More of the continuing saga of Julia. Newspaper accounts led me to her stormy first marriage…
Jacob Alexander Wermuth and Julia Ann Brannock were married in San Joaquin County 1 January 1857. Julia was 14, and Jacob was about 20 years her senior. Son, Millard, was born just ten months later. Two days before her second wedding anniversary, Julia ran off with another man. The Weekly Stockton Democrat tells the story:
"ABDUCTION of a WIFE -- On Thursday, the 30th ult., a man by name of HANNA, who had been employed on a ranch near Henderson's, on the Mokelumne, eloped with the wife of J.H. WORMUTH. HANNA had formerly been suspected of improper intimacy with WORMUTH's wife, from which cause he had returned her to her parents, with whom she lived until a reconciliation took place, when she returned to her husband.
"On Thursday, the 30th ult., upon pretext of visiting her parents, she left home but did not return at night, which fact created some suspicion. On the following morning her husband went in search of her, and learned to his surprise that she had not visited her parents, and that the latter knew nothing of her whereabouts.
"HANNA, who has for several weeks past resided in this city, obtained a buggy from the Centre St. Livery Stables on Friday, and in company with WORMUTH's wife arrived in town as the boat was leaving for San Francisco, upon which they took passage, registering their names as Mr. & Mrs. BROWN.
"The father of the runaway wife, Mr. L.H. BRANNOCK, a gentleman much esteemed by his neighbors, arrived in the city yesterday, and obtained a warrant for the recovery of about $200 in coin and a quantity of jewelry in the possession of his daughter, and left on the boat last evening.
"The marriage of Mr. WORMUTH with his wife occurred about 2 years since, at which time she was 14 years of age. They lived happily until the appearance of HANNA upon her father's ranch as a hired man, when she repeatedly gave evidence of improper intimacy with HANNA.
"A child about a year old, the issue of the marriage, is left motherless and disgraced at her father's house; while the husband, a young man of intelligence and much respected by all who know him, has been made miserable through the heartless desertion of his wife.
"HANNA is a Canadian, with nothing prepossessing in his personal appearance, and uneducated; and while wanting in everything that elevates the man, his conduct has been uniformly that of one who would stoop to whatever was low and debasing in human character to accomplish the objects of his animal nature. Although the laws do not hold criminally responsible for the part he has taken in the abduction of a wife, it is to be hoped they may prove effectual in securing the return of the property, in obtaining which he undoubtedly performed the part of an accomplice, in order that his designs might be the more successfully carried ou"t.
The San Francisco Bulletin continues the story on January 12:
"More of the Abductor of the Girl-Wife - The San Joaquin Republican says:
One Hugh Hanna was brought before Justice Brown, at Stockton, on 10th January, on charges of stealing a silver watch, valued at $16, and $16.50 in coin, from Mr. Wormuth, on the Mokelumne river. Hanna, who is a Canadian, had been at work for the father of a Mrs. Wormuth, a respectable gentleman named Brannock, and succeeded in seducing his daughter, a girl of some fourteen or fifteen years. She was married to Mr. Wormuth, who discovered her intimacy with the fellow even after marriage. A separation ensued, but the husband was induced to receive the girl back. About a week since, the wife eloped with Hanna, and was pursued and overtaken by the father of the young woman about 150 miles south of San Francisco. They were taken to Stockton, and the foolish child-wife was saved from the shame, disgrace and certain ruin of living with Hanna, by being re-admitted to her father's house. Unfortunately, the theft of Mr. Wormuth's property could not be proved upon the accused, and the District Attorney was compelled to enter a nolle prosequi. He gave the fellow a severe lecture, concluding by advising the rascal to leave these parts. If he is wise, he will heed the advice."
In April of 1859, Jacob Wermuth was granted a decree of divorce, the allegation of desertion being sustained. On the 12th of September, 1859, Fred Wermuth was born. Given the timing of his birth in relation to Julia’s elopement with Hugh Hanna and her divorce from Jacob Wemuth, it may give a clue to suspicions about his paternity that Fred lived with Julia, and Millard stayed with Jacob.
More next week…
 Western States Marriage Index, Jacob Alexander Wermuth and Julia Ann Brannock, San Joaquin, Vol M, pg 85 http://abish.byui.edu/specialCollections/westernStates/westernStatesRecordDetail.cfm?recordID=1487551, accessed 30 January 2013
 California death index, Millard W. Wermuth, Birthdate 4 Nov 1857, Death Date 30 Dec 1954, Source Citation: Place: Sacramento; Date: 30 Dec 1954. accessed through Ancestry.com 30 January 2013
 The Weekly Stockton Democrat, Sunday 9 January 1859, http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/casanjoa/2006-03/1143565203, accessed 30 Jan 2013
 “More of the Abductor of the Girl-Wife,” The San Francisco Bulletin, 12 January 1859, page 3, column 4, from GenealogyBank.com accessed 15 January 2017
 The Weekly Stockton Democrat, 24 April 1859, http://www.newspaperabstracts.com/link.php?id=25303 accessed 30 January 2013
 California death index, Millard W. Wermuth, Birthdate 12 Sep 1859, Death Date 3 Apr 1950, Source Citation: Place: Santa Cruz; Date: 3 Apr 1950, Social Security: 548073697. accessed through Ancestry.com 30 January 2013
Mary Kircher Roddy is a genealogist, writer and lecturer, always looking for the story. Her blog is a combination of the stories she has found and the tools she used to find them.