Clarissa Chapman Crum v Alfred Crum
June 15 Born and June 15 Wed – Almost a Divorce in Williams County, 1882
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 10 Jan 2011)
I keep harping on the value of the old divorce records. A good example of how these can be helpful is found in this genealogical detailing of a Civil War quartermaster with a mean streak. A fellow researcher, Carol Crum Calkins, wrote that she recently began researching her father’s family. Her dad died in 1985; her paternal grandfather died when she was two years old; and, her paternal great-grandfather died before she was born. Her father never talked about his family and there were few older relatives to answer questions. She did find an uncle who had a family Bible that contained the birth date of her paternal great-grandfather, so she finally possessed something on which to build. I found Carol on the Internet and asked a few questions with regard to her Crum family in order to write this story. As a result of the divorce material as a springboard, I was able to provide her with the following information about her Williams County connection.
Alfred Crum, possibly the son of Peter and Mary (Nations?) Crum but not proven, was born 15 June 1824 in Olivesburg, Richland Co, OH. He married Clarissa Chapman, daughter of Connecticut natives Cyrus and Chloe Case Chapman in Richland Co, OH, 15 June 1848 (V5 p108). Clarissa coincidentally shared the same birthday but different year, 15 June 1825, thus making their birthdays and their anniversary the same. This probably made it easy for both parties to remember the important dates.
According to the 1850 Butler Twp, Richland Co, OH federal census records p259, Alfred, a farmer, was head of house (26 PA), Clara (25 OH), Matilda (5 OH), and Emily (1 OH). Note two things – Alfred born in PA, which is disputed by further census info and his obit, and the child Matilda, who is too old to be issue of this couple unless their marriage record is wrong or they were parents before this marriage. A possible explanation is that one of the pair was married before, making this his or her second marriage or that Matilda is a Crum niece or orphan, living with the couple. She does not appear in any other census with them. Further investigation in Richland Co, OH records may yield the answer to this; however, Alfred’s obit lists his seven children by name and birth order and Matilda is not included. This couple’s parents also resided in Richland Co, 1850 with Peter Crum, a widower in Franklin Twp, and Cyrus and Chloe Chapman in Butler Twp.
In 1851 Alfred and his family plus the Chapmans moved to Crown Point, Lake Co, IN, but in Apr 1852 the Crums made Williams Co, OH, their home, settling north of Hamer in Millcreek Twp where they are found in the 1860 federal census p13b as follows: Alfred, farmer, 36 OH; Clarissa 35 OH; Emily 10 OH; Harriet 9 OH; Morrison 6 OH; and Lorin 1 OH. Alfred’s obit in a West Unity paper relates that in 1855 he joined the UB Church but “like many others he became careless and withdrew from the church.”
On 14 Aug 1862 Alfred enlisted as a private and served in the Civil War as part of Co C 111th OVI for three years, the last 18 months of which he was detailed to work in the quartermaster’s department. He mustered out on 27 June 1865. According to the 1864 Wms Co Atlas he owned land in Sections 4 and 16 of Millcreek Twp but in 1874 he owned property in Sec 33N of Brady Twp.
Alfred and Clarissa were the parents of the following seven children: Emma A. or Emily (b. 27 Mar 1849, OH; d. aft 1903, Montpelier (?), Wms Co, OH; m 10 July 1867, Wms Co, OH Reverend Burton Baldwin – V3 p693); Harriet B. (b. 25 Nov 1850, OH; d. 10 Mar 1874, Wms Co, OH; m26 Dec 1867, Wms Co, OH, John C. Rings – V3 p742); Morrison H. (b. 16 Jan 1854, Wms Co, OH; d. 1942, St. Louis, Gratiot Co, MI; m1 22 Sept 1879, Chloe Augusta Medler; m2 Nettie ---); Calista (1856-bef 1860, infancy); Loren V. (1858 – aft 1903, Cheney, KS); Mary A. “Mollie” (b. July 1862; d. aft 1903, Melvern, KS; m. Willis Opdycke); and Silva Belle (b. Sept 1866; d. aft 1903 Chicago, IL; m. Joseph Reed, c1890). This family was enumerated in 1870 p27 in Brady Twp with Alfred 45 OH; Clarissa 44 OH; Morrison H 16 OH; Loren 12 OH; Mary A. 10 OH; Silva Belle 3 OH and the 1880 census also in Brady Twp p497A as Alfred 56 OH-PA-PA; Clarissa 56 OH-CT-NY; Silva Bell 12 OH.
