Rolf Parker: Brattleboro's T.P. James - Spiritualist, writer ... and conman?

First published in "Brattleboro Reformer" October 27, 2017
S

UPERSTITIONS has it that on Halloween, spirits of the dead come back to walk the earth. If true, T. P. James might choose to return to Brattleboro. This is where James claimed Charles Dickens' ghost dictated to him the ending to the unfinished novel "The Mystery of Edwin Drood." James published the completed novel in Brattleboro on Halloween, in 1873.

And if James's spirit was to come back to Brattleboro, the Market Block on Elliot Street, (the building which currently houses Taylor for Flowers and the Blueberry Haus Ice Cream parlor) might be a logical place to anticipate his return. James' book was first sold at E. J. Carpenter's store, which was in the center of the three shops housed on the first floor. James worked in the The Vermont Record and Farmer's print shop, which was in a narrow section towards the back of the building. The publishing office of the paper shared the second floor with apartments. Later in his career, James came to work as the co-editor and publisher of the Windham County Reformer, the forerunner of the Brattleboro Reformer, and entered the doorway which now fronts the ice cream parlor.

Did James believe his own story, that he channeled Dickens' ghost? Or was he a gifted literary con-man? Dickens died in 1870 leaving millions of people, who had been reading Drood in installments, without an ending to his murder mystery. This presented an obvious opportunity for writers and publishers.

News that work was being done in Brattleboro to complete the novel came in a long sensational article printed in The Springfield Union in July of 1873. Long excerpts of this article were reprinted in newspapers across the country, and in Brattleboro's Record and Farmer, in August of 1873. A shorter excerpt followed in the Record's competitor, the Vermont Phoenix as well as a vigorously skeptical denouncement of it. An anonymous "special correspondent" for the Union, claimed that in 1872, a poorly educated mechanic, a "Mr. A," encountered Dickens' ghost at s ances held by his landlady, who owned a boarding house on Oak Street. During his first s ance, which he attended reluctantly, the table "waltzed exuberantly around the room, and finally tipped over into the mechanic's lap." At another s ance, the mechanic, who "had never written so much as a newspaper paragraph for publication", fell into a trance, took up pen and paper, and proceeded to write.

When he came out of the trance, according to the Union article, to his astonishment, there was a letter to Mr. A. signed by Charles Dickens, requesting an interview. During the private interview that followed in October of 1872, Dickens told him he had been selected to write down the ending to Drood. Furthermore, Dickens wanted to dictate more novels to him, and other stories, after they completed Drood. Dickens supposedly gave James permission to make money from the work. He also praised James's work." You have no idea how much interest this matter is exciting among the hosts by whom I am surrounded." Dickens supposedly informed James.

Following the publication of the article in the Springfield Union, James provided excerpts of the developing novel to newspapers, who published reviews of the book. Understandably, and as is common practice today, James only included the reviews that were favorable of his work in the broadside advertisement he created. That any of the reviews were at all favorable is testament to the fact that James could write at least passingly well.

However, some reviews were scathing. The New York Times reviewer wrote, "We cannot help being struck by ... the miserable incapacity of the spiritual Dickens ... It is now rendered quite clear that men's talents are not always improved when men die. It is grievous to think that Charles Dickens, who was once so justly famous, can now write nothing better than the concluding chapters of this saddening book."

Moreover, skeptical newspaper reporters tore into the Springfield Union's story of the poorly educated Mister A. It was revealed that the mysterious mechanic was a printer, with nearly 20 years' experience in his trade, who editors in New Hampshire and Massachusetts were familiar with as a former employee. It was also revealed that James was currently employed at Vermont Farmer and Record, in Brattleboro, the same paper in Brattleboro which re-printed the long excerpt of the Union's story about Dickens' "Spirit pen."

We know now, from the obituary of the editor of the Farmer and Record, Frank D. Cobleigh, that he was dying of tuberculosis at the time of this article's publication. In fact, he had moved from his home on Chase Street, to Elliot Street, and may have been living on the second floor of the Market Block, when he died. Tuberculosis in its final stages is debilitating, and it is conceivable that the editor was at least somewhat hampered in his ability to oversee the production of the newspaper. Could James have planted the article in the Farmer and Record, announcing his own discovery to the residents of Brattleboro? Or was Cobleigh aware the whole time of the identity of the mysterious Mr. A?

