Family Stories

Haviland Couple Buried in Evergreen Cemetery – Muhlenberg County

H. H. Haviland, 1849-1927.  Sarah P. Haviland, 1849-1918.  Evergreen Cemetery, Greenville, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.

In the old Evergreen Cemetery in the town of Greenville, Muhlenberg County, is the gravestone for Hugh H. Haviland and his wife, Sarah P. Drake Haviland.  Hugh’s death certificate lists his date of birth as July 29, 1849, and gives his birthplace as ‘Kentucky, supposedly.’  The names of his parents and their places of birth are unknown.  Sarah was born in Muhlenberg County, but no date of birth is listed on her death certificate.  Her parents were Albrittain M. Drake and Elizabeth Hancock, both born in Muhlenberg County.

According to records Hugh and Sarah were married December 6, 1876, in Muhlenberg.  Unfortunately, they were not blessed with children.  In the 1910 census of that county they are both listed as 60.  Hugh was a poultry dealer.  Sarah’s widowed mother, Elizabeth, lived with them, since her husband Albrittain passed away in 1902.

The Record, Greenville, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

Thursday, January 7, 1909

Poultry Wanted

We are paying as follows:  Turkey Hens, fat, per lb. 11c, Turkey, Young Tom, per lb., 10c, Turkey, Old Tom, per lb., 8c, Hens and Pullets, per lb., 7 1/2c, Cocks, young and old, 3 c.  Also, Highest Market Price for Eggs, Hides, Furs, & c.

C. F. Jean Company, H. H. Haviland, Mgr.

Now just when we think this is a simple story of a childless couple, in 1901 things turned interesting.  In April of 1901, Hugh Haviland received a letter claiming that he and his niece were heirs to a fortune.  His mother, Kate Haviland, put her son, Hugh, in the Protestant Episcopal Orphan Asylum in Louisville.  At some point afterwards Kate had another child, a little girl, sister to Hugh, who was put with foster parents.  When of age this little girl married Imbray Clark and the two moved to San Francisco.  Kate’s daughter and Clark had a little girl, the mother died shortly after the birth of her baby girl, and Clark put the little girl with Mrs. Martha A. Griswold, superintendent of the Home of the Friendless.  He sailed to Australia.

In the Chicago Tribune of August 24, 1900, says Kate Haviland ‘assumed the garb and character of a man when she was but a girl in order to enter Heidelberg University, where no women were taken.’  This must have been after her two children were born.  She became a medical doctor and practiced medicine for fifty years in New York and Montreal.  In later years she bought a farm in Florida, and after her death there it was discovered she was a woman.

The Indianapolis Journal, Marion County, Indiana

Friday, April 12, 1901

Story of a Woman Who Masqueraded as a Man

She Had Two Children, and One and the Child of the Other Are Now Seeking Large Estates

Louisville, Kentucky, April 11 – The Courier-Journal tomorrow will say: “Hugh H. Haviland, of Greenville, Kentucky, claims to be one of the heirs of a fortune left by ‘Dr. Theodore Keattle,’ another ‘Murray Hall.’  ‘Dr. Keattle’ died at Punta Gorda, Florida, in 1896.  Then it was discovered that the ‘doctor’ was a woman and that for thirty years had masqueraded.  The woman was a mother.  Those who were supposed to know say that in 1853 a little boy was placed in the Protestant Episcopal Orphan Asylum at Louisville by ‘Dr. Keattle,’ then confessedly a woman, known as Kate Haviland.  He was later bound out to a farmer and finally rose to an independent position at Greenville.  This is the story of Hugh Haviland, told by himself in a letter to the Courier-Journal.

“For nearly forty years he knew nothing of his parents.  Then came a letter from a New York lawyer – G. Earleton Goldthwaite, of No. 141 Broadway, who wrote that while searching for the heirs of Dr. Theodore Keattle, whom death revealed to be a woman, he had found that in 1853 she, going by the name of Kate Haviland, had put Hugh H. Haviland in the Protestant Episcopal Orphan Asylum at Louisville.  Hugh H. Haviland was regarded as that boy.  That Kate Haviland was ‘Dr. Keattle’ was, it is said, practically established by witnesses in New York and Brooklyn.

