Saturday, October 18, 2014

HOW W.A. MET ANNA : THE OFFICIAL VERSION?

EXCERPT FROM EMPTY MANSIONS by BILL DEDMAN and PAUL CLARK NEWELL JR.

(page 47) 

"W.A.'s eyes fell on Anna, who was fifteen or sixteen.  After she was well into her twenties she would become his second wife and the mother of two daughters, Andree and Huguette.

There are competing stories of how W. A met Anna.  The family version, the official version, has W. A. spotting her of the Fourth of July in a community pageant in which she played a chaste statue of Liberty.  Anna loved to sing and play music, but she was shy and reserved in public.  The teenager stood a shapely five feet four with cascading brown hair, a prominent round chin, and an inviting gap toothed smile.  W. A recognized her talents immediately.

The unofficial version, printed in Anti- Clark newspapers casts Anna as the forward one...  According to this story, Anna called on a banker in Butte, asking him to sponsor her acting career.  That man declined but suggested that she contact another banker who might receive her more generously, W.A. Clark.

The family also put forward another story about Anna, one describing her as the daughter of an honored physician who had died before the wealthy W.A. Clark became her guardian and she his ward, as though she were an orphan and in need of his legal and financial protection.  The facts were quite different, however. Anna's father wasn't quite a doctor, and he was very much alive.

Anna Eugenia LaChapelle was born in the Michigan copper mining town of Red Jacket, now known as Calument, on March 10, 1878.  Her parents were immigrants from Montreal, in French-speaking Quebec, who had arrived in the United States six years earlier as part of a great French Canadian wave of immigration.  The family later moved to Butte, settling in one of the rougher neighborhoods on the Butte hill, right below the smoke-belching smelters...  Anna was the oldest of three children... "

The LaChapelles rented out rooms to miners."

 

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