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Eugenie Bashford


Eugenie Bashford became one of the more famous chorines at the turn of the 20th century, parlaying stints in the Weber & Fields musical comedy troupe ("Twirly Whirly") and the "Florodora" sextette into a marriage in 1901 with Harold Tonkin, heir of the Tonkin oil drilling equipment fortune. Thereafter she became known in the public prints as the "actress bride." Her father-in-law, distressed at the elopement, denied her access to the family estate and disowned his son, in part due to the fact that his son was already married to another woman, whom he had neglected to divorce. In 1902 there was a divorce because of the family opposition, but Harold had second thoughts within months, and married Bashford again.

Bashford retired from the stage and lived in Oswego, New York, where her husband supported her as an architect. In 1905 a woman named Gloria Marshall died in a syracuse maternity hospital giving birth to a boy to be named Harold Tonkin; this indication of infidelity wrecked Eugenie's marriage. Both left Oswego. Shortly thereafter Bashford brought suit against a Cincinnati business man for $26,000, claiming he had broken her ribs dancing the "grizzly bear" at a New York ball. Sometime before 1912 she left the United States and settled in Panama.

NOTES: "Latest Wedding of a Nice Young Man," Syracuse Herald (Mar 3, 1912). David S. Shields/ALS