Thursday, July 13, 2006

I have two paintings from 1888 signed by Mrs. Leigh Chalmers that have been in my family for a long time. For several years now, I have been trying to find out who she was.

Tonight I discovered that the last page of the constitution of the state of Texas was signed by Leigh Chalmers, Secretary of the Convention that convened in 1875.

I also discovered that in 1885, Examiner Leigh Chalmers was appointed to look into the amount of money Wyatt Earp received in 1882 from US Marshall Crawley Dake. The case was based out of Dallas, Texas.

I believe the second Leigh Chalmers might have been the first one's son. Read the following obituary...

The Evening Star, December 28, 1903, p. 3

Major Chalmers Dead

Was for About Eighteen Years Connected With Department of Justice

Maj. Wm. Leigh Chalmers, who died last evening at the Mt. Vernon House, 9th street and New York avenue, was well known in this city, as well as in Austin, Tex., where he had been for many years prominent in business and political life prior to his assuming a residence in Washington.

Maj. Chalmers was born September 13, 1832, in Jackson, Tenn., but in early boyhood removed to Texas, where his father became secretary of state of the republic, under President Sam Houston.

In 1879 Mr. W.L. Chalmers came to this city, and for a number of years held a position in the office of the secretary of the United States Senate. In 1885 he was appointed to a position in the Department of Justice by Attorney General Garland, and with the exception of a few years was connected with that department continuously to the time of his death, having for many years traveled throughout the United States making examinations of the United States courts.

For several weeks prior to November 1, 1903, he had been engaged in laborious and exacting duties connected with the examination of certain United States offices under the Department of Justice in the Indian territory.

On returning from the west about the 1st of November last he was in bad health, and on reaching Hamilton, Va., where he had a country house, he became very ill of pneumonia, from which, however, he recovered sufficiently to permit his removal to this city. The disease was superseded by and complication with an acute inflammation of the brain, from which cause death ensued at 11:40 p.m. yesterday.

Funeral services will be held at 904 New York avenue at 2 p.m. tomorrow, and interment will be made at Congressional cemetery.


Could Mrs. Leigh Chalmers be the wife of either of these men? How did my family come to have her paintings? A family from Texas. Paintings owned by family members born at the turn of the century, who also lived twice near Washington, DC, before settling back in Texas.

Why didn't she sign them with her first name?

Curious and Curiouser...

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