April 13, 2024


Interior spice

Swindler Elizabeth F. Baldy gave Pasadena, Md., its name


Published histories of the Anne Arundel County city make no reference to Baldy’s relationship to Pasadena and its title. Here’s what a writer for the Baltimore Solar wrote in 1990: “The prevailing, while undocumented, clarification is that when the Southern Land and Silk Association of Baltimore bought a significant tract of land in 1888, the California-born spouse of one particular of the entrepreneurs persuaded her husband to title the farm after her hometown.”

“California-born spouse?” Oh, that does not do Baldy justice. She was as bold as any male.

She did without a doubt appear from that terrific land of reinvention: California. News of her Maryland small business undertaking started out cropping up in East Coast newspapers in April 1887.

“Money making for gals!” study an advertisement in the Sunshine. “Silk society pays from $300 to $1,000 per acre. From $50 to $250 will purchase you a SILK FARM.”

Silk does not increase on trees, of training course. But mulberry leaves do. And that’s what silkworms consume. Baldy’s business — the aforementioned Southern Land and Silk Association — procured farmland in between Annapolis and Baltimore.

For $250, investors would get 10 acres of land, 100 mulberry trees and a starter package of silkworm eggs. The eggs would hatch and — fortified by clean mulberry leaves — the worms would begin spinning their cocoons. Before extended you’d have several hundred lbs of silk threads, well worth $5 per pound.

And you could do that each and every 12 months, speedily recouping your financial investment.

Wrote the Funds newspaper of Annapolis: “The institution of a permanent colony of silk growers in the Point out appears to be practically assured.”

If investors with the Southern Land and Silk Affiliation experienced experienced obtain to a searchable publications database, they would have viewed that in 1876, Baldy was a freelance bookseller in Los Angeles, peddling these titles as “Wife No. 19,” an expose of Mormon polygamy composed by Ann Eliza Youthful.

A 12 months afterwards, Baldy was taking orders for custom portraits as a agent of the American Copying and Portrait Painting Co. In 1884 she was in Salt Lake Metropolis, accomplishing as an “elocutionist.”

Baldy was a dues-paying member of the Southern California Horticultural Society, but in L.A., not Pasadena.

There was previously a Pasadena, Calif., by this time. That term supposedly signifies “of the valley” in the Ojibwe language. The identify was picked out in 1875 by the Indiana businessman who experienced produced the California town.

“Of the valley” might make a lot more feeling in California than in eastern Maryland, but there ended up no Ojibwe in California — or in Indiana. The developer experienced asked a missionary pal to translate the phrase. The missionary evidently knew only Ojibwe.

Answer Man suspects Baldy chose “Pasadena” since of its association with fertile California. In 1888, her Southern Land and Silk Association subdivided its new residence into 300 plots. (Respond to Person saw the plat at the Ann Arrundell County Historic Society’s Kuethe Library in Glen Burnie.) The grid of streets included Pasadena Avenue, Los Angeles Avenue and Baldy Avenue.

Inspite of staying hyped in newspapers throughout the nation — from the Boston Herald to New York’s Jewish Messenger — only about eight properties were being at any time constructed. It’s unlikely significantly silk was generated.

In February 1891, the Washington agent of Baldy’s Baltimore-centered company — 1 Robert E. Clarke, himself a former elocutionist — instantly disappeared, leaving guiding an empty safe.

Baldy promised to get to the base of factors. In its place, she skipped town.

In 1892, Baldy allegedly attempted a distinct con. She moved to New York City and set up an place of work that certain careers in the new Grover Cleveland administration. For $20, candidates could decide any placement they preferred and skip the civil service test. This came to the attention of authorities.

The Evening Star wrote: “It is reported that she was the president … of a Maryland land financial commitment issue not a good whilst in the past which was going to return untold wealth to the investors, but which, it is rarely essential to state, did not.”

In 1893, Baldy was arrested and jailed in New York Metropolis on a demand of grand larceny. Two adult males claimed they’d compensated her for governing administration work they’d never been given. Just one newspaper explained her as “a sharp-showcased girl, about forty-seven several years aged, with a sallow complexion and black hair.”

On July 24, 1896, Baldy was arrested yet again. She’d advertised for secretaries, but candidates complained that not only did they not get employment, they ended up forced to fork out $2 for a membership to a publication called the Golden Period.

On Oct. 6, 1896, the New York Journal ran a demise recognize for Elizabeth F. Baldy, indicating she had died on Oct. 13 at age 45. Provided in the listing was the line “Baltimore papers remember to copy.”

Was she actually useless or did Baldy position the ad herself? Respond to Male is not positive. What’s amazing is that Pasadena, Md., was not named by “the California-born wife” of a developer, but by a con artist who was extremely a lot her very own female.


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