James was more than just an employee at the paper. James ran ads in the Record and Farmer offering his services as an independent printer of posters and cards, and Cobleigh accepted mail for James at the publishing offices at the Market Block. More damaging to the story than news of James employment at the Record and Famer, (and as noted by Andrew S. Kull in his seminal article on James in 1969 Vermont Life,) the very printing press that brought the story of the mysterious Mister A to the public's attention were the same printing presses that would produce James' Drood." Upon learning of this business partnership between James and the publisher of the Union, the editor of the Boston Herald wrote, "The charge has been openly made that the publishers of the newspaper which first gave

publicity to this story, are to publish this "medium's" production, if he ever finishes it, and their present eagerness to spread the story of the Brattleboro medium, is very likely a shrewd advertising dodge. This seems very probable. Recent developments show the developers of Dickens' work in a very unfavorable light, and cast great doubt upon any of the stories, he, or his future publishers, (at the Springfield Union) have to tell."

It is possible that there may have been no-land lady on Oak Street, no s ance, and no special correspondent, other than James himself. If true, the "mechanic who had never written a paragraph for publication" was in fact a plucky word smith, at least when it came to writing publicity for a book.

The scathing newspaper articles also revealed that when James moved to Brattleboro in 1870 or 1871, he introduced the women he travelled with to townspeople as his wife. This unfortunately was a lie, which further damaged his credibility. James had not married his companion, Martha Adaline Hill, and he had not obtained a divorce from Elizabeth Scott. According to census reports and her wedding certificate, Hill was a teenager when she left her family in Irasburg to work in a textile mill in New Hampshire like many other Vermont farm girls in the late 1860s. She worked in the Jackson Mill in Nashua, took a room in Elizabeth James' boarding house, and met Scott's husband, Thomas. He had worked as a printer in Portland, Maine, Philadelphia, Ogdensburg, New York, and New York City, before running a failed printing business in Lowell, Mass., with his stepson. According to the newspaper accounts, "there was an explosion" when his affair with Hill was discovered. The lovers fled Nashua, N.H., around 1870, and married in September 1873, in Brattleboro, after James' desertion of his former wife was made known by inquiring newspapers.

The Nashua Telegraph also revealed that James had a brush with literary plagiarism as a youth. He supposedly sold copies of a play he claimed to have written, which turned out to be a famous playwright. The editor of the Telegraph for whom James had worked, wrote, "Still, we must give him credit for considerable ingenuity, as the imposition he has attempted is one of the cleverest in conception and execution in modern times. And we shall not be surprised if he attempts with his infinite assurance to bluff it through."

While the newspapers in New Hampshire, which James had worked at, were especially scornful, the co-editors of the Phoenix, Olin French and Daniel Stedman, who also knew James, were

relatively charitable. "We understand that the newspapers (that reported on all of the scandals) will not be sued for libel by Mr. James," they wrote. "It is due him, however, to state that persons who have known him during the last two years that he has been a resident of Brattleboro, are not disposed to give full credit to (newspaper accounts of his past.) His conduct while here, as well as that of the person who purports to be his wife, has been above suspicion. Of course, the facts of his past life, or his present conduct, have no direct bearing upon the character of the work with which he is engaged, further than to throw suspicion upon its origin. His book will be judged upon its own merits. We learn that he is about to leave the employ of Mr. Cobleigh for the purpose of the work in hand."

None of the scandals stopped James from completing his plan. After disappearing with Martha Hill, he reappeared when he had completed the novel. The Phoenix acknowledged that James

published the work in late October, and declared "(the book) makes a fine volume of about 500 pages. It is having a large sale."

James would later claim that he had sold over 30,000 copies. Whether this is another piece of fiction cannot be ascertained, but copies are found in libraries across the country, including one in the Brooks Memorial Library, that appears to be signed by Dickens himself.

The book that T. P. James said Charles Dickens' ghost dictated to him, went on sale at E. J. Carpenter's store on Elliot Street in Brattleboro in 1873 and was reported to have sold well.

James' publication of "The Mystery of Edwin Drood" received a wide range of reactions in Brattleboro, which like the rest of the United States was a cauldron of raging opinions on the topic of spiritualism. Religious and non-religious groups of people were divided amongst themselves as to whether spiritualism was diabolical and dangerous, miraculous, or a great hoax borne of a potent mix of talented conmen and a willfully gullible public.

