Paris, Texas: Charles Cureton Atcherley in the USA

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There were three log houses in Paris when I came here in 1879. There may have been more, but these I remember well. One was on the lot then owned by the Episcopal Church. … Another log house was on South Main street, about where now is the north end of the bus station, and a rail fence was between it and the street. Charlie Atcherly, an Englishman who ran a meat shop, was living there when I knew the house. The Paris News, 24 April 1951.

Charlie Atcherly, or Charles Cureton Atcherley to give him his full name, was the fifth son, and the tenth of eleven children, born to Thomas Cureton Atcherley and his wife Mary (nee Matthews). His birthplace was Hurst farm in the Shropshire parish of Westbury on 23 October 1846, but he was baptised at the Chapel of St George in Frankwell (pictured right), then part of the parish of Shrewsbury St Chad. When the ceremony took place, on 22 July 1847, Thomas Cureton Atcherley was recorded in the baptism register as a Gentleman.

By 1851, the Atcherley family had moved to Cruckfield House in the parish of Ford. That year’s census showed that Thomas Cureton Atcherley was a retired farmer of 9 acres. He did not remain in retirement however. The census of 1861 recorded the family in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, where Thomas was in business as a grocer. Charles Atcherley’s younger brother Stephen, aged 10, was still at school, while older brother John, aged 19, was a hardware merchant’s clerk. Charles, aged 14, was between education and work.

The earliest indication I have found as to the line of work Charles Cureton Atcherley went into dates from 1870, and the line of work was labouring. It appears that Charles was not satisfied with this, and that opportunities for a better life lay on the other side of the Atlantic. I say all this because the occupation “Lab” was recorded alongside Charles’s name (which was written as “Chas Hatcherly”) on a list of passengers arriving at New York on 27 August 1870.

The timing of Charles’s migration to the United States means that he was not enumerated either on the US census of 1870 or on the England and Wales census of 1871. I suspect that he soon found work – possibly as a butcher’s assistant – and saved his money so that he could one day set up in business by himself. That day came at the beginning of 1872. On 3 January that year, page 2 of Kansas newspaper the Chetopa Advance carried the following advertisement:

Charles Cureton Atcherley, Butcher!

Page 3 of the same newspaper featured a notice which stated: “Mr. C. C. Atcherley has bought out the entire business of Mr. Audinwood, has refitted his shop on Maple street, and will serve his customers to the best meat in the market.”

How successful was Charles Atcherley’s business? I have found no other references to his butcher’s shop in Chetopa, but this does not necessarily mean that he quickly ceased trading. I know for sure that Charles was still in Chetopa in July 1872, as he published a notice in the local paper that month warning people not to buy a ‘note’ for $60 which he had given to one W A Irvin. Charles had given the note to Irvin in return for a horse, but it turned out that the horse had been stolen!

One fact which does indicate that Charles’s business in Chetopa came to an end – either through failure or because Charles decided to sell up – is that he returned to England, and then went back to the USA as a labourer once more. The date of Charles’ return to England is unknown, but he arrived back at Castle Garden, New York, aboard the Baltic, on 23 August 1875. It is tempting to speculate that Charles returned home following the death of his father, which took place on 5 September 1874.

Castle Garden immigrant depot

I have found no records confirming Charles Cureton Atcherley’s whereabouts in America between his return in 1875, and 1879 when A W Neville found him living in one of the few surviving log houses in Paris, Texas. Dr W W Stell, whose words open this story, recalled that when he arrived in Paris in 1839, all the residents lived in such buildings:

We all lived in log houses and not one sawed plank in the house. The floors were made of puncheons split from large logs, and the top side made as smooth as could be done with the broad axe. The puncheons rested on logs for sleepers. The doors were made of clapboards, pegged to frames made from split pieces or small saplings. Not one nail was to be had. Gimlets were used to bore holes, and wooden pegs inserted for nails.

The 1880 census records for Paris show that Dr Stell’s memory of “Charlie Atcherly, an Englishman who ran a meat shop” and who resided on South Main Street, was accurate. The census itself was less accurate with regard to Charles’s age, showing him as 30 when he was in fact 33. The possibility that Charles may have also been an arable farmer with land elsewhere in Texas is suggested by an article in the Galveston News of 18 July 1880, based on a report in the Belton Courier, which stated that “wheat crops, lately threshed on King’s branch, turned out better than was expected” and that “Mr. Atcherly made twenty bushels to the acre”.

