Alice Elizabeth Thérèse Josephina

MarieAntoinetteAlice Elizabeth Thérèse Josephina was a cousin of Marie Antoinette. The cousins were both born on November 2nd, 1755, but little is known of Alice Elizabeth’s life beyond the scandal that earned her the sobriquet, “La CopyCat”.

Although there was already a striking familial resemblance between the cousins since birth, Alice Elizabeth worshipped Marie Antoinette and replicated both her mannerisms and unique sartorial choices to an extreme that many felt was unhealthy and obsessive.

Marie Antoinette herself was never comfortable with her cousin’s affections, and proffered any excuse to avoid being near her, eventually admitting to her parents that Alice Elizabeth’s “seule femelle blanche” tendencies were causing her to be bilious.

When Marie Antoinette married in 1770 and become occupied with court life (and her own scandals), she was pleased to never again see her cousin.

Alice Elizabeth, however, ruefully mourned the loss of her beloved Marie and continued to emulate her style for the next seven years. In 1777, in an act of desperation that would later prove to be somewhat of an omen, Alice Elizabeth drank a bottle of belladonna, cut off her hair, ran through the streets of Paris in a plain, white dress, and dropped dead in front of the Château de la Muette. Marie Antoinette was not in residence at the time and is said to have had no reaction to the suicide of her estranged cousin.

Robert Smithe Wilde

RobertSmithWildeRobert Smithe Wilde, aka musician Robert Wild, is the younger brother of Irish poet and writer Oscar Wilde.

From childhood, Robert matched his brother’s intellect, flamboyance in dress, and conversational prowess, but channeled his talents into music, writing his first song, entitled “Boys Don’t Cry”, when he was a mere four years old.

Oscar, six years old at the time, took credit for the song believing it could not have been written if he had not been the catalyst by pushing Robert off a settee and then chastising him when the boy began to weep. “Robert Smithe Wilde!” he is said to have said, “Boys don’t cry!”

Oscar’s propriety feelings towards his brother’s music never did cease, even when Robert relocated to America to pursue his music career. Oscar enjoyed publicly proclaiming  that he was the true source of Robert’s talent. Robert took Oscar’s claims  with a dose of brotherly good humor, even releasing his popular song “Pictures of You” in America to intentionally coincide with the British publication of Oscar’s only novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. Robert sent a gushing telegram of thanks to Oscar for the inspiration for the tune. Oscar’s return telegram said simply, “However far away, I will always love you. However long I stay, I will always love you. Whatever words I say, I will always love you.”

Robert remained loyal to his brother through Oscar’s tortuous trials and imprisonment, financially providing for Oscar’s wife Constance and their children. He continued to support his brother both emotionally and financially after Oscar’s release and subsequent ill health.

When Oscar died of meningitis, Robert was devastated. His eulogy to his brother included the lines, “This dream always ends. This feeling always goes. The time always comes to slip away. This wave always breaks. This sun always sets again. And these flowers will always fade. This world always stops. This wonder always leaves. The time always comes to say goodbye.”

After Oscar’s death, Robert returned to America to continue his career, but he always provided for Oscar’s widow and children, going so far as to leave his entire fortune to them upon his own death three years to the day after his beloved brother’s demise.

Woodson Conrad James

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Woodson Conrad James was the great-nephew of outlaw bank-robber Jesse James (born Jesse Woodson James). Unlike his infamous great-uncle, Woodson grew his fortune in a more socially acceptable way; he was a lawyer specializing in criminal defense.

Woodson was eight years old when he learned of his great-uncle’s treacherous life, and although saddened by the deaths left in Jesse’s crime spree wake, Woodson was proud of having such a well-known, and feared, family member. It is said that he decided early on to become a criminal defense attorney in memory of his great-uncle Jesse.

Woodson was clever and unusually successful. His services came at a high price, and his satisfied clients included mobsters, casino owners, corporate CEOs, high-end escorts, and petty thieves from good families. Although he treated his clients with respect, each was aware that if one wanted Woodson as your attorney, you’d best be prepared to pay grand hourly fees for listening to tale after tale of Jesse’s exploits.

Despite his legal successes, Woodson did not fully escape the notoriety of his great-uncle. He, like Jesse, fell in love with his first cousin, Naomi Springfield; but unlike Jesse, who eventually married his first cousin, Woodson feared being ostracized due to the familial love affair and, after five years of romantic secrecy and promises of betrothment, he ended the relationship with Naomi.

Naomi, heart-broken and furious, arrived at Woodson’s home under the guise of returning a diamond necklace he’d given her. Instead, she grabbed one of Jesse’s pistols from the collection on display in Woodson’s living room, walked quietly to his office, and shot him in the face as he sat at his desk eating his lunch, a ham sandwich.

She’d later claim she hadn’t realized the gun was loaded and only wanted to threaten Woodson, not kill him. She was found guilty of pre-meditated murder and given a life sentence. Her attorney worked a plea that promised she’d never be served ham sandwiches in prison.

Priscilla Alice Mosey, Twin Sister of Annie Oakley

Priscilla-Alice-MoseyPriscilla Alice Mosey is the fraternal twin sister of Annie Oakley. Annie’s birth name was Phoebe Ann Mosey, known as Annie to her family. She took the surname Oakley after the town of Oakley, Ohio.

Priscilla kept her birth name both because she liked it, and because the sisters, since childhood, enjoyed fooling people into thinking they were strangers, who happened to be doppelgängers who didn’t think they looked alike. The stunt later became part of Annie’s act, carried out between performances of her gun show.

