26 September 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Derby

Phebe Ann Badger Derby v Truman (Freeman) E. Derby (Journal 8 p247 - 25 May 1874; Roll 26 case number 88)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

This couple was married in Wms Co on 30 May 1861 (Marriage V3 p180).  Phebe, born June 1838, daughter of Robert and Edith Morris Badger, was listed with her parents in the 1860 West Unity, Brady Twp federal census, p152a, as Robert Badger 49, Edah 44, Phebe 23, William 20, James 18, Charles 16, Morris 10, Robert 7, and Asa 4, all born in Ohio.  In the 1870 Brady Twp federal census, p20-21, the family was enumerated as Edith Badger 50, Morris 19, Robert 17, Ada 18, Anna Derby 31, Edith 5, and Robert 3.

Phebe told the court that Truman, the son of Erastus H. and Ruhamah Knowlton Derby, had abandoned her and their children, Willie E., Edith A., and Robert B.  About the same time as the divorce, Phebe's brother Charles brought a suit against his siblings and Phebe's husband, Truman Derby, over land held in fee simple, part of the estate of their deceased father, Robert Badger, who died in 1870; mother Edith died in 1873.  The divorce was granted and on 1 Jan 1875 in Wms Co (Marriage V4 p376) Phebe married Franklin Sloat, a harnessmaker. The couple plus the Derby children, Edith and Robert, lived in Hicksville, Defiance Co, OH according to the 1880 federal census. In 1903 when her brother Asa Badger died, Phebe Sloat was living near Yakima, WA, but in 1900 she lived with married daughter Edith Siddell (Clarence) in Mississippi Twp, Sacremento, CA.  By 1910 Anna P. Sloat, living with her Sidall in-laws and grandson Louis S. Sidall, resided in Pacific Grove Twp, Monterey Co, CA.

Freeman had been an ambulance driver during the Civil War and was injured at Champion Hill, Mississippi in 1863 where he suffered wounds to the eyes and head. 

Freeman's Civil War service records show that between 1864-1868 he saw Dr. Finch in West Unity for heart disease, indigestion, and constipation; by the time he abandoned his wife and children he sought medical attention from Dr. Merrill of Council Bluffs, IA for the same conditions between 1871-1873.  He married Sarah Elizabeth Barnes on 4 July 1871, Council Bluffs, IA, a place that certainly held significance to the Derby past.  Note that when they were married, Freeman was still legally married to first wife Phebe. Freeman and Sarah had two sons, Birt Sidney and George R. Derby. 

Freeman and Sarah were later divorced in Crow Wing Co, MN.  Sarah in her divorce suit stated that Freeman was a drunk and never provided for her and the children.  He frequented saloons and houses of ill repute and since he came home with venereal disease she did not want to remain married to him.  When she was confined for childbirth and refused his advances in 1885 Freeman threatened to kill her and the children or to steal the children away from her when she was at work.  A deposition from a lady of the Derby acquaintance stated that Freeman was a drunkard and would play his fiddle for money and then spend it all on booze. Sarah received $50 in alimony and full custody of the children. This divorce was granted on 31 May 1886 (case number 1175). 

Sarah married again and died in Livingston, MT in April 1937. Freeman, a carpenter, ended up taking care of his parents, Erastus and Ru Derby, until their deaths.  He died on 25 July 1910 at the Minnesota Soldiers Home Hospital in Hennepin Co, MN. 

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