|Clawson Fortune Telling Machine, circa 1890|
"Business partner" might be too kind an attribution for the senior Clawson, as it was later proved in court that by the mid-1890s he had little to do with the running of the business. The profitable factory where the Clawson Slot Machine Company could barely keep up with the demand for its coin-operated vending and gambling machines was in Henry Clawson's name, as was the Newark home that he and his second wife shared with Clement and his young family and nanny Ella Hood - but all of the success of the business was due to the inventions and business acumen of his son.
|The Clawson home today, 79 Halsey Street, Newark, NJ|
|The "Three Jack Pot" - |
one of the Clawson Slot Machine Company's huge early successes
Foreshadowing what would happen upon his stepmother's death five years later, the young Mr. Clawson demanded satisfaction, refusing to leave the attorney's office where the will was read until all agreed that he had been done wrong. He threatened to contest the will and bring immediate legal action to prevent the dissemination of any property, and to recover other monies owed to him by his father through their business dealings - a not inconsiderable sum of perhaps $7,000 or more.
The widow Clawson assured Clement that in exchange for his not pressing the matter, she would make a will leaving everything to him upon her death - which she did in March 1898.
It was around this time that Clement moved permanently to Flagtown, and Aurelia Clawson suspected that he had taken up with former nanny Ella - who presumably continued to reside with the Clawsons for years after the death of their young son in 1885. Mrs. Clawson disapproved very strongly of this relationship - so strongly that she secretly changed her will on July 17, 1900, including the new provision stating that if Clement and Ella should marry, all the property promised to Clement by his father would instead go to her niece!
to be concluded tomorrow.....