Maude Adams, the beautiful actress who played Peter Pan in 1904 on the Broadway Stage, was the daughter of Annie Adams and James Kiskadden. She was a first cousin of my father-in-law, Alma D. Eakle, Sr. I joined the family just about the time Maude’s life came to an end. She was, however, one of my favorite people. And I wanted to know more about her.
I had read in True West Magazine that Annie Adams had played the gold fields when Maude was a small child. And Maude had bit parts and walk-ons with her mother. The story read that Annie was married to the notorious Jack Slade. One day, James Kiskadden rode out to the Slade ranch to tell Annie her husband was about to be hanged by the City Fathers of Virginia City Nevada. Annie rode like the wind, but arrived too late to save Slade. So Kiskadden helped her cut down the body, place him in a coffin, fill it with whiskey (it was July), and transport it to the Salt Lake City Cemetery, where she buried Slade in the family Plot. And James Kiskadden married the widow.
What a delicious story I thought.
I called my Father-in-Law to tell him. “Arlene, we don’t have a notorious criminal in our family plot,” he said sternly. Then I got a call from a genealogy colleague of mine, and she said, “Its true. Joseph (Jack) Slade is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery!”
A few days later, I drove to Great Falls Montana to visit my daughter Linda and her family. When I passed the turn-off to Virginia City Montana, I said to myself, “What if…” On main street in Virginia City was a mercantile with William Kiskadden across the front. Again, I said “What if…”
In a new history of Virginia City Montana, indexed entries took me to Jack Slade and James Kiskadden. BUT–Slade was married to a gold fields dancer with “the most beautiful legs west of Buffalo.” WOW, A dancer.
And the story thickened as I discovered the wife who cut the body down, put him in a coffin, filled it with whiskey, and transported it to the Salt Lake City Cemetery, and buried him in the family plot–was named Virginia, not Annie. WHAT?
James Kiskadden did marry the widow. And it seems my father-in-law was absolutely right. We had no criminal buried in our family plot. Kiskadden married Virginia Dale Slade. Later on, he married Annie Adams requesting that she abandon her life in gold fields—he provided a rather splashy home for her and Maude in San Francisco CA.
The Rest of the Story…
My visit to the Summit County Courthouse, as part of Celebrating Family and Local History, brought the legend of Jack Slade back into my genealogy consciouness–he had ties to the mining camps of Utah! Dan Rottenburg has chronicled Jack’s life in Death of a Gunfighter: The Quest for Jack Slade, the West’s Most Elusive Legend. (Awarded the Best Western History Book, 2008 by the Wild West History Association.)
Plan NOW to attend our up-coming Family History Retreat in Coalville UT with a return trip to the Summit County Courthouse, where I will share some additional details about the lives of Jack Slade, Maude Adams, and James Kiskadden and how they impact my own Genealogy. Register now at http://familyhistoryexpos.com
Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS Family History Retreats build upon archives and libraries and their holdings as well as train you in using original documents to prove your family genealogy and extend your family tree. Intensive, focused learning mixed with the fun that comes from knowing your family background well enough to share it with others. Plan NOW to attend–you”ll not regret it, I promise.