Anna M. Hughes Marcotte
January 18, 1896
Anna M. Hughes Marcotte
The Chief Traits of this Remarkable Woman Are Described
St Augustine Fla
The Herald, this afternoon, prints the following:
Of all the members of the National Editorial association, none is more thoroughly identified with the success of the present meeting than the subject of this sketch and, it may be added, no one is more frequently pointed out as an example of industry, perseverance and determination of character, all of which characteristics are combined in this remarkable woman -- for she is admittedly such in the judgment of all who have ever had the good fortune to meet her.
Ms. Marcotte was born in Williamsport Pa. in 1843, and is consequently in her 53d year. She married Lieut. Amos B. Rhodes, of the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, and accompanied his regiment at the battle of Antietam, and at the siege of Nashville. She received a special permit from General Morgan, C. S. A., after the battle of Shelbyville, to go on the field to rescue the dead body of her husband, who was slain there. She afterwards married Capt. Henry Marcotte, U. S. A., and served with him in Dakota prior to 1873, frequently having to defend herself against attacks of Sioux Indians at Forts Rice and Lincoln, and in these troubled and dangerous times, she proved that she could handle a rifle with as much skill and courage as any soldier possessed. Mrs. Marcotte was the first white woman who ever crossed the plains from Fort Lincoln to where the city of Fargo now stands. Captain Marcotte was ordered to make a trail for the Northern Pacific railway engineer in January, 1873 and this remarkable journey of 235 miles was accomplished in sleighs, camping at night in whatever favored spot fortune might provide. To give some idea of the hardships encountered in that journey, especially by a woman, it is only necessary to state that the mercury during the whole trip, ranged from 28 degrees to 48 degrees below zero; certainly a most wonderful achievement by a woman, under such adverse circumstances, sufficient to test the endurance and courage of the strongest man.
In 1891, Mrs. Marcotte became the editor of the St. Augustine News, a society journal, but only remained one season with that publication. In 1892 appeared the first number of the Tatler, which at once leaped into popularity, and she has since continued its publication; increasing in popular esteem each year, and with her individuality stamped on every page of its interesting contents Mrs. Marcotte is a leader in all charitable matters in St. Augustine, and giving freely of her own means in aid of any worthy cause. She is a prominent member of the General Hospital association, and to her is entitled a great amount of the credit which has sustained that noble institution --- Alicia hospital. An indomitable worker, fatigue seems to be unknown to her and when not engaged in her own business affairs, she is constantly on the alert doing good here and there with willing heart and strong hand. The chief traits of this remarkable woman may be summed up as force of character, strong will, sound common sense, quickness of perception, and withal, a kindliness of manner and disposition, in all of which she has few equals and no superior among her sex.
Note: Mrs. Marcotte was president of the Ladies General Hospital Association in 1892.
Capt. Henry Marcotte died January 21, 1923 and Anna Marcotte stayed in St. Augustine only two years after his death. The St. Augustine Record reported her departure in the May 8, 1925, edition:
Mrs. Marcotte Goes
To New York City
To Make Her Home
Mrs. Anna M. Marcotte, widow of the late Captain Marcotte, who has made St. Augustine her home for thirty-nine years, since September, 1886, and has been associated so closely during that time with matters of civic interest, left this morning for New York City, where she will make her home with her daughter, Mrs. Susan E. Marcotte Heaphy, at No. 35 East 30th Street.
Mrs. Marcotte has left in St. Augustine a large number of devoted friends who regret her departure sincerely. Mrs. Marcotte has been secretary of the Humane Society of this city for the past eighteen years, having also served the society in that capacity several times before. She is a member of the Republican National Committee, from Florida, and organized the existing Republican Woman's Club. Mrs. Marcotte also organized the first Republican Woman's Club in St. Augustine, as far back as 1896, when McKinley was candidate for president. Although this was long before the women had the vote, the members of this club met regularly to study the history of the country. Mrs. J. H. Slater and Mrs. Henry Davis are the only remaining members of this club in St. Augustine.
