Two Sides to Every Story

At least…

In this case one side says he got married young and they lived happily ever after until death did them part.

The other side says he got married 2 years later to a different woman, had some children, and eventually divorced her and disappeared into the sunset.

How in the world do you know it’s the same guy?

I just do.

First, I can see that neither story has any actual conflicts. There are no records of the guy before he married the second woman. He just “came from Ohio”. So we can’t know what he did or did not do in Ohio. Maybe he did get married. Maybe he got divorced. Maybe he was a widower.

According to family tradition, he never said much more than his family was from Ohio. And somewhere we picked up the idea that he was named after his father (which turned out to be false).

On the other hand, the Ohio narrative does not have any documentation from 1885-1920… the years he was with his family in Kansas.

But the real key to my “knowing” is that my mother kept records of her correspondence with various cousins and she wrote down the last time one of them visited his grandpa in Ohio in 1940 and the address he was living at then. Turns out our Ohio version is living in the same house in 1930 and 1940. That’s really how I “know” it must be the same guy.

And from there, there is a death certificate that has both parents names on it. Turns out his mother was his Kansas wife’s mother’s sister. So they were first cousins.

I don’t know if they (or maybe only he) knew that and didn’t talk about his family because they didn’t want anyone to know they were cousins. [It was against the law to marry your first cousin in Kansas at that time.]

Or maybe they did not know. Both of them were born after her family had moved away from Ohio. I don’t know how much families kept in touch back in the 1880s.

I wonder if finding out they were cousins had anything to do with their separation or divorce.

And I wonder if the other woman, the one who he lived happily ever after with, started out before he was married in Kansas, or after he left?

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