Thursday, November 17, 2016

Woman Clears Mystery of Marshall Field Jr. Death in November of 1905.


Mrs. Vera Scott
LOS ANGELES, November 22, 1913 — The mystery surrounding the death of Marshall Field, Jr., heir to $100,000,000 ($3 Billion today), in Chicago on November 27, 1905, was cleared up today if the confession made by Mrs. Vera Scott, wife of Lloyd D. Scott, a Kansas City musician, can be believed. For eight years, Field's death has been unexplained. He was shot, but that is all the public knows.

Besides killing Field, Mrs. Scott confessed that she had also killed her second husband, Rees Pressor, of Cleveland, Ohio, because he tormented her after she had secured a divorce from him. This crime, she says, occurred at Libby, Montana, and the jury acquitted her within six minutes. Mrs. Scott is in the city jail on a charge of vagrancy. She was arrested yesterday and accused of working the 'badger game' [1] on wealthy Pasadena and Los Angeles men. 


"I cleaned up $60,000 ($1,728,000 today) in just eight months off those guys," she told the police, and she did not use any blackmailing methods. They are just easy, and all men are, for that matter."

Known on the stage as Viola Gilmore, she says she was thrown into contact with many rich men. "I entered my stage career in New York," she said today. "The first man I 'got' was poor Louis Clarkson. Lou was all right and a good spender, so I married him. He was a Wall Street broker, and I surely liked how he spent his money."

"After Clarkson came Rees Prosser. He was the son of Thomas Prosser of Cleveland, a coal king of that county, worth many millions. We got along well until he became a savage. Besides, I wanted liberties. So I took them. I went to Chicago.

Marshall Field Jr.
"One day, while I was sitting in the Annex Grill, I met Marshall Field Jr. Well, Marshall Field Jr took a fancy to me. I told him I was married, had a baby, and was going under Vera Leroy's name. That's the mysterious and beautiful Vera, the French girl mentioned later about his death.

He may have a real party for me after I had been out with him half a dozen times. The party arrived, and I drank with him until I was ready for anything. "At last," he said, "Now we will go to the club and have a real-time." 

The next thing the cab took us to a magnificent place on Dearborn Street that he said was the Everleigh Club. Field Jr. seemed to be known. The woman in charge gave him a private room. We were in the room with a girl named Alice, just the three of us. I didn't like Field's conduct, so I jumped up and grabbed his revolver."

"I aimed the gun at Field and told him to stand aside. The trigger must have been finely set, for it pulled before I intended. Marshall Field fell, mortally hurt. Alice, Field, and I were the only ones in the room.

Field said to me, 'Don't get excited. I won't tell. Call a cab quickly, get me out of this, and don't say anything. I fainted. Things were reeling, so I could not stand, and the next I knew, I was going away in a cab. Field Jr. was in another cab. he went to his home, and I went to a small family hotel on the North Side.
The Marshall Field, Jr. Mansion at 1919 South Prairie Avenue, Chicago.
The next day, Marshall Field, the father, came to me. He told me to get out of the city and go to New York, and he gave me $10,000 ($288,100 today) to use. I did not leave for several days. Each day, I went to another hotel at the request of the Field Representatives.

Then I went to New York. I stayed there until more money could come from the Field agent and went West, against their wishes. They insisted that I go abroad.

I got about $26,000 ($775,000 today) out of the Fields for leaving the country."

It is still a mystery as to who shot Marshall Field Jr. So... who fired the shot? There are three theories. The one above - and these two:

The second theory ─ The official inquest concluded that Field had accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun. Practically everyone saw this as an unlikely story from the start, which was reported to the media and published in all the newspapers.

A third theory ─ and possibly the most likely ─ is that, regardless of whether Field was at the Everleigh Club that evening, he was severely depressed and committed suicide in his bedroom. On the other hand, no suicide note was ever discovered, although it is possible that a letter may have been suppressed by his powerful family to avoid embarrassment.


From the Evening Gazette, Burlington, Iowa, Thursday, November 23, 1905.
CHICAGO, Nov. 23  Found Lying on Couch. They found Mr. Field lying on a couch fully dressed and pressing his hands to his left side. The pistol was lying on the rug at the injured man’s feet. The police were not informed of the shooting, but a telephone message to Mr. Dibblee (Marshall Field Jr. Uncle) brought him [Dibblee] to the Field residence within a few minutes.
Dr. R. H. Harvey, 2190 Calumet Avenue, was the first physician summoned. Dr. Arthur D. Bevan, 2917 Michigan Avenue, was sent for and he accompanied the patient to Mercy Hospital, where he was placed in a private room on the second floor of the west wing.
The operation was performed at 6:30 o'clock, it was then discovered that the bullet has perforated the liver, but that it had missed the Intestines by a narrow margin. The bullet was removed from the right side, where it had lodged a short distance beneath the skin.
Dr. Bevan, the operating surgeon, said after the operation: "We operated upon Mr. Field at the hospital at 6:30. We found the hemorrhage and removed the bullet. The wound is a very serious one, but I think he has some chance of recovery." "Do you mean, doctor," was asked, "that his chances of recovery are slight?" "I prefer to express myself in this way: He has some chance of recovery."

From the New York Times, New York, November of 1905.

Marshall Field Jr., Better. - Chicago Hospital Physicians, However, Fear He May Not Recover.
CHICAGO, Nov. 25  Gangrene is feared in the case of Marshall Field, Jr., suffering from wounds at Mercy Hospital. Dr. Arthur Dean Bevan admitted today that a fatal issue was to be apprehended as a result of paralysis of the bowels, the extent of which, however, has not yet been determined. The following official bulletin issued tonight : "The general condition of Mr. Field is improved. At present he is suffering from no pain. His temperature is 98.6°; pulse, 79; respiration, 16. His condition is improved slightly compared with last night.
CHICAGO, Nov. 27  Marshall Field, Jr., died at 5 o’clock tonight at Mercy Hospital. Mr. Field was accidentally shot on the afternoon of Wednesday Nov. 22 while examining a new revolver which he had purchased, when it discharged. At 9 o'clock this morning a decided change for the worst took place and Mr. Field grew rapidly weaker until his death. 
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

[1] The 'badger game' is an extortion scheme or confidence trick in which the victim is tricked into a compromising position to make them vulnerable to blackmail.


  1. Well, all very interesting. I ordered a book called "Give the Lady What she Wants" which is the story of Marshall Field as I like to look at old pictures and learn more about him. He was connected with the beautiful Merchandise Mart Building also. I'll have follow up on his son, etc.

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  3. Interesting story, and we still don't really know what happened. I read that he was shot in the Everleigh Club in "Sex in the Second City."


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