Sarah “Sadie” Broadhurst is my paternal great-grandmother (my dad’s dad’s mom). She, along with her mother Alice (my 2nd great-grandmother) are the most recent immigrant ancestors in my family tree — everyone else, from both sides, arrived in the 1800s or earlier.
Sadie was born January 19th, 1899 in Bilston, England, to parents James Broadhurst (a butcher) and Alice Blinkhorn (a seamstress)1. She was the youngest of eleven children. By the year 1911 (a census year in England), James became an unemployed butcher.2 The family story alleges that he came home and told his wife Alice: “That’s it. I’m done working. It’s your turn to provide for the family.” Unsurprisingly, Alice wasn’t super happy with her husband’s actions (I suspect there’s more to the story and that maybe he wasn’t a great dude), so she decided to leave — and take their two youngest daughters with her (Sadie and Nellie).
The three of them (Alice, Sadie, and Nellie) traveled aboard the SS Laurentic and arrived in the US in 1913.3 Many of Alice’s siblings and her older children were already living in America, so the plan was to connect with some of them. This is how they ended up in California.
Alice moved in with her widowed sister, Sarah C. (Blinkhorn) Elsey at 303 20th in San Jose.4 Since Sadie was still a minor, she wasn’t listed in any city directories or other official documentation.
By 1919, Sadie had moved in with her brother, Charles, in Stockton.5 Shortly thereafter she met Jack L Howe, Sr., and they married 25 July 1921 in San Joaquin County6… and they lived happily ever after.
But… where was Sadie between 1913 when she arrived in the country and 1919 when she was living with her brother? The safe assumption is that she was in San Jose with her mother… but as we’ll soon learn, her teenage years were anything but ordinary.
On August 21st, 1914, the San Francisco Examiner published an outrageous, terrifying, and puzzling tale.7
The previous night, a young man named Charles Bozelle approached the San Francisco home of Dr. W.J. Hawkins (at 70 Baker Street). A young woman (Mrs. Hawkins’ sister) answered the door, and Charles forced his way inside the home. He asked by name to see a young nurse who was working in the home and was told that the nurse wasn’t there.
Undeterred, Charles pushed through and searched each room of the house, brandishing a revolver and firing it to frighten the women and children who were there. When he reached the second floor he found the nurse in the hallway. He grabbed her by the wrist, dragged her down the stairs, and out of the house to an automobile that was waiting outside. The girl screamed for help and Charles threatened her with his revolver.
The young lady who answered the door tried to stop Charles and save the young nurse, but was unsuccessful and was shot in the foot/ankle. Another young woman tried to help and was knocked over by Charles during his escape. He threw the nurse in the backseat of the automobile and ordered the chauffer to drive away. They ended up nearly fifty miles away in San Jose, where Charles and the driver were finally arrested and the young nurse was back in the safety of her mother’s home.
What was the young nurse’s name, you ask? Miss Sadie Broadhurst, age 17. And her mother who was mentioned in the article? Mrs. Alice Broadhurst, living at 303 20th Street in San Jose.
This tale is far from over, though!
After his arrest, Charles Bozelle insisted that he took Sadie away as part of a prearranged plan to run off to Salinas and get married. When questioned by the police, Sadie admitted being fond of Charles, but insisted that she told him she wouldn’t marry him for at least a few years, and that she also told him not to approach her at Dr. Hawkins’ home in San Francisco. She went on to say that during the getaway drive to San Jose, Charles threatened to murder her if she didn’t marry him.
The day after this story was published, the San Francisco Examiner released a follow-up story8:
Charles, 18 years old at the time, was facing the charge of Assault with Intent to Commit Murder for firing at Mrs. Hawkins’ sister and striking her foot/ankle with the bullet. Charles had been in trouble previously, and was already on probation at the time. His mother AND Sadie were pleading for him to be tried as a juvenile… Sadie was quoted as saying: “If I had known he loved me so much I would have married him… He has always been kind and gentle to me. But I was afraid of him yesterday.”
Nothing was said about kidnapping charges… this is something that warrants further research.
Sadie should have listened to her fear… but it seems young love is a stronger force than logic, reason, and red flags.
At the end of October, the Examiner reported that a marriage license was issued to the young couple.9
On November 1st 1914, they were united in marriage10 – after obtaining consent from one of each of their parents. Witnesses for Charles, 18, and Sadie, 16, were N.O. Bozelle and Alice Broadhurst, both of San Jose. Here is where the first big discrepancy pops up. The license lists Sadie’s name as Sarah Florence Broadhurst… but her actual documented middle name is “Harriet.” Why would they have said Florence? Was it simply a mistake by the clerk? Was it an intentional error made by Sadie and her mom for some reason? Or is this an entirely different Sadie/Alice living in San Jose? This seems unlikely to me… Whatever the reason, the marriage happened.
In January 1916, Sadie and Charles show up in the papers again. This time in the Oakland Tribune11, the Morning Union12 of Grass Valley, the San Francisco Chronicle13, and the Los Angeles Evening Post-Record.14
Sadie filed for divorce from Charles on the grounds that Charles was now an inmate at the San Quentin prison! He was taken to San Quentin to serve a one-year sentence for Assault with a Deadly Weapon on one Mrs. May Macgregor — he struck her over the head with a beer bottle. I have no idea who this woman is or how she found herself in Charles’ orbit… the article goes on to state that Charles is also alleged to have treated Sadie cruelly.
I don’t yet have the divorce paperwork or final judgment. It’s on my to-do list. I think it’s safe to say that the divorce was granted.
This tale may also explain why Sadie ended up living with her brother in Stockton.
Here comes discrepancy #2: The marriage record6 for Sadie (with the right middle name!) and my great-grandfather Jack L Howe Sr lists that neither were previously married. Was Sadie actually granted an annulment, wiping the slate clean? Or did she simply lie on the paperwork? I totally understand why she would possibly lie… Also, did Jack ever know anything about this story? Did anyone in the family know or talk about it?
If the Sadie in this story is, in fact, my great-grandmother (and I feel fairly confident that she is) — what a horrible experience to have gone through!
I never got to meet Sadie or Jack Sr… they both died more than a decade before I was born. BUT it seems like Sadie ended up in a MUCH better relationship. Take a peek at this telegram she once received:
A quick edit to add that the house Alice lived at in San Jose was built in 1901 (according to Zillow). Here’s what it looks like today(ish) courtesy of Google Street View:
- Sadie’s 1899 Birth Certificate from England
- 1911 England Census; Bilston, Staffordshire, England
- U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S.
- 1915 San Jose City Directory
- 1919 Stockton City Directory
- Broadhurst-Howe Marriage Record
- The San Francisco Examiner; San Francisco, California; 21 Aug 1914; p1 & p4
- The San Francisco Examiner; San Francisco, California; 22 Aug 1914; p5
- The San Francisco Examiner; San Francisco, California; 31 Oct 1914; p6
- Broadhurst-Bozelle Marriage License
- Oakland Tribune; Oakland, California; 4 Jan 1916; p6
- The Morning Union; Grass Valley, California; 5 Jan 1916; p1
- San Francisco Chronicle; San Francisco, California; 4 Jan 1916; p2
- Los Angeles Evening Post-Record; Los Angeles, California; 4 Jan 1916; p1
- California, U.S. Prison and Correctional Records; San Quentin State Prison; Inmate Photographs and Mug Books; Book 08, 28922-31537; p22
- California, U.S. Prison and Correctional Records; San Quentin State Prison; Prison Registers; Prison Registers, 1910-1918; p466
- Telegram from Jack L Howe to Sadie Howe; 25 Jul 1934