Saturday, August 3. Sailed at 3.30 p.m., from New York. Guests:
Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin;
Mr. & Mrs. Coe;
Mr. & Mrs. Harry Rogers, jr.;
Col. Payne; [sic. Paine]
Dr. C.C. Rice;
Reached New London 8.05 p.m.
A valuable umbrella missing [MTP].
Note: Colonel Augustus G. Paine, Dr. Clarence C. Rice, young Harry Rogers and wife, Mary; William Evarts Benjamin and wife, Anne Engle, Urban Broughton and wife Cara, and William R. Coe and his wife Mai (these last three ladies daughters of H.H. Rogers).
The “valuable umbrella missing” became the source of a private joke among the passengers [MTHHR 473-
4n1 bottom]. Note: See Aug. 7, Aug. 18, Sept. 18, and Sept. 25 entries about the umbrella.
Dias writes about the great umbrella theft:
When the “Kanawha” was off the coast of Nova Scotia [Aug. 11], Rogers, in his own log under a July, 1901 date [it was August], notes: “All well aboard except for the literary one, and he’s doing the best he can. He doesn’t know yet what has become of his umbrella, which, with all the contents, was dropped overboard on this day by the ship’s company.”
Rogers goes on to explain that when the umbrella was seized, “it contained the articles he usually carries in it, when afloat and ashore—to wit: one individual tooth brush, cake of soap, one pair of button gaiters, one bottle of restorer, box of dominoes, schedule of legal cab rates, galluses, and much miscellaneous loot. The spare socks were not in the umbrella at the time.
Rogers, obviously enjoying himself, proceeds to describe the ceremony involved in casting the umbrella over the side of the ship. He writes, “Mr. Reed spoke briefly, but his exact words would not be an appropriate part of this log. He intimated however, that the action of himself and associates was justified as it was intended to save Mr. Clemens from his only vice—37 cents, fire-sale, carryall umbrella habit.” According to Rogers, remarks “of the same character” were made by Mr. H.H. Rogers, Mr. H.H. Rogers, Jr., Mr. Augustus G. Paine, and Dr. Clarence C. Rice. He concludes, “All members of the crew were blindfolded and sent below during the ceremony” [Odd Couple 105].
William (“Billy”) Horace Claggett (1838 -1901) died in Spokane, Wash. Sam and Claggett had been prospecting buddies in the Humboldt region of Nevada Territory in Dec. 1861. Claggett, an attorney, later went to Congress (1871-1873) representing Montana Territory.
August 4 Sunday – Sam’s ship log:
August 4, Sunday. Reached Fairhaven in the forenoon. Took on board Rev. Dr. Collyer & Rev. Minot Savage.
The ship has been searched [for the umbrella], but without result.
Rain. Laying of the corner-stone of the Memorial Church post-poned a day, in consequence [MTP].
Note: Rev. Dr. Robert Collyer (1828-1912), pastor of Rogers’ NY Church of the Messiah, and Rev. Minot Judson Savage (1841-1918), Unitarian minister, were likely guests on the Kanawha; they are not mentioned thereafter on the ship’s log.
On Rogers’ yacht Kanawha Sam wrote to Livy. The letter heading shows him at the Harbor of New London, Conn. at 5 a.m.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.