“Miss Ada Marx, of East Walnut Hills, is touring through the South.” This one-line notice in the Cincinnati Enquirer’s January 4, 1891 society column, was the innocuous start of a fascinating love story, reported in national papers. Ada was the beautiful daughter of Simon and Fannie Marx of Monroe. After Fannie died, Simon moved his family away to Ohio to give them a better opportunity. Ada and her father had left behind some dear friends in Monroe. It was Ada’s plan to come and visit them.
Ada’s sister placed her on board the steamboat Guiding Star bound for New Orleans. During this time period, it was highly improper for a young woman to travel unescorted. The elder sister extracted a promise from the chief clerk of the boat that he would look after the young woman and ensure she disembarked at Vicksburg and safely board a train bound for Monroe. Unfortunately, despite his promise, Mr. Harry Hegler, the clerk, soon became very busy with his duties. He probably thought there was no trouble to get into while she was on board the boat. How wrong he was!
The passengers aboard the Guiding Star began to socialize and get to know one another. Among the guests were two men named George McMurry and Dwight Emery. George was the son of Dwight’s employer. The two were on a pleasure trip to New Orleans where they would continue their journey on to New York. Dwight’s eye was caught by the beautiful Ada. Within a few days the two had fallen in love. Everyone noticed what was going on, except Mr. Hegler. When the boat arrived in Vicksburg, Mr. Hegler was told by Ada that she was continuing on to New Orleans under the care of the dashing Mr. Emery. The clerk was surprised, but there was little he could do. He promised to help any way he could.
When the Guiding Star arrived in New Orleans, the lovebirds went straight to the board of health to get a marriage license. That afternoon, they were married. Ada and Dwight decided to stay in New Orleans for their honeymoon and then travel back to Ohio by train to announce their new relationship to their families. Mr. McMurry was sent to continue his journey to New York alone.
We have no idea of how the two families took the news of Ada and Dwight’s marriage. I would imagine it was not very well received. Ada was Jewish, and Dwight was a Gentile. The two barely knew each other. It would have been a remarkable story of love conquering all obstacles… but this is real life.
One year later, the Marion Star (Marion, Ohio) announced that Ada was suing for divorce. The grounds were gross neglect of duty and cruelty. She asked also that her maiden name be restored. Her request was granted.
Ada apparently didn’t give up on love. The Cincinnati Enquirer of March 15, 1896 stated, “The betrothal of Miss Ada Marx, 1927 Kinney avenue, is announced, to Mr. Julius Scherer, a merchant of Texarkana, Texas.”