Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The many husbands of Julia Frances Keith

1912 - Julia Frances (Keith) Hirschler Death CertificateMy 3 Great Grandmother, Julia Frances Keith, has been somewhat difficult to research. According to her death certificate, she was born on 30 May 1856 in Placer County, California. Ok, cool she was born to pioneers, but that makes it hard to find record of her birth cause California had only been a state for about 6 years. Family stories say that she was born in the next county over, Nevada County. Regardless...still hard to find.

If that wasn't bad, family stories also say that she had been married 3 times, so her name kept changing. I've discovered that she was actually married 4 times. So in the end, I do have a trail of info on her, but I don't know what that says about her life, having 4 husbands. She could have picked bad husbands, or maybe she was more at fault.

My starting point was family stories. Fortunately a relative of mine had written them down, and you can read them here. Julia's first husband was Monroe Hawver. I since have found him to be Monroe Emilious Hawver (ca 1845-1879). They were married on 6 September 1874 in Hollister, San Benito Co, CA. I found mention of their marriage in the San Benito Advance, off of newspaperabstracts.com, and also in the county marriage records book:

Marriages Recorded in San Benito County, California Beginning 1874
Book 1 Page 18
HAVWER, M.E. native of Wisconsin, resident of Hollister, aged 28 years obtained a Marriage Affidavit on September 2nd, 1874 and married KEITH, Julia, native of California, resident of Hollister, aged 18 years on September 6, 1874 as witnessed by H.S. DRYDEN


They had a son Benjamin in 1877, and then in 1879 Monroe was killed by a Mexican in an argument over a horse, or so the story goes. I hope to prove or disprove that story, but the newspaper for the area has a gap for the year 1879, at least on newspaperabstracts.com. I've looked and the newspapers do exist, but only available at the library at UC Berkely or something like that. One thing that I did find was Julia and son Benjamin living on their own in 1880 in Watsonville, Santa Cruz County:

Hawver Julia 1880 Census Watsonville, CA

On 20 February 1881, Julia was married in Watsonville to W.N. Bardue. I believe his full name to be William Nelson Bardue.

The Pacific Coast, March 5, 1881
Married -- BARDUE - HAWVER -- in Watsonville, Feb. 20th, W.N. BARDUE to Mrs. Julia F. HAWVER


But by 1883, she was getting a divorce from him:

The Hollister Democrat, March 2, 1883
Personals --
The case of BARDUE vs. BARDUE, divorce, came up for hearing before Judge BREEN yesterday


Then around 1885 or so, Julia married again. This time to Ezra F. Pullen. The family story is that he beat Julia's son Benjamin, which led to him running away. I haven't found a marriage record for them yet, but did find a few articles mentioning their names. Here is one relating to Julia's niece staying with her.

Salinas Weekly Index, Thursday, 28 Apr 1892
Hollister ‘Free Lance,’ 22nd: Mrs. Ezra PULLEN appeared before the superior court Monday and produced Isabella KEITH, in response to a writ of habeas corpus issued out of the supreme court. Judge BREEN ordered the child to be returned to the Sisters of Charity and turned over to her mother, Mrs. W.E. KEITH of Panoche. The sheriff was charged with the execution of the order. The contempt proceedings against Mrs. PULLEN will come up for hearing today. It is very probable that they will be dismissed, however, as Mrs. KEITH is indisposed to push the matter.


A few years later, Julia came in contact with her son that ran away. She moved to San Francisco to be with him, and divorced Mr. Pullen. An article about her divorce in the San Francisco Morning Call, on 24 Jan 1895, points to his alleged violent behavior:

24 Feb 1895 San Francisco Morning Call - Pullen Divorce

About 5 years later Julia married again. This time to Gustav David Hirschler, on 1 June 1900, in Floriston. I found a mention of their marriage in an article relating to marriages of people who possibly had not been divorced yet (15 June 1900, San Francisco Call).

15 June 1900 San Francisco Call - Hirschler Marriage 1

Whether the divorce was finalized or not doesn't really matter because Ezra Pullen died in 1895. In 1910, the trail of Julia is picked up again in the census record. But now it appears that she is not living with her latest husband, and is instead living with her son again, in the town of Mokelumne Hill, CA.

Hawver Julia 1910 Mokelumne

To make things even more confusing, it looks like she is mentioned twice in the 1910 census. The other time she is listed as Mrs. G.D. Hirscher living in Meadow Lake, CA. So is she still living with her husband, or did she move out in between when these 2 census records were being filled out?

Hirschler Julia 1910 Meadow Lake

I'm always on the hunt for more information, but I don't know if that will lead to more answers. I don't know if she ever had any more children. I don't know if some of the marriages were good or bad, or if it was her fault or one of her husbands fault for having the marriages fail. One thing for certain though is that she didn't like to be alone. Even in death, she is buried in between her son and his wife.

Hawvers 1

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