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Notes for Hiram Julius Bittick

Occupation: Farmer
[see Marriage Records]
Indexed as J. H. Bittick and John H. Bittick

[loose paper]
State of Missouri } Marriage Certifficate
County of Jefferson } To all whom it may concern Know yea:
That - I the undersigned a Justice of the peace
within and for State and County afforesaid
Did on the 3rd day of March 1867 join
in the holly bonds of Marriage Mr. J. H.
Bittick, and Miss Susan F. Pruitt
by concent of their parents they being
of unlawfull age
Herman H. Rickles J. P.

Book 1849-71, Page 402
State of Missouri } Marriage Certificate
County of Jefferson } To all whom it may Concern Know yae:
That I the undersigned a Justice of the Peace
within and for the State and County aforesaid, did on the
third day of March 1867 Join in the holy bonds of
marriage Mr. John H. Bittick and Miss Susan F. Pruitt with
Concent of their parents they being of lawful age.
Stamp Cancelled Herman H. Ric____ J. P.
Filed Recorded April 18, 1867
E. J. Honey Recorder
In Jefferson Co, Missouri on the same day that Mr. John [Julius] H. Bittick married Mss Susan F. Pruitt – a Miss Mary Bittick married Mr. W. or M. Prvitt. I think it’s probably Pruitt – hard to read. I can’t find anyone who fits this marriage. This was 03 March 1867. I know that Susan had some siblings but none with a name starting with W or M. But, perhaps a cousin. Her parents died and she was raised by grandparents. Mary’s marriage is listed first in the record book then John [Hiram Julius]. So, I think this must have been a double wedding and the 2 Bittick’s and 2 Pruitt’s must be related somehow. I don’t find them in 1870. Please contact us if you know this Mary Bittick.
1850 District No. 12, Jefferson Co, Missouri 26 August 1850, p426a:
#297/297 Willis Bittick 36 m w farmer $200 Mo - can't read/write
Lucinda 28 f w Mo
Jane A. 9 f w Mo - attended school
William P. 7 m w Mo - attended school [William Perry]
Hiram J. 5 m w Mo [Hiram Julius]
Oliver 2 m w Mo
Phillip Votaw 22 m w laborer Mo

1860 Meramac Township, Belews Creek PO, Jefferson Co, Missouri 20 July 1860, p655:
#827/817 W. H. Bittick 43 m farmer $3,000/1,000 Mo
Lucinda 37 f Mo
Hiram 14 m Mo - attended school [Hiram Julius]
Oliver 10 m Mo - attended school
Thomas 8 m Mo - attended school
Willis A. 6 m Mo - attended school
Solomon L. 4 m Mo
John Henry 30 m laborer Ireland - can't read/write
John Duningham? 20 m farm hand Ireland

1870 Merrimac Township, Hillsboro PO, Jefferson Co, Missouri 27 July 1870, p283a & b:
#212/212 Bittick Willis 58 m w farmer $6,000/800 Mo - citizen
Lucinda 48 f w keeps house Mo
Thomas 19 m w works on farm Mo
Willis A. 17 m w works on farm Mo
p283b: Solomon 15 m w works on farm Mo
Frederick 9 m w at home Mo
Julius 24 m w works on farm $-/60 Mo - citizen [Hiram]
Susan 23 f w at home Mo
Lester 3 m w at home Mo
Agnes 1 f w at home Mo

1880 Big River Township, Jefferson Co, Missouri 28 June 1880, ed194, p129b:
#378/378 Bittick Julius w m 35 md farm laborer Mo Mo Mo
Susan w f 31 wife md keeping house Mo Mo Mo
Luster w m 11 son [single] at home attended school Mo Mo Mo
Agnes w f 10 dau [single] at home attended school can't write Mo Mo Mo
Perry w m 6 son [single, twin] Mo Mo Mo
Oliver w m 6 son [single, twin] Mo Mo Mo
Rosanna w f 4 dau [single] Mo Mo Mo [is she Mary who md Mr. Steward?]
Sidney w m 2 son [single] Mo Mo Mo

1900 West part of Auxvasse Township, Callaway Co, Missouri 13 June 1900, ed17, p13b:
#131/131 Bittick J. Hiram head w m Mar 1846 54 md 10 yrs farmer Mo Mo Mo
L. Bertie wife w f Jan 1871 29 md 10 yrs 3 born/3 living Mo Unk Unk
Marquis son w m Nov 1891 8 single Mo Mo Mo
J. Hiram son w m Nov 1895 4 single Mo Mo Mo
R. Dewey son w m Nov 1898 1 single Mo Mo Mo
Otto son w m Aug 1882 17 single Mo Mo Mo [son of Susan]
S. Charles son w m Oct 1880 19 single Mo Mo Mo [son of Susan]
Jefferson City News Tribune
Monday, October 27, 1969
Mrs. Stampfli dies at age 96
Mrs. Bertha A. Stampfli, 96, of 297 W. Cedar Street, died today at Charles E. Still Hospital. Mrs. Stampfli was the daughter of John [Jacob] and Sarah Salish [Salyers] Bias. She was married to Hiram Bettick, who died in 1905.

