MN, in his notes for this article, points out the difficulty of obtaining information on these figures and of verifying their accuracy. Many of the archives have not been thoroughly looked at for decades, and many of the papers therein are over a century old. In some cases all that the lonely researcher has to go by are nearly-illegible diaries and accounts written at the time by possibly-unreliable witnesses, and dime novels written by authors who were nowhere near the events they purport to depict and who never met the characters whose thoughts and words they put to paper.
This is, unfortunately, true for much of what follows. MN’s researches have led him to certain conclusions about several historical figures. These conclusions contradict some or much of what was published about these figures. The careful reader will weight what he or she reads her with the historical accounts and draw their own conclusions about who is more or less reliable.
To briefly recap, Rabbi David Rottstein’s second grandson was Daniel Rottstein, aka “Danforth.” He married Malaeska, and their child was Richard Rottstein. Richard was involved with Rachel S----------, and their son was Mark. Rachel married “David Morgan” and Mark’s last name became “Morgan.” (His real last name presumably remained Rottstein). Mark married Esther, and their child was Seth Morgan, aka “Eugene Morgan,” aka “Seth Jones.” Seth fathered Solomon Morgan on Mary Haverland and Samuel and Nathan on Mary Slick. Solomon’s child was Levy Morgan; at some point the surname “Rottstein” was abandoned, even in private use, and “Morgan” was adopted full-time.
Many of the details of Levy Morgan’s life are obscured and unknown, although given his notoriety and lifestyle this should come as no surprise. He went by a number of pseudonyms and was responsible for many legendary feats in his time, so that separating the truth from the legend is difficult. That caveat included, we may now describe something of his life.
In the early and mid-1850s he went by the name “Duke Darrall,” helping settlers and travelers in the Southwest. In 1850 he rescued a woman named “Leone” from sort of Indian attack. Details are sparse on this encounter–even her last name is not recorded--but they were apparently married, and she bore him a son. (It might be wondered, not uncharitably, if he married her only so he could enjoy her sexual favors. This would be entirely in character not just for Levy Morgan but for many of the males of the B----- clan) What occurred next will never be known for certain. Levy seems to have abandoned her after she became pregnant, but there is some small evidence that he helped her at least monetarily in the raising of their son, Frank, and it is known that they kept in touch at least until 1878. Frank went on to achieve fame in his own right, and we will pick up his story below.
In 1856, while acting as escort for a party of hunters and scouts on a trading expedition to the Apache country of New Mexico and Texas, Levy came into conflict with the Chiricahua chieftain “Steel Coat,” who wore a steel plate beneath a long riding overcoat, thus seeming to be invulnerable to bullets. “Duke Darrall” managed to trick “Steel Coat” into removing the coat and revealing his secret to the other Chiricahua, who, seeing that they’d been fooled, killed “Steel Coat.” “Darrall” also saved this party from being killed in the Jornada del Muerto Mountains of New Mexico during the 1856 earthquake, and reunited the leader of the party, John Grace, with his lost daughter, Wilna, who had been raised by the Apache.
At this time Levy was the leader of a group of frontier adventurers, including “Big Sam,” a Kentuckian hunter and trapper of some note. Despite his age Levy was well-regarded by the other men in his party, being seen as the “beau ideal of the hunter and scout.” Levy was highly skilled, an outstanding trapper, rider, and shot, and reportedly in possession of extraordinary physical strength. It was while helping the Graces that he performed the legendary “Duke’s Leap,” in which he is reported to have leapt from a standing position on to the back of a stampeding mustang.11
The most popular account of “Duke Darrall” holds that Wilna, after being recovered from the Chiricahua, was sent to a seminary school in St. Louis for two years, after which time she was ready to be married to “Duke.” However, this account is problematic, and must be viewed like the epilogue in Crime and Punishment, as tacked on for ideological reasons after the body of the worked was composed. We know from later accounts that Levy was neither the marrying kind nor one to wait for a woman for two years. And we know that Wilna gave birth to a son, Edmund, in August of 1857. Therefore we can only conclude that Levy had a brief affair with Wilna while they were on the trail together, and that Levy left her afterwards. Her two-year “education” in St. Louis was in all likelihood an attempt by her father to keep her away from the prying eyes of “society,” so that she could deliver her child, give it up for adoption, and then return to her family with her reputation intact.
However, the unexpected occurred. While in St. Louis Wilna met a traveling businessman, John Collier, and they fell in love. They were married by a Justice of the Peace and moved to New York City. Edmund’s name was changed to “Cap,” and we will return to him presently.
