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February 7, 1910


Wedding Party Speeds Mr. and Mrs.
Crossert to New Home.

A wedding party took possession of the Union depot last night, showering the bride and groom with rice and covering them with confusion as well, much to the enjoyment of belated travelers. The bride was formerly Miss Eva Maddeford of Burlingame, Kas., and the groom Daniel Crossert of Osage City, Kas. The wedding ceremony was performed by Probate Judge Van B. Prather at his home in Kansas City, Kas. Mr. and Mrs. Crossert departed on the 10:30 Santa Fe for Osage City, where they will make their home.

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January 30, 1910


WORTH $50,000.

"John Was My Friend and
He Would Have Done That
for Me," He Says.

Judge Michael Ross, John Mahoney's silent partner, yesterday startled the court of Van B. Prather, probate judge of Wyandotte county, by announcing he wished to disclaim a $50,000 share in the Mahoney estate so that it would go to his friend's orphans.

John Manoney was the Kansas City, Kas. contractor who, with his wife and foreman, Thomas F. McGuire, met death in an automobile accident on the Cliff drive Monday afternoon Judge Ross has been justice of the peace in the North End for many years.

One feature about Judge Ross's gift is that he wanted no one except the firm's lawyer to know about it. At the opening of the hearing Judge Prather said he understood that a silent partnership existed in the contracting business between Mr. Mahoney and some one else, and that if such was the case it would be necessary to take different action in the appointment of the administrators than if such a partnership did not exist.


At this announcement Judge Ross arose. He said he had been a full partner of Mr. Mahoney in the contracting business, but that he desired to "wipe the slate clean" and give the children his half of the estate. Judge Prather asked Judge Ross to explain more fully.

"John Mahoney was a good friend of mine," the judge began. "He loved his four children dearly, and I am comfortably situated, and I want those little children to have my interest in the estate. And further, if any of the contracts which Mr. Mahoney left unfinished show a loss when they are fulfilled by the administrators I will give my personal check to make up for it. John was my friend and I know he would have done the same for my family."

When Judge Ross had finished speaking there were tears in the eyes of many in the court room. Judge Prather said nothing for a moment then rising, he reached over and grasped Judge Ross's hand.

"I am 60 years old," Judge Prather said. "I have read of such men, and heard of them, but you are the first of this type whose hand I ever have had the privilege to grasp."


The funeral of Mr. and Mrs. Mahoney was held on Friday in Kansas City, Kas. The services were held at the home, 616 North Seventh street and conducted by the Rev. Father James Keegan of St. Mary's Catholic church. It was estimated that more than 1,000 persons gathered about the house during the services. The children at Central school, where the younger Mahoney children attended, stood with bowed heads while the funeral cortege passed.

Nellie Mahoney and her sister, Lillian, age 6, were still in St. Mary's hospital and were unable to attend the services. They were, however, told for the first time of the deaths of their parents. The girls were taken from the hospital to their home in a closed carriage last night. Lillian is now able to walk about, and the attending surgeons say she is recovering rapidly. The girls are being attended at their home by a trained nurse. Mr. Mahoney's sister is in charge of the house.

Judge Prather said yesterday that he would visit the Mahoney home tomorrow morning in order that Nellie might sign a bond and qualify as an administrator.

Mr. Mahoney did not leave a will, at least none has been found.

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December 15, 1909


DEC. 7, 1909, THE CHARGE.

Prosecutor and Police Say Benjamin
Franklin Hughes, Held for In-
vestigation, Admits It --
Wife No. 2's Story.
Benjamin F. Hughes, Alleged Bigamist.
(From a sketch at police headquarters last night.)

That he married one woman, with whom he makes his home, twenty-seven years ago, and another, who, until Sunday lived as his wife at the Hotel Kupper, on December 7, 1909, is said by Captain Walter Whitsett of the police department and Norman Woodson, an assistant prosecuting attorney, to have been admitted by Benjamin Franklin Hughes, 124 North Hardesty avenue, in a statement secured from him in the matron's room at police headquarters last night.

Hughes was arrested yesterday on complaint of Valerie W. Wiler, who lives with her mother, Mrs. Cora Westover, and her sister, Clarice Wiler, at 1622 Madison street. To Lieutenant Robert Smith at police headquarters Miss Wiler represented that she had been married to Hughes, who has a wife and family at the Hardesty avenue address, by Probate Judge Van B. Prather in Kansas City, Kas. The ceremony, she said, was performed Tuesday, December 7.

Miss Wiler was under the impression that Hughes had left the city when she notified the police. It was later determined that he was home with Mrs. Hughes. Officer Oliver A. Linsay made the arrest. The man was held in the matron's room last night and will remain there until an investigation is made of the charges against him at 9 o'clock this morning.