The obituary of Bertha A. (Bias) Bittick Stampfli provides us with Hiram's year of death but the exact date and place is unknown.
Clinton A Bittick, 15 Aug 1990 letter to Dottie Miller, died 1902; 1905 per second wife, Bertha's obituary. The 1902 year is impossible because Hiram and Bertha are still having children born in 1904 - Famous Oral Bittick b. 07 Oct 1904. Twin daughters, Eula and Beulah, were born 14 April 1906. Using this date and working backwards it would appear that Hiram died between August - December 1905 while Bertha was pregnant with the twin daughters. Based on their place of birth - my guess would be Hiram died in Callaway Co, Missouri but an obituary or headstone has not been located.
Excepts from Laborn and Mary Pruitt Probate Records, courtesy of Rich Van Waggen on 14 Oct 2002:
14 Nov 1862 - Laborn Pruitt, deceased, Mary L. Prewitt bond of $1200 (No. 815).
18 Nov 1864 - Heirs of Leborn listed by Mary L. Pruitt: Susan Francis, Nevada, Christopher C., Syndia Pruit. Four grandchildren, all children of one child, deceased: Nevada Prewitt, Syndey Prewitt, C.C. Prewitt and Francis Bittock, wife of Julius Bittick.
Sale brought $327.30, among purchases were: Mary L. Pruett, Henry Pruett. "to disintering body of James Pruitt, $5" [James is the father of the above children]
Received of Mary Louis Prewit, adm of Labe Prewit $5 for coffin.
Received Mary Louise Pruitt $75 for carpenter work 28 June 1865.
29 May 1869 - Estate of Mary L. Pruitt probated (No. 815a). Will written 21 April 1868, Lawrence O'Brien executor of widow Pruitt. Will provided $1 each to grandchildren: Susan Francis Bittick, Nevada Prewitt, Sidney Prewitt and Christopher C. Prewitt. Witnessed by John L. Thomas and Henry F. Bates. Final settlement in January 1872.
1870 Sept Term - Hiram J. [Bittick] and Susan D., his wife, vs Nevada Prewitt, Sidney Prewitt and Christopher Prewitt, defendants. Land in 24-42-3E, 80 acres sold to Hiram J. Bittick for $924.
19 May 1873 - Nevada Prewitt, 80 acres in 24-42-3E (Book 8, page 213).
See Photographs--Hiram Julius & Susan Frances (Pruitt/Prewitt) Bittick
[see Marriage Records & Other Documents]

No marriage record has been found for Hiram Julius Bittick and Bertha Bias, however, their marriage contract is found in the Missouri Supreme Court Case, State of Missouri v. Bittick (below). Agnes Bittick, a witness to the marriage contract, was Hiram's daughter from his first marriage. We have not been able to identify the other people mentioned. Bertha's mother is listed as Sarah Rhine (possibly Ryan?), but we have not found a record of her second marriage. Some of the names in this case are misspelled, and we need to check Callaway County for the original court case which might clarify spellings and give additional details.

" Marriage Contract.
"We, Hiram J. Bittick and Bertie A. L. Bice (sic), enter into a solemn vow to live, together so long as we may both live, to live together as man and wife, in the presence of out God and the undersigned witnesses, at the residence of F. L. Minor, in Cote Sans Dessein Township, County of Callaway, State of Missouri, on this 16th day of April, 1890.
H. J. Bittick.
Bertha A. L. Bice.
"Witnesses: F. L. Minor, W. A. Johnson, Fannie A. Johnson, Jane T. Minor, Agnes Bittick, Olivia Riefstieck, Rose Riefstieck, William Riefstieck, Herbert Johnson.
"The above and foregoing instrument of writing was filed for record, April 29, 1890, at 10:20 a, m., and duly recorded.
" George W. Penn, Recorder.
" By P. B. Bailey, Deputy Recorder."

