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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web:

From our archives, 100 years ago

Mrs. Ellen Payne Hyde had retired for the evening at her home on North Hamilton Street when a surprise visitor showed up: the man who had abandoned her and her family 25 years earlier.

Phygean Hyde showed up “wan and haggard” and apparently ready to reconcile.

“His children, all glad to see him again, hung at his neck and showered kisses upon him at intervals yesterday,” said The Spokesman-Review. The paper said the family held a “family party and dance” the next evening.

However, a roadblock still existed, in the form of Wife No. 2, Julia Hyde, of Seattle. Phygean was currently involved in a court battle with her. She refused to consent to a divorce.

Ellen, Wife No. 1, chose (perhaps wisely) not to commit herself to her wayward ex-husband too soon. She told the paper that “I will not pass judgment until I know absolutely” what he planned to do with Wife No. 2.

One of their grown daughters added that “we are not ashamed of our family” and that “my papa is just as dear to me today when I saw him as ever.”

As for Phygean? He might have been a bit overwhelmed. The paper reported that he “sought solitude away from the house and did not return up to midnight.”