Sellanira E. Colgan Kimble Baker v Thomas Jefferson Baker
Sarah Hatfield v Lyman Hatfield
I Will Not Live With You Any More, Two Divorces (?) in Williams County, Ohio, 1875 and 1878
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
Legal Notice in "Bryan Press", Jan 1875: "It happens that Thomas J. Baker has had it published that I, Sellanira E. Baker, left his bed and board. As for his having a bed, he had none, as for board, I had none of his earnings, therefore, I will not be responsible for any debts, which he may contract hereafter. Mrs. SE Baker." Note that in a variety of records Sellanira’s name is spelled in a variety of ways. This report will use the primary spelling, Sellanira, along with the others cited.
This notice obviously contained some underlying hostility, which can be explained by the divorce records that preceded this, and one found afterward. Here is the genealogical detailing of two couples.
Thomas Jefferson Baker, b 16 July 1845, Junction, Paulding Co, OH, was the son of James C and Priscilla Gould Baker; he was enumerated with his parents in the 1850 Junction, Paulding Co, OH federal census. By the 1860 Stryker, Springfield Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p73B, the Baker family had moved and was enumerated as James C. Baker 62 ENG, Priscilla A 46 PA, Fred A 19 OH, Thomas J 15 OH, Cornelius 13 OH, Frances 10 OH, and Lewis 6 OH.
Thomas married Mrs. Sellanira E. Kimble, a widow, in Wms Co on 17 Oct 1867 (Marriage V3 p725). William Kimble and Sellanira Colgan were married in Wms Co, OH on 8 Dec 1853 (Marriages V2 p139). William’s parents were Luticia Eutzler (16 Sept 1809 – 26 Aug 1880) and Daniel Kimble (d. 7 Apr 1850 @49Y 3M 8D), both buried next to William. The Kimble family was enumerated in the 1850 Springfield Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p102 as Daniel Kimble 49 VA, Letticia 22 OH, William 19 OH, Benjamin 16 OH, Enos 13 OH, Sarah 11 OH, Henry 8 OH, and Mary Jane 4 OH.
Sellanira Colgan, was born c1832 OH; her parents, Daniel Colgan and Christina Haller, were natives of Kentucky, had migrated from Champaign Co, OH, and were enumerated in the 1840 Springfield Twp federal census p239 with Daniel Colgan 30-40 male and two sons between 5-10 years, two daughters under five years, and a wife between 30-40 years. In the 1850 Springfield Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p103A, as Daniel Colgan 44 KY, Christina Ann 43 KY, John R 20 OH, Sellemira 18 OH, William 15 OH, Mary Ann 12 OH, Jane 10 OH, Lucinda 8 OH, Daniel 6 OH, snd Stephen 3 OH. The Colgan family had lived on Sec 20 of that township as early as Oct 1833 when they hosted the first religious meeting in the county (Goodspeed, 1882, p429-431). By the 1860 Springfield Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p64, the Colgans were listed as Daniel 55 KY, Christian 54 KY and their children. Next door their daughter Sellamira was recorded with her husband William Kimnel as William 29 OH, Sellamira 28 OH, Martha 3 OH, and John 1 OH; William was buried in Buck Cem, Springfield Twp, having died on 23 May 1862 @31Y. William was a Civil War veteran of Co D 38th OVI. Thus Sellamira became a widow and five years later married Thomas Baker. About three weeks after this marriage, Sellamira’s father, Daniel Colgan, died on 7 Nov 1867 @64Y 10M 6D; he was buried in the Boynton Cem, Springfield Twp.
The 1864 Wms Co Atlas showed a Mrs. Kimble owned land in Sec 17 in Springfield Twp. In the 1870 Springfield Twp federal census, p13, the Baker family was listed as Thomas J. Baker 23 OH, Sellamira 38 OH, Lilly 5 OH, Hubert 1 OH, Herschell May 1870 OH. Sellamira’s daughter, Martha Kimble 13 OH, lived nearby with the Calvin Gates family and her son, John H. Kimble 11 OH, resided with his grandmother, Laetitia 60 OH and other Kimble relations. Sellamira’s mother, Christiana Colgan 63 KY, also lived in the same neighborhood. One of Baker’s neighbors was a Minerva Webster, 24 OH, daughter of Albert and Sarah Webster; interestingly this Webster family also lived next door to Sellamira and her parents by the 1860 federal census listing for Springfield Twp.
According to the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court records (Journal 8 p77 - 31 Oct 1872; Roll 24 case number 65 - Oct 1872) Sellanira desired a divorce. She stated that she was a victim of Thomas' adultery on 15 Jan 1868 at her Springfield Twp home when he "carried on" with Minerva Webster. (See Evart v Evart). He refused to furnish any means to support her and was extremely cruel a short time before she was confined to her labor bed. Their son William Herbert was born Sept 1869. They later had another son, James Custer Baker, b 14 May 1870. Thomas was violent and profane, often shouting, "I won't live with you any more". The five-year-old Lilly Baker may have been issue from Sellamira's first marriage or not a child of either party. She was not mentioned in the divorce papers, but the two little boys were. The court initially decided against this divorce. Now we turn our attention to a second couple, who will be connected to the problems of this Baker couple.
