Dr. Winchell Takes Legal Possession and Receives the Keys

The Carll Opera House — Dr. Winchell’s Legal Notice the Supposed End of a Long Litigation — Interesting Facts — The Coming New Regime

“The Carll Opera House has, to all appearances, at last passed into the hands and control of Dr. Winchell, who on Saturday took legal possession owing to failure on the part of Mr. Carll to meet his obligations relative to his retaining charge. The history of the Carll Opera House litigation is well known to the public, the matter having so often been in the courts. It will be remembered by those who have followed this case that Dr. Winchell last summer got judgement on his claims against the Carll Opera House property, but before taking out execution he signed a bond which had been drawn up by Attorney John W. Alling, who acted for Dr. Winchell, Attorney Whiting representing Mr. Carll, in which it was stipulated that Mr. Carll could buy the property back by paying $5,000 on July 1, 1886, $5,000 on January 1, 1887, and $5,000 every three months untl the full amount stipulated was paid. It was also a part of the contract that if these amounts were not paid within ten days from the time they became due the amounts already paid were forfeited, as well as the right to purchase, and Dr. Winchell would have the right to take out an execution immediately. Lawyer Whiting, who as attorney for Mr. Carll had signed the bond, transferred his trusteeship to Benajah H. Douglass and Henry F. Peck, for whom he had in reality been acting, and the negotiations since then have been chiefly between Mr. Peck and Dr. Winchell. The first payment was made within the limits of the time agreed upon, but the second payment, due January 1, 1887, was not paid. After the ten days’ limit had expired Mr. Peck tried to make some negotiations with Dr. Winchell which would enable him to hold the property. He proposed to pay $1,000 and let the rest run for about a year, but he could not induce Dr. Winchell to accept that. He then offered to pay $3,000 down and the rest in installments, but that didn’t suit the doctor, who informed Mr. Peck that Henry F. Warner, the first mortgagee, held a claim against the property for $4,000 back interest which he would have to pay in April. Mr. Peck tried to devise other schemes, but he found none that were satisfactory, so he was obliged to give it up and Saturday morning saw Constable Higgins take possession in the name of Dr. Winchell. The keys were turned over to the doctor and the property passed into his hands.

Dr. Winchell and his attorney were present with the sheriff, and Marshal Carll, finding that all the keys must be surrendered, turned them over to the possession of Dr. Winchell.

When the new obligation for payment by installments was assumed by Mr. Carll a strong effort was exerted by Mr. Carll and friends to raise as a whole the required amount due Dr. Winchell, and at one time rumors were that the issue would be favorable to Mr. Carll’s hopes and many had faith that as he had succeeded in overcoming so many obstacles in building the opera house that he would even in this strait be successful. But up to the present time the result has proven otherwise. The indebtedness now upon the opera house, all other claims being now disposed of in Dr. Winchell’s taking possession, is the $40,000 first mortgage vested in the heirs of the late Gaius F. Warner. This mortgage was originally $50,000 but was lessened to $40,000, the heirs of G. F. Warner taking in exchange the piece of land lying between the Carll Opera House driveway and the White residence. This mortgage is not a mortgage payable on demand nor a stated term of years, and cannot be foreclosed until a certain event happens, it being a life tenure or dependent on some other contingency. The following notice has been sent to this office for publication as a legal advertisement of notice:

‘New Haven, Conn., Jan. 15, 1887.
To all Persons whom it may Concern:
Please take notice that the undersigned having under foreclosure proceedings acquired title to and possession of the property known as the Carll Opera House, all arrangements for renting the same must be made with him, and no contract heretofore made by Peter R. Carll are of any validity as against the property unless ratified by Alvord E. Winchell.’

-Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Monday, January 17, 1887
-Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Monday, January 17, 1887
-Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Monday, January 17, 1887

Thus all new contracts for renting the opera house are to be made with Dr. Winchell and all contracts of rental yet unfilled must be ratified by Dr. Winchell. Mr. Porter, representing the New Haven Concert association, under whose auspices Faust will be given here Thursday night, has already verified the contract for the use of the house Thursday night, and the Grays have, through representatives, made a contract for hiring the house for the Grays and citizens’ grand charity ball, for one night — probably Feb. 21st. No engagements of the house will, of course, be cancelled, provided the rental figures accord with established usage. The property which has thus become Dr. Winchell’s is not, as some may have supposed, confined to the opera house building and land exclusively, but includes the Republican league headquarters, which pays an annual rental of $1,500. There is also a rear piece of land back of the opera house on the west side of about an acre, which is valuable in connection with the opera house and valuable also for other purposes. For this, which came into Dr. Winchell’s possession in payment of some of Mr. Carll’s obligations a few years ago, presumably for money loaned, Dr. Winchell has had offers from responsible parties seeking to build thereon. The amount of the obligations from Mr. Carll to Dr. Winchell which are now cancelled, or supposed to be, by the legal transfer through the decree of the court and the final taking possession, is not exactly known, but is said to be between $30,000 and $40,000, including unpaid sums of interest. Dr. Winchell, a gentleman said yesterday who had accurate information in the matter, would not remain in the role of manager of an opera house but a short time, his numerous professional duties being such as to forbid it, and that Dr. Winchell had now under consideration applications from five or six responsible parties seeking to enter into a contract to take management of the house. Mr. Wall, of the New Haven Opera House, it is understood, is ready to assume the management of the Carll house in addition to his own, and under such a combination, no doubt the city would be well served. Our informant said that there was no keeper remaining in the opera house, the keys being also in Dr. Winchell’s possession. He said that the fires at the opera house would be kept running night and day, banked, so that whenever the house was to be opened for a show a sufficient degree of heat could be quickly obtained. When the new contract forfeited by Mr. Carll’s non-payment of the second $5,000 was made a deed in escrow was deposited with Judge Luzon B. Morris, which would, in the event of a complete fulfillment of the obligations, have legally placed Mr. Carll in control again. Even now it is rumored that some new proceeding is contemplated to reinstate Manager Carll, and he has been so successful in many an emergency that an impression is abroad and it is hoped by many that he will succeed in devising some plan tending to that result.

