Kenilworth Castle Case Again

by Laurel | March 19th, 2013

Kentlworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle

20 July 1900

Hearing Before John C. Hammond Yesterday — Continuance in Holyoke Today.

The famous “Kenilworth Castle Case,” that has been pending in the courts for several years, came on for hearing before John C. Hammond of Northampton, as special master, at the courthouse in Springfield yesterday. the case is brought by James F. Dickey of Holyoke, administrator de bonis non of the estate of the late E. C. Taft, against Catherine P. Taft of Holyoke, it being alleged that “Kenilworth castle,” the stately Taft residence on Northampton street in Holyoke, was transferred by Mr. Taft in January 1896, to his wife, in fraud of his creditors, and that she in turn conveyed it to their daughter, Mrs. Lucretia P. Flagg. Carroll & McClintock and A. L. Green appear for the plaintiff, and Frank P. Goulding of Worcester and William Hamilton for the defendant. William H. Brooks, who formerly appeared in the case, is a witness, and cannot appear as counsel. Mrs. Taft was the only witness called yesterday, and the day was occupied with her testimony. Today the hearing will proceed at the office of the Albion Paper Company in Holyoke, where testimony from the books of the company relative to the concern’s financial affairs just before the time of the difficulties of the concern early in 1896 will be put in. The hearing will last several days longer. Mrs. Taft, though the defendant, was called as a witness for the plaintiff, and went through a searching examination by Lawyer McClintock. She was first questioned relative to the transfer of Kenilworth from her husband to herself on January 14, 1896. It was stated that the transfer was made from Mr. Taft to H. H. Bosworth, and from him to Mrs. Taft, the papers being drawn by Judge Bosworth of Springfield.

Mrs. Taft testified she paid no consideration to her husband for the property at the time the deed was received from him. She conveyed the place to her daughter in September 1897, the papers being signed in Littleton, N.H. There was no consideration for the transfer to her daughter. Her daughter was to be married in October, and she desired to maker her a wedding present of Kenilworth. She made the transfer before the wedding, as, owing to the state of health, she considered it doubtful she would be able to attend the wedding. Questioned as to Dr. Clark of Holyoke going to see her when she was at Swampscott, in 1897, she denied that anything was said to him about a transfer of Albion paper Company stock. She was asked as to the time she heard of the Albion Paper Company trouble in 1896, She said she heard nothing about it until a day or two before the creditors’ meeting, which was in March 1896. Relative to a suit brought by the City National Bank of Holyoke against her husband, she could recall little. She believed she heard of it, but could not tell when. She could not say whether or not the papers were served on her husband at the house. She denied knowing that Kenilworth was specially attached when the suit was started. She could not say when she learned of it, but she did not know it when she went to the White Mountains in the summer of 1897. She learned of it subsequently, however. She denied that she knew her husband’s financial condition was not of the best prior to about the time of the Albion creditors’ meeting. Mrs. Taft was asked as to several conversations between herself and her husband and others relative to Kenilworth. She was unable to recall much about them, and denied statements alleged to have been mae at such times. She recalled a talk when her husband, C. Fayette Smith, C.P. Prescott and herself were present. Messrs. Smith an Prescott were representing the Holyoke banks. She said that they wanted her to give up Kenilworth, and she told them it was given to her by her husband and she should not give it up. She could not recall anything further that was said at that time She did not remember any part of the conversation when M. Taft said anything about his having Kenilworth Castle, and that they could have that. She denied that any promise was made to give up Kenilworth, and she did not know that Mr. Smith called at the house the next day to get the deed. If he did call, she didn’t see him.

Mrs. Taft testified that the transfer of the Kenilworth property to her was not without consideration. She said that she received it in consideration of $9000 loaned to her husband in 1893, of certain debts she had paid before the transfer, and certain other bills that she was to pay. She said she paid out a large sum for household expenses and for fixtures that went into Kenilworth. She said the loan of $9000 was made to her husband in 1893. He went to the White Mountains where she was staying at the Crawford house, and asked for the money. She signed two checks, leaving the amounts blank. Questioned as to the assignment of her husband’s life insurance policies to her, she said that as a result of this assignment she received $70,000 in insurance. Questioned by lawyer Hamilton, she related a conversation in 1894 when she went to Kenilworth with her husband and daughter. She wanted the work on the house pushed, and offered to let her husband have money to do it with, but he said he didn’t need any money. Later, however, he took the $9000 loan testified to. She was questioned at length as to bills of her husband’s contracting paid by her, and testified that the total amount of such bills was about $10,000. A large number of checks used in paying such bills were identified by her and placed in evidence. Re-examined by Mr. McClintock, Mrs. Taft said that many of the bills of her husband’s contracting which she paid were for work at Kenilworth. The case will go on at Holyoke today.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.