Remnants of an Autobiography by Charles Hoy Fort
Raymond N. Fort's Recollections of Charles Hoy
The following fragment appears to have been a pencilled draft of a letter
written by Raymond N. Fort, sometime after Annie Fort's death in 1937,
and was made available with some clarifications of the writing by his granddaughter.
"I have not got any of my brother's notes, manuscripts, or data, as he left these to the Fortean Society upon his death several years ago and his widow, who died recently bequeathed what was left of them to Theodore Dreiser.
"I don't think that I can be of much assistance to you as we did not keep in very close touch with one another. However I might help you out a little in regard to his early life.
"My brother was born August 6, 1874 and was the oldest of three brothers. His father and grandfather were in the wholesale grocery business, an old established firm of P.V. Fort & Son.
"The early life was uneventful, and he passed through the grammar and high school as the other boys of his age. In the later years at high school he showed marked ability in writing and was considered to be quite a wit among his friends. While in high school he wrote numerous stories and sent them to various magazines and they were accepted and published. These stories were all based upon some actual happening, some school boy prank or an expedition in the country. He would take some little incident and embellish it and make a story of it and then we would all have the pleasure of reading about ourselves in a magazine. He always used our real first names.
"After leaving school he obtained a position as a reporter on the Brooklyn Eagle and was with this paper a while, when he and another employee of the same paper started a newspaper of their own somewhere on Staten Island but after a while they ran afoul of some of the local big shots and that ended that venture.
"Then my brother got the wanderlust and for a number of years traveled all over the globe paying his fare on slow coasting boats when he was able to and working his way at other times. In this way he saw a large part of the globe, most of the countries in So. America and also Europe and Africa. He was in South Africa for quite a while and I remember him telling of one incident that happened there. He said or did something to a Frenchman who did not like it and immediately he was challenged to a duel. As my brother had never handled a sword and was not very expert with fire arms, he did not know just what to do but accepted the challenge anyway. As he was the challenged party he had the choice of weapons and after giving it a good deal of thought he decided upon fists and so informed the Frenchman's seconds. Of course they objected very strenuously but my brother would not move from his position or would he let the challenge be withdrawn. The fight came off, and the Frenchman was pretty well battered up as my brother knew how to use his fists and possessed unbounded courage. After this he wandered around a while longer and then came back to N.Y., where he met a girl who he knew in his younger days in Albany and married her. He then settled down and started to write but it was hard going and he worked at most anything that he could get in order to live and write. He endured all the hardships that are coincident to getting a foothold.
"You probably know the rest. He spent years abroad studying in all the big libraries of Europe and England and then settled in N.Y. again where he wrote several books and had them published.
"I wish that I could help you out more but as I said before I can
only help you about his early life. If there is anything else that you
would like to know. I will be glad to be of assistance to you."
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