Bigamy?

Janett and her daughters, left to right: Carrie Rosa, Janett (Smith) Rosa, Ida Rosa

My 3x great grandmother Janett (aka Jennie) Smith Rosa left Michigan, sometime in the early to mid 1860s, with her two daughters Carrie and Ida, and moved to Wisconsin, without her husband Abram. Abram testified in his pension application that she had left him while he was away during the Civil War. I believe it was possibly while he was incarcerated at the Fort Tortuga in 1865ish.

As to the reason why she left him? We will most likely never know the answer to that question. We can speculate that: Abram was abusive, lazy, or a crappy farmer, (his family did not have the best reputation around town); Jennie could have been scared of him, bored and went to try her luck somewhere else, unhappy with her choice, or shamed at his incarceration. It could be his fault. It could be her fault. It could be the fault of both of them. Either way, neither one of them are talking now. Their daughter Carrie told her own children that her father, Abram, had died in the Civil War, so who knows what Jennie had told Carrie, and her sister Ida. This same story was passed down to later generations as fact–now debunked. (NOTE: We have to remember though that Jennie was only 14 1/2 years old when she married Abram in February of 1854, Abram was 20.)

So Abram finally gets back from the war probably early in 1866. His wife and daughters are gone. Everyone tells him they took off for Wisconsin and won’t be coming back. Apparently, he didn’t care enough to try to get them back either.

In 1868, three years after the war was finally over, Janett married Fred Lavelly, in Oconto County, Wisconsin. About a year later, in 1869, Abram married Harriet Emerson in Berrien County, Michigan.

So, okay, this all sounds pretty straight-forward right? They have both moved on with their lives.

But the sticker is–I can find no divorce record for either of them. Not in Berrien County, Michigan. Not in Oconto County, Wisconsin. So that begs the question, were they both bigamists? It is quite possible they were.

Divorce at this time was a very expensive, and nasty, business. Neither one of them had much money to speak of, so the cost of court and lawyers would have been much on both of their minds. As they both lived in different states, maybe they decided that what no one knows, can’t hurt them. Which is probably why the story that Abram was killed during the war came to be part of the family lore. Abram could honestly say his wife deserted him, so in fact his marriage was over.

If indeed these two never divorced, it is the first known case of bigamy on either side of our family.

Happy Valentines Day!

P.S. Maybe there is a divorce case in Brown County, Wisconsin. I’m on it!

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Fred W. Hamm vs. Carrie Hamm…

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Julia Caroline (Carrie) Amundson and Frederick Wilhelm Karl Emil Hamm about 1903.

It is a miracle.

I have finally found proof that Fred Hamm and Carrie Amundson were married! All I can say is keep on trucking with newspaper research and the story will out. And, as usual, I wasn’t even looking for this, I was actually trying to find out what happened to Fred’s daughter Margaret, whom he had with Emma Steinbach.

I finally cracked the nut on Margaret, but this beats all. There in the July 28, 1910 issue of the International Falls Press newspaper was a notice for a summons to court for the case of  Fred W. Hamm vs. Carrie Hamm. Further investigation gave me a divorce date in July of 1910 in Koochiching County, Minnesota.

Now I know why I couldn’t find their divorce record earlier, I only knew of two possible counties to research: St. Louis in Minnesota and Taylor County in Wisconsin. Neither had any record of a divorce for them. It didn’t occur to me to check the county where he lived with Emma in Minnesota.

 

newspaper_hamm_courtsummons1910

Fred had left the state by 1909ish and went to Montana for a very short while, probably to just disappear (he is in the 1910 census there which was taken in April). By July of 1910 he was back in Minnesota, in Koochiching County, where he was divorced from Carrie. Notices had been appearing in the paper since March.

The case file is very short. There is a complaint and a judgment, just 6 pages.

judgment

But these 6 pages give me the vital information I have been looking for these many years. Julia Caroline Amundson (I finally have her proper name)  and Frederick Wilhelm Karl Emil Hamm were married on the 24th of February in 1903 at Moose Lake, Carlton County, Minnesota.

Because the notices for the court case were appearing in the International Falls paper, I had serious doubts that Carrie would be in court, she lived in Duluth, and she wasn’t. I don’t currently know if any of these notices were appearing in the Duluth papers. However, from the complaint submitted by Fred, maybe she wasn’t going to appear regardless.

