30 September 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Eaton

Jared Eaton v Emily J. Mason Eaton
A Man With Several Stray Children and Many Court Appearances,
Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1864

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 19 January 2014)

Charges of abuse on her side countered by charges of adultery and worse on his side.  County records tell the reader two different scenarios.  One must infer some elements of character and purpose.  The reader is invited to sort through the charges and decide whose story seems the most plausible, detailing a man who according to family tradition was proud of his Native American heritage although there is no documented evidence to date to support this.

Jared Eaton, parentage unknown, possibly both PA natives, b. 1819, OH, married Emily (probably Mason) in Palmyra, Lenawee Co, MI, on 14 Oct 1848.  Emily, parentage unknown, was born c.1833 in OH.   The parties were living in Seneca Co, OH at the time of their elopement to Michigan.  On 12 Feb 1848 George Eaton of Seneca Co. sold land to Jared in the NW quarter of Sec 13 in German Twp, Fulton Co, OH, which was about eight months before Jared's marriage.  Most of the land was located in the defunct ghost town of Edinburg.

They first appear as a couple in the 1850 Big Spring Twp, Seneca Co, OH federal census, p333, as Jared Eaton 30 OH carpenter, Emily 20 OH, Oliver G. 4 OH, and Robert 4/12 OH.  Note that Oliver's age is either incorrect or he is the issue of Jared from another marriage, Emily's issue from another marriage, a son born to the couple before their 1848 elopement or another relative who happened to be living there when the census taker arrived.

Jared is found next in the 1860 Plainfield, Alpine Twp, Kent Co, MI federal census, p735, as a logger aged 35, state of birth unknown, living with lumberman Walter Nicholson and his family.  The Eaton family as a family unit was listed in the 1860 Adrian, Seneca Co, OH federal census as Jared 40 OH lumbering, Emily 30 OH, Perceival M. 10 OH, Charles C. 7 OH, Ira T. 5 OH, and Clara B. 2 OH.  Note that Oliver and Robert, who should be 14 and 10, respectively, are missing.  Also another possibility on the missing children could be that Oliver died or left the family and that Robert could really be Perceival as the age is similar. 

Even though Jared Eaton was old enough to serve in the Civil War, Jared does not appear to have enlisted in any Civil War unit, as a search for military service has not discovered such to date.  Jared and Emily Eaton may have had six children as follows: Oliver G. (1846 OH -before 1860); Robert (1850 OH -before 1860); Perceival Mason. (May 1850 OH - aft 1910,, CA; m Justina Frances McCumsey, 2 Jan 1873, Porter Co, IN; m. Anna L. __, c. 1895); Charles C. (Dec 1851 OH - aft 1910, San Francisco, CA); Ira T. (15 May 1855 or 5 May 1856, OH - 11 Oct 1916, Chicago, IL; m. Rocelia L. Meese); Clara Bell (1860 OH - aft 1899, IA; m. ___ Marshall).

According to the Williams Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court Records (Roll 16 case number 71 - Nov 1863), Jared sued Dr. James M. Viers of Fulton Co, OH for alienation of affection, stating that Dr. Viers had an affair with Mrs. Eaton and Jared wanted compensation for this in the form of $10,000.  From the case one learns that in 1858 the Eatons left Seneca Co, OH and moved to Adrian, MI.  In the fall of 1860 they left Adrian and lived first in Wms Co and then by 21 Dec 1861 resided on a farm in German Twp, Fulton Co, OH.  By 23 Jan 1862 Jared stated to the court that Emily was not living with him.  He said Mrs. Eaton had a fever and chills, perhaps suffering from a miscarriage, when she sought medical help from a Dr. Finch and later from Dr. Viers.  She was living in a boarding house in Stryker, OH at the time.  Jared claimed that Dr. Viers had given her medicine and performed an abortion.  She only left the boarding house when Jared discovered her there and took her away; also she had one of the young children with her.  On 21 Dec 1861 her bill was left unpaid until two weeks later when a Sol Wynn paid it. 

Dr. Viers testified that Jared was a jealous husband and had pursued his sick wife to the Stryker establishment.  Viers denied doing anything improper either in a personal or professional manner with Mrs. Eaton.  Emily told the court that she only had one pair of shoes and the clothes on her back.  Her husband had threatened to choke her to death and she fled the home for safety. 

Jared countered that he had "two stray children, Clary and Charles", but out of the kindness of his nature he raised them as his own. Later in his testimony he said the second and youngest sons were not his children.  He further stated that Emily had twice before taken medicine to perform abortions and this was the third time; she did this to hide her adultery.

John C. Dewitt of Seneca Co, OH stated that Emily was the niece of his wife.  (John C. Dewitt and family were enumerated in both the 1860 and 1870 Seneca Twp, Seneca Co, OH in McCuthenville p12 and Adrian p267, respectively, with John b. 1808 OH with wife Artemitia b. 1808 CT.  If his wife was Emily's aunt, perhaps one of her parents was also born in CT.)  Dewitt said that Emily had four children, she was 32 years old, and had been married to Jared Eaton for about 16 years.  Emily married him against her parents' wishes when she ran away to Michigan at age 15.  Dewitt told the court that Eaton often left Emily without any money while he was engaged in the lumber trade.  Emily had to get help from relatives to put food on the table for her children.  Jared's case against Dr. Viers did not convince the court of any improprieties and the suit was dismissed.

I recently did a bit of research on Artemisia Mason (28 June 1808 Plainfield, Windham Co, CT – 31 Mar 1885 McCutchenville, Wyandot Co, OH; d/o Jenks Mason and Elizabeth Corey. She married John C Dewitt (31 March 1808 Columbia, Jackson Co, MI – 24 Oct 1886 McCutenville, Wyandot Co, OH.  If she is the aunt of Emily, perhaps Emily’s maiden name is Mason and not Martin.  The records I had initially used were very poor quality.  I also discovered that Ruhamah Sprague Mason (25 Mar 1810 Plainfield, Windham Co, CT; married Ira Taft, 3 Oct 1827; died 15 May 1859 OH.  She was a daughter of this Jenks Mason.  Emily and Jared’s son is named Ira Taft Eaton.  The oldest son, Percival M Eaton, has the middle name Mason.  So now I am inclined to believe Emily’s surname is Mason.  

Shortly after this case was settled a second Williams Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court Case (Journal 6 p387, Roll 16 case number 110 - 26 May 1864), attests to the tenacity of Jared Eaton as he filed for a divorce from Emily, again citing her adultery with Dr. Viers.  He stated that on 10 Sept 1861 she was unfaithful to him with Viers at the public house owned by Sol Sanford in Stryker and again on Christmas of 1861 at the Bryan House.  Note that these dates were not mentioned in the earlier case.  Jared requested custody of the four children, Perceival M., Charles C, Ira Taft, and Clara Bell.  Sons Oliver and Robert were not mentioned as either they had died or, being old enough, had left home.  The court 's decision was that the defendant was not to interfere with the rearing of her children and Jared was granted a divorce.  Nothing more is known of Emily Eaton; however on her son Ira’s death certificate, an informant listed his mother as “Harriet”.

Dr. James Madison Viers, b. 25 Apr 1824, Fulton Co, OH, was the son of John and Rebecca B. Salsberry Viers.  He was enumerated in the 1850 Swancreek, Fulton Co, OH federal census, p310, as James Viers 34 OH, Eliza 34 PA, Charles 11 OH, William 4 OH, Angeline 4 OH, and Eleanor 9 OH.  His Civil War service consisted of his enlistment in Co I 38th OH and the 6th OH Cavalry.  According to his obituary in the "Bryan Democrat", 13 Apr 1865, Dr. Viers died in West Unity, Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH on 11 Apr 1865 at the age of 41.  He was a mason and a teacher in the first log cabin school in Brady Twp, on the property of Dr. JN Runnion (Goodspeed, 1882, p384).

