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Died: c. February 8, 1943
Married: Baron Hugh Colin Gustave George Halkett
Baroness Sarah Maria Phelps Stokes Halkett was a daughter of Anson Phelps Stokes. She married Baron Halkett in 1890, and divorced in 1902. Sarah may have had tuberculosis; she built a large cottage, possibly as a cure cottage, at 16 View Street in 1903, and became a recluse.
There is no mention in the Stokes Records that the couple had had any children.
Sarah Stokes Halkett wrote three books of children's verses, Aunt Sadie's Rhymes, published in 1916 and Beyond the Mountain, published in 1917, and Elf King's Flowers, published in 1924.
Her papers are at Harvard University Library.
''Stokes Records'', March 28, 1883: My daughter Sarah was very ill with pneumonia [in New York City]. As soon as [she was] well enough, we moved to Staten Island, where all the children had measles.
Sarah's lungs were so seriously affected that we were advised to take her to the Adirondacks. We had to drive thirty-eight miles from Ausable. After leaving camp, she went with Helen and Mrs. Killick, the governess, to Saranac lake for the winter, and she entirely recovered.
We went early in July to Birch Island, where I had built a camp.
Stokes Records, 1884: In September Sarah and Helen went to Miss Porter's school at Farmington, Connecticut.
Stokes Records, February 20, 1886: Wife and daughters sailed for Bermuda for the benefit of Sarah's health.
May 1: Sailed per Servia with my wife and sons Graham and Anson, and daughters Sarah, Helen, Ethel, Carrie and Mildred. Mrs. Killick, our governess, went with us [to London].
June 15: Left Paris with Sarah, Helen, Graham and Anson for Cologne.
Stokes Records, 1888: Wife and others . . . stopped at Thomasville on the way north, as it was thought best for Sarah and Caroline to remain longer in a warm climate.
New York Times, February 12, 1890 Marriages
STOKES—HALKETT.—On Tuesday, Feb. 11, 1890, at The Church of the Heavenly Rest, by the Rev. Bishop Potter, assisted by the Rev. Dr. Morgan, Baron HALKETT of England and Miss SARAH PHELPS STOKES, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Anson Phelps Stokes of New York.
New York Times, June 17, 1902
BARON HALKETT DIVORCED.
His Wife, a Daughter of Anson Phelps Stokes, Secures a Decree in London.
LONDON. June 16.—Baroness Halkett, (formerly Miss Sarah Helen Olivia [sic] Stokes of New York,) obtained a divorce this afternoon on the ground of the cruelty and misconduct of her husband. She left Baron Halkett in 1898, in consequence of ill-treatment. The suit was undefended.
Baroness Halkett testified regarding her husband's cruelty. She said that on several occasions he kicked her.
Hugh Colin Gustave George Halkett, Baron Halkett, was born in 1861 and married Miss Stokes in 1890. His title is a Hanoverian one. It was originally granted to Sir Hugh Halkett, a General in the Hanoverian service, who distinguished himself at Waterloo.
Baroness Halkett is a daughter of Anson Phelps Stokes of this city.
Stokes Records, July 18, 1903: "Saw Sarah, who was ill at her cottage at Saranac Lake."
Pittsburgh Press, August 9, 1903
ASKS RETURN OF MILLIONS
Baron Halkett's Divorced Wife Wants the Marriage Portion Returned
MAY BRING SUIT FOR LOSS.
OUTCOME OF HER TROUBLES IS BEING WATCHED WITH INTEREST.
BARONESS HAS BACKERS.
Special Cable Co The Sunday Press.
(Copyright, 1903 by W. R. Hearst.)
London, August 8. — Society, especially that element in it which has married in America, is profoundly stirred by the announcement that Baroness Halkett, daughter of Anson Phelps Stokes, the New York multi-millionaire, who recently secured a divorce from her husband on the ground of extreme cruelty, intends to sue for the setting aside of the millions settled upon Baron Halkett at the time of the marriage.
Behind this announcement is a story that Baroness Halkett's suit will simply be the first of a series which in the end will include members of the nobility in nearly every country in Europe, who have married rich American girls, secured enormous dowries, and then by systematic abuse, amounting in many instances to downright brutality, have compelled them to seek relief in the divorce courts, while they held on to the American dollars without the encumbrance of an American wife. Usually they accomplish this result within a couple of years of marriage.
If Baroness Halkett is successful in her suit, and some of the best lawyers in the kingdom are sure she will be, all this will be stopped, and hereafter the European nobleman who goes seeking for an alliance with American dollars must make up his mind to keep the wife or give up the cash. Inasmuch as Baroness Halkett is enormously rich in her own right, and besides in this matter has the active sympathy and support of her multi-millionaire brothers of New York, and of other American noblewomen who are in the same position as herself, there will be no difficulty, so far as money is concerned, in fighting the case through the highest court and with the best legal talent at the British bar.
The success of Baroness Halkett would mean the beginning of similar suits, not only in England, but in France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Russia, which in turn, if successful, will necessitate the turning to card sharping, promoting and other genteel methods of making a living open to indigent noblemen.
When Hugh Colin Gustave George, Baron Halkett, was wedded to the rich and beautiful Sarah Phelps Stokes in New York in 1890, it was regarded as a true love match. Baron Halkett was handsome, moderately well-off, and was the head of an old Scotch family, which dated back to King David Bruce. His ancestors had played an important part in history. The first baron was the grand-father of the present holder of the title, and gained it by the capture of the French general, Cambronne, at the battle of Waterloo. They lived together for just eight years, when the high-spirited American girl, unable longer to stand the brutality of her noble spouse and his notorious infidelity to the marriage vows, left him, and later began a suit for divorce. It was not until last year that the case came to trial.
The evidence was so clear, both as to brutality and infidelity, that the divorce was swiftly granted. Now comes the announcement of the suit for the setting aside of the marriage settlement, and the return of the Stokes' dollars to their rightful owner.
One of Baroness Halkett's friends, who has had a similar experience, is Princess Hatzfeldt, adopted daughter of the late Collis P. Huntington, who was married to the German aristocrat, whose title she bears, in 1889, arm whose chief attribute, outside his title, seems to be an abnormal passion for gambling and an equal capacity for losing. She has not been so unfortunate in her venture as the Baroness Halkett, but is in keen sympathy with her present effort.
Other American peeresses hope the courts will decide in favor of the baroness, even those who have not yet been compelled to go to the divorce court for relief. They realize that, if it is impressed on their noble husbands that under the law the axiom is: "No wife, no dollars," their chances for fair treatment and a reasonable prospect of happiness will be much enhanced.
Stokes Records, September 10, 1903: Sarah returned to Baltimore.
Stokes Records, May 16 and July 4, 1906: Saw Sarah in Germany.
Stokes Records, January 1907: Sarah in her apartment in Baltimore.
Stokes Records, 1909: Olivia decided to spend the summer near us in the Adirondacks, and hired the house at Saranac Lake which had formerly belonged to Sarah, and which my sisters had occupied during a previous season.
Stokes Records, July 20, 1911: Arrived at camp. Visited by Sarah.
Stokes Records, 1913: Sarah at Palm Beach.