Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Grandmother's Birthday

I was browsing my family tree, trying to think of something new to write about Grandmother.  I saw my note that her marriage to my grandfather was nullified in 1943, a few years after she married her second (or possibly third) husband.  There's no doubt Grandmother was a complicated person who lived an 'interesting' life.

A few years ago I asked the Coal Country Genealogical Society for a number of marriage records, including one that showed her marrying someone I never heard of before I found it and noted the name Sartor.  They gave me the record and I was about to dismiss it as a coincidence involving someone else with Grandmother's name, when Bill pointed out that the name of one of the witnesses was my grandfather.  That's too big a coincidence in a small town in Oklahoma.  What on earth was she playing at, I wonder?  It does seem that it might have been some weird game or something.  Apparently that marriage was annulled - she wouldn't have been of legal age yet. A couple of years later she married my grandfather, Bernard.

I've not found the divorce record for them - he's pretty elusive in most public records - but she married her last husband, Larry, in Tennessee in 1939; her previous marriage was made null in 1943.  This would have been about the time she wanted to adopt children from Catholic Charities, which she did:  four children in fact.  The strange thing, well, one of them, is that both husbands Bernard and Larry were raised as Catholics and I'm pretty sure Grandmother was raised as a Baptist.  I never saw her attend either church, but her favourite TV preachers and her own - very strong - views were definitely along the Southern Baptist lines. And yet she married two Catholic men.  I know from experience this is marrying into a different culture.

The other thing I noticed on her overview was that she lived in a lot of places:  

Booneville, Arkansas (AR)
Coal Hill, AR
Comanche, Oklahoma (OK)
Lehigh, OK
Oklahoma City, OK
Shreveport, Louisiana (LA)
New Orleans, LA
Mabank, Texas (TX)
Ft. Worth, TX
Miami, Florida (FL)
Ft. Lauderdale, FL

She definitely got around. Happy Birthday, Grandmother!


Unknown said...

Perhaps your travel bug is an inherited trait?

Shelley said...

Vivien - I definitely think I inherited a lot of traits from my Grandmother!

Carolyn said...

She does sound like she lived her life to the full; a very interesting woman indeed :)

Beryl said...

How absolutely fascinating! Perhaps she was allowed to get legally married because she had parental permission which was the reason for her father to be a witness. Or she was running off and got someone to impersonate her father in order to have the ceremony? At any rate, I vaguely remember the age at which you could legally married with parental permission was pretty low (13?) when Jerry Lee Lewis was marrying.
I have such fun spinning tales from slight facts!

Shelley said...

Beryl - It wasn't her father who was the witness, it was her next husband, which is why I think it's so weird. Spinning tales from slight facts is also a talent of mine...dangerous when doing genealogy!

Beryl said...

Oh Shelley, it just gets better and better! And you're right about keeping it real when doing genealogy.

D A Wolf said...

This is fascinating, Shelly. She sounds like an independent woman who had quite a life! (Now I'm more curious about my own grandmothers. I know something of their early years, but not that much... though both married young and stayed married to their respective husbands, my grandfathers. But one never knows what adventures may have taken place that were not spoken of!)