Manager Shackford Discovered it When Too Late.
Umbrella, Then a Horsewhip-The Man Fought Back, but Weight and Weapons Told.
New York, Nov 30. - [Special.] - Miss Louise Shepperd, an amazon with a black eye, appeared in Jefferson Market this morning as complainant in a charge of assault against Theatrical Manager Charles Shackford.
The theatrical manager was ready with a similar charge against the woman, and he appeared to have ample grounds for it, for he presented a bruised and sadly forlorn appearance. His head was swathed in bandages and he had a big red ridge across his face and another on his neck. Mr Shackford had been horsewhipped.
On April 29, Shackford organized the Shackford Opera company to play "Faust Up to Date" and other comic operas throughout New York and Pennsylvania. Thirty people were engaged among them being May Shepperd, a daughter of the complainant, whom Shackford promised to pay $18 a week for thirty weeks.
The new company did not meet with as much success as its manager anticipated and three weeks ago it collapsed in Philadelphia. Shackford, by some means, managed to raise funds to start the company on the road again and it got as far as Danville, Pa., where he disappeared, leaving the members stranded. Miss Shepperd succeeded in getting to Philadelphia, where she was sent home by the manager of the Palace Theatre.
Last night Mrs. Shepperd who lives at No. 409 West Thirtieth street, met Shackford walking with an actress named Louise Mortimer on Sixth avenue, between Thirtieth and Thirty-first streets. She upbraided him in vigorous language for having failed to keep his contract with her daughter, and punctuated her remarks by belaboring him over the head with an umbrella. Shackford struck out with his left and gave her a blow under the eye that must infallibly have knocked down a woman of less avoirdupois than Mrs Shepperd.
The now thoroughly enraged woman ran to a cab which was standing at he curb and, snatching the whip from its socket, slashed Shackford with it about the face and neck, each of her powerful cuts leaving a long red ridge on his skin, and forcing him to beat a hasty retreat.
Mrs Shepperd then had him arrested on a charge of assault. The case against him was dismissed and he was induced to withdraw a counter-charge he had made.
The Alexandria Gazette, The Evening World, and the Los Angeles Herald also published thrilling descriptions of the November 1892 fight between Miss Shepperd and Charles Shackford. They describe Miss Shepperd as the aunt of the 15 year old singer who was abandoned by the Shackford Opera Company and mentioned that there were 35 other "deluded performers".
The Shackford Opera Company had received excellent reviews for it's November 11, 1892 performance of "Said Pasha" in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. However the reviews said that "the attendance was not what it should have been for a first class performance" which may have led to Charles' inability to pay his performers. The company did not close immediately after the late November 1892 but a March 1893 publication announced the retirement of Miss Paula Rehnee. The company is not mentioned in searchable newspapers after January 1894 when two Pennsylvania newspapers describe performers being abandoned again. Newspaper articles continue to mention Charles, who switched into a career of authoring both words and music that was performed across the United States. His music can till be purchased from many sources to include eBay.
Charles Winthrop Marston Shackford was born about 1862 in New Hampshire, the son of Charles Harrison Shackford and Ariana Marston. He married Jessica A Murphy in Saint Louis and they had two children:
Jessie Dudley Shackford (1885-1971) - married Arthur Douglas Murray
Mary Winthrop Shackford (1887-1963) - married Victor Hugo Wigglesworth
"Horsewhipped," Alexandria Gazette, 22 November 1892; Library of Virginia (http://virginiachronicle.com : accessed 9 July 2013).
"HORSEWHIPPED HIM. Mrs. Shepard Took Vengeance on Manager Shackford.," The Evening World (New York, New York), 22 November 1892; digital images, Library of Congress Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 17 October 2013).
"Out to Whip Him," Arizona Republican (Phoenix, Arizona), 1 December 1892; digital images, Library of Congress Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 17 October 2013)."POOR BOARD STARTED THEM. Members of Stranded Shackford Opera Reach Scranton.," The Scranton Tribune (Scranton, Pennslyvania), 12 January 1894; digital images, Library of Congress Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 17 October 2013).
"Said Pasha", The Evening Herald (Shenandoah, Pennslyvania), 14 November 1892; digital images, Library of Congress Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 17 October 2013).
"Shackford Opera Company," Daily Boomerang (Laramie, Wyoming), 13 January 1894; digital images, Wyoming Newspapers (http://pluto.wyo.gov : accessed 9 September 2013
Smith Dexter, editor, "Major and Minor," Musical Record (March, 1893), online archives, Google eBooks (http://books.google.com : accessed 17 October 2013).
"TALK ABOUT PLAYS AND PLAYERS," Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, California), 4 December 1892; digital images, Library of Congress Chronicling America (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ : accessed 17 October 2013).
Copyright 2013 Joanne Shackford Parkes