Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Belle Of The North

Katherine Jane Chase the daughter of the United States Secretary of the Treasury, married Rhode Island Governor William Sprague November 12th 1863 at the Chase home in Washington, DC.

Katherine Jane Chase; always called Kate, was born August 13th 1840 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of Salmon P and Eliza Ann (Smith) Chase.  She was sent to school in New York City to the Haines School, where she learned elocution, history, languages, music, and most importantly the social graces.  After being away at school for nine years Chase returned to Columbus, Ohio, a beautiful 18 year old, to serve as hostess for her widowed father, who had been newly elected Governor.  She was a beautiful, intelligent young woman who impressed her father’s many political friends.

Chase came to Washington, DC with her father, when he became President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury in 1861.  She set up their home in Washington and continued to act as his hostess.  The parties she held were much sought after invitations, and she quickly became the “Belle of the North”.  Chase made a point of visiting the Union camps surrounding Washington, and making friends of Union General.  She was also out spoken on her views of how the war should be fought.

On November 12th 1863 Chase married Rhode Island Governor William Sprague in her father’s home in Washington, DC.  It was the social event of the year.  The United States Marine Corps Band played a march composed by Thomas Mark Clark just for the occasion.  President Lincoln attended the ceremony, but his wife Mary, who didn’t like Chase, did not go.

Hers was not a happy marriage.  Both Chase and her husband apparently had affairs, and the marriage ended in divorce in 1882.  After the divorce she took back her maiden name.  Chase moved with three of her children to her late father’s estate “Edgewood” near Washington, DC.  She died there July 31st 1899 in poverty of Bright’s disease.  She is buried beside her father in the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.

If you are interested in reading more, check out The Nuptials of Miss Kate Chase and Ex-Gov. Sprague

1 comment:

chris jericho said...

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