Althea Cameron is born to Roselyn and Thomas Cameron in Dumbarton, Scotland. Her father was a moderately well-to-do banker and her mother was an aspiring socialite.
1895 (a. 5)
James Thomas Cameron, Thea's baby brother, is born.
1902 (a. 12)
Thomas Cameron sells his banks for a tidy profit and urged on by his wife, the family relocates to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts and settled in a million dollar home on the coast. Thomas would go on to make a modest fortune on Wall Street while Roselyn played Lady of the Manor. Their home became a popular place for their friends and business acquaintances to visit.
Meanwhile, Althea adapted to the change well. Having grown up, staring across the water at Dumbarton Castle, and no doubt influenced by her mother's ambitions, Thea fell in love with the idea of becoming a titled lady and residing in a castle someday herself. Her favorite books were romances from times past. Thea eagerly scanned the various newspapers her parents were subscribed to, avidly reading the social pages and following the activities of the United Kingdom's wealthy and titled individual.
1908 thru 1912 (a. 18 - 22)
- Vassar College, New York (Bachelors of Arts, Art History).
- First forays into burglary.
Roselyn had her daughter's life planned. When Thea graduated from her elite girls' school at the age of eighteen, her mother had a marriage already arranged for her. The problem was that Thea disliked the man intensely and he would not provide her with her coveted title. She refused to go along with her mother's plans, instead she chose college. Having graduated at the top of her class, Althea was immediately accepted into Vassar College's School of Art. The problem was that Roselyn cut off her allowance although her father insisted on paying for her education. This left Althea in a financial bind for spending money. When she was approached and asked to recreate a fairly valuable painting for a significant amount of money, she took the job.
1913 (a. 23)
- Althea meets Lord Simon de Grey, Earl de Grey.
- December 22, Simon and Althea are married.
After college, Althea got a job in New York at the National History Museum. Her job was in art restoration which she loved. Along with working on paintings, she became skilled at restoring other valuable historical pieces. She had already taken courses in gemology and geology as electives.
In the spring, her parents held a large gathering at their home in the Vineyard. Althea attended it and was introduced to Simon de Grey, an Earl whose family seat was near Inverness in Scotland. Simon was entranced by Thea and extended his stay in the United States. Despite a rather significant age difference of twenty-four years, Althea grew quite fond of him. When he proposed, she accepted. On December 22nd, 1913, Simon and Althea are married in Scotland where she almost settles down into life as an adored Countess.
The Earl and his Countess travel a great deal of the time, often separately. Althea continues to add to her personal wealth by taking art restoration jobs without questioning how the pieces will actually be used. During a visit with friends in France, she is asked to actually replace the original with her forgery. The thrill of doing the job and not getting caught launches her into her career as a jewel and art thief.
1915 (a. 25)
- April 25th: Simon de Grey dies suddenly of a heart attack. Althea inherits his entire estate, but learns that his finances had been precarious. Death duties leaves the estate near bankrupt.
- May 7: the RMS Lusitania is torpedoed by a German U-Boat and sinks. James and Althea's parents are on board and are killed. Thomas and Roselyn were returning from visiting Althea in England.
- James inherits the family home and estate. Althea is left a trust fund with a monthly stipend. It was hardly enough to maintain her lifestyle. Fortunately, her other skills keep her in plenty of money.
1922 thru 1924 (a. 32 - 34)
- 1922: Althea relocates to Miami with the intention of retiring from her business. She has managed to evade getting caught and actually managed to avoid having much suspicion fall her way. However, she knows it is only a matter to time. The problem is, she misses the action!
- By 1924, Althea has grown thoroughly bored with being a titled socialite and has gone back to work on a job-by-job contract basis.
- Appraisals and Restorations: Thea supplements her income by doing legitimate appraisals on antiquities, rare gems, etc. She will also lend her skills to doing restorations.
- Document Forgeries: For a hefty price, Althea will provide forged documents that are next to impossible to tell from the real thing. However, she is very particular about her clients. Thea will have them thoroughly vetted before agreeing to do the work.
- Engaging, charming.
- Air of mystery.
- Puts people at ease.
- Extremely intelligent.
- Single (Widow)
- Simon de Grey (Earl de Grey; DOD: April 25th, 1915)
- Father: Thomas Cameron (deceased; May 7, 1915; passenger on the RMS Lusitania).
- Mother: Rosslyn Cameron (deceased; May 7, 1915; passenger on the RMS Lusitania).
Note on Title
- I chose an extinct English title for Althea and her late husband. Beyond that, the family will be totally fictionalized and not intended to represent real historic figures.
- Thea, Lady Thea
James Thomas Cameron
- Althea's younger brother, James, lives in Manhattan. After graduating Oxford in England, he returned and took over his father's investment and CPA firm. He has some illustrious and nefarious clients. He is also able to turn Thea's stolen jewels and antiquities into cold, hard cash.