Arthur Brown was the junior senator from the new State of Utah when Congress convened in 1896–a 53-year-old lawyer who found his place in Utah’s history not so much for his success in politics, but for his philandering private life. Those who knew him said he was born with keen intellect, but that he had no sense of moral obligation. And he held grudges. In fact, The Salt Lake Tribune commented that Brown was a “good hater.” The senator was something of a Lothario, and that would be his downfall. Arthur Brown is the only member of Congress to have been killed by a jealous mistress. His story is one of shame, frustration, scandal and tragedy.
Brown was a native of Schoolcraft, Michigan. Born in 1843, he earned a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1864. He practiced law in Kalamazoo and married in the late 1860s. Little is known of that union, other than she was known as Mrs. L. C. Brown and bore him a daughter, Alice. In time he took an interest in Isabel Cameron, the daughter of a member of the Michigan Senate. It was said then that he set Isabel up in a fine home with horses and carriage. He had deserted his family.
Finally a crisis built in Michigan. Hundreds of his friends repudiated him, and his wife separated from him, retaining custody of their daughter. It was even reported that his wife tried to shoot Isabel after finding her in Brown’s office one night. According to the Deseret News, “The end of it was that Brown came west in 1876, an outcast from his own community–Isabel Cameron followed.” Brown took up residence in Salt Lake City, apparently hoping to win an appointment as U.S. district attorney for Utah, but it failed to materialize. Meanwhile, his wife secured a divorce, thus freeing him to marry Isabel. They would become parents of a son, Max.
Brown formed a law partnership in 1894 and prospered, the apex of his career coming with his election by the Legislature to become one of Utah’s two freshman senators (the other was Frank J. Cannon). Brown’s term ended in March 1897; Cannon’s in 1899. If nothing else, the aspiring politician was restless. In the summer of 1896, he attended the Republican National Convention in St. Louis, where he was introduced to Anne Maddison Bradley, attending as secretary of the Republican State Committee.
Bradley subsequently took an active interest in the senator’s career–so active that frequent visits to his office brought about a split between Anne and her husband, Clarence A. Bradley. The couple, parents of two children, Matthew and Martha Clare, stopped living together in 1898. The following year, Anne Bradley would testify, she began an affair with the ex-senator. On February 7, 1900, she gave birth to a son she claimed to be Brown’s. The boy was christened Arthur Brown Bradley.
This state of affairs devastated Clarence Bradley, who took to the bottle and thereafter was frequently arrested for drunkenness. He left for Nevada to start fresh, and it was while he was working for the Nevada, California & Oregon Railroad that he began gambling in Reno casinos and losing. A Deseret News story said in order to pay his “debts of honor” he embezzled from the railroad; he was arrested, convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. He served eighteen months, was released for good behavior and dropped from sight.
In 1902, ex-Senator Brown and Anne Bradley lived for a time in Grand Junction, Colorado, where, she said, he assured her he was taking steps to obtain a divorce. Brown, separated from his wife, had taken rooms at the Independence European Hotel in Salt Lake City. Isabel was living in the family home on South Temple, and Anne? She also was staying at the Independence. And that infuriated Isabel.
She hired a private detective to follow the ex-senator and Anne Bradley. On the basis of the detective’s report, Isabel filed a complaint charging the two with adultery. Brown posted $500 bail bond for each and they were released. Isabel had in her possession nearly 300 letters written to her husband by Anne Bradley, and the aggrieved wife threatened to make them public unless the ex-senator stopped fooling around. She refused to give him a divorce, she told reporters, because she planned a trip to London the following year and intended to be presented at court, and divorced women are restricted. She blamed Bradley’s “hypnotic influence” over her husband for all the trouble.
“Cowards! Cowards! Cowards All!” Four months later Isabel swore out another complaint against Bradley, charging adultery. When the warrant was served, the deputy found Brown and Bradley together. At police court, the ex-senator made a scene that resulted in headlines rivaling any 1990 tabloid. “Arthur Brown On the Rampage” screamed the Deseret News of January 30, 1903.”Creates a Scene at the Police Station Today Over Fourth Arrest of Mrs. Bradley–Says He Was Knocked Down By an Officer and Declaims Vehemently Against the Force Which He Says is an Aggregation of Cowards.” The paper went on to describe how the “ex-senator” railed at the law: “gritting his teeth so the sound could be heard for yards away, he yelled, gasped and ranted.”
“Robberies, holdups, burglaries every night–but nothing done,” he yelled. “But when you want a poor little woman, you send down the whole force. Cowards! Cowards! Cowards all!” he shrieked. Catching his breath, the irate man turned his attention to Police Court Judge Christopher B. Diehl. “They dragged her through the streets, one on each side of her. Armed to the teeth. Cowards! Cowards! Cowards! Then you had to give it to the —- reporters! How did they get it? How did they get it?” he yelled.
“How do you expect to keep such things out of the papers when you yell so you can be heard for two blocks and the hall full of reporters?” responded the judge. Bradley posted bond and was released. A few days later, a similar charge was filed against her paramour. This time a temporarily reformed Brown promised he would stop seeing Bradley and hired a lawyer, Soren X. Christensen, to keep him away from her. The Browns even offered Bradley a $5,000 home in any part of the city and $100 a month to stay away from the ex-senator. She turned down the offer, saying “she wanted nothing but the senator.”
During the dozen years of his law partnership, Arthur Brown had done well, amassing considerable wealth by the standards of the day. He owned a fine home on east South Temple, a large ranch in Idaho, a number of smaller farms and a large number of mining claims. His personal life overcame the advantages of his brilliant public record, the Deseret News remarked, to such an extent that his only political office was that of a one-term junior senator.
