The Demise of Cassie

To the last, Chadwick Screams her Innocence

By By Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA

Editor’s note: This article concludes the story of Cassie Chadwick begun in the September/October 2000 issue. It is excerpted from a chapter in the book, “Frankensteins of Fraud,” © 2000 by Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, the Association’s founder and Chairman.  

The Sad Tale of Joe Lamb 

The chorus of Cassie’s wretched deeds told of a life spent a step ahead of her latest lie. She had fallen out with her sister Alice when she was caught, as Elizabeth Bigley, having pawned Alice’s new furniture for $300. Of course the furniture wasn’t worth more than $100, but Elizabeth had pawned it to three different brokers. In 1882, she was married as Lydia Springsteen to a Cleveland doctor. Though William Springsteen was a particularly down-and-out and drunken doctor, seeing a few patients in his back-stair walkup, he nevertheless made good pickings for Elizabeth as she learned a trade more satisfying and lucrative than prostitution, namely fraud. The marriage lasted but 12 days before Springsteen was faced with a pile of bills. “You said your rich Irish relatives sent you all those presents!” he railed. When the three pawnbrokers came round, each with a claim to Alice York’s furniture and a
charge against Elizabeth Bigley, Springsteen sent his little woman packing.

It was said that Cassie spent most of the year 1883 in convalescence with a kindly Lutheran family in Erie, Pennsylvania. She was calling herself Mazie Bagley. To gain the couple’s aid, she’d performed a trick she learned in the Toronto train stations, slicing her gums with a razor and fainting, somewhere very near an obviously good Samaritan. Mazie, a “young heiress,” promised to pay her hosts back with interest once she reached Cleveland.

However, as the good folks of Erie learned,
Mazie Bagley has passed peacefully away, putting her full trust in God, at 2:30 o’clock on March 27, 1884. Poor Mazie’s remains were taken to their native home in Canada for interment and were followed to their last resting place by a large and sorrowing concourse of friends. 

Elizabeth couldn’t resist a parting shot in a less cultured voice.
I thought you had heard. She was a splendid girl, but unfortunately weakminded. 

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