The mystery man--Paul Bray, the Washington correspondent.
I have been trying to establish just who worked for the paper. I know that this is not relevant to my project but I am interested in the size and scope of Chiles' business in 1899. I know that upon his death he was employing upwards of 20 people. I wen to the courthouse and had his probate pulled and made a copy--it was over a 100 pages, that is a crazy long probate, but more on that later.
There are frequent, usually front page articles about what is happening in D.C. (D. C. had a very prominent black community at the turn of the century--great book on it, The Original Black Elite--surprisingly the Barnes and Noble in Topeka has it and I stumbled upon it a year or so ago befre I started this project--kismet. ).I have wondered about who the "Washington Correspondent" was or if there really was one. Newspapers at this time had a habit of taking text from other papers and running it as their own---from what I can tell Chiles is good about giving credit to where it came from, but many publisher/editors were not.
Anyhow, today there is a short piece in the society pages "Paul Bray, formerly of Kansas, will graduate from the department of law at Howard University, in June. By-the-way, Paul had his cut in the Washington paper a few weeks ago. He looks very much like a priest, with his "lamb chop" whiskers." Aha! Chiles had quite a web of connections so I don't know if Paul was from Topeka or even this area, Washburn law at that time admitted both blacks and women, so I kind of doubt it but I will continue to follow up on Paul. He was a good writer. I have contacted the Howard Law School alumni association to see if they have any record of him but I think it will be doubtful, Howard Law really came together about 20 years later under the direction of Charles Hamilton Houston, it would have been a small organization at this time.
Sidebar: If you ever want to get a copy of someone's probate you go to the 3rd floor of the Shawnee County Courthouse, the staff there are very helpful although there are usually lines. It is now 50 cents/page for copies. This is ridiculous! especially, considering like everywhere else I go the office seems to be unstaffed, for 50cents/page I would like top notch service and facilities, so if anyone of influence is reading this hire more people and work on your customer service. Chiles' probate cost me $80, one of the unseen costs of research.
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