‘Law’s Cruel Hand Takes the Bride’: an incident in Hoboken, 1893
I’ve been reading a lot of old US newspapers online in the course of my research recently. They are fascinating: I particularly love the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America site, which has a wide range of digitized newspapers dating from 1836 to 1922 in searchable, downloadable PDF form, free. I’ve found tons of useful things there, as well as at GenealogyBank (a paid site) and in the New York Times archive (mixture of free and paid).
I keep spotting all kinds of interesting stuff in passing. This New York Herald article from 8 March 1893 came up as a false positive on a search I was doing for Hoboken, NJ weddings in that year. I am easily distracted, so I ended up reading the whole thing and then searching for more information, even though the people concerned were in no way connected to my family. I was completely drawn in by the poetically embellished story of brave, stoical Agnes with her rosy cheeks, her manly young fruit-growing suitor, and her firm Scottish father in thrall to Agnes’s wicked young stepmother.
I was able to find Agnes and Frederick in US census records from 1900 to 1930, living in Hempstead, Nassau County, New York with their family. (Their surname, Kosel, was sometimes mistranscribed as Rosel.) Frederick is consistently listed as a farmer, so it looks like he stuck with the family fruit-growing business mentioned above. They had several children, the eldest of whom was a daughter also named Agnes, born the year after the wedding.
Of Agnes’s early life, all I can say with semi-certainty is that she seems to have come to America in around 1880 from Canada, where she was born c.1874 to Scottish parents. We’re told her father’s name, James Mills, in the article, but that’s a common name, and I’ve not gone so far as to pin the family down in records predating their residence in Hoboken. The US census from 1890 is mostly missing, destroyed in a fire in 1921.