Benjamin Hughes is 52 years old, and has lived in Kansas City two years, coming here, Mrs. Hughes said last night, from Glasgow, Mo. He is said to come of an excellent family and has dabbled in politics.

The details of Hughes's statement were not given out last night. It was announced by the prosecutor and Captain Whitsett, however, that he broke down and admitted marrying the Wiler woman in Kansas City, Kas., Tuesday a week ago, giving as his reason that pressure had been brought to bear upon him to unite with the girl.

According to the statement he was married to Mrs. Hughes in Osborn, Mo., April 16, 1882. The ceremony was performed by the Rev. James E. Hughes, pastor of the Baptist church there. Three children, two boys and a girl, were born to them. The oldest son, aged 20, is a clerk in the First National bank. The other son is 16 years old, the girl 11. Few clouds, he declared, darkened his married life until he met the Wiler woman last April. Mrs. Hughes had been congenial, a good, Christian woman whom all respected.


Valerie Wiler last night said she had first met Hughes when she was in the inmate of a home ofr girls at Chillicothe, Mo., under the care of Mrs. E. Carter. She believed the man was a state officer inspecting such public institutions. he seemed to like her at first sight, and came to see her often. Finally he induced her to become his wife.

Leaving Chillicothe, she stated, they went directly to Kansas City, Kas., where she gave her age as 17 years, while Hughes gave his as 45. She produced a certificate on which both names were signed together with that of Judge Van Prather who officiated at the wedding.

After the marriage, she said, the went to the Hotel Kupper where her supposed husband registered ans Frank Hughes and wife. They stayed at the Kupper several days.

"I discovered my mistake last Sunday morning when I was visiting my mother," said Miss Wiler. "She was aware of the attentions paid me by Mr. Hughes and told me that he had a wife and family on Hardesty avenue. I decided to find out if he had deceived me at once.

"Mother, my sister Clarice and I went to the Hughes home about 6 o'clock Sunday evening. We were allowed to enter unannounced, and found the man whom I had supposed to be my husband there surrounded by his family. He was very much frightened, got up quickly, and asked if he could see me alone for a few minutes. I would not listen. It did not take me very long to tell him that what I had to say was to be to his wife as well as to him.


"I said to Mrs. Hughes: 'Madame, I have married this man and have the certificate to prove it. We were married last Tuesday.' Then I threw myself at her feet and begged her forgiveness, telling her it was not my fault, that i knew nothing of any former marriage when I allowed him to lead me into matrimony. She forgave me then and told her husband that he was worse than I was. Later she seemed to take it all back, and when I went again to the ho use with my mother and sister tonight she treated me coldly. She even ordered me out of the house. I guess she is a perfect Christian woman. Anyway I loved her at first sight, and feel deeply sorry for her.

When Hughes was courting me he offered me many inducements to become his wife. He said he had been a member of the legislature and owned property in town and a farm near Cameron, Mo., worth in all about$75,000. He admitted that he had been married once, but added that his wife died eight years ago. 'I never loved her as I love you and we will be a very happy couple if you will have me,' he said once.


"Sunday night when we confronted him before his wife in his own home, he asked to speak with me aside. I refused, and he seemed very much annoyed. Finally he managed to get close enough to my ear to whisper, 'If you will make up with me, honey, we will get out of this town and go to Mexico.' I do not remember replying. The way he treated his wife did not suit me, although he was kindness itself to me from the first."

At the Hughes home last night Mrs. Hughes would not be interviewed about her husband. She was nearly distracted over his arrest, she said. Occasionally as she spoke she hesitated, wrung her ands and repeated passages from the Bible.

"This woman he married is a very wicked woman," she cried out once. "She drew my husband way to her through her evil ways. Lord have mercy on them both and me. My poor children."

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July 13, 1909


Chicagoan Spent Weeks Trying Kan-
sas Document in Missouri.

A man giving his name as David Tillman and his address as Chicago went to the office of Van B. Prather, probate judge of Wyandotte county June 28 and asked for a marriage license for Pazatta Jackson of Richmond, Mo., and himself. The license was granted and he went away smiling. Yesterday he returned to the judge's office accompanied by his fiancee.

"Judge, why didn't you tell me that license wasn't good in Missouri?" he asked. "After I got that license I went to St. Joseph, Mo., to meet the girl and get married. When I got there they wouldn't marry us. I was afraid to get a new license for fear I would be arrested, so I had to wait until I could come back here. And what's more it cost me $8 for car fare."

