Looking East from the United States Capitol
On January 4, Lillian rebutted the charges and the nature of the letters she wrote to Giro by stating in the press by stating that she rebuffed Giro’s advances and that Giro had pleaded with her consummate his feelings. (NYT 1/5/1881) The proceedings were halted on January 17, because of Isaac failure to pay the support he had been ordered to by the court to his wife. (NYT 1/18/1881) The defense brought forward Miss Lillie Meloy who testified concerning the meeting of Giro and Lillian on December 24, 1878. To summarize Giro asked to meet Lillian at the Washington depot as he was arriving from New York. She was present during the entire conversation between the couple and she accompanied Lillian home from the train station. On Christmas Day Lillie stated that Lillian was ill and remained on the sofa in the dining room until Giro’s visit in the evening when Lillian met with him supervised by her parents. (NYT 4/13/1881) The trial resumed with a delay, Edward Chase Ingersoll, Isaac consul sought to cross examine both Lillian’s mother and Miss Meloy who both plead illness and declined to testify. (NYT 5/27/1881) The accusations made by both Isaac and Lillian about the other reached absurd proportions. At one point Ambrose Folliott testified that Isaac approached him to treat his wife for the aftereffects on an abortion that Isaac performed on his wife in July of 1876. Under cross examination he admitted to having performed on in the past but the charge was dropped. (NYT 8/20/1881, NYT 8/25/1881 and NYT 10/5/1881)
Upon his return from Peru in September of 1881, Isaac booked a room at the National Hotel in New York. After leaving his room for the evening he returned to find it burglarized and $6,000 in jewelry entrusted to his care stolen. When he returned from a meeting with his counsel he was handed a letter by the clerk at the National Hotel from Dr. French Lugenbeel, Lillian’s brother challenging him to a duel, Isaac polite declined. (NYT 9/17/1881)
On October 8, 1881 Lillian took the stand and testified about the long standing abuse Isaac had inflicted upon her over the entire length of their marriage. Her testimony continued on October 10 regarding her time with the Christiancy family in Lansing, where she said they all the Christiancy children except the youngest were addicted to drink and that their actions so revolted her that she requested a separate residence. Under cross examination Lillian denied that she was the author of two letters written to Giro on December 21, 1879 and June 26, 1880 even though they appeared to be in her handwriting. Dr. Victor Christiancy of Leavenworth, Kansas testified that he was familiar with Lillian’s handwriting and the letters from purportedly written from Lillian to Giro were in her hand and genuine. Mrs. Mary F. Lugenbeel, Lillian’s mother testified on November 28, that when she visited her daughter in Lansing in 1877 she witnessed abuse on Isaac part and drunkenness as a regular occasion in the home and that Isaac and one of his consul were regularly drunk, Edward Chase Ingersoll, Isaac’s consul objected to this statement and the Lillian had prompted her mother during her testimony. (NYT 10/9/1881, NYT 10/11/1881, NYT 10/30/1881, NYT 11/13/1881, and NYT 11/29/1881)
As the case came to its conclusion the United States Postal Service was brought in to testify that Lillian frequently visited the Post Office to pick up letters for a Mrs. K.K. Wharton a last name that Giro registered Lillian as in New York City upon her return from Peru. Lillian denied the accusation. (NYT 4/21/1882)
May 25, 1882 Isaac testified that he tried to convince Lillian before the wedding that the age difference between them was to great and that he was at the end of his life and she was at the beginning of hers. Isaac also testified that he loved her and if she felt the same then the marriage would take place. Lillian assured him that the age was no problem and that they should marry. Immediately after the wedding a James Legenbeel who had once been engaged to Lillian but broke off the relationship, appeared and Lillian expressed to Isaac that she still loved James and asked for a divorced in order to pursue the liaison. When the couple retuned home Lillian was committed to the marriage until she met Frank Anderson at a gallery, at the point her old feelings for James came back and her feeling alternated between a love for James and for Frank. Isaac also testified that Lillian also grew fond of Sam Register of Baltimore and a Mr. Meyer. Isaac supported his testimony with a letter he sent to Lillian’s father on August 18, 1878 when he related these events to him. Isaac also brought supporting letters from Frank Anderson to Lillian. (NYT 5/26/1882) This was no easy case, Mr. Harper the stenographer in the Christiancy case filed with the clerk 4000 folios concerning the case; so many that they had to be brought to the clerk’s office in a market basket. (NYT 7/25/1882)
