In researching the Follin family of Saint Domingue, I found the following pieces of information from the sources mentioned.
1. "The record of the Leslie woman suffrage commission, inc., 1917-1919," by Rose Young. From the Library of Congress, Historical Collections:
This document concerns Mariam Florence Follin, also known as Frank Leslie, her part in the womens' suffrage movement, the probate of her last will and testament and settlement of her estate. It has a lot of useful genealogical information.
Mariam Florence Follin, born 1836 in New Orleans, was the daughter of Charles Follin, a Merchant of New Orleans, and his (third?) wife Susan Danforth. Charles Follin of New Orleans was the son of Auguste Firmin Follin and Melanie Noel who were both of French birth. Here are some excerpts from the article:
(1) "... Frank Leslie characterized her own childhood.
Born in New Orleans in 1836, she was the offspring of one Charles Follin and one Susan Danforth Follin. They named her Miriam Florence Follin ..."
(2) "Her father, a Southerner of French birth ..."
(3) " His once large commission business had failed before his daughter was born. He tried other things, and failed in them, too. The New Orleans household broke up. While his daughter and her mother were in Cincinnati or in New York, he was in the South a good deal. His family lived in the South. His father, a Frenchman who had come to America with some means, was dead, but his French mother, Melanie Noel Follin, lived in Mobile, Alabama, as a woman of wealth. He had a brother and sister in Mobile, a brother in Central America, and a doctor brother who lived in New York. Mme. Melanie Noel Follin kept the family as closely knit as possible, and there was a constant interchange of letters. " ...
(4) " Charles Follin had been married at least once before he married Susan Danforth. In 1830 he had married Mrs. Caroline C. Trescott, who had died in 1833, leaving a baby son named Ormond W. Follin. This child, the half brother of Miriam Florence, lived for the most part with maternal relatives in the South, but there was a time when he was a member of the Follin household in New Orleans. " ...
(5) "Noel is a name that occurs again and again in the letters exchanged between members of the Follin family. He, too, was a son of Charles Follin and a member of the Follin household as established by Susan Danforth Follin, both in Cincinnati and in New York. His full name was Augustus Noel Follin and as he was old enough to marry in 1847, he could not have been born of any marriage of Charles Follins subsequent to 1833, when Mrs. Catherine Trescott Follin had died. He loved Susan Danforth Follin with an intense filial devotion and if she was not his mother his whole-souled commitment to her is about the best tribute a stepmother ever had. The question of who really was the mother of Noel Follin was to arise later to plague the executors and beneficiaries of a famous will, but there seems to have been no question as to his place in the family annals and affection in those earlier days. He was on much more intimate terms with Susan Danforth Follin and her daughter Miriam than was Ormond W. Follin, the half brother in the South. In the early fifties he left wife and children in Cincinnati and went to California to try to make his fortune." ...
" In the summer of 1855 there was another letter from Noel Follin. He had met, in California, the famous actress, Lola Montez, former mistress of old King Ludwig of Bavaria. He was, at the very moment of writing, embarking with her, as her business manager, on a trip around the world ... The bell rings. God bless you. How lonely is my heart! ... God bless you Noel; Across this faded letter is written in Frank Leslies handwriting, Last letter from Brother. For Noel Follin never returned from that outward bound voyage. The story that came back was that he was lost at sea." ...
(6) "On the 27th day of March, 1854, seventeen-year-old Miriam Florence Follin was married to twenty-seven-year old David C. Peacock. " ...
" Two years later the marriage was annulled. " ...
(7) " But Miriam Follin had begun to quest happiness through romance and by the time she was twenty-one she married again. This time she married a much older man, Ephraim G. Squier, an archaeologist of note and a man of means." ... "After sixteen years of married life, they were divorced. A year or two later she married Mr. Frank Leslie, head of the extensive publication business that bore his name. She was to marry still again, but she was to say of her marriage to Mr. Leslie that it was her one happy matrimonial experience."
(8) "Mr. Frank Leslie died in 1880, leaving all he had to his wife, Miriam Follin Leslie." ... "And in the will he decreed that his wife should take his place in conducting the business of the various publications which he had established, and in the establishment of which she has so largely contributed. Particularly, he specified his name and trademark as a property which he wanted to go to her. There had been some piracy of that name. To clinch the matter she had her own name changed to Frank Leslie by law, and Miriam Florence Follin Leslie ceased to be."
(9) "Difficulties developed for the Frank Leslie publications under the syndicate management and for a time she had again to take the helm for her business. Again she put it on a paying basis. But in 1902 she severed all connection with it, even giving up the name of Frank Leslie. Thereafter she was known as the Baroness de Bazus, a name and title to which she laid claim by right of some of her Huguenot ancestors."
(10) "May 22, 1914, she made her last will. " ...
"Thereupon, she directed that all her debts be paid, and bequeathed to her executors, as trustees, a fund of fifty thousand dollars, whose income was to be paid to her niece, Mrs. Carrie H. Wrenn,..."
