Mexborough Times, September 1st, 1917
Married Man’s Courtship
A Series of Sweethearts
At the Doncaster West riding police Court, on Tuesday, Matilda Wall, of Denaby, summoned her husband Wilfred Wall, Miner, for persistent cruelty.
The complainant said she was married in July 1909, and there were two children. She left the defendant last Tuesday. The ill-treatment commenced soon after the birth of the first child when she found out he was receiving letters from girls at Keighley. She found the letters but defendant took them from her and destroyed them. She told him if he was carrying on with girls she would leave him. Later she found he was still ‘carrying on’ with girls. He said it was merely friendship. He once knocked herdown because she taxed him with going about with girls.
After that she heard he was courting a girl at Swinton named Jones. Mr Jones came to see her. She mentioned it to the defendant and he called her a liar and she then told him that Mr Jones told her that he (defending), had been courting his daughter six months. He denied it.
On August 20th she obtained possession of letters (produced) written to her husband by a woman whose husband was at the front. When she told him he laughed at her.
He was very irregular in his hours. Sometimes he came in at midnight and one o’clock in the morning and sometimes he stayed out all night. She had remonstrated with him and told him if it did not behave differently she would leave him. In addition to working at the pit he played the piano at a picture house and at a club on Sunday night while he also had 31 music pupils.
William Henry Jones, Fitzwilliam Street, Swinton, said he had known defendant about two years. He had been courting his daughter six months, and visiting the house. One day when he was out he was told defendant was a married man. When defendant came on the Sunday night he told him he had been told he was a married man and he replied “nothing of the sort Mr Jones.” Witness told him he was going down to his house. He did go down and saw `his missus´ who gave him a note to take back to his wife to say he was married.
A young woman who gave the name of Florrie Whittaker, but who is married to a soldier on active service, named Wood, of Burcroft, Conisbrough, said she knew the defendant and had been in the habit latterly of corresponding with him, and the letters produced were in her handwriting.
The Clerk (Mr Reg Pettifer): can you explain to the court why you wrote these letters to this man?
How long have you been walking out with him? – I have not been walking out with him
but these letters mention certain appointments. There is one here in which you write him to go to York. Did he go? – Yes
And you met him there? – No I did not meet him there. Continuing, she said she had known him two years but the correspondence had been going on only about two months.
Did you know he was a married man? – Yes.
The Chairman: and you say your husband is in France? – Yes.
The defendant, on oath, said the greater part of his wife’s evidence was untrue. He had only struck her twice. They had a few words and he struck her in the heat of temper. He was sorry for it afterwards. The second occasion about the Keighley letters in respect to which he was misjudged. They were in the street and she commenced shouting about it. He asked her not to shout but she continued and he rapped her. She had often used bad language to him and then expressed the wish that he would be brought in dead. It was not nice when respectable people were coming to see him about music lessons to hear such language. She had often talked about going and he thought it was time one of them went. This unhappiness had existed practically the whole time.
Regarding the Swinton affair, it was partly his fault and was partly not. He had tried to make his home happy and comfortable ad that she had made it impossible. He had come home from the pit many times and found that his meals were not ready and the house not fit for anyone to go into so he had decided to find happiness elsewhere. He had made a “bit of love” to two. He had found happiness in it and that was the only thing he had done it for. He had given a good deal of his music up.
The Clerk: do you think the sort of life you been reading likely to promote happiness at home? – I have tried to give it up.
Do you admit going with Jones’s daughter six months? – I have given up a lot of my work in order to attend to my work at the colliery.
The bench granted a separation order and fixed the maintenance at 20 shillings per week. The wife asked about the children, and said she would prefer the defendant to have the custody of them
Defendant said he could not possibly pay.
He was also ordered to pay the costs £2 1s 6d