Jacob Lane v Keron Happuch Horton Lane
A Brave and Honorable Civil War Soldier Discovered While the Cat's Away, the Mice Do Play, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1866
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
He enlisted in August 1861 as a private in Co A 38th Reg. OVI and was promoted to sergeant, then second lieutenant, then first lieutenant, and placed in command of Co F 38th Reg OVI; he came home in Sept 1865. He saw action at the Battle of Jonesboro; he stubbornly refused to surrender when surrounded by rebel forces and received a severe flesh wound. He was with Sherman's army during the "march to the sea". He suspended his business and absented himself from his family for four years to serve his country. "A soldier who never chewed, smoked, drank, swore, gambled, or spent his money on lewd women; he was always ready to obey every order issued and he sent home a great percentage of his wages to his family". (Bryan Democrat, 16/23 Dec 1920).
From his obituary one learns a great deal about this man's character and his impact on the community of Williams Center, Center Twp, Wms Co, OH. Unfortunately when the soldier returned home, he discovered that all was not well in his household. This genealogical detailing illustrates the problem many soldiers faced, an unfaithful wife who was carrying on with another while her husband was fighting for his country. To be fair, it must have been lonely for the wife, the mother of four, while waiting for her husband to come marching home.
Jacob Lane, b. 15 Feb 1832, Ragersville, Tuscarawus Co, OH, was the son of Westmoreland Co, PA natives James and Nancy Shank Lane. His family moved to Wms Co c. 1851 and settled on a farm in Center Twp. Jacob later purchased a sawmill and set out to make a comfortable living for his family. In Defiance Co, OH on 17 Feb 1856 (marriage date in Defiance Co V1 p126 stated 6 Feb 1856) Jacob married Keren Horton, daughter of Calvin and Dorcas Newell Horton, who was born on 30 Jan 1838 in Urbana, Champaign Co, OH. Her parents were married in 11 Mar 1830 in Greene, Chenango Co, NY and her father Calvin died on 15 Dec 1843, Orlan, IN. From the 1850 Farmer Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p74, Keron was enumerated with her stepfather, Robert M Kelly 38 PA, her mother Dorcas 39 CT, six Kelly children, and the Horton children, Samuel 15 NY, Keron H 11 OH, and John C 9 OH.
By the 1860 Center Twp federal census p78B, the family was listed as Jacob 28 OH, Kerenkukuch 22 OH, Varien 2 OH, and Newel 1 OH. Down the census roll one finds Jacob’s parents, James Lane 61 PA and Nancy 50 PA. Keren's brother, Francis N. Horton, was also a Civil War soldier, serving in Co F along with his brother-in-law. He was the director of the county infirmary and a county commissioner for Defiance. He later established the Merchants and Farmers Bank in Hicksville, Ohio. The Lanes had the following children: Isaiah Varions (22 Mar 1857 -12 Mar 1893); Newell Clayton (24 Oct 1858 - 27 July 1868); Clara H. (27 Sept 1860 - 1 Mar 1888; m. David Flightner, 16 Mar 1878, Wms Co [Marriages, V4 p565]); and Jacob Arthur (Jan 1863 - aft 1920; m. Dora E. Spangler, 17 Nov 1887, Wms Co [Marriages, V5 #1094]).
Upon his return from the war Jacob learned that on several occasions between 7 May 1865 - 17 June 1865 Keren had committed adultery with a William O. Ensign. Jacob appeared in the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 6 p568 - 29 Mar 1866) and requested a divorce and custody of his four children whom he listed by name and birthdate. His wife Keron of Farmer Twp, Defiance Co, OH received $250 in alimony and Jacob received his divorce. In the 1870 Center Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p57, Keron Lane 32 OH was a farm laborer living with the Giles Tomlinson family. Keron did not contest this action, but the children appear to have remained with their father. On 15 Oct 1871 in Dekalb Co, IN, Keron married widower Lewis Heiges, son of George and Margaret Heiges; Lewis’ first wife, Mecelia Waterman Heiges had died c1870 Lewis, a carpenter, was born on 23 Nov 1833 and died on 16 Jan 1898 in Tanwax, WA. They had two sons and lived in DeKalb Co, IN and later by 1880 in Fenton Twp, Hot Springs Co, ARK. The couple was listed in the 1892 Washington State Census as living in Pierce Co. By the 1900 Tacoma, Pierce Co, WA federal census Keron Heiges was enumerated as a widow. Mrs. Keron Heiges died on 2 Nov 1907 in St. Stellacom, Pierce Co, WA, age 68 years.
Jacob did not rush into another marital alliance until 22 Sept 1868 when he married Rebecca Ridenour, daughter of John and Susannah Ridenour. Rebecca, born on 7 Dec 1843 in Wayne Co, OH, took on the responsibilities of stepmother to three of Keron's children. The Lanes were enumerated in the 1870 Center Twp federal census, p34, as Jacob 38 OH, Rebecca 27 OH, Varion 13 OH, Clara H 9 OH, Arthur 7 OH, and Susanna 8/12 OH. Note that the last child was Rebecca's daughter with Jacob.
Before the next census the Lane family expanded to three children by Keron and three by Rebecca, whose children were Susanna (1869 - 1960; m. Harlan Pool); Nancy Beaty; and Arlo Lane. In the 1880 Center Twp federal census p609 the Lanes were listed as Jacob 48 OH, Rebecca 37 OH, Arthur 16 OH, Susannah 10 OH, Henry O 8 OH, and Nancy 5 OH. Jacob farmed 205 acres, ran his own sawmill, and carried memberships in the Lutheran Church plus the Evans Post of GAR.
Tragedy struck Rebecca on 31 May 1908 when she fell hanging curtains and never regained consciousness. She was buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, Edgerton, St. Joseph Twp. Twelve years later Jacob died at his home on 9 Dec 1920 @88Y 9M 25D and was buried beside Rebecca. Jacob's lengthy obituary never mentioned his divorce, only the marriage date, which was wrong, and his first wife's name.