Frederick and May – Divorce Trial #3
May and the 14 Affinities Testify
Mary’s defense in the divorce was to have 14 “affinities” testify in her behalf and offset the testimony of her maid, Agnes Oberg, her chauffeur, Harry Jackson and two Private Detectives. The fourteen included an automobile race car driver, a horse racing enthusiast, a city hall employee, a Frenchman, a city detective, and others with undisclosed occupations.
Letters written by Mary E. Roach were produced in the divorce trial. In them she had asked men for money.
In one to Tim Murphy, she stated that she would “paint her husband pretty black if she failed to collect $15,000 or $18,000 from his father, John M. Roach, president of the Chicago Railways company.”
May testifies. She speaks in a barely audible tone during a severe cross-examination. She told the court, how Freddie had left her at the Beelback hotel in Louisville without enough money to get back to Chicago.
“How did you leave Louisville?” asked Kirkland.
“By automobile.” May answered in an almost whisper.
“With whom?” asked Kirkland.
“Who is Tim Murphy?”
“An old friend of my husband’s.”
“Did you occupy the same hotel room in Indianapolis?”
“No, Mr. Murphy slept in room 220 and I in 222.”
May was then allowed to rest while three of her fourteen “affinities” were called to the stand.
William P. Conely, the president of Puritan Oil was the first called. Mr. Conely testified at some length about his friendship with May. Kirkland then asked that the Conley be dismissed, and his entire testimony stricken from the record since he had been sitting in the court room during much of the prior testimony. Judge McDonald upheld the motion and Conely left.
H.N. Waterfall, a ticket broker was called next. After a short examination by Brady, Kirkland put Waterfall through a grueling cross-examination. Most of the cross consisted of questions about a little party that May gave at her home. Waterfall admitted to calling on May several times when she was sick in bed and being in her room with her. Kirkland asked him if he was nervous about the Private Investigators that John Roach had hired and Waterfall responded, “No, I have never done anything out of the way.” At which point the courtroom burst into laughter. Kirkland then asked Waterfall if he didn’t consider May giving him her husband’s pajamas, suit and suitcase wasn’t out of the way.
Julius Fisher was the next “affinity” called. After a short conversation about a dinner party at May’s apartment he was dismissed, and May was recalled to the stand.
May look pale and was holding a bottle of smelling salts in her hand as she retook the stand. Kirkland then handed her two letters that she had written to Dave Henry. Kirkland then read the letters to the jury.
The first one: “Dear Dave: I am running short on meal ticket: please, send me one.”
The second: “If I don’t get a settlement or some money, it will be back to the laundry for me. May.”
May then testified that she and Freddie had been separated and he had followed her to the West Coast, San Francisco, specifically where they were remarried. She then stated that 5 days after their re-marriage Freddie had started drinking again and continued to this day in that condition.
May’s testimony during cross-examination continued. She denied all charges of misconduct that her husband’s witnesses had brought up.
In reply to one of Kirkland’s questions she responded, “Mr. Roach was nearly always pickled. Every time he got drunk, he walloped me.”
When asked about the testimony of the Chauffeur that she was drinking whiskey and syrup on the trip with Murphy to Indianapolis she responded, “I had a cold, that was why I drank it.”
She also testified that while in Louisville, she won $150 on the races from a tip that she received from a man named Shure. She further testified that she and her husband’s annual expenses were about $20,000.00 which in today’s money would be about $550,000.00.