The Relative You’re Embarassed to Claim

And I’m not talking about Aunt Mildred with the purple hair. (I don’t really have an Aunt Mildred and I’m not sure why I’ve envisioned her with purple hair.)

I don’t mean my brother with his foot-tall mohawk, either.  Actually, I think it suits him and I don’t find it in the least bit embarrassing.:)

I mean the ancestor that did something awful.  Something that no one wants to talk about.

I was searching through Ancestry the other night – trying to work on solving the mystery of my 2nd great grandmother.  I don’t allow myself to do too much in depth research right now until I have caught up on entering the info I already have.  I get on there and do random searches though to see if any new records have shown up – because I just can’t help myself.  I’m addicted, I know.  I fear there is no cure.

Anyway, the other night I found a couple of horrible newspaper articles on her brother, Solomon Madison Hattery.  She didn’t exactly have a picture perfect life either, but that’s a story for another day.

Solomon was born in May of 1876 to Solomon Hattery and Martha Jane Mowery.  His sister, Ella, was my direct ancestor.

He was married to a Sarah Kearns in 1892.  I believe that they had a child who was later adopted.

He married Flora McGee in 1895 and had 2 daughters with her.  They were divorced.

He married Ada Littler in 1910.

He later married a woman named Frances in 1917, and the announcement of their divorce is what I found.

From the Evening State Journal and Lincoln Daily News, dated 13 August 1918:

In a petition for divorce filed in district court Tuesday, Frances Hattery alleges that Solomon Madison Hattery has been guilty of extreme cruelty, but she does not state of what such cruelty consisted.  The parties were married in Lincoln, January 29, 1917, and have no children.

And then dated 23 September 1918:

Frances Hattery was granted a decree of divorce from Solomen M. Hattery by Judge Flansburg of the district court Monday morning.  The parties had both been married before and the defendant had a daughter, seventeen years of age, who came to live with them after their marriage, which took place in January 1917.  Plaintiff testified that the defendant had been guilty of incest, she having been an unexpected witness and the girl having written letters admitting the facts. These letters were introduced in evidence.

I don’t think that anyone likes to hear the word “incest” anywhere in their family history. It’s the truth though and I’m not out to sugar coat it or cover it up. He doesn’t need to be remembered as a loving father. He can be remembered for the creep that he was.

Sorry if he’s your direct ancestor and you’re offended.  Whatever he did doesn’t reflect on the person that you are.

I have not done enough research yet to learn what happened to Solomon in later years.  Most of what I found was done fairly quickly and more geared towards finding more info on my direct line. The last mention I have of him is in the 1930 census, he was living in St. Louis and listed as married, but not living with a wife. Did he marry again?

And did he get punished for what he did or was it simply the grounds for his wife’s divorce?  Was that something that they prosecuted in the early 1900s?  It’s a shame that it happened, and I feel truly sorry for his daughter.  I really hope that she went on to have a happy life.

Should I try to get a copy of the divorce records or should I just leave it alone?

This Hattery family seems to have had a lot of skeletons in the closet….

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  • Greta Koehl - November 18, 2010 - 6:11 pm

    I would pursue it; you never know, what you find could clear up other mysteries in the family. That’s an awesome mohawk, by the way.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Coffin - November 19, 2010 - 10:02 am

    I would get a copy of the records if you plan on studying this line extensively. Leave no stone unturned is how I approach it. Difficult subject, yes, but you don’t know what you don’t know. These records may help.ReplyCancel

  • Cherie Cayemberg - November 19, 2010 - 12:46 pm

    Love the hair! :)

    Not the most pleasant member of the family tree, but we all have them! Maybe I’ll be feeling better and can finish my COG blog…we’ve got a murdered in our direct line. The spouse isn’t delighted with that discovery, but you can’t hide it. That’s not why we search!

    Great blog!ReplyCancel

  • […] March 1907. She is mentioned in a newspaper article in the Clinton Mirror. Solomon M. Hattery was struck by an Illinois Central train as he was walking on the track near the business section of […]ReplyCancel

  • Jo who has purple hair :-) - November 22, 2010 - 7:51 am

    Love your brother’s hair! I’d continue the research too – you never know where else it might lead.ReplyCancel

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