This is an example of the widespread allotment racket, which usually victimized childless veterans. Lt. Milton's case was much worse than most: on top of the financial fraud, his children were kidnapped.
FULL TEXT: Lieut. Thomas J. Milton’s return from war was marked with no joyful, triumphant festivities. Arriving at his home, 2818 South Kedzie avenue, three days ago, he found nothing but sadness. His two children, William, 10, and Marie Florence, 6 years old, were not there.
Yesterday afternoon the cannonear, dressed in civilian clothes, went before Judge Jesse A. Baldwin, in the Circuit court, and told a story that moved the judge to anger, and he started an investigation. Officers of the Chicago Red Cross chapter and the Juvenile court and attachés of the adjutant general’s office will be questioned.
~ Says Wife Deserted. ~
“My wife, Mrs. Ida Louise Milton, deserted me in 1914,” Lieut. Milton told Judge Baldwin. “She has never lived with me since that time. When the war came I enlisted as a private in the 122d field artillery and worked up to a commission. When I left Chicago with the regiment I gave my two babies to my mother, and she promised to care for them while I was gone.”
“I came back last Tuesday and found that my wife had stolen the children, had falsely secured the transfer of my allotment and insurances to herself, and now even reuses to let me see the children.”
“All that done while you were away at war?” asked the judge.
~ Cites Red Cross Advice. ~
“Yes. She went to the Red Cross and asked them how she could secure my allotment, and the told her they couldn’t unless she had the children. So she went to the Juvenile court and by falsehood made the court take out a writ of habeas corpus for the two babies.”
“The court showed on the hearing of the writ that they were her children and that she was supposed to have care of them. So they took the children from my mother.”
Lieut. Milton added that his wife was not a fit person to care for the babies.
[“Charges Wife Stole Children While He Fought – Veteran’s Story of Sad Homecoming Stirs Court Action.” The Chicago Daily Tribune (Il.), Sep. 12, 1919, p. 19]
For more cases of this type see: “War-Marriage Vampires”& “Allotment Annies"