Death or Divorce?

I’m trying to determine if my 1st cousin thrice-removed had been widowed or was divorced before her 2nd marriage.

Myrtle H Youngberg and John L Miller were married 01 Jul 1910 in Michigan at a popular destination for elopements:
Michigan Marriage of Myrtle Youngberg and John L Miller
None of the John Millers in the 1910 Chicago city directory seem to be a good match for the John listed above. Lucky break for me that John’s aunt and uncle live with his family in the 1910 census! Mom’s maiden name appears on both the marriage record above and the census record below.  John’s occupation was difficult to read, but I got help from members of the Cook County list on Rootsweb. We believe it says Commercial Salesman, Clothing. Seeing the census record leads me to believe John may have fudged his age a little at his wedding.
I found two possibilities for John in the 1940 census, based on his age and occupation, but I couldn’t connect the dots from 1910 to either of these records:
possibility # 1

possibility # 1

possibility # 2

possibility # 2

In the 1923 Chicago City Directory (, I found a John L Miller who works for AG Spaulding & Bros (sporting goods, right?).  So I felt pretty confident about the connection between 1923 and both of the 1940 possibilities. I should feel confident, right?

Wrong! Enter the 1930 census:

1930 census

1930 census

Although John’s place of birth is recorded as Illinois rather than Canada and his mother’s name seems to have changed, the presence of those handy peripheral people confirm that this John is the right John. Fortunately for me, John’s half-brother and his unmarried Aunt Mary still live with the family. Another example of why I love cluster genealogy!

Remember earlier when I pointed out John’s 1910 fib about his age? Notice on this census, he gives the age at which he was first married. It is not 21.

I may continue looking for John, but my question has been answered. Myrtle (who was very young when she and John eloped) was a divorcée when she married Joseph Friend on the 18th of March 1913.  John appears to have remained single.

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