Family History in the Newspaper; They Were Charged with Bigamy

Not every family tree contains a sensational story like the one below, but black sheep ancestors sure make genealogy interesting, don’t they?

2015 12-09 Free Press Friday - CDN 1886 Sep 18 FP - Bigamy

From page 1 of the September 18, 1886 issue of the Chicago Daily News;

“CHARGED WITH BIGAMY.

A Lady from Pennsylvania Has Her Husband Arrested in This City.

Henry T. Morton and his second wife were arrested by Detectives Shuttler and Gibbons and taken before Justice Barker this morning. They were charged with bigamy, and the complaint came from Morton’s first wife, who made a statement of the case, which is rather sensational, all the parties in it being well connected in Scranton, Pa.

Mrs. Mortons No. 1 made a statement to a DAILY NEWS reporter. She said she married Morton at Scranton in 1869 and lived with him till he ran away with Mrs. Sarah Hermans, the wife of a wealthy physician in that town, in 1883. The couple went to New York, when Morton was taken sick, and, being without funds, he wrote for money. His wife sent him $300 and did not hear from him again until she received notice that he had obtained a divorce from her at Pueblo, Col. Then Dr. Hermans learned that his wife had been separated from him by the Peoria, Ill., court, and allowed $3500 alimony. This was followed by the startling announcement that Morton and Mrs. Herman were married and living at 553 North Clark street in this city. The first wife then came to Chicago and yesterday swore out the warrants on the strength of which the pair were arrested.

Morton earns a good salary keeping books for C. J. Johnson & Co., a South Water street commission firm. His wife bears letters vouching for her reputation from the well-known Knight of Labor, T. V. Powderly of Scranton, Pa., Mayor Ezra Ripple, and ex-Mayor Frank Beamish, publisher of the Scranton Free Press.

The case was continued to next Wednesday. The first wife’s ground for the prosecution is that the divorces were illegally obtained.”

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