Abraham Moulton v Matilda Clarissa Palmer Moulton
Solitary Soul Died in County Infirmary, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1881
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
"She had refused to live with him and had abandoned his bed and board being willfully absent for three years or more." This is a standard quote found in many divorce cases in this county. One wonders why and how living alone or with relatives would be preferable to continuing as a spouse and mother of eight children. In the case of this genealogical detailing the wife did choose to leave her husband and at the end of her life she wound up alone in the Williams County Infirmary.
Abraham Moulton, b1824 OH, the son of John and Nancy Williams Moulton, was married in Richland Co, OH on 22 May 1845 (Marriages V4 p271) to Matilda Clarissa Palmer, b1825 PA, parentage unknown. By 1850 this family was not listed in the federal census records for this county, but the Moulton family appeared in the 1860 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census, p136b, as Abraham 36 OH, Matilda 34 PA, Joseph 13 OH, Salina 12 OH, Sarah 10 OH, Walter 7 OH, Cyrus 6 OH, and Adazella 4 OH. Abraham's occupation was itinerant laborer so he may not have provided a stable residence. The Moultons are not found in the 1870 federal census for this county as a couple but Matilda and five of her children were enumerated in the 1870 German Twp, Fulton Co, OH federal census p114A. Abraham was listed in the 1870 Irving, Barry Co, MI federal census p178B living with a William Moulton family. Abraham was not listed in the 1864, 1874, 1894, or 1904 Wms Co, OH Atlases nor was he found in the 1867 personal property taxpayers listing for this county.
Abraham appeared in the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court records (Journal 11 - Mar 1881; Roll 36 case number 891 - 28 Apr 1881). He told the court that his wife had abandoned him. This is substantiated by the 1880 Springfield Twp federal census which listed Clarissa Moulton 59 PA