William Chilton Abercrombie
b. 1871, d. 1934
- Father: Leonard Anderson Abercrombie b. 1 December 1832, d. 23 December 1891
- Mother: Lavinia Afton Chilton b. 13 August 1836, d. circa 6 May 1919
- William Chilton Abercrombie was born in 1871 in Texas.
- Leonard Anderson Abercrombie and Lavinia Afton Chilton appeared in the US federal census of 1 June 1880 in Walker County, Texas. Other members of the household included William Chilton Abercrombie, Lavinia Chilton Abercrombie, Ella Hadyn Abercrombie, Frances Amelia Abercrombie, Leonard Anderson Abercrombie and Corinne Afton Abercrombie.
- He married Annie Marie Smith, daughter of James A. Smith and Elizabeth Minetree, on 17 September 1909 in New York.
- The following appeared on 18 September 1909 in The Times Dispatch: (Richmond) A telegram received here announces the marriage in New York yesterday afternoon of Miss Annie Marie Smith to William Chilton Abercrombie. The bride is the daughter of Mrs. Elizabeth Smith, of this city, and has spent much of her time recently in New York.
- William Chilton Abercrombie and Annie Marie Smith appeared in the US federal census of 15 April 1910 in Manhattan, New York, at 503 West 111th Street.
- He was a lawyer, according to the 1910 census.
- The following appeared on 29 October 1917 in The Philadelphia Inquirer: William C. Abercrombie, lawyer and brother-in-law of Judge Robert S. Lovett, who has been contesting the lunacy proceedings begun by his brother, Leonard Abercrombie, has been adjudged incompetent by Justice Goff in the Supreme Court and ordered committed to an institution for treatment. During the proceedings the respondent conducted his own case and endeavored to show that a conspiracy had been evolved by Judge Lovett and hhis wife to send him to an institution.
- The following appeared on 8 July 1918 in the Middletown Times-Press: (Goshen, July 8) William C. Abercrombie, a brother-in-law of Judge Robert Scott Lovett, chairman of the board of directors of the Union Pacific Railway, has failed in an attempt made through his wife, Mrs. Annie S. Abercrombie, to secure his release from Interpines, here, where he was committed as an incompetent by Justice Goff in the Supreme Court on October 27, 1917. Mrs. Abercrombie obtained a writ of habeas corpus for her husband, but after a hearing Justice Greenbaum ordered it dismissed.
The court ruled that the proceeding was not one which raised the question of whether or not Abercrombie had recovered his mental poise.
Mrs. Lovett is Abercrombie's sister. At a hearing last year he declared that she was in conspiracy with Leonard Abercrombie, a brother, and Judge Lovett to get him "out of New York" and committed to some institution. He admitted that he had asked them for money when he was under the influence of liquor.
Abercrombie, who had been a practicing lawyer here for twelve years, conduct[ed] his own hearing and the court decided that what he stated as "facts" were in reality "delusions."
- The following appeared on 25 August 1918 in The Sunday Oregonian: (New York) A fight of almost two years to free William C. Abercrombie, lawyer and brother-in-law of Judge Robert S. Lovett, from an insane asylum ended successfully recently.
Supreme Court Justice Guy sustained a writ of habeas corpus. He said in his opinion the proceedings which committed Abercrombie were irregular from their beginning in the Magristrate's Court.
Frederick Hendrick, lawyer and classmate of Abercrombie at Harvard, fought his battle for him. Mrs. Abercrombie persisted that her husband was entirely rational when his brother and his sister, Mrs. Robert S. Lovett, testified against him.
In Justice Guy's chambers after the writ was signed, Mr. Hendrick said:
"My old classmate and client and fellow practitioner is not now and never has been insane. Although for some months he was under restraint unjustly, in institutions for persons not able to care for themselves, he is possessed of one of the keenest minds that I have ever known and he knows how to use it.
"It is possible for a perfectly sane man to be committed to an institution, if proper certification is obtained from alieniests. When he has been committed it is possible for friends to try in vain at the County Courthouse where the commitment papers were signed to find out what has become of him. This is so because no record need be kept there of the commitment.
"Friend, wife or sister, can only find the lost one by going from one to another of the institutions in the state where insane or allegedly insane persons are detained. Fortunately, my client was not lost sight of in that way. But the whole subject is one that calls for prompt and effective action to safeguard the citizens of the state.
Abercrombie, who had long lived in Virginia, came to New York in October, 1916, and was arrested, charged with intoxication. On the petition of his brother, Leonard A. Abercrombie, he was committed to Bellevue Hospital for observation as to his sanity.
Mr. Hendrick asserted yesterday that "some one had been hired to get Abercrombie drunk." Abercrombie alleged he was the victim of a conspiracy among his relatives.
Saying that "passion had taken the place of reason," Justice Goff last October refused to upset the commitment to Bellevue. The Justice's decision rebuked Abercrombie's "delusions" that he was the victim of a plot by his brother, his sister, Mrs. Lovett, and Judge Lovett.
"He demonstrated implacable hatred of his kindred, who, as the testimony discloses were at all times kindly, helpful and solicitous of his welfare," Justice Goff said.
Abercrombie has been out on bail for several months and living with his wife, Mr. Hendrick said.
- William Chilton Abercrombie died in 1934.
- He was interred at Oakwood Cemetery, Huntsville, Walker County, Texas.
- Last Edited: 18 Jun 2012