Charles Winfield Chick 1889 – 1958

Charles Chick was born 13 November 1889 in Kittery, Maine. His parents were Caleb W Chick and Augusta Almeda Eaton, who had been married in Portsmouth, NH on 26 January 1889. In 1900, the family lived in Kittery, where Caleb worked as a coppersmith.

On 1 September 1907, Charles married Rosie M Keen in Revere, Massachusetts. Rosie was born about 1891 in Amesbury, MA, daughter of Nathaniel Keen and Rose Burcham. This was listed as the first marriage for both. Charles was a resident of Biddeford, ME, occupation spindle straitner (sic). Rose was “at home”.

Charles enlisted in the US Navy Reserve on 9 August 1909. The 1910 census lists Charles with other crew members of the USS Hancock, and says that he has been married 3 years. His occupation appears to be “coal passer”. The census is recorded in Kings County, New York, so perhaps his ship was in port there at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I have not yet been able to find Rose Chick in the 1910 census, nor in any subsequent vital records.

Charles’ later pension application names his ships – they are in alphabetical order, so I am not sure exactly when he was on which ship. The USS Camden was a cargo ship, then submarine tender. The Constellation was a sloop-of-war that pre-dates the Civil War. During WW1, it was a training ship. The Hancock was a transport ship. The Rappahannock served in the North Atlantic, delivering animals, such as horses and cattle, to the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe. The Topeka had seen action in the Spanish American War, then was assigned as a station ship at Portsmouth NH. The ship also served there as a prison ship, then was recommissioned and moved briefly to New York, then back to Portsmouth to serve as a training ship during WW1. The Southery was originally a collier, but was converted to a prison ship, and was in the Portsmouth NH area from about 1903 to 1922.  On 13 September, 1911, Charles received an honorable discharge from USNR. He reenlisted on 6 Apr 1917.

On 6 May 1919, Charles married Loretta E Anderson, in Biddeford, ME. She was born about 1895 in Saint Johns, New Brunswick, the daughter of Charles H Anderson and Mary J Sinclair. This record is somewhat confusing as it lists Caleb and Almeda as residents of Brooklyn, NH, but lists Charles as born in Brooklyn, NH. I suspect that Brooklyn NY was his place of residence, as he was still with the USNR at the time. The occupations for the groom and bride were not listed. Charles received a second honorable discharge on 14 June 1919.

The 1920 census lists Charles Chick, and Mrs. Charles Chick, living in Portsmouth, NH, next door to his father and other family members. Charles was a machinist, although I cannot read the company name. The 1920 city directory also lists them, living at 502 Market. The 1923 Lynn MA city directory lists a Charles and Laura Chick living at 62 Spencer, but also lists a Charles W Chick, no wife listed, machinist, at 311 Summer in Lynn. I think that Charles was listed twice.  Coincidentally, Mrs. Hilda Wizard was also listed in the 1923 Lynn city directory at 311 Sumner. Perhaps Charles was in the process of moving away from Loretta/Laura, and connecting with Hilda.  The reverse directory lists this as a lodging house run by Annie Thomas.

On 2 May 1923, Charles married Hilda J (Beasley) Wizard, in Maine. The index does not list the parents of the couple, nor occupations. Hilda was the daughter of George H Beasley and Lilly Barradell, and was born in Australia (her parents were both born in England.) Hilda had previously been married to John Walter Wizard (also known as Hamidas (or Hormidas) Wizard. He had died the year before. Hilda had three children from her previous marriage: Hilda Jane, Evelyn Alma, and Homidas.  Charles and Hilda may have had three daughters together (it is not clear whether these are his daughters, or daughters of Hilda’s next husband.) Geneva was born in 1925. Two other daughters were born after Geneva, but are still living, so are not listed here. Charles’ military record lists a third discharge date of 27 October, 1927. It is unclear whether he extended his second enlistment, or had another re-enlistment.

From the New Castle News, New Castle, PA, 29 Apr 1929 – page 1 and 2: ACCUSES HUSBAND OF HAVING OTHER WIVES LYNN, Mass April 29 Pleading not guilty to a charge of polygamy, Charles Winfield Chick, 39, able seaman aboard the USS Accomac during the World War and now an every day mechanic was arraigned before Judge Ralph W Reeves in district court today and was held on $2,500 bail for a hearing May 7th. He married wife No. 4 at Youngstown, O., following a courtship which police alleged consisted chiefly of reading biblical and other quotations to the effect that if a man and a woman cannot agree after marriage he shall go to the farthest corner of the earth and find another woman and she shall likewise do the same. The quotations were inscribed on the invitation to the wedding at Youngstown, Ohio, between Chick and Miss Ethel Lishon of that city, the complaint against her husband. The quotation, according to police, was also inscribed on a license issued by a justice of the peace. The invitation was elaborately printed as for a society event, bearing besides the names of the wedding couple and guests, a half-tone photograph of Rev. Levi G. Batman, of Youngstown who performed the ceremony. Mrs. Ethel Chick said her suspicions were aroused a few weeks ago when she discovered letters indicating that besides the four wives on record Chick had wives in Pensacola, Fla., the Panama Canal Zone, Cuba, and France. Mrs. Ethel Chick was in court today and after the arraignment held a long conference with her husband. Acting on information give them by the former Youngstown girl, police had traced Chick to a home in West Lynn, where they assert they found him, holding the hand of another prospective bride and reading her the quotation inscribed on the wedding invitation of Miss Lishon. The police investigation as [?] was stated at police headquarters, revealed the following list of wives:
No. 1 – Miss Rose Keene, married at Biddeford, Me, in 1911 and divorced at Alfred, Me.
No. 2 – Miss Laura Anderson of Everett, date of wedding undetermined and her present whereabouts unknown.
No. 3 – Miss Hilda Wizard, native of New South Wales, married at Kittery, Me. In 1923. She is now living in Portsmouth, N.H., and told police she was deserted by Chick and was ready to testify against him.
No. 4 – Miss Ethel Lishon, married in Youngstown, O., May 7, 1928. She is now living here.
Since his arrest Sunday Chick has eaten nothing except beef stews ordered from a restaurant near police headquarters. He was removed to Salem jail in default of Bail.

