January 25, 2012 in City

Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web: spokesman.com/topics/local-history

By Correspondent

From our archives, 100 years ago

Sensational new details about the Margaret Armstrong-George Howell marriage emerged from a Los Angeles courtroom. Armstrong’s attorney accused Howell of being a “fortune hunter” and of marrying Armstrong for her money. Right after he married her, Howell convinced her to sell her flourishing Spokane florist business.

When the attorney asked Howell if he had been married before, he said he had been married twice before, once in Toronto in 1883 and again in 1906 or 1907 – he couldn’t remember exactly. Then the attorney asked him whether it was wife No. 1 or wife No. 2 he had been married to while running a hotel in Davenport. He said he didn’t understand the question.

He finally admitted it was wife No. 3, who he married in St. Louis, but “I don’t remember when.”

The judge put a stop to this line of questioning, saying it was irrelevant “to the guardianship matter.”

This hearing was over the question of whether Armstrong’s attorney could be appointed guardian of her property – the better to keep it out of Howell’s grasp. She was also seeking an annulment.

Howell, however, said he still loved her.

“I admire her business ability and her fine character,” Howell told the court. “From a business standpoint, she is hard to beat.”

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