Levy, meanwhile, changed his identity, perhaps in response to the bastard children and wronged women he’d left behind him. In 1858 or 1859 he began posing as “Moccasin Mat,” a supposed Texas Ranger. In July 1859 he rescued another group of settlers from a native attack. These settlers were moving west to capitalize on the discovery of the Comstock Lode in the Washoe Mountains of the Utah Territory. One of those in the wagon train was Hattie Farley. She and Levy had a brief relationship (contrary to the published story of their encounter, which have “Mat” and Hattie as long-time sweethearts), and, as usual, after his departure she found herself pregnant with his child. She stayed with the settlers, who stopped in the newly-founded Virginia City, and raised her child Louis there. More information on Louis will be given below.
In 1861 Levy, still active, changed his name again, to “Dick Ackermann.” In this guise he pretended to be of German descent and from San Antonio. He kept this name for at least the next thirty years, although it was not as “Dick Ackermann” that he eventually gained the most fame. Later in that year he rescued a group of settlers from an attack by Arapaho warriors in eastern Colorado. The Arapaho had previously agreed to abandon their claims to most of Colorado but had been led to understand that they would retain their freedom to roam and hunt buffalo. This belief led them into many conflicts with Anglo troops and settlers, and the attack in Colorado was one of them. “Dick Ackermann” single-handedly drove off over a dozen attacking Arapaho and saved a group of settlers. One of those settlers was Jane Carson, of Cape Girardeu, Missouri. Levy followed his usual pattern, and wooed and left Jane. When she discovered that she was pregnant, she turned back and returned to her parents’ home–a wise move, and one that Hattie Farley should have taken. (Again, the published accounts of Levy’s relationship with Jane are incorrect. The writers confused her with the shootist “Calamity Jane” and extrapolated from that a long-running relationship between Dick and the real “Calamity Jane” which never existed) We will return to Jane Carson and her son anon.
“Dick Ackermann” continued to live an adventurous life, but from 1861 to 1868 his trail becomes very confused, and, as mentioned previously, separating the fact from the legend becomes very difficult. (And unlike that noted newsman Maxwell Scott, MN will not print the legend when the legend becomes fact) It is known that he continued to be active in the West during this time, but he also traveled to the East and abroad. At some point before 1861 he had befriended an Apache chief, "Winnetou," and the two wandered together in the United States and abroad, fighting evil wherever they found it. Levy, showing that extraordinary strength that sometimes appears in members of the Wold Newton Family and which certain descendants of Rabbi Rottstein possessed, knocked a tall thug out with one punch in a bar fight in Houston, breaking the man's jaw. This feat gained Levy the nickname "Shatterhand," which he bore proudly for several years and which was the name by which many Europeans heard of him. The exploits credited to him in the pseudo-biography which appeared in Europe, however, must be viewed with cynicism, as many of them were produced by a fiction writer and have only a nodding acquaintance with the historical truth.
Although Levy was, at heart, a wanderer, he seems to have had a soft spot in his hear for Carson City, Nevada, and often made a point of passing through there, reportedly because its brothels were the best ones west of the Mississippi. From 1869 to 1872 three children of his were born in Carson City and left at the orphanage there. (More information on them can be found in “The Carters of Virginia: A Tragedy" ) While two of the children were fathered on anonymous prostitutes one was the result of a relationship with Mary Doyle, a schoolteacher in Carson City. Levy married Mary, who took the last name “Ackermann.” Dick continued his philandering ways and left Carson City after impregnating Mary, but seems to have supported Mary Ackermann and her daughter Ethel financially, if not emotionally.
In 1871 the massacre of 100 Mescalero Apache by Anglo soldiers at Camp Grant in the Arizona Territory set off the Apache War. Levy was present in the New Mexico Territory at this time, and fought off a band of Mescalero attacking a remote settlement until those in the village could safely retreat. Following the battle Levy joined the settlers. Following his old pattern, he wooed and won Katherine Gilbert, marrying her, enjoying several nights of passion with her, and then leaving her. Again, we will return to the child of their relationship later.
Levy, still posing as “Dick Ackermann,” gained his greatest renown in 1875 and 1876, when he almost single-handedly tamed the town of Deadwood in western South Dakota. Gold was discovered in nearby Deadwood Gulch, and the rush of miners led to Deadwood being established. As with many such towns, Deadwood was initially wide-open, even violent, but Levy arrived within a month of Deadwood’s founding and, using his guns and the occasional help of other shootists, such as John Reid (more popularly known as the “Lone Ranger”), tamed the town and made it civilized. For these actions Levy gained the name “Deadwood Dick,” the name most often used in the stories written about him.
Unfortunately, there is simply no more evidence of Levy's existence after 1879. Perhaps he died, alone and unmourned, in some forgotten shootout or natural disaster in the West. Perhaps he decided to make restitution to the women and children he wronged, and was slain by one of them. Perhaps he changed identities again, and had still more children and won more glories under another name. MN has been able to find no evidence of his continued existence, so we will have to end our exploration of his life here.
