Harbaugh, Writer of Terror Tales, Sells Relics of Past to Pay Way in Poorhouse
CASSTOWN, Ohio, July 8 (Associated Press). - Before a small collection of worldly goods stood a village auctioneer, importuning a handful of country people to part with their dollars - thus starting the last chapter in the life of Thomas C. Harbaugh, as fantastic an ending, probably, as he ever dreamed of when he was penning vivid fiction three-score years ago.
Not very valuable looking were these real possessions of Harbaugh, and they brought but $1,000; but they were rich in names and associations.
In an autograph book, which sold for $60, was a letter from Mark Twain to Governor Frank Fuller of New York, dated in 1870 at Hartford, Conn., which said:
"My dear Fuller: Does the whisky mill need a new man who knows how to boss men? I know the right man, in case a boss should be wanted - diligent, honest and plucky, never drinks, but can be taught." The letter was signed "Mark."
Harbaugh, now nearing his eightieth birthday, whose name was on the lips of readers of the American "Penny Dreadfuls" was on his way to Miami County Infirmary today, the poorhouse as most people call it, with the $1,000, which he expects will keep him there as a paying inmate for the rest of his life.
In the days of Beadle's Dime Weekly, The Saturday Night and such publications, the name of Thomas C. Harbaugh was seen many issues over a story of blood-curdling adventure, evolved from a prolific mind in somnolent and peaceful Casstown. His name and that of Nick Carter often were linked together as writers of a kind.
Volumes of sensational writing were turned out by Harbaugh and at one time he was considered wealthy from the returns of his endeavors. There are many stories in Casstown of how he scattered the money.
The autograph book contained scores of letters from eminent Americans, from Abraham Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt. His correspondents also included many Union and Confederate Generals who survived the Civil War, as well as foreign notables who acknowledged over their signatures the pleasure they had found either in his thrilling stories or the sentimental poetry that he wrote in reams.
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