Sunday, September 4, 2011

Annie Wetmore’s Paternity Fraud Scheme – New York, 1893

FULL TEXT: The name of Annie K. Wetmore is well known to the police and courts of this [New York] and other cities, and a mere mention of her brings up a flood of recollections.

Her life has been marked by brilliant achievements, though they have been of a character that make her notorious rather than famous. Just now her name figures in a remarkable case of marriage to a man young enough to be her son, and she is charged with palming off upon him a baby purchased from its shame-stricken girl-mother for a crisp $50..

The husband in the case is, of course, a millionaire’s son, Dr. Frank E. Buttun, of Pittsburg, whose father, James C. Buffun, is the proprietor of Pittsburgh’s most extensive beer bottling establishment. Dr. Buffun is thirty years old, and is rapidly rising to the front rank in his chosen profession.

He married “Widow” Wetmore Dec 31, 1881, in Elizabeth, baring become infatuated with her while he was taking a special course at the Post Graduate Hospital, after bring graduated from Bellevue Medical Hospital in 1887.

She was the mistress of his boarding-house at 242 West Twenty-third street, and by the exercise of charms mat had captured other and older men than he, became the mistress of his heart.

They kept their marriage a secret from his parents till along last June, when he, having returned to his practice in Pittsburg, told his father. Then he sent tor his bride. She went to him and took with her a baby boy – their baby, she said, though he had bad no suspicion of its coming when he saw for six weeks before.

She and baby were installed in the Buffun Mansion, Pittsburg. A week ago The World read the story of how the elder Buffun and his eldest son, Dr. Eugene Button, set the wile of Dr. Frank E. Buffun and the baby out on the sidewalk in Pittsburg, but they did not know the reason why this summary step was taken.

The story has leaked out despite the efforts of Detective L. A. Newcombe, of this city, who bas been employed since January in looking up the record of the woman.

She represented to young Dr. Buffun that she was the descendant of an aristocratic English family of Wetmores, that Wetmore, of Rhode Island, was her uncle, and that Dr. John McE. Wetmore, of this city, was another uncle; that the late Superintendent of Police Walling was related to her, and that the had a claim of $850,000 against the United States Government for damages done her grand estate in Georgia during the war, a claim that had been indorsed as good by President Johnson and by all other authorities, and that she would get the money as soon as certain red tape formalities had been gone through with.

She was a handsome woman of medium height, dark hair, dark eyes and a pale olive complexion. She is a remarkably pleasant conversationalist, charming in manners and refined. That was the way she appeared to young Dr. Frauk Buffun during the two terms in his post graduate course, and she always had a bouquet on his dressing bureau, the nicest viands for the delectation of his palate, and the most honeyed words for his too willing ear.

“Know her! Annie Wetmore? Well, I should say so,” exclaimed Detective-Sergt. Jake Von Gerichten to-day.

“When I saw her on the street the other day. she’s old enough to be your grand-mother. She’s gray as a badger, but she’s a slick one.”

[“Dr. Buffsun’ Bride. - Pittsburg Millionaire’s Son Tricked by an Adventuress.- Annie Wetmore Well Known to the Police of This Country. - A Baby, Bought for the Purpose, Exhibited as His Offspring.” The World (New York, N.Y.), May 23, 1893, p. 1; (spelling error: “Buffsun’” in original]


For more cases, see: Paternity Fraud Rackets


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