Levy’s first child, as previously mentioned, was Frank Morgan (1851-?). From what small details can be gathered, Frank’s mother, Leone, managed to settle in as a bar-owner (presumably with the help of Levy’s money) in Carson City, and Levy was a semi-regular visitor to the bar. Frank, however, left Carson City at age 14, reportedly telling his mother that he left to find the one thing that his father had never given him: justice.
Frank reappeared in New York City seven years later, in 1871, as a consulting detective. He quickly gained a significant amount fame as “Old Sleuth,” adventuring and solving crimes around New York City and the world. The public saw “Old Sleuth” as just that–a wizened, cunning detective. This was, of course, a ruse; Morgan used his superlative skills at disguise to keep the criminals ignorant of his true identity and to allow him to travel among the public and criminal classes in various guises, gathering information. Within a year’s time the dime novel author Harlan P. Halsey began incorporating the stories he heard about the “Old Sleuth” into published accounts in the pages of the Fireside Companion.
Few truly knew Frank Morgan; those who knew the “Old Sleuth” knew a ruse. Even the Sleuth’s assistant, “Badger,” seems only to have known what Morgan wanted him to know. Frank Morgan, the man, was a clean-cut, morally upright individual who neither smoked nor drank. He was exceedingly proper towards the opposite sex, never saying or doing anything unchivalrous. We might speculate that his behavior was a reaction to his childhood and what he knew of his father; perhaps his scrupulous avoidance of anything bearing even the hint of impropriety was a conscious decision to avoid being like his father in any way. One thing he did inherit from Levy, however, was his strength, which was extreme; there are numerous recorded examples of the “Old Sleuth” throwing large men with little effort.
His last recorded adventure took place in 1908, after which time no more is heard of the "Old Sleuth." It has long been presumed by scholars that Morgan simply retired in 1908. After all, he would have been 57 years old, an advanced age for an investigator, even if his final adventures show him to have been as energetic and strong as ever. However, MN has found what he thinks is the likely fate of Frank Morgan.
The famous teen detectives Frank and Joe Hardy were born in 1909 and 1910. Relatively little is known about their father, "Fenton." He is described in Hardy Boys' pseudo-biography as a "former ace NYPD detective" who "moved into private practice in Bayport." MN has examined the records of the New York City Police Department in the 1890s and 1900s and found no evidence of any officer, retired or deceased, by that name.
However, the city records of Bayport, on New York's Long Island, show that a house there was bought by an "F. Morgan" in 1908. Although the "Bayport" of the "Hardy Boys" novels was never located in any one state, a careful examination of New York state's Bayport reveals that the description of the literary Bayport matches that of the real Bayport. The Bayport city archives also show that an "F. Morgan" married a "Laura M. Hardy" in 1908.
The conclusions are not hard to reach, given the evidence. Frank Morgan, the "Old Sleuth," met Laura Hardy, the daughter of a local businessman, in 1907 or 1908. They obviously fell in love, and decided to marry. However, Morgan had a number of enemies, having put dozens of very dangerous men behind bars during his decades as a detective. Moreover, Morgan could not but have been aware of the sad fate of the wives of his contemporary, Nick Carter. (For more information on these unfortunates, see MN's article on the "Carters of Virginia.") He would undoubtedly have taken precautions to protect his loved one. And, for someone like the "Old Sleuth," who had held many names identities over the years, another change of identity would not have bothered him unduly.
So Frank Morgan changed his name and identity, to "Fenton Hardy," and moved to Bayport, New York. His wife, Laura Mildred Hardy, would surely have agreed with his decision, and helped him to construct a cover identity to protect her husband, herself, and her children-to-be from her husband's enemies. Thus the "Fenton Hardy" persona.
Frank Hardy (named after his father) was born in 1909, and Joe Hardy in 1910. Frank (hereafter "Fenton") was not the type to simply stop being a detective, however, and resumed his work, but under a different name. By the time Frank and Joe were children, he was well-known as Fenton Hardy and so securely established in the role of "Fenton Hardy" that he and Linda never gave the secret away. How much of this Edward Stratemeyer and Leslie McFarlane, the biographer of the "Hardy Boys," knew is unknown, but we can surmise that some of the characters in the "Hardy Boys" books, like the misogynistic character Gertrude Hardy, were fictional.
Frank Morgan seems to have lived happily ever after as Fenton Hardy, for there are no more records about Frank Morgan or the "Old Sleuth," and the history books record that Fenton Hardy died in his sleep, happy.
Levy’s second child, Edmund, was fathered on Wilna Grace in 1856. As mentioned, Wilna married John Collier, and they relocated to New York City, with Wilna and Edmund taking John’s last name. As far as can be determined Edmund led a normal life for a middle-class child, going to school and then attending Columbia University, but something occurred near the end of Edmund’s freshman year at Columbia, and an examination of the student rolls of Columbia in 1875, what would have been Edmund’s sophomore year, show that Edmund’s name is not on them. Edmund seems to have left school, and in light of what followed it can only be assumed that he was either the victim of or witness to some horrible crime, one that inspired him to do more than become a student of the human condition (he was majoring in the study of literature), but to become someone that would improve it.
