A 1851 SOAP, FEATUING HEIRS OF ALFRED J. WARE
Deceased, April 19 1851
Characters in appearing order, Lizzie M. Ware, Alfred’s widow,
Bessie E. Ware, Albert’s daughter,
M. B. Carpenter, trustee of Albert’s real estate holdings,
and Harry C. Ware, Albert’s son.
We open in court as Lizzie is suing to be recognized as legal heir to Albert’s holdings.
Bessie claims her mother, Lizzie, is not of sound mind, and knows not what she is doing. She further claims that Lizzie and Alfred were not married at the time of Alfred’s death.
Mr. Carpenter, a long time friend of Alfred’s, and currently holding his property on trust. Alfred held the deed to said property.
Mr. Carpenter says he holds no desire to keep the land, and willing to go however the court should decide.
Harry C. says he knows nothing about any of this, has no interest in the property, and couldn’t care less. Harry is dismissed.
As for Lizzie’s sanity, both attorneys and the Judge, determine that claim to be bogus, even though Lizzie may not be the sharpest tack in the box.
In an attempt to prove her marriage, Lizzie produces a large sheaf of “naked” letters from Alfred, collected over her married lifetime.
The letters are called “naked” because they were not presented in the original envelopes, giving names, dates, addresses, mailing locations, etc, thus dulling their legality as evidence.
(Oh. the things one can learn from old court cases!)
Now it was to be proven the letters were actually in Alfred’s hand.
Mr. Carpenter, as a long time friend and business associate, confirmed them to be so.
Lizzie was still not out of the woods. as her marriage was not proven by the letters, even though much of the text in the letters were of most endearing terms, and very loving in nature, none proved actual marriage.
What was needed was a marriage license or a witnessed certificate as to the fact. No such documents existed, as she and Alfred were united under common law principles of the time.
After much deliberation, precedent citing and counseling, the panel and the jury decided in Lizzie’s favor, the feeling being the texts of the letters were of a man to wife nature, and so be it.
This episode brought to you through the auspices of the
Colorado Court of Appeals, 1895, V 1, P458-460
Ol’ Alfred must have a bit of a romantic, judging from the comments regarding the contents of the letters.
I often wonder, though, what was Alfred Joseph’s occupation, in that so much of his married relationship was carried on by mail?