Tuesday, June 18, 2019

"A Mother's Love ..... or Something Else" by Peter E. Small: Part VI

Genea-Musings reader Peter E. Small solved a family genealogical mystery and wrote a report about it, and I offered to publish his work on my blog.

This will be a multi-part series posted over several weeks - probably on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Earlier parts were published in:

*  Prologue:  https://www.geneamusings.com/2019/05/a-mothers-love-or-something-else-by.html
*  Part I:  https://www.geneamusings.com/2019/05/a-mothers-love-or-something-else-by_30.html
*  Part II:  https://www.geneamusings.com/2019/06/a-mothers-love-or-something-else-by.html
*  Part III: https://www.geneamusings.com/2019/06/a-mothers-love-or-something-else-by_6.html

*  Part IV:  https://www.geneamusings.com/2019/06/a-mothers-love-or-something-else-by_11.html

*  Part V:  https://www.geneamusings.com/2019/06/a-mothers-love-or-something-else-by_13.html


A Mother’s Love…..or something else?
 A True Genealogical Mystery Solved

 Copyright © 2019 Peter E. Small, All Rights Reserved

I sent the club a wire stating, Please accept my resignation. I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member. – Groucho Marx

Paul Clifford Dormitzer was born into a family, of German descent, in 1869 that ran a tobacco business in St. Louis, Missouri in 1869.

In the 1892 and 1893 Spokane, Washington City Directories he is reported to be employed as an Agent and then simply “Cigars/Tobacco.”

Then on 23 February 1894 “The Seattle Post-Intelligencer” ran a full column story entitled “Love Laughs Again” with a sub-title “It Foiled Stern Parents and Made Two Hearts One”. Young Master Dormitzer 25 had managed to make the acquaintance of one Dorothy May Tull 17. She was the daughter of an ex-State Senator from Spokane. The parents were so against the relationship they sent Dorothy to a seminary in Virginia to keep them apart. Undaunted, our future lawyer and Master conniver convinced Dorothy to elope to Rathdrum, Idaho where they were married. The article also included an interesting sentence that began “For several reasons young Dormitzer could not obtain a marriage license in Spokane…” In 1896 they had a son Earl K. Dormitzer.

The 1900 Census of Chicago, Illinois has Paul C. as a resident. He is 31, divorced and a lawyer.

In 1904 there is an entry in the Vancouver, Canada Marriage Index 1872-1924. Paul C. Dormitzer
married Alice Dora Daniels on January 19th.

As previously stated, on 24 November 1905 Paul C. and Carrie A. Mason are the proud parents of a son, Paul C. (Clifford) Dormitzer.

Two listings appear in Polk’s Seattle Directory for 1907: 

*  Dormitzer Mrs. Carrie A propr. The Clyde h 1315 6th ave.

*  Dormitzer Paul C, attorney-at-law 426 Pioneer Bldg, r Hotel Federal.  

Carrie uses the title Mrs., but they do not appear to be living together.

The 1910 Census of San Francisco, California enumerated Paul C. and a woman named Sadie. He is 39 she is 33. They have both been married twice and at the time of this census they had been married to each other three years. Sadie has never had children.

His last venture into the matrimonial arena may have been on 22 May 1919 when he married one
Gertrude Barrick in Portland, Oregon. Paul C. and Gertrude appear, as husband and wife, in both the 1921 and 1926 Portland, Oregon City Directory. The 1920 Census of Portland, Oregon shows Paul C. age 50 and Gertrude age 22.

During his sterling legal career Paul C. appears in many Seattle, Washington newspaper advertisements as a divorce lawyer. Could he have represented Carrie A. Mason in her divorce proceedings from Wallace B. Smith? And after the final decree did he take advantage of her vulnerable situation?

Other newspapers through the years reported on the many transgressions of Paul C.. He was cited for
reckless driving. A judge threw him out of his court room for showing up drunk. He was reported to have past bad checks in several states. He was arrested for stealing money from his business partner. More than a few clients were bilked out of money under false pretenses by our Shyster Paul C. He actually stood trial on two separate occasions, but was found not guilty, inexplicably, by juries. His defense, at one of the trials, was that he was drunk when the offense was committed.

There is a transcript of an FBI investigation into Paul C. Dormitzer dated 1918 in Portland, Oregon. The investigation was initiated as part of disbarment proceedings against him. More than ten people are mentioned in the investigative report and they all, for the most part, considered Paul C. “a crook.” An attorney who had shared office space with Paul C. told the agent a Mrs Macond, whose husband was serving a life sentence for murder, was Dormitzer’s concubine. Further, they had a falling out and she would probably be able to give the agent a good account of Dormitzer. Mrs Macond told the agent Dormitzer had purchased two drinks of whiskey for 50 cents from one Lulu Costello, contrary to the law. The Eighteenth Amendment or Prohibition was not ratified until 1919. Perhaps the state of Oregon had “dry laws” which preceded Federal law.

He was eventually disbarred in California, Washington and Oregon.

In 1927 Paul C. is reportedly serving time in the Coos Penitentiary, Oregon as Inmate #9913. The 21
February 1928 issue of the Oregonian newspaper reported that P.C. Dormitzer’s parole ends.

In a genealogical sense, Paul Clifford Dormitzer ceased to exist after 1928. A record of his death has not materialized and he was not, to the best of my knowledge, enumerated in the 1930 or 1940 Census.


Randy's NOTE:  Stay tuned for the next installment of this multi-chapter report.  I will add all of the chapters to this post, and the other chapter posts, as they are published. The chapters to date are:

My thanks to Peter for sharing this mystery and its' solution with me and the Genea-Musings readers.

The URL for this post is:  https://www.geneamusings.com/2019/06/a-mothers-love-or-something-else-by_18.html

Copyright (c) 2019, Peter E. Small

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Linda Freeto said...

This is an amazing story and genealogical research project. How Mr. Peter Small kept the story straight and is able to move forward is a major feat in itself. Thank you, Mr. Small, for sharing your project with us. And thank you, Randy, for posting the story on your Genea-Musings.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the kind words Linda. The hard part was not giving away the surprise ending!