Veteran Bigamist 1908

Liverpool Mercury, Sat July 25th, 1908



The astonishing charges of bigamy against James WALKER who describes himself as a confectioner and doctor, residing in Bristol, were further inquired into at Huddersfield Police Courts on Wednesday. The court room was crowded, chiefly by fashionably-dressed ladies.

The charges against the prisoner are:-

1, Bigamy at Newcastle-on-Tyne on 19th Dec 1892.

2, Bigamy at Lancaster on the 23rd March 1898.

3, Bigamy at Huddersfield on 28th Oct 1907.

4, Stealing from Fanny Henderson DAVIS whom he bigamously married at Huddersfield, and her sister the sum of £50 on 23rd Nov last year, also stealing £45 from Fanny Henderson DAVIS on the same date.

5, Bigamy at Gloucester in March this year and Larceny of £125, money of Frances DAY the woman he married.

6, Bigamy in Bristol in April this year.

7, Uttering a forged mortgage deed at Carlisle.

8, Forging the handwriting of a testuting witness to the mortgage at Penrith..

9, Feloniously receiving £100 by means of a forged mortgage deed at Carlisle in Sept 1906.


Prisoner listened to the evidence with an expression of amused interest and pleaded not guilty to the whole of the charges.

The first witnesses called were two sisters of the prisoner who proved that his real name was Samuel Charles Joseph WOODWARD, and that he married originally in Derby in 1875 to Harriet LAWRENCE, who was still alive.

John DAWSON of Byker, Newcastle-on-Tyne, stated the prisoner married his sister Eliza DAWSON at Newcastle in Dec 1892, assuming the name of Harry ARCHIBALD and representing he had a farm in Ontario. His sister has since she married the prisoner, gone to America and married another man, from whom she had been divorced.

In reply to the charge the prisoner said he did not know Eliza DAWSON.

Jane WHITTLE, an attractive smartly-dressed woman, said, the prisoner had married her on March 23rd 1898 at Lancaster. She became acquainted with him while out cycling. He told her his name was Samuel LAWRENCE, and that he was.


They spent their honeymoon at Southport and on the way back to Lancaster spent a night at Preston. The following morning the prisoner went out stating he was going to have a Turkish bath, and never returned.


Fanny Henderson DAVIS, a good-looking blonde of 28, whom the prisoner married at Huddersfield on Oct 28th last year, was closely examined by Mr TURNER, who appeared for the prisoner.

He elicited that the witness met the prisoner at York Station by appointment, the prisoner having placed a matrimonial advertisement in a Leeds paper, which she answered.

Miss DAVIS admitted to Mr TURNER, under pressure, that she had lived for a short time in Germany. Up to the aged of 21 she had lived with three maiden aunts at Skipton.

In reply to Mr TURNER she denied she had made a communication to the prisoner about her past.

Magistrate’s clerk, “The question is material, is there a question of some impropriety?”

Mr TURNER, “nothing of the kind, my instructions are there were no inquiries on either side, and after marriage this woman communicated with her husband that she had been in Germany, and that a number of years before she married a man. She called him Carl SOMEONE, and when he pressed her she said he was a brother of her brother Jack’s wife.”


This statement was indignantly denied by the witness.

Mr TURNER. “did you show him a certificate? - Another lie.

Witness denied she went to Liverpool where the prisoner was alleged to have deserted her, with the intention of going to America, to resume cohabitation with her former husband. She admitted she had a private interview with the prisoner after he was arrested.

Mr TURNER, “did you ask him not to make any reference to the communication you had with him?”

“I asked him to keep quiet about the matrimonial advertisement.”

“Did you tell him you had recently been in correspondence with your first husband?”

“I have got no husband.” replied the witness indignantly.

Frances DAY said the prisoner married her at Gloucester in March 3rd last. They arranged to go to New York by way of Southampton, where the prisoner deserted her. Prisoner told her his name was Arthur John FORD, and that he was from Cateline Islands.

Lily Theresa BLANDFORD, Confectioner, Bristol, deposed that she married the prisoner at Bristol on April 2nd. He then assumed the name of James JOHNSON. Mr SYKES had difficulty in eliciting answers from the witness and Mr TURNER asked whether she wanted to give evidence at all.

I don’t want to say a single word against him” said the witness, “He was a good husband to me, he has married me that is all the injustice he has done me.


Prisoner was committed for trial for all the charges of bigamy, evidence having been given in the cases of forgery and larceny, the latter arose in connection with the marriages of Miss DAVIS and Miss DAY.

Emma ROBINSON, nee Emma CARR, Kirkbythore, Westmoreland, said she was the owner of a dwelling house at Fuse Hill, Carlisle. On Sept 19th 1904 she entered the deeds to Messers BLEAYMIRE and SHEPHERD, solicitors Penrith.

On Oct 15th 1906 at the offices of Messers MAWSON and GLENNY, Carlisle she was shown the deed the signature was not in her handwriting.

Mr James Parkinson SHEPERD solicitor of 21 King St, Penrith deposed a parcel of deeds left with his firm, who employed the prisoner from May to Sept 1906. The document in question was missing.

Henry A. P. MAWSON, solicitor Carlisle, stated in Sept 1906 the prisoner called on him, giving the name William CLARKE and requested the loan of money on a bundle of title-deeds, he gave an address in Dumfries, witness advanced the prisoner £100 on the deeds.

Hearing adjourned till Monday.

Saturday Aug 1st 1908


The last stage for the present case of James WALKER the confectioner and doctor, who is said to have 11 wives was heard at Huddersfield on Monday. The prisoner was committed to Leeds Assizes for trial

The charge of larceny of £100 from Frances DAY, widow of Gloucester was proceeded with.

It was stated the prisoner cashed the cheque on returning home from the wedding ceremony.

Mrs DAY now says the prisoner took her to Southampton for their honeymoon, sent her to a shop and promised to meet her outside, but, absconded with her money. Before the marriage the prisoner had packed her silver plate, which she afterwards identified at the house in which he lived with his last wife at Bristol.

Prisoner declared the charges preposterous.

Mr TURNER applied for some of the money found on WALKER to carry on the defence, Mr SYKES objected to the application, saying the money belonged to someone else.

The Bench refused the application


Copyright 2002 / To date