The judge explained that the license could have been mailed to him or destroyed and no offense committed in getting a new one in Missouri. The judge then married couple.

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March 25, 1909



Rabbi's Daughter Seeks Annulment
of Civil Marriage Because, She
Says, Husband Refused to
Keep Agreement.

Daughter of a rabbi, pretty Anna Stopeck told Judge Slover of the circuit court a story yesterday of how her husband wouldn't wed her, although they were married. Explaining this apparent paradox, she added that, being orthodox, she did not consider herself married until after the Jewish ceremony had been performed.

A civil marriage was performed and the annulment of this is the purpose of the young woman's suit. Her father, Rabbi Samuel J. Shapiro, with whom she lives at 502 Oak street, was with her in court. The case is being contested.

Hyman Stopeck, a tailor at 515 Main street, is the husband. He is about 40 years old, while the girl appears half that age. On the witness stand the wife, telling her story in broken English and with confused idioms, said:
"Mr. Stopeck paid attention to me last spring and summer. He told me he had never been married before, and I liked him. He gave me a diamond ring and on July 30, 1908, at our home, the formal engagement was announced to our friends. It was agreed that there should be a civil and then a Jewish ceremony, my father and all of us being orthodox.

"So on August 4 we went to Kansas City, Kas., and got a marriage license and were wedded. Van B. Prather, judge of the probate court, performed the ceremony. That was about 11 o'clock in the morning.

"After that we returned to my father's home. Mr. Stopeck stayed there for dinner and until 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Then he left. I have not seen h im since August 7, when he came to ask me to return the diamond ring."

"But why did he leave you?" asked Gerston B. Silverman, the wife's attorney.

"Because he asked my father to give him $500 before he would go through the Jewish ceremony. When this was not done, he said:
" 'I'll let her (meaning me) wait for ten years before I'll go through the Jewish ceremony unless I get that $500.' "

Then the girl explained that her belief regarded the Jewish ceremony as essential.

"And was Stopeck ever married?" inquired Mr. Silverman.

"He told me afterwards that he had been married at Rochester, N. Y., and that his wife had secured a divorce from him.

"Why," continued the girl, "he was so attentive before we were engaged. On July 7 he brought me a clipping from a paper. He said: 'Get yourself a hat like this.' "

Here the attorney displayed a two-column portrait of the Princess de Sagan, formerly Anna Gould, wearing a huge Gainsborough.

When court adjouroned for the night it was expected that the trial of the case would occupy all of today.

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December 3, 1908


Jap, Who Is to Marry American Girl,
Has Changed Plans.

George T. Itow, a Japanese, who obtained a license to marry Mattie Rapp, an American girl of Carthage, Mo., returned to the office of Wyandotte County Probate Judge Van B. Prather yesterday afternoon and wanted his money back.

"We have changed our plans," he said. "We thought at first we would go to New York for the ceremony, but now we will be married by Miss Rapp's father in Carthage."

Judge Prather told Itow the money was pay for putting the issuance of the license on record, and that the matter had already gone too far for the court to return his money.
Itow is a traveling salesman and said to be wealthy.

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September 27, 1908


$500 Has Accumulated, but Mary
Carpenter Refuses to Touch It.

Although Mrs. Mary Carpenter of 902 Central avenue, Kansas City, Kas., is entitled to a pension of $12 a month as the widow of a civil war veteran, she has steadfastly refused to sign the vouchers sent her by the national government. Mrs. Carpenter's husband has been dead four years and since that time pension vouchers have accumulated until now she has over $500 owed her by the government.

Yesterday morning Judge Van B. Prather, probate judge of Wyandotte county, appointed the Banking Trust Company of Kansas City, Kas., guardian of the pension money now in the company's vaults and of future payments. Mrs. Carpenter is employed as a cook in a Kansas City, Kas., restaurant, and refuses to give a reason for not taking the money which is coming to her.

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July 22, 1908

So Ike Rodencich Thought, and Took
a Neighbor Into Court.

Ike Rodencich of 427 Ann avenue, Kansas City, Kas., was cited before the juvenile court yesterday and was instructed to bring with him his two sons, Joseph and Mathew. It appears from the complaints filed with Judge Van B. Prather, who presides over the juvenile court, that Mr. Rodencich's boys have been causing much trouble in the neighborhood. When Mr. Rodencich appeared with two boys he was asked if they were his sons, Joe and Mat.

"No, sir," he replied, "this is my boy, Mat, but this other lad belongs to one of my neighbors."

"You were instructed to bring both of your boys here," said Judge Prather.

"Oh, I misunderstood you. I thought you said bring the two boys, and this kid right here has been into as much devilment as either one of my boys."

