The money came following the death of the kindly rich uncle who had taken her in as an orphan. Minnie inherited his estate, including some real estate in Fort Worth appraised at nearly $50,000.
After her out-of-state schooling, Minnie lived in Dallas with her sister Nannie (who had been raised by another uncle) before deciding to return to Boston for additional studies. While there, she met a good looking fellow named Harry Gordon. In addition to being handsome, he was smart. And, like Minnie, he had money or at least said he did.
Smitten from the start, Minnie soon signed letters to her sister as Mrs. Harry Gordon. The newlyweds moved to Chicago in March 1893.
Later that spring, Minnie wrote Nannie and asked her to come to Chicago to see the world's fair then under way. The sister arrived in June. In early July, Nannie wrote her aunt that she, Minnie and her new brother-in-law planned to visit Europe.
That letter, written July 4, 1893, was the last time anyone ever heard from either of the two sisters. Later that summer, their relatives engaged the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency to find the two young women.
Meanwhile, an affable Midwesterner got off the train in Fort Worth to handle a little financial business. At the Tarrant County Clerk's office he filed a deed signed over to him by his wife, Minnie Williams Gordon, preparatory to making improvements to the property.
Gordon soon hired a contractor to build an expensive three-story stone and frame building on the lot. With construction still under way, Gordon borrowed $20,000, using his real estate and the planned improvements as collateral. But Gordon seemed to have trouble making the loan payments. Before long, he borrowed something else someone's horse and "consolidated" his debt by riding that... [continues]
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