Melvin and Julia married on 20 December 1890[i] and quickly annoyed their neighbors. April of 1891 the young couple found themselves in hot water with some of the town residents. Austin Lisk and Glen G. Woodruff were the main complainants that the Walters were conducting themselves in a disorderly manner. The couple pled “not guilty.” The witnesses who were subpoenaed were Glen G Woodruff, Clark Sist, Joseph Hockenbury, Mrs. Thomas Hickey, and John Hickey. The main witness Glen G. Woodruff had left the community, did not appear in court, so the charges dismissed. [ii] , [iii]
The trial would be the beginning of an acrimonious relationship with the Lisk Family.
A Disorderly Home
Shortly after the case against the Walters was dismissed their home played a central part in another incident, involving a familiar surname. The “Lisk boys,” Edward and Clark were charged with assault against Gillard W. Cregar. They were visiting at Walter’s residence near the “stone-cracker,” on Sunday, July 5th, 1891. Mr. Walter’s sister asked Cregar to come to the house, where he was attacked by Edward and Clark Lisk. It seems there was an altercation the day before, and this was retribution for a blackened eye. Justice of the Peace Eyears wrote up a recap (his opinion of events) addressed to Justice Chamberlain. The document describes the Walters house as “hard.” He stated that the Lisks hung around Walter’s residence quite a bit of the time.[iv] It should be noted that Edward and Clark were the sons of Austin Lisk, who had unsuccessfully attempted to bring charges against the Melvin and Julia a few months prior. He would also play a central part in the attack on Julia Beam Walters.
The State vs. Edward Lisk
This event appeared to be the beginning of the end for the couple. The pair was evicted shortly afterward. The Walters had secured another place to rent, only to find out that the landlord had changed his mind. They weres homeless with their belongings dumped by the side of the road.
According to the article “Regulators at Glen Gardner” the couple was living in an apartment owned by Mr. Hickey near the railroad tool house. The parents of the boys who were allegedly corrupted by Mrs. Walters prevailed on Mr. Hickey to force them to leave the residence. The Walters had secured another residence, but the new landlord, Mr. Edmonds was served a petition by leading citizens to prevent the move. The couple was forced to live in the woods during the summer months. Melvin Walters deserted his wife and moved back into the home of his parents at some point before 17 October 1891. The article noted that Julia decided to “rough it alone.” [v]
The news articles vary about the character of Julia Beam. However, they all seem to agree that the Walter house was a place where young men wasted their time. This article was published after the trial and gave a recap of the events. It was a bit sympathetic to Julia but painted a picture of a person who couldn’t resist temptation. It was also one of the few articles that had her marriage age correct. Walters was in trouble well before he wed Julia. He was found guilty of vice and Immorality in 1887, but Julia didn’t have any record until her marriage to him. He had been married previously and had represented himself to the clergy as divorced. Melvin Walters would find himself in trouble later on as well. The couple may have owned the “party house,” but it surely was not the work of Julia alone. This article also wondered why the indignant parents didn’t punish their sons, rather than Julia.[vi]
More to Come!
Cover picture source
“Tarred and Feathered because she was Bad; Glen Gardner’s Young Men were being Corrupted,” New York Herald, page 18, column 3, digital image; Genealogybank (http://ww.genealogybank.com : accessed 7 October 2016).
[i] New Jersey, Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics, Marriage Certificate, W-39, (1890), Melvin N Walters and Julia Beam, SHEVS003 reel no. 77, New Jersey State Archives, Trenton.
[ii] Hunterdon County, New Jersey, RG 293 Miscellaneous Records; Court for the Trial for Small Cases File 19598, The State vs. Melvin Walters, Keeping a house of ill fame and Disorderly, 15 May 1891; Office of Record Management Services, Raritan Township.
[iii] Hunterdon County, New Jersey, RG 293 Miscellaneous Records; Court for the Trial for Small Cases File 19591, The State vs. Julia Walters, Keeping a house of ill fame and Disorderly, 15 May 1891; Office of Record Management Services, Raritan Township.
[iv] Hunterdon County, New Jersey, RG 293 Miscellaneous Records; Court for the Trial for Small Cases File 19166, The State vs. Edward Lisk, Assault of Gillard W. Cregar, 5 July 1891; Office of Record Management Services, Raritan Township.
[v] “Regulators at Glen Gardner,” Hunterdon Republican, 18 November 1891, page 3, column 3; microfilm 9, Hunterdon County Library, Raritan Township, New Jersey.