I have no documents saying the Joe's middle name was W. it's something I always thought since I was little. But the Joe J. in your post is definitely him. Gertrude was my grandmother. As far as him running off with the circus it might have been a story my gr grandmother Mabel told to save face or it might have been what Joe told her. My family was all about appearance back then because they were prominent people in Milan. Mabel's father was the mayor at one time.
Nobody ever mentioned divorce and in Mabel's obit it says she was a widow,
I'm wondering if the Joe later in Mo. is him also. I can't find anything on a Mamie maybe she died or they were divorced also. It's been said he was abusive.
You've given me a lot to think about and also a lot to find out. I used to live in Rock Island but now live in West Virginia so now I have t find somebody there! Thank you so much!!