Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Prize Fight for Boy": Child Custody Dispute, 1902

FULL TEXT: There was a novel prize fight at Joliet, Mont., recently. The affair was to have been to a finish but lasted only five rounds. The contestants were husband and wife and the stake was their three-year-old boy, Dick. The scene of the affair was Gilbert Hall, the largest in the town. A well-known man acted as referee.

The couple had separated and never met except by chance. On these occasions there was always a fistic encounter. At all times, either by force or by stratagem, the woman remained in possession of the child.

It was decided that the man and his wile were to enter the ring and fight to a finish the boy being the spoils. The matter was laid before the belligerents and they readily signed articles of agreement.

For three rounds the fight was interesting and honors were pretty evenly divided. The chivalrous sports how ever wanted the woman to win, and while she was being sponged between the rounds to keep her in good condition, the man was given long braces
of whisky.

After the third round a few jolts on the chin made him groggy, and in the fifth he was knocked out by his spouse. The referee officially awarded the fight and the boy to the woman, and when the man came to he was informed that he had no claim on the lad.

This adjustment of the trouble may not be strictly according to law, but there is no doubt that it will hold at Joliet, a thriving Montana mining town in Carbon county.

[“Prize Fight For Boy – Montana Woman Wins in Novel Fistic Encounter with the Aid of Gallant Miners.” The Bee (Washington, D.C.), Mar. 1, 1902, p. 4]


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