06 October 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Grasser

Quido H. Grasser, Jr. v Agnes M. Brown Grasser

Son of a Famous Bryan Celebrity and His Extravagant Wife, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1881

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

Much has been written about the famous father of this divorced son detailed in the following story, but from all the accounts of this father there was not much recorded about his son and certainly nothing was mentioned about the divorce until now.  This again points out the importance of such records to obtain a more accurate picture of life in the county.

Dr. and Professor Quido H. Graser [sometimes Grasser], b. 1822, Hungary, emigrated to Baden-Baden, Germany in 1836 where he studied medicine.  Later he attended the Prague Medical School and graduated from this institution in 1847 whereupon Quido traveled to America and first located in Pittsburgh, PA.  From there his practice spread to other venues in Western PA and Eastern OH until 1862 when he and his family moved to Bryan, Pulaski Twp.  He wore five hats as a skilled physician, scientist, numismatist or coin collector, linguistic specialist of six languages, and writer.  At one time his zoological and geological specimens were unparalleled outside of the largest world institutes and his coin collection was the largest and most valuable of any private collection in the US. (Stories of Fountain City, Van Gundy, 1975, p178; History of Williams County, Ohio, Goodspeed, 1882, p561).

Quido married PA native Caroline Wannemaker (Feb 1823 - June 1906) in PA and started a family of three children: Quido H. Jr., (Apr 1853 - 1925); Matilda F. (1855 - 1912; m. Mr. Nesbitt); Amelia J. (1859 - 28 July 1878, buried in Bryan, Fountain Grove Cemetery).  The family lived in a two-story home on Main and Bryan Streets. According to the 1870 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census, p18, the family was enumerated as QH 41 physician Baden, Caroline 39 PA, Quito 17 OH, Matilda 15 OH, and Amelia 13 OH.  At one point in early 1872, according to Bryan newspaper accounts, Dr. Grasser did not feel fully appreciated here and moved to Leavenworth, KS, but he was back in Bryan by November 1872. 

He set up his museum in his home and continued his duties as a doctor.  One assumes that the family was rather well to do for the times, as his coin collection of 40 years upon his death comprised a princely sum for approximately 15,300 coins.  In the Williams Co, OH Directory, 1877, Q. Graser was listed as a physician and surgeon with his office at the Museum on Main Street in Bryan.

Son Quido married Agnes M. Brown on 29 Mar 1877, at the bride's home in Hudson, Lenawee Co, MI.  Agnes was b.1853, the daughter of Elisha and Barbara Lawson Brown.  Elisha was born in Pottsdam, St. Lawrence Co, Canada (NY) on 9 Jan 1817 and was married in Buffalo, NY on 29 Aug 1842.  He moved his family to Hudson, MI c1855, where he pursued the boot and shoe business until his death on 29 Dec 1884.

"Aggie" and Quido lived in his parents' home until 29 Aug 1878 when Aggie left and returned to her parents.  She later sent her brother and a drayman from Hudson to collect her property such as a piano, pictures, quilts, and bedding.  She did not plan to return.  From the 1880 Hudson, Lenawee Co, MI federal census p248, Agnes lived with her parents as Elisha L. Brown 62 NY shoe and boot merchant, Barbara 60 NY, and Agnes Graser 26 NY single.  Note that next door to the Browns, Agnes’ maternal grandmother, Catherine Lawson 88 NY resided along with her daughter Agnes Jones.

According to the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court records (Journal 11 p14, 223, 231 - Nov 1881; Roll 37 case number 941 - 12 Sept 1881), husband Quido Jr., stated that his wife never did any housework.  His mother got up in the morning and prepared his breakfast and cooked his dinner too.  During their marriage his sister Amelia was on the point of death and he would sit up with her at night.  Aggie gave no help whatsoever.  Later the family sent Amelia to a specialist in Leavenworth, KS, but she returned home and died there. One month later Aggie abandoned him.  Quido Jr., provided the list of all the items he had purchased for Aggie over the course of their one year four month marriage and read it in court.  The list contained the following: four fine dresses that cost between $20-$25, seven calico suits, two hats, a large trunk, and two bolts of fine white muslin cloth.

Quido Jr., stated that he worked for the Bryan Manufacturing Company and his daily salary was $1.50.  His father also appeared in court and said the family always treated Aggie with kindness but she did not perform any household washing or mending to help out.  The court after appointing a special master agreed that this couple should be divorced and granted such to Quido Jr.  (Bryan Press, 8 Dec 1881, p5 c3).

Quido Jr., married c.1885 Isabelle R. Wagner, daughter of Jacob and Catherine Wagner; she was born on 7 Jan 1853 pos in Bucyrus, Crawford Co, Ohio. Dr. Grasser died on 6 Dec 1885 of consumption and was buried beside his daughter Amelia. ("Bryan Democrat", 10 Dec 1885, p5).  In his will (Probate #2659 - 11 Dec 1885) Dr. Grasser left half the contents of his "National Historical Cabinet" to son Quido plus his gold ring and half the cabinet contents to daughter Matilda plus a silver watch.

The Grassers lived at 30 Main St and according to the 1900 Bryan federal census, p153, were enumerated as Quido Grasser 47 PA grocery clerk, Isabella R. 47 PA-Germany-PA, married 15 years with no children, mother Caroline Grasser 77 PA widow, and servant Belle Nunn 16 OH.  Quido Jr. died in 1925 and his wife Isabelle joined him at the Bryan Fountain Grove Cemetery on 25 Jan 1938. 

Agnes married Charlie Adams at mother's home in Hudson on 1 May 1891 and the couple made their home in Pittsford, Hillsdale Co, MI.  They had a daughter b 8 June 1893.  Several months later, perhaps after childbirth complications she returned to her mother where she died of consumption on 1 Oct 1893 @40Y. Her mother died on 28 May 1909 @89Y and was buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Hudson, as was Agnes. 

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