The story now switches to Jared, who according to another family tale, rode a team of horses over to the farm of Widow Opdycke and proposed marriage to her.  The couple was married in Wms Co, OH on 6 July 1864, (Marriages V3 p390) about six weeks after Jared had filed for his divorce.  The new bride was Eliza Dawson Opdycke, daughter of John and Helen Lutz Dawson, born on 14 Oct 1840, Peoria, IL, who had first married Albert H. Opdycke, in Wms Co, OH on 21 Feb 1856 (V2 p162).  Eliza became a widow upon Albert's accidental death at the age of 38Y 2M 8D (4 June 1824 - 12 Aug 1862).  Albert and Eliza were the parents of three Opdycke children: Henry Herman (14 Mar 1857 OH - 2 Nov 1926, West Unity, Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH; m. Mary E. Shaffer); Wallace Willis A. (1859 OH - aft 1903, pos Melvern, KS; m. bef 1881, Mary A. "Molly" Crum; and Eliza or Ida M. (1862 OH - Jan 1910; m. Henry Faber, 26 Feb 1885, Wms Co, OH (Marriages V5 #61).

Shortly after her second marriage Eliza Eaton, according to a Williams Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court Record, (Roll 17 case # 16), sued her children, Henry H., Willis A, and Eliza M., plus new husband Jared Eaton, to establish her 1/3 share of 80 acres and a reasonable dower right of her first husband's estate.  John S. Cannon at the time was serving as the children's guardian.  By probate case #869, 7 Sept 1864, Eliza Eaton petitioned the court to become the legal guardian for sons Herman and Willis.  The Eaton farm was listed in the 1864 Wms Co, OH Atlas as being located in Sec 35, 36, Jefferson Twp, under Mrs. Opdycke's name; the 1874 atlas shows the same land then listed under Eliza Eaton's ownership; the 1894 atlas shows 40 acres in Sec 35S as the property of Eliza Eaton.  Evidently Jared was never the legal owner of this property which came to Eliza through her first husband.

Still another civil case found in Roll 21, Nov 1869, listed Jared Eaton as the defendant, being sued by Daniel Deck over a promissory note for $38, for which Jared denied owing.  He called his sons Perceival and Charles as witnesses plus Opdycke relatives John and Herman.  The outcome of the case is not presently known.

By the 1870 Jefferson Twp federal census, p8 in print form, the Eaton family was listed as Jared 55 PA farmer, Eliza 40 OH, Perceival 20 OH, Charles 17 OH, Ira 14 OH, Henry 14 OH, Willis 11 OH, Ida 7 OH, Mary 5 OH, Betta 3 OH, and Lucy 1 OH.  The 1880 Jefferson Twp federal census, p529, enumerated the Eatons as farmer Jared 62 OH-PA-PA; Eliza 38 IL-OH-OH; Lucy 11 OH, Hattie 8 OH, Frances 7 OH, Junietta 5 OH, Fannie 3 OH.

(Eaton) The Bryan Press, 10 July 1879, p1
Jared Eaton and his son Charles have returned from the east where they have been on business for the last three or four weeks.

Prior to this census the county sheriff for possessing a concealed weapon, a pistol, in a public place, arrested Jared on 9 Apr 1880.  Again the outcome of the charge is not presently known.

At the time of the 1880 federal census in Eden, Seneca, OH, p337A, there is an Ira Eaton 79 stonemason, PA-EN - unknown and his son George 18 OH-PA-NY.  Further investigation needs to be done to determine if this Ira might be related to Jared whose son was named Ira Eaton.

