Former U.S. Senator Arthur Brown Is Murdered by Lover

U.S. senator Arthur Brown, a Utah Republican, was married to his second wife when he became involved with Anne Bradley, a married woman. The affair created a public scandal when the two were arrested for adultery in 1901. The scandal deepened when Bradley killed Brown in 1906, apparently after he had expressed interest in having an affair with yet another woman.

Summary of Event

On December 8, 1906, after a scandalous love affair, Anne Bradley, the longtime mistress of one of Utah’s first senators, Arthur Brown, shot him at a hotel in Washington, D.C. He died from his wounds. Bradley pleaded temporary insanity and was acquitted of the murder. [kw]Brown Is Murdered by Lover, Former U.S. Senator Arthur (Dec. 8, 1906)
[kw]Murdered by Lover, Former U.S. Senator Arthur Brown Is (Dec. 8, 1906)
Bradley, Anne
Brown, Arthur
Bradley, Anne
Brown, Arthur
[g]United States;Dec. 8, 1906: Former U.S. Senator Arthur Brown Is Murdered by Lover[00080]
[c]Murder and suicide;Dec. 8, 1906: Former U.S. Senator Arthur Brown Is Murdered by Lover[00080]
[c]Sex;Dec. 8, 1906: Former U.S. Senator Arthur Brown Is Murdered by Lover[00080]
[c]Families and children;Dec. 8, 1906: Former U.S. Senator Arthur Brown Is Murdered by Lover[00080]
[c]Law and the courts;Dec. 8, 1906: Former U.S. Senator Arthur Brown Is Murdered by Lover[00080]

Arthur Brown.

(Courtesy, Utah State Historical Society)

Brown was born near Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1843. He earned a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1864 and soon married his first wife, L. C. Brown. They had one child. Brown, a loyal friend to many but a dreaded legal foe, specialized in criminal and mining cases and his law practice flourished.

Early in his career, Brown began an affair with a newsstand worker, Isabel Cameron, the niece of a senator from Pennsylvania and the daughter of a Michigan state senator. Brown left his wife in 1876, after she confronted him in his Kalamazoo law office and attempted to shoot him because of the affair. Given the local scandal, Brown moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1879 with an eye on politics. Brown divorced his wife and married Cameron. They soon had their first child.

According to Bradley’s 1907 court testimony, she met Brown as early as 1890. By 1896, Brown had become one of Utah’s first two U.S. senators; the other was Frank J. Cannon. However, at the 1898 Republican Convention in St. Louis, Isabel introduced her husband to Bradley, a fellow Poet’s Round Table (a women’s literary group) member and secretary of the Republican state committee. Bradley also had been secretary and treasurer of the Salt Lake Woman’s Club (another literary group) and a member of the Women’s Press Club. Brown was thirty years older than Bradley.

Bradley (born Anne Maddison in 1873) was a Kansas City, Missouri, native. She had joined her family in relocating to Salt Lake City in 1890. Three years later she married Clarence Bradley. They had two children. After seeing Brown at the Republican Convention in 1898, Bradley expressed such interest in Brown’s career that Bradley and her husband separated. Bradley and Brown then began an affair, which led to the birth of a son, Arthur Brown Bradley, in February, 1899. At one point after the two met, Bradley moved to Colorado, and Brown pursued her with frequent visits and professions of love and promises of marriage.

In 1901, Brown’s wife, Isabel, had her husband and Bradley arrested for adultery. However, Arthur persisted in promises to Bradley that he would leave his wife. He gave Bradley an engagement ring and separated from Isabel in 1902. To calm the scandalous situation, Brown reconciled with Isabel a month later and began denying the paternity of Arthur Bradley Brown. With the assistance of his attorney, he promised to stay away from Bradley. The Browns offered Bradley a home and one hundred dollars per month to keep her distance from the former senator. Bradley refused the offer.

Soon thereafter, Brown and Bradley resumed their affair. Isabel and her family attorney caught Arthur and Bradley at a hotel in Pocatello, Idaho. A physical confrontation between Isabel and Bradley led Isabel to attempt to choke Bradley. Ironically, Arthur then gave Bradley a gun for protection, the same gun that Bradley used to shoot him years later. That same night, Brown denied Max Brown was his son and claimed he was Arthur Brown Bradley’s father. The night ended with a proposed divorce settlement for Isabel so that Arthur and Bradley could marry.