V
That on several occasions, since the marriage of plaintiff [Fred] and defendant [Carrie] the defendant in this action left the home of plaintiff, without any cause, and plaintiff sought her and brought her back. That on October 20, 1908, or about that date, the defendant disappeared from the home of plaintiff, leaving him and the little child above named, and has ever since that time, and still, is living apart from plaintiff and their child. That defendant has ever since the date last mentioned wholly deserted and abandoned plaintiff and kept her whereabouts unknown to plaintiff or their child, and has never returned to the home of plaintiff or to the home of plaintiff’s parents where the child of plaintiff and defend is being cared for and provided for. [So, Myrtle is now with her Hamm grandparents in Medford.]

VI
That defendant seems to possess no love for her child, the issue of the marriage of plaintiff and defendant, and has wholly disregarded, without any cause or provocation, her duties to her husband and child, and has wholly abandoned each of them since October 20, 1908, and has and still does concealed herself from them and kept her whereabouts unknown to them.

This was definitely a marriage with problems, and I believe that some of what Fred is accusing Carrie of is true.

When Fred appeared in court in November of 1908, after having been arrested for non-payment of child support, the newspaper article mentioned that Fred was complaining about also paying for support of her son John Gustafson, who had been living with her parents before they died. I find no evidence in later records that Carrie took care of her son John. And, Carrie does not appear to have made much effort to keep in contact with her daughter Myrtle after she was given to her Hamm grandparents to raise in Medford, Wisconsin. Admittedly, this supposition could be false. I just don’t have enough evidence to know how exaggerated the accusations are, and probably never will.

Here is another interesting newspaper article I found recently regarding the non-support case in 1908:

newspaper_hammfred_1908MNchildsupport

 

According to this newspaper version of events, it appears that my great great Aunt Lydia, was named as a source of contention in the marriage as early as 1908.

The judgment for divorce was entered in the record on July 19, 1910 (Court date was the 12th). Fred went on to marry two more times. Carrie never married again, and spent the rest of her life in Duluth working as a laundress or house cleaner in local businesses and private homes. They had been married for 7 years.

I am quite happy that I can finally mark this question off my list of things I want to know.

Attempted murder…

Sophia (Rosa) (Cross) Mattice was, I believe, the oldest (and possibly only) daughter of Garret and Clarissa (Cross) Rosa. Her age is iffy because either she, or other household members, never really seemed to remember how old she was when census time came around. It is believed that she was born sometime around 1815 in New York.

In 1838 after the Rosas and Crosses had moved to Michigan, she married a gentleman by the name of Mandrick Amandor Cross – believed to be her uncle. He was 10 years older than her. These two had seven known children together, of whom we know quite a bit about Daniel Wellington and Benjamin Franklin (aka Frank). Daniel had been arrested several times for theft and spent some time in prison. Frank was a cop in Kalamazoo County for several years. However, it appears that he was probably a very bad cop and most likely on the take – both types of behavior would contributed to his eventually being fired. After his stint as a cop Frank tried his hand at a little larceny himself, nothing to get himself in prison, but enough to get fined. There is not much nice to say Untitled4about Cousin Frank. He was married and divorced twice. During the first marriage he went to court asking for a divorce; he was tired of his wife always accusing him of being with other women. Which she did. A lot. The judge said, “Sure you can have a divorce.” The second time he was in court was because his second wife was asking for the divorce, she was tired of him always being with other women. Which he did. A lot. He was a popular customer at the local brothel, and he had an African American mistress. A very renaissance man. The judge told Frank’s wife, “Sure you can have a divorce.”

But all this excitement happened in the later part of the 1800s. Before his attempts at marriage, Frank was living with his mother Sophia and her second husband, David Mattice. Mind you Frank was almost 30 at this time. The two boys did not get along, but as neither one of them were very nice people they probably rubbed each other the wrong way all the time. Sophia also might have spoiled Frank, which wouldn’t have helped the situation. So eventually things came to a head, resulting in this article appearing in the newspaper:

newspaper_crossfrank_assaulted

This incident happened in September of 1877. Frank survived the assault and lived on to be a scion of society, an example of shining knighthood for all young men, the epitome of virtue … yeah … not so much. Apparently that knock on the head, or dare I say, near death experience, didn’t shake any sense into him.

I don’t know if Sophia left David after this incident. Battered women don’t tend to do that. But, I am still working on finding more out about Frank, I can’t resist. He is such a little sh*t.