In 1900, at age twenty-four, Jack London married Bessie Maddern. This was the same year his first book, The Son of the Wolf, was published. The marriage produced two children, Joan and Becky, born in 1901 and 1902. The marriage proved to be unsuccessful, resulting in Jack leaving the marriage in 1903.
Both daughters grew up to marry and have children. Joan followed in her father’s footsteps to become a Socialist. There are many descendants of Joan and Becky living today.
When Jack’s first marriage broke up, he started a relationship with Charmian Kittredge who was about five years older than Jack.
Charmian Kittridge was born November 27, 1871 in a suburb of Los Angeles. When she was 8 years old, her mother died and Charmian was raised by her aunt, Ninetta Eames and husband Roscoe Eames. Charmian studied music and became an accomplished pianist. Educated at Mills College, she learned stenography and typing, skills that helped Jack in his writing career.
Jack and Charmian married in 1905 shortly after Jack’s divorce was final. This marriage was successful and lasted until Jack’s death in 1916.
Charmian fit perfectly into Jack’s life with her spirit of adventure and fun. She became Jack’s “mate woman,” and was his steady companion on many of his adventures and his working life.
Charmian was a strong woman. A skilled horsewoman, she enjoyed riding over the Ranch with Jack. When on several occasions during the cruise of the Snark the entire crew became ill, Charmian became the skipper, cook and nurse of the crew to keep the ship afloat.
Jack London was probably the best known writer of his time. After his death, Charmian never remarried. She wrote a very nostalgic book, Our Hawaii, and also a biography titled The Book of Jack London.
Charmian became pregnant twice. One child was still-born and the other child survived only a few hours.
Charmian died in 1955 in Glen Ellen. Her ashes are buried under a rock next to Jack's on a little knoll in Jack London State Park.