Frederick and Mary Roach

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Frederick and Mary Roach

Frederick Lyon Roach and Mary E. Roach were married three times, divorced 3 times – 2 finalized, and went through scandalous trials.  Here’s their story!

Freddie’s first marriage – Not to Mary

Frederick was married once before he and Mary started their marriage binge.  This story is somewhat confusing because both of Freddie’s wives went by the name May.  Freddie’s first wife was May Marguerite Magee, Freddie and May met in grammar school and became High School sweethearts.  Freddie was a high school athlete and May cheered him on.  A year after high school graduation they announced their engagement.  May and Frederick are married on January 26, 1897.  The ceremony was performed at 7:30 pm at the Church of Our Savior in Chicago.  The bride wore a gown of corded white silk, the bodice veiled tulle and cut décolleté, a tulle veil and carried bride’s roses.  The bridesmaids wore white silk covered with white tulle and the maid of honor wore pink silk covered with white tulle.  After the ceremony, a reception was held at the home of the bride’s parents. When the couple returns from their wedding trip to New York and Florida, they will be “at home” the first and third Thursdays in March.  The wedding was also attended by Emma Simpson’s mother, Eliza Spackman and her sister Mrs. Mott. 

John Roach, Freddie’s father, was the President of Union Traction company, later Chicago Railways Company which controlled all the street cars in the North and West side of Chicago.  He was instrumental in building Chicago’s El.  Because of this, Freddie and May were often written up in the Society columns of the Chicago papers. 

One example was a fancy-dress ball that May gave.  Quoting from the Inter Ocean Newspaper, “The fancy-dress ball has been planned by Mrs. Roach whose charms of person and manner delight her friends in equal proportion, in the form of a leave taking as she and her husband are going to Canada for a long stay.  It is hard to imagine a jollier or more brilliant goodbye.  The invitations have been limited to 100.  With artistic costuming that number should be quite enough… Fancy dress balls are rare.  I’m sure that this will be one to dream about.”

The Fancy-Dress Ball was held.  Only the elite were there. May dressed as a gypsy and Freddie as a cavalier of the Middle Ages.  Mary’s mother dressed as a Colonial Dame.  Many of the other costumes were described including women importing gorgeous silk robes from Japan, men dressing as women, along with plenty of nymphs, dairy maids, knights in armor, courtiers of the French court, and pink and white Dresden china shepherdesses.

All seemed well in the marriage until September 3, 1904. 

In a secret hearing 20 minutes after May Magee Roach had filed, she received a divorce from Freddie.  The grounds for the divorce were desertion, Mary Rutherford (May) was named as co-respondent. It was alleged that Freddie had met May at Miller’s Roadhouse on September 3, and that he was with her for many days. May had hired Private Detectives to prove the charges.  May is said to have received a substantial settlement and alimony even though the terms were not disclosed.  Their son John Millard Roach, age 6., was given into the custody of his grandfather, John M. Roach, Mary is to have visitation every other Saturday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.

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