From the Bryan Democrat, 7 August 1884, p5 c2, an interesting account shows Eaton was ridiculed for his carelessness- “Jared Eaton tied his horses loose in the street Monday while he went into a barber shop to get shaved.  Something frightened the horses and they lit out.  They also lit into an open buggy hitched on the north side of Court Park.  You ought to have seen that buggy after Eaton’s team went into it and through it.  Body, dash, pole, wheels, all broken and piled up in the street by a larger majority than any other buggy ever received in Bryan.  The ponies hitched to the buggy were knocked under the railing into Court Park by the collision.  Both teams were skinned and bruised.”

Jared and Emily had at least four children, Eliza, the second wife, had three Opdycke children, and together with Jared they had the following eight children, all born in Wms Co, OH: Mary Margaret (1865 - 30 Sept 1870); Elizabeth R. (1867 - 28 Sept 1870); Lucy L. (12 June 1869 - aft 1899; m. William E. Winans, 2 July 1893, Wms Co, OH, V6 #979); Harriet D. (1871 - 1950; m J. Waldo Beggs, 12 Apr 1891, Wms Co, OH, V6 #431); Frances E. (1873 - 1944; m William Grindle, 8 June 1892, Wms Co, OH, v6 #704); Junietta (1875 - 1960; m. Festus Agrippa Oberlin, 16 Apr 1896, Wms Co, OH, V7 #123); Fanny Fern (1877 - ; m Deforest C. Bentley, 8 June 1899, Wms Co, OH, V8 p35); Jessie E. (5 Nov 1880 - 1943; m Carl Beach, 7 Oct 1902, Wms Co, OH, V8 p411).  The two oldest daughters' death dates are recorded in Wms Co, OH Deaths, V1 p6, having died two days apart. 

Jared Eaton's obituary in the "Bryan Press", 14 Feb 1895, stated that he died of heart trouble on 9 Feb 1895, at his home in Jefferson Twp, leaving a wife and six daughters.  The deceased was buried in Shiffler Cemetery.  Wms Co, OH probate case #3586, filed 26 Jan 1899, shows Eliza as the estate administrator with children named as heirs - from the first marriage: Perceival of Placerville, CA, Charles of Oakland, CA, Ira of Chicago, IL, and Clara Marshall of IA; from the second marriage - Lucy, Hattie, Frances, Junietta, Fanny, and Jessie, with married names and addresses. 

What happened to Emily's children?

Bryan Democrat, 7 September 1893 p5
Percy Eaton, who was raised in this county, but took Horace Greeley’s advice and went west some 24 years ago, is here visiting the home fireside of his youth.  His present home is at Pacerville, California.

In the 1900 Placerville Twp, El Dorado Co, CA federal census, p151A, one finds Percy W. Eaton, teamster of 50 OH, b. May 1850 with wife Anna L 27 Canada, and sons Ira M., Henry T. and George D., all born in CA.  The 1910 San Francisco, CA federal census shows Anna L. living with her five sons, the three aforementioned and Percy and Wilbert, but no husband Percy even though Annie is listed as married. Percy Eaton is living in Pulaski Twp, Williams Co, OH in 1910, listed as married three times.

In the 1900 San Francisco federal census single Charles C. b. Dec 1851is a lodger in a rooming house listing his parents as natives of Germany and Maine.  Remember Jared referred to Charles as "one of the strays".

The 1880 Mishawaka, St. Joseph Co, IN federal census, p316A, has Ira T. Eaton, agent for school furniture, 26 OH residing with his wife Celia and children Edith and William.  The New Auburn Cemetery in Auburn, Steuben Co, IN, was the final resting-place for Ira Taft Eaton, who died in Bryan, Williams Co, OH, on 11 Oct 1919 and some of his family members.

Widow Eliza had her share of court appearances with numerous suits over money and property, which she owned, levied against a wide variety of Williams County residents. Eliza died on 5 Aug 1911 and was laid to rest between her two husbands, Albert Opdycke and Jared Eaton in Shiffler Cemetery. 

No comments: