The Mystery of the Missing Girlfriend

Before heading off to war in 1917, my great grandmother’s younger brother Leslie became attached to a girl named Ruth Amos. Ruth June Amos was from Jasper County, Iowa. That’s where she was born, in the town of Newton. I, too, have many connections to Jasper County. Many branches of the family tree connected there.

Private Leslie Warren Darling wrote quite a few letters home and these were saved by relatives, thankfully. I consider them sacred. Some are quite personal, and I in no way want to demean or cheapen him and those around him.

But no one in the family still living knew anything about Ruth.

I am sure that learning about Leslie’s death in France was a hard blow — for his father, his sister, Ruth, everyone. It is likely that had he returned, Leslie and Ruth would have married. Instead, Leslie’s premature death appears to have set a series of events into motion that were less than stellar for Ruth. In August of 1919, she married another soldier, a man who had survived the war.

Strangely, however, that’s the last record I can find of her. I’ve found her in 1915, living in Shenandoah, where the Darlings were living. But beyond that, I can not locate her. You’d think that it’d be straightforward to find them, Ruth and her husband, William Donald Jordan, in 1920. Yet, the various database searches return nothing.

In 1930, Mr. Jordan was living in Brooklyn, New York and employed two servants. He was listed as married, but Ruth is not recorded as living there. And by 1940, William Jordan was onto his second marriage, to a much younger woman named Helen. He would abandon her, too, for a third wife, later. He ended up leaving all three, or vice versa. He is documented as divorcing at least once, but the details are obscure.

So what happened to Ruth? Did she remarry? Did she have any children? Where did she live? Did she return to Iowa?

Hopefully I will be able to discover some of these answers.

William Donald Jordan died in 1962 and was interred at the national cemetery on Long Island, New York.

AJH

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