Many years before his marriage to Alma de Bretteville, Adolph Spreckles had a serious dispute with M. H. de Young, publisher of the San Francisco Chronicle.

After a particularly vitriolic article had appeared in the Chronicle, Spreckles stormed into the newspaper offices, pulled out a pistol, and shot the surprised de Young, who was seriously injured, and saved from death by a book he was holding that stopped one of the bullets that would have entered his heart. A judge and jury let Spreckles off, agreeing with his defense of temporary insanity and "self defense." 

One of the results was that the wealthy and influential de Young daughters, roughly Alma's age, would have nothing to do with her. San Francisco society divided along the line -- you were of the de Young faction, or the Spreckles faction, with only the most independent and courageous partaking of both.

Alma had enormous fun with this. When she and the de Young daughters would appear at the same society function, the de Young girls would invariably cut her dead, and on at least one occasion, she remarked to her companions in her loud, raspy voice, "Don't pay any attention, dear. They haven't spoken to me since my husband shot their father."