52 Ancestors #26 – Another wife ’round the corner

This is the halfway point in Amy Johnson Crow’s Ancestor’s challenge – it feels good to look back on all of my narratives made public and to know that more is yet to come.

Sometimes strange quirks pull me in to my family tree and I turn to investigate a little deeper.  Such is the case with my 1st cousine (they were a French-speaking family, so…) 2x removed – Gladys Elizabeth Rancore.  She was the eldest child of 16, born in 1899 in northern Minnesota, near the headwaters of the Mississippi River.  What got my attention was where she was in 1920.  The 1920 census showed her as an inmate at the Salvation Army Rescue Home in St. Paul, MN.  St. Paul was about 200 miles away from where she grew up – not unusual for a 19 year old to go looking for a job, and she did die in 1925, so perhaps she was seeking medical treatment.  But she came back north to teach in Beltrami County – I found a newspaper clipping from September 1920 saying that Gladys Rancore was teaching at the Winan and Murray schools there. Then she got married in Jun of 1921 to James Lyle Angell .  (My new subscription to newspapers.com really has come in handy!)  This was marriage #2 for James Angell, as his first wife, Harriet Bogart, had died from childbirth complications in June 1920, leaving 2 daughters.

Going back to Gladys in 1920 – I found out that the Salvation Army home in St. Paul was for ‘fallen women’ and had a maternity ward – so it seemed Gladys had a child out of wedlock in January 1920ish.  There is no birth certificate that I can find for the child, so we don’t know who the father is, if she would have named him at all.  But I suspect perhaps that it is James Angell, for reasons to follow.

Gladys and James had (another?) child in 1923, and then Gladys died in June of 1925, I suspect of childbirth complications even though I can’t find a birth certificate for an infant at that time.  James rebounded and married for a 3rd time – Ethel Leonard, who gave birth to a son in Feb 1930.  James and Ethel had no more children after the son, James Lyle Jr. [ Ethel’s sister Emma married James’ brother George around the same time, which confused me somewhat with the birth certificates since they had children all around the same time.]

The relationship between James’ third wife and his children seemed strained  – in 1930, his eldest daughter Fern (mother Harriet) was living with her father (perhaps the 13 year old was helping take care of the baby?).  Second daughter Florence (mother Harriet) was living with Aunt and Uncle out in faraway Skagit County, Washington.  Third daughter Lavurne (mother Gladys) was living in the same community, but with Uncle and Aunt Angell.

Given the rapidity with which James Angell remarried after his first two wives died from childbirth complication, it does seem like he was quite popular with the ladies.  Could he have had affairs during his marriages? (with Gladys Rancore?)  I may be watching too many detective shows and ‘Forensic Files’, but could he have contributed to his first 2 wives deaths, impatiently waiting for another wife to give him a son?

Update:  I found the obituary of James Lyle Angell, and I was slightly wrong about some things.  He married Ethel in August of 1929, not right after the death of his 2nd wife, and his son, James Lyle Jr., died in infancy.  So perhaps I should lay off those mystery murder shows…

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2 responses to “52 Ancestors #26 – Another wife ’round the corner

  • stes@email.com

    You are basically full of it and this stuff you wrote is all nonsense. I knew a lot of these people and you’ve made up quite a story. You can be sued for slander, you know.

    • Cara Jensen, historical researcher

      I apologize for being a bit crass – I agree that my wonderings about motives were dramatic. Do you have any further information on this part of my family? I’d love to find out more details of their lives. I regret any emotional harm I’ve caused you and am glad to connect with a relative despite the circumstances.

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