On August 15, we’ll be hosting an open house at the home Nels and Emma built in 1887. It made the National Register of Historic Places last year. More details on that are available here.
In honor of Sesquicentennial Plus One, I’m devoting the Speaking of Idaho blog to my family’s history during August.
The Bennetts stayed in Helena until October of 1868. George found a good job working in a livery in Deer Lodge, Montana, so they moved there. He had a little money to spend, and he spent most of it on drink, often ignoring his now pregnant wife. One night he stole money and a horse from his employer and rode away. He was soon overtaken and brought back to jail.
Emma moved in with a Catholic family who, despite their religious beliefs, encouraged her to get a divorce. She agonized over the decision.
The last word we have from George Bennett is a letter he wrote to Emma in April, 1869. He had proven himself a scoundrel of the first order, but I can’t help feeling a little sorry for him when I see that beautiful, precise handwriting when he says, “Oh, Emma, Do not cast me from your heart forever. I know I have been wicked. Very wicked and abused you wrongfully, but I pray of you to forgive everything. Let the past be buried in oblivion and think only of the future.”
She did keep him in her heart. But she did not forgive him. They were divorced a month later.
In tomorrow’s post, Emma returns to Idaho for good.