You may remember that last October the Historical Society was honored to receive the diaries, letters, and a self-portrait of John Jacob Scholl, a resident of Norristown and soldier in the 51st Pennsylvania Volunteers. You can check out our blog post about it here. The items were donated by Scholl’s great-granddaughters Carole and Suzanne.
The diaries had long been in the possession of Milton Scholl, Jr., John’s grandson, who painstakingly transcribed them and provided us with a brief biography of Scholl. So, we knew that right after the Civil War he married Laura J. Taft (who is mentioned in the diaries). The couple had twin girls, but the marriage ended in divorce less than three years later. One of the twins, Reno Ambrosia Scholl died after only a few weeks, but the other Lillian Laura Scholl survived. In 1869, Scholl moved to Texas where he married Mary Hester and had another family. No one seemed to know what happened to Lillian.
That is until a couple of months ago when we received a call from Earlene O’Hare, a descendant of Lillian! She had seen our article on the Scholl papers in our quarterly newsletter. She was very excited to see her great-grandfather on the cover of our newsletter. Last week, Earlene and her siblings traveled here to see the original diaries and read the transcriptions.It was wonderful to be able to share a piece of family history, and I think it shows the value of local historical societies (but then, I guess I’m prejudiced).
Oh, if you’re wondering while the first marriage ended, I’m afraid we still don’t know. I asked the Wrights if they knew what happened, and they all replied that they were hoping we knew! Divorce was unusual in the 1860’s, but one wonders if the number of young women mentioned in Scholl’s diary had anything to do with it.