Thomas Cole Thackston’s eloping sons (1908 Chicago; 1909 San Diego, CA)

Two sons of Thomas Cole Thackston and Fannie Palmer made headlines with their elopements.  This Thomas C. Thackston was born before 1835, married Fannie Palmer in 1885 Thomas County, Georgia, and was last found in the 1895 census of Morris Co., New Jersey.  By 1900, Fannie was a widow, living in Essex Co., NJ, living with her sister’s family.  She later moved to California, where she remarried to a McCormick and died in 1947.  (This was a second marriage for Thomas C. Thackston, son of Benjamin H. Thackston and Sarah Smithson, grandson of Benjamin Thackston and Bettie Ann Chambers, great-grandson of James Thackston and Mary Wimbish, great-great-grandson of John Thackston and Frances —-).

New York Times, August 29, 1908, Saturday:

Ranaway; Weds Chorus Girl

Wilkes-Barre (PA) Times, 29 Aug 1908:

Thackston Weds Pretty Chorus Girl

(For those interested in Verna’s Broadway troup, here’s a fun New York Times article from 05 Apr 1908 that mentions “Verna”:  Hot Behind the Scenes)


From the Titusville Herald (Penn.), 31 Aug 1908:


H. A. Ives, a wealthy young clubman of New York, formerly connected with J. P. Morgan & Co., eloped yesterday afternoon with Miss Verna Silliman of “The Girl Behind the Counter” company, who is known in stageland as Verna Dalton.

Having followed Miss Silliman all the way from New York to marry her, Mr. Ives, whose name appears on the marriage license as Harold A. Thackstone, journeyed with Miss Silliman to Rogers park in an automobile, where a quiet marriage ceremony was performed last evening by Rev. James MacLagan,  pastor of the Scotch Westminister Presbyterian church, 155 Cuyler avenue.

When asked last night why Mr. Ives was married under the name of Thackstone, a friend of the groom declared Thackstone was the legal family name.

Mr. Ives, or Thackstone (he prefers to be called Ives because that is the name he has used for years) and Miss Dalton, or Silliman, joked last night about their double names having been at last joined into one, and said that from now they were to be known as Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Ives. 

The romance began in New York, was continued at Atlantic City this summer and concluded last evening in Chicago with the automobile ride from the Auditorium Annex to the minister’s house, the hasty wedding, a handsome fee to the pastor, an elaborate wedding, supper and a reception in the couple’s new apartments in the hotel.

Mrs. Ives or Thackstone is well known in. this city, which was formerly her home.  She lived for many years at Spring and Walnut streets, where her father was engaged in the grocory business.  She was married to B. F. Burchfield, and the couple were later  divorced.  Several years ago she left Titusville to enter upon a stage career, securing a position in the chorus of a traveling opera company.  She has a brother, Bert Silliman, who is also on the operatic stage.  Her Titusville friends will be much interested in the above announcement, which was handed to the Herald yesterday, with the statement that it was cut from a Chicago newspaper of recent date.


We’re not sure what happened with that marriage.  On 06 Dec 1908, a Harold Thackston, 22 and single with one piece of luggage, arrived in the port of San Francisco aboard the SS Peru from Central America and Mexico, stating his destination as Los Angeles. The San Francisco Call of Monday, 07 Dec 1908 reported:

The Pacific Mail steamship Peru arrived yesterday from Panama. Captain MacKinnon reports that there was a peculiar happening as the vessel was about to enter the harbor of Ancon.


Up to that time the weather had been fine, when suddenly, from great clouds, a terrific hailstorm struck the vessel.  For 15 minutes the tremendous downpour of hail continued, until the decks of the vessel were white. The thermometer dropped from 75 degrees to almost freezing point.  Passengers ran into their cabins and came back to the decks wrapped in heavy overcoats and blankets.  As suddenly as the cold blast came just so suddenly it passed away.  As the last hail drop struck the Peru the sun burst forth and the mercury in the thermometer raced back to its former high point.


Captain MacKinnon reports that the weather, both down the coast and on the return trip, was unusually delightful.  The Peru brought the following cabin passengers:


Mrs. Ida Riddle                Thomas H. Benton

Charles S. Batchelder       Edward H. Paulat

Harold Thackston             Sol Benjamin

Martha W. Batchelder      C. L. Vucanovich

John H. O’Donnell           H. E. Gimler

Henry Williams                Dell Linderman


Among the number Charles S. Batchelder and his wife are from Boston and are here on a pleasure trip to the coast; Harold Thackston of New York, who comes to tour California in his automobile, which has been sent overland to await him here, and Henry Williams of Baltimore, who also comes on a pleasure trip to the coast.


The vessel also brings 1,478 tons of cargo and $53,266.96 in treasure.  It was 24 days 7 hours and 20 minutes from Ancon, and 5 days 6 hours and 8 minutes from Mazatlan.



A year later, Harold’s brother Thomas C. Thackston, Jr., made a similar move, much to his mother’s dismay.  From the Los Angeles Times, 25 Sep 1909,


Fannie apparently relented.  From the L. A. Times of 29 Sep 1909, under the heading “Lively Presentment of the Day’s Interesting Happenings in Los Angeles County.  Pasadena.”:

Effects Reconciliation

From the L. A. Times of 04 Oct 1909, under the heading “Lively Presentment of the Day’s Interesting Happenings in Los Angeles County,” with subheading Pasadena News Notes:

Pasadena News Notes

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