James was savvy enough to market the book to both skeptics and believers. For example, in the publicity for his book, he quoted this review from the Hartford Connecticut Times: "It is almost equally remarkable, whether one regards it as a literary fraud or a real manifestation of some of the mysterious and puzzling phenomena of Spiritualism."

By the time James' book was published, believers in spiritualism had celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Fox Sisters' first public demonstrations of "spiritualist table rapping." The revolutionary belief that this sort of communication was not only possible but easy to achieve, spread across the nation with a rapidity that alarmed social commentators of the time.

In Brattleboro, and in many other parts of the country, it wasn't only scientifically-minded skeptics who were alarmed by how quickly their fellow citizens accepted this new phenomenon into their lives. In 1853, Clarina Howard Nichols, the editor of The Windham County Democrat, published a lengthy sermon by the congregationalist Reverend Charles Beecher, who believed rappings heard at seance tables were dangerous. "The phenomena known as Spiritual, are really caused by spirits of the departed, but not by spirits of the blest. It is essentially one with the demoniac possession, whereof the Gospels often speaks - that is, by the control and use of the bodily organs of living human beings by disembodied human spirits. . . ," Beecher wrote.

Preachers like Beecher weren't only warning about what they saw as a potential danger; they also reminded people that talking with spirits of the dead was prohibited in the Bible, citing verses such as Deuteronomy 18: 10-12 - "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord."

"The Spirit Pen of Dickens" was aware of this sentiment. In the preface to "Edwin Drood, Complete," James wrote that some Brattleborians "... said that, at a certain hour every night, his Satanic Majesty could be seen emerging from the chimney of my house and flying away into space, leaving behind him such a strong smell of brimstone that one could smell for an hour afterwards; and I suppose no chimney ever attracted so much attention or inspired such feelings of awe as that one did, in consequence of this libel upon its fair brick and mortar."

The exact location of James' home in Brattleboro is a matter of intense interest to local historical researchers.

While some saw spiritualism as a diabolical plot, others saw it as a Christian miracle. Even before the emergence of the Fox Sisters, liberal Christians in Brattleboro and other parts of New England had already started to shift towards acceptance of communication with the deceased, and believed it could bolster their Christian faith. Reverend John Pierpont, a Universalist minister, in a sermon that was published in the Vermont Phoenix in 1843 wrote, "Science tells us that as far as heaven consists of place, earth is a part of heaven; and therefore the 'dwellers upon earth' are as much in heaven as the dwellers upon any other of all the stars of God. Who does not feel himself strengthened in the trying hour by the thought that his father or his mother, some sainted child or friend, is at that moment regarding him, with a deep, yea with a painful interest, and saying to him, 'Be thou faithful unto death, and thou will receive a crown of life!' Do not our spirits seem to hear the whispers of spirits communing with us, while we are communing with our own hearts; whispering words of encouragement or admonition, of faithful counsel, or of solemn warning? And are we not conscious that their spiritual communings are salutary to our own spirits?"

As noted by Ann Braude, in her book "Radical Spirits," spiritualism became especially well established in the Universalist church in Vermont, and to a lesser extent in Massachusetts. Before he died, James left a paper trail of connections to Universalism. His first marriage was conducted by a Universalist minister, Sebastian Streeter, in Boston in 1853, when James was only 18. James' confederate in his printing businesses in Brattleboro was O.A. Libby, who was a lifelong Universalist. Libby had apprenticed to James to learn the printing trade in Massachusetts. In Brattleboro, among other things Libby did for James, he sold photos of "The Spirit Pen of Charles Dickens." One of the photos was advertised as being of James in the trance state he entered when Dickens' ghost dictated new works of fiction.

James launched a spiritualist magazine in Brattleboro after he published "Drood," called the Summerland Messenger, so that he could publish these new stories and novels by Dickens. Apparently, he turned his channeling sessions with the English novelist into a performance. A reporter for the St Louis Daily Journal in 1874 wrote, "It is curious to see him work. He is a dreamy fellow. He will sit a few minutes idle at his desk. Then as the inspiration seizes him, he will dash off page after page of the thoughts communicated from spirit land, dashing them around him on the floor, until the fit leaves him, when he comes down again upon the mundane sphere and is as dull and prosy as ordinary mortals."

