"The Wetton Scandal," National Police Gazette (1878)

Transcribed from page 2 of the April 27, 1878 issue of the National Police Gazette.

The Wetton Scandal

The Hero of the Mobile Sensation Arrested for Bigamy

The Indianapolis, Ind., News relates the following later developments in the Wetton scandal sensation of Mobile, Ala., an account of the first exposure of which appeared with illustrations in the Gazette some weeks since.

Last night C. Albert Wetton, ex-auditor of one of the Mobile railroads, was arrested in this city by Chief of Police Travis and Captain Forbes on a warrant based on a grand jury indictment against the gentleman for bigamy. Wetton and his wife lived happily together for several years in Mobile, and as he was in receipt of a salary of 5,000 they were enabled to maintain a fine establishment. About a year ago he formed the acquaintance of Mrs. Mary Jane Hartpence, the wife of an Indianapolis printer by the name of Walter Hartpence. Last fall he obtained a Utah divorce from his wife without notifying her of the fact, and after having, as he supposed, legally ridden himself of her, persuaded her to take a trip to California. He parted with her at St. Louis on Friday, November 16, 1877, leaving her to make the journey alone, and started back in the general direction of Mobile. By some means the suspicions of the wife became aroused and instead of going on to the Golden State she returned to the South after a delay of a day or two. On leaving his wife Wetton came to this city and late Saturday night routed up County Clerk Brown from whom he obtained a marriage license, Receiver Hunt, of the Grand Hotel, making the necessary affidavits. Mary Hartpence had been granted a decree of divorce during the previous September by Judge Julian, and both supposing that every legal bar to their union had been removed, were married on the afternoon of Sunday, November 18, in the parlors of the Second Presbyterian Church, Rev. W. A. Bartlett officiating. The singularly married couple went South, and it so chanced that they encountered wife No. 1 in a sleeping car. A scene followed which was graphically illustrated in the Police Gazette shortly after. Wetton lost his situation by reason of the scandal growing out of this episode, and removed to Ohio with wife No. 2.

At the last term of the grand jury in this city a bill for bigamy was returned against Wetton, and several days ago his true wife came here with the expressed purpose of prosecuting her unfaithful husband. She decoyed him to this city by giving him to understand that she wanted to arrange with him for the procurement of a legitimate divorce. He fell into the trap readily, arriving from Cincinnati last evening. He had been expected on the noon train but missed connections. The outraged wife was very anxious to have him arrested, but once in the hands of the police she appeared very solicitous to get him out of trouble.

This morning Wetton was visited by his wife, who is now only too willing to compromise provided her husband will give up the "other woman," get employment and take her back to his arms again. The case has gone beyond her control. Wetton's bail was fixed at $1,000, which he has been unable to furnish. The prisoner is a man about thirty-five years of age, of very prepossessing appearance and fine address. He is much torn up over his arrest.