A story printed in the Montana Standard, Butte, MT on April 30, 1929, included the following: FIVE WIVES WILL TESTIFY AGAINST PRINCE OF LOVERS – LYNN, Mass., April 29 (UP) The national convention of the “wives of Charles W Chick, 35, was set by Judge Ralph S Reeve today for May 7, at which time police expect to have five “Mrs. Chicks” on hand to support a polygamy charge against the former sailor. Chick’s bail was fixed at $2,500 at a preliminary hearing while police listed the result of his various ports [?] as follows:
No. 1 – Mrs. Rose (Keen) Chick, Biddeford, Me.
No. 2 – Mrs. Laura (Anderson) Chick, Biddeford, Me.
No. 3 – A woman whose name was withheld by police.
No. 4 – Mrs. Hilda (Wizard) Chick, Kittery, Me.
No. 5 – Mrs. Ethel (Leyshon) Chick, Lynn.
Chick described himself as a former chief engineer in the navy. One of his “wives” spoke of him as “the prince of all lovers.”

The Ogden Standard-Examiner, of Ogden, Utah, printed the outcome of the charges on 23 May 1929. SAILOR CONFESSES TO SEVEN WIVES SALEM, Mass May 23 (AP) Charles W Chick, a sailor and possessor of seven wives, pleaded guilty to polygamy in superior criminal court here Wednesday and was sentenced to a year in the house of correction. He was arrested on complaint of wife No. 7, who said he had failed to support her. Two of his seven wives testified against him. Mrs. Ethel Leyson Chick said she married him in Youngstown, O., a year ago. Mrs. Hilda Wizard of Portsmouth, N.H., testified she left Chick because he was cruel to her. The other wives named in court were: Loretta Chick of Pasadena, Cal.; Rose Keene Chick and Laura Anderson Chick, both of Biddeford, Me.; Yvonne Chick of Paris, France, and Leona Chick of Pensacola, Fla. 

I did not locate a record for the marriage to Leona but did locate a marriage of Charles W Chick on 27 February 1927 in Tampa, to a Gertrude Whitten. The index doesn’t list parents’ names, occupations, or ages, but one has to wonder…especially since I did not find a household in the 1930 census for this for this couple. Chick was out of prison in time to be counted in the 1930 census in Kennebunk, Maine, with his mother and members of her extended family. Charles reported himself divorced, no occupation listed.

On 30 March, 1931, Charles married Myrtle Coolbrith (married name Brown) in Portsmouth, NH. This index entry does not list occupations, ages, or parents for either.

On 29 August 1932, Charles applied for a military pension. This index card is hard to read, but lists his ship’s names: Camden, Constellation, Hancock, Rappahannock, Quail, Southery, and Topeka.

On 20 September, 1935, in Portsmouth, NH, Charles married Florence D Myers. She was born about 1887 in Saco, Maine, daughter of Alden J Myers and Clara Jameson. The groom reported he was widowed, the bride divorced. He was a machinist, she was a reporter. This was listed as the groom’s fourth marriage, although I count five previous wives (Rosie, Loretta, Hilda, Ethel and Myrtle plus of course Yvonne and Leona and maybe even Gertrude).

In the 1940 census, Charles was living in Bath, Maine, boarding with Mildred Landers. Both were listed as divorced, and both reported that in 1935, they were living in Boston. Charles was a lathe machinist, engaged in shipbuilding. Mildred did not have an occupation listed. Her social security application record gives her maiden name as Sidelinger, and alias names as Landers and Chick.  She is the ex wife of John Landers, as they were listed in the Boston directory in 1935 (41 Mall, Roxbury).   Sometime after 1940, Charles married Mildred, his landlady listed in the 1940 census. The 1944 Portland city directory lists them at 40 Melbourne, employed by NESCo. In 1949 they were in Bath, ME, where he was a machinist with WH Co, residing at 104 Academy.  The 1950 Biddeford city directory lists Charles W and Mildred E Chick residing at 27 Elm. Occupation was superintendent at SLS, but I don’t know what that company was.

Charles died 11 September 1958, and Mildred Chick applied for a military headstone for him. He was buried at Sandy Point Cemetery, in Maine.

I do not know what became of most of the wives. Hilda remarried twice more, and had two more daughters. Mildred outlived Charles, as she made the request for his military headstone. She died in 1993 and is also buried at Sandy Point. Other than his possible daughters with Hilda, I found no reference to other children.

UPDATED 22 October 2015

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