From the divorce case between Walter E. McDaniels and Anna C. McDaniels, Knox County [TN] Fourth Circuit Court, filed July 1926
HIM: “Plaintiff met defendant in Philadelphia while stationed there and defendant became seemingly, and very sincerely in love or infatuated with plaintiff. Shortly after meeting defendant at Philadelphia, he was transferred to Norfolk, VA, his home station, and defendant, without the knowledge of plaintiff, followed him to Norfolk.
“Plaintiff was not in love with defendant, to the extent of considering a marriage with defendant, as defendant was of a foreign nativity to wit; an Italian, but she was so persistent in her intercessions to induce plaintiff to marry her, that plaintiff in a moment of weakness, he consummated the contract and married her, though sincerely and truthfully plaintiff was not in love with defendant, but after he had married her he determined to treat her right and perhaps would learn to love her, and brought her home to Knoxville, TN and after plaintiff brought her home to his mother’s home where he had always lived with his mother, sisters and bros.
“Soon after he brought her home, she began to exhibit that defiant spirit, as dictatorial as old man Musselino himself; she became a demon and devil incarnate, and without any just excuse or case, she made the life of not only the plaintiff, but all the family a hell on earth and kept the entire family in a constant uproar all the time, and never spoke a kind word all the time, and she became so violent, that she assaulted plaintiff every time he came into the home.
“Defendant believed in ruling by brute force, and demonstrated her belief by often assaulting plaintiff, without any just excuse or case. Plaintiff has had to leave home on various occasions in order to prevent defendant from doing him great bodily harm, threatening to kill him and has chased him on the streets when she would fly into a fit of anger, and he believes that she would have killed him if he had not gotten away from her.
“On more occasions than one, she threatened to poison him, and on one occasion she threw a knife at him, and stuck the knife in his leg. And said she intended to kill him, and said that if she did not get to poison him she would stab him through the heart, when he was asleep.
“Plaintiff knew that she meant to kill him or do him some great bodily harm, and was forced to leave home, her conduct was so cruel and inhuman toward him, that it is not safe to long cohabit with her and be under her dominion and control. Plaintiff was forced to again enlist in the US Navy to protect himself.
“She shows plainly that she is an Italian, is possessed of a wicked and malignant heart and that she is fatally bent on mischief, and is unforgiving like most of foreigners.”
HER: “It is true that she and the plaintiff were married in North Carolina in December 1924, and that they came to Knoxville to live in February 1925, at which time the defendant came to the home of the plaintiff’s parents where she lived until conditions became intolerable there.
“At the time she came to the home of her Mother-in-law she had been in Norfolk, VA and at that time the plaintiff transferred from land duty to sea duty as a sailor in the Navy and went to sea, leaving the defendant in destitute circumstances and taking the last money from here that she had, and left this defendant absolutely penniless.
“This defendant’s Mother-in-law, who is Mrs. Estella McDaniel of Knoxville, sent this defendant the sum of twenty dollars to come to her home in Knoxville and out of this sum, the defendant paid her room rent and board bill in Norfolk and came to Knoxville on the balance. It is true that the plaintiff and this defendant met in Philadelphia, the plaintiff then being a sailor in the US Navy.
“This defendant is amused at the plaintiff’s charges that he was not in love with her and that she was in love or infatuated with him and made violent love to him and inveigled or induced him in a moment of weakness to marry her. These charges are absolutely false and untrue.
“As a matter of fact, this defendant at that time was but an eighteen year old girl, and the plaintiff was a man six years older than herself and as he says in his bill, a man schooled in the ways of the world, having sailed the seven seas and well able to take care of himself, being a man of average intelligence.
“These charges in his bill are a reflection upon himself rather than upon this defendant, but the defendant deems it proper to state the facts because said charges as well as all other charges in his bill are wicked and untrue. Walter E. McDaniels took the initiative in this courtship, and was a most persistent and effective lover, and proposed marriage and urged the same for a long time before this defendant consented thereto.
“She did go to Norfolk VA after he had transferred to that point from Philadelphia, but went at his insistence and request and at his expense, he coming from Norfolk to Philadelphia to get her, and took her back to Norfolk with him.
“Plaintiff says he was never in love with this defendant; if that is true he married her under the grossest misrepresentation because she was in love with him at that time, her affections having been won by his persistent favors and attentions and promises, and the only consideration of this marriage was that of what she deemed an honorable love.”
Source: Volunteer Voices/Digital Library Center/University of Tennessee/Knox County Archives/ Knox County Fourth Circuit Court/http://idserver.utk.edu/?id=200700000001595/