The sisters, dressed identically, would casually cross paths amongst the crowd. Someone, at times a shill, would point out how similar the women looked. They’d stop and stare at one another, from hat to boots, then pretend not to notice any resemblance between them. A debate would ensue, with Priscilla eventually changing her mind and exclaiming she did see a resemblance after all. She’d tell Annie how their eyes looked alike, their noses, the texture of their hair, even their earlobes. Annie would say she just didn’t see it. Priscilla would not back down, and the sisters would enter a heated argument. Annie would pull out her gun and threaten to shoot her sister if she didn’t leave the grounds post haste. Audience members were initially stunned, then delighted, by their shenanigans.

In reality, the sisters were extremely close, able to communicate, they said, by thought. Priscilla lived with Annie and her husband, Frank Butler, and traveled with them on the Wild West circuit performing The Non-Resembling Twins act to audience acclaim.

Priscilla and Annie died of Pernicious Anemia on the same day in 1926, at the age of 66. They were buried next to one another. Their tombstone reads, “OK. Fine. We do look alike.”

Rudolph Shakespeare

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Rudolph Shakespeare is a cousin of the actor, poet and playwright William Shakespeare. Although close friends in the end, they did not meet face-to-face until both were thirty years of age, due to a family conflict that had spanned generations.

William’s great-great grandfather, Dunlop Shakespeare, and Rudolph’s great-great grandfather, Marcus Shakespeare, (Dunlop’s younger brother) began a feud in their boyhood that centered on a prized egg-laying hen.

The hen’s eggs were exalted in the brothers’ village for having enormous, proud, orange yolks that were compared to “the noonday sun”. But the hen was extremely vocal and Dunlop, preferring to start his day around 11am, was angered at being awoken by the unnamed hen soon after sunrise each day.

Marcus, who loved and cherished the hen and was an early riser, tried relocating the chickens’ pen farther back on the family’s property to allow his brother a later slumber, but chickens are creatures of habit and the hen would always roam back close to Dunlop’s bedroom window to begin her day with choral exuberance.

One early morning after a particularly rowdy evening of port and walnuts, Dunlop had enough of the boisterous hen and, grabbing his hatchet, he called to Marcus to meet him in the yard to “Cure the ill that is the chicken!” Marcus arrived just as Dunlop had dispatched with the task and the hen, now headless and running around in circles, was silent for the first time in her life.

Marcus was devastated and never ate another egg, or chicken, as long as he lived. He also never again spoke to his brother.

Decades later, his great-great grandson, Rudolph, wrote a letter of congratulations to his cousin William (Dunlop’s great-great grandson) on his many successes, and apologized for the family feud that led to their never having met. The cousins soon shared a tearful reunion and become the best of friends.

William immortalized their great-great grandfathers’ troubles in a line in his play As You Like It. “Truly, thou art damned, like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side!”

The family feud was laid to rest, and the entire surviving Shakespeare clan became civil once again.

Elvis van Beethoven

Elvis van BeethovenElvis Von, as he preferred to be known, was the brother of the brilliant composer and pianist, Ludwig van Beethoven. Little is known about Elvis’s life, but documents discovered after his famous brother’s death in 1827 indicate Elvis was ostracized by his community for his propensity for spangly attire and repeated bouts of hip gyrations. He was thought to suffer from TYVM, which caused those afflicted to sweat profusely and smile with only half of their face, both looked down upon in Courtly life.

It is also thought that Elvis, like his father, was an alcoholic. Unlike Ludwig, Elvis did not stay close to home to help care for and financially support his family. It is not known if he left on his own accord, or was run out of town by his peers.

The last known sighting of Elvis Von was on a ship headed to America where he reportedly traded his passage for promise of entertaining the ship’s crew and passengers. Expecting to be charmed in the fashion of Ludwig, his audience was scandalized when, instead, Elvis began dancing like a heathen and asking for “…a little less conversation, a little more action, bitte”.

He was not amongst the passengers disembarking ship when it reached port. His life, and death, remain a mystery.

Matteo Theadeus Capone

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Matteo Theadeus Capone is the brother of notorious mobster Al Capone. Although Matteo favored the pinstriped suits and rakish hat-tilt of his infamous sibling, the similarities end there.

Where Al was cold and calculated, Matteo was big-hearted and of simple thoughts. He preferred to spend his nights at underground Cuddle parties, and his days volunteering at the local animal shelter. He could often be found sitting in a cage with a dog awaiting adoption, comforting the animal and assuring him his ‘fur-ever’ home would soon be found.

He campaigned tirelessly for animal rights and, in the only unlawful act of his life, once stole an elderly dog from a neighbor’s yard when he suspected the dog was being abused. The dog, a Pitbull-Mastiff mix, was re-named Cotone, the Italian word for ‘cotton’ (Matteo’s favorite fabric), and much loved by the entire Capone family. After Cotone passed away peacefully of old age, Matteo had Cotone’s likeness tattooed across his back.

Matteo continuously mis-placed his house keys and wallet, and could never remember his own phone number. He lacked a sense of direction in the literal sense, and regularly was returned home in a police cruiser when found wandering aimlessly a block or two from his residence.

The Officers were very fond of Matteo, such a gentle soul and so different from his brother, that when he died at age 34 of botulism from badly processed home-canned Bread-and-Butter pickles, the police force attended his funeral in full regalia, and many tears were shed.

In his memory, the animal shelter maintained a large, empty cage that volunteers could climb into with a homeless animal for a cuddle.