Later in 1880, on 18 November to be precise, “C C Atcherly” married Maggie Willey in Harrison County. Born Magnolia Amelia Willey on 2 June 1860, Maggie was a native of Texas but her parents were, like Charles, immigrants from England. It appears that the couple lived in Paris, where Charles continued to run his business. And business was good, as Charles was able to employ another butcher to assist him, a man by the name of Joe Spears.

Joe was enumerated on the 1880 census as a 50-year-old single man who worked as a butcher and lived alone. What the census does not tell us is that Joe was reputed to have a fair bit of money hidden in his home. This, sadly, led to his murder. Four men went to his place one night and attempted to draw him outside by disturbing his chickens. When that did not work, they knocked on his door. Joe opened the door only a few inches, keeping it secured with a chain, so one of the would-be robbers poked a shotgun through the gap and opened fire. Unable to get in, or disturbed in the act of trying, the men fled, leaving Joe mortally wounded. He died two days later, but was able to provide statements which led officers to arrest three suspects (the fourth had fled).

Of the three were indicted with the murder of Joe Spears, one was sentenced to life imprisonment, one – who turned state’s evidence – was found not guilty, and the third, Isham Scott, was eventually sentenced to hang. The hanging took place in the spring of 1883, the gallows having been built “almost on the spot where the murder was committed”. It was said that “Scott was taken to the gallows in a wagon, sitting on the coffin box, with officers riding alongside. The affair drew a large crowd notwithstanding it was a cold day with a drizzle of rain falling.” I think it very likely that Charles Atcherley was part of that crowd.

Paris, Texas: South Main Street (running from the Lamar Hotel and over the junction of West Sherman and East Sherman Streets) in 1885.

The Texas State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1884-5 said that Paris was a thriving city, with a population of 6,000. Its description of the city went on to say:

First settled about the year 1840, it now contains Methodist, Presbyterian (Old School and Cumberland), Episcopal, Baptist, Christian, Congregational, Catholic, and 3 colored churches, a court house, a handsome opera house, capable of seating 1,200, gas works, a volunteer fire department with one steamer, and hose, engine and hook and ladder companies, a street railway, 2 furniture factories, cotton compress, ice factory, 2 planing mills, foundries and machine shops, 2 flour mills, a tannery, 2 brick yards, several cotton gins, 2 saw mills, several good hotels, 2 banks, and the usual number of professionel [sic] men, special and general stores, blacksmith shops, etc, for a place of its size. The educational advantages of Paris are a source of pride to the citizens …

Listed amongst the businessmen and other prominent residents of Paris was “Atcherly Charles C, meats.” It was, however, the last time he was so listed. An Atcherley family memorial at St Mary the Virgin, Perivale, Middlesex, England shows that Charles Cureton Atcherley died at Paris, Texas on 27 November 1884. He was 38. Oddly, although there is a reference online to a “C. C. Atcherly section” within the Evergreen Cemetery at Paris, I have not found a record of Charles’s burial there.

Charles and Maggie Atcherley’s marriage was ‘without issue’ so Charles left no descendants. Ten years after Charles’s death however, on 25 July 1894, his widow “Maggie A Atcherly” (who in 1891 had been living in Dallas) married Robert Lee Moye and with him she did have children. Although the records I have found of Maggie’s wedding state only that it took place in Lamar County, I think is almost certain that the location of the nuptials was Paris, Texas.

Picture credits. St George’s Church, Frankwell: Photo © Copyright Andrew Bennett; taken from Geograph, adapted, used, and made available for re-use under a Creative Commons licence. Advertisement from Chetopa Advance: from, using clipping share facility. Castle Garden immigrant depot: Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons. Paris, Texas: South Main Street in 1885: Extract from public domain image at Wikimedia Commons.


