From the 11 September 1883 issue of The New York Times.


From the Chicago Tribune, Sept. 10

BRIDGEPORT, Conn., Sept. 9.—In a modest two-story frame house in Washington-avenue, the centre of the aristocracy and culture of this busy manufacturing city, lives Mrs. E. S. W. Jones, widow of Henry Jones, the gentleman who was so frequently mistaken for the late rebel General, Robert E. Lee. She is the daughter of Noah Webster, the lexicographer, and the mother of Dr. Henry Webster Jones, of Chicago, whose disappeareance from that city has created so great a scandal. With her at the present time is Anna M. W. Jones, the wife of the doctor, and the lady whom he is reported to have deserted for a Mrs. Bigelow, of Chicago. The house is the one in which the only child born to Dr. and Mrs. Jones breathed its last, while a mere infant. There also lives Daniel J. Day, who married the sister of Dr. Jones. Both the mother and wife are very much depressed over the scandalous stories which have been put in circulation, and the mother is so prostrated that she is unable to control herself, and will see not even her most intimate friends. The wife, however, bears up better under her grief, as she is sustained by a faith in her husband and a belief that the stories which have been circulated are untrue in part, if not in their entirety. For over 24 years she has been a faithful wife to him, and he has been, she says, a devoted, loving, and indulgent husband. She is a prepossessing lady of about 40 years, of fine figure and graceful carriage, and a face expressive, even to the most casual observer, of culture and refinement. Late this afternoon, just as the sun faded from sight and Washington-avenue was thrown in shadow, she took a short stroll twoard the brow of Golden Hill in company with her brother-in-law, Mr. Day, and returned somewhat refreshed and strengthened by her saunter in the cool, bracing air. Despite a courageous exterior and a firmly expressed faith in her husband, the lady has suffered greatly from the stories circulated as to the escapade of her husband and the absence of any news from him refuting the statements made.

Her story of her separation from her husband, when he left her in Chicago for a long vacation, is as follows: Dr. Webster had been working very hard during the Spring and early Summer, and early in July he decided to take a long vacation. To this end it was decided to break up their home in Ada-street, and on his return to make their future home on the north side of the city. The doctor was plainly overworked, and had suffered both from nervous exhaustion and at times from mental troubles. Seeing that he was overtaxed, she readily consented to his proposals to abandon their home, she taking this occasion to visit her friends in this city and New-Haven. He told her before starting for the Thousand Islands, which was to be his first stopping-place, that he proposed to wholly abandon his professional labors and studies and give himself over wholly to rest and absolute idleness. With this he said he should allow nothing whatever to interfere, not even the duties of correspondence, particularly impressing upon her the fact that he should write neither to her nor her mother during his absence, save at long intervals, unless something serious should happen to him. That such a proposition was curious did not strike her, as she says she had the most implicit trust and confidence in him. They had always lived very happiily together, with no quarrels or disagreements beyond the trifling ones that attach themselves as incidents to the lives of the most devoted of couples. That he had any affection, or even fondness, for any other woman she had never mistrusted. His parting from her was affectionate in the extreme, and his solicitude for her happiness and comfort during his absence equal to any displayed even in the earliest days of their wedded life. Soon after he left Chicago she started East, coming directly to his mother’s, where Frederick Flagg and his wife, her sister, soon joined them, the whole making a happy family party.

The first cloud to settle down upon this party was the receipt of two letters from the doctor, written from Quebec, Aug. 1, one to his wife and the other to his mother. These letters bade them both an affectionate farewell, and announced his intention of starting on Aug. 4 for a protracted tour through Europe. He said that he should in all probability make a tour up the Mediterranean, and possibly extend the trip to a tour around the world. He again wrote his wife not to feel any anxiety in case she should not hear from him, as he was determined upon absolute rest, even to abstinence from letter-writing. That was the last she heard from him until a hint of the rumors now made public reached her ears. Both she and his mother were very much disappointed because he had not come here to see them and say farewell before he started upon a voyage from which he might never return. The aged mother was especially grieved, because she feared she might not live to again gaze upon her beloved son. This strange action the wife and his friends have attributed to possible mental unsoundness or weakness, a fear of the possibility of which had possessed the wife at the time he spoke first of abandoning his business because he had worked himself out. The same fear was entertained several years ago, when he was forced to take a short vacation and went to Brazil, remaining there in absolute rest and quiet for about four months. The blow was averted then. If it has come now, she said sadly, it was one not wholly unexpected, but none the less a frightful one to his friends. Nothing in the world but insanity, she says, could have induced him to desert her for the woman who, it is alleged, is his companion on the voyage. “I believe in him, trust him, and think he is true to me still,” she said. “If he has gone from me and taken her with him nothing will convince me but that it is due to the temporary influence of a bad woman over a man who is not wholly in his right mind.”

Mr. Day, who married the doctor’s sister, and who has been intimate with the doctor since they were boys together, thinks, with Mrs. Jones, that the doctor cannnot but be suffering from some temporary mental trouble. A letter received by him from the Consul at Quebec states that Dr. Jones sailed from Quebec Aug. 4 in the Allan Line steamer Sardinian, which touches at both Londonderry and Liverpool. He engaged passage in his own name. Whether Mrs. Bigelow sailed in the same vessel with him has not been ascertained, though he thinks this is probable. Before starting upon his vacation Dr. Jones gave absolutely to his wife one-half of his entire property in bonds and first-class securities, and provided by will that she should have the use of the income of the balance during her life. He also gave her absolutely all the furniture and everything else in their house in Chicago, as well as his horses, carriages, &c. It was under her direction that this property was removed from their home in Chicago. By this action he has left his wife well provided for and mistress of an income that can certainly meet all her wants or wishes. He either took with him or left in the hands of his friends in Chicago a sufficient amount of securities, so invested as to give him all the income that is needed to support himself in good style. Mr. Day believes, or professes to, that the doctor will be heard from as soon as the effects of the sea voyage and the rest have restored him to health and his normal mental condition, and that he will then throw off the spell of fascination that binds him to the Bigelow woman—if bound he is. “He was always correct in his habits,” he said: “that I know positively, and the last man that I should suppose to have been drawn into a liasion of this kind simply for the sake of the woman. He must be wrong mentally. I was a frequent visitor to his house, his confidant, and I know he was passionately attached to his wife. I never knew of a difficulty between them, and never knew of a couple who, through so many years of married life, seemed to have retained such a lover-like devotion to one another. The story of the elopement is utterly beyond me comprehension, almost beyond my belief.”