Perhaps Mary (nee Matilda) actually was John Thiers' (AKA Casper Wittman) legal heir (see the Wayne County, Michigan, Probate blog about the Thiers), since Casper Wittman, a saloonkeeper from Cleveland, Ohio, married Matilda Schneider in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, on September 8, 1892.
Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925
groom's birth date: 1824
bride's name: Matilda Schneider
bride's birth date: 1850
marriage date: 08 Sep 1892
marriage place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan
groom's father: Jno. Wittman
groom's mother: Konygonda Dottewing
Peculiar Case. Suit to Set Aside a Will Brings It to Light. Valuable Property Involved, was an article published April 1, 1896, in the Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH):
"Last July, John Thiers, a German saloonkeeper on Michigan street, who is said to have been wealthy, died... ." Yesterday a suit was filed to set aside his will. The plaintiff is Anna Burnham of Chicago. The defendant is Tillie Schroeder, alias Mary Thiers. John Thiers, whose proper name is Casper Wittman, made his will on January 31, 1891 [before the date of marriage listed above], cutting off his family and leaving everything to the defendant. Because of a combination of Thiers' deteriorated mental state and the defendant's coercion, the plaintiff(s) "pray that the instrument in writing and the probate thereof be set aside and declared null and void, and the estate distributed among the heirs of Casper Wittman according to law."
The attorney's investigation found that "during recent years he [Casper Wittman] resided at 61 Michigan street, where he kept a saloon and ran a policy shop on the quiet." Fifteen years ago Casper Wittman was known as the wealthiest and most prominent German citizen in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He was arrested and fined, charged with running a policy shop. After the arrest he left Allentown and his family behind. He lived in Buffalo and Pittsburgh before settling in Cleveland, though he also opened a policy shop in Detroit.
The article said that he [Casper Wittman] secured a divorce from his wife [Caroline] in 1878* on the ground of willful absence.
*The Sunday, December 2, 1888, edition of the Cleveland Leader (Cleveland, OH) paper, Page: 7, printed that "Casper Wittman says that he married Caroline Wittman in February, 1845, and he now asks the court to grant him a decree of legal separation for gross neglect of duty and extreme cruelty. Mrs. Wittman lives on Fourth Street, in Allentown, Pa."
The Wednesday, June 12, 1889, Cleveland Leader (Cleveland, OH) Page: 6, indicated that a divorce was granted: