Monday, February 15, 2010

Creed Royal, Flauting Colonel

Colonel Creed Royal is a mystery but he at least left a trail of certificates upon which facts usually take rich residence. Thanks to the BDM on disc I know this: Creed Royal died in 1876 and his parents names were John and Sarah (assuming the informant was correct) and was onto his second verifiable wife by that time. This third relationship, a wife named Francis married him in 1860, was written in the Argus as destitute and needing funds to get home (to England) to her family. She was 52 years old. The Argus reported this in 176 and by 1877 she was on a shipping list out of London. The musical fraternity here must have come through. Yay, them.

Creed Royal's first wife Mary Sayer died in 1856 and it was she that was Mother to Kate (born in Manchester) and Eliza Royal. Another son Harry was born in Geelong in 1854 and I have no record of what became of him although another sister Ellen, died there. Creed Royal then is listed as father to both Raiburne Royal and Talma Royal, one born in Ballarat, the other in Collingwood where the mother is listed as Mary Raiburne. Clearly this was wife/de facto number two. Hard times.

So, at least on the marriage certificates it will give parental names and occupations and I wonder if Creed Royal did come from the Earls of Morton? Or maybe Mary Sayer had the connection. Who knows. I love these sorts of dangling carrots.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Alfred de La Chapelle, Part 2

" Morton et de La Chapelle" so goes the family surname. A biographical entry notes the Morton portion of the long winding familial noun coming from Count Octave's mother which would have been Kate Creed Royal (born in Manchester in the early 1830's to Colonel Creed Royal and Mary Unknown who died in Melbourne in about 1856). Thus the Creed Royals' must have been linked to the Earls of Morton, but not that I can find and such rapport.

Alfred (Comte) is noted in this same source as having been "de Morton" but his mother was Amélie Baysselance, with her mother being in turn a Carrière and there is no Morton to be had "...not even for ready money Sir" (sorry Oscar, but I have always adored that line.) So maybe it is another generation back, but there are Manchon, Thibault, Pommart, Pavard, Boileau, Bruslin, Beaulieu, Rateau de la Noue and a dozen more equally damscene noms-de-famille, sufficient to keep a Francophile drooling until the ambulance arrives, but no Morton.

So d'ou vient-il ce 'de Morton'? Maybe it did come from Creed Royal and the "de Morton" was retro-appended to the biographical sources via relatives given to romantic embellishment. Creed Royal is mentioned in several Manchester papers but only as a flautist (by the way, he married twice, secondly in Melbourne but I can't go spending more money on certificates) and only in one source is he called a Colonel. His daughter Kate of course, became the Countess and his other daughter Miss E. Royal (can't find out her first name, though I did note it years back on a web page that has now vanished) married Tom Fawcett the actor then Dan Briggs O'Hara the comedian before dying the same year (1876) as her father, he in Melbourne, she in Rockhampton. Kate didn't last out the decade either. She died in Paris in 1872 I think it was. Someone certainly made the monkey angry in that family. Tom Fawcett did leave behind though, one child, though what became of it I do not know.

"Morton, d'ou viens-tu?"

Friday, February 12, 2010

Alfred, Comte de la Chapelle

Two portraits (1) From Comedy and Tragedy in the Second Empire and (2) from a recent Ebay auction which I had lost. The CDV was by Nadar and just labelled "de La Chapelle" so I am assuming it is the man though it may not be.

My purview in 19th century research is limited to those creatures of the stage who visited Australia or those connected with them and so one might easily wonder how the heck did I get from fiddlers, warblers and piano-bangers to French Aristocracy. Well, it's not hard as it turns out. Scratch a little the thin laminate surface of most visiting luminaries and one finds the lacquer hiding nobility there somewhere. Edouard Boulanger the pianist had parentage connected to Marshall Lannès, his father secretary to an-ex secretary of Talleyrand, Marquis Chisholm the keyboard virtuoso was tuner to the Duke of Argyll in his youth, Horace Poussard was a favourite of Eugenie. Australia was a field of adventure, a kind of back-up Wild West in which a fortune maybe made; where any connections of noblesse still had the gilding freshly sized on to the carved wood of French oak.

Jean Joseph Xavier Alfred de La Chapelle and Morton is remembered as a French writer and Historian connected with the French court (Napoleon III and his wife Eugenie who looks like a young thin Walter Matthau in drag, but let's not go there). His father was an Officer under Louis XVIII and had roots going back as impressively as rootage does to the Périgord, one of the many cocotte-minutes of French history.

But history is rather silent on what he did between 1860 and 1869 when he flew back to France at a clip. What did he do in Australia? Well, he got married to the daughter of Col. Creed Royal, an ex-Army officer who played flute in the theatres her and formed, and toured with, his family act with his other daughter, who I think, sang. Kate nabbed Alfred married him at some point though none have found a record of the marriage and sadly she died on April the 8th in 1878 in Paris. They had the following children;

1. Victor Octave Alfred Xavier, Vicomte de La Chapelle (illegitimate according to the counts sworn statement at the French Consulate!)
2. Viscount Paul Xavier de Morton de La Chapelle K.L.H. Burma, later Officer in the French Army, married Blanche Leygonie. He was born in Brighton, Australia on 20 July 1865
3. Viscount Xavier Royal Alfred de Morton de La Chapelle, Captain 5th Rifle Brigade and married Dorothy Clark.

The Count married a second time, rather late in life if I read a right my reference material in 1891 to Eugenie Renault de Ballières and had another son:

4. Viscount Jean Joseph Xavier Alfred de Morton de La Chapelle, born at Mentone, Rocque, Brunne, France 2nd of August 1892.

But back to what he did here. Why? Gold of course. He had been in America for the gold-rush and ventured into every kind of thing one could imagine, never ever making his fortune but gaining experience something akin to the gilded halls of Versailles, only it was the gilding of his psyche that was taking place. He gambled, he speculated, he invested, he touted, he was arrested, condemned to death, released and witnessed life's greatest should-be-fictions in the circles he frequented. Then he came to Australia and did much the same thing, adventurising until he was exhausted, encountering bushrangers, climbed the Snowy Mountains. Having enough and probably feeling the weight of duty upon his soul headed home and soon after back to France to cover the Franco-Prussian War for one of the English newspapers. [Most of this comes from Dr. Clancy Patricia who wrote a smashing tapestry piece on him. I have a copy.]

But his interest for me is in his management of the visiting French Violinist Horace Poussard (whose grandfather had been employed at Versailles in the service of one of the Kings daughters...there's the royals again) and cellist [Louis] Rene [Paul] Douay. I have only etchings of them from our State Library, but to have pictures of all is a treat, especially of the Count de La Everything. There is a photo extant of the Vicount's first son, which I had received from a descendant but he asked me not to post it so I can't.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

R.S.Smythe - Mrs. Cutter, Contralto

Much to my annoyance from 1870 until sometime during the 1880's the Australian press always referred to a very popular and steadily-in-work Contralto as "Mrs. Cutter" who sang with the Philharmonic and concerted herself all over the place. She had for about twenty years, steady work in concert programs and was by all accounts a very good singer and I have never spotted a bad review about her. But who was she? They never give a first name or even initial, nor her husbands initials as was normal practice. The only other thing the press say is that she was American.

I spotted her début in 1870 and looked on the incoming shipping lists in the previous 12 months and there she was with her husband on the Barque 'Corea' out of New York, arriving in 1869 and lo and behold there they are listed as Mrs. K. Cutter and Mr. A. H. Cutter. Subsequent searching of the national newspapers reveal nothing further even under these initials. The 'Corea' arrived carrying a handful of passengers so they must not have been traditional immigrants and possibly, he was a businessman although one can never be sure. They don't appear of the US passport applications list for that period, although there are several A. H. Cutters on the 1861 US Census and lord knows what he maiden name was, let alone her first. Katherine? Kathleen? Who knows. They both put their ages as 27 years, which makes them natives of the year 1842, give or take a dram. That would put their deaths, assuming misfortune did not befall them, from about 1910 to 1940, give or take another draft from the temporal mug.

Bizarrely, A. H. Cutter sells his house, number 10 Gray Street, East Melbourne in 1874 stating that he is moving 'out of the area' yet he lists on the Argus the full goods, chattels and goose-feathers of sconces, lithographs, whatnot's beds, chairs, sofas, ALL the furniture including a cottage piano by Wilhelm Biese of Berlin. Why? Had he suddenly come into so much money that he was going to upgrade to higher orders of magnificence on all things? Or, perhaps he needed the cash immediately although he's not listed on the insolvency indexes. Then they are on the ship to Sydney. Then later, back again? It is noted that M. E. Christian, noted contralto and R. S. Smythe's other woman, "helped her out" but why? Had A. H. Cutter clipped off? So many questions.

K. Cutter it is then. From whence came she and for what purpose he?

Post script: T.H.Guenett in an interview in 1901 states that she was " living in the United States, I think". Once there, who knows where she ended up.