A Sad Moon Tale
I’ve been working on the Moon family history for almost a two years now. In a few weeks I hope to post the bulk of it on my “Stories Too Long” site, along with some pictures of Mr. Moon and his third wife, Lula. I just have a few more pieces of information to gather. Of course no family history is ever really complete, but I have a list of things I want to confirm before posting it.
I do want to go ahead and post a little preview of what I’ve found. You may recall the following passage from my first post about the Moons:
“After Mollie’s death Mr. Moon married two more times. First to a woman from St. Louis, who didn’t last very long. Mr. Moon gave her some money and put her on the train back to St. Louis after only six weeks. He lived for a time as a boarder with the Keith family of Caddo. In 1909 he moved to Dallas and met his next wife, Lula Mae. According to her niece, he met Lula Mae at a party in Dallas. Lula was seventeen years younger than W. J. They operated a grocery store in Dallas for many years.”
That was written based on an interview with his granddaughter and letters written by his niece. Turns out there is a grain of truth there, woven into a story that fits the tale of a grief-stricken widower. The granddaughter believed that his second wife was haunted by the presence of the first. The niece lived a distance away and probably heard only the briefest details of the event. Here is what I found in the court records:
- W. J. and Pearl Bedtelyon, of Michigan, were Married January 30, 1906 in Caddo, Bryan County and lived together until June 23, 1906.
- Moon’s worth was “$140,000- including one fine brick hotel, four brick stores in said town, and a large amount of merchandise and cash and notes and accounts secured by mortgage.”
- Pearl sued him for divorce in April of 1911- The plaintiff, L. Pearl Moon, alleges that her husband, W. J. Moon, was abusive. She accused him of “striking her and beating her and kicking her and using vile and opprobrious epithets towards and about her”. She further alleges “gross neglect of duty”; he had abundant means and was able to provide her with a home but refused to provide for her. Here is her version of the train story mentioned earlier: he “drove her from his home and refused to permit and allow her to take her necessary clothing to enable her to appear in a decent and respectable way on the railway train to which he forced her to go on her way to the home of her parents in the State of Michigan, and so insufficiently was she supplied with ordinary and necessary wearing apparel in which to travel in a public conveyance that she was forced to stop at the town of Muskogee on her way to the home of her parents and from lady friends borrow the necessary clothing in which decently to travel on the railway.”
- Pearl asked for a share of property and $100 per month alimony and $500 legal fees.
- Mr. Moon had previously been charged with adultery with Loula (sp. Lula) May Manning on January 20, 1910; of which he was convicted on February 1911, and fined $250 (court record page 168 book 3)
- Mr. Moon’s position on the divorce was that they were never legally married because he discovered that Pearl was already married to George Robison of Libby, Montana, and her divorce from Mr. Robinson wasn’t legal because a residency requirement hadn’t been met. (You’ll have to trust me on this part because most of the Robison case is attached to the Moon case, is hand-written, and is 22 pages long. I read what I needed to read.)
- The court found in favor of Pearl, and Judge Ferguson granted her divorce and $1,000 alimony and court costs.
- In Mrs. Manning’s divorce hearing (Feb. 1910) her husband states that his wife “talked to W. J. Moon nearly every day over the phone”; corresponded “clandestinely with him” , “met with him at McAlester” on her way to Shawnee, and “slept with him at the hotel in Caddo”.
There is much, much more to be told- court cases, family stories, photos- but I will save them for another day. For now let us just conclude that Mr. Moon was a man plagued by trouble. He was a very prominent businessman, but from what I’ve discovered, his money didn’t buy him much happiness.