23 September 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Coy

Eli Coy v Margaret Fee Coy
The Farmer Took a Wife and Couldn’t Keep Her, Divorce, Williams County, Ohio, 1847 – see Hunter 
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 10 October 2011)

One of the oldest settlers in Williams Co, William Fee, came here c. 1829 with his wife, Margaret Collins (m. 8 Dec 1807, Gallia Co, OH), and some of their children.  After making a little improvement and shelter for his family, William traveled back to Gallia Co for money to pay for the land and on his return was taken ill and died, leaving his family in limited circumstances.  Scottish native William was born in 1784 and died on 4 Jan 1831; he was buried in Clarksville Cem, St. Joseph Twp, Wms Co.  His wife, now known as the Widow Fee lived with her children on Sec 10, St. Joseph Twp.  Margaret was born in 1786 in Greenbriar, VA [now WVA], and was the mother of the following 12 children: Thomas, John, Sarah Houlton, Hannah Houlton King, Cynthia Bender, Malinda Donley, William, Elizabeth Sinkey, Margaret Coy Wilcox, Moses, Richard, and Samuel.

On 24 Apr 1832 Margaret Fee was made the administrator of her husband's estate (Wms Co Probate #20) and was sued by Robert Wasson, James W. Craig, and Montgomery Evans.  These men felt Margaret and her oldest son, Thomas, were neglecting their duties as administrators and pushed the court to select Moses Fee of Gallia Co to be the new administrator.  William Fee had died intestate and a sale of his property was set for 22 Sept 1832.  The estate was finally settled on 11 Feb 1839.  The Widow Fee died c. 1871 in Indiana and was buried beside her husband.

This story deals with the Fee's ninth child, Margaret, who married farmer Eli Coy in St. Joseph Twp, 14 Jan 1838 (Marriage V1 p29).  Eli, born 6 Aug 1787, Arlington, VT, the son of Daniel and Lucy Partridge Coy, had been married before to a Sylvia and had at least three children by her: Levi, Daniel, and Jeremiah (22 Feb 1820 - 31 Mar 1857, Defiance Co, OH).  Eli and Margaret were enumerated in the 1840 St. Joseph Twp federal census as one male 10-15, one male 20-30, one male 40-50, one female 15-20, one female 50-60, and one free colored person 10-24.  Eli Coy came to Wms Co c. Jan 1836 with a deed for 160 acres.  He was both a farmer and a millwright and owned much real estate in both Wms and Defiance Counties. 

Margaret Fee was born on 11 Nov 1823, Chillicothe, OH, making her about 15/16 at the time of her marriage to the much older Eli Coy.  According to the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court Record (Roll 6 Box 21 - May 1847), Eli sued his wife for a divorce stating that on 2 Aug 1841 she had abandoned him and was willfully absent from 1841-1847.  According to the Appearance Docket, Clerk of Courts, 1846-1852, the divorce action of Eli Coy v Margaret Coy was transferred to the Issue Docket on Nov 1846. Eli called to court many witnesses to his situation.  Many of the following were his neighbors: David Aucker, Abraham Stuckey, Robert McCullough, Oney Rice, Thomas Hill, William B. Sawyer, John Fisher, and Eli's son, Jeremiah Coy.  The court granted Eli a divorce, but there is a legal problem for Margaret Fee Coy.

There was a marriage record in Wms Co (V1 p57) that documented the marriage of Margaret and Alfred W. Wilcox, 24 Mar 1842.  Note that this marriage took place about five years before Eli formally received a divorce from her.  The Alfred W. Wilcox family was enumerated in the 1850 Milford Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p85, as Alfred 31 NY, Margaret 26 OH, Celestia 5 OH, and Rhoda 1 OH. Margaret became the mother of the following Wilcox children: Dianthe Clestia (1 May 1845 - 4 Apr 1850); Rhoda A. (10 Jan 1849 - 8 Mar 1867); Alford A. (26 June 1852 - 4 Apr 1853); and possibly Flora May (11 Oct 1867 - 21 Dec 1877), all buried in the Old Forest Home Cem, Hicksville, Defiance Co, OH.  Alfred’s parents were also buried there as W. Wilcox (15 June 1817 - 6 Oct 1893) and Margaret (died 28 Sept 1909).

Marriage for a third time was the order of the day for Eli Coy and Mary Mariah Doty, a next-door neighbor, on 1 June 1847, Wms Co (Marriages, V2 p98).  Mary was the daughter of Lyman Doty, (25 Mar 1795 - 1 June 1859), a carpenter from NY and wife Maria Briggs (15 Nov 1800 - 15 May 1895).  The ages of the couple were 60 for the groom and 24 for the bride.  Eli made a property settlement to Mary on the day before the wedding with the provision that if she did not conduct herself properly as his wife the 50 acres of property would revert back to his estate as fully as though the indenture had never been executed.  Eli did not want to take any chances on this marriage.

Mary Mariah Doty was born on 27 Jul 1823 in Richland Co, OH.  She became the mother of Ephraim Doty (14 Feb 1849 - 28 Mar 1853, Maple Grove Cem, Edgerton); Delila (May 1851 - 4 Feb 1938, Neligh, Antelope Co, NE; m1 John Troffer, 21 Apr 1867, Defiance Co; m2 Orville Delos Carey, 27 Aug 1874, Defiance Co); George Eli (15 Aug 1853 - 24 June 1915, Columbus, Franklin Co, OH; m Cora Emerson); and Lucy (24 June 1860 - 30 Apr 1931, Edgerton; m Elijah Beerbower, 7 Sept 1879, Defiance Co).

Eli's will, dated 1 June 1860, bequeathed sons Levi, Daniel, and heirs of deceased son, Jeremiah, $5 apiece; the rest of his estate was earmarked for wife Mary.  His youngest daughter, Lucy, was three days old when he died on 27 June 1860 @ 72Y 10M 21D.  He was buried in Maple Grove Cem, Edgerton.  His widow Mary later married Civil War veteran Benjamin F. Squires on 18 Jan 1863, Defiance Co, OH.  In the 1870 Milford Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p149, the Squires family was listed as B. Franklin 51 VT, Mary M 47 OH, Delilah Coy 19 OH, George E Coy 17 OH, Lucy Coy 10 OH, Andrew Squires 6 OH, Mary M Squires 4 OH, Melville Trofer 1 OH, and John W Bash 19 OH.  Benjamin later died of typhoid fever on 10 Feb 1874.  

Mary then married third groom, Adam Karnes, c. 1880, but later divorced him.  She died in Hicksville, Defiance Co, OH on 23 May 1901 @77Y 9M 26D of consumption and was buried beside her first two spouses, her father, and her small son, Ephraim.

Here's a link to more information on William Fee in Steuben County, Indiana.


No comments: