Wednesday, December 2, 2009

January 1910 - Marital Motivations

Among the many news clippings I found in the St. Louis Post Dispatch (1874-1922) database I mentioned on Monday were listings of marriage licenses. Below is one of them from January of 1910.
I've placed a box around the two couples that interest me: Sisters Nellie and Bella Newmark, and their two future husbands, Morris Fudemberg and Charles Cohen. Nellie and Bella were both sisters of my great grandfather, Barney. Last Tuesday I posted a picture of Nellie and Barney in London.

This actually isn't new information for me, as I found their marriage information in the microfilm department of the St. Louis County Library early in my research.

But their marriages do raise a question in my mind to which I suspect no one alive knows the answer. Nellie and Bella arrived at Ellis Island in March of 1909. They were in St. Louis by April. They both took out a marriage license the following January. If family information is correct, in January of 1910, Nellie would have been two months shy of 21, and Bella two months shy of 20. Two whirlwind romances? Or was there a hidden impetus to marry someone?

Or perhaps one not so hidden - a desire for better living conditions. Their home on Wash Street was two blocks west of the area studied by the Civic League of St. Louis in their 1908 study of tenement conditions (see previous entry). But I fear those two blocks didn't make too much of a difference.

Update: Just discovered that Google Books scanned the Civic League's study shortly after I wrote my blog post last October. In my opinion, the text is easier to read online at Google, but the copy at Harvard has better scans of the images.

[I drove this afternoon down Cole (nee Wash) Street, and there is a building with the address 1613. I am unsure of the age of the building. Selby Pl, where Charles Cohen lived, intersects Cole one block East.]

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