Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Smiling Big & Laughing Hard

No one in my family ever knew that Big Paw Paw had been married more than once.  I guess it's human nature to not question what is because how could it be anything else?  Right?  Well, just because something is one way, doesn't mean it can't be another as well.  How do I know?  Because my ancestors keep proving it to me over and over again.  In fact, it's gotten to the point that when I see an ancestor one way, I automatically look at them another way.  And that's when I usually learn something new about them.
dark chocolate shake (22/365)Image by marzbars via Flickr 
So, when I  was at the courthouse, I took the list of case numbers that I had made that involved Joseph Marshall and his women and his kinfolk up to the desk, and the very nice lady told me that I could have a seat because it was going to take her a while to pull all that microfilm.  [Thanks, Big Paw Paw. Still pissing off women way after your death, I see.]  So, I sat down and chatted with her and the other ladies.  One of the other ladies was contemplating walking 3 blocks for a chocolate shake.  The other ladies were asking her if she was crazy.  And then she asked me what I thought.  Well, goodness.  This is chocolate.  I totally understand the "must have chocolate now" emotion.  It's strong.  The only thing that comes close to it for me is shopping.  I asked her, "How bad do you want it? 'Cause, if you want it that bad, go get it.  You won't be happy until you do."    Knowing that she had just found another kindred chocolate soul, she left on her chocolate shake quest.

Soon thereafter, the lady pulling the microfilm for me indicated that she was done and that I should follow her around the filing cabinets to the... [drumroll, please] ...automatic microfilm readers.  Now, when I say "automatic", I mean that they automatically feed the film into the machine. I'm not talking about press a button & watch visions of your lunch pass by as you skippety-doodah through the film.  [Yes, this one did that to, but it was so fast, that no image was really seen, so no visions of my lunch.]  All thoughts of shopping and chocolate vanished at the sight of these babies.  She quickly showed me how to slip the film reel in to the plastic case, how to push it into the machine, and PRESTO! It was loaded and ready to view.  Then she showed me how to focus and how to make copies.  Let me just say, it was love at first sight.  If I found nothing out about Big Paw Paw, the trip was worth it just for the opportunity to operate this machine.  I mean, really.  Feeding the film into the regular semi-automatic microfilm readers can be tedious at times and a nuisance at best.  [And, then of course, there's that whole "visions of lunch" phenomenon.]

Anyways, back to Big Paw Paw.  I decided to look at everything in chronological order.  So, I started with Case No.B-30897 Emma Marshall v. Joseph Marshall.

Let me just back up and say that when I found their marriage record four years ago I was shocked to find that Big Paw Paw had married Emma Rosin in 1917.  I hadn't been doing genealogy research for long back then.  And that was the day when I learned that my ancestors were full of secrets.  I quickly made the connection that she was Big Paw Paw's older sister's husband's youngest sister.  [Ancestors can be so complicated and messy.  Just like our own lives.]  Then, as I've mentioned in previous posts, she just disappears.  What happened to Emma?  Did she die?  Did they divorce?  Did she remarry?  If she did remarry, how was I going to find her?

Knowing some of the stories that have been passed down about Big Paw Paw, I knew that he'd been a difficult man to get along with, to say the very least.  So, when I pulled up the court records for Emma Marshall v. Joseph Marshall, I wasn't really surprised that it was a record of their divorce that was filed for in 1922 and finalized in early 1923.  After about 5 years, Emma had had enough, and so had Big Paw Paw.  There aren't very many details about their relationship.  Further, there's no evidence that there were any children.  [Also, a search in the Texas Birth Index confirms no children.]

But Big Paw Paw wasn't just divorcing Emma, though,  he was divorcing family.  So what did he do that made Emma want out?  I dunno.  Maybe no one did anything in particular.  Maybe they just didn't get along. However, Big Paw Paw goes on to other relationships that don't work out either.  So, I'm inclined to think that Big Paw Paw must have done something [or a whole lotta something] to upset Emma.  But it may have been Emma that did the upsetting.  [You know, just to be fair.]

