Contributed by Gigimo
Description: A Millionaire's Love. The Sensational HIBBARD vs FRY Breach of Promise Suit.Date: November 19 1888
Newspaper published in: St. Louis, Mo.
Pittsburg, Pa., November 19.
The $100,000 breach of promise suit brought by Mrs. Eliza HIBBARD, against Henry C. FRY, General Superintendent of the Rochester Tumbler Co., was called at Beaver, Pa., this morning. The court-room was crowded to its utmost capacity and the liveliest interest was manifested in the proceedings. Mrs. HIBBARD, the plaintiff, is the widow of Dr. Henry HIBBARD, a prominent physician, who died ten years ago. She is tall, well built, decidedly pretty, and about 40 years of age. She has a family of two sons, the younger of whom is 14, and a daughter who is 17. Mr. FRY is a widower of 45, is the General Superintendent of the Rochester Tumbler Works, President of the First National Bank of Rochester, and has large business interests in New York and elsewhere. He is generally supposed to be a millionaire, and certainly lives in princely style in the borough of Rochester. He has a family of five children, two sons and three daughters, the youngest of the five being a daughter 13 years of age. His wife died eight years ago. Mrs. HIBBARD alleges that FRY made proposals of marriage to her, which she finally accepted. He informed her that his daughters, who are very proud, objected seriously to his paying attentions to her and would raise a fuss if the subject of a marriage were broached to them, but that after everything was once quietly over and they found that he chose to suit himself they would come around all right. She says she did not relish this, but when he proposed that they go to Niagra Falls, and there be quietly married, keeping the marriage a secret for a while, she consented and they started.
They stopped for dinner at the Hotel Anderson in Pittsburg. He excused himself for a short time and soon returned, saying that business complications had arisen which demanded his remaining at home, and that the wedding would have to be postponed. They returned home and Mr. FRY soon ceased his visits, for reasons she knows not. In April last she brought suit against him, claiming $100,000 damages for trifling with her affections. Mrs. HIBBARD claims to have all the testimony necessary to substantiate her assertions. Private detectives have been at work on both sides gathering up evidence as to the character of the principals, and over 100 witnesses will be called. Mr. FRY denies that he ever thought of marrying the plaintiff, much less proposed it.
A brilliant array of legal talent is engaged on the case. Judge HICE is presiding. Samuel B. WILSON and James CUNNINGHAM represent the prosecution, while E. B. DOUGHERTY, J. M. BUCHANAN and J. B. HANNAH are looking after the interests of the defendant. Shortly before the opening of court Mr. FRY came in looking confident, and a few minutes later the plaintiff, accompanied by her niece, entered the court room. She appeared serene and smiled pleasantly to acquaintances. After the selection of a jury and some preliminary sparring between the opposing counsel, Mrs. HIBBARD took the stand and began her story. She said she had known Mr. FRY for seventeen years and attended the same church. He began paying attention to her at a picnic at Rock Point, three years after the death of his wife. He sat beside her and they read the same paper on the train. He asked her habits and when he could call and see her. She told him to call that night and when he came into the parlor he said she was the first lady he had called on since his wife's death and he felt queer. He also said he felt lonely and was doing three men's work to keep his mind occupied. He then asked her why she did not marry, and she replied she did not think much of love affairs. He then drew his chair closer and seemed eager. He did not make love to her that night, but talked generally of love affairs. When he left he said she was the loveliest woman he had ever known and invited himself to call the following Tuesday night.
The court adjourned for dinner.