Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Women Troubles

Mrs. Chris Von Der Ahe, wife of the manager of the St. Louis baseball club, secured a decree of divorce from her husband to-day. He was ordered to pay Mrs. Von Der Ahe the sum of $3,150 as alimony. Von Der Ahe did not contest the suit.
-From The New York Times, March 27, 1895

The divorce suit of Chris Von Der Ahe, the baseball magnate, against Della Wells Von Der Ahe, has been tried before Judge Talty and taken under advisement. The case took a peculiar turn, Chris abandoning the suit, which was tried on the defendant's cross-bill. In her bill Mrs. Von Der Ahe charges Chris with abuse and ill-treatment. Mrs. Von Der Ahe took the stand, and told of her marriage to Chris in Erie, Penn., Sept. 6,1896. She said that he would not allow her any pocket money, discharged the servant, and made her do the work. He almost constantly scolded and struck her.
-From The New York Times, May 8, 1898

Judge Talty to-day granted a divorce to Mrs. Chris Von Der Ahe and allowed her $1,000 alimony, and also restored her maiden name, Della Wells. The Judge, in passing upon the case, said there was nothing in the Von Der Ahe petition which he could consider. None of the counter-charges had been borne out by the evidence. He complimented Mrs. Von Der Ahe on her demeanor in court.
-From The New York Times, May 12, 1898

Divorce Suit

Chris' Second Marriage Not a Success

Sad Story of Von der Ahe's Wedded Misery Told in Court Records

Chris Von der Ahe filed suit for divorce from his wife, Della Wells Von der Ahe on Wednesday. According to the averments of the petition, Chris' second venture in matrimony was not a success. The petition begins by stating that the plaintiff has lived in the State of Missouri for ten years past. The law requires that he should have lived here one year, but Chris went it ninefold better. The marriage took place, it is averred, on September 6, 1896, at Erie, Pa. No children were born of the marriage. The petition then recites that "Der Boss" has always treated the defendant with kindness and affection and discharged all the obligations of the marriage. Further alleging, the petition reads:

"The marriage was unfortunate in this that it was an act of generosity on his part, procured by misrepresentations, and under mistake as to the antecedents and history of the defendant, and that...the defendant promised that plaintiff should be put to no expense in caring for the relatives of the defendant, as his means did not permit him to do, and that certain associations of the defendant should be abandoned. But the plaintiff says that he has since learned that the motive of the defendant in the marriage was simply a pecuniary one, which he acknowledged; that with the exception of a very short interval after the marriage, the defendant has habitually absented herself from her home and neglected her duties there, and has been in the habit of meeting persons unknown to the plaintiff, on business unknown to the plaintiff, from day to day, and of giving orders to the coachman not to advise the plaintiff thereof and of receiving letters from sundry persons, the contents and, where possible, the existence of which, she concealed from the plaintiff; that, with apparent intentional perversity against the plaintiff's wish and direction she runs up large bills with tradesmen for articles which she does not need, and with which she has been adequately supplied by plaintiff; that she has recently said that she wished the plaintiff was dead so that she could have a good time with his money, that she married him for his money, and that she is in the habit of calling him vile names and striking him whenever she feels inclined..."

It is stated that Chris and his second wife began to bicker shortly after the honeymoon was over. She is a very handsome woman. The trouble has been growing. It has been expected for some time by those who were intimately associated with Chris that such a step would be taken. Some time ago, Chris had his real estate agent to bring suit against his mother-in-law, Mrs. Wells, in a justice court, for rent. Mrs. Wells was living in a house belong to Chris on Grand avenue. She moved out of the house and located on North Market street, near Grand.

Mrs. Von der Ahe remained living in the apartments occupied by her and her husband over the saloon at Sportsmans Park up to the filling of the divorce suit.

Chris only recently settled a breach of promise suit which was brought against him because of his marriage to his present wife. The plaintiff in the breach of promise suit was Annie Kaiser. After Chris' first wife got a divorce from him, Miss Kaiser, who is a handsome young woman, kept house for him. She had been employed in the Von der Ahe household as a servant before Chris and his first wife parted. She alleges that Chris promised to marry her, and sued for $10,000 damages. While the suit was pending she increased the demand to $20,000. Chris took a change of venue and the case was sent to St. Charles. Before the case came to trial it was settled out of court. The mother of the young woman said that Chris gave her daughter $3,000. Chris denied this.

Chris was acquainted with his present wife before he and his first wife separated. She lived in St. Louis. The trip to Erie and marriage was somewhat of a surprise...
-From The Sporting News, January 1, 1898


Just a crank said...

I happen to live in Erie, PA, so seeing Erie's name mentioned in this came as a complete surprise to me.

Jeff Kittel said...

It is certainly a small world.

I was kind of wondering about why Von der Ahe got married in Erie. Was (or is) Erie a popular resort area? I know it's on the lake but I don't know much more than that.

Just a crank. said...

Erie was, and still is, a popular resort area.

Near Erie is a place that specialized too in things with a mystical bent - was Von der Ahe ever interested in things like that?

& Erie does have a rich baseball history - I believe Mike "King" Kelly actually played here near the end of his career. (There is actually a book about baseball in Erie entitled, quite ironically, Baseball in Erie - but it mentioned nothing about Von der Ahe's marriage.)

(Interestingly the entertainer Bob Hope was married in Erie as well - but I can't remember if it was his first or second marriage.)

Jeff Kittel said...

Thanks for the info.

I've never seen anything about Von der Ahe and mysticism but I know that the late 19th century saw an increase in interest in mysticism, spiritualism, and that kind of stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if Von der Ahe participated in the fad.