“But Hugh Haviland is heir to but half the fortune.  A girl who is expected to divide it with him, Grace M. Clark Elliott, Haviland’s niece, so lawyer Goldthwaite says, believes herself sole heiress to Imbray Clark, of Australia, who died worth $25,000,000.  Hugh Haviland’s little sister, Kate Haviland’s other child, according to lawyer Goldthwaite, was put by the mother with foster-parents.  The girl grew up, married Imbray Clark and went west with him.  In 1877 they went to San Francisco and there a child was born.  Within two weeks the delicate mother, Kate Haviland’s girl, died.  The baby was placed in the hands of Mrs. Martha A. Griswold, superintendent of the Home of the Friendless, by Imbray Clark, who sailed almost immediately for Australia.  Several years after Mrs. Griswold heard of Clark’s death and advertised for someone to adopt the little orphan girl.  The Elliotts responded and on August 21, 1878, were granted papers of adoption by a court in San Francisco.  In 1897 the Elliotts learned that Imbray Clark had left a fortune of $25,000,000, to which there was heir, and began a fight for their foster-daughter’s rights.  The estate is tied up in English courts and though hundreds of claimants have come forward, none has been able to prove claims to the satisfaction of the British authorities.”

I find no mention of Hugh Haviland in the newspapers after this date.  Was this a hoax?  Why did the lawyer Goldthwaite send him a letter?  It seems that Hugh continued living his ordinary life in Greenville, no mention is made of receiving a fortune.

The Record, Greenville, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

Thursday, January 27, 1910

Mr. H. H. Haviland, the local manager of the C. F. Jean Produce Co., handled something like 750 hens last week, and reports that from all the coops he secured only one egg.  From this report it is easy to see why eggs have been selling at 35 cents a dozen.  Under normal conditions several dozen eggs would have been gathered.

Sarah P. Drake Haviland died May 16, 1918.  No birth date is listed but she was the same age as Hugh per the census records, born in 1849.

The Record, Greenville, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

Thursday, March 7, 1918

Mrs. H. H. Haviland, who has been very ill for some weeks, is not improved, and her family and friends are much concerned over her condition.

The Record, Greenville, Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

Thursday, May 23, 1918

Card of Thanks

The true spirit of love and friendship, as manifested during the illness of my wife, and at her passing, has impressed me beyond expression, but my thanks and good wishes are extended to each and everyone of the many who helped and comforted us.  May divine blessings rest upon you.  H. H. Haviland.

Hugh lived for nine years after Sarah’s death.  He married Josephine prior to September 13, 1920, when he wrote his will leaving everything ‘to my beloved wife, Josephine D. Haviland.’  Hugh died February 20, 1927, and was lovingly remembered, especially by his Masonic Lodge brothers.

The Owensboro Messenger, Daviess County, Kentucky

Saturday, February 26, 1927

Greenville Has Silent Hour In Honor Of Mason

Hugh H. Haviland, Member of Order For More Than 50 Years Dies; During Funeral Stores Close

Greenville, Ky., Feb. 25 – Funeral services for Hugh H. Haviland, 77 years old, who died suddenly at his home here at 7 o’clock Sunday morning, were held at the Methodist Episcopal church, south, here Monday afternoon.  Burial was in the Evergreen Cemetery.  He is survived by his wife.

The Rev. L. May, pastor of the Methodist Church at Marion, and former pastor of the local church, conducted the funeral services.  He was assisted by the Rev. B. M. Currie, pastor of the local church, and by the Green River Lodge of Masons.

Mr. Haviland had been a member of the Masonic fraternity for more than half a century.  In point of membership, he was the oldest member of the Masonic lodge here.  Some few years ago he was given a life membership with that organization by the grand lodge.

For a number of years he had been engaged in the poultry business here.  All business houses in Greenville closed Monday afternoon from 2 o’clock until 3, during the funeral hour.

1 reply »

  1. Fascinating! And no other followup news on the fortune? Wow. Maybe someday in your free time you can find more! I wonder if it was a hoax after all or a case of mistaken identity.

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