Martha Bouton “Mamah” <I>Borthwick</I> Cheney

Martha Bouton “Mamah” Borthwick Cheney

Boone, Boone County, Iowa, USA
Death 15 Aug 1914 (aged 45)
Spring Green, Sauk County, Wisconsin, USA
Burial Wyoming, Iowa County, Wisconsin, USA
Memorial ID 34136185 View Source
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Mamah Bouton Borthwick was born in June of 1869. She recieved a BA Degree from the University Of Michigan, in 1892. In 1899 she married Edwin Cheney, and had two children, John (1902), and Martha (1905).

In 1909, she started her love affair with Frank Lloyd Wright. The two met when Wright had been hired to design the Cheney home a few years earlier (Wright at the time of the affair, was also married). In 1910, the two traveled to Europe, and upon their return to the states, were quickly shunned by their social circles.

Mamah divorced Edwin in 1911, and later that same year, moved into Taliesin (the home Wright had built for her in Spring Green, WI.), with Wright.

On August 15th, 1914, with Wright away in Chicago, Mamah was having lunch with her two children, when she was brutally, and fatally attacked with a shingling hatchet, by Julian Carlton (a domestic worker at Taliesin). Mamah's two children, and four associates of Wright (who were also having lunch in another part of the building), were also killed in the attack. Two other associates survived, but were seriously injured.

The reason for Calton's murderous rampage, still remains a mystery, to this day.

Mamah was laid to rest on the grounds of the Unity Chapel, not more than a mile away from Taliesin.

Mamah's life and death have been chronicled in several Frank Lloyd Wright biographies, as well as the books: Loving Frank by Nancy Horan, and Death In A Praire House by William Drennan.

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Mamah Borthwick Cheney 1869 1914

Gravesite Details The headstone is at the base of the largest tree, behind the Unity Church.

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