Of Cats, Trains and Eccentric Women of Old

My Aunt Cath, Madeline’s youngest daughter is a very good writer. I’m always trying to get her to publish her writing, but she won’t do it.

She sent me this email note this morning about one of the Delaurier relatives (by marriage, not by blood). It’s such a good story, I asked if I could post it here and she surprised me by saying yes. She even told me “hands off this story, Vic. This one’s mine.” So I think she’s going to take it on as a project.

Here’s her note that she sent to me and her three kids:

“Spent a couple of hours last night looking at Madeline’s photo album of before she was married. It has alot of charm even though sections are torn etc. I will go through it and put names of people I remember on slips of paper (or something) so not everything is lost. It should be kept just as it is.

While I was looking, I kept thinking of Grandma and the visit I had with her at the Home (Country Village in South Woodslee) shortly before she died. I had taken a big box of her photos over for her to see. She enjoyed herself so much that day. She would look at a pic, laugh and tell me a story about the person and then laugh again and quip, “Well HE’S dead!” and pitch it in the wastebasket.

Also found an interesting story in among her “scrapbooking” (which was WAY different back then!! LOL) It was a story about the sister in law of Madeline’s Grandma DeLaurier (her dad’s mother’s sister in law)

Anyway, this woman was the estranged wife of a newspaper publisher from Indiana. She was taken off a train going between Chicago and Battle Creek and taken to the hospital because she was trying to get rid of cash by shoving it through the ventilators. When they took her off the train she tried to dispose of an envelope containing $173,000 plus a jewellry case with thousands of dollars of jewels in it.

When contacted about his ex’s strange behaviour, her husband said he had been away travelling and didn’t know anything. And refused comment. (Bet HE was pissed! but perhaps she was too. LOL )

Subsequent to this there was also a blurb saying that this same person changed her will to give all her money to The Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. There was enough money to build the largest treatment centre for animals in the world! (Wonder if it got built?) Her one stipulation was that over the door was to be inscribed, “The more I saw of humans, the better I liked dogs.”

Isn’t that story too funny though? I wish we could have known more about it. (Another thing I would ask Madeline if she were here!!) She obviously wasn’t a blood relative but the connection is there.

Oh yeah… when she was checked out at the hospital she was found to be “not hysterical” (term for mental illness in those days?) so I assume they let her and her money go. (She must have kept it because she donated it to the animal hospital. Or had more stashed away somewhere!)

-Catherine Brown, Goulais River, Ontario


Posted on February 3, 2012, in Wallace Family and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Theresa Cater-Heseltine

    Ah yes, that crazy lady would be Isabel D Mulhall-McHie. I think all the marriage drama and being in the public eye all the time made her a wee bit eccentric. Her husband, Sidmon, was a stock dealer who did some high-hoggin’ in NYC in the 20’s. He was also a newspaper industrialist and had lots of money to blow on trips and parties. Isabel was a Missouri gal who married well and I’m not sure if she was a bit off before or after meeting her husbands (she was supposedly married to Albert Royal Delmont for a spell). Check out this link:


    It’s from the New York Post, 22 Mar 1935 with a picture of Isabel and a blurb of the $173,505 that she had in her purse. Gosh, and here I thought finding 5 bucks in the laundry was something special.

    Anything Googled about Mrs. Sidmon McHie or Isabel McHie returns a LOT of newspaper articles online.

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