ARTHUR ORTON Biography - Socialites, celebrities and People in the fashion industry


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Name: Arthur Orton                                                                 
Born: 20 March 1834                                                                 
Died: 1 April 1898                                                                 
Arthur Orton (20 March 1834–1 April 1898), Tichborne claimant.                   
Orton was born at Wapping, London the son of a butcher named George Orton. He       
left school early, was employed in his father's shop, and in 1848 was               
apprenticed to a Captain Brooks of the ship Ocean. The ship sailed to South         
America and in June 1849 Orton deserted and went to the small Chilean town of       
Melipilla. He stayed in Chile for a year and seven months, and then went back to   
London as an ordinary seaman. In November 1852 he sailed for Tasmania and           
arrived at Hobart in May 1853. He crossed to the mainland about two years later     
and worked for some time in Victoria. In 1862 he was at Wagga Wagga, New South     
Wales, under the name of Thomas Castro, working as an assistant to a butcher.       
In August 1865 an advertisement appeared in Australian papers asking for           
information about the fate of Roger Charles Tichborne who had been on a vessel     
La Bella which had disappeared at sea in 1854. This had been inserted by the       
mother of the missing man, Lady Tichborne, who believed that he was still alive.   
He had, however, been presumed dead and his brother had succeeded to the estates   
and the baronetcy. Orton convinced a Mr William Gibbes, a solicitor at Wagga,       
that he was the missing heir. He made some bad blunders in giving details of his   
early life, but was asked to come to England, and left Sydney on 22 September       
1866. He met Lady Tichborne in Paris, France who recognized him as her son.         
There appears to have been little resemblance between the two men. Others became   
convinced too, and Orton later obtained much financial support in prosecuting       
his claim. The legal proceedings were long drawn out and in March 1872 Orton was   
non-suited in his action for the recovery of the estates, and the presiding         
judge stated that in his opinion the plaintiff had been guilty of perjury. He       
was arrested and after a trial of 188 days found guilty on 28 February 1874. The   
jury also found that the defendant was not Roger Tichborne and that he was         
Arthur Orton. He was sentenced to 14 years penal servitude, but having been a       
model prisoner, was released some 10 years later. He endeavoured to press his       
claims again but gradually lost his following, and in 1895 purported to make a     
confession of his frauds which appeared in the People. He afterwards repudiated     
this and continued to use the name of Sir Roger Tichborne. He died, ironically,     
on 1 April 1898.                                                                   
Orton was quite an uneducated, shrewd scoundrel, who seized on any information     
he could gather about his supposed early life, and showed some ability in the       
use of it. It is possible to understand Lady Tichborne recognizing him as her       
son for it had become a fixed idea with her that he was still alive, and though     
Orton had become enormously fat he had the remains of what had once been good       
looks. More remarkable was the devotion of his last council, Dr Kenealy, and a     
large number of people who backed him with their money and influence.