Mrs. Marcotte was the vice-president and one of the organizers of a civic club organized in 1903, which had both men and women enrolled in its membership. This club was organized to take a stand for all matters of improvement in St. Augustine. One of the accomplishments of this club, which St. Augustine still enjoys, was the planting of grass, palms, and flowers in the plaza, which was greatly beautified through its efforts.
A great deal of the time Mrs. Marcotte resided in St. Augustine she devoted herself to journalism. She published "The Tatler" for seventeen years, from 1891 to 1908, and the St. Augustine News for one year. She was also correspondent for the New York Tribune for eighteen years, and the Herald for fifteen years, besides other newspapers. Mrs. Marcotte gave up newspaper work five years ago to devote herself more fully to her other calls. As a citizen of St. Augustine, she has contributed to its welfare in many ways, and her accomplishments during her active life in St. Augustine will be remembered and appreciated while the best wishes of her friends and fellow citizens will follow her to her new home.
We learn more about Anna Marcotte from the following article in the October 21, 1934, issue of the St. Augustine Record:
Mrs. Marcotte 92 Tomorrow
Resident Here During Many Years; Edited "Tatler"
Because Mrs. Anna M. Marcotte was of the old regime in St. Augustine, and was editor of the Tatler, a magazine of society, which she had published in the plant of the Record Company, in the days when D. E. Thompson was manager, recent news of Mrs. Marcotte is of interest to carry in the 40th Anniversary Edition of the Record.
Mrs. Marcotte is in New York with relatives, and will be 92 years old on Monday, October 22nd. According to a message received she is still keenly interested in the work of Maria Jefferson Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, and continues her membership here. She enjoyed looking over the last yearly report, and has news of the local D.A.R. chapter that appears in the Record read to her. She still enjoys playing bridge, but owing to failing eyes can only read headlines in newspapers, but is interested in having news read to her, and keeping up with everything that is going on. Her health is fine for her years...
The following was found in Vol. III of the Arthur Marsh scrapbooks. Unfortunately, there is no date or source for the information, but it apparently came from a printed document:
"...In the 1890s, when hotel life in St. Augustine was at its height, Mrs. Anna M. Marcotte edited a newspaper published under the titles "St. Augustine News" and the "Tatler," which devoted its columns to describing the charms of the city and the activities of the well-heeled winter visitors. Published only during the winter season, it sold for 10 cents a copy of $1 for the year. Mrs. Marcotte also maintained a register of winter visitors in her office in the Alcazar, much appreciated by the northerners who could thus locate their friends staying in town.
"She was also inclined to lecture her readers in editorials on various subjects. On one occasion, she chided them for not recognizing what a benefactor the town had in Henry M. Flagler, who, she felt, had developed St. Augustine into a resort which equalled any in the world. Mrs. Marcotte admonished: "Don't leave the expression of your appreciation to the next generation."
"Another time she was concerned about the way in which Washington's Birthday had passed, practically unnoticed, in the Oldest City. It was no longer "good form" she concluded to be patriotic and opined that, in addition to the "Father of His County," most other fathers were being treated like "back numbers." It was this spirit, she felt, which was holding up the completion of Grant's Tomb on Riverside Drive in New York and at the basis of the paralysis over building a national monument to Abraham Lincoln. However, she pointed out, people over in Jacksonville had been only too eager to wait for hours for a glimpse of John L. Sullivan, the champion pugilist.
"Mrs. Marcotte did not devote her paper exclusively to St. Augustine, but carried advertisements for hotels all over the U.S.A., as well as articles dealing with life in other resort areas. One issue carried a letter from a lady who was enjoying a cruise in the waters of south Florida, where her yacht had been moored for some time in Biscayne Bay. She found it a delightful spot, but rather far from any developed community.
"Mrs. Marcotte also saw to it that the local merchants who advertised in her newspaper got plenty of recognition. She devoted considerable space to El Unico in the Cordova Building, then operated by Ward G. Foster of "Ask Mr. Foster" fame. Foster manned his fine store principally with local help. Miss Blanche Usina was in charge of the cut glass and other bric-a-brac sold in the Alcazar Annex, while Miss Virginia B. Markle was head clerk at the main store on King Street. The shipping clerk was H. V. Arnau who had William Brown as his assistant."