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Another Scoundrel Does the G.T.T. & Makes Good in Texas

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492.     ROBINSON, Richard P. (also known as Richard Parmalee), John Berry, Archibald Hotchkiss, et al. Manuscript indenture written in ink, obligating Richard Parmalee to pay John Berry $3,014 as part of a land contract in Angelina County, Texas, which was a portion of James P. Crafton’s headright. Nacogdoches County, Texas, September 20, 1853. 3-1/2 pp. on a bifolium, folio (30.4 x 19 cm), light grey paper with Goodwin Company of Hartford stationer’s mark. Signed by Parmalee on p. 2, and again in the docket, which is in his hand. Signed by Berry on p. 3, witnessed by Hotchkiss and others. Noted as filed February 12, 1857, Nacogdoches County. Creased where formerly folded, light staining at two folds, otherwise fine and legible, with bold signatures.

     McDade, The Annals of Murder, 804: “The 1836 murder of Ellen Jewett, very beautiful prostitute in a house of ill fame in New York, was one of the sensations of the times. Robinson, a nineteen-year-old youth and sweetheart of the girl, was identified as her companion of the evening. Miss Jewett had been struck with a hatchet, and an attempt had been made to burn the premises. Robinson was acquitted in the face of a seemingly strong case. The trial was a field day for the newspapers.”

     As some New York newspapers predicted, Robinson (1817-1855) soon decamped for Texas (G.T.T., or Gone to Texas). Once there he changed his name to Parmalee and settled in Nacogdoches, where he became a prominent citizen and Mason, although there were constant hints of his sordid past. See: Handbook of Texas Online (Richard P. Robinson); Patricia Cline Cohen, The Murder of Helen Jewett: The Life and Death of A Prostitute in Nineteenth-Century New York (New York Vintage Books, 1999); Timothy J. Gilfoyle, City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1992, pp. 92-101); and Andie Tucher, Froth & Scum: Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and the Ax Murder in America’s First Mass Medium (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1994).

     Hotchkiss (1794-1882), who witnessed Parmalee’s signature, was a land speculator who at one time worked as an agent of the notorious Galveston Bay & Texas Land Company, his association with which nearly got him expelled from Nacogdoches because of discontent with the Company. Upon his death, he was reputed the oldest living Mason in the U.S.


Sold. Hammer: $100.00; Price Realized: $120.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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