Mary Jane Crocker Deeds/Deetz v John B. Deeds/Deetz (Journal 7 p281: Roll 20 case number 65 - Mar 1869) – see Van Wormer (when posted)
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
The couple had married on 19 Feb 1864, Wms Co (Marriage V3 p358) and they had two children, John Volney Deeds (b 20 Mar 1866) and Emaline Luella Deeds (b 15 May 1868); she was named after a baby aunt who died in 1854. Mary Jane, b 1845 OH, was the daughter of early Wms Co residents, Volney and Mary McKean Crocker, who had married here on 25 Aug 1842 (Marriages V1 p60). Volney erected the first home in Bryan sometime between 1839-1840; he came here with his parents, Samuel and Polly Fordham Crocker and lived in Williams Center. In 1844 he purchased 120 acres in Williams Co. Volney made wagons in a log shop and later moved his family near Edgerton, St. Joseph Twp. In 1859 he made a trip to California during the gold rush craze and as a miner was enumerated in the 1860 Grizzley Flats, El Dorado Co, CA federal census p1180 as Volney Crocker 45 NY miner. His wife Mary, daughter of Joseph and Jane McKean, was born on 25 June 1821 in Perry Co, PA and also arrived in Wms Co with her parents.
Volney’s birth is recorded as 8 Feb 1818 in NY. The Crockers had the following children: Harriet (Mrs. William G. Wilsey), Mary Jane, Sarah Ann, Franklin, and Emma E. Both sets of grandparents for Mary Jane Crocker lived in Center Twp as evidenced by the 1840 federal census. Volney and his family were listed in the 1850 Pulaski Twp federal census p87B as Volney 32 NY wagonmaster, Mary 29 PA, Harriet 7 OH, Mary 5 OH, and Sarah Ann 3 OH. By the 1860 federal census the family had moved to St. Joseph Twp p120b as Voleny 43 NY, Mary 36 PA, Harriet 16 OH, Mary J 14 OH, Sarah 12 OH, and Frank M 9 OH.
Mary Jane Crocker Deetz charged John B. Deetz, parentage unknown, with extreme cruelty and gross neglect. She told the court that on 23 Feb 1864 he left her with her father Volney Crocker and went into the military. He returned on 23 Feb 1865. Since 6 Mar 1865 he had been in and out of her life, but never provided her with a home as she had lived with her father all her married life. He had neglected her and used abusive language. On 12 Aug 1867 he pushed her down a flight of stairs and she fell on her back, causing her great pain. On 31 Aug 1867 he beat her. When their son John Volney was 17 months old he beat him. He threatened to take the children. He had no property but he inherited $200 from his father's estate. John countersued Mary Jane for being unfit but Mary Jane was granted a divorce and custody of the minor children.
The children were enumerated with their mother and Crocker grandparents in the 1870 St. Joseph Twp federal census p29 as Volney Crocker 52 NY, Mary 48 PA, Franklin 20 OH, Mary J, Deeds 24 OH, and Deeds children, John 4 OH and Emma 2 OH. Again in the 1880 St. Joseph Twp federal census, p36-37, John Deeds 14 OH and his sister Emma 12 OH lived with Crocker grandparents, Volney 62 NY and Mary 59 PA. Grandma Mary Crocker died on 28 Feb 1885 of lung fever (Deaths V 2 p31) and was buried in Walnut Grove Cem in Edgerton. Grandpa Volney died on 22 Apr 1888 and was buried beside his wife. His will was probated on 28 Apr 1888 (#2903) in which he mentioned his daughter Harriet Wilsey of Edgerton, son Frank of parts unknown, daughter Sarah Crocker, and grandchildren Emma and John Deeds. He made a bequest for substantial memorials to be built for his parents, Samuel and Polly Crocker, and his in-laws, Joseph and Jane McKean.
A codicil to this will showed an interesting point about Volney’s son-in-law, William Wilsey. William had a land dispute over rents with Volney and the next day Volney had daughter Harriet and husband William Wilsey cut out of the will. Note that this will does not mention daughter Mary Jane Crocker Deeds; had she died? Currently there is no answer, but she probably had passed away before the will was written. Volney had at least two other grandchildren, Charles and James Wilsey, but they were not mentioned. Volney may have given the Deeds children a portion of his estate because their mother was deceased or because they lived with him as youngsters.