Maryville Times (Blount Co. TN) Friday, March 16, 1906, Page 1:
“Sunday An Eventful Day In Maryville---Last Sunday, the day set apart for rest by the Great Creator, was a day of excitement in our beautiful little city. The day dawned with the sun shining brightly. In fact it was a perfect spring morning, and no one could have guessed the stirring events which happened after the shades of night had spread her wings over all.
A man and a woman arrived at the Jackson House about 11:30. Later the man proved to be Lawyer Sam Kash of Corbin, Kentucky, and the lady Mrs. Emma Isley, formerly Mrs. George Caldwell of Galena, Kansas.
Mrs. Isley came here for the express purpose of securing possession of her son, Forest Caldwell, six years old, whom Mr. Caldwell had in his possession and had brought Lawyer Kash along, so she stated at the trial to instituted habeas corpus proceedings to get possession of him.
After receiving a tip as to where the Caldwell residence was, she put on a veil and went along Depot Street, and when in front of the residence, saw the boy in the milk wagon of Caldwell Bros., and immediately took possession of him and they in company with Lawyer Kash, started to Knoxville where they were apprehended by officers. Sheriff Edmondson and deputy, with a warrant charging them with kidnapping, immediately started in pursuit and they were brought back to Maryville on the evening train and tried that night in the Court House before Esq. S.M. Morton. A crowded house attended the trial. The couple were turned loose and the woman was allowed to keep the child as to the merits of the case. Read the article published elsewhere. Mr. Caldwell’s attorneys claim that they will secure the child and that by a decree of court.”
Page 3:(Same Newspaper)
“Read The Truth About The Caldwell Case---In view of the fact that a great deal of notoriety has grown out of the unpleasant episode which disturbed the quietude of our city last Sunday afternoon when a child was kidnapped and hurriedly carried away, and so many ridiculous and false statements made concerning the affair and the woman in the case, the former wife of George H. Caldwell, that it is due Caldwell, and in justice of his family and in defense of them that the good people of Maryville who responded so nobly to his aid that beautiful Sunday afternoon that they know something of the whole story back of it all told in plain facts.
Knowing that the public in general is not acquainted with the facts in the matter under the circumstances surrounding the affair of Sunday afternoon and night would naturally sympathize with the mother, especially when an oily-tongued lawyer appealed to their sympathy with his eloquence and misrepresentation in reference to the custody of the child. But when the stern facts are understood the sentiment will change against her..
To make the story as brief as possible, will say about a score of years ago George Caldwell went west and located at Castline, Kansas. After he had been there about three years he married Emma Ferneau (who performed the kidnapping feat of last Sunday). Some four years after this marriage, (the oldest boy then about two years old) they moved to Galena, [Cherokee Co.] Kansas, where he engaged in mining.
At this time they lived happily together and were comparatively prosperous. But as a miner’s life always is, so was his, sometimes had money and at other times had none. In this work he continued about six years when his health began to fail. He then located on a farm about three miles from Galena. He followed farm work for two years and was getting along well. About this time they made the acquaintance of John Isley, who lived on an adjoining farm. But Isley being engaged in mining at Bellville prevented them from seeing much of him up to this time. About this time or a few months previous, the second boy ([Forest] the one who was kidnapped Sunday) was born.
Caldwell and Isley were then somewhat connected in business and had become close friends and neighbors. And being so connected, Isley was consequently at Caldwell’s home quite often. It was then he began his devilish work that afterwards broke up a once happy home. Mrs. Caldwell began to lose interest in her household duties, often refusing to prepare meals at the regular and proper hours and often refusing to prepare them at all. After the fall work was done, wheat sown, etc., and Caldwell’s health having improved, he again secured work in the mines. One night, after a hard days work, upon going home he found a cold stove and nothing prepared for supper. It being Saturday and pay-day he returned to town to receive his week’s wages. When he returned home he still found nothing prepared, and when he asked her about it she replied that there was some cold stuff and that he could eat it or let it alone.
