23 September 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Cox


John Cox v Anna L. Thompson Borton Cox (Journal 13 p473 – 2 Apr 1886; Roll 43 case number 1565 – 24 Nov 1885)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 4 Aug 2012)

The couple was married on 16 Apr 1867 in Amboy, Hillsdale Co, MI.  In the 1860 Madison Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census PO Pioneer p210A, the John Cox family was listed as John 33 PA, Eliza 35 PA, Jacob 13 OH, Abram 11 OH, William 10 OH, John 8 OH, Tena 6 OH, Daniel 3 OH, and Susannah 2 OH. According to the 1870 Madison Twp, Wms Co federal census, p23, the family was enumerated as John Cox 42 PA, Anna L. 40 PA, and children all born in Ohio, Henry 19, Tena 16, Daniel 14, Susan 12, Viola Levina 2, Arminda 7/12 (b Jan 1870), John F. Borton 20 OH, Margaret 14 IN, and Enos E 9 OH.  Apparently the two youngest children were issue from this marriage and John and Anna L had been married before. 

In the 1860 Otsego, Steuben Co, IN PO Hamilton federal census p478, the Borton family was enumerated as DM 45 NJ Blacksmith, Anna L 31 PA, John F 9 IN, Margaret A 4 IN, and Judson 3M IN. According to an online source John Cox was the son of Jacob and Esther Middary Cox.  Anna L. Thompson was born on 2 Oct 1829 in Erie Co, PA and had married Darling Haines Borton, son of Daniel and Tabitha Rodman Borton, in Defiance Co, OH on 27 Feb 1847.  They had seven children.  Darling died on 19 Sept 1866 in Amboy, MI.  Interestingly, one of John’s sons, William Henry, married one of Anna’s daughters, Margaret.

From the 1880 Madison Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p473, the Cox family appeared as John 52 PA-PA-PA, Anna L 50 PA-PA-PA weaver, Viola L 12 OH, and Arminda L 10 OH. 

From Journal 8 p48, on 5 June 1872 John Cox had appeared in court as guardian for Tena M. Cox in a bastardy case brought against Enoch Grindle.  Enoch was found guilty and a maintenance schedule was set whereby he had to pay Tena $600 for the care of their child.  If he defaulted, the court would award her $1200.  Enoch refused and was put in jail; later he declared insolvency.  Enoch had married A. Venoah on 16 July 1871 and the couple would later have seven children.  Shortly after this court case, Tena M Cox married John Stone in Ransom, Hillsdale Co, MI on 20 Oct 1872.

Anna Cox charged that John was harsh, angry, and violent to her, often using profanity; he would choke and beat her.  On 16 May 1885 he abandoned her and lived separately, providing no support.  Anna said she was a resident of Wms Co for 18 years; she was 57 years old and in poor health, unable to perform manual labor.  She was destitute and had no fuel.  She lived on Lot 61, Pioneer, OH.  She told the court that John owned in fee simple 100 acres of land in Amboy Twp, Hillsdale Co, MI plus Lot 63 in Pioneer.  He owned a considerable amount of livestock.  Anna wanted a divorce and reasonable alimony.  The case was dismissed. John Cox sued Anna L Cox for a divorce and was awarded a decree on 22 May 1890 in Hillsdale Co, MI on a complaint of Anna's desertion of John. On 17 June 1890 in Amboy, Hillsdale Co, MI, John Cox married Amanda Shaffer. In the 1900 Bridgewater Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p20, the Cox family was listed as John Dec 1827 (72) PA married 10 years with no children, Amanda Sept 1845 (54) OH-PA-PA.

Anna died in Malta, Montana c1904.  Please check out the comment for this divorce action as it contains a lot of helpful data.

1 comment:

Pamela Pattison Lash said...

Dear Ms. Lash,

I have the honor to present to you some additional information regarding the complicated relationship betwixt my ggg-grandfather, John Cox, and his 2nd wife -- Anna Louisa Thompson Borton Cox.

Attached are copies of the court decree from Hillsdale County, Michigan granting John Cox's complaint against his absent wife (she had by this time removed to the Malta, Montana area to live with a daughter born to her and Mr. Cox). The grounds specified were desertion, and the court was satisfied that such was proven.

I recently obtained John Cox's civil war pension file, which included this document. The file was also able to furnish the maiden name of his first wife (Eliza, my ggg-grandmother) as Charington. It somewhat confirms his mother's name as Esther Middary (or Middaug / Middaugh?) per the copy of his marriage certificate for the 1890 marriage to Amanda Shaffer. But since the copy was made after John's death in 1900, I still count it as unproven. Records aren't always correct, as family history fans well know. (The archives did include a death certificate for a John Cox, but unfortunately NOT my guy - instead a Lt. of the 5th Ohio Artillery Battery; I've yet to find a DC for my John Cox who died 30 Aug 1900 in Williams Co.)

A cousin in Atlanta had found on-line references to graves in "Franklin" county that somewhat matched John & Eliza, and John's stepmother Christeanna, and a "maybe" match to his father Jacob (at a different cemetery) a few years ago. At that time the distance from their known areas and the somewhat garbled details made them unlikely "hits". But having researched another civil war ancestor (I now have 3 verified CW vets) and verifying the company and regiment of the "possible" John Cox, I decided it was time to find out who this 'other' fellow was. Deeper checking this time established the cemeteries were (1) just over the line from Williams County and (2) correctly in Fulton County! After the usual dead ends when searching common names, I finally got a hit in Hillsdale County for a John Cox in the 1890 Veterans Census. Soon I was looking at a Pension index card showing John and Amanda Cox -- and I knew I had found the right people.

My grandmother never mentioned her grandmother's father serving in the War of the Rebellion, just her grandfather. So it came as a surprise. I had hoped to get place-of-birth and parental detail in the pension file (it was present for my upstate NY great grandfather) but that level was absent this time around. I'm still-hunting for the "grandmother" who (per my grandma) "might have been Irish"; I now know (per family lore) that I'm looking for a Scots-Irish connection, out of Pennsylvania. I'm suspecting now that John Cox may be the link, as Charington strikes me as very English. Although the surname is of low frequency in the Scots Borders. Onward (again) to PA.

I recollected your excellent work on Williams county when I set out this morning to locate the small community that is frequently referenced in the 1900 records from the Pension File: looks to me to be "Gniser" but the penmanship isn't great; there's another place reference in the County that I can't translate at all! I'll have to locate a map from the time period; no text searches have yielded anything. Maybe I can find a list of post offices in the county.

Sometimes Family History seems like a sickness. But then you find some Gold, and jump back in the trench!

Thanks again for your postings and the great help they have been to me in searching for family in NW Ohio.

Best regards,
keith_lindholm at hotmail dot com

John Cox v Anna L Cox – divorce obtained in Hillsdale Co, MI, 22 May 1890