After all the "I dos" were said and done, in stepped Mrs. Dailey and said, "No, you don't." She wasn't Mrs. Dailey, the bride, but Mrs. Dailey, the mother. Trouble was, Mrs. Dailey, the bride, and Mrs. Dailey, the mother, were roughly the same age. And, that's where this soap opera gets good.
The Dublin City Board of Education needed a music teacher. Their first choice wasn't available, but their second choice came highly recommended by Rev. M.A. Jenkins, the former pastor of the First Baptist Church, which was located just across Bellevue Avenue from the high school. Board members had no reason to suspect the young musician was any less than 21 years of age. After all, his application had been endorsed by Dr. Joe Broughton, Rev. Julien Rogers and a host of well renown Atlanta musicians.
J. Avary Dailey came to Dublin in the winter of 1907 to begin his duties as a music teacher. Along with him came his mother, Mrs. Annie L. Dailey. After Friday classes ended on March 22, Dailey purchased a ticket aboard the Wrightsville and Tennille Railroad and made his way to Sandersville. The following day, he met his secret fianc‚, Mrs. Mana Kitchens, the widow of Mr. J.H. Kitchens of Dublin. The couple traveled back to her former home in Sparta, where they were married on Monday morning.
Young Avary Dailey was terrified that his mother would object to his marriage to a much older woman. And, he had good reason to believe that his mother would try to stop the whole thing. Dailey returned to Dublin on Wednesday. Mana Kitchens returned to her home in Sparta to wait out the storm. He tried to get his friends to hide him from his domineering matriarch telling them that he she would never let him leave again. And, he was right.
When Annie Dailey discovered that her son had indeed married, she went to the police station to see what she could do to stop the marriage. The police officer seemed unimpressed that her son may have fallen under the spell of the wicked wife when her son met her while giving music lessons to her 11-year-old daughter Pauline. Annie Dailey left Dublin for Atlanta. She sent a frantic telegram to her son to come home to see her as she was desperately ill. Avary suspected it was only a ruse to get him to leave his bride and fail in his duties as a teacher to complete the term. The following day he received a phone message which stated that his mother was dying in Dublin and needed to see him immediately. He still refused until his mother personally called the music teacher. Mother Dailey told her son that she wanted to see him in her Whitehall Street home in Atlanta to give her blessings to the marriage and say her goodbyes.
The hoodwink worked. The happily ever afters never had a chance. Under the endless domination of his mother's influence, Avary Dailey filed an action for a divorce in Laurens County Superior Court. Annie Dailey was quoted as saying that not more than once or twice in his life had he ever slept other than in the same bed with her.
Avary Dailey's attorney alleged that Mana Dailey did, by reason of superior age and mental ability, induce him to marry her. The complaint further stated to not to do so would cause comment in that they had been seen together in various places. The pleadings further stated that he was suffering from mental aberration and been so afflicted for a number of years, a condition subjected him to spells which affected his mind. Dailey further stated that he was less than eighteen years of age and that his wife was many years older and had five children of her own. In fact, Fred Kitchens, Mana's oldest child, was only three years younger than her husband.
In the days following the hullabaloo, Dublin residents felt sympathy for their young music teacher. The tide turned when the stories of his mother's domination spread throughout the town. Townsfolk felt sorry for the young man whom they thought was desperately trying to break free from the securely tied strings of his mother's apron.
Then someone contacted Rev. Jenkins to ask him to explain his glowing recommendation. Upon his interrogation, Jenkins admitted that he thought he was recommending someone else for the position. Several Dublin residents had connections to Hancock County. They knew of the jilted bride's outstanding reputation back in Sparta.
Mana Dailey denied any fraud on her part, asserting that "the curly headed boy violinist" was not who his mother claimed him to be. She admitted that she was nearly twice her husband's age, but disclaimed any mental illness on his part, stating that he was of above average intelligence. Mrs. Dailey obtained the services of future judges K.J. Hawkins and John S. Adams to represent her in answering her beloved husband's action. In fact, practically every member of the Dublin bar volunteered to lend their legal knowledge to her attorneys out of sympathy for the poor woman and their disdain for the groom's domineering mother.
The defendant's attorneys fired back, claiming that Dailey was capable of earning at least $150.00 a month and that their client was entitled to temporary alimony.
The people of Dublin were upset that Dailey and his mother consistently averred that he was less than eighteen when the school board members believed, or were led to believe, that the professor was at least twenty-five years old. In fact, Avary would turn nineteen in August.
The Daileys were divorced. Life went on. Avary Dailey returned to Atlanta to live with his mother and his brother, Herbert. Avary continued to teach music and play the violin in the symphony and opera halls of Atlanta. By 1920, Jay Avary Dailey was no longer living under his mother's roof. Hopefully he got away, but I suspect he may have died for he doesn't appear in the 1920 and 1930 censuses.
As for the deserted bride, she seems to have moved to Washington County where she and her daughter Ruth boarded in the home of J.A. Ray in 1910. Her daughter Ola was married in 1921 when Mana was residing in Devereaux, Georgia in Washington County. Her trail seems to disappear after that, although in 1959, an 85-year-old Mana Kitchens died in Stephens County. Was this the Mana Kitchens who was ditched by a wimpy husband who succumbed to the clinging demands of her overbearing mother-in-law and lived a long and hopefully happy life ever after? I would like to think so. After all, mother always knows best.