Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ruth Bowsher Smeaton Hessling Stanley Moore Zimmeth Follow-Up

Thanks to PalmsRV's comment on last Saturday's post on Sympathy Saturday for my step-grandma - I now have more information in regards to my step-grandma's first marriage.

Because she was a minor, the actual marriage record is held in the Probate Court, probably in Bay County, but I wouldn't swear to that. As you will see by the included articles, Ruth led quite the life.


Detroit, Aug. 2. -- Ruth Smeaton, a pretty little 15-year-old girl, slid down a bed sheet from the windo of her bedroom in Pinconnning, Mich., at 3 a.m. into the arms of her sweetheart Albert Hessling who is already married and is just twice Ruth's age.

The child had been held a prisoner in her own room for six weeks -- ever since her foster father, James Smeaton, learned of the attachment.

And she is still a prisoner. Hessling put her on a train; they left Pinconning about three minutes after Ruth slid down the lifelife. Patrolmen HEss and Dahlow were waiting in Detroit ready to pick little Ruth up.

Albert Hessling of Pinconning Accused of Abducting Ruth Smeaton, Aged Fifteen.

Bay city, July 30, -- Albert Hessling of Pinconning, twenty-five years old was arraigned before Justice Michael Byrne of that village Thursday afternoon on a charge of abduction.

An examination was set for Tuesday next. Hessling furnished bail.

He was arrested in Detroit in the company of Ruth Smeaton, fifteen years old, with whom he eloped, it is charged. Hessling said he intended to marry the girl as soon as he got a divorce.

Finally, Ruth got permission from her mother and she and Albert were married.

From the Ann Arbor News:  BAY CITY -- Ruth Smeaton, aged 16, and Albert Hessling, 27, elopers from Pinconning to Detroit, where they were arrested, have been married. It is likely the abduction charges against the groom will be dropped, Hessling having a decree of divorce and the girl's mother then consenting to the marriage.

They had one son, Maynard, and were divorced in 1918. The divorce decree gives their marriage date as August 12, 1914 - obviously wrong. Ruth went on to marry three more men. One of them was already married.  Albert committed suicide October 26, 1922.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. News stories seem to have had such a different tone years ago. But that's a crazy story. I should have thought of doing that when I was younger. ;)

  2. Thanks for sharing the interesting twists and turns in Ruth's life.