Four Trunks, Two Women
A Tale of Two Cities, Two Women, and Four Steamer Trunks. As we piece together the many little details in this fragmented, puzzling mosaic, the tiniest details often make the largest dent in a long-cold case like that of the Beautiful Stranger. Among the many details providing important evidence in the case are two sets of steamer trunks.
Kate Morgan's Trunk in Los Angeles. When police in Los Angeles took custody of a trunk left by Katie Logan (another alias, which could only have belonged to Lizzie, not to Kate Morgan as usually thought), they found a collection of items in the trunk, including photographs, a letter from Kate Morgan's uncle W. T. Farmer in Hanford, and much more. The trunk itself belonged to Kate Morgan, as the known contents demonstrate, but it also contained hankies embroidered Louisa Anderson, which point irrevocably to Lizzie. All told the contents of that trunk establish a link between Kate Morgan and Lizzie Wyllie. I believe that Kate Morgan, the mistress of travel and aliases, working around the country in unidentified (probably minor blackmail, petty theft, etc.) schemes in wealthy family homes, was training Lizzie for the big caper to come in Coronado. Here, in Los Angeles, where 'Katie Logan' (an anagram, almost, of Kate Morgan, to help Lizzie remember her false name and act in her assumed identity), Lizzie was training for her big imposter job as Mrs. Lottie A. Bernard in Coronado. The families in Los Angeles were sure the dead woman in Coronado was the same as their domestic Katie Logan. Kate Morgan, an experienced traveler and less ostentatious woman, had her entire life (hair clipping from her dead son, family pictures, et.) arrayed in a single, convenient travel trunk. TOP TOP
Katie Logan's Kittie Flub, a Typical Lizzie Fumble. Remarkably, we know that Katie Logan (the fake name of the temporary maid in Los Angeles, usually taken to have been Kate Morgan, but I believe it was Lizzie) had a conversation with another woman, a domestic like herself. during that conversation, poor Lizzie blurted out that "My name is Lizzie." Bong! There goes the mallet of flash insight again. Could there be any more blatant or direct give-away by the poor, confused airhead who also fibbed her way through her stay at the Hotel Del the next week? When the other woman reacts in shock, Lizzie hastily papers over her mistake and blurts out "...but I go by Kittie because I like it better." Tongue-tied, the poor young woman still could not get her adopted pseudonym (Katie) right. The event was so startling and remarkable that the other domestic remarked upon it to someone who reported it to the press. TOP
Lizzie's Trunks in San Diego. If there is one sign that the caper was to go wrong from the first day, it is the matter of Lizzie's three missing trunks. One of the most puzzling little questions about her stay at the Hotel Del is that of what she wore. Hotel staff remembered her as beautiful, poised, well-bred, and well dressed. We know, from the evidence, that Lizzie had a beer purse but champagne tastes. She was a poor shop girl, but had dreams and pretensions of becoming a great stage actress like her idols, Louise Leslie Carter and Lillian Russell (see entry about the notes left on her table in Room 302, TBD). We know she had only a small satchel or valise with her, whose key she kept in her purse. When she died nearly a week later, she was under-dressed, but stylishly so, for the raging storm. So where did she keep her fine clothing? She undoubtedly had a few basics in her valise, but she had brought her entire warddrobe of vanities with her in three steamer trunks. These were being kept at the rail depot in San Diego. Lizzie had somehow handed her tickets to John Longfield during her tearful, emotional train trip with him to Anaheim. The agents refused to hand her trunks over until 'her husband' came with the tickets to claim them. As a woman traveling alone in Victorian times, she was looked upon with suspicion and disapproval. As it turned out, she never did receive the trunks. Both her three trunks in San Diego, and Kate Morgan's trunk in Los Angeles, were confiscated and disappear from the record. Most importantly, the mixture of contents in the Katie Logan trunk in Los Angeles establishes a solid link between Kate Morgan and Lizzie Wyllie. And Lizzie, not Kate, was Katie Logan. TOP