By the late 1800s, while some of Brattleboro's more conservative ministers still expressed approbation at the idea of their congregants meeting with mediums, the Phoenix calmly noted the arrival of spiritualists that came to town to lecture and channel spirits for paying audiences. Many of these spiritualist lecturers and performers came via train from the Lake Pleasant Community in nearby Montague, Massachusetts. For the truly credulous, B. P. Brown, a spiritualist photographer, offered his services to people wishing to see pictures of their dead love ones.

While an acceptance of spiritualism had become common, the Spirit Pen's stories were published at a time when secular skepticism about professional spiritualists was also common, and growing. Reports reprinted in Brattleboro's newspapers documented the debunking of conmen posing as materialized ghosts during seances. Mediums, including the Eddy Brothers, who performed at their farmhouse near Rutland, were tackled to the ground by skeptics in the middle of their performance, and found to have been parading in the dark in ghostly white cloths, and otherwise proven to be frauds.

Other attacks made by skeptics towards spiritualists focused on their appearance and supposed behavior, which did not always conform to social norms. The editor the Phoenix reprinted articles mocking spiritualists men as being more likely to sport wild beards, and spiritualist, reform-minded women of having hearts that "heat with love for anything in pantaloons other than (their) husbands."

In the first article that documented James' attempt to finish "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," the "special correspondent" in the Springfield Union indicated that it was possible that the medium who channeled Dickens was not James, but a female member of his household, one "M. A. Hill." When James published "Edwin Drood Complete," he registered it in the Library of Congress to M. A. Hill, which was the maiden name of his newly married wife.

There may have been a business-minded reason for James to have done so. In the 1870s, as noted by Barbara Goldsmith, author of "Other Powers," spiritualists were more likely to believe in the genuine nature of women as mediums. Women were believed to be more sensitive to the presence of spirits, and better able to communicate with them.

In Brattleboro, Nellie Bringham and Zella Hastings, two famous spiritualist speakers of the day, came to the town hall and the Universalist Church in Brattleboro (which was housed in the same building where the Agape Christian Fellowship Church holds its services on Canal Street) and gave talks supposedly "inspired by spirits."

What were James' beliefs towards spiritualism, and Christianity? It is impossible to say, but it is interesting to note that he promoted books for sale in his magazine whose authors went far beyond claiming that spiritualism was compatible with Christianity. Besides the complete works of Dickens, readers could order through James, "Jesus of Nazareth" by Alexander Smyth, a medium who claimed to channel the spirits of Paul and Judas Iscariot. The ideas presented in this book were an attempt to radically rewrite Christianity. Perhaps not surprisingly, the spirits in this book agreed with a central tenant of Universalism, which was that there was no hell waiting for anyone entering the afterlife. But the book also contains a central attack on Christianity: Judas' spirit asserted that Jesus did not die so much to wipe away the sins of mankind, but rather to "glut the vengeance of despots and tyrants" who were opposed to Jesus' attempts to rid people of superstitions. James was not only selling this book directly to his readers, he was actively promoting it with a large ad.

T. P. James also sold books that advocated that what was previously thought of as adultery, but now understood to sometimes be nothing less than a new "spiritual marriage." Any number of spiritual marriages might occur in one person's lifetime.

In her book, "The Annals of Brattleboro," Mary Cabot dedicated a section to T.P. James, called "The Tramp Printer." She declared that James only published one issue of his spiritualist magazine, The Summerland Messenger, and did not succeed in publishing the next novel that James said Dickens' ghost was dictating to him, "The Life and Times of Bockely Whickleheap." She also states that he rarely stayed in a job for longer than a year.

Cabot may have overstated things, but it is true that in his lifetime, James did have a tendency to disappear. He did start newspapers in at least four towns and repeatedly left within a relatively short time of doing so. He also married at least four wives, (research indicates he may have had at least two more) and vanished from their lives.

Though James wrote a solution to Dickens' mystery, he unintentionally created other mysteries for researchers to puzzle over. Why did he leave Brattleboro, after becoming the

co-editor and co-publisher of the Windham County Reformer? What happened to him after he left Brattleboro? How many wives did he have, and what happened to them? Did he continue to write?