An angry Isabel accused the two of adultery, threatened to make love letters from Bradley to her husband public, and refused to grant the divorce. In early 1903, Bradley and Brown were arrested for adultery, for a second time. Brown provided substantial tabloid fodder by reacting with protestations that police time might be better spent. While Bradley pleaded guilty to two charges of adultery, Brown had the charges against him quashed after arguing that Isabel could not legally testify against him. On November 24, Bradley gave birth to a second son. Brown, although back with Isabel, continued his promises to marry Bradley. In 1905, Isabel died of cancer. Brown urged Bradley to get a divorce, which she did that same year, and so she waited, anticipating a June wedding; but Bradley stalled.

On December 1, 1906, Brown headed to Washington, D.C., for a legal case before the U.S. Supreme Court. He spoke to Bradley three days before about her plans for a trip to San Francisco to shop for a business that she intended to begin. With four children to support, her business idea was important because she began to doubt Brown’s long-standing promises of marriage. Brown had a staffer arrange Bradley’s transportation, but Brown left without a word to her. A suspicious Bradley changed her train ticket for one to Washington, D.C.

After five days of travel, Bradley arrived on December 8. She got a room at the Raleigh Hotel under the name Mrs. A. Brown. That afternoon, she had a maid open the door of Brown’s room, where she saw a letter to Brown from the famous actor (and his former lover) Annie Adams Kiskadden. From the letter, Bradley assumed that there was an impending marriage between Brown and Kiskadden. Bradley later returned to her room, which was on the same floor. Bradley heard Brown’s footsteps as he returned to his room, then she knocked on his door. She insisted that he keep his promise of marriage to her. He did not respond but attempted to leave the room. At that point Bradley shot him—some assume accidentally—after a scuffle, because the gunpowder residue was on Brown’s hand.

According to a contemporary news story in New York Times
The New York Times, A maid who heard two shots called the hotel manager, Theodore Talty, who found the former senator dressed and lying on the floor with Anne Bradley standing nearby. She was also fully dressed with hat in hand and wearing a single glove. Arthur Brown told Talty “she shot me.” Talty instructed Anne to leave, but she refused, saying quite calmly, “I will remain here, I am the mother of his two children.”

Brown was taken to a hospital emergency room in critical condition and had surgery. He had been shot in the hand and abdomen. The second bullet lodged in his pelvis; after two hours of surgery it could not be removed. Nevertheless, Brown was expected to recover. Bradley was taken into custody. At the police station, a rather calm Bradley did not apologize for her actions but was relieved to hear that Brown was expected to recover. She stated repeatedly, “I loved the ground he walked on.” She received a mental evaluation and was deemed too fragile to be told immediately of Brown’s death. Brown had lived a few days, but he died on December 13.

Bradley was charged with murder. Her legal team argued that she was temporarily insane when she shot Brown. Witnesses included Bradley’s mother, an attorney friend of Brown, Bradley’s medical doctor during her incarceration, a physician to Bradley at the birth of her two children, and a reporter who spoke to her soon after the shooting.


The almost thirty-five-year-old Bradley said she had come to Washington, D.C., to demand Brown’s hand in marriage. She explained that Brown facilitated her divorce, fathered her two children, and with the death of his wife promised to focus his life on Bradley. However, Brown delayed in this matter. Public sympathy for Bradley and against Brown was swift and plentiful, making the public’s reaction the main significance of the scandal.

At her trial, a sobbing Bradley testified in her own defense for about four hours, bringing some jurors to tears. To add to the drama, Kiskadden’s letters were read in court. They included references to physical affection between her and Brown. However, Kiskadden, a Utah native herself, denied having anything but a platonic and business relationship with Brown, whom she had known for about twenty years.

As it turns out, Brown did not acknowledge his children with Bradley in his will, a fact that became public during the trial. This seemingly callous act on the part of Brown garnered Bradley even more significant sentiment from the public, and her jurors, who acquitted her on December 3, 1907. Bradley, Anne
Brown, Arthur

Further Reading

  • Apostolidis, Paul, and Juliet A. Williams, eds. Public Affairs: Politics in the Age of Sex Scandals. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2004. A study of politics and political culture in the context of sex scandals.
  • Schlinder, Hal. “Utah’s Scandalous Senator: Utah’s First Legislator Left Sorry Legacy.” Salt Lake Tribune, March 5, 1995. A newer look at Brown’s legacy as a senator for Utah. Examines the scandal surrounding his love affairs and death.
  • Thatcher, Linda. “’The Gentile Polygamist’: Arthur Brown, Ex-Senator from Utah.” Utah Historical Quarterly 52 (1984): 231-245. A critique of Brown that focuses on his multiple romantic affairs and adultery.

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