On September 20, 1882 Judge Hagner granted Isaac Christiancy a divorce from Lillian on the grounds of desertion and not adultery. (NYT 9/21/1882) The original suit filed by Isaac was for adultery, Lillian counter sued for cruelty. Both suits were withdrawn and Isaac resubmitted a suit for desertion and adultery. After reviewing the testimony Judge Hagner ruled on the desertion suit and granted the divorce. Judge Hagner decided not to enlarge the suit to contain adultery no alimony payments would be required. The estimated cost of the suit paid by Isaac was $10,000. (NYT 9/24/1882)
After the divorce Isaac and Lillian went there separate ways. Isaac retuned to Lansing where his heath deteriorated and he spent the majority of the time defending his name. (LRTW 1/12/1884) Isaac Peckham Christiancy died at his home on September 8, 1890 surrounded by his family and friends. (SR 9/9/1890 see also SR 8/21/1890 for a review of his life)
Lillian M. Lugenbeel life after her divorce was no so kind the New York Times described the she died a “raging lunatic”. In November of 1883 Lillian arrived in Brooklyn, New York to spend time with a school friend who lived at 35 Schermerhorn Street. Since there was no room suitable for Lillian she rented a room from a female physician, Dr. Dupre. Lillian was known to Dr. Dupre as Miss Lizzie Lugenbeel. Lillian had developed a Chloral addiction, it needs to be pointed out that Dr. Dupre did not treat or proscribe medications for Lillian. Within a few days, Lillian became agitated and violent. Lillian’s friends became concerned and sought out medical help for Lillian. The doctor recognized Lillian as the former wife of Senator Christiancy and informed Dr. Dupre. Lillian confessed to Dr. Dupre who she was and claimed to be a ‘hunted woman’ and was afraid Dr. Dupre would turn her out. Dr. Dupre reassured her that this would not happen and Lillian became very calm, stating that she would like to write here parents. Lillian’s parents were summoned to New York, in the mean time Lillian left Dr. Dupre’s home and went to the city, when she retuned the next night she was incoherent and upset. Dr. Dupre sedated her with Chloral and left the room, when she retuned it was discovered that Lillian had drunk the entire bottle. Death followed soon afterward. The autopsy of Lillian’s body listed the cause of death as Bright ’s disease of the kidneys. Her parents arrived too late to see their daughter’s last hours. (NYT 12/14/1883 and NYT 12/15/1883)
Senator Isaac P. Christiancy
As a fitting commentary on the divorce suit brought by Isaac P. Christiancy, his main consul Edward Chase Ingersoll was committed to the St. Elizabeth’s Asylum for the Insane in June of 1882. Edward was the son of George W. and Henrietta (née Crosby) Ingersoll, George was the Attorney General of the State of Maine at the time of his death in 1860. Little of Edward’s early life is known; he attended Bowdoin College in Maine and practiced law in Washington D.C with the firm of Cuppy & Ingersoll who severed as legal counsel to Isaac P. Christiancy. Edward began to show mental instability during the Christiancy divorce proceedings. Edward essentially accepted Lillian’s proposal to dismiss the adult charge and accept the desertion charge contrary to Isaac’s instructions. Soon afterwards Edward entered St. Elizabeth’s and he never came out. Edward Chase Ingersoll died at St. Elizabeth’s on December 24, 1883. (NYT 12/25/1883 and LRTW 1/12/1884)
 So who stole the jewelry? Well it was a conspiracy of local law enforcement and criminals. NYT 2/26/1883 and NYT 3/14/1883)
 Chloral was once used as sedative and hypnotic drug. The user who develops a habit becomes a physical, mental and moral wreck.
 It is interesting to note that in the Lansing Republican article Isaac kept referring to Judge Cuppy; in fact the justice who oversaw his case was Judge Hagner. Cuppy served on his defense team. It may have been a sign of Isaac’s mental deterioration.
© Lost Lansing 2014