[1] The Paris News (Texas, USA), 24 Apr 1951, page 4. “A. W. Neville Backward glances” (quoting Dr W W Stell’s “communication to The Paris News forty-odd years ago”). Copy viewed at
[2] Birth of Charles Cureton Atcherley registered at Atcham, December quarter 1846; volume 18, page 18.
[3] St George’s Chapel, Shrewsbury St Chad, Shropshire, baptism register covering 1847. Entry for Charles Cureton Atcherley. Copy viewed at Findmypast – Shropshire Baptisms. Indexed at FamilySearch, Batch C01575-4, Film 503526, 503527, 503528.
[4] 1851 census of England and Wales. Piece 1991, folio 116, page 18.
[5] 1861 census of England and Wales. Piece 1990, folio 75, page 4.
[6] Passenger list for the Batavia of Glasgow, arriving New York 27 Aug 1870 from Liverpool, England. Entry for Chas Hatcherly. Copy viewed at Ancestry – New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957.
[7] Chetopa Advance (Chetopa, Kansas), 3 Jan 1872, page 2. Copy viewed at
[8] Chetopa Advance, 3 Jan 1872, page 3. Copy viewed at
[9] Chetopa Advance, 10 Jul 1872, page 3. Copy viewed at
[10] Passenger list for the Baltic, arriving New York 23 Aug 1875 from Liverpool, England and Queenstown, Ireland. Entry for Chas Atcherley. Copy viewed at Ancestry – New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957. Indexed at Castle Garden website (with forename given as John and age as 37 in error – the forename and age were those of the previous person on the passenger list).
[11] Death of Thomas Cureton Atcherley registered at Ellesmere, September quarter 1874; volume 6a, page 459; age given as 70.
[12] Great Western Railway Shareholders Index (Volume 22 Folio 164 Entry 17500), entry for Thomas Cureton Atcherley. Original held by Society of Genealogists, copy viewed at Findmypast.
[13] 1880 US census. Census Place: Paris, Lamar, Texas. Enumeration District: 81. Page: 212A.
[14] The Galveston Daily News, 18 Jul 1880, page 4. Copy viewed at
[15] FamilySearch shows marriage of C C Atcherly and Maggie Willey. Batch M59269-7, Film 1403335, Ref ID 2:Z13M76.
[16] FamilySearch (Texas Deaths, 1890-1976) shows death of Francis Jackson Moye, age 72, parents Robert Lee Moye and Magnolia Amelia Willie. Film 2223200, Digital film 4169859, Image 2326.
[16] Certificate of Death shows Mrs Maggie Moye, female, white, married, born 2 Jun 1859 in Harrison County, Texas, age 60 years 7 months, father’s name Willey (born England), mother’s maiden name [unknown] (born England), died suddenly from heart disease on 24 Jan 1920 at Electra, Wichita County, buried at Harrold, Texas on 25 Jan 1920, informant R L Moye. Copy viewed at FamilySearch – Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976.
[17] The Paris News, 30 Sep 1958, page 4. “Backward Glances”. Copy viewed at
[18] Texas State Gazetteer and Business Directory, 1884-5 (R L Polk & Co,). Volume II. Page 558. Copy viewed at Mocavo.
[19] Transcript of Memorial Inscription at St Mary the Virgin, Perivale, Middlesex viewed at Shropshire Family History Society Strays database.
[20] User name cantorjoeocho (10 May 2006), George Edward Turner – A Child. At: Ancestry Message Boards (accessed 24 May 2015). “From Rodgers and Wade Furniture Co. Funeral Records in possession of Fry and Gibbs Funeral Home; Book #8; p.201; Service #325 … Interment at Evergreen Cemetery in C.C. Atcherly section.”
[21] FamilySearch shows marriage of R L Moye and Maggie A Atcherly. Batch M59232-6, Film 1293619. Also indexed at RootsWeb Marriage Records Database.
[22] 1900 US census. Census Place: Justice Precinct 1, Lamar, Texas. Enumeration District: 61. Page: 9B. Head: Robert L Moye, 35, born Jun 1864 in Kentucky, parents born North Carolina and Tennessee, married 6 years, farmer, home rented. Wife: Maggie Moye, 39, born Jun 1860 in Texas, parents born England, married 6 years (3 children, 2 living). Dau: Orra Moye, 5, born Mar 1895 in Texas, parents born Texas and Kentucky. Son: Frank Moye, 1, born Oct 1898 in Texas, parents born Texas and Kentucky. Nephew: Charley Turner, 17, born Nov 1882 in Texas, parents born England and Texas. Copies viewed at Ancestry and Mocavo.

