Since I was a teenager, I have known that my grandfather was married twice and lived with a woman without marrying her for what amounted to his longest relationship. Apparently, my grandfather was married briefly before he and my grandmother married in 1953.
I’ve known the name of his first wife for some time: Frances.
It probably wasn’t until he died that I discovered the wedding photographs among his belongings. It took a little longer for me to discover the small, yellowed newspaper clipping announcing the divorce of Frances from Harold L. Simpson tucked behind the photographs.
That’s all I knew about this woman whom my grandfather once loved.
My mother didn’t know much else: Maybe the reason for the divorce was that France had had a child with another man and my grandfather suggested that now that they were married, the raise it. Maybe there were other reasons.
So, there’s been this photograph of a mysterious woman named Frances among all the other family heirlooms I inherited. I know that Harold L. Simpson and Frances were married only a short time and divorced by 1950.
Quite by accident, I discovered Frances’ surname earlier in the week. While searching for other papers (that I couldn’t find) about my great-grandfather, I found a file folder marked “birth and marriage certificates” on the label in my grandfather’s handwriting. It turns out the marriage certificate was there all along.
Lutye Frances Williams and Harold Leroy Simpson were married by Erich E. Leibner on April 11, 1947, in St. Louis.
I believe, after doing a brief search online, that Lutye Frances Williams later remarried, possibly twice, lived in California and Florida. She died in 2001 in Jacksonville, Fla.
I know she’s not technically an ancestor of mine, but finding this information does open a window into my grandfather’s world. I’m hoping to find the divorce decree in court records so I can possibly learn more.