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West, Peter

PENSION APPLICANT MARRIED TEN TIMES

Single But Twelve Days At One Spell.

GIVEN A DIVORCE EIGHT TIMES

Peter West of Pendleton, Oregon, in recounting his Remarkable Martial Career Admits That he Has Only Four Children to Show for It.

WASHINGTON, June 3.--The statement of Peter West of Pendleton, Or., in his application for a pension that he had been married ten times and divorced from eight of his wives, makes the case so unique that it has been rushed into the hands of Commissioner Ware, and because of the fact that the commissioner and West served in the same company during the Civil war, the Seventh Iowa cavalry, the former is taking a double interest in the matter.

Commissioner Ware was at first inclined to believe West a Mormon, but when he read of the unprecedented divorce record he changed his opinion.

"Anyhow," he said," Peter West is the most married and most divorced man in the United States, but he may be a long ways from getting a pension."

He says the West's matrimonial career smashes the record in that particular field is saying a good deal, as the files testify to same extraordinary cases of marriage and divorce among applicants for pensions, but nevertheless the Oregon man stands fast. The statement of West that he has been married ten times was scarcely credited by the clerk who examined the papers, and the case was so extraordinary in that particular that it was brought to the notice of the commissioner.

Last Married in Oregon

In addition to the large list of questions put to the aplicant[sic] as to his marriage relations, Mr. West gave the places and dates of his marriages, and wherefore of the sunderings of the ties which did not bind in his case. After living with nine wives in various sections of the country, nine of various inclinations and temperaments, he wooed and won a widow, Pauline Miller. That at last he found domestic tranquility is attested by the statement that No. 10 is still his wife. What became of the other nine? Eight of them were divorced and one died after two years of wedlock. Here is a copy of West's own statement to the Pension Office in regard to his many marriages:

Eliza Hubbard, married in Waterloo, Ia.; divorced there in 1868.

Bertha Meirs, married December 7, 1868, in Independence, Ia.; divorced in Waverly, Ia., in 1873.

Emma Dixon, married in Sacramento, Cal. October 12, 1875; divorced January 18, 1879, in Iowa City, Ia.

Elizabeth Bray, married July 4, 1879, in Winnemucca, Nev.; divorced December 19, 1881, at the same place.

Frances Westfall, married August, 1882, at Rye Patch, Nev.; divorced June 10, 1885, at Winnemucca, Nev.

Mary Pendleton, married November 24, 1886, Oakland, Cal.; divorced December 19, 1890, at Reno, Nev.

Lucy E. Johnson, married December 31, 1800, in Reno, Nev.; divorced February 13, 1896. at Pendleton, Ore.

Helinda E. Hanley, married July 2, 1897, at Pendleton, Ore.; died May 17, 1898, at the same place.

Laura F. Burget, married August, 1898, at Pendleton, Ore.; divorced April 4, 1890.

Pauline Miller, married October 23, 1899, at Pendleton, Ore.

Has But Four Children

West has but four children, and none of them, were he to die today, would secure orphan's pensions, all being over 16 years of age. Commissioner Ware, in going over the papers, remarked that his old comrade had not contributed a great deal toward demolishing the race-suicide theory.

The secret of West's success in wooing and winning his wives does not appear but from the record of the dates indicate that no sooner was he single than he again contemplated matrimony. In one instance but twelve days elapsed from the time he was divorced until he was married.

He now suffers from diabetes and rheumatism and urges these ailments as reasons why he should have a pension.

It was at Waterloo, Ia., that West enlisted in Commissioner Ware's company. He was mustered out after a year's service. West was born in Prussia, 63 years ago, and was 28 years old when he married his first wive. He started out in life as a lawyer and a farmer.

Port Townsend Daily Leader, Port Townsend, WA 1 Jun 1905



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