In my recent research looking for Hamm or Amundson descendants in Minnesota, I unexpectedly came across this interesting take on the Fred and Carrie desertion case.
I have written about this incident before, and even thought I was done writing about it, but then I found this article reporting on the same court case, but in a different paper. Well, I couldn’t just let it sit there. Ignored.
When I read the first sentence in the article I burst out in shocked laughter. Then it was “WTF dude?” I actually had to look up ’round head’, and found that it is derogatory American slang for an immigrant from northern Europe, particularly a Swede. I was appalled by my great grandfather’s rudeness and prejudice. He must have been a real treat to live with, starting with his balking at taking care of his wife’s first child with another man, and then this choice language.
I am glad that Fred divorced her, he sounds like he would have been a misery to live with ’til death’. And, no doubt, all the while would have been chasing after every available skirt he could find.
As far as I am aware, he never did find that “Irish Molly”.
Fred Hamm, maybe in a desperate attempt to get away from his ex (my great grandmother Carrie Amundson), ended up settling in Koochiching County, Minnesota for a while.
According to his second marriage certificate he married Emma Steinbach March 22, 1912 at Fort Francis, Ontario, which is just over the border north of International Falls.
International Falls press and border budget. Pub. Date January 22, 1914: Fred Hamm moved his family and stock to his claim on the upper Black River last week. [Emma, Margaret, himself]
And the 1920 census above shows Fred and a different family there, because by 1918 he had divorced Emma Steinbach and was now living with his brother’s wife Emma Paugel and his brother’s children, along with his and Emma’s son Raymond.
As far as I can tell Fred’s only purchase of property, ever, was a homestead purchase from the United States Government in 1918. So I do not know if he actually owned a different property that the family was moving to in 1914, or if it was the same property, and he just hadn’t purchased yet.
Even today you can see that there are no real roads out in this area. Here’s another view a bit further away in airspace:
The pink box in the image above is a close approximation of his property. The closest road appears to be Hwy 101/Black River Road and Fiero Truck Trail. Just the name of the latter road brings forth visions of rough travel. When you get up close using satellite images, it almost looks like this was pretty much swamp land, but according to various online histories about the area there was plenty of good farming.
There was a US agricultural census made in 1920, and Fred was on it, but unfortunately it was destroyed by the US Government, who saw no reason to keep it. Only a few states survived the destruction, Minnesota was not one of them. So that means we have no idea what Fred and Emma were growing and farming on their property during the 8-10 years that they lived there.
In 1924 he quit claimed the property to Asa Kelsey. (According to current maps on the county’s register of deeds site, it is all now owned by the State of Minnesota.) It might be at this time that the family moved to Shawano, Wisconsin, where he finally saw fit to marry Emma Paugel in 1931.
This is the only evidence I have found of Fred settling down anywhere for any length of time. After this bout of farming fever, he never owned property again, although he did work as a farm hand of some sort until he died.
Here’s a fun tidbit: As of the 2000 census, there were 23 people, 11 households, and 6 families residing in Rapid River township.[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_River_Township,_Lake_of_the_Woods_County,_Minnesota]
I have finally found proof that Fred Hamm and Carrie Amundson were married! All I can say is keep on trucking with newspaper research and the story will out. And, as usual, I wasn’t even looking for this, I was actually trying to find out what happened to Fred’s daughter Margaret, whom he had with Emma Steinbach.
I finally cracked the nut on Margaret, but this beats all. There in the July 28, 1910 issue of the International Falls Press newspaper was a notice for a summons to court for the case of Fred W. Hamm vs. Carrie Hamm. Further investigation gave me a divorce date in July of 1910 in Koochiching County, Minnesota.
Now I know why I couldn’t find their divorce record earlier, I only knew of two possible counties to research: St. Louis in Minnesota and Taylor County in Wisconsin. Neither had any record of a divorce for them. It didn’t occur to me to check the county where he lived with Emma in Minnesota.
Fred had left the state by 1909ish and went to Montana for a very short while, probably to just disappear (he is in the 1910 census there which was taken in April). By July of 1910 he was back in Minnesota, in Koochiching County, where he was divorced from Carrie. Notices had been appearing in the paper since March.
The case file is very short. There is a complaint and a judgment, just 6 pages.
