character actor, representing humble personages in everyday life, he was conspicuously successful. His humor was gentle, and his pathos quiet and tender. As a stage manager he always showed invention and resource in the plays he produced. In 1878 he married Katherine Corcoran, an actress. He had four daughters, Alma, Julie, Crystal and Dorothy, and a little son, John. His fortune, which is large, is carefully invested. A fine residence in New York City and another at Southampton, Long Island, including ninety acres of land. He was two years building the house, laying out the drives and arranging other details. The house is a two and a half story Queen Anne. A library of over two hundred authors. A portion of the farm is laid off in beautiful gardens, and a part is cultivated just as any good farmer would do it. It stretches along the bay for nearly a half mile, having a small dock where yachts may anchor, bath houses, and any number of small boats. The place is known as "Herne Oaks." Mr. Herne took much interest in politics, espoused the cause of Henry George, took the stump for him and proved an able speaker and orator.
From the New Yorker.
It would be unnatural to expect pleasant funerals, but why should they be made sorrowful as possible? The funeral of the actor, James A. Herne, should serve as a model. Everyone present, so far as surface appearances could be judged, took a philosophical view of the occasion. A friend, who had been requested to deliver an address over the bier, upon his arrival at the house was somewhat taken aback when he met the Misses Herne. They greeted him very cheerfully. He inquired for their mother and was again surprised by being informed that she was in good spirits. Finally he found Mrs. Herne in the room with the remains of her husband. She displayed no outward sign of grief. Indeed, her face was smiling. Everybody who came into the house followed the example of the members of the family and looked cheerful. It was afterward explained that Mr. Herne, shortly before his death, requested that the funeral ceremonies should be conducted without any display of grief. His wife and children had to promise to regard his death in a pleasant manner. He urged that by this they would be better fitted to carry out the work he was leaving them to perform. He believed himself a Christian, and therefore he was improving his condition by death.
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Thanks to Catherine Bradford for transcribing this page.
Copyright (c) 1999, 2007 Brian Cragun.