The Daily Times
Friday, February 19, 1999
Maryville's Main Street, whose name was changed to Broadway in the latter part of this century, has long been a center of activity whether it was visiting royalty or prominent people.
And today Broadway has a resident who may be of direct royal lineage, possibly the daughter of King Edward VIII and Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson.
Perhaps its first royalty stayed at Woods Tavern, located between the former Proffitt's building at the corner of North Cusick and East Broadway and the original Bank of Maryville building at the corner of North Court and East Broadway. That visitor, was Prince Louis Phillipe, later king of France, and his two brothers spent the night in 1797 while on a frontier tour laid out by President George Washington. They were en route to Tellico Blockhouse on the federal road from Knoxville to Huntsville, Ala. Quarters were scarce and they had to sleep three to a bed, a fact they never forgot even after Phillipe was king. He always asked visitors from the U.S. if they still slept three to a bed in Tennessee.
On Dec. 5, 1863, Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, Union general famous for his march through Georgia, spent the night on Broadway along with many of his 25,000 men who marched here to relieve Gen. Ambrose Burnside, beseiged in Knoxville by Confederate Gen. James Longstreet. Gen. Sherman made his headquarters on what is now West Broadway at the Dr. Samuel Pride residence at the present site of Maryville Municipal Building. Sherman withdrew after conferring with Burnside, leaving a brigade of infantry in town.
And the crown prince of Jamacia, who was enrolled at Maryville College, is buried along West Broadway in the New Providence Cemetery at the corner of Cates and Broadway. He died March 21, 1875, at age 27 of typhoid fever. It was not known he was a crown prince in direct line of succession to the throne of the West Indies island nation until close friends revealed it when he was near death. His name was Robert J. Hylton. Even earlier, there were prominent people who traipsed along the Main Drag. Boyhood resident Sam Houston took a dollar from the drum head in 1813 on Broadway, enlisting in the Army, and years later in 1845 spent the night at Armbrister's Inn on the east end of town when he stopped over for a picnic/celebration en route to Washington, D.C., after being elected U.S. Senator in Texas. Houston served as governor of two states, general of an army, president of a nation, U.S. Representative from Tennessee and U.S. Senator from Texas.
Undoubtedly, Sequoyah, the Cherokee Indian born south of Maryville who perfected the 58-character Cherokee syllabry (alphabet), almost certainly had occasion to use what is now Broadway. And in later years Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of all American troops in Europe in World War I and whose mother was born near Hubbard, was on Broadway during visits to her home place. (As a child of six, Maryville historian Elmer Mize rode on Pershing's lap when his father, Beecher Mize, drove the general to visit his mother's birthplace).
However, few residents realize that today a lady who has firm reasons to believe she is the daughter of King Edward VIII of England and Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson resides at 133 West Broadway. Her name is Elizabeth Francis Wollack Kelman. If that is her true parentage, as circumstances indicate, the Maryville resident could well have been Elizabeth II, Queen of England, instead of the present Queen Elizabeth II who is a niece of King Edward VIII, Elizabeth Kelman's father.
Most Americans remember King Edward VIII as the man who abdicated the English throne because of his love for a twice-married American divorcee, Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson of Baltimore, Md.. She was the daughter of Teakle Wallis Warfield and Alice Montague, both from well connected old Baltimore families.
The long and short of the story is this, as best we could determine: Edward, prince of Wales, was a very close friend of Wallis and her husband, Ernest Simpson, who lived in England. It is quite possible that Wallis and Edward were having an affair long before her divorce from Simpson, a situation which Ernest Simpson undoubtedly knew about since the three were together socially on frequent occasions. However, Ernest was also very loyal to the royal family and in all probability would protect the royal family in any way he could.
There are no known public records that Wallis Simpson or Edward ever had a child though there were rumors that Edward might have had a child. She apparently had no children by anyone else. Wallis and Edward met in 1931. Elizabeth Kelman, whose present husband, Dr. Edward Mark Kelman, was a pathologist at Blount Memorial Hospital (1957-1966), was born in early June of 1934.
Elizabeth thinks she was born on June 3 but her birth certificate shows she was born in Marietta, Ohio, June 8, 1934, supposedly having been born at a hospital not far from her parents' residence in West Virginia.
Elizabeth theorizes, based on some strong circumstantial evidence, that when she was born in England, Wallis and Edward were told the baby was dead and that possibly they were shown another baby that was dead and that she was whisked to the United States and perhaps even substituted for another baby who was born dead at the hospital in Ohio. From the time she was old enough to face reality on her own, Elizabeth felt that she was in a family that was not her own. There was one close friend whom she felt had been assigned as a friend of the royal family to keep an eye on her and make certain she was all right.
Her birth was 34 months before Wallis' divorce from Spencer was final. While neither of the lovers perhaps cared for the public knowing their private matter, certainly the royal family did and, of course, discouraged the relationship of the two and their later marriage. And it is quite likely the royal family could have arranged for the switch of babies in England, substituting a dead baby for the Duchess of Windsor's female baby. The two lovers had spent some days virtually alone eight months prior to the birth, Wallis' husband having been ill. They also spent a number of days on a cruise visiting Mediterranean countries on a yacht shortly after the date of Elizabeth Kelman's birth in early June of 1934. News reel movies of that trip show both Wallis and Edward unusually somber and apparently sad for no known reason.