Public Love Letters: Still, Brown, now sixty, could not resist the 30-year-old to whom he had written love letters that would soon find their way into newspapers: “I will take you here or to Idaho. I will wrap my arms around you and never, never let anyone come between. Shall we not indeed be the lovers the world has proclaimed us? My love, the mother of my Arthur. Be mine–be true–I loved when I wrote this p.m.–but tonight I am full of love. I only think of your devotion, your sweetness, your beauty, your wit, your love, yourself. I love–I love you. I am yours.” [signed] Arthur Brown.
Brown soon gave his watchdog the slip and met Bradley in Pocatello, but Isabel got wind of the tryst and was hot on their trail. She confronted the pair in Room 11 of the Pacific Hotel and vented her pent-up rage at the woman she blamed for destroying her marriage. Christensen, the lawyer, who accompanied Isabel to Pocatello, was a witness to the scene. “How do you do, Mrs. Bradley? I have wanted to talk to you,” Isabel said. Mrs. Bradley cowed to the wall, Isabel walked up, grabbed her by the throat and threw her down. When Isabel grabbed her again, Christensen intervened. “Let me alone,” Isabel said, “I will kill her.”
At that, Anne Bradley called out, “Arthur, they are killing your Dolly–open the door!” There was no response.
Isabel rapped on the door, and said, “Arthur, open the door or I will mash it in.” The door opened and the two women entered.
A moment passed, and Brown called to Christensen, “Come in, I don’t want to be left alone here with them.” During this dramatic confrontation, Christensen said Brown denied being the father of his son, Max, by his wife, but admitted being the father of Bradley’s son, Arthur. For several hours, all three traded insults and recriminations. After the Pocatello incident, Brown gave Bradley a revolver as protection against Isabel.
Christensen said he left with the impression that an agreement had been reached for a settlement with Isabel, so that Brown and Bradley could marry. Bradley remained at Brown’s ranch and returned a month or so later–three months pregnant–to discover the Browns had reconciled.
Do the Right Thing: To avoid going to prison, the ex-senator now denied fathering Arthur Brown Bradley. And that’s when Anne Bradley finally drew the line. Unless he publicly acknowledged their son and “did the right thing” by her, Anne Bradley threatened to plead guilty to the adultery charges. Before the trial, however, Brown begged Bradley not to testify against him, she said. He agreed to get a divorce within a year and marry her.
Brown still refused to recognize the child as his, and Bradley made good her threat, entering guilty pleas to two counts of adultery. When his case came up, Brown moved to quash the charges on the grounds that Isabel, as his wife, could not be a witness against him. The court agreed, and the headlines the next day read: “Arthur Brown Goes Scot Free.”
The following month, November 24, 1903, Mrs. Bradley gave birth to another son, Martin Montgomery Brown Bradley. On August 22, 1905, Isabel Cameron Brown died of cancer in Salt Lake City. The night after Isabel’s death, Bradley said, Brown called her and told her to divorce her ex-convict husband, and “we will make this matter right.” But even then, Brown hedged, cautioning Bradley, “We must have more regard for public opinion.” In the fall of 1906, now thirty-three, divorced, with four children and no income, Anne Bradley shed what remained of her pride. “I simply broke down and begged him to marry me.”
Promises, Promises: She now was once more pregnant, but lost the child a few weeks before Brown left for Washington to plead a mining case before the Supreme Court. Bradley had now concluded he would never keep his promises. She had asked for $2,000 to allow her to start a small business in a distant community, away from the notoriety and scandal that had dogged her for years. But Brown refused her the money. He had grown increasingly cool toward her since that day in court, and now dismissed his lover with a one-way train ticket to Los Angeles.
She exchanged the ticket for one to Washington, followed Brown to the Raleigh Hotel and registered as “Mrs. A. Brown.” In his room she found letters to Brown from Annie Adams Kiskadden, mother of Utah’s famed actress, Maude Adams. The letters indicated Brown and Kiskadden were soon to be married. Later she heard the ex-senator’s footsteps in the corridor and went to his room. There was a brief conversation followed by a gunshot.
The hotel manager found Brown, fully dressed, on the floor in the center of the room. Anne Bradley was standing near the dresser. The manager bent over and asked Brown what was wrong. “She shot me,” he said. A bullet had struck him in the abdomen and lodged in his pelvis. The manager, waiting the arrival of police and an ambulance, glanced around the room and found a .32 caliber revolver on a bureau.
Arthur Brown lingered for six days and died of complications from the shooting. Anne Bradley was taken to jail on murder charges. A medical examination showed she had suffered several miscarriages and three abortions–one allegedly performed a few weeks earlier by Brown himself. She subsequently was hospitalized for a “badly lacerated cervix.” She entered a plea of innocent by reason of temporary insanity and her trial in November 1907 ended after a month, with the jury voting acquittal.
She returned to Salt Lake City and worked at several jobs during the years. She died November 11, 1950, of a heart ailment at the age of seventy-seven. Ex-Senator Brown, the man The Tribune felt was a “good hater,” left a will denying Anne Bradley and denying her two offspring, Arthur Brown Bradley and Martin Montgomery Brown Bradley. “I expressly provide that neither or any of them shall receive anything from my estate.” All of Brown’s worldly goods were left to his daughter Alice and his son Max. The ex-senator was buried in Utah. Kiskadden went to New York City and out of the picture.
Tragedy still stalked the Bradleys. In March 1915, while Anne was on a trip to Nevada, Matthew, her son by Clarence Bradley, died from stab wounds inflicted by Arthur Brown Bradley in a squabble over who would cook and who would wash the dishes. It was a sorry legacy for the first senator from the State of Utah.