"She created another trust fund of five thousand dollars, the income from which was to be paid to Thomas A. Wrenn, the husband of Mrs. Carrie H. Wrenn, during his life time,..."
"To each of her grand-nephews, sons of Mrs. Carrie H. Wrenn, she bequeathed outright the sum of ten thousand dollars.
To her cousin, Mrs. Robert Simons, of Charleston, S. C., she left ten thousand dollars as an absolute bequest."
" ... and she left five thousand dollars outright to four duly named people: Charles R. Follin of Charleston, S. C. Frank B. Lemon, Liberty, N. Y., Miss Mattie Sheridan, New York City, an Miss Emma Steiner, New York City."
"The will given publicity, there was an assembling of clans and a marshaling of cousins. All were animated by a deep impassioned desire to show next of kinship. Cousins who had remained
comfortably in ignorance of one another's existence for a generation hastily took up pens to see, as one of them wrote, "if we can't stand together on this. We might as well have it as the suffragettes!" became the battle cry. Cousins in California hurriedly wrote to cousins in Detroit. "My father," said a letter from Los Angeles, is a first cousin of Mrs. Leslie, and we feel, as no doubt you do, that we are more entitled to at least a small portion of her estate than the Suffragettes. ... I have an uncle who is one of the best lawyers in the West and he has looked into the matter and says he feels sure that something can be done, if all the heirs get together.
Spanish cousins rushed forward from far away Puerto-Cortes, Spanish Honduras, where to want votes for women was just short of aiding and abetting crime. That money should be left to "an association that is perhaps not even sanctioned by law," as one of them set forth, passed the bounds of reason. The same one wrote, "Both in Mobile and in Honduras there are some cousins of Mrs. Leslie who intend to annul the will. ... "
"Two of the next of kin promptly let it be known that they were not willing the will should be probated. One was the niece mentioned as beneficiary under the trust fund of fifty thousand dollars. Her name was Mrs. Carrie Follin Wrenn and she was the daughter of the brother who went away to sea and never came back, Augustus Noel Follin. Instead of the income from fifty thousand, as stipulated by the will, five hundred thousand was named as the amount Mrs. Wrenn desired. The other next of kin was not mentioned in the will at all. He came forward from Detroit and the newspaper reporters introduced him as "the man of mystery who wants a million." His name was Maynard D. Follin and he was, he said, the son of that Ormond W. Follin, half brother of Mrs. Leslie."
(11) "Assignments having been made to the next of kin in accord with the agreements just noted, the will was admitted to probate on December 7, 1914.
Five days later three of the four grandchildren of Mr. Frank Leslie, children of the sons disinherited in his will of 1880, went on record with an application for the revocation of the probate." ...
"One of the genealogical points it insisted upon was that Charles Follin had been married but once in his life and then to the grandmother of the man of mystery from Detroit. The date given was October 4, 1830. The source of information was the file of the Charleston Courier,
whose issue of October 9, 1830, carried the notice: "Married on Monday evening, 4th inst., by the Rev. Mr. Bachman, Charles Follin, Esq., to Mrs. Caroline C. Trescott, both of this City."
One of the few things of harmless import brought our by the petition was that there never had been any Frank Leslie at all except as created by law. Mr. Frank Leslie's real name was Henry Carter. He had used the name "Frank Leslie" as his signature to his illustrations during his career as an artist until it had become a valuable asset to him, whereupon he changed to it permanently by act of legislature. That had been in 1857. Mrs. Leslie had taken the name by an order from the Court of Common Pleas in 1881. " ...
" According to the admitted kinship of Mrs. Leslie's niece, Mrs. Wrenn was the daughter of Noel Follin, a full brother of Mrs. Leslie, a brother old enough to marry in 1847 and, in 1850, become the father of the child who had become Mrs. Wrenn. If Mrs. Wrenn's father had been old enough to marry in 1847, he must have been born before that marriage of Charles Follin to Caroline Trescott in 1830. Was that marriage, then, Charles Follin's second, and was his marriage to Susan Danforth Follin, Mrs. Leslie's mother, his third? Or, had Charles Follin and Susan Danforth Follin been married, begotten the son who became Mrs. Wrenn's father, been divorced, and married again, with Mrs. Leslie as the offspring of the re-wedding? Here was a pretty involvement for executors and the next of kin!" ...
"That Susan Danforth Follin was Charles Follin's wife was proved by some old, ink-faded letters out of the far-away "forties." They were found among Mrs. Leslie's belongings, they were from Charles Follin to Susan Follin and they were replete with loving commitments to his "own dear wife Sue," from her "own husband, Charles Follin." Replete, too, with messages of love to "our dear little daughter, our dear little Miriam" and with messages of affection and admonition
to "Noel," There were plenty of old letters, too, to give evidence that Mrs. Leslie, then little Miriam Follin, and her mother, had been recognized by the members of her father's family, the one as Charles Follin's daughter, the other as his wife." ...
[Note: Mariam Florence Follin died in New York on Sep 10, 1914.]
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