But these 6 pages give me the vital information I have been looking for these many years. Julia Caroline Amundson (I finally have her proper name) and Frederick Wilhelm Karl Emil Hamm were married on the 24th of February in 1903 at Moose Lake, Carlton County, Minnesota.
Because the notices for the court case were appearing in the International Falls paper, I had serious doubts that Carrie would be in court, she lived in Duluth, and she wasn’t. I don’t currently know if any of these notices were appearing in the Duluth papers. However, from the complaint submitted by Fred, maybe she wasn’t going to appear regardless.
That on several occasions, since the marriage of plaintiff [Fred] and defendant [Carrie] the defendant in this action left the home of plaintiff, without any cause, and plaintiff sought her and brought her back. That on October 20, 1908, or about that date, the defendant disappeared from the home of plaintiff, leaving him and the little child above named, and has ever since that time, and still, is living apart from plaintiff and their child. That defendant has ever since the date last mentioned wholly deserted and abandoned plaintiff and kept her whereabouts unknown to plaintiff or their child, and has never returned to the home of plaintiff or to the home of plaintiff’s parents where the child of plaintiff and defend is being cared for and provided for. [So, Myrtle is now with her Hamm grandparents in Medford.]
That defendant seems to possess no love for her child, the issue of the marriage of plaintiff and defendant, and has wholly disregarded, without any cause or provocation, her duties to her husband and child, and has wholly abandoned each of them since October 20, 1908, and has and still does concealed herself from them and kept her whereabouts unknown to them.
This was definitely a marriage with problems, and I believe that some of what Fred is accusing Carrie of is true.
When Fred appeared in court in November of 1908, after having been arrested for non-payment of child support, the newspaper article mentioned that Fred was complaining about also paying for support of her son John Gustafson, who had been living with her parents before they died. I find no evidence in later records that Carrie took care of her son John. And, Carrie does not appear to have made much effort to keep in contact with her daughter Myrtle after she was given to her Hamm grandparents to raise in Medford, Wisconsin. Admittedly, this supposition could be false. I just don’t have enough evidence to know how exaggerated the accusations are, and probably never will.
Here is another interesting newspaper article I found recently regarding the non-support case in 1908:
According to this newspaper version of events, it appears that my great great Aunt Lydia, was named as a source of contention in the marriage as early as 1908.
The judgment for divorce was entered in the record on July 19, 1910 (Court date was the 12th). Fred went on to marry two more times. Carrie never married again, and spent the rest of her life in Duluth working as a laundress or house cleaner in local businesses and private homes. They had been married for 7 years.
I am quite happy that I can finally mark this question off my list of things I want to know.
Hurray! Miracle of miracles, I have finally found the elusive Fred Hamm in the 1940 census, something I thought was impossible. And, I wasn’t really even looking for him, I was looking for his son Arthur Albert Hamm.
Interesting bits of information can be gleaned from this census. One of the questions asked was where was the person living in 1935. According to Fred, he was in Becker County, Minnesota around the Detroit Lakes area. Arthur and Raymond are living with their father in this census, and in 1935 they had been in Shawano County, most likely with their mother Emma, (who died in 1943).
We know that sometime later in 1940 or early 1941 Fred moved to Door County, Wisconsin where he was working as a Cherry picker ,and possibly farming, until he died in 1951.1 Raymond and Arthur probably moved with him to Door County. It wasn’t long after that both boys joined up – WWII had gotten into full swing.
Fred Hamm’s obituary from Door County indicates that when he died he had been living in the area for 11 years.
I have access to several excellent newspaper databases. Each one has it’s own strengths. As these databases are constantly being updated with new data, I regularly check them for random names in our genealogical database to see if anything new shows up.
Today I decided on Fred Hamm, his wife Carrie Amundson and Emil, his brother. I was looking in the Wisconsin or Minnesota papers as that is pretty much where they lived their whole lives.
Boy did I get a doozie.
This article has so many goodies in it I am giddy with joy.
First it tells me that Fred was fired from his policeman’s job, we also can confirm that he is a bounder, for not supporting Carrie and Myrtle. Fred and Carrie had been separated for several months. Carrie’s son John was living with her parents for a while and that her mother died about two years earlier. Lastly it confirms that the couple has been married, although we can find no record of the marriage, yet.
I am energized into researching the matter further and maybe now I will be able to find Carrie’s mother Jorgina’s death record.
This article is from November of 1908, one of the local Duluth newspapers.