Sunday, September 8, 2013

Shakespeare Abducted

Cortland Evening Standard, Saturday, September 12, 1896.

Shakespeare Abducted.


Mother Ran Away With a Colored Preacher—Took Him Along Too and Finally Abandoned Him--The Father's Story.

   Adon Cramer, aged 75 years, a resident of Drinker, town of Jefferson, county of Lackawanna, Pa., was in town this morning and swore out warrants before Police Justice Mellon for the arrest of his wife, Elizabeth E. Cramer, otherwise known as Elizabeth E. Woods, and also Rev. Thomas Sampson, colored, on the charge of kidnapping and abducting his eight-year-old son Shakespeare. The warrants were placed in the hands of Chief Linderman and he with Officer Parker proceeded to Dunsmoor’s park, where the couple had been located. The boy was found playing out of doors and the house was locked. Nothing was found of the colored Adonis and he has not been seen since. The boy fought like a tiger when taken in hand by the officers and bit and scratched and kicked. They had a fine time getting him to his father, who had halted on Port Watson-st. to await their return, but he finally quieted down and went back to Scranton at 2:34 this afternoon with his father.

   Mr. Cramer was interviewed by a STANDARD man and to him he told the following story: He is a well-to-do farmer in the above mentioned town in Pennsylvania. Some ten years ago shortly after the death of his second wife he read a very pathetic interview in the Elmira Telegram with a woman named Elizabeth E. Woods then about 30 years old, who was selling papers at a newsstand on the Bowery in New York. She was represented as of fine personal appearance, well educated and claimed to be a scion of nobility in England. She claimed to have had an unfortunate marriage and had left her home with her one little girl Rosa and had come to this country.

   Mr. Cramer said he afterward learned from the woman’s sister that she had not been married at all. He said his heart went out to her as he read her pathetic story and he wrote to her to come to Scranton to see him and sent her money for her expenses. She came and they lived together as man and wife for fourteen months. Then he married her. Two sons were born to them, Byron and Shakespeare, now 10 and 8 years old.

   But he found one thing true of her that she had not told him about. She had a most uncontrollable temper. She was also not fond of agricultural and bucolic pursuits and life became a burden to them. She ran away from him, but shortly came back again and he received her kindly. Then she wanted to go to Scranton to live to educate her three children. He consented and furnished a house for her there. In Scranton a few months ago, she developed a deep religious enthusiasm for the work of the colored preacher, Rev. Thomas Sampson and received him often at her house. Last June they eloped, Sampson leaving a wife and children.

   Mr. Cramer was willing that his wife should go, but he drew the line on her taking Shakespeare, and he set out to find them. No trace of them could be found until last Wednesday he saw the little girl, Rosa Woods, in Scranton. He inquired for her mother and for Shakespeare. She told him they had both gone to England and abandoned her. This he did not believe. In questioning her he learned something which led him to suspect that she had been in Cortland, N. Y. Then his attorney, E. C. Newcomb of Scranton, wrote to Irving H. Palmer, Esq., in Cortland for information. Mr. Palmer quickly found that they had been in Cortland living In a house at Dunsmoor’s park and that the reverend gentleman and the boy were there then. The result was that Mr. Cramer came up here to-day with his older boy Byron, found Shakespeare and took him home with him.

   He suspects that it is true that his wife has gone back to England. No trace has been found yet of Sampson, but Mr. Cramer is rather inclined to drop the matter now that he has found his boy. Sampson is the one who a few weeks ago conducted the religious services at Dunsmoor's park which passed under the title of "Three Days in the Wilderness.”

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