11 October 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Hafer

Susan Conrad Noonan Hafer v Jacob Hafer
Johannah Noonan Sweeney v Robert K. Sweeney

"If You Know Susie Like I Know Susie" and "The Reluctant Bridegroom" Divorces In Williams County, Ohio, 1885

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 11 May 2011)

Cornelius John Noonan, an Irish immigrant, and Mary Ann Zigler had six known children.  This detailing contains information on their daughter-in-law and their daughter, who were both principals in two divorce cases in Williams County, OH. The Noonan family was enumerated in the 1860 Shelby, Richland Co, OH federal census p123, as John 30 Ire, Mary 29 PA, Edward 6 OH, Catherine 4 OH, and Ellen 2 OH. Cornelius died in Richland Co, OH c1866.

Edward C. Noonan, son of the above-mentioned couple, was born c.1855 in Richland Co, OH; he married Susan A. Conrad, b. c1858, the daughter of Benjamin F. and Sarah Lowe Conrad, on 26 July 1875, Wms Co, OH.  According to the Bryan Democrat, 26 Dec 1878 p5, Edward died on 19 Dec 1878 in Kendalville, IN, leaving Susan a widow with a daughter B*ie, b. c1876.  Susan or "Susie" as she became known can be found in the federal census records for 1860 and 1870, Bryan, Pulaski Twp, Wms Co, OH, living with her parents and siblings, Flora, Frank, Anna, Edward, Cora, and Bertilla.  By the 1880 federal census the Conrad family was living in Washington Twp, Defiance Co, OH, but according to the 1900 Bryan, Williams Co, OH federal census the Conrads had moved back to Bryan and that is where they died – Benjamin in 1910 and Sarah E in 1928.

Widow Susie Noonan married Jacob Hafer in Defiance Co, OH, at the home of Eva or Esy Hafer on 25 Dec 1878, marking a Christmas wedding; there appeared to be intentions of this couple tying the knot in Wms Co as they took out a license here but there was no return (V4 p663, Wms Co, OH Marriages). Note that Susie married Jacob about 6 days after the death of her husband Edward Noonan.  In 1880 the couple was living in Bryan, Pulaski Twp, Wms Co, OH, p659B, as Jacob Hafer 28 OH laborer with Susan 22 OH, and B*ie 4 OH.

Jacob Hafer appeared in the 1860 and 1870 Jefferson Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census records with his parents, Jacob, a German immigrant, and Rosannah Hafer.  His grandparents, Isaac and Susannah Hafer resided in that township as well.  Isaac and his wife were natives of Lebanon Co, PA; in 1836 they moved to Wayne Co, OH and in 1843 migrated to Williams County and settled in Jefferson Twp.

Susan Hafer appeared in the Williams County, OH Civil and Criminal Court requesting a divorce (Journal 13 p276-277 - 28 Nov 1885; Roll 41 Box 147 #1463 - 21 Apr 1885).  Susie told the court that husband Jacob was willfully absent for the past five years and his whereabouts were unknown to her.  Jacob had not given Susie any financial support during that time.  After a newspaper notice appeared in the Bryan Press for six consecutive weeks c. 15 Oct 1885, the court granted this divorce.

From Paul Van Gundy's Stories of Fountain City, 1975, p76, one learns that a wooden house of prostitution, run by Susie Hafer in the NE corner of Bryan, was totally destroyed by fire.  Neighbors offered no assistance and the fire department moved rather slowly to put out the "conflagration".  The source of this wintertime story was a short newspaper account in the Bryan Democrat, Dec 1885.

Once again the Bryan Democrat, 18 Nov 1886, p5, sheds light on the life of Susie Hafer with her rather short obituary, "Sue Haffer, a woman of easy virtue, died at her place of business near the depot (13 Nov 1886), and was buried in Brown's graveyard."  No marker has been found for Madam Susie.  If this Susie Hafer, madam of the "maison de joie", was the plaintiff mentioned in the divorce action detailed above, she lived to be only 27 years old.  Jacob Hafer, a widower, born in Mar 1850 OH was enumerated with his sister Caroline Shaffer in the 1900 Bryan, Pulaski Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census p11B as Jacob 50 OH house plasterer.

Bryan Democrat, 2 Jan 1890

Legal Notice
Jacob C Hafer of Newhaven, Allen Co, IN is hereby notified that on 27 Dec 1899 Christina Frankhouser, administrator of the will annexed of Rosina Hafer, deceased, filed in Court of Common Pleas of Williams Co, OH. 
He is to sell real estate in Bryan to pay indebtedness of the real estate and to pay heirs as in written in the will.

Johannah "Nannie" Noonan, daughter of Cornelius and Mary Ann Zigler Noonan, born 16 July 1865, Richland Co, OH, was living in Amboy Twp, Hillsdale Co, MI in 1880 as a housekeeper for Marion and Louisa Kertz. On 27 June 1884 Nannie Noonan filed a civil suit against Robert Sweeney (Roll 40 #1314) claiming that she was pregnant by Robert, resident of Bridgewater Twp, Wms Co, OH.  The case was dropped because the couple married on 1 July 1884, Amboy Twp, Hillsdale Co, MI (Lib F p64).

Robert, the reluctant bridegroom, was the son of Daniel and Margaret Kincaid Sweeney in whose household he was found in the 1870 Bridgewater Twp federal census p23 along with siblings Ann, George, Margaret, William, Francis, and Alice.  Robert was b. c1857 in Illinois. 

This marriage did not fair well as Johannah Sweeney appeared in the Wms Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court requesting both alimony and a divorce from errant husband Robert (Journal 13 p228, 242 - Nov 1885; Roll 42 Box 138 #1508 - 27 Aug 1885/23 Sept 1885).  Nannie sought a temporary injunction and traveled to Defiance Co, OH where "at chambers" that court granted her $125 support for herself and son, Robert N. Sweeney, Jr., born in July 1884.

She returned to the Williams County court and stated that immediately after the marriage Robert had abandoned her.  He procured the marriage by fraud because he said, "He'd live with her".  Robert had a large amount of valuable property and cash.  When a constable arrived to arrest him for this "fraud", Robert escaped and went to parts unknown.  Johannah had a laundry list of property belonging to Robert that she wanted such as his real estate, horses, harnesses, and a buggy.  She also sought financial relief from Robert's father, Daniel Sweeney, and Robert's brother, Emory Sweeney, for the support she felt was due her and property the Sweeneys refused to give her. By Nov 1885 Johannah was awarded a divorce and $400 in alimony. 

Later Johannah married and divorced an Edward Webb but not before having two sons with him, Glen and Guy Webb.  She later married Anderson P. Small c1888 and had a son, William A. Small, born Dec 1898 in MI as found in the 1900 federal census of Richmond Twp, Osceola Co, MI.  Her son by Sweeney was listed as Robert N. Webb, 15 IN; the census record stated she was the mother of four children, all living. Johannah died in Reed City, Osceola Co, MI on 13 May 1901 at the age of 36 Y 10M 3D; she was buried in Woodland Cemetery.  Anderson, the son of Peleg and Eliza Glassby Anderson, married Anna Blue on 5 Feb 1903 in Osceola Co, MI.  He later married Mrs. Augustua Carlston Dunn on 27 Jan 1909.

Robert Sweeney married Jennie Young on 4 Oct 1893 in Reading, Hillsdale Co, MI.

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