James left a trail of papers that help answer some of these questions. Materials at the Brooks Memorial Library, in the town hall's records vault, at the Brattleboro Historical Society, as well as online sources made available by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, allow modern day researchers to piece together parts of the James story that were previously impossible to gather These materials shed some light on the life and character of this mysterious man.

James had even more difficulty staying married than the reporters of his era knew. The details of his first marriage are mysterious, and suggest a tragedy early in his life. When James was a boy of 18, and working as a clerk in Boston, he married Sarah Whitcomb in 1853, who was only 15. Curiously, the place for her parents' names was left blank on her wedding certificate. After that she disappears from history. Given the sad mortality rates of young teenage mothers in the 1850s, if the young clerk married his 15-year-old partner because she was pregnant, one possibility is that she could have died in childbirth. Further research on this point is needed, but difficult given the lack of information about the young bride. Interestingly, the wedding was officiated by Reverend Streeter, a Universalist, the denomination most associated with spiritualism.

James is listed in the census of 1860 as a 24-year-old living in Lawrence, Mass., with his wife, Elizabeth Scott, who was 11 years his senior. It was also her second marriage. Living in the same household were her two children from a previous marriage, both of whom were only a few years younger than James. This means that she either began having children at 13, or that they were her first husband's children. Curiously, a newspaper reporting on the scandal that erupted in 1873 stated that in his childhood James had been an intimate of his future step-children.

We next find James on his way to war. He was drafted from his residence in Lowell, Mass., in 1863, and his occupation is listed as "printer." James' military service during the war is a tangled mess for historians. This may be in part due to his use of a pseudonym he appears to have used. A curious military record from the same year has Thomas P. James listed with the name of Theodore crossed out. The record notes that the man was transferred from a New York company. Under "Explanation" is the word, "Same."

Another mystery surrounding his military service was uncovered by amateur historian, Chris Zappala, of Brattleboro, who found records that indicate "T. P. James" was discovered to be incapable of playing the trumpet. Did James make the claim that he could play the horn, in an attempt to escape the front line?

James survived the war, and returned to his wife, Elizabeth, who we find living in Nashua, N.H., in 1870, the year of Dickens' death. After leaving Elizabeth, James traveled with her boarder, Martha, to Fall River, and other towns in Massachusetts, where he continued to master the printing trade. After publishing "The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Complete," in Brattleboro, he launched his spiritualist magazine, The Summerland Messenger in 1874. This magazine, whose existence was announced and lauded in the Farmer and Record, printed new novels from "Dickens' Spirit Pen," namely "The Life and Adventures of Bockley Whickleheap," and "The Humpback's Pilgrimage." To date, the only edition of this magazine that we know to exist is the 10th. A digital copy of this edition was located by Jeanne Walsh, reference librarian at the Brooks Memorial library, in 2013.

One theme of Bockley Whickleheap is that some people wrongly assume that no one would willfully do harm to another person capriciously.

How many more editions were published, is not known. It is thus also not known if James completed these Dickensian novels. If he did, there is no record of them being pulled together into published books.

James' reputation, following the scandal that broke on him during his second year in Brattleboro, was not so bad as to get in the way of his becoming the co-editor and co-publisher with prominent lawyer Charles H. Davenport of the Windham County Democrat in 1878. In 1913, this paper combined with the Vermont Phoenix and became The Brattleboro Reformer. However, the relationship between James and Davenport apparently soured. James started his own paper, The Independent, within the same year. Paul Heller, a writer for the Times Argus, discovered that the Springfield Republican wrote of the Independent that, "... the mission of the new paper, so far as it has one, seems to be to print a good deal of cheap wit at the expense of Lawyer Davenport and Deacon Jacob Estey. Happily, there is not much living power in this sort of journalism."

James' third wife was Martha Adaline Hill, whom newspaper writers referred to as his "victim." The most cynical explanation as to why he didn't marry Martha until after a newspaper expose revealed his past was that he had no intention to do so until scandal forced his hand. However, there is good reason to believe that he always intended to marry Martha before the expose broke, because newspapers reported that by 1873 he was using her initials and last name, "M. A. Hill" as a pen name. He registered "The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Complete," with the Library of Congress in her name.

