Rebecca Ellen Haughey Riggleman Hinton v Charles Hinton
Older Postmistress Weds Itinerant Younger Farmhand, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1885
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
For examples of an older man marrying a younger lady, one only needs to read the doings of modern "Hollywood style" couples or historical detailing of any age. The reverse situation, while not unusual, seems to be rare in the annals of Williams County, Ohio divorce records. Loneliness, mid-life crisis, or simply help on the farm may be some of the reasons for this 40-year-old widow marrying a man 12 years her junior. She lived to regret her actions.
Rebecca Ellen Haughey, daughter of Robert and Hannah Wycoff Haughey, was born in Ashland or Wayne Co, OH, on 5 Feb 1840. Her Delaware native father Robert was the son of a man who owned 90 slaves and served in the Revolutionary War. Robert's parents died when he was young, so he was shuttled from one relative to another. His first wife, Catherine Hammal, was the mother of two children. Upon her death, Robert married 17-year-old Hannah Wycoff and together they had 14 children. For a time the couple lived in Steubenville, Jefferson Co, OH, but by 1834 they moved to Wayne Co, OH. Many of the family members enjoyed a love of reading spawned by their father and several of the children became teachers.
Their daughter Rebecca was married on 8 Apr 1858 in Medina Co, OH to George Riggleman, b. 12 Oct 1836, in Guilford Twp, Medina Co, OH, son of John and Rebecca Coleman Riggleman. Sometime before Apr 1859, the Rigglemans moved to NW Twp, Wms Co, OH. They were enumerated there in the 1860 federal census, p7, as George 23 OH, Rebecca 20 OH, and Willis 1 OH. George decided to enlist in Co F 196th OVI as a private on 8 Mar 1865 and saw some action in the Civil War until his discharge two months later. The family was listed in the 1870 NW Twp federal census, p7, as George 32 OH, Rebecca 30 OH, Willis 11 OH, John S 9 OH, James A 3 OH, and Bertie 8/12 OH.
George was the first postmaster in NW Twp and owned 80 acres one mile west of Gravel Hill. He contracted typhoid, died on 21 Jan 1878, and was buried in the Billingstown Cemetery. Rebecca took over his postal duties, a position she held for over 25 years. She also applied for and received a Civil War widow's pension.
Rebecca and George were the parents of six known children: Willis M. (7 Apr 1859 - 20 Oct 1937, Fenton, Genesee Co, MI, m1 Lodema J. Knapp, 1879; m2 2 Dec 1895, Mrs. Georgia A. Rector); John S. (6 Apr 1861 - 11 Apr 1940, Camden Twp, Hillsdale Co, MI; m1 5 July 1884, Adella Neer, divorced; m2 Carrie Foster Newman); James Ashley (2 May 1867 - 15 Oct 1939, Columbia, Wms Co, OH; m1 Ora Cook, 9 Dec 1894; m2 Edna Miller Jackman); Bertie (8 Sept 1869 - 31 Oct 1955, Battle Creek, Calhoun Co, MI; m. Sarah Cook, 6 May 1893); Ella May (17/19 Apr 1872 - 13 Sept 1894; m Charles Wilks, 3 Nov 1889, divorced); and her twin Elmer (17/19 Apr 1872 - 28/29 Apr 1872). The boys John, James, and Bertie were charter members of the NW Twp Brass Band.
In the 1860 NW Twp PO Nettle Lake federal census, p16, William Leget and wife Rebecca had an 8-year-old Charles Hinton living with them. Again in the 1870 federal census for Springlake, Florence Twp, p7, the elderly Leggetts have 18-year-old Charles Hinton with them, listed as a domestic laborer. By the 1880 federal census for NW Twp, p438D, this Charles Hinton had moved into the Rebecca Riggleman household as follows: Rebecca 40 OH, Willis 21, John 19, James 13, Bertie 10, Ella 8, and Charles Hinton 28 OH-OH-MD. On 28 Aug 1880 in Reading, Hillsdale Co, MI, Rebecca Riggleman married Charles Hinton (Lib E p312).
According to the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court records (Journal 13 p351 - 23 Dec 1885; Roll 42 case number 1527 - 25 Sept 1885) Rebecca appeared in court requesting a divorce from husband Charles, citing his gross neglect of duty and willful absence for three years or more. Even though Rebecca had the Riggleman farm and extensive personal property she wanted alimony of $300 as a lien on his real estate. She also wanted to be restored to her former name of Rebecca Riggleman. The court granted her a divorce and nothing further. Apparently Charles did not have any tangible assets.
From the 1900 Butler, DeKalb Co, IN federal census records, Charles, a stone quarryman, was born in Jan 1852 OH and lived as a boarder in the household of Ezra and Alice Hopkins. Charles was listed as married for one year (1899) but no bride was posted in this record. By 1910 Charles was an inmae of the Williams Co, OH Infirmary; he was listed as being 56Y OH-OH-OH, a shoemaker, and had married two times but was a widower then.
Rebecca died on 7 Aug 1925 @85Y 6M 2D was buried beside husband George. Note that two of their children were also divorced. Rebecca was honored in several newspaper articles and Presidents, Soldiers, and Statesmen, 1905, p624-625, as the NW Twp postmistress and widow of George Riggleman, but she was never mentioned as being married and divorced from Charles Hinton.