Hi all, OK so here is the most if not exciting to all, at least interesting find I have had in the last year. I am still not sure what happened to Ralph when he "disappeared" from North Dakota. But I have found a most interesting document... While all the family stories I have managed to gather talk about how Ralph left North Dakota sometime after 1916, that was about all they had in common. I will not get into the details of each story as I have heard many, with many different details. But here is one thing I have learned, that there is a possibility that Nina knew where Ralph was after he left. In June 1925, while living in Billings, MT she files for divorce. And in July she was granted her divorce. The interesting part is that she claims he was living in the nearby town of Harlowton, MT. She states in her complaint that he was guilty of "habitual intemperance", which I had to look up (shhh don't tell anyone lol)...it means that he was drinking and it interfered with taking care of business. And that he was like that the last year they lived together. And in June 1925 they had not lived together for 9 years, since 1916....interesting huh? Ok, so two things can be taken from that, that either she kicked him out because he wasn't taken care of them properly and then told the kids that he just left them. And never spoke of it again. OR he really did just disappear in North Dakota. Later, meeting Chester and knowing she needed to get a divorce so that they could get married. Told them what she knew, which was that he was last known to have lived in Harlowton, MT. And it is possible she didn't know if he was there and just gave the name of a town nearby.
I had hit a brick wall with Ralph and Nina after considerable time talking to everyone I could think of in North Dakota. So I conferred with another genealogist who said I should look around where Doug & Goldie were living in 1920. Doug & Goldie lived in Musselshell County with Nina's brother William and his family. And see if I could find a divorce record. I wondered why I didn't think of that in the beginning. :) Well, so I called a few courthouses and finally hit pay dirt in Billings which is located in Yellowstone County. And wow what a find. Now the next step is for me to try to find out if Ralph was ever actually in Harlowton and if so for how long and where did he go from there. I have made a few cursory phone calls to see if he was there but nothing came of it. I am wanting to try to get up there this summer but in the meantime I will see what I can find from home. :)
While that might not seem like a big deal to lots, to me though...oh what a find. While it is possible that nothing will come out of Harlowton, MT...it is also possible, it might just be the lead I was looking for. :D
If you would like copies of their divorce record please just email me. :)