Lyman Hatfield, born in Youngstown, Mahoning Co, OH, in 1827, had married Sarah Stall. The couple was listed in the 1850 Milton, Mahoning Co, OH federal census as Lyman 23 PA, Sarah 40 OH, both residing with Joseph Stoll 84 PA, and Chester Strong 12 OH. The family moved to Paulding Co, OH by 1853 and later relocated to Bryan in 1858. In the 1860 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census p49B, the Hatfields were enumerated as Lyman 32 OH, Sarah 38 PA, James WC 9 OH, and Chester Strong 22 OH. Note Sarah’s age changed ratically from the 1850 to the 1860 census. Lyman enlisted in Co C 38th OVI during the Civil War and became a member of the Evans Post GAR after his military service. By the 1870 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census p23, the Hatfields were listed as Lyman 46 OH drayman, and wife Sarah 47 OH, Chester Strong 25 OH, Columbus 18 OH, Mary 19 IRE, and Ida 1 KY. It would appear that perhaps Sarah had been married before to a Mr. Strong and Chester was her son, but that needs to be investigated further.
Sellanira’s mother, Christi Ann Colgan of Springfield Twp died on 29 May 1874 @68Y. Her obituary in the Bryan Press, 4 June 1874 p3 c5 tells of her early settlement in Sept 1833 close to Styker, OH. She was the last surviving member of the first religious society organized within the present limits of Williams County.
In Jan 1875 Sellamira Baker was brought to court by Mrs. Sarah Hatfield who wanted Sellamira to be held accountable for the breakup of her marriage to Lyman Hatfield (Probate #1709 - Ohio v Sellamira Baker). Sarah's witness, Matilda Stillwell, stated that between 1 Oct 1874 and 11 Jan 1875 Sellamira had deserted her husband Thomas Baker and lived with Lyman Hatfield. Sellamira denied that she was guilty of any wrong. Those who appeared to give testimony against her were Elizabeth and William Hamet, Mary and Enoch Metzger, Leonard Myers, Susan and William H. June, and the offended spouses, Sarah Hatfield and Thomas Baker. Sellamira brought the following witnesses of her own: Barbara and SK Wilcox, Levi McBride, John Van Dycke, and Albert Webster. Evidently the court found her guilty and awarded Thomas Baker a divorce, although it never stated officially that Sarah Hatfield received one.
According to Williams County Civil and Criminal Court records (Roll 30 - 21 June 1878) Mrs. Sarah Hatfield, not one to give up, sued Lyman Hatfield for some real estate. She subpoenaed her Bryan neighbors, Peter Shouf, William Garlow, Lovina Bear, Lillie Williams, Mrs. Ellen Miller, and M/M Columbus Hatfield, her son and daughter-in-law. The court granted Sarah a more reasonable alimony and the property; as stated before, it was unclear whether she was awarded a divorce, but it seems likely due to the 1880 Bryan, Pulaski Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p657B, where Sarah Hatfield 53 PA was listed as “divorced”; she lived alone in Bryan.
In the 1880 Springfield Twp federal census, p672A, the Hatfield family changed to Lyman 52 OH blacksmith, Sellamira 48 OH, stepdaughter Lilly Hatfield 15 OH, and stepsons Wilson H Baker 11 OH, and Curtis Baker 10 OH, plus Amos Potter 60 PA minister. Presumably Lyman and Sellamira married between Jan 1875 and this 1880 census. Note that Lilly was 15 and used the surname Hatfield plus there was a minister living with the couple. This may strengthen the notion that Sellamira was not as bad as the court records made her out to be. Lilly Kimble of Stryker later married John W. Partee of Evansport on 30 Nov 1881 in Wms Co (Marriages V5 p80; The Bryan Press, 8 Dec 1881 p5 c4). She may have been Sellanira’s daughter by her first husband, William Kimble.
Thomas J. Baker moved to Indiana and married Mildred J. Crowl on 15 Nov 1875. His wife Mildred, an Indiana native, died on 24 Dec 1904. In the 1910 Center Twp, LaPorte Co, IN federal census p6A, Thomas J. Baker, a resident of Scott St, was listed as Thomas 64 OH, married three times, and wife Sarah H 55 OH, married one year; this was her second marriage. Sarah had one child living. Thomas later died on 10 Feb 1926 in La Porte, IN.
Lyman Hatfield died 17 Jan 1895, Wms Co (Death V3 p52). His obituaries in the Bryan Press, 24 Jan 1895 p2 and 14 Feb 1895 p8, and the Bryan Democrat, 24 Jan 1895 p5, tell an interesting story of his demise. He was cutting trees in a woods near his home and one tree fell, striking and crushing his leg. He was rescued b a fellow chopper who exercised superhuman strength to extricate Lyman and convey him to his house; his leg was broken in three places and he was injured internally. He never rallied from the shock and died 44 hours later at the age of 67Y 3M 4D. Burial services were held at Boynton Cemetery in Springfield Twp. His wife and one son survived his death; Sellanira Colgan Baker Hatfield was listed as his wife. From an obituary in the Bryan Press, 22 Oct 1896 p5, one learns that the funeral of Mrs. Lyman Hatfield was conducted from the ME Church in Stryker. She lived in Toledo, Lucas Co, OH at the time of her death, resulting from heart failure. She was mentioned as a daughter of early settler, Daniel Colgan.