Did Martha expect to get any of the proceeds of this book that bore her name? Martha may have been easy to take advantage of. It appears that her mother died when Martha was young, and she moved in with her uncle and aunt. School records show that in contrast to her cousins she was sparsely educated. She is only recorded to have attended school at the age of 4, and one term of schooling the year she was 14. She was signed up for two terms at Irasburg District 4 in 1867 but for one of the two terms, her name is crossed off. Her cousin Henry left the farm to fight on the battlefields of the Civil War, and the family may have needed her for farm chores after he left. Was she seen as less deserving or likely to benefit from education? Was she eventually seen as a burden who needed to earn her keep? We know only that she arrived at the mills in Nashua, as a 17-year-old girl with only a modest amount of education when T. P. James took her away with him to Brattleboro.

Martha's marriage to James lasted a little more than six years before she would in turn be left for a woman from a Brattleboro family, Lizzie Plummer. What happened to Martha after her divorce is a mystery. Her divorce was filed in Orleans County and granted in 1881. It appears she may have remarried, but more research is needed to detangle this part of her story. Whatever happened to Martha, she is immortalized in the Library of Congress as the false name under which he registered "The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Complete." Her ghost may find it small consolation. Though Martha and T. P. James were not divorced until 1881, James felt free enough to move to Watertown, Mass., and marry Lizzie Plummer in 1879. Where did James get the notion that it was entirely possible to hide the fact of a previous marriage? Why hadn't his experience in Brattleboro thoroughly taught him how easy it was for past vows of fidelity and devotion to another woman to be discovered?

The wife for whom marriage lasted the longest was Lizzie Plummer, a member of the Salisburys, a wealthy paper making family. Lizzie was previously married to James Gilmore, but that appears to have quickly ended in divorce. However, she was apparently pregnant very shortly after getting married and in 1870 was living in Brattleboro. Both of her boys, George and Charles, are listed as having been born in 1870 in Brattleboro, so it would appear that she was a single mother of twins. About one year later, T. P. James moved to town.

When Lizzie Plummer and T. P. James were married in 1879 in the Boston area, both declared this to be their second marriage. Of course, she was telling the truth, and he was not. James seems to have decided that bigamy was a better option than not being married to his current lover. Perhaps this was due to the watchful eye of his lovers' mother, which could not be evaded.

Ellen Plummer was living with Thomas and Martha in Watertown on Main Street. Also living with them was Lizzie's boy, Charles, "Charles James," according to the 1880 census of Watertown, Mass., who was "at school." No mention is made of George.

James moved in the 1880s to Maine with Lizzie and her son, and started the Sanford Herald in 1884. In the last edition of the paper, which is currently the last known publication we have for James that we can still read, he assured his readers that the paper had such a successful start, that he was committing to a second year of publication. He urged readers to pay for a subscription for the coming year, and for merchants to purchase ads at discount rates. Within days, he was on the train back to Massachusetts, where he was announced as the editor of the Waltham Times in October of 1885. It seems hardly possible that he did not know he had a new job hundreds of miles from Sanford, and that no one who paid for a subscription to the Herald's second year would ever receive a copy of it. The paper also included a story about a fantastically large snake, supposedly cut to pieces by a thresher in Sanford.

We know that James and Lizzie were still married in 1889, because Lizzie sold her share in her aunt Lestina's property in Brattleboro that year, and T. P. James signed on the quit claim deed, as Lizzie's husband. They are listed as living together as man and wife in Chelsea, Mass. They were separated sometime not long after the sale. Hopefully she received some of the proceeds. She worked as a piano teacher in Waltham, after taking back her maiden name.

James is listed as a reporter working in Boston in the 1890s, and then disappears from history.

Who erected the large stone cenotaph that Lizzie, her third husband Dr. Jabez Heigham and her son Charles all share in the Prospect Hill Cemetery in Brattleboro? Both her husband and her son predeceased Lizzie. Her son is named on the stone, not as "Charles James," but rather as the son of Lizzie's first husband, J. M. Gillmore. Lizzie died in 1934, and in her last years she was living alone in a boarding house in the Boston area.

Who paid for Lizzie Plummer Heigham's stone? The erection of her stone predates the records that have been kept at Abiatti Monuments, so we may never know. But we do know someone cared enough about her memory to take care of this detail. Hopefully, her last years included the love of someone who cared for her in her old age, as James had promised to do.