Mary’s mother, Eva Frances Specht

Eva Specht
Eva Frances Specht Rumping

Eva Frances Specht was born November 9, 1851, in St. Anns, Indiana.  Her parents, Blasius Specht and Frances Effa Gueringer, were immigrants from Germany and Alsace-Lorraine, respectively.  Frances died in 1853, when Eva was about 2 years old.

When she was 23 years old, Eva married John Henry Rumping in 1875 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (How Eva came to be in St. Louis and met John Rumping is unknown.  According to the U.S. census, she was still living with her family in Indiana in 1870.)

In 1879, Eva and her one-year-old daughter made a 3-month boat trip from St. Louis, Missouri to Fort Benton, Montana Territory, followed by another 160-mile road trip from Fort Benton to Belmont, near present-day Marysville – in order to join John who had arrived there in 1878 (see 1879: From Missouri to Montana for Mary’s account of this trip).  John and Eva went on to have three more children, two boys and a girl.  All three were born in Montana.

Sadly, Eva and John’s marriage was not a happy one.  And in 1893, Eva filed for divorce, which seems to me an amazing thing to do given the time period.  The case was soon dropped, as I suspect Eva had to face the hard realization that she had no way to support herself and her children.  However, according to testimony contained in lengthy court records (which I’m in the process of reviewing for a future post), Eva and John never lived together again.

In late 1906 or early 1907, while living in Billings, Montana, John filed for divorce against Eva – accusing her of abandonment – and was granted a divorce on March 23, 1907.  John remarried in May of 1907, finally a free man.  Or so he thought.  It turns out that Mary’s lawyer noticed a technical problem with John’s divorce complaint, having to do with jurisdiction, and appealed the court’s decision.  Several months after John remarried, the Montana Supreme Court reversed the divorce granted by the lower court, based on that technicality.  And in January 1908, John found himself under “nominal arrest” on a charge of  living in adultery.  After another lawsuit was filed (John against his lawyer), and a third divorce proceeding was filed (John against Eva), the couple was finally granted a divorce in March 1909.

Eva continued to live in Marysville and died there on July 20, 1912.  She is buried in Resurrection Cemetery in Helena.

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