18 October 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - King

Margaret Wilson King v David Bell King
Civil Matters of a Blacksmith Drag On During the Civil War, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1864
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

David Bell King, b. 14 Sept 1825, Richland Co, OH, parentage unknown, married first an Ellen, surname unknown, as evidenced by the 1850 Worthington, Richland Co, OH federal census p281B, as David 24 OH blacksmith, Ellen 22 OH, and daughter Resenora 1 OH.  He changed location and married second wife Margaret Wilson on 7 Apr 1860 in Ohio (probably Knox Co).  He had three more children, Gillman b 1851, Amanda b. 1853 OH and Samuel b. 1854 OH. This family was listed in the 1860 North Liberty, Pike Twp, Knox Co, OH federal census p260, as David 33 OH blacksmith, Margaret 21 OH, Gillman 9 OH, Amanda 8 OH, Samuel 6 OH, and Elizabeth Wilson 16 OH domestic (possibly Margaret’s sister).  Closeby one finds the household of Margaret’s parents and siblings, Samuel Wilson 52 M*** merchant, Mary 40 VA, Joseph F 19 OH, William H 17 OH, Sarah 10 OH, and George L 4 OH.  In another part of Knox Co (Fredericktown, Morris Twp) Margaret’s brother, James Wilson 21 OH farm laborer, lived with a Ruth family. Sometime before 1861 the King family moved to Bryan where David set up the first livery barn in the town.

According to Margaret's testimony in the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 6 p249, 294, 297, 339 from 4 Dec 1862 to 4 June 1863 to 14 Feb 1864 to 26 May 1864, respectively; Roll 16 case number 52 - 28 Apr 1862) she wanted a divorce.  David King according to her on 20 Mar 1862 at the residence of Sarah Wise of Bryan committed adultery with this Sarah.  David had property valued between $6,00-$7,000 and Margaret wanted money, as she was destitute.

There was a Sarah Wise, widow of John Wise, residing in Bryan during the 1860 federal census p181B as Sarah Wise 29 OH, Amanda 11 OH, Hannah 10 OH, Mary 8 OH, Arminda 5 OH, Sarah 3 OH, and Rebecca Waldorf 20 OH milliner. In the 1870 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal censuses p20, Sarah was 39 OH with two female children, all living close to David King 41 OH livery stable owner and his two children, Amanda and Samuel.  Margaret was given $50 from David at the court's instruction, but she had to file several times before the court took action on a final divorce decree.

Margaret appeared again on 19 Feb 1863 with her brother James Wilson of Mt. Vernon, Knox Co, OH, who testified that Margaret had been recently delivered of a child at North Liberty, Knox Co, OH and Mr. King threatened before the birth to have it appear that the child was killed if she didn't lay it to someone else.  She told him this was his child and no one else's, but he blamed a Samuel Elliott.  The child was stillborn.

David denied any of this and told the court that back in the summer and fall of 1860 Margaret was having an affair.  He brought witness, Mrs. Leta Jinks, hotelkeeper from Plymouth, Huron Co, OH, to testify that Mrs. King went to her hotel for 6-8 days to wait for Mr. King.  Mrs. Jinks said a Mr. Cunningham visited Mrs. King there and locked the door to her room upon his visit.  Cunningham told Jinks that he had given Mrs. King $5 with no purpose stated.  Upon confronting Mrs. King, the landlady said she ordered her to leave, whereupon Mrs. King did not argue when told to leave but she used bad language and replied, "Mr. Cunningham had cheated her."  The court apparently had heard enough testimony and granted the divorce that stretched through most of the Civil War.  The further particulars of Margaret King Wilson are not known, but she was awarded alimony of $600.

Several years after the divorce in Jan 1868 the "Reasoner Exchange Hotel" which David had purchased from James Reasoner sometime after 1861 caught fire and burned to the ground.  The local newspaper reported that during the fire an area pickpocket had relieved Mr. King of $300, which he had on his person at the time.  Concerning the fire the paper stated, "Millions of ravenous bedbugs lost a home." Perhaps King's establishment was not up to the Bryan community's notion of sufficient health and safety.

According to the 1870 Bryan, Pulaski Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p20, the King family was enumerated as David 41 OH livery stable, Amanda 17 OH, and Samuel 16 OH.  His livery and feed stable was located on South Main St. inear the north corner of the courthouse square in Bryan as referenced in the Williams Co, OH Directory, 1877.    David King appeared in several other civil cases involving financial dealings with his livery stable.  One was of particular interest as it showed David as a very cunning businessman and a sore loser.  On 5 June 1872 (Journal 8 p49) Harriet M. Wagstaff had sued King for money he owed her.  The jury awarded her $2,000, but King whined to the court that he wanted a second trial as Wagstaff had a second one.  The court did not agree to this request.  Harriet was about 23 years old at the time and lived with her younger brother Edward and sister Florence in a Bryan hotel kept by her mother and stepfather, William and Martha Irving.

The Argus on June 1878 reported that two young women hired a livery from King for an hour.  When the "blondes" failed to return King went to the police whereupon an officer found the pair in the woods outside Bryan with one young man and a jug of corn liquor.  King's property was returned and the young people were cautioned.

The King family was listed in the 1880 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census p657 as David 50 OH livery owner, Sarah 49 OH dressmaker, and Allie Garfield 23 OH dressmaker.  In Bryan’s 1880 census p659B, one finds David’s son listed as Samuel King 26 OH laborer with parents as OH natives, wife Margaret 23 OH, Helen 5 OH, and Charles 1 OH.  One interesting item to note was that this third wife of David King, if they married, was none other than Sarah Wise, the woman whom ex-wife Margaret Wilson King named in her divorce as having an affair with David.

Sometime in late November 1882, a Bryan newspaper (unnamed in the family files) stated that “David King while in a fit of desperation, attempted to cut his throat.  The wound is neither large nor dangerous.  Mr. King had suffered intensely for several months past and he feels there is little chance for improvement.” Shortly after this incident he died.  According to his obituary ("Bryan Democrat", 7 Dec 1882), David died at his son Samuel's residence on 2 Dec 1882 after a lengthy illness of heart disease, dropsy, and rheumatism at the age of 57Y 2M 19D and was buried in Bryan's Fountain Grove Cemetery.  His estate was probated (#2448) on 19 Dec 1882. Sarah Wise King's estate, was probated on 26 Jan 1883 (#2458), after she died on 7 Dec 1882 @58Y 2M 14D and was buried next to her first husband John Wise in Fountain Grove Cemetery. 

David's son Samuel died 6 May 1886 and was buried beside his father, minus any inscription dates.  Samuel had married Margaret M. Himes, 23 Oct 1874, Wms Co (Marriages V4 p364).  Margaret, Samuel’s wife, was buried beside her parents, Margaret and John Himes, upon her death in 1917, and not beside her husband, Samuel King.  Nothing further is known about David King's other children or his ex-wife, Margaret.

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