Friday, August 10, 2012

Putting Hortense to Rest

Sometimes old Newspapers can be our best allies in the search for information on our families. It takes patience and knowledge and a great deal of searching and reading to find the gemstone in the quarry.

I went back to Wadesboro today and then on to Rockingham in Richmond County in search of a number of things. I thought looking through the 1896 editons of the Anson Record, I found this gem in the April 4th Edition.

"Miss Hortense Davis, daughter of Mrs. J. T. Crump, of Cottonville, Stanly County, died last Monday, of pneumonia, aged about 25 years. Miss Davis was married to Mr. Will Stewart, of Monroe, several years ago, but obtained a divorce from him, after which she resumed her maiden name. "

Hortenses tombstone retains her married name. Possibly because of her surviving daughter, Ouissa.

So Hortense did not drown when she threw herself in the river. She caught pneumonia and died.

I still wonder at all of the circumstances that led to her death and to her cousin's insanity. Kitty Davis had returned to Anson County just a few weeks before Hortense had died and married an E. W. Cox from Marlboro County, South Carolina. In Hortenses divorce papers, she claims her husband William R Stewart ran off with her 15 year old second cousin Wincy Catherine "Kitty" Davis. They were found in Chester, Chester County, South Carolina.

Another item I was looking for in Anson or in Richmond Counties, was the marriage license of Edward Cox and Josephine Quick. According to the 1900 census and Edwards death certificate, they had gotten married in 1897, but it does not say where. There was no license in either Anson or Richmond counties. I have also not yet located a divorce decree or annulment of his marriage to Kitty on March 3, 1896. From what I have seen in early divorce proceedings that I have came across, one year is far too quick. Of course, there may have been a terrible discovery about Kitty that caused an annulment. I still need to go a peruse the court proceedings of Anson on microfilm in order to see if anythere there helps solve this mystery.

I recieved the forms to send in for Kitty's paperwork from Broughton State Mental Hospital. I found an "Inquistion of Lunacy" papers in Stanly County for James Clark Thompson, a great-grandfather of my Daddy's, but Anson County had no such item on microfilm and Kitty was not listed in Stanly.

On its side
I apparently turned the Richmond County Courthouse on its side and shook it. What did not come out was the marriage of Kitty's husband to his second wife. I wonder if he married her at all. I found land records of his forefathers and hers, but no marriage records between old E. W. Cox and Miss Josephine Quick.

The quest for the mystery of Kitty Davis's tragic life continues. But I find her innocent of killing her cousin. Directly anyways. 

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