The B----- archives contain some few of the letters that Wilna and John wrote to Edmund and the notes he wrote to his parents. They consist mostly of the parents asking the son questions about where he is and what he is doing, and his non-committal answers and assurances that they need not worry about his activities.
Edmund stayed away from his parents and from school for seven years, from 1875 to 1882. What Edmund was doing during those years is not known. It is possible that he was studying with Sherlock Holmes and had a hand in the events chronicled in The Suicide Club, but there is no evidence for this. More likely he studied under various great men and women, learning skills he would put to use later in life. One promising line of speculation involves the identity of “Badger,” the assistant to Frank “Old Sleuth” Morgan. The dime novels of the time (still the most common, if not the most reliable, journal of Frank Morgan’s activities) contain few descriptions of “Badger,” and he serves mostly as a cipher and plot vehicle. It would not have been unknown for a practicing detective to take on a younger assistant, to assist him on his cases and to instruct the younger man (or woman) in the ways of the law. So far little evidence has been found to support this, but it seems not unreasonable to assume, with a view to what came later, that Edmund Morgan decided to serve under the “Old Sleuth” as a way to learn his trade. (This article will assume this to be the case) Even if they did work together, though, there is almost no likelihood that they would have discovered their relationship as step-brothers. As far as Edmund knew, he was the biological child of Wilna Grace Collier and John Collier. Certainly Wilna was not eager to reveal that she had been deceived and deflowered, not least to her son, and John would not have wished to tell Edmund that he was adopted. And, as mentioned, Frank was very close-mouthed about his private life, and probably would not have discussed so personal a subject with Edmund.
In late 1882 Edmund debuted in New York City as “Old Cap Collier,” a consulting detective. Like his mentor, Edmund used his skills at disguise (learned, we might assume, from “Old Sleuth” himself) to portray himself as an old man; the public view was that “Old Cap” was a man in his sixties. Edmund, again like his mentor Frank Morgan, used disguises to assume various other identities, including “Old Broadbrim, the Quaker Detective,” “Gideon Gault,” “Dick Danger,” and “Old Thunderbolt,” which allowed him to move among various classes of society without tipping people off to his real identity. Within a short amount of time “Old Cap” was as successful as “Old Sleuth,” and the two competed, in a purely friendly fashion, for many of the same cases, each having roughly the same rate of success. Like “Old Sleuth” the dime novel writers of the time found the cases of “Old Cap Collier,” or what they heard of those cases, worthy of use in their magazines, and “Old Cap” began appearing in dime novels in 1883. (By the late 1880s both Frank and Edmund were clearly lagging behind Nick Carter in popularity and activity in the headline cases, but there seems to have been no jealousy on the part of either Frank Morgan or Edmund Collier towards Nick Carter. To the contrary, all three bore the others no small amount of good-will.)
Edmund was unlike Frank in several ways. Where Frank led a clean lifestyle, full of exercise and self-denial, Edmund indulged himself in a number of (legal) vices, smoking and swearing and drinking and gambling (something, it should be remembered, that was seen as more than a little shocking in 1880s New York). Where Frank was scrupulously pure in his behavior towards women, Edmund was...not. (The obvious difference between the two in this regard lies in their childhoods, with Frank coming from a broken home and Edmund being the product of middle-class security). Where Frank held himself to a high moral standard, one that included treating non-whites well, Edmund was more the product of his time, showing in several cases a very regrettable bigotry towards African-Americans. They did share one thing in common, however: the extraordinary strength that was their birthright. Like Frank, Edmund was capable of tossing large criminals for dozens of feet at a time with as little difficulty as normal men have in lifting feather pillows.
Edmund was active as a detective through 1899, but disappeared late in the year, and it has never been known what happened to him after his disappearance. However, MN has discovered an interesting set of papers that may alter the common view of Edmund’s activities post-1899. It seems that in 1875 Anna Teckla, a first-year student at Manhattanville College in Westchester County, abruptly left school for a year, returning in 1876 and giving no explanation to her friends or to the college administrators. She was involved romantically with a young man matching Edmund’s description, and her child bore no small resemblance to Edmund. If Edmund was like his father–and in many ways he was–it would not be unreasonable to assume that he was also a wanderer and philanderer, like Levy. Edmund’s child, Thomas, briefly achieved significance, and we will examine him, and Edmund, below.