The hearing was postponed until Mr. Rodencich could produce his other son.

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April 17, 1908



Other Infants in the Hughes Ma-
ternity Home in a Weakly
Condition -- Laws to Regu-
late Such Places.

Measures which might have been employed by the board of health, the county attorney or the probate judge to force a more satisfactory regulation of the U. S. G. Hughes maternity home at 336 Washington avenue, Kansas City, Kas., may be delayed because of the fact that Hughes has sold his institution and is now in doubt as to whether or not he will again attempt to operate another in the city.

Yesterday Juvenile Court Judge Van B. Prather sent a physician to investigate the conditions prevailing at the Hughes institute and to look after the needs of a baby in custody of his court. Dr. Faust, the physician appointed, says he found the conditions at the institution not up to his standard, and, what was of more importance to the juvenile court, the baby had been dead for twenty-four hours. Other children in the maternity home were weakly.

Yesterday afternoon Dr. A. J. Fulton of the board of health asked Dr. J. L. Eager, city physician, to examine the Hughes maternity home and report on the conditions existing there at once to his office. Dr. Eager investigated the home, but made no report last night.

The programme proposed by the county attorney involves taking the matter of regulating and controlling such homes and hospitals before the city council at an early date. This may be done at the next regular meeting of the council next Tuesday night.

Note: The Hughes Maternity Home also figures into the murder trial of Sarah Morash.

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January 23, 1908


From the Hughes Maternity Hospital
on Washington Avenue.

Probate Judge Van B. Prather of Kansas City, Kas., who also presides over the juvenile court, yesterday held a session of his court at the maternity hospital on Washington avenue, conducted by Dr. U. S. G. Hughes. Six babies recently born at the institution were declared wards of the court on the grounds that they were neglected and dependent.

These infants must now be adopted through legal process of the juvenile court Heretofore the babies have been given away without the adoption being made a matter of public record. A short time ago Judge Prather decided that all children born in and offered for adoption at any maternity hospital should first be declared wards of the court, and all adoptions be made legal.

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October 30, 1907


Sixteen-Year-Old Girl Thought She
Could Wed in Kansas.

James C. Upchurch and Lillie Woner, aged 22 and 16 years, respectively, of Lathrop, Mo., called at the office of Probate Judge Van B. Prather in Kansas City, Kas., yesterday morning and informed the magistrate that they wished to be married. When the would-be bride announced her age as 15 years the judge turned in his chair and asked if she had the written consent of her parents.

"I should say not," blushingly replied the girl, "and that's not all, I can't get it."

"Well, I am very sorry, but I cannot marry you under the circumstances," said the judge. "If you had just stretched your age a little, say two years, you would have been marriageable."

The young couple appeared to be much disappointed. Miss Woner stated that she had been told that girls could get married in Kansas at 16 years old, and that was the reason they had come to that state to have the ceremony performed.

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September 6, 1907


Married in Missouri on a License Is-
sued in Kansas.

There is a man and woman somewhere within the confines of Kansas City, Mo., who spent Wednesday night thinking that they were legally husband and wife only to find out yesterday that they were mistaken.

Yesterday, Probate Judge Van B. Prather, of Kansas City, Kas., was called up by phone and asked if a person could get married in Kansas City, Mo., on a license issued in Kansas.

"You positively can not," was the judge's answer.

"Well, I am in a terrible predicament. I've already been married on the one I got from you. It took place last night."

"You had better have the person who performed the ceremony ride over to this side of the line and marry you over."

"Can't do that. We were married by a priest and he can't leave his own parish to perform a marriage ceremony."

Judge Prather then informed the much agitated benedict that he would have to spend $2 more for a Missouri license if he wanted to be married here.

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August 17, 1907


Embrey, the Bridegroom, Was 70, and
the Bride Was 75.

When Isaac Embrey, 70 years old, and Frances C. Brown, aged 75 years, both of Eldorado, Kas., walked into the office of Probate Judge Van B. Prather, Kansas City, Kas., yesterday morning and asked for a marriage license the magistrate, who has so frequently figured in Cupid's romances, looked up over his eyeglasses and smilingly inquired, "This is not an elopement, I trust?"

"No, judge; I will testify that the marriage is with the consent of all concerned," spoke Mrs. J. W. Moberly, of Kansas City, Kas., who is a daughter of Mr. Embrey, adn who had accompanied her aged father to the court house to act as a witness to his second marriage.

