Mary Ann Kogin Ellis v Orlando Ellis
Who Takes the Children? Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1886
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
When there are children to consider in a contested divorce, the court papers can be rather extensive. This genealogical detailing concerns a husband and wife who sue each other for divorce and haggle about which parent gets custody of the children. Usually, one would think, the mother would become the custodial parent, especially when the children were female, but this case does not follow that pattern.
Orlando Ellis, b. Apr 1847, Otsego Twp, Steuben Co, IN, the son of NY and OH natives, respectively, Hamilton and Gracia Burch Ellis, married Mary Ann Kogin on 12 Nov 1870 in Steuben Co, IN. The Ellis family was enumerated in the 1880 Otsego, Steuben Co, IN federal census, p383B. Mary Ann, b 1855 in Indiana, was the only daughter of Tuscawarus Co, OH natives, John and Elizabeth M. Gilbert Kogin. The parents were enumerated in the 1880 Richland, Steuben Co, IN federal census, p399C; John Kogin died several years before these divorce proceedings.
Williams County, Ohio birth records show that two of their three daughters were born and recorded within as Minnie May Ellis, b. 4 Dec 1880, Otsego, Steuben Co, IN (Births V2 p19) and Cora E. Ellis, b 19 Aug 1883, NW Twp, Wms Co (Births V2 p56). Beginning on 25 Nov 1885 (Journal 13 p253) Orlando, a resident of NW Twp, brought a divorce suit against his wife, but the court dismissed the case (Roll 42 case number 1512). On 8 Feb 1886 (Roll 43 Box 148 case number 1593) Mary Ann sued Orlando for divorce charging him with gross neglect. From Journal 13 p429 - 22 Mar 1886, showed that this couple was divorced. Mary Ann called relatives Eugene and EM Kogin, her brother and mother, to testify on her behalf. She asked for a reasonable alimony and custody of their 2-year-old daughter Cora while she wanted Orlando to have custody of 14-year-old Orla and 4-year-old Minnie. She also stated that for more than one year Orlando had left her and the girls without food or support, without any provocation, and she was forced to perform manual labor to earn a living.
Six days after the divorce was granted Orlando Ellis married Eliza Pugh in Wms Co (Marriages V5 #808) on 28 Mar 1886. This Eliza is believed to be the daughter of Spafford and Esther Conklin Pugh of NW Twp. An interesting birth record (V2 p90) showed a son born to Orlando Ellis and Eliza Friend named Howard F. Ellis, b. 26 Sept 1886, NW Twp. Whether this Orlando Ellis is the subject of this divorce has yet to be proven. Mary Kogin Ellis’ widowed mother, Elizabeth, married Levi A. Barber on 17 Aug 1889, but nothing more is currently known of Mary.
On 19 Mar 1893 in Steuben Co, IN, Orlando married Cora E. Campbell, daughter of Obadiah and Arvilla Spencer Campbell and had seven children. Cora died on 10 Apr 1917 in Hillsdale Co, MI; several months later Orlando married Nancy N. Wilson on 22 Sept 1917 in Hudson, Hillsdale Co, MI. Sometime the next year Orlando died in 1918 and was buried in a Hillsdale Co, MI cemetery.
In the 1925 Burlington, Des Moines Co, IA state census, Mary Kogin Ellis was listed as Marie Harmon 67, widow, along with her daughter and son-in-law, Cora Ellis Smith and Andrew Smith.