December 12 — The Grand Jury of Cuyahoga County returned two indictments against Mrs. Cassie L. Chadwick this afternoon.

Each indictment contains two counts, one of forgery and one of uttering forged paper. One of the indictments related to the Carnegie note of $500,000, and the other to the note for $250,000, used to borrow money at the Oberlin Bank.

Additional arrests in the case of Mrs. Chadwick that will bring out a story of conspiracy as sensational as anything that thus far has be exposed are anticipated. Five persons in various parts of the United States are under the unremitting surveillance of Secret Service detectives.

These person are all suspected of having guilty knowledge of the swindling schemes of Mrs. Chadwick. It is believed at least one of them is a woman. Their every action during the period of Mrs. Chadwick's gigantic operations is being investigated.

Mrs. Chadwick also was indicted by a federal grand jury, and United States Attorney John J. Sullivan, who would prosecute the case against her, was certain some prominent persons had shared in the proceeds of Mrs. Chadwick’s enormous loans.

One person closely watched was lawyer Edmund W. Powers, though, as far as I know, he was never arrested. Not that it would have done much good, even if Powers were Mrs. Chadwick's secret partner. Though only 49 when the Chadwick case broke, Powers' health soon failed, and within two years he retired from the law, blind and an invalid in the care of his wife at the home in Putnam County, near Oscawana Lake, New York. In 1908, Edmund Powers died.

Speculation over the identities of others who might be arrested for their involvement in Mrs. Chadwick's scam was interrupted in mid-December by the news Herbert Newton and Charles Beckwith weren't the biggest contributors to the woman's gofundme scheme. That title belonged to a Pittsburgh business man who was quite a schemer himself.


1. A multiple choice biography
2. Have card, will swindle
3. My, what big eyes she has
4. Temporarily transgender
5. Kindness is costly
6. Lydia had a little lamb
7. She finds a perfect husband

8. Mansion makeover
9. Time for her big scene
10. Deep pocket fishing
11. He's never heard of her
12. A friend in Pittsburgh
13. Back behind bars
14. Her spirit lives on