After arriving at Ellis Island in 1908, and living for a time in Buffalo, NY, John Koroschetz eventually made his way to Chicago. I know very little of what he did in the six years between 1908 and 1914, but I presume he worked as a machinist or tool and die maker. Here’s one of his business cards, but I’m not sure of the year.
In 1914, he made two life-changing decisions: In April he took the first steps to obtain a divorce from his wife who still resided in Austria.
This page of the divorce decree states that John published, in a newspaper, his intention to file for divorce, as is required by law. He published on April 2 and April 23, 1914. I’m not sure where he published, perhaps in Chicago, perhaps in an Austrian paper, though the latter is unlikely. The idea is that the party being sued for divorce, the defendant, in this case, John’s wife, Carolina, is made aware of the lawsuit.
On July 8th his petition for divorce was presented in court, and the divorce was finalized on July 10, 1914.
The reason for the divorce can be seen in the middle of this page. It notes Carolina and John were “lawfully joined in marriage on June 21, 1896, in Schwechat, Austria, about 5 miles southeast of Vienna.
In the detail above, you can see that printed right on the form, are several possible reasons for divorce (perhaps these were the only valid reasons at the time). Each INAPPLICABLE reason is crossed out (see above).
“The defendant [Carolina Koroschetz]
...has committed adultery (Nope-CROSSED OUT)
…has been guilty of extreme and repeated cruelty toward the complainant (CROSSED OUT)
…Has been guilty of habitual drunkenness for the space of two successive years prior to the filing of the bill in this cause (NO-CROSSED OUT)
has willfully deserted, and absented herself from the complainant without any reasonable cause for the space of over two years immediately prior to the filing of the bill in this cause. THIS IS THE ONE.
John left for America in 1908. Had his wife deserted him before he left, taking all their children with her, and who were those children? They’re not mentioned in the divorce decree.
Nothing is impossible, but I find it hard to believe that John would have been the one to do the deserting. I know my mother adored her father, and he was completely devoted to her, dropping everything to rescue her when her car broke down, crying when she brought home her perfect report cards. I find it difficult to believe that a man who showed such loyalty to the daughter of his second marriage would have abandoned his four children from his first marriage.
A bold and stern warning is written on the back of the page shown above, in bright red type so you can’t miss i
Four months after the divorce,in November of 1914, John Koroschetz took another life-changing step: he applied for U.S. citizenship, and on his naturalization form, we learned the names and ages of his Austrian children—and a different possible name for his first wife.