The Washington law reporter, Volume 19
By District of Columbia. Supreme Court (1863-1936), United States. Court of Appeals (District of Columbia Circuit), District of Columbia. Court of Appeals

[This book is available free, on-line at Google Books: http://books.google.com/bkshp?hl=en&tab=wp]

pp 552-554

1. A license is not necessary to the validity of a marriage under a statute which does not declare a marriage without a license to be void, although it provides that "previous to any marriage in this State a license for that purpose shall be obtained."
2. A mutual agreement to marry each other, made by parties competent to marry, in the presence of witnesses, together with a written agreement to the same effect, signed by the parties and the witnesses, is sufficient to make a valid common law marriage.
3. A common law marriage is good though not in conformity to the statutory requirements, unless the statute contains words of nullity.

Decided February 10, 1891.

APPEAL by defendant from a judgment of the Circuit Court for Callaway County, convicting and sentencing him to imprisonment for taking away a female under the age of eighteen years for the purpose of concubinage. Reversed.

The facts are stated in the opinion.

Mr. Justice THOMAS delivered the opinion of the Court:
The defendant was indicted and convicted in the Callaway Circuit Court for taking away Bertha A. L. Bice (sic), a female under eighteen years of age, from Sarah Rhine, her mother, who had the legal charge of her, for the purpose of concubinage, and was sentenced to imprisonment in the penitentiary for a term of two years. From this sentence he has taken his appeal to this court. The record shows that the defendant was a widower, with six children and according to the finding of the jury Bertha A. L. Bice was under eighteen years of age. She lived with her mother, who was a widow. The mother testified that the girl was about sixteen years old. The girl worked at defendant's, and it seems fell in love with him, and she and he desired to marry, but the mother refusing to give her consent, they were unable to obtain a marriage license. Determined, however, not to be thwarted in their designs and wishes, they got together, and F. L. Minor testified as to what then occurred as follows: "Know Mrs. Rhine and Bertie Bittick, the wife of defendant. Bertie and defendant were married at my house about the 16th of last April. Were married publicly, in the presence of over twenty persons. They married themselves. There was no minister or officer present. They stood up in the parlor floor, and mutually agreed and promised to marry each other. They publicly made known themselves as man and wife. Lived, cohabited and held themselves out to the world as man and wife. They were known and recognized by the public as man and wife. They, at the time of said marriage, signed and executed a written marriage contract, which was attested by myself and a number of others." Witness identified the following contract as made by the parties, and witnessed by him and others :

" Marriage Contract.
"We, Hiram J. Bittick and Bertie A. L. Bice, enter into a solemn vow to live, together so long as we may both live, to live together as man and wife, in the presence of out God and the undersigned witnesses, at the residence of F. L. Minor, in Cote Sans Dessein Township, County of Callaway, State of Missouri, on this 16th day of April, 1890.
H. J. Bittick.
Bertha A. L. Bice.
"Witnesses: F. L. Minor, W. A. Johnson, Fannie A. Johnson, Jane T. Minor, Agnes Bittick, Olivia Riefstieck, Rose Riefstieck, William Riefstieck, Herbert Johnson.
"The above and foregoing instrument of writing was filed for record, April 29, 1890, at 10:20 a, m., and duly recorded.
" George W. Penn, Recorder.
" By P. B. Bailey, Deputy Recorder."

This is a sufficient statement of the facts of this case to present the points involved. Upon the facts thus given the court gave ten instructions at the instance of the State, and seventeen at the instance of defendant, and yet defendant complains that the court did not fully instruct the jury. The view we have taken of the case renders it unnecessary to refer to the instructions specifically. Suffice it to say that the court told the jury that the marriage ceromony (sic) and contract as given here did not constitute a marriage, and therefore that defendant could not escape the penalty of the statute under which he was indicted, on the ground that he had made Bertha his wife. The defendant contends that this was error, and that this ceremony and contract did constitute a valid marriage, and therefore that defendant and Bertha were, after April 16, 1890, man and wife, and had a right to cohabit together as such, and this is the point to be decided. Owing to the importance of the question, involving, as it does, the best interests of society and the preservation of the home and family, the basis of all good society, we gave it a very careful consideration. This and kindred questions have been before the American and English courts so often, and the subject has been so frequently and thoroughly discussed by the courts and text writers that we deem it unnecessary, and even a profitless task, to review the authorities again in this case. Ever since 1805 we have had statutes in this State regulating the marriage ceremony, and providing who might solemnize it. These statutes remained, in substance, the same till 1881, when for the first time an Act requiring a license to marry was passed. Prior to this change the question as to whether the statutes of this State on the subject superseded the common law, and rendered a marriage not in conformity with the statutory requirements void was before this court in 1857, in State v. McDonald, 25 Mo., 176; in 1876, in Cargile v. Wood, 63 Mo., 501; in 1877, in Dyer v. Brannock, 66 !o., 391; and again in 1883, in State v. Gonce, 9 Mo., 600.

