Mary Jane Spade Bavin v Charles Sleight Bavin
The Very Proper Englishman Exhibited Improper Behavior, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1878
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
On 15 Sept 1877 he used abusive language and dragged her out of a chair to a length of 30 feet by her hair, kicking and wounding her. She tolerated this for the sake of her children, but in Feb 1878 she filed for a divorce but was refused. On 12 Nov 1878 he threatened to bash out her brains with a chair and kick the heart out of her, while striking her repeatedly. She could not bear this behavior any longer and refiled for relief. Thus this story was repeated for the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 10 p108 - Mar 1879; Roll 33 case number 549 - Feb 1878). The genealogical detailing shows a woman who had to file several times before the court would actively listen and ultimately grant her a divorce.
Charles Bavin, born on 2 Nov 1839, pos Billinghay, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, England, was the son of John and Ann Bavin, English natives who brought their children to the US c1852, staying in New York before removing to Ohio and settling in Millcreek Twp, Wms Co, OH. They were enumerated in the 1860 Millcreek Twp federal census, p131b, as: John Bavin 60 ENG, Ann 54 ENG, John 27 ENG, Charles 21 ENG, and adopted daughter Adaline Barger 14 OH. The parents were buried in Floral Grove Cemetery, West Unity, Brady Twp as John Bavin (d.27 Apr 1871 @75Y - Death V1 p8) and Ann (d.27 Mar 1877 @75Y - Death V1 p43).
Their son Charles, possibly a Civil War vet in Co E 14th Infantry Ohio, having enlisted in April 1861 and mustered out in Aug 1861, Toledo, OH; Charles married Mary Jane Spade on 3 July 1862, Millcreek Twp (Marriage V3 p248). The bride was born c1843 in Wms Co and was the daughter of Christopher and Anna Margaret ClarkSpade, early settlers of Millcreek Twp. There were listed in the 1850 Millcreek Twp federal census p28, as Christopher Spade 33 PA, Anna 27 PA, Mary 7 OH, Frederic 3 OH, and Julia 1 OH. The family expanded through the 1860 Millcreek Twp federal census p123a, and the 1870 Millcreek Twp federal census p4, to include the following children: Mary, Frederick, Julia A, Margaret, Christopher Columbus, Cornelius, and Joseph. The Spade parents died on 23 Oct 1890 (Anna M) and 15 Oct 1888 (Christopher).
In the 1870 Millcreek Twp federal census, p1, the Bavins were listed as Charles 35 ENG, Mary Jane 27 OH, John C 7 OH, Anna M 5 OH, Frederick 3 OH, and George 1 OH. Mary Jane as stated earlier decided to head over to Bryan and request a divorce in Feb 1878. She wanted custody of the children and provided their names and birthdates. She also stated that Charles owned 80 acres of land in Millcreek and she wanted a portion of this to support her children. She also stated that she was 35 years old and had been a resident of this county all her life. Mary provided witnesses to her plight such as Frederick and John Bavin, Julia Ann Spade, John Laser, John Shook, John Kirkenburg, Margaret E. White, Alfred S. Hendricks, George Frick, William Denman, Joseph Greek, and ES Davis. Some of these people were relatives, some neighbors, and some her own children. The court listened and finally granted her requests. Given the severity of the charges and the number of witnesses it is difficult to understand why the court made her refile before granting her this action.
The Bavins were parents to the following eight children: John C (b 8 Aug 1863), Anna M (b 7 Dec 1864), Frederick C (b 9 Oct 1866), George M (b 9 Dec 1868), Mary Della (29 Jan 1871 - 29 Mar 1879), Cynthia Jane (b 25 May 1872), DB (f) (1 Aug 1875 - 21 Apr 1875 or 22 Sept 1875), David Henry (b 21 Oct 1876). Mary Jane was listed as head of house in the 1880 Ransom, Hillsdale Co, MI federal census p237 as Mary Jane Bavin 36 OH-PA-PA divorced, along with children John 17 OH-ENG-PA, Frederic 13 OH-ENG-PA, George 11 OH-ENG-PA, Cynthia 8 OH-ENG-PA, and David 3 OH-ENG-PA. In the Civil War Veterans listing in 1890 for Ransom, MI Mary Jane Bavin was listed as a widow of Charles Bavin but there was a notation “mistake” written on the enumeration. The possibility exists that Charles was a CW vet but as he was very much alive, Mary Jane could not claim any pension or other help as his widow. Mary Jane Bavin died in 1892 and was buried with her two daughters DB and Della in Floral Grove Cem, West Unity.
According to the 1880 Richland Twp, Steuben Co, IN federal census, p397, Charles was listed as 40 ENG-ENG-ENG farmer with his wife Esther 29 OH-Germ-PA who had a disease of the liver. Charles Bavin married Abigail “Addie” Vandage Scott in California, Branch Co, MI on 29 June 1884; they had a son Charles Leon b 1889 in Richland Twp, Steuben Co, IN. In the 1900 Richland Twp, Steuben Co, IN federal census p7B, this Bavin family was enumerated as Charles 60 ENG-ENG-ENG (married in 1882; immigrated in 1852; unknown b-date), Addie 50 (Mar 1850 - mother of 6 with 3 living) MI-NY-NY, and son Charlyn 10 IN-ENG-MI. Charles died on 4 Feb 1916 in Hamilton, Steuben Co, IN; “Friday morning Charles Bavin at the Fish Lake hotel was stricken with paralysis and passed away at 6:20 pm”. He was buried in Bethel Cem, Steuben Co, IN.