Levy’s third child was mothered by Hattie Farley and was born “Louis Farley” in Virginia City in 1860. The B----- and Morgan wanderlust did not miss Louis, though, for he left Virginia City in late 1874. However, Louis’ temperament was far different from that of the children of Levy Morgan, no doubt due to his upbringing. Levy made no attempt to support Louis or give any of his money to Hattie Farley, and she was forced to support herself and her child as a dancer in various bars in Virginia City and later as a prostitute. The life of a prostitute in the Old West was a hard and cruel one, with the madames and brothel owners taking outrageous percentages of the fees, and there are no recorded cases of any woman who because a prostitute in the Old West profiting from the job, enjoying it, or escaping the life without a significant amount of emotional and physical damage. Hattie Farley was no exception to this rule, and by 1873, when she was 32 years old, she looked at least twice that age and was addicted to opium. In 1874 a combination of syphilis and consumption began Hattie’s final descent, and the plague of locusts which spread from Texas to the Canadian border in that spring and summer put a virtual end to the paying customers at Hattie’s brothel. The “Big Bonanza” of 1873, the richest strike in the history of mining, had taken place in Davidson Mountain, near Virginia City, and the influx of customers had kept Hattie in money for months, but the locusts put a stop to the mining and so to Hattie’s business. Hattie and Louis were left in a one-room apartment, living off of Hattie’s meager savings. Louis, seeing no other way out for himself and his mother, left Virginia City in July, reportedly vowing to go get money to help his mother and to find something that would help him avenge himself on his father. Hattie died two months later, and Louis never saw his mother again.
As far as can be known–and MN spent many long and frustrating days combing the archives of far too many Utah counties to reach this point–Louis took a horse and rifle and rode south, passing through modern Idaho and making his way into the Utah territory. Purely by chance–for this could not have been by design–Louis found, near Promontory Point, Utah, an extensive amount of wreckage, wreckage of two very advanced vehicles. (See Appendix A) What happened immediately after that is not known. Louis disappeared from sight for five years, and reappeared in 1880 in a much different guise. We shall leave him for now and return to him later, at the appropriate time.
Levy Morgan’s fourth child was begotten on Jane Carson. As mentioned above Jane Carson, on finding herself pregnant, returned to her parents’ home in Cape Girardeu, Missouri, along the banks of the Mississippi. In 1862 Jane gave birth to her son, but the labor was very difficult, and in the straightened conditions of Cape Girardeu during the Civil War there were neither doctors enough to help her through the childbirth nor sterilized water to make sure that the delivery was clean. Jane died of complications from the birth three days later, leaving her parents to deal with the infant, who she’d often said would be named “Adam.” The Carsons, perhaps not surprisingly, decided to give the child up for adoption and left him at the Cape Girardeu orphanage.
Adam grew up in the orphanage but left it at age 15, desiring independence. For the next three years he lived in a crude hut on the banks of the Mississippi. At some point during this time something occurred to inspire him to begin building things, using the scrap metal he could dredge from the Mississippi and beg, borrow, or steal from the citizens of Cape Girardeu. In 1880 he emerged from his hut with three inventions. The first was a “flying-squirrel suit,” which was filled with a special gas that allowed the wearer to leap for very long distances and even to float. The second was a special “footspring” that when attached to the feet of horses allowed them to accelerate up to 50 mph, no small speed in 1880. And the third was a “landrover,” an armored, durable, quick and heavily armed wagon, usually drawn by the footspring-armed horses but capable of independent propulsion.
With these inventions Adam headed west. His comments to his friends indicated that he had invented these things with the goal of going to the frontier to find his father, perhaps to force some sort of reconciliation or perhaps only to murder him. Whatever his reasons, Adam quickly encountered trouble, from criminals and various native tribes. Adam fought his way through them, killing many.
It was at this time that Adam acquired the nickname that most people know him by. After saving a small village in eastern Colorado from an Uté attack through the skillful use of his “flying-squirrel suit” and his specially-adapted guns, Adam explained the amazed villagers that he had personally invented the suit, the guns, and the landrover. The grateful villagers nicknamed Adam “Thomas Edison, Jr.” Thomas Edison had unveiled the tinfoil phonograph in December 1877, and after initial incredulity the public, both American and world, had hailed Edison as “the Wizard of Menlo Park.” It was a natural progression for an admiring group of men and women to see a youthful inventor and dub him a junior version of the world-famous inventor.
However, Adam’s claim to have invented these items does not hold up under prolonged examination, and the only conclusion that can be reached is that he was a liar. I will go into greater depth on this subject below, in The Brainerds. For now suffice it to say that Adam's was not the mind behind the inventions he used.
During this trip Adam heard stories about a costumed outlaw, "Blue Mask," who was using an advanced airship to terrorize the towns of the West; he would drop bombs on settlers and villages from his airship and then loot the remains. Adam, his curiosity piqued, and perhaps sensing a way to make a glorious name for himself, began searching for Blue Mask. Adam finally tracked Blue Mask down in what would later become south central Wyoming, in Sweetwater County. Adam was not the only one searching for Blue Mask, however; Levy Morgan, now known as "Deadwood Dick," was also looking for the outlaw, whose notoriety had spread quickly.
A three-sided battle ensued, with Adam and Levy instantly taking a dislike to each other and both trying their best to bring down Blue Mask. At the end of the battle Adam had captured Levy, killed most of Blue Mask's gang, and damaged Blue Mask's airship. The Blue Mask had been driven off, vowing that he would return, twice as mean and with a much worse craft. Adam had also briefly captured and unmasked Blue Mask, discovering his name: Louis Farley. Farley had used the wreckage from Promontory Point to construct an aircraft, and had begun using it to rob and murder, the only way he knew how to get any money. The humiliation of being defeated and captured must have smarted, and spurred him angrily on.
This clash was recorded in print many years later by Adam's biographer, but the details were blurred by both time and by the biographer himself. Adam--referred to by nickname, "Tom Edison, Jr.," a name even he called himself--did not know that the man he captured, "Deadwood Dick," was his father; the biographer, "Philip Reade" (a pseudonym), included this for dramatic effect. In the dime novel biography Blue Mask is actually "Lou Gubrious," an obvious pseudonym. In Adam’s dime novel biography nothing more is heard, after his capture, of "Tom Edison Jr."'s father. This is because Adam, on finding that he had held hostage a lawman, quickly released him. Adam and Levy departed with mutual ill-will. They would never meet again.
Over the next decade Adam and Louis Farley clashed on repeated occasions. Adam went on numerous adventures, very few of which were recorded by his biographer.12 He always returned to New Jersey, using his money (his first trip to the West garnered him enough gold and silver to make him extremely wealthy) to build a house on the spot along the banks of the Mississippi where his hut was. He regularly disappeared into his workshop, reappearing days or weeks later with amazing new "inventions." (The truth seems to be that he paid children to continually dredge the Mississippi and bring him anything that might resemble blueprints or inventions; Johnny Brainerd (see below) was continually creating during this time, and Adam was a beneficiary of it) Adam would then take his new invention(s) on a new outing. Louis, for his part, always returned after his defeats to the canyon near Promontory Point and attempted to learn from the wreckage and machinery there to build ever better aircraft and machines and weapons.
In 1883 Louis was terrorizing Brazil when Adam, flying his Sky Courser (an armed dirigible), went looking for him. Adam found Louis at the same time that "Don Jago di Ortovideo," an "eccentric Brazilian," did. "Don Jago" had built an airship, the Trinidad, and intended to use it to adventure. Instead, he encountered Louis, who was flying the Red Vulture, the largest aircraft yet built. Louis shot down the Trinidad and seemingly killed "Don Jago." Adam then arrived and damaged but did not destroy the Red Vulture, leaving Louis to escape to fight yet another day.
In 1886 Louis and Adam tangled in Australia after Adam had disposed of the "notorious rogue" "Naaman Nixon." And in 1889 Louis and Adam fought in the Congo after Adam had fought and killed the villainous Dutchman "Hardhaart." Adam never discovered it, but MN, after extensive research, has established that "Don Jago," "Naaman Nixon," and "Hardhaart," were the same man: Harry Heart, the descendant of Flash Heart and a blood relation of Adam and Louis through John Heart, Flash's brother.
Lord Flash Heart, you will recall, had settled in the Netherlands, raised a family and become active with the Dutch East India Company. His descendants had spread around the world. One, Harold Heart, had gone to Brazil to raise cattle. His son, Harry, longed for adventure (his ancestor Flash's blood ran strong in him) and somehow acquired the plans for an aircraft. (It might be supposed that he came into contact with someone in possession of advanced technology, who for his or her own reasons gave or sold enough information and technology to build an aircraft to Harry. It might be supposed that he came into contact with someone in possession of advanced technology, who for his or her own reasons gave or sold enough information and technology to build an aircraft to Harry. The sighting of a submarine off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in 1888 may have something do with this. The submarine matches the description of the submarine Simon Carter was involved with in 1862--the perhaps-mythical Submarine Omega.
Harry then began building airships, but had the bad luck to complete his ship at the same time that Louis and Adam came to Brazil. After that it was a matter of honor and revenge, and unfortunately for Harry he was doomed to finish third-best behind Adam and Louis. How this information came to "Philip Reade" we will never know, but he apparently assembled jumbled information into a coherent whole, although he may have misunderstood some details. Note that "Don" is a Spanish title, something a Brazilian, the descendant of the Portuguese, would not use. Also note the linguistic similarity between "Hardhaart" and "Harry Heart." And, finally, note that Harry is identified as a Dutchman, something he was--but very distantly. "Reade" badly confused several facts in his accounts.