Two propositions are conclusively settled in this State by the cases above cited: (1) That prior to the adoption of the Statute in 1881, requiring a marriage license before anyone authorized by the Statute could perform the ceremony, a marriage according to the common law, was valid in this State, though not in conformity with the Statute. (2) In the interpretation of statutes on the subject of marriage, a common-law marriage is good though not in conformity to the statutory requirements, unless the statutes contain express words of nullity. And we may add that this rule of interpretation has been adopted in nearly all the American States. See Stewart, Mar. and Div., Sec. 53, where the authorities are collated; and also 1 Bishop, Mar. and Div., Sec. 283 ; as well as the cases cited in Dyer v. Brannock, supra.

These two propositions being settled even beyond debate, let us see if it was intended by the Statute of 1881 to change or modify them, or either of, them. The first section of this act (Sess. Acts 1881, p. 161) provides that, "previous to any marriage in this State, a license for that purpose shall be obtained from the officer herein authorized to issue the same." The remaining provisions of the act are substantially as they had existed prior to its enactment, the changes made being such only as to make a statutory marriage conform to the theory of the license system. And the statute of 1881 was, in all essential particulars, in force in 1890, when defendant and Bertha were married, as they claim. By other sections or this Act, the officer authorized to issue marriage licenses was pro'hibited from issuing a license authorizing the marriage of any male under twenty-one or female under the age of eighteen years, except with the consent of his or her father, or, if he is dead, etc., his or her mother, etc., and imposing penalties upon those who issue licenses or solemnize the marriage ceremony contrary to the statutory requirements. But there are no words in the act declaring a marriage not in conformity to the statute null and void. Hence, applying the rule of interpretation of marriage statutes given above, to the statute in force on April 16, 1890, we see that, if the marriage of defendant and Bertha was good at common law, it was not made null and void by the statute, and is therefore valid.

The only question remaining therefore, for us to determine, is, did the contract in this case constitute a valid common-law marriage? We think it did. Our statute defines marriage thus: "Marriage is considered in law as a civil contract, to which the consent of the parties capable in law of contracting is essential." While it is here declared to be a civil contract, it is almost universally held to be something more than an ordinary contract. Marriage is a status, created by contract, and we formulate the definition of it as follows: Marriage is the civil status of one man and one woman capable of contracting, united by contract and mutual consent for life, for the discharge, to each other and to the community, of the duties legally incumbent on those whose association is founded on the distinction of sex. The contract of marriage in this case comes up to every requirement of this definition. It created the relation of husband and wife between defendant and Bertha, so long as they both should live. In form, then, the contract was good, and constituted a valid marriage at common law. 1 Bishop, Mar. and Div.,' Sees. 2, 3. This relation between them is indissoluble, except by death or a decree of court. It is scarcely necessary for us to cite authorities that at common law a female of the age of twelve and a male of fourteen were capable of entering into a contract of marriage. Id., Sec. 145.

There is no question that the parties in this instance were capable of assuming the martial relation by contract, at common law. The defendant having entered into a valid marriage with Bertha A. L. Bice, and thus made her his wife, he is not guilty of the crime of taking her away from her mother for the purpose of concubinage.

We will add that we have come to this conclusion very reluctantly, for we feel that the best interests of men and women, and children, of society, of the family and the home require that parties should not "marry themselves," and all marriages should be entered into publicly before those authorized by law to solemnize them, and put upon the public records. But we are not here to make the law conform to what we think it ought to be, but to declare it as it is. As late as 1877, this court, after a full review of all the authorities, declared that a statute prescribing the formalities to be observed in the solemnization of marriage did not render marriages entered into according to the common law, but not in conformity to such formalities, void, unless the statute itself declared them null, and that this rule of interpretation had been the rule since 1857; and yet, when the statute of 1881 was enacted, the words of nullity of all marriages not in conformity to the statute were omitted. If the law-making power had desired to make common-law marriages void, all that was required was to add to the first section of the Act of 1881 these words, "and all marriages entered into without a license shall be void." This was not done, and hence we must conclusively presume that it was intended that that act should be interpreted by the rule then in force, as declared by this court. The legislature has the power to add these words at any time, but this court has no such authority.

The judgment of the lower court is reversed, and defendant discharged.
All concur.
[see Other Documents: Newspapers, Hiram Julius Bittick & Bertha Bias]
There is an article dated 31 May 1903 in the St. Louis Republic which referrs to State of Missouri v. Hiram J. Bittick.

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