Sunday, August 3, 2014

Divorce & Death (Learning about Lena, Part 2)

As I discussed in Part 1 about Lena, I found that the land being sold and partitioned between 32 members of my family originally belonged to Lena R. Tremlett. But, I've never heard of Lena. I decided to search for her on Ancestry and see what I could find.

When I searched for Lena R. Tremlett in Missouri, I came up with 4 good hits - 3 death records and an 1880 census.

1880 Census - St Louis - John Tremlett is 3rd person - Lena Randolph Tremlett is 4th
people below John & Lena are boarders
The 1880 census is for John Tremlett, who appears to be running a hotel & whose occupation is listed as rooms provider (unsure of second word), and Lena Randolph Tremlett! Randolph is the last name of the parents/grandparents (William & Matilda) of those 32 family members! This Lena was born about 1832 in Virginia. This fits with one of the children of William & Matilda - Selina "Lena" Randolph! But, I had her married to a Noah Herman Smith, though I have no documentation. Perhaps this is a second marriage? Or perhaps she was never married to Noah Herman Smith.

Next, I looked at the three death records for Lena each showing she died in May of 1887. The records show she died of nephritis and was born in DeWitt County, Illinois. I think she was actually born in Virginia, but she grew up in DeWitt County.

Next, I Googled "Lena R Tremlett" and was surprised to uncover another article about her on Newspaper Abstracts. This was published in March of 1887 and it was for the filing of a divorce! It sounds like a pretty nasty divorce, too.

The last thing I uncovered was through Mocavo. It is a judicial index from 1887 in St. Louis so it is probably the divorce case file. (The case number is 16305; microfilm reel C38388.) She died only two months after filing for divorce, so I'm really interested in that case file. I'm going to hire someone in St. Louis to look up that file for me.

Here's the article about Lena filing for divorce which was in the "St Louis Dispatch Post" on March 31, 1887. The transcript was contributed by Gigimo.

A divorce suit was filed late last evening in the Circuit Court by Mrs. Lena R TREMLETT against John TREMLETT of the Hotel Belvedere, Washington Ave. They were married in May, 1879, and lived together until last October. Mrs. TREMLETT makes serious allegations against her husband, charging him with conduct rendering her position intolerable. She accuses him of heaping shocking indignities upon her at various times, making false accusations against her and acting in the most violent manner. She alleges that her husband was unduly intimate with a female servant and that he caressed another woman in her presence. He also took the part of a young woman who had assaulted his wife. Mrs. TREMLETT further charges that her husband transferred his affections to another woman and that he tried to get rid of his wife by filing a suit for a divorce which he subsequently withdrew being unable to furnish proof of the allegations contained in the petition. When the separation took place he said that he was going to Florida. Mrs. TREMLETT asks for alimony, alleging that her husband is possessed of $30,000 worth of property.

I actually found an image of the Belvedere Hotel; it was pretty amazing looking! But, did Lena's husband keep the hotel because she died before the divorce was finalized? And, did he actually own this hotel? In the 1900 census, I found a John Tremlett who was born in England the right year and is running a hotel, but other details don't make sense. What happened to Lena's husband, John? And did the divorce actually happen? Are there records from when John filed for divorce? Did he remarry? And, was Lena married to Noah Herman Smith?

Another big question now that I see Lena was married in 1879 is: why did she get 5 pieces of land conveyed to her in 1879 from the Queen's and the Hammett's, people I've never heard of?

1883 City Directory for St. Louis found on Fold3
Update: On Fold3, I found an 1883 city directory for St. Louis showing John Tremlett was proprietor of the beautiful Hotel Belvedere at 1230 Washington Av.

Source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Saint Louis (independent city), Missouri, Enumeration District #12, printed page #224A, dwelling 159, John Tremlett household, online images, <>, accessed 20 Jul 2014, citing Family History Film #1254717.

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