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Mary Haaheo Atcherley and her Democratic candidacy

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Two women candidates, Mrs. Mary H. Atcherley of Oahu and Mrs. Helen Sniffen of Maui, democrats, running for the territorial senate, were nominated, both leading their tickets. Mrs. Atcherly, who is well known in Vancouver, B. C, Seattle, Wash., and the northwest, is the first woman to run for office in Honolulu. She is conceded to be a strong candidate and is looked upon as certain of election. Morning Oregonian, 15 October 1920.

Although she was a native of Hawaii, Mary Haaheo Atcherley lived with her family in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, from 1911 and throughout the First World War (see Royalty in Vancouver: Victoria Elizabeth Kaiulani Atcherley and An Atcherley family’s World War One: The Canadian Home Front). She made a number of journeys back to Hawaii during these years however, and by 1920 was living there again, in Honolulu, with her children Sybil, Lani, Samuel and Victoria (husband John was still at sea, see Dr John Atcherley’s World War One).

On 18 August 1920 the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which had been passed by Congress on 4 June 1919, was ratified. This gave American women the long fought for right to vote. But for Mary Haaheo Atcherley, voting was not enough – she wanted to be voted for and to wield the power and influence that went with a seat in the senate. So that autumn Mary hit the  campaign trail, running as a Democrat. An indication of the style in which she did so, and of the policies she stood for, can be found in Bob Krause’s 1994 publication, Johnny Wilson: First Hawaiian Democrat:

Mrs. Mary Atcherly of Honolulu added considerable color to the primary campaign that fall because she sometimes broke into the hula on the stage when inspired by a frisky campaign tune. There was nothing lighthearted about her political platform, however. Mrs. Atcherly stood for, among other things, a fair minimum wage, free distribution of schoolbooks, an increase in pay for teachers, and commitment to an insane asylum or to the leper colony only on the verdict of a jury.

Although she won her primary on Oahu, Mary ‘s hopes of gaining political office were not to be. Despite the fact that women had been given the right to vote, only men were eligible to sit in the territorial senate. It was ruled that Mary’s name (and that of Helen Sniffen, of Maui) must appear on the ballot papers, but in the event of being elected in November neither of these ladies would  be able to represent those who had voted for them. This must have played a significant part in Mary’s, and Helen’s, eventual failure at the polls in November. As Krause noted, “male legal experts were saved the embarrassment of disqualifying them from office.”

In 1921 Mary Atcherley returned to Vancouver for a while, and appeared on that year’s Canadian census. This meant that she had, in a period of just over 11 years, appeared on four different census returns in the U.S. (1910 and 1920) and Canada (1911 and 1921). She was back in Honolulu by 1922 though, and undaunted by her previous electoral defeat Mary decided to run in that year’s election for a seat as delegate in the U.S. Congress.

The official Democratic candidate for this election in Hawaii was Lincoln Loy ‘Link’ McCandless (pictured left), so Mary – shrugging off the party’s best efforts to dissuade her – ran as an independent Democrat. She was not the only ‘maverick’ to do so. Jonah Kumalae ran in the same capacity, claiming that he had a lot of friends and no enemies in Washington. “I am the largest maker of ukuleles in the Islands,” he said, “and as most of the congressmen are playing my ukuleles they’re already acquainted with me. So there you are.”

While the Democrats had three candidates who were at odds with each other, the Republicans had nominee Harry Baldwin, a sugar planter on Maui, backed by his fellow candidates Wise and Lyman. This prompted the Star-Bulletin of 21 March 1922 to feature on its front page a cartoon of Wise and Lyman cheering Baldwin, while the Democratic candidates were depicted as circus clowns. The cartoon had McCandless swinging a chair at his opponents while Kumalae was kicking him and Mary Atcherley was throwing juggling balls at both of them!

The election campaign also garnered some more serious coverage. An article in Indiana’s Lebanon Pioneer, entitled Hawaiian Women are Leaders in Politics, deserves reproduction in full:

Hawaiian women are so politically minded that they do not need to be urged, prodded, baited and educated to use the ballot, says Edith Stone in an article in the Woman Citizen.

Speaking at election day in Hawaii, she says: ‘The Languid, drowsy atmosphere of the tranquil southern isles became tense. There was a mental snap and verve in the warm air as though the refreshing trade winds bore some sort of vital force from the north.

‘Early visits to the polling places showed that the women were voting. The lists of voters showed nearly all the names to be Hawaiian. Women stood in animated groups or sat on benches or on the grass. Some had their ukuleles and their children. They had brought their lunches.

