14 September 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Bonnell

Margaret Boyers Bonnell v James R. Bonnell (Journal 7 p331 - May 1869; Roll 21 case number 5 - 8 May 1869; case number 25) - see Native Daughter Abused: Daggett/Doolittle (when posted)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married in Wms Co, OH on 23 Feb 1859.  Margaret was born c1834 in OH, the daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth Boyers, who were enumerated with their children in the 1850 Jefferson Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p24.  The Bonnells, according to Margaret, had three children, Frances E (9), Olivia A (7), and Alice M (5).  James had been willfully absent for more than three years and Margaret desired a divorce and reasonable alimony.  She was awarded a divorce.  A legal notice appeared in the "Bryan Democrat".  Later Margaret was sued by her lawyers for failure to pay for their services.  Also a local grocer stated that between 14 Nov 1867 - 13 Oct 1868 Margaret received coffee, butter, apples, soap, chicken eggs, oil, flour, cheese, brooms, syrup, wash board, crackers, rice, ginger snaps, cabbage, corn, vinegar, pork, peppers, tobacco, honey, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, biscuits, peaches, etc, necessary to support and maintain Margaret and her family, but the businessman had not been paid.

This seems unusual because Margaret had many relatives in the area to give her assistance, unless they were unsympathetic to her plight or she had worn out her welcome. There is a possible explanation based on Margaret’s daughter, Frances E, who was born in Mar 1858 and died on 11 July 1867 @9Y 4M 2D; she was buried in Fountain Grove Cem in Bryan beside her uncle Jacob Boyers, Jr.  Her birthdate if correct was almost a year before her parents married.  In those days this would have been, although not unusual, certainly a minor scandal. Nothing more is known of Margaret or the errant ex-husband James, but according to the 1880 Bryan federal census, p651A, Olive Bonnell 18 OH-MI-OH and her sister Alice 16 OH-MI-OH resided with their aunt Jennie Jump 40 OH (Mrs. PO Jump).  

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