This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The only member of Congress ever to be killed by his mistress was Sen. Arthur Brown of Utah.
He'd served as one of Utah's first two U.S. senators following statehood in 1896, but in his capacity as an attorney he was in Washington, D.C., 10 years later to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Then fate, in the form of a slight, pretty, 38-year-old brunette, showed up at his hotel room door.
Brown was born in Michigan in 1843, earned a law degree there in 1864 and married a few years later. Little is known of the first Mrs. Brown except that she tried to shoot the soon-to-be second Mrs. Brown upon finding her in Brown's law office late one night.
The second Mrs. Brown, Isabel Cameron, the daughter of a Michigan state senator, followed Brown to Utah after the aforementioned unpleasantness.
(It's necessary to use the first names of the women here for simplicity's sake, rather than to use "second ex-Mrs. Brown, future Mrs. Brown, one-time Mrs. Brown, assumed name of Mrs. Brown." It gets complicated.)
Brown came to Utah in 1876 to escape scandal and create a new life for himself. He succeeded. Respectably married to Isabel with a son and a successful law practice, Brown entered Republican politics and was selected as a U.S. senator.
(Before the 17th Amendment mandated popular election, senators were chosen by state senates a practice to which Sen. Mike Lee wants to return.)
Brown's elevation came just before he was introduced to Anne Bradley at the Republican National Convention in St. Louis. She was married, but civic-minded activities brought her into frequent contact with the senator.
By 1898, Anne and her husband, Clarence Bradley, were living apart.
In 1902, Brown and Bradley were living in the same Salt Lake City hotel. Isabel, not one to be scorned one has to credit Brown for getting involved with women of spirit hired a private detective and had the philandering husband and mistress jailed for adultery. Then again. And again.
Isabel, who lived in the Browns' home, refused a settlement. She said she had a trip to Britain in mind and wanted to be presented to the Queen, an honor denied divorced women. Actually, there was white-hot rage behind her excuse.
At the fourth arrest, Brown, on full pubic display, erupted.
"Robberies, holdups, burglaries every night but nothing done," he railed at the police. "But when you want a poor little woman [Anne], you send down the whole force. Cowards! Cowards! Cowards all!"
Then he turned his venom on 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?"
Nonplussed, the judge answered, "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?"
We want to believe that love conquers all that Brown and Anne have a life together with their two children (along with her previous two by Clarence, and his three by wives one and two). We even want Isabel to have her appointment with the Queen.
As in real life, it's best to be ready for disappointment, and Brown disappoints in a big way. Isabel attempts to strangle Anne. Brown reconciles with Isabel, while leading Anne on with promises of marriage.
Besides the two children by him, Anne suffers many miscarriages, and possibly has several abortions, the last allegedly performed by Brown himself. She is hospitalized with a badly lacerated cervix.
Brown repudiates her and strikes their children from his will.
Isabel dies of cancer in 1905, giving Anne hope that Brown will finally make her an honest woman. Brown waffles. She follows him to Washington, D.C., where she finds letters in Brown's hotel room speaking of marriage but not to her.
Brown and Annie Adams Kiskadden, mother of the famed Utah actress Maude Adams, have a thing going on.
One shouldn't, but can't help, cheer Anne as she finally pulls a gun and fatally shoots Brown, a sentiment shared by the jury that acquits her.
In a 1995 Salt Lake Tribune history column, Hal Schindler best summed up Brown's character: "Those who knew him said he was born with keen intellect, but that he had no sense of moral obligation. And he held grudges ... and was a good hater."
Anne returns to Salt Lake and opens an antiques business, which she runs until her death in 1950 at the age of 77.
For a fuller telling of this drama, access stories by Linda Thatcher and Hal Schindler at Utah History to Go at http://1.usa.gov/znkVJf. A contemporary take can also be found in The New York Times, Dec. 8, 1906.
Pat Bagley is the editorial cartoonist for The Salt Lake Tribune. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.