According to the Williams Co Criminal and Civil Court Records (Journal 11 p462 – 12 June 1882; Roll 38 case number 998), Clarissa Crum petitioned the court for a divorce on 29 Mar 1882, charging Alfred with physical abuse, gross neglect, and non-support of herself and their daughter Silva Belle. She claimed that for the last two years she had “infirm health” and that between 29 Jan-5 Mar 1882 she had been bedfast and needed medicine which Alfred failed to provide. She catalogued for the court instances of beatings she sustained as far back as July 1878. On 5 Mar 1882 she left home and sought shelter with neighbors. Clarissa feared that Alfred who had real estate and livestock valued at $2500 would carry out his threats to sell the property, convert it to cash, and cheat her out of a monetary settlement. The court for no known reason dismissed all charges and would not grant this divorce. Presumably the Crums patched up their differences and reconciled.
From Journal 12 p178 - 28 Dec 1883, their daughter Sevilla Belle sued Norman Dean for bastardy. Norman, after being found guilty of fathering a female child, was ordered to pay her $700 for the child. He appeared in court with CK Dean to pay the security money to the court. He originally denied this but subsequently changed his plea. Norman, son of Chester and Mary Ann Hutchinson Dean, was enumerated with his family in the 1880 Millcreek Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p487, as Chester Dean 54 OH, Mary 45 OH, Norman 18 OH with other siblings. Sevilla later married Joseph Reed. On 31 July 1886 Deputy Marshal Charles W. Masters served an arrest warrant for a “madam” of a Bryan house of prostitution; her name was Belle Crum; whether this is Servilla Belle Crum is currently unknown.
Clarissa Crum died on 20 Nov 1898 @ 73Y 5M 5D and was buried in the West Franklin Cemetery, Franklin Twp, Fulton Co, OH. In the 1900 Brady Twp federal census p13, the Crum family was listed as Alfred Crum June 1824 (75) OH widower, daughter Belle Reed Sept 1866 (33) OH married 10 years with one child surviving, and granddaughter Normah B Dean Feb 1883 (17) OH.
Alfred became ill c. 1902 and went to daughter, Emma Baldwin’s home in Montpelier, because she did not have any children and he could be cared for there in peace and quiet. In the 1880 Ransom, Hillsdale Co, MI federal census p246, the Baldwins were listed as Burton Baldwin 40 PA UB Preacher, Emily 31 OH, and son Larren 16 OH a ministry student; the couple moved as they are found in the 1900 Montpelier, Superior Twp federal census p256, as Burton May 1840 (60) PA married 33 years and wife Emma Mar 1849 (51) OH also a preacher. Alfred died of cancer on 25 May 1903 @ 78Y11M12D. His obit states that at the time of his illness he entered a new Christian experience and “if he had his life to live over he would live very different. He extorted his children and grandchildren to live to meet him in heaven.” Funeral services were held at the Hamer Presbyterian Church and he was buried beside Clarissa at the West Franklin Cemetery.
As a postscript our story does not end with Alfred, but continues with the distribution of his estate (Wms Co, OH Probate, case number 4459, 1 June 1903), as Alfred had wanted each of his surviving children, Morrison, Emma Baldwin, Loren, Mary Opdycke, and Bell Reed, plus grandsons George L. and William E. Rings to receive $500 from his estate. Morrison (Carol’s ancestor) sued his sister Emma, complaining that she concealed their father’s assets and wanted all the heirs to receive a fair settlement. The court agreed and ordered Emma to pay the heirs their just due per the wishes of their father, Alfred Crum.