George Hayford was a lawyer, or said he was. He once claimed to be a judge; he once claimed to be the attorney-general of Oregon. He often claimed to have money in banks which he did not really have. He was indeed a crook, and a crooked lawyer is known as a shyster, a word that stems from the German “Scheisse,” which means, uh, a piece of excrement.
I present George Hayford to you with some trepidation. He is essentially unlikeable, though I do my best to like him at the very beginning. Why not? He was fairly young then and working pretty hard to leave a dead-end job and start up a legal career.
Could he be compared to Humbert Humbert from “Lolita,” whom writer Claire Fallon once called “simultaneously vile and fascinating”? Maybe, although unlike author Vladimir Nabokov I can’t share any of our antihero’s inner monologues with you, because I am not writing fiction but only passing along what supposedly honest (if often hoodwinked) journalists told their readers about Hayford more than a hundred years ago.
But Hayford WAS married twice, so I suppose at least two women found he had redeeming qualities. He had three daughters; maybe he was fond of them and they of him. And there was that teenager who clung to him during a goodly part of 1885, much to the distress of her mom and various unrelated busybodies throughout California.
I present this story to you just the way it unfolded. It is based on the reports of newspaper reporters who saw all this in person, or talked to people who did see it, or who collected it from police and court reports.
Good reading! Click to read all about it!
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About the Author
George Garrigues started out in journalism back in the 20th century and has worked as a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, a public relations specialist for the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, and a journalism professor at several universities. With his Read All About It! series, he now brings you real journalism about real people of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when automobiles were nudging horses off the road and women were struggling for the right to vote. Each book tells the story of a different person, through the actual news stories of yesteryear as they were written, moment by moment, edited and curated by George himself.