Charlotte Almy Cameron

As I research the suffragists, I look for interesting stories.  Looking into Frances Sisson Faulkner (1847-1920) I found a link to a storyteller – Lady Charlotte Cameron.  She wrote the stories of her travels, but the story of how she evolved from a Portsmouth girl to a world renown traveller is an interesting and somewhat mysterious tale.

Fanny Faulkner was active in the Newport County Woman’s Suffrage League in the early days.  She  joined when there were only seventeen members and the meetings were held in the Bristol Ferry neighborhood.  By that time the league was beginning to branch out.  Fanny lived on Power Street off of East Main Road.  She was active in the Methodist Church, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society.  Like many of the league women, Fanny was a member of the board of the Portsmouth Free Public Library.   Fanny’s husband George was a fisherman.

Fannie had been married once before.  She had married Jacob Almy.  At age sixteen Jacob went to sea and travelled both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  He made two trips to Alaska for fishing and prospecting for gold.  He must have passed his love of travel to his daughter with Fannie – Charlotte Wales Almy.  In an interview with a Honolulu reporter, Charlotte portrayed a different view of her father.  She claimed her “ancestors were navy people and in roaming earth and sea in British domains upon which the sun never sets acquired the passion of the wanderlust.”  She portrayed herself as an orphan although both her parents were alive and living in Portsmouth when she came to visit in 1918.

According to local newspaper accounts, Charlotte left Portsmouth in 1904 to be a “traveling companion for a wealthy English lady.”  She was traveling even earlier because another newspaper account records a letter from “Miss Lottie Almy” about her travels in Scotland.  According to Charlotte, during her travels she met and married Lord Cameron who took his bride to Johannesburg, South Africa.  Her husband died after only a year, but after his death she travelled all over the world and became a famous travel writer recounting her adventures.  She became a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Other newspaper accounts tell of her being awarded the Excellent Order of the British Empire.

In 1918 Charlotte came to Portsmouth to visit her mother on her way to an Alaskan adventure.  She gave travel talks at St. Paul’s Church to benefit the Red Cross.  She donated some of her travel books to the Portsmouth Free Public Library.  Among her books are accounts of travel in Africa, Mexico, South America and Alaska.  As her fame increased, Charlotte let people believe she was from Portsmouth, England instead of Portsmouth, Rhode Island. She also told the interviewer in Hawaii that her home in London had been home to five generations of her family.

Charlotte from a Feature article in Hawaii

If you search for information on her, she is listed as an English author.  There are conflicts between dates of her marriage and when she left for England.  It is difficult to know what was the truth and what was how Charlotte presented her past.  One quote attributed to her ties back to her father’s adventures. She wrote “when there runs through your veins the blood of sailors, soldiers, adventures, and hardy pioneers, yours is not a temperament that rejoices much in rest. Having seen most of this wonderful world, you have an unquenchable desire to explore yet farther”.

Newport Daily News:  Dec. 26, 1893

Newport Mercury: Nov. 1, 1919

Fall River Daily Evening News: Aug 24, 1918