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John T. Cullen's two books about the ghost at the Hotel del Coronado, and the 1892 crime that created her legend.Lottiepedia

John Longfield

John Longfield (1860s-after 1900). John Longfield is known to have been the foreman of Lizzie Wyllie at the Binn Hammond Bookbindery in Detroit. He is the man, described as a 'cad' and 'bounder', who 'ruined' her by getting her pregnant. He had a wife and three children in Detroit. We know he disappeared from Detroit about the same time as Lizzie, and there is compelling evidence that he was with her in the San Diego/Southern California region on at least one occasion: the 'Missing Day' (another entry to be added here). He is mentioned in the hotel's official book in the news articles about Lizzie Wyllie.

Winn & Hammond, Detroit. John Longfield, Lizzie Wyllie, and Lizzie's sister May were all employed at Winn & Hammond, Printers, Binders, and Bookbinders, founded 1885 and located at 152-156 Wayne, Detroit. That address has since been paved over with freeways. An 1890 city directory lists a John Longfield as foreman at the company. As we glean from the hotel's book, all three (John, Lizzie, and May) were fired, presumably as the result of scandal. John, out of work, told his wife he was going to Cleveland to look for a new job. After the death of the Beautiful Stranger in Coronado, John wrote to his wife (who was still in Detroit, and had no idea of his address) from a General Delivery address in Cleveland. He told his wife that stories of Lizzie's complicity in events in Coronado were not true. He told her (with the odd, indirect intent of having his wife relay this to Mrs. Wyllie and Lizzie's sister May, also in Detroit) that Lizzie never wanted to see them again, and that Lizzie was alive and well in Toronto. This story in itself is clearly a lie and a setup, since the three Wyllies (a variant, pronounced Wylie, a name of Scottish origin, as Mrs. Wyllie may have been a Scottish immigrant) loved each other very much. Lizzie may have run away from home because she was desperate, but she would have returned if she did not lie dead in Coronado. We know, also, that Lizzie first ran off to stay with her aunt (her mother's sister) Louisa Anderson, across the peninsula from Detroit in Grand Rapids. It was Louisa's hankies that would be found in the dead woman's hotel room in Coronado.   TOP

Conjecture about John Longfield's Behavior. What we know about this obscure man is just enough to form a few firm conjectures. We know he was Lizzie's foreman, and had an affair with her. She was unmarried, but he had a wife and three children. Pregnancy meant ruination for Lizzie (there is evidence it was her second time, and that she had already delivered a baby once before, given up for adoption in a previous scandal, if we accept the judgment of Dr. Mertzmann in San Diego). Her downfall meant complications for John Longfield, as we see first that he was fired, and secondly that he sought distance from his own family in moving to Cleveland at a General Delivery address. Since I surmise he was in Southern California (on the train to Anaheim on the Missing Day), it must have been with Kate Morgan during her scheme to use Lizzie against Spreckels. Why did Longfield not simply abandon Lizzie? Both Mrs. Wyllie and May were strong personalities, while Mrs. Longfield comes across to us as long-suffering. John had to get Lizzie out of town, and solve his Lizzie problem somehow. Kate Morgan must have been in San Francisco fairly recently, since Spreckels had only assumed part ownership of the Hotel del Coronado around 1889, and full ownership in 1892. We also know that Kate traveled all over the western half of the United States, and there is an indication of her being in Chicago under a false name. The long and short of it is that Kate must have met Longfield in or near Detroit, learned of his Lizzie problem, and proposed the Spreckels blackmail to make them all wealthy. John Longfield was on the train coming west to Anaheim on the Missing Day (which is the same day the former Katie Logan, or Lizzie under the name by which Kate Morgan had planted her at the L. A. Grant house and others as a domestic in Los Angeles, headed south to San Diego to begin her role as Lottie A. Bernard). My surmise is that he was coming west, perhaps from having planted a sum of money with G.L. Allen at the bank in Iowa, or some other unknown reason. John would not have stayed with the plot, since he would be rid of Lizzie, were it not for a romantic involvement with Kate. The tearful scene on the train speaks volumes for his attitude toward Lizzie at this point. She was not the reason he was coming back to Southern California. More on all this under the 'Missing Day'.   TOP

Aftermath, Return to Cleveland. We know that John was out of touch with his wife, and contacted her from a General Delivery address in Cleveland. Why did he not simply give her a street mailing address? After being in Cleveland for several weeks, he would presumably had at least a boarding house or other address. One imagines he covered for his trip to California. Afterward, as his final gesture before vanishing into history (presumably back to the comforts of home in Detroit) he became the conduit for an utterly unbelievable story that Lizzie was alive and well but refused to ever speak with her loved ones again, and was now living in Toronto—out of reach across the length of Lakes Erie and Ontario from her mother and sister. Kate Morgan, though her blackmail scheme failed, got away with murder, almost literally. Like so many of her other schemes, she was able to change names and disappear. John Longfield evidently learned a few tricks from her, and was able to resume his old life without further trouble. If he felt any remorse about Lizzie, we will never know.   TOP

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