In 1890 Adam and Louis clashed for a final time. Adam, somewhere in western Wyoming or Eastern Idaho, was riding an "electrical mule" twelve feet high, capable of 50 mph speed, with a unicorn horn and towing an armored carriage. (He was, as usual, prowling the native reservations looking to enrich himself at the expense of the natives) He encountered Louis, who was riding a 20' long and eight foot high electrical centipede. The two duelled one final time, and Adam managed to stab Louis to death.
Adam did not have long to enjoy his final victory over his hated enemy, for word soon reached him of a Chinese pirate ravaging the Yellow Sea. Adam, intrigued, took his super-submarine, the Sea Spider, to the Yellow Sea, and began looking for the pirate, Kiang-Ho. After attacking his holdings, including the Chinese port town that Kiang-Ho ruled, he finally located Kiang-Ho's submarine, the Sea Serpent, and the two battled. After an extensive naval duel Adam and Kiang-Ho, each wearing powered diving suits, fought at the bottom of the Yellow Sea. Kiang-Ho, using his superior size and strength, killed Adam.
This was not the end of the battle, however, but we will return to Kiang-Ho later. When the news eventually reached "Philip Reade" he must have been panic-stricken. A Chinaman (actually, a Mongolian, but "Reade" seems not to have known the difference) killing a white man? "Reade"'s meal ticket, killed with indignity? "Reade" changed the course of events and published the final chapter in "Tom Edison Jr."'s autobiography, which showed "Tom" sailing off into the sunset.
Levy Morgan's fifth child, as mentioned, was fathered on a nameless prostitute in Carson City, Nevada in 1869. This child was left on the steps of an orphanage on Valentine's Day, and so was given the name "James Valentine." He endured a rough childhood but eventually survived it, becoming proficient and skillful as a safecracker. He became the nation's best thief, in fact, but retired in 1909 after moving to Elmore, Arkansas, and marrying Annabel Adams, the daughter of a local bank manager.
Levy Morgan's sixth child was fathered on Mary Doyle, a schoolteacher in Carson City, Nevada, in 1869. As mentioned Levy married Mary, who took on the surname of "Ackermann," but Levy then abandoned Mary and her child Ethel, although he continued to send them money. Unfortunately, MN has been unable to find any information whatsoever on Ethel's life after her fifth year, when she was sent East by Mary to stay with her family, and Ethel's twenty-third year, when she married Nick Carter. Ethel, of course, died soon afterwards at the hands of Nick Carter's greatest enemy.
Levy Morgan's seventh child was fathered on an anonymous prostitute in Carson City, Nevada in 1872. Like "James Valentine" this child was left on the steps of the city orphanage on Valentine's Day, and so he, too, was given the surname "Valentine." His first name, bestowed in a moment of spite by the head of the orphanage, was "Chickering." At age 13 he became a ranch hand near Carson City, and the following year met Nick Carter, who adopted him both informally and eventually formally. Chick Valentine Carter became Nick Carter's faithful assistant. He disappeared in 1928.
Levy Morgan's eighth and final child was begotten with Katherine Gilbert, a settler's daughter, in 1871. Gilbert, with the other settlers, left the New Mexico Territories after the Apache War began and traveled to California, where they resettled, near modern day Del Mar. Gilbert had her daughter Georgina there.
Unfortunately, information on Georgina has proven extremely hard to come by, and Georgina disappears from all California records in 1880. The next sighting of her, and in fact her only other known appearance, takes place in 1890, during the undersea battle which killed Adam Morgan, aka "Tom Edison, Jr."
After Adam's death Kiang Ho started to return to his submarine, the Sea Serpent, when he was shot in his back with a spear gun. As this occurred the Sea Serpent and the Sea Spider were rammed and sunk by a mysterious submarine. According to descriptions provided by surviving crew members of the Sea Serpent and Adam Morgan's Sea Spider, this new submarine was very similar in appearance to the submarine which was seen off the coast of Rio de Janeiro in 1888 and which most likely gave Harry Heart the plans which he used to construct his airships. This submarine, which will be the topic of a future article, was dubbed "Submarine Omega" by a sailor who encountered it in 1941. In 1890 Submarine Omega's crew consisted of Craig McKenzie, its Captain; "Simba," a large African; and Georgina Gilbert, who shot and killed Kiang-Ho. (When "Philip Reade" was informed of these facts--the crews of the Sea Spider and Sea Serpent not only saw Kiang-Ho's death at Georgina's hands but also were rescued by McKenzie and heard Georgina referred to, by McKenzie, as "Georgie"--he transformed Georgina into the cousin of "Tom Edison, Jr.") What became of Georgina after that, and whether she was present or not at the next recorded encounter with McKenzie and his submarine, in 1941, is not known.
