Piecing Together Marriage Records

Do you have anyone in your tree who was married, divorced, remarried and divorced again? If so, have you been able to document these events? While going back thru James H. Crawford records, I re-read an affidavit filed by his daughter, Jennie Hazelton after James’ death. This affidavit hints at some of these records.

Affidavit of Jennie C. Hazelton
sworn 16 Nov 1910
filed 19 Apr 1924

Mrs. Jennie C. Hazelton says that she is the daughter of James H. Crawford, late of Ford County, deceased, and of Eliza J. Crawford who died in said county on or about the 8th day of July 1892. Affiant further says that her father married a second time prior to 1897 and that during the year 1897 his second wife obtained a divorce from him. That on and prior to Oct. 1st, 1898, affiant’s father was by reason of said divorce a single man. Affiant further says that her father subsequent to the said last named date, remarried the divorced wife.

Ford County Kansas, Deeds, Miscellaneous Book I page 429; Affidavit of Jennie C. Hazelton, 16 November 1910; Register of Deeds, Dodge City Kansas.

The affidavit indicates that the marriage and divorce occurred prior to 1897. However, there is an 1898 marriage record in Ford County, Kansas for James H. Crawford and Ettie L. Crawford. [“Kansas Marriages, 1840-1935,” FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : Ford County, Kansas, Book B; page 335 viewed online (15 February 2023), James H Crawford.]

Thanks to the abundance of digitized newspapers from that time period in Dodge City, I was able to locate a legal notice in the paper for the divorce of James H. Crawford from his wife, Esther L. Crawford.

First published August 25
State of Kansas, Ford County, ss
In the District Court of Ford County, State of Kansas.
The state of Kansas to Esther L. Crawford
Greeting: —
You will take notice that you have been sued in the District Court of Ford County, State of Kansas, by James H. Crawford and unless you answer the petition filed in said suit on or before the 6th day of October, 1904, said petition will be taken as true and a judgment will be taken against you accordingly decreeing plaintiff a divorce from you, the defendant.
Witness our hands this 23rd day of August, 1904.
J. H. Crawford, Plaintiff,
By Sutton & Scates, His Attys.
Attest: J. C. Baird
Clerk District Court

“Legal notices,” The Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas), 25 August 1904, page 4; digital image, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online 15 February 2023).

These two records seem to contradict the affidavit. However, the newspapers provide a clue to the marriage of James H. Crawford prior to 1897.

About the first of February our esteemed fellow citizen, J. H. Crawford, started east to visit friends and relatives in Indiana and Ohio. Last Tuesday a rumor was current on the streets that Mr. Crawford had taken unto himself a wife. Meeting Clay Crawford, we inquired of him as to the truth of the rumor. He laughed and said it must be so. Next day we called on Abe Crawford and asked him about the matter. He was quite pleasant over it. The prospect of having a stepmother evidently had no terrors for him. He said, however, that he had nothing to say for publication until he heard from his father. The old gentleman (if we may be allowed the expression concerning a blooming bridegroom) is expected to return sometime about the middle of this month.
Later — From Mr. Abe Crawford we learn that J. H. Crawford and Mrs. Etta Roberts were united in the bonds of Matrimony at the Methodist parsonage in Corry, Pa., by Rev. J. A. Parson, M. E. pastor in charge. The bride is an amiable lady about forty-five years of age, and will be welcomed to our community as a desirable acquisition. He met her first in 1887, while visiting relatives in eastern Ohio, though her home was in Pennsylvania.

“Local News,” The Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, Kansas), 2 March 1894, page 5; digital image, Newspapers.com (www.newspapers.com : viewed online 13 February 2023).

While it appears that either James married and divorced two different women: Etta Roberts and Esther L. Crawford, there is another possibility. If Etta Roberts and Esther L. Crawford are the same person, then James married her in 1894, was divorced around 1897, remarried in 1898 and divorced again in 1904. Additional research of James’ wives will need to be conducted before being able to draw any conclusions.

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