12 September 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Bacon

Elizabeth M. Jones Bacon v Chauncey Clark Bacon
The Portage County Connection, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1875
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 1 Mar 2013) - see Finnegan

Sometimes a second marriage does not work out.  The couple may be unsuited for one another, they may have unresolved issues, there may be a third party romance, or there may be problems with stepchildren or finances.  This detailing spans several years from the initial filing in 1867 to the final decree in 1875, where both parties sued each other for an end to their marriage.  The story begins in Portage Co, Ohio.

Chauncey Clark Bacon, one of ten children of William and Polly Thurber Bacon, was born on 28 June 1819 in Palmyra, Portage Co, OH.  His father, a native of Groton, CT or VT, settled in eastern Ohio c1802 with his Vermont native wife and three children.  William had walked there in 1800 and, after securing land, he returned home to fetch his wife and small family to begin a new life in Portage Co, traveling by ox wagon.  When the Bacons arrived they were assisted by neighboring Indians in raising a cabin.  Polly exchanged bread for venison with the local people and in time their family grew.  William was a Portage Co appraiser and a Palmyra Township trustee.  Such is the type of story one reads of early Ohio pioneers.

Chauncey, reared on his father's farm, married Lura B. Dix(on) on 17 Nov 1842, Portage Co and started his own family.  The 1850 Edinburgh Twp, Portage Co, OH federal census, p229, enumerated them as Chauncey 31 OH, Lura 24 OH, Sophronia 7 OH, Leonard 4 OH, and Ellen 3 OH.  Sometime in that year William Bacon died.  Chauncey's wife died between 1851-1856 as Chauncey remarried on 20 May 1856.  The new bride was Elizabeth M. Jones, a native of Beryshuith, Wales, born on 5 Apr 1834.  She immigrated to the US with her parents in 1838.  There appeared many families with the Jones surname in Portage Co at this time.

The 1860 Edinburgh Twp, federal census, p290, listed the family as CC Bacon 40 OH, Elizabeth 26 Wales, Sophronia 16 OH, Leonard 14 OH, Ellen 12 OH, and Annis 8 OH.  Note that Annis became Alice in the 1870 census and other records; she was born between 1851-1852 so she was most likely the daughter of Lura Bacon.  Chauncey had $2640 in real estate and $900 in personal property.  The children of Lura and Chauncey Bacon were as follows: Sophronia E (1843 - aft 1885, Bryan; m Clemmon Osmun, 17 Mar 1885, Wms Co, OH); Leonard  Dix (1846, Portage Co, OH-aft 1920 King Co, WA - see Finnegan divorce); Ellen L (1847 - 1 June 1913, Bryan; m1 ***Barnes; m2 Charles Hubbell); Alice (1851 - aft 1885, Evansport; m *** Burroughs).

In 1864 Chauncey's mother died and her estate was settled on 7 Mar 1865.  Around that time Chauncey moved his family to Bryan, Pulaski Twp, Wms Co, OH, leaving at least three brothers, Gustavus, William R., and Almon T, back in Portage; they were residents there as of 1882. CC as he was known and Elizabeth had three sons, David G (1863, Portage Co - aft 1912; m. Maud ***) and youngsters, Frederick and Robert who were buried in Fountain Grove Cemetery in Bryan.

According to the April/May 1867 list of personal property owners in the village of Bryan, Elizabeth M. and CC Bacon were listed separately.  On 5 Nov 1867 Elizabeth began divorce proceedings, which were continued until 25 Mar 1869.  At various times according to the records (Journals 7 and 8 p363) she asked the court for $50 or $60 to help her maintain a home for her son David and herself.  At one point she requested a lien be placed on CC's property to help provide her with money.  On 18 Feb 1868 Elizabeth joined the Bryan Presbyterian Church; CC had been raised a Methodist.

In the 1870 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census records, p31 and 54, two sets of Bacon families were listed, living not far from each other: Chauncey, a laborer, 50 OH, Sophronia 26 OH, Leonard 24 OH, Ellen Barnes 22 OH, Alice Bacon 19 OH, Arthur Barnes 1 MI, and Clara Barnes 2 MI; at the other residence lived Elizabeth Bacon 36 Wales and David G 7 OH.  Note that Ellen Bacon Barnes was either a widow or a divorcee' with two small children of her own.

From Journal 7 p97, 212, 306, 5 Nov 1867-30 May 1868 - 25 Mar 1869, Elizabeth petitioned the court for a divorce; each time she appeared, the court continued the proceedings. In Journal 8 p363 of the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court records on 21 May 1875 both CC and Elizabeth reappear in court to sue each other for a divorce.  CC stated that Elizabeth had been absent from him for more than three years without just cause and he had no marital rights from her.  The court listened to oral testimony from his witnesses and concluded that the facts charged in his case were true.  "The parties shall be divorced each from the other."  Chauncey had to pay court costs.  Additional information on the divorce was found in Roll 27 case number 2-4 - May 1875-1876; Roll 31 case number 173-174 for 1877-1878; and Roll 33 case number 560 for 1878-1879.

In the 1880 Bryan federal census, p645A, Eliza Bacon 45 Wales and son David 17 OH lived together; Eliza was classified as a divorced lady.  Chauncey, according to the 1880 Bryan federal census p626 was 60 OH, who had a housekeeper, Barbara Wilcox 34 OH and her daughter Minnie 10 OH living with him. In 1887, Hillsdale Co, MI (Marriage Bk F p190) he had married a third time to this Barbara A. Wilcox, pos former wife of SK Wilcox, who was named as CC’s wife and executor in his will, written in Wms Co.  The children from his first marriage were listed as heirs plus son David G. Bacon of Chicago.  Sometime between 1880-1885 David had left his mother alone and moved to the “Windy City”. 

On 21 Dec 1887 Chauncey Bacon died of kidney failure and his remains were shipped back to Portage Co for burial ("Bryan Press", 29 Dec 1887; "Bryan Democrat", 22 Dec 1887, p5; Williams County Death Record, V2 p42).  Considering that CC and Barbara lived together for at least eight years before they married, and considering that CC did not live out the year of his marriage, Barbara may have persuaded him to make their relationship legal so she could benefit financially. His estate was settled by 4 Jan 1888.  According to the 1900 Bryan Ward 1, Pulaski Twp federal census p159, Barbara Bacon was listed as born Dec 1845 (54) OH widow with father born in Eng and mother born PA; she had 1 child who did not survive her and she lived with her grandson Earl Miser, born Nov 1892 (7) OH.  Third wife Barbara died on 13 Mar 1925 and was buried in the Bryan Fountain Grove Cemetery.

"On a beautiful, quiet Sabbath afternoon", according to her obituaries in the "Bryan Democrat", 1 Nov 1912, p2 and "Bryan Press", 31 Oct 1912, Elizabeth M. Jones Bacon died on 27 Oct 1912 @78Y 6M 22D and was buried beside her two small sons in Fountain Grove Cemetery.  Her will, written on 10 June 1912, left her real estate Lot #10 Fairfield Addition, Bryan, to son David of Bryan.  Her obituary did not mention the fact that she was divorced nor did her estate papers, which contained a probate settlement by 4 Nov 1912.  She had been divorced for over 37 years and had never remarried.  

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