After Judge Prather had finished fillinog out the license Mr. Embrey turned to his sweetheart of 75 years, remarking, "I gu ess we might as well have the whole job done now while we are at it." She willingly consented, and the ceremony was performed. Upon leaving the judge's office the bride, with her face smothered with blushes, said she felt more embarrasssment than she did the first time she was led to the altar.

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August 12, 1907


Because Probate Judge Van B. Prather of Wyandotte county refused to grant him a license to wed a white girl named Cleva Stewart, 21 years old, Thomas Sanderson, a negro, 36 years old, says he will seek a writ of mandamus of the circuit court today requiring the judge to issue the license.

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May 19, 1907


Bride Asks Probate Judge to Nullify
Her Second Venture.

Alvin Thorp, 49 years old, and America Mallat, 5 years his junior, called at the office of the probate judge in Kansas City, Kas., last tuesday and were united in the holy bonds of wedlock by Judge Van prather. It was their second venture upon the sea of matrimony and they left the court house as happy as if it was their first flirtation with Cupid.

Yesterday Mrs. Thorpe, the bride of just four days, reappeared before the probate judge and with tears in her eyes begged Judge Prather to undo what he had done Tuesday. She declared that she was greatly disappointed in the man she had chosen for her second husband and desired to be separated from him just as soon as possible.

"He is not my kind of man," said Mrs. Thorpe. "My! I was certainly deceived in him. The next night after our marriage he came home under the influence of liquor and grossly abused me. He brought home with him a small vial containing some kind of dope and when I saw him take some of it I made up my mind right there and then we severed our companionship."

Judge Prather stated taht he was very sorry, but while he had tied the knot it was up to a court of higher jurisdiction to untie it. He referred her to the district court and a divorce suit is promised in the immediate future.

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April 24, 1907


Father Swears She Was Married
When Only 17 Years Old.

"I want to know whether or not Coleman Blanks and Beulah Cannon were ever married in this court?" inquired an angry looking individual of Probate Judge Prather as he entered the latter's office in Kansas City, Kas., yesterday afternoon. The judge made a search of his records and found the couple in question was married on March 30, last.

"How in the name of Sam Tar can a girl get married when she is only 17 years old. She run away to marry this fellow Blanks, and since their marriage they have been living in hiding from me. I am informed that they are living in Rosedale, and I want a warrant issued for the arrest of both of them."

Judge Prather informed the irate father that his daughter had taken an oath that she was 18 years old, and he proceeded to show him his daughter's signature on the license affidavit. He identified the signature as that of his daughter's and announced as he left the office that he would consult a lawyer and then cause a warrant to be issued for both his daughter and son-in-law. Later in the afternoon he appeared with an attorney at the office of the county prosecutor and swore a complaint charging them with perjury.

He gave his name as Rufus Cannon, of 1410 Pacific street, Kansas City, Mo., and declares there is a scheme on foot to get him out of the way in order that his property can be enjoyed by his relatives.

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January 21, 1907


For Some Time Mr. and Mrs. A. G. Adams
Have Been Trying to Secure Them From the Courts

Probate Judge Van B. Prather, who is also judge of the juvenile court in Kansas City, Kas., yesterday ordered that the four children of Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Adams, who were taken away from their parents by Judge Freeman last summer, be returned to them. It was alleged last summer that Adams had deserted his family and that Mrs. Adams was not a fit person to have charge of them. The children, who range in age from 8 to 13 years, were placed in charitable institutions for adoption, and all of them except the eldest child, Daisy, were adopted. Daisy was sent to the Soldiers' Orphan home in Atchison, Kas. and was in court yesterday.

It was proved yesterday that Mrs. Adams is a woman of good character and that Adams did not desert his family. He is now employed at the Swift packing house and went to Fort Worth, Tex., to enter the employ of that company last summer. The Adams family lives in Armourdale.

Last summer Adams went to Texas to work. During his absence, Festus Foster, Humane officer, found the four children in what he claimed was a filthy house in Armourdale, suffering for lack of food, and took them in charge. They were taken before Judge Winfield Freeman, of the juvenile court. Judge Freeman awarded the custody of the children to the Kansas Orphan society at Topeka to be placed in adoption.

October 8 Adams returned from Texas and immediately asked the juvenile court to give him back his children. During the course of the hearing, Adams became very angry and exclaimed: "Freeman, I'll have my children, if I have to get them at a point of a gun!"

After this outbreak Judge Freeman refused to listen to Adams further, and denied his application for the custody of his children.

Yesterday Mr. and Mrs. Adams appeared before the court, and proved to the satisfaction of the judge that they were able and willing to take charge of their children again. Both husband and wife denied that Adams' trip to Texas had been a desertion of the family, saying that he had simply gone there to make a living for them.

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