Friday, January 8, 2010

Divorce Papers Reviewed

A trip to the Cook County archives in Chicago back in 1996 uncovered a treasure. Back before no-fault divorce, divorce records often contained information and insight into the lives of our ancestors that would be difficult, short of a diary, to find anywhere else.

After Charles Ruch died in 1888, Salome was left to raise her nine children on her own. It must have seemed an overwhelming task but apparently one she handled very well. I’ve always found this hard to understand but on 06 Apr 1889, Salome married Gottfried Wiedemann. I know it’s not unusual in those times to remarry quickly; my confusion is why a single man with no children would marry a widow with nine. As it turned out, it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

On 31 May 1892, Salome filed for divorce against Gottfried citing drunkenness, threats and violence. Things I learned from these papers:
  • Gottfried either quit his job or was fired for drunkenness, refused to work anymore and drank heavily
  • Salome purchased 40 Tell Place in December 1889 (She put the house in her daughter’s name)
  • On 27 Feb 1890, Henry Wiedemann was born to Salome and Gottfried
  • Charles Ruch (Salome’s son) moved out of the house in 1891 and lived at 355 Chicago Ave.
  • The divorce was issued on July 1892 after two restraining orders sent to Gottfried
 One would hope that Salome had learned to be more discriminating in her choice of men, however, on 15 Jul 1893 she married Anton Ziebel. Sadly, on 11 May 1899, they divorce under much the same circumstances as above.

 

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