I do know that at the time of the divorce, they had some newer furniture that they had purchased on account from Eagle Furniture Company located on 128 Soledad St. and 118 Main Ave. in San Antonio.

According to the divorce decree, Eagle Furniture Co., agreed to take the furniture back in "...full settlement and cancellation of its indebtedness."

A receiver was then ordered by the court to sell their home and property at 811 Florida Street in San Antonio.  It was sold to a R.C. Roos, Jr. for $2700 with $550 paid in cash and $2150 would be on loan and with $100 paid in earnest.  It had been a 5-room home that fronted Florida Street on the south side.

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The remaining furniture that had been owned outright by Joseph and Emma went to Emma and was listed as the following:

Emma also received $62 from Big Paw Paw.

And what did Big Paw Paw get?

His Dodge Roadster.

Now, I had an inkling that I had a photo of his Roadster [with my grandma in it from the early 1930's].  But to be sure, I Googled "early 1920's Dodge Roadster". 

Dodge Model 30 Roadster 1920Image via Wikipedia

Yup. If the Dodge Roadster in my photo isn't this Roadster from the divorce, then it's one just like it.  And if it was the same car, how many women had it seen before my grandmother, Paw Paw?

Big Paw Paw & Paw Paw ca. 1931

So, Emma and Big Paw Paw divorced, and thanks to his penchant for women and lawsuits, I know what happens to Big Paw Paw.  But whatever happened to Emma (Rosin) Marshall?  The one who put up with Big Paw Paw first?  Had any of their marriage been good?  Goodness, I hope so.  I hope it wasn't all bad for her.

In my quest for some kind of happy ending, I went looking for her.  In 1923, she would have been 31 years old, newly divorced, and childless.  She would've had her older brother Otto and his wife [and Big Paw Paw's sister], Jane, to turn to for support there in San Antonio.  Not knowing if she remarried again, I thought it best to look in the Texas Death Certificates on for an Emma who died in San Antonio, Texas with a mother named Caroline [love her name].  Her father's name was Wilhelm, but he died right after the family came to Galveston from Prussia.  So, I didn't know if it might be listed as William on her death certificate or not.

Indeed, Emma did remarry to a Louis Seidemann.  With a quick lookup in the census on, I found Louis M. and Emma R. Seidemann living in Guadalupe County, Texas [postal: Schertz], which is right next to San Antonio in Bexar County.  So, they married sometime between 1923 and 1930.  Also, they had an 18yo boarder living with them with no obvious relationship between them.

Sadly, according to her death certificate, Emma passed away at age 38 on 11 Mar 1931 from pulmonary tuberculosis.  It lists that she had been ill 3 years and that she'd been in the Grace Lutheran Sanitarium in Schertz, Texas when she died.  Her brother, Otto, is the informant on her death certificate, and another search in the Texas Birth Index offered no positive "hits" for her having been a mother.   It doesn't seem that Emma had had a very happy life.  However, there's time in between these events that happiness could have touched her.  And I hope it did.  I hope that her marriage to Louis was a good one.  I hope that he'd been good to her.   I hope that when she had the chance to smile, that she smiled big.  And I hope that when she had the chance to laugh, that she laughed hard.

Next? Another one of Big Paw Paw's women.
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  1. Glad to know what happened to Emma. What a great story and congratulations on connecting all those dots. You are amazing.
    ♥ Joy

  2. Thanks, Joy! I'm glad you liked Emma's story, or at least what I could find out about her story. She's one of those that I've "adopted". From what I can tell, she didn't have any children. Thus, no descendants. And even though we're not blood-related, she's mine.


  3. I enjoyed your story. He may have been a terror then, but what fun to discover him now!

  4. Love to find that I am not the only one who adopts sweeties like this. Good job. : )

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