Real Name: Dorothea Allen
Case: Lost Heirs
Location: Sutton-Under-Brailles, England
Date: January 4, 1990
Details: Heir hunters are searching for any relatives of Dorothea Allen, a wealthy recluse from Sutton-Under-Brailles, Englad, who died in 1990. Any legitimate heirs could receive a portion of her $4 million estate.
Dorothea Allen and her husband Robert had always been elusive people. They were very private and kept their backgrounds practically unknown. The Allens had made their fortune creating surgical corsets for women and adding frills, lace, ribbons, and bows to make the items more feminine. Dorothea was known for being a perfectionist and sometimes a shrill woman. She apparently did not pay well and even demanded people to walk out of her office backwards. The Allens also spent their wealth freely, going on luxury cruises and buying expensive clothing. At Christmas, the Allens only invited guests to their party that had met a specific quota. They also only allowed a specific group of people to speak with them while there.
In 1965, Robert Allen passed away, and Dorothea slowly began to lose her sanity, as her life centered around her husband. She seemed unable to cope with her death. Sometimes, she would light his cigars in the den, in order to make it seem like he was still there. She neglected her business, and Burger Brothers, the American parent company eventually forced her out. After a car accident, she decided to never leave her home again. Eventually, she lived with only a housekeeper and a gardener.
Before her death on January 4, 1990, Dorothea Allen destroyed and eliminated all traces of her past. She had cut apart several family photographs that may have identified relatives. She had also ripped out pages from her passport that could have led to her family. She also left no will. A smallpox vaccination record suggested that her real name before she married might have been Dorothy Farquarson (although another name "Mary Ruddick" also popped up) and she might have been born on January 21, 1901 in Scotland. However, no records of a woman with that name and date of birth could be found.
There are several theories behind why Dorothea may have chose to hide her identity and past. A main theory is that she was of "lowly birth" possibly working as a seamstress or barmaid until she met Robert. Another theory is that she and her sister were born in Berlin and exited the country before World War I. They may have then went to a school in Belgium and then moved to America and then England. Yet another theory is that her husband Robert, was already married, and that he left his first wife to be with her. She may have wanted to hide his infidelity. Finally, some theorize that Robert and Dorothea were actually brother and sister, and that they wanted to keep their relationship a secret because incest is illegal. However, it is difficult to prove this theory, as Robert's past is just as mysterious as Dorothea's.
If any of her relatives can be found, they would inherit her four million dollar estate.
Extra Notes: This segment was featured as part of the December 5, 1990 episode.
Results: Solved. Dorothea Allen has actually been discovered to be Dora Brammer, the daughter of a steelworker in England. She was born in 1895, and was identified in 1996 by her childhood sweetheart, a wartime pilot. Miss Brammer became involved with the married Mr. Allen, and when the latter was unable to obtain a divorce from his wife, they lived together in secret, and started a company called Spencer Corsets in Banbury. They lived in Sutton Manor, Sutton under Brailes. Her estate was worth approx £1.5 million and has now been divided between many relatives of her parents, Amos Brammer and Emily Whitham. More than seventy of the relatives were located, and each received $40,000.
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- The Daughter of Amos Brammer, Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield
- Who was the mysterious Dorothea?
- SitcomsOnline Discussion of Dorothea Allen
- Dorothea Brammer at Find a Grave