Archive for Saturday, April 13, 2013

100 years ago: Custody battle plays out in Lawrence courtroom

April 13, 2013


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for April 13, 1913:

  • "Helen Beulah Pinney, six years old, sat through the session of the Probate Court yesterday, awed by the presence of so many men, who talked of laws and courts, demurrers, motions, and used such words and expressions as little Helen had never heard of before. Strange things were happening all about her, and she sat and listened unconscious of the fact that she was innocent cause of all of this. Two relatives are warring in the courts for the possession of the little girl. On one side is the father, a man whom Helen does not know very well, although he is her parent. He is seeking to have the court restore his little daughter to him. Opposing him is Helen's uncle and her uncle's family. They have been parents to Helen for some time, since the death of her mother. They want to keep her in their home, raise her and care for her until she is a woman. They are asking the court not to take little Helen away from them. But it is all strange to her.... The case is one that has been attracting considerable attention.... It is a question of whether the relatives have a right to keep the child away from its parent. It is the allegation of the Uncle that the father is incapable of properly caring for the child. If this charge has been proven the court can, under the laws of the state of Kansas, refuse the father to custody of the child. The decision of the judge will be anxiously awaited by the relatives interested, while little Helen plays about the house of her uncle, the innocent and unconscious object of a bitter family conflict."
  • "Perhaps the highest compliment a foreign university ever paid a school of the size of Kansas University was realized here today with the arrival of Thomas Lloyd Humerstone, one of the secretaries of the University of London at London, England. Mr. Humerstone comes to study the methods of industrial research as initiated and developed by Dr. Robert Kennedy Duncan at Kansas University and the University of Pittsburg. And it is a handsome compliment to Dr. Duncan, whose work along the lines of industrial research has become known all over the United States. The Old World is bowing to him and asking him to explain to it the system and methods which he is employing in bringing about such wonderful results in the great world of industry."
  • "The Nickel Theater owners of the city believing that they have a grievance against the city have employed an attorney and are seeking to have the city license fee reduced from $100 per year to $50 per year. The attorney Walter Thiel appeared before the council last night and urged the council to reconsider its recent action when it refused to reduce this fee. The Motion Picture Theater owners are unable to make a profit on their business as a result of the fee, stated Mr. Thiel to the council. The high cost of living seems to work a hardship upon the motion picture owner as well as other individuals."


Xwards 5 years, 1 month ago

For the outcome of the Pinney case, see 91 Kan. 407 (1914).

Kate Rogge 5 years, 1 month ago

From the Washington and Lee Law Review, 1962: "There is authority which holds that custody does not automatically vest in the surviving parent, but that the court which granted the divorce retains jurisdictions notwithstanding the fact that the surviving parent may or may not have possession of the child after the death of the parental custodian. " Pinney v. Sulzen, 91 Kan. 407 (1914). The divorced father was granted custody by the Kansas court in this case. The court had jurisdiction because it had determined the original divorce case that had granted custody of the child to the now deceased mother.

Charles Fogarty 5 years, 1 month ago

I wonder how she turned out. Was her father better than her uncle said he was, or was the court fooled?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

"I wonder how she turned out. "

By now? Probably deceased.

verity 5 years, 1 month ago

I too would like to know how this worked out for the little girl---that would be a great human interest story, LJW.

Custody fights are always problematic and often not worked out for the best interests of the child/ren.

Xwards 5 years, 1 month ago

Her Uncle is buried in St. Peter's cemetery in Big Springs and her Aunt is buried in Maple Grove cemetery west of Lecompton. The Uncle ended up re-marrying and having a brood of his own. I haven't figured out what ever happened to the little girl after going back to her father.

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