A published book of love letters between the two, and including some of Wallis' letters to very close friends, contain some unexplainable references which make sense if one considered the fact she probably was pregnant. The frequent use of the number three in correspondence and gifts between the two could well indicate the two were expecting a third member of the relationship.
Second hand word from a person high in the U.S. Navy that he had seen a top secret reference in Pentagon records indicating that Edward and Wallis were parents of a female child add to her evidence.
And is it just an odd coincidence that Edward and Wallis were married on a Thursday - rather unusual - which occurred on June 3, 1937? Or was it marking the anniversary of the birth of their daughter three years earlier?
In 1995 Elizabeth received what she considered was definite verbal confirmation of her parentage from a close friend, a government investigator. She thinks the confirmation was almost a miracle, part of God's divine plan for her to find out.
She told two of her five sons, John and Timothy, and John's wife, Jo Ella, and their sons, Jonathan, Timothy, and Marcus, who reside with the Kelmans in the former Sterchi Brothers Furniture Store. While the store, fronting on Broadway with its back on Harper, is not divided by walls, arrangements of furnishings and some curtains divide the 20,000 square feet of space into office, living, eating, and sleeping areas, a delightful expanded family household.
In more recent months Elizabeth has told the other three sons, James, Steven and Thomas, who live out of town.
Elizabeth and her family are delightful people to visit. Very intelligent and well educated in the social graces which come natural to her, one might suspect she was brought up in an atmosphere of Southern hospitality.
King Edward was one of the most popular members of the royal family with the possible exception of the late Princess Diana. The English public loved him and public opinion was opposed to his abdication. British ladies particularly appreciated the story of the King's great love for Wallis but that had little impact on the prime minister and the cabinet. Dr. Kelman, Elizabeth's husband, left Blount County to go into practice at Gastonia, N.C., and eventually wound up living in Hawaii where his first wife died. A year later, he met and later married Elizabeth and they moved to Blount County in 1988. In 1992 they took possession of the former Sterchi Brothers Furniture store location, across from Broadway Towers.
There, exhibited in the display windows at the front of the store, are scores of photographs of the royal family, Mrs. Simpson, and Elizabeth and her sons taken at comparable ages. The pictures obviously reflect look-alike features and expressions. It is a collection put together from the extensive research of Elizabeth and her family over the past two years which has also resulted in a good collection of applicable reference books and some video tapes. A tape of King Edward and Wallis narrated by Orson Welles which was made while the couple was living in exile in France is particularly interesting. It is highly unlikely that if any records exist they will be uncovered. It is difficult for us as Americans to understand the power of royalty and the loyalty of many of the subjects of royal families. Quite often it could be said that loyalty to royalty often exceeds the loyalty to one's country.
One becomes royalty only through birth or marriage. It is interesting that when Queen Victoria of England died in 1901, before World War I, that 17 of the 20 monarchs in Europe were related to her by either blood or marriage. Kaiser Wilhelm, king of Germany and often referred to as Kaiser Bill during World War I, was a grandson of Victoria. He attended her funeral and was provided the uniform of a British Field Marshal to wear at the event!
Czar Nicholas of Russia was also related. These relationships make it easier to understand some of the actions of royalty of all nations and their influence on international relations. There are cases in which vital royal records have ''disappeared,'' maybe destroyed or maybe hidden. There has been a lot of chicanery over the years in royal circles as they protected secrets and different political goals. It has been widely speculated that two members of British royalty who were near death may have been speeded on their way by injections.
Often royal families have no governmental power, performing only ceremonial duties but it was different with Queen Victoria. (Victoria invested King Louis Philippe of France, who visited Broadway as a prince, with the insignia of the Order of the Garter, a high honor.) Even without authority, members of royalty do have great influence. Both King George V and King Edward VIII were opposed to World War II and for that reason were unpopular with the British government. Their basic opposition was to Christian nations fighting Christian nations, a view also held by Charles Lindbergh which led some to question his loyalty.
As head of the Church of England while King, Edward VIII had been advised indirectly by the archbishop that he should not marry a divorcee since the church did not permit it. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin obviously wanted to get rid of Edward, probably because he did not favor war. He perhaps trapped Edward into a binding verbal agreement allowing him to obtain a reaction to his marriage from the government. Baldwin never consulted parliament, only the cabinet, but advised Edward that he would have to abdicate if he married a divorcee. Edward considered a later prime minister, Winston Churchill, his friend.
Oddly enough, Elizabeth Kelman has not been one who greatly admired royalty. And, in fact, she thought she was of German and Irish descent, not English. What is her goal now? While she is confident of her parentage, she would like to further verify the fact.
Because of some of the subterfuge which royal power and its supporters often exercise, she feels that even if DNA comparisons were made it might not be accurate because there is the expressed possibility that opposition to Wallis might have led to another body being buried in her grave in England. Only after long consideration did Edward change plans for their burial in Baltimore to a royal site in England because he had feared that the British government would not let Wallis be brought back to England and buried by his side if he died first.
Edward died May 28, 1972. The Dutchess of Windsor died April 24, 1986. Elizabeth doesn't think it is likely that any authentic record of her royal birth is left but she feels there are probably several persons still alive who have some information which would further verify the parentage. She hopes this revelation will bring forth that information.
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