Showing posts with label Cragg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cragg. Show all posts

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Not Naughty, But Not Necessarily Nice

My late father-in-law insinuated, during a family-history interview in the 1980s, that his father was doing something a bit naughty later in life.

Above, the man in question, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939). This was my husband's paternal grandfather, a carpenter and builder active in Cleveland Heights at the turn of the 20th century. His oldest son was my father-in-law, and the interview with him inspired me to hunt for more info decades later.

After the death of James's first wife, Mary Slatter Wood (1869-1925), James still had two teenaged sons at home. So 15 months after Mary's death, 55-year-old James married 35-year-old divorcee Alice Hopperton Unger (1880-1934). Alice listed her occupation as "none" while James's occupation was listed as "builder" on the marriage cert.

Sixty years after this marriage took place, my late father-in-law suggested that James married his housekeeper and there was some hanky-panky involved. The age difference may have been a factor in assessing this relationship. No mention of James's third marriage, by the way.

Well, this was not the whole story. Looking at the documents only, which is all I have, James may very well have married his housekeeper, if that's what Alice was in 1926. But he and Alice divorced some time in the next two years. I'm still trying to get that divorce record from Ohio. It's very likely the key to this family mystery.

In 1928, James married Carolina Foltz Cragg (1871-?), a match arranged by his nephew, Charles Francis Elton Wood. Why? Because Carolina was Charles's widowed mother-in-law and James was in need of a wife to run his household, is the way I heard the story from a Wood cousin in the know. No hanky-panky here, the family was in favor of this marriage so that neither of the older folks would be alone.
Why do I say that James wasn't necessarily nice? I took a closer look at the death of Alice, the second wife for a brief time. She was a "semi-invalid" at the time of her death in April, 1930. Her medical problems included a serious heart ailment and bronchial asthma. Poor Alice died less than a month after her 46th birthday.

Is it possible that James divorced Alice because her health prevented her from being a good housekeeper and step-mother to the two sons who remained at home? That would not have been nice, although I'm trying not to prejudge.*

*UPDATE: County Clerk responded and emailed me a poor quality divorce document, saying she would snail-mail a better copy. No charge! And guess what: I was correct--James sued Alice for divorce for (1) being unable to care for him and his two minor children from a previous marriage and (2) not speaking to him for long periods, among other reasons that are not clear on the copy of the copy. But the printed copy coming by mail will be more legible. Now, 90-odd years after the divorce, we will know what both sides said in court.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for this week's #52Ancestors prompt, "naughty."

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Born on March 31: Charles Francis Elton Wood

March 31, 1891 was the birthdate of my husband's 1st cousin, 1x removed: Charles Francis Elton Wood (1891-1951). Charles's birthdate is on both of his wartime draft records and on his death cert.
The son of a painter, Charles was a farmer originally. Then he went to work as a baker for the Jersey Bread Company in Toledo, Ohio. He continued to work as a baker until he died, suddenly and tragically, in the fall of 1951, as a result of a traffic accident in Salt Lake City.
But Charles has a second family connection on the tree. His mother-in-law, Carolina "Carey" Foltz Cragg (1871-?), became my husband's step-grandma for nearly a decade by marrying James Edgar Wood (1871-1939) in 1928. The marriage was arranged by the families to put widowed Carey together with widowed/divorced James in Jackson, MI. By the time Grandpa James died in 1939, however, he was living in Cleveland, OH, and Carey was not with him. Did she die first? Still searching for her death info. Not April fooling, either.

This post was inspired by Randy Seaver's prompt of "which ancestors were born on this date" for his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Found: Grandpa James Wood's Elusive 3d Marriage License

Hubby's Grandpa, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939), was married three times.

His first wife was Mary Slatter (1869-1925). Mary was the mother of four boys (Edgar, Theodore, Wallis, and John Wood).

Then Mary died in 1925 at age 55. James remarried almost exactly a year later, in 1926, to Alice Hopperton Unger (1884-1930), who was very possibly the housekeeper for the Wood family (according to family stories).

But some time in the next two years, James and Alice divorced and James married for a third time.

I knew to look for this third marriage because cousin Larry, the Wood genealogist, said that the family put James together with a relative's widowed mother-in-law named Caroline Cragg (1871-19??).

For the past few years, there's been no sign of this Wood-Cragg marriage license. Until yesterday.

A brand-new shaky leaf led me to this newly-posted Michigan document showing that James Edgar Wood, son of Thomas H. Wood and "Mary De Merest" [aka Mary Amanda Demarest] married Caroline Cragg, daughter of Anthony Foltz of Germany and Johanna ___?___ of Germany.

The document confirms James's previous two marriages and Carrie's previous one marriage. The witnesses: Carrie's son Ralph Paul Cragg (1889-1969) and his wife, Lilly E. Hodgeson Cragg (1889-1962). Everybody resided in Napoleon, Michigan except the bride, who came from Toledo, Ohio for the wedding.

James and Carrie remained in Jackson, MI according to the 1930 Census. By 1939, however, they weren't together for some reason, because James was living with his oldest son, Edgar, at the time of his death. I still don't know when/where Carrie died, but I'm looking.