Saturday, June 21, 2008

Henry Lucas Is One Of The Bankrupt

Henry V. Lucas was one of the 164 bankrupts for whom the United States District Court to-day wiped out $40,000 in debts. The schedule filed by the petitioner contained no assets, and showed that in 1882 Mr. Lucas fell heir to $2,000,000 as his portion of a nine-million-dollar estate left by his father. Twenty years ago Judge Lucas, the petitioner's father, was reckoned the wealthiest man west of the Alleghanies. He was a money king in St. Louis, where a street is named in his honor.

Among other ventures the son is said to have lost $300,000 by the failure of a barge line which he started between St. Louis and New Orleans. Mr. Lucas's fortune slipped rapidly from his possession and he came to Chicago to work for a living.
-The New York Times, April 8, 1902

Lucas did not lose his fortune as a result of his baseball enterprises. In an interview with The Sporting News, after resigning as president of the Maroons, Lucas claimed that he had lost $17,000 in 1884 and $10,000 in 1885 while breaking even in 1886 largely due to the sale of Fred Dunlap. Richard Leech, in The Evolution of Baseball in St. Louis, writes that Lucas lost $23,000 over the three years. While those are substantial losses, they pale in comparison to losing $300,000 on a barge line. In the end, I think the fact that Lucas didn't file for bankruptcy until seventeen years after he left baseball speaks for itself and establishes that the failure of the UA and Maroons had nothing to do with Lucas' later financial troubles.

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