LLR Books

James Fair

 Senator James Fair of Nevada arrived in Washington as a newly elected member of the Senate in 1880 and with him began the long tradition of this cities big name, big dollar scandals.  A humorless, egotistical man, Fair was one of the four Irishmen to stick it rich in the mines of Nevada in March of 1873.   Fair and his Partners, by the way, were financed in their efforts to strike Gold by a Northern Virginia Irishmen named James Walker who called their new venture The Virginia Mining Company.    For some reason Walker later sold his share of the company to the others for the paltry sum of $100,000.00 dollars and returned home to Virginia. The mine that the Virginia company hit would eventually deliver in access of 190,000,000.00 dollars in Gold, Silver and other precious metals.   Armed with his new fortune Fair and his wife, and their three daughters crashed the gates of polite east coast society in the early 1880's. 
 A short time later, at his wife's behest for a permanent social position Fair ran for, and won the Senate seat from Nevada.  But Fair quickly tired of the slow pace of the Senate and busied himself with the cities Nightlife. In fact he busied himself enough with it that three years after his arrival to Washington, his wife filed for divorce on the then almost unheard of and scandalous grounds of Habitual Adultery giving Fair the odd distinction of being first member of Congress to be charged on those grounds.  
The jury agreed with Mrs Fair and awarded her a settlement of  five million dollars, which was, for years, the largest divorce settlement in the history of the United States.  Even so, the award was only a mere fraction of Fairs estate which included forty million dollars in cash, two railroads, a bank, and several thousand rentable properties across the country that netted him $250,000.00 a month.   When he died in 1894 leaving no less then 12 Women claiming to have been his lawfully wedded wife.  "The Blarney of his race" wrote the San Francisco Chronicle "had not been omitted from his makeup, when it suited his purpose, his compliments could charm a robin off a fence." 
 Fairs presence in Washington as an outrageously rich and lucky Irishmen was soon filled by Thomas F. Walsh who had also struck it rich in the now famous Motherlode in Colorado in 1896.   Walsh moved to Washington in 1903 and built his outrageous Mansion at 2020 Massachusetts Avenue N.W,  with its 60 rooms for the then on heard of price of $835,000.00 dollars, or roughly 80 million times the average Washingtonians salary at that time. The mansion now houses the Indonesian Embassy. Walsh's daughter, Evelyn, married Washington Post owner Edward Beale Mclean and moved to his no less conspicuous estate called McLean gardens which covered most of upper Wisconsin Avenue and included a private zoo.