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You gotta love research: “Hogan-Wade: The Mini-Series”

March 16, 2013
Randall Wade (in top hat) - Proprietor of Hogan-Wade Jewelers (Cleveland, Ohio 1867-1869)

Randall Wade (in top hat) – Proprietor of Hogan-Wade Jewelers (Cleveland, Ohio 1867-1869) Randall Wade Papers, MS 3934, Western Reserve Historical Society,
Cleveland, Ohio.

I spend most of my research time these days in the 19th century.  Today I had an fantastic day in the archives of Western Reserve Historical Society.   I set Randall Wade’s travel journals aside.  I now have less than 88 pages to go to complete the transcription of the three volumes.   Randall had just started a long and tediously Victorian description of the Houses of Parliament at Westminster and I just didn’t feel like going along for the ride today.   Instead I dove into the historical records from Cleveland’s early newspapers indexed in a wonderful multi-volume set (thanks WPA) called the Annals of Cleveland.

Today’s search was to gather more information on Hogan-Wade Jewelers.   Randall like any good newly-wealthy Gilded Age American sat on any number of boards but he had a passion for jewelry (Randall’s son Jeptha would become a major patron of Louis Comfort Tiffany).  And so in 1867 he formed a partnership with Sylvester Hogan, a jeweler, and the men opened a store at 297 Superior Street, Cleveland.  The little blurbs in the Annals tell a great story.  There’s something for everyone:  blood, robberies, a chase scene, a jail-break, name-calling, and a court case… on….

  • The partnership is no sooner formed and the premises let then the drama beings.
  • June 22 – While installing plate glass window in the jewelry store owned by Hogan and Wade on Superior  a workman, Mr. Beilstein,  cut his hand severely.  It was thought amputation would be necessary. The three plates of glass one of which was the cause of the accident were imported from France at a cost of $500 each.
  • June 25 – Mr. Beilstein, who injured his hand severely June 22 when a plate glass window at Messrs. Hogan and Wade’s new store broke, is recovering.  (color me relieved, poor Mr. Beilstein)
  • July 8 – The large plate glass in Hogan and Wade’s show window was replaced at a cost of between $400 and $500.Dec. 7 – A small show case in front of Hogan and Wade’s store was broken open Dec. 5 and about ten dollars worth of merchandise was taken.


  • Feb 8 – Stranger enters the jewelry store, asks to see a tray of diamond rings, grabs tray and runs for the door.  Hogan follows yelling thief, thief.  Plan is foiled when Mr. Warner (of Burt’s Jewelry–the competition in the next block) tackles thief.  Thief in a last ditch effort attempts to toss the diamonds in the tray to confederates waiting in a buggy.    He misses – 56 diamond rings are sent flying into the snow in the street. Luckily Police Officer Ostermeyer, who is passing by, arrives and takes the thief to the jail.  Most (I say most) of the rings are recovered.
  • Feb 10 – Joe Hodge is arraigned for attempting to steal a tray of diamond rings from Hogan and Wade. 
  • Feb. 13 – Two more men, one named Richard Buckley, are arraigned in conjunction with the robbery at Hogan and Wade.
  • Feb 27 –  Eagle-eyed Sherrif Niccola wandering around outside the city jail discovers a broken hand saw blade on the ground immediately beneath the barred windows.  Richard Buckley and other inmates are thus frustrated in their attempt to break out of jail.
  • Sometime during 1869 a fracas occurs which is not mentioned in the newspapers.   Randall Wade gets in trouble for damaging the good name Rosa A. Benton, a clerks at Burt’s Jewelry (remember the competition down the street).  He refers to her as a “strumpet” and “camp-follower.”  (Oh Randall).
  • Rosa Benton sues Randall Wade
  • Oct 24 – 1869  Hogan and Wade closes their door.  Everything is sold at cost.
  • March/April – Jeptha Homer Wade suggests that Randall should absent himself for the duration of the trial.
  • June 1 – Randall packs up his mother, wife, son and daughter and in June they leave on an extended 15 month tour of Europe.
  • December– In a letter to Randall, Jeptha updates his son on the trial, which has concluded with a verdict in favor of the plaintiff.  Rosa Benton has been awarded damages to the tune of $7000 by the jury.  Jeptha feels strongly that this is extortion rather than due process and informs his son that the attorneys have been directed to continue to pursue a new trial.   He vows to fight on even to the Supreme Court.
The annals are silent for the next few years.  Sylvester Hogan reopens as Hogan’s and continues to serve as a purveyor of fine jewelry and silver to the citizens of Cleveland.
There are, however, three more episodes to the mini-series that I wouldn’t want you to miss.

(Begin Flashback) The jewelry store of Hogan and Wade was robbed on Feb. 11, 1868, by two men.  In attempting a getaway, one of the men was tripped by a passerby and some of the diamonds he had stolen were scattered in the snow.   A young woman is seen scooping up three diamond rings.   She returns two of them.  (End Flashback)

Cut to Apr. 9, 1874

The young woman who kept back a diamond ring for herself in 1868 (one worth $160) has now married and lives on the Cleveland’s west side.  Hogan received a letter informing him of the guilty party.   She confesses and promises to make the loss good.  Later on the advice of her lawyer she refuses to make good.  On April 9 she is arrested on a charge of grand larceny.

(Begin Flashback)  Rosa Benton elated at the $7000 verdict in her favor is stunned to learn that, far from getting the money, she must wait to collect until the Wade’s attorneys are finished with legal maneuvers.  She waits.  And waits. (End Flashback)

Cut to Feb. 13, 1875

The suit at law between Rosa A. Benton and Randall P. Wade which was tried in the common pleas court of Cuyahoga county in 1870, came up in the same court on a a petition for a new trial.  At the time of the first trial Miss Benton was awarded $7000.  The case was taken to district court, where the verdict of the lower court was upheld.   It was then taken to the supreme court at Columbus, O., where it still remains awaiting decision on some important points.  The case, so far as a new trial is concerned, was dismissed, the petitioner to pay the costs.

So…this evening I still don’t know if Rosa A. Benton ever managed to collect from Randall and I don’t know what happened to her.  That’s a research project for another day.

I do know that 17 months perhaps it didn’t matter so much.


Here’s the entry from the journal of Randall’s 18 year old son, Jep Jr. for June 24, 1876.

June 24  Father died very quietly and peacefully of pneumonia at 4 oclock P.M. at home surrounded by friends and relatives.

Randall was 41.


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