Manager Carll said last night that he had no ill feeling over the matter towards anyone. He preferred not to say whether he intended to take any steps to recover the managership of the opera house. He said, ‘They have driven me out of one corner, but there are other corners left. My friends have offered me $50,000 with which to build a new theater, but there are enough theaters in the city. If I had only been given thirty days in which to pay up that $1,600 it would have been all right. I had already paid $3,300 of the necessary $5,000, which was a big portion of the requisite sum, and would have guaranteed the $1,600 in thirty days, but they didn’t see fit to accept the arrangement and hence the eviction. I have done much for the amusement-loving people of the city, and now owing to a mere technicality I am dispossessed. I’d rather not state what my plans are for the future. It wouldn’t be policy for me to do so. Many well known and prominent citizens have come to me and expressed their sympathy over my present circumstances.'”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier, Monday, January 17, 1887. (top) Image courtesy of Archive.org, “History of the city of New Haven to the present time,” by Edward E. Atwater, 1887

-Image courtesy of the Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, “Alverd E. Winchell, M.D. Ex-Libris, Non multa sed multum,” William Fowler Hopson, 1908


“The family name of Winchell is found under various forms in America, Wales, England and Germany. It is probably of early Saxon or Yutish origin, and was known in the time of Hengist and Horsa, in 449. The derivation of the name has been learnedly worked out with interesting historical detail by Professor Alexander Winchell, of Michigan University, who published, in 1869, a genealogy of the family. This shows the name to be identified in America with the early settlement of Windsor, Conn., in 1638, in the person of Robert Winchell, who was first at Dorchester in 1635, and appears to have emigrated from one of the lower Saxon shires of England.

The name also runs out into Gemran and sub-branches, adding much to the interest and zest of the genealogical pursuit.

Members of the family have carried the name into all departments of activity, and it is found during the American Revolution scattered in many directions, and so works its way down, widely identified with the early history of New England.

Alverd E. Winchell was born in Egremont, Berkshire County, Mass., June 21, 1831. He is a member of the branch of the Winchell family, accurately traced through eight generations to its origin in the South of England. His early education was pursued in the Academy at Great Barrington, an adjoining town, where he prepared for college.

He entered the Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn., in 1853, and graduated in 1857, ranking among the first men of his class. He also received, in 1860, the degree of A. M.

During three years he was engaged in the profession of teaching. On the invitation of Professor Alexander Winchell, State Geologist of Michigan, he became principal of the Owasso Union Seminary in that State. Notwithstanding his marked success in that position, and the most urgent solicitations of the officers of that institution, he returned East to pursue the study of medicine, for which profession he had always felt a marked predilection.

He entered the office of Dr. Clarkson T. Collins, of Great Barrington, a gentleman of acknowledged ability and distinguished in his profession, through whose kindness he subsequently became acquainted with Drs. Alfred C. Post and the venerable Valentine Mott, of New York City. The encouragement and approbation bestowed by these distinguished men was most valuable, and always gratefully remembered. He attended medical lectures at the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, from which he graduated in 1865.

At the conclusion of his medical course, which was supplemented by valuable clinical observations in Bellevue, New York, and other hospitals of the city, he settled in New Haven, Conn., where he has since been engaged in the practice of his profession.

Although having a special preference for surgery, in which he has performed several difficult and delicate operations, he has devoted himself to general practice, and has acquired reputation as a superior obstetrician.

He is a member of the State Medical Society, in which he has served as Fellow: also of the New Haven County and the New Haven Medical Societies, serving in the latter as President for a term of years.

He has taken a lively interest in all questions of sanitation, his attention having been specially directed to the subject from observations taken during a series of visits to different sections of the South immediately following the close of the Civil War.

These investigations, and later continuous study of the same subject, became of practical advantage on his accession to the Board of Health of the City of New Haven, to which office he was appointed in 1879, and reappointed in 1882 and 1885, and of which he still an active member.

February 9, 1860, he married Helen E. Hinman, daughter of Captain Charles Hinman of Southbury, Conn. She died in February, 1863. In October, 1865, he married Mary Mitchell, daughter of Elizur Mitchell, Esq., of South Britain, Conn., who died in April, 1874. His present wife, Catherine Worthington Shepard, whom he married October 19, 1876, is a daughter of the late Rev. Samuel N. Shepard, pastor for thirty-three years of the Congregational Church in Madison, Conn. He has had three children, of whom one only is living.”
-Excerpt courtesy of Archive.org, “History of the city of New Haven to the present time,” by Edward E. Atwater, 1887

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