Child Bride of the Ozarks

November 28, 1927
18-year-old Ora Obetz appeared in court today seeking to have her marriage of 5 years annulled.  It seems that prior to their marriage, her husband, Louis Allen Obetz, 47, had been her stepfather.

When Ora’s mother died in 1920, the girl was left in the custody of Obetz, who spent the next few years traveling around the Ozarks in a wagon with her.  When she turned 13, he gave her the choice of being placed in juvenile home, a convent, or becoming his wife.  After a month of convent living, Ora finally consented to marry him in Kansas.

A year later, Ora gave birth to a son, and the Obetzs moved to Los Angeles.  Shortly thereafter, Louis threatened Ora at gunpoint, at which point, the brave girl picked up her infant son, marched out the door, and left Obetz for good.  That was two years ago.

Since then, Obetz filed a $100,000 "alienation of affection" suit against 83-year-old A.F. Christianson, a wealthy Angeleno whom Obetz claimed had influenced Ora’s decision to leave him.  But before that case was heard, Ora had her day in Superior Court.  The issue at hand was not whether Ora was coerced into marriage, due to the fact that Kansas had no laws mandating the age at which girls could marry.  However, the legality of the marriage was called into question by Ora’s testimony that a friend of Obetz’s had posed as her dead father in order to obtain the marriage license.

On December 7, 1927, Obetz’s suit against Christianson was dismissed when the former failed to appear in court.  He didn’t show his face on the 9th either, when Ora Obetz was granted her annulment and full custody of her son.

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