The next morning she took the baby, went to Isley’s house and he took her to her father’s home, [Elijah Freneau ?] who was then in a bad condition with cancer. Isley and Caldwell often went together to her father’s house, Caldwell to see the child and Isley on the pretense of seeing her father. This was in the fall and winter. One very cold afternoon, Caldwell called at her father’s home to see his baby boy. Snow was on the ground and the mercury was dancing around below zero. He found no one there but his father-in-law and his baby boy. The fire was out and the house very cold. The sick man, too weak to make a fire and the baby in a sadly neglected condition and almost frozen. Upon inquiring about the child’s mother, her father said she had been gone to the dress-maker’s since about 8 o’clock that morning and had been there every day that week. After he had made a fire and made them as comfortable as possible, Caldwell went to see the dress-maker, who told him that Mrs. Caldwell had not been there for more than a week. Caldwell returned to his father-in-law’s house, but still she had not yet returned and did not make her appearance until near sundown. Caldwell saw Isley’s son, who told him that he saw Isley and Mrs. Caldwell come out of the Banks Hotel and that he saw them go there that morning.
Sometime in the spring after that, her father moved to Isley’s house. And on the 4th of the following May her father died. Her brother and sister, not liking the way things looked, moved out and left Mrs. Caldwell and Mrs. Isley [Alice Dixon ?] living together and alone except baby Caldwell and occasionally a niece of Isley. In July following, Caldwell and his eldest son, when he now had disposed of their crop, took the baby and came to his father’s [William H. Caldwell] in Maryville. Sometime that fall, Mrs. Isley No. 1 secured a divorce and alimony, and he [Isley] being a man of considerable means, she got the most of his property.
Mrs. Caldwell also applied for a divorce but failed on the complaint filed. But at the expiration of 12 months the State granted her a divorce upon the grounds of desertion, he [Caldwell] having been away one year. But mind you that the decree said nothing about who should have the children. The next day after she secured a divorce from Caldwell she and Isley were married. And upon good authority they are separated at this time.
Caldwell has in his possession letters of recent date, with her name signed to them acknowledging all her misdeeds and begging him to forgive her and would quit them if he would live with her.
The regretted feature of this affair is that the whole story could not come out at the trial Sunday night, which would have determined the proper one for the custody of the child. Abundant proof to the detriment of the character of the woman could be produced which would show that she is not the proper one to raise the child.
This is the story briefly told which is back of the unpleasant affair. The duplicity of man and unfaithfulness of women, the latter manifested in this case are the cause of much trouble in this world.”---W.H. Caldwell.
Notes: George H. Caldwell, born Feb. 1862, Texas, married about 1890 in Missouri or Kansas to Emma B. Ferneau, born Sept. 1870, Iowa. I believe she was the daughter of Elijah Ferneau. George and Emma’sfirst child, William Termean / Ferneau Caldwell, was born October 1891, in Missouri. Their next child was Forest Elmer Caldwell, born January 20, 1900, Galena, Cherokee Co. Kansas. Died Feb. 1983, Denver, Colorado. Married a lady named Genivieve about 1919-1920. They appear in the 1930 Denver, CO, census.
After Emma divorced George Caldwell, she married on July 2, 1903, Jasper Co. Missouri, to John Marion Isley, born March 2, 1875 in Missouri. His birth has also been seen as March 1872 in census records. John Isley was formerly married to Alice Dixon, born January 12, 1873 in Kansas, and died January 11, 1941, Los Angeles Co. CA. Her mother was supposedly an Atkinson. John and Alice Isley had a son, Irl Roscoe Isley, born Dec. 12, 1896, Galena, Cherokee Co. Kansas, and died April 30, 1971, Ogden, Utah. Buried at Ogden City Cemetery. Irl married Elizabeth Pritchett on June 9, 1945, Elko City, Nevada. A marriage announcement for Irl Isley in a 1932 Los Angeles, CA newspaper gives Alice A. Komar as his future bride. John Marion Isley divorced from Emma Ferneau Caldwell and got back with his wife, Alice. They moved to Los Angeles, CA, before 1910.
Emma Ferneau Caldwell Isley then married John Albert Grassman on Sept. 7, 1907, Jasper Co. Missouri. His date of birth is Aug. 28, 1877. Emma appears in the Jasper Co. Missouri census’ of 1910 and 1920.