‘A few Portuguese and Chinese women were among the voters. There were also many American haoles (whites). They came with an air of business, cast their ballots and went their way. The Hawaiian women came early, cast their ballots and remained for the day.

‘Serenading voters was one of the most picturesque features of the election. In the afternoon groups of Hawaiian women in automobiles visited the various polling places and sang native melodies to the accompaniment of ukuleles and steel guitars. Troubadours in a worthy cause, they gave color and life to the election in a dignified and artistic manner.’

A feminine Hawaiian politician, Mrs. Mary Haheeo Atcherley, who was independent candidate for the office of delegate, speaks for her people: ‘Our women have always been just as interested in politics as our men. From earliest times they have had equal rights. They were always privileged to reign as queens and the premier was usually a woman. Before ever a white man saw these islands women took part in council meetings, often more actively than the men. They told their men how to conduct affairs and were generally considered the brains of families. Even today the average Hawaiian man votes as his wife tells him to.

‘Women always accompanied the men into battle in the olden days. Sometimes they carried water and helped in minor ways, but very frequently they took part in the fighting and were killed. Is it any wonder that they fairly eat politics at election time?’

Speaking of her own interest in politics, Mrs. Atcherley said: ‘I know my people and their needs and believe that I could help them were I elected as delegate. Congress wants to help the Hawaiians, but congress is 6,000 miles away and cannot understand.’

The Capitol Building, Washington D.C.

Mary Atcherley was never really a contender in the election. Predictions that she might poll around 800 votes proved far too generous – Mary was very much an ‘also ran’ with only a hundred or so votes to her name when the results were announced. Kumalae fared better, but the majority of Democrat votes went to Link McCandless . Link, however, was heavily outpolled by Baldwin in what was described as a Republican landslide.

Doubts as to whether or not Mary Atcherley, as a woman, would have been eligible to sit as a delegate in congress may have played a part in her lack of success (just as the certainty that she could not take a seat in the legislature had done in 1920). The fact that she was running as a Democrat – and a self-appointed independent Democrat at that – likely played an even larger part.

Several months after the election, The Maui News of 1 September 1922 reported: “Women will be eligible for election to the legislature or as delegate to congress at the coming election. Only approval of the President is now required and it is expected he will sign the measure within the next few days.” The article went on to explain: “Contenders for the rights of women insisted that the granting of suffrage carried with it the right to hold office but opponents insisted that the qualification provisions were specific. The point came up in connection with the candidacy of Mary Atcherly first for the legislature and later for delegate.”

It was however the last three words of the newspaper report’s subtitle which summed up the situation for Mary Haaheo Atcherley: “Settles Moot Issue.” This change to the law had come too late to help Mary, and it seems that after two electoral defeats in a row she had lost her appetite for political high office.

Picture credits. Lincoln Loy “Link” McCandless: Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons. US Capitol Building: Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.


[1] Morning Oregonian, 15 Oct 1920, page 4. Copy viewed at Oregon News.
[2] 1920 census of the United States. Census Place: Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii Territory. Enumeration District: 23. Page: 9A.
[3] 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women’s Right to Vote. At: (US) National Archives website (accessed 6 May 2015).
[4] Bob Krause (1994), Johnny Wilson: First Hawaiian Democrat. Copy previewed at Google Books.
[5] The Maui News, 15 Oct 1920, page 2. Copy viewed at
[6] Source: Morning Oregonian, 23 Oct 1920, page 3. Copy viewed at Oregon News.
[7] 1921 census of Canada. Province: British Columbia. District: 24. Sub-district: 24. Place: Victoria City. Page: 29.
[8] 1910 census of the United States. Census Place: San Francisco Assembly District 38, San Francisco, California. Enumeration District: 0189. Page: 10A.
[9] 1911 census of Canada. Census Place: Vancouver City, Vancouver, British Columbia. Page: 7. Family No: 50.
[10] The Maui News, 24 Mar 1922, page 8. Copy viewed at
[11] The Lebanon Pioneer (Indiana), 24 Aug 1922, page 2.
[12] The Maui News, 24 Mar 1922, page 1. Copy viewed at
[13] The Maui News, 10 Feb 1922, page 1. Copy viewed at
[14] Maui News, 1 Sep 1922, page 1. Copy viewed at Chronicling America.

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