Finally, as mentioned, Edmund Morgan Collier, aka "Old Cap Collier," fathered a son, Thomas, in 1875. MN has been unable to discover whether Edmund supported his son or the woman he'd ruined, but in light of Thomas' elevated schooling (private, then Columbia) we may assume that Edmund provided at least money, if not his presence. Thomas was a bright young man and rapidly ascended through the academic ranks of Columbia when, as a sophomore, he fell under the influence of two notorious Professors of Science, Combe and Weir. He became their disciple and prize student, and came to believe their theories. In support of these theories, and to prove them, Thomas became entangled in an adventure and pursuit that stretched from New York to Mexico. In the end, Thomas, Combe, and Weir were triumphant, and put their theories into practice, in the spring of 1895.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, their theories involved Mars being inhabited, and they tested this theory by aiming a giant laser at Mars and sending a variety of communications. Everyone is aware of the occurrences in June of that year, and while there is no proof that the Martians were aware of the signal from Thomas, Combe and Weir, or that their invasion was a response to it, the coincidence is certainly an odd one.
Thomas, Combe, and Weir died during the invasion. Their story was later picked up by a dime novel writer and heavily fictionalised. We may assume that the retirement of Edmund "Cap" Collier in 1899 was in some way related to their deaths. "Cap" was only 43, after all, still in the prime of his detecting life, and in theory had many more years ahead of him in which to fight crime. There would seem to be no good reason for him to have retired so suddenly and unexpectedly. However, if he discovered, in 1899, that his own bastard child, who he had fathered and then abandoned 24 years before, had died during the invasion, never knowing who his true father was...such a discovery might well have shocked "Cap" to the core and forced a reevaluation of his own life. MN speculates that "Cap"
Regrettably, the B----- family, while quite open and forthcoming, did insist on some of their secrets being kept, and MN was only conditionally allowed access to the archives. One condition was that the history of the children and grandchildren of Levy Morgan in the 20th century not be explored, and so MN ends this section of the article here.
Next: The Brainerds
11Scholars have debated the likelihood of this action. It is clearly impossible for a normal human being to make such a leap. It should also be noted that similar jumps are a recurring motifs in Western folklore, appearing in various American Western folktales and in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.
However, men and women possessing extraordinary strength are not unknown in the Wold Newton Family, two prominent examples being Nick Carter and Bingham Harvard. However, as far as has been discovered there is no family relation between Levy and the Carters or the Harvards.
That Levy had superhuman strength seems undeniable, though, especially as it manifested itself in so many of his children. One possible source for this strength might be a meteoric influence, similar to the effect of the Wold Newton meteor on those who were close to it at its fall. No member of the B----- family was close to Wold Newton in 1795, but, if we follow Dr. Dennis Power's admittedly controversial "rocks and trees" theory, another meteor, of the same composition, may have had the same effect on the B----- family that the Wold Newton meteor had on the eighteen men and women (and their descendants) near its fall.
Those of the B----- family were not, as far as anyone can tell, near the Delphic Orb (20,000 B.C.E.), Profile Rock (12,000 B.C.E.), or the Taragua Stone (10,000 B.C.E.). However, there is one likely candidate, both geographically and chronologically.
The Suwahib meteor was found in the Rub al-Khali of Saudi Arabia in 1931. Dating of the meteor is hardly exact, and the date of its fall is estimated at 6,400 years ago, +/- 1,300 years. Obviously, if the more recent date is adopted, it puts the fall of the meteor well within the range of time that the ancestors of the Morgans might have been present in the Rub al-Khali, and therefore affected by the Suwahib meteor.
The obvious objection to this theory is that the Rub al-Khali is one of the most deserted and inhospitable places on Earth, a location deeply hostile to life, the greatest sand sea on Earth and a place where nighttime temperatures do not dip below 40o Celsius, and where temperatures during the day can reach over 61o Celsius (142o Fahrenheit). There would be no reason for any human being to be in the Rub al-Khali, most especially one conveniently there at the exact moment when the Suwahib meteor landed.
However, if we accept that the meteor strike at Wold Newton affected the genetic material of those who witnessed it, then it can be argued that it was as much the radiation of the meteor as the ionization of its explosion which affected the eighteen men and women who were at the strike. If that is the case, then it is quite possible that another meteor, similarly radioactive, would have the same effect, but that the half-life of the meteor's radiation might have been much longer than that of the Wold Newton meteor.
If this was so, and we will for the purposes of this article assume that it was, than the Suwahib meteor may have remained radioactive for centuries or even millennia, and it was only the sheer remoteness of its location which prevented the meteor's radiation from altering the genes of thousands and tens of thousands of men and women and thereby producing an entire race of supermen. However, even the Rub al-Khali was sometimes traversed, and so the very occasional Jew or Bedouin was exposed to it and affected. An ancestor of the B----- clan was probably one of those.
12The eleven chapters of the Adam’s pseudo-biography, written by “Philip Reade,” were published from 1891 to 1892. These adventures represent the compression and emendation of over a decade of adventures into eleven chapters. Obviously “Reade” left out a great deal.
The 19th Century
Appendices and Bibliography