Strange Times 105: Charges of Bigamy

Strange Times is a newsletter that explores the weirdest news of 1921, one day at a time.

Thrilling news! My Westside, is now available in paperback! If you haven’t treated yourself to this thrilling supernatural mystery, which was the original inspiration for this newsletter, grab a copy today.

Today brings entrapment on Reade Street and big big bigamy in New Jersey. Take a highly illegal drink on…

April 15, 1921

  • Further investigation into the Williams “death farm” has raised the number of murders ordered by the convicted plantation owner to eighteen.

  • After sleeping continuously for five weeks, a Massachusetts girl spends six hours awake, prompting hope for a full recovery.

  • The Weather: Showers today; Saturday, rain and colder; strong south and southwest winds.

Although I would never suggest that all cops are jerks, I think it is fair to say that in this story at least, Carl Zipf was being a jerk.

To attempt to revive a sick or dying man by getting a drink of whisky for him is a crime meriting imprisonment of not more than five years, according to one of the rulings in the Magistrates’ Courts yesterday.

“I’m awful sick,” said Policeman Carl Zipf of the Beach Street Station, a plain clothesman, collapsing in front of what was formerly a licensed saloon at 135 Reade Street.

“There’s a dying man outside,” exclaimed Leo Busch, a porter, 31 years old, of 83 Thomas Street, dashing inside. He returned with a glass of whisky and applied it to the lips of Zipf.

“You’re under arrest,” exclaimed that object of compassion, leaping to his feet and seizing Busch.

In the Tombs Court Policeman Zipf said:

“I only asked for milk, and he gave me whisky.”

Busch denied that milk had been mentioned. Magistrate Simpson said that it seemed very improbable that whisky should have been provided for a man who only asked for milk. Though taking a sympathetic view of the case of the humane porter, Magistrate Simpson said there could be no question that his act was forbidden by the new laws. He was held for the Grand Jury in bail of $500.

This is a lengthy follow-up to an item mentioned in last week’s issue, about the Wall Street broker who brought home a new wife wto live with his family and the media circus that ensued.

As the result of Herbert Thornton Andrews’s effort to introduce Levantine family ideas into the Bergen section of Jersey City, the Wall Street broker today faces jail, a divorce suit and the proceedings to dispossess him of the six-room apartment in The Rensselaer, 2848 Hudson Boulevard, where he and the two Mrs. Andrews have lived for almost three months.

Late last night, after the departure of wife No. 2 and the broker, policemen were called to the Andrews apartment by tenants in the building who reported a strong odor of ether. Lieutenant Halsey van Horn of the West Montgomery Street Station, accompanied by three detectives, hurried to the apartment.

The Lieutenant knocked on the door, and, failing to get a response, the policemen put their shoulders against it, snapping a chain and smashing a lock. Inside they found the first Mrs. Andrews, pale and frightened and clad in a nightgown. She came out of a front room and demanded to know the meaning of the visit. She was told of the report of ether and denied that any drug had been used in her home.

Weeping quietly, she said her husband had left without even a good-bye, but that, however worried she might be, the thought of suicide “is not in my mind, for I have my two boys to take care of.”

Last night Mrs. Maude Augusta Haynes Andrews, forty-two years old, married to Andrews nine years ago in Portland, Me., and supplanted by Mrs. Esther Marie Tatnall Andrews, twenty-five years old, took action herself.

Fortified by instructions of her lawyer, she ousted her husband and the rival wife. Carrying two suit cases, Andrews and the former stenographer from Pittsburgh quit the Hudson Boulevard neighborhood for Newark, leaving the first wife in the apartment with her two sons, John, eight years old, and Harley, six, the latter a cripple.

The fact that the broker might go to jail because of the triangle formed when he married Miss Esther Marie Tatnall in Greenwich, Conn., on Jan. 21 last was disclosed by former Judge James F. Walsh, Prosecuting Attorney of Greenwich, who announced that he had issued a warrant for the arrest of Andrews on charges of bigamy and perjury. He added that he would move for immediate extradition.

Early yesterday it appeared that the singular domestic arrangement which had prevailed in the Andrews home since last January would be continued. It was during that month that Andrews had returned home and announced that he had taken a second wife, who was to share the apartment with the first.

Take Refuge in Apartment

After he had admitted his double marriage and had promised that he would be able “to explain everything satisfactorily,” Andrews, the two women and the children practically barred themselves in the apartment yesterday. Newspaper men and a throng of curious persons kept watch outside, but Andrews refused to see any one or to answer the telephone.

Shortly after 1 o’clock he hurried out of the house and, turning aside questioners, hurried off for Manhattan.

“I’m going to see my attorney, J.J. Lazaroe of 25 West Forty-third Street,” he snapped, “and if there’s anything to give out he’ll do it at 3:30 o’clock.”

While inquiry at Mr. Lazaroe’s office was establishing the fact that the lawyer was “out of town” and did not expect to discuss the Andrews case in any way, the broker reappeared and went up to his apartment. He had lost some of his brusqueness, but smilingly refused to talk.

Immediately afterward, William Cahill of Michel & Moore, a real estate operator at 203 Sip Avenue, Jersey City, owner of the apartment house, showed up. He came to tell his tenants that he had decided to ask the Andrewses to “get out.” Cahill went up to the Andrews apartment on the second floor and began to knock. The only response was the strains of a phonograph playing a jazz record, and he finally went away, announcing that dispossess proceedings would be started this morning.

Then ensued a period of further inaction—the two wives, the husband and the children continuing their occupancy of the apartment despite the crowds and the buzzing gossip of the neighborhood. Now and then Andrews, in his shirt sleeves, would approach a window and, smoking a cigarette, gaze down on the crowd.

Occasionally little John Andrews would put his head out of a window and gaze at the throng. Nobody in the household, said other tenants, appeared to be upset in any way by the revelations.

About 3 o’clock a closed automobile arrived in front of the Renssalaer with a broker friend of Andrews at the wheel. John Andrews dashed out of the house and to the car, holding the door of the auto open. A wait, while the photographers got “set,” then Mrs. Esther Marie Tatnall Andrews came running out.

The short, slender, girlish rival wife outmaneuvered the picture men. She had her face completely hidden back of a big shawl and the moment that she got into the machine she pulled down the curtains and got away.

“Just a little ride to get the air,” was the explanation offered for the trip.

Although Mrs. Maude Augusta Haynes Andrews once more was alone with the husband she calls “Daddy,” she did not long remain at home. Directly after the departure of the second wife, another machine appeared and the wife whom Andrews married in Portland was off on a trip of her own.

The first Mrs. Andrews proceeded to an attorney’s office, where she began divorce proceedings. Although she refused comment, a statement issued by the prosecutor’s office hinted at legal action to be taken against Mr. Andrews:

“My attention has been called to the case,” said [Prosecutor Pierre P.] Garven, “and if Andrews has married two women he is guilty of bigamy. If he lived with a woman as man and wife without ceremony and has married another, he also is guilty of bigamy. I don’t know whether I can take action in this case.

“If Andrews was married in Connecticut the charge of bigamy is out of our jurisdiction and Andrews cannot be prosecuted on such a charge. One thing is certain: If evidence is brought to me indicating that he has violated any of the New Jersey laws governing relationships of this sort I will take up the case and prosecute.”

Much more detail follows, the most interesting points being that the second Mrs. Andrews was introduced to the landlord as a family cousin, that Mr. Andrews claims his first marriage was invalid because he was strong-armed into it, and promises from the Connecticut legislature to close loopholes in that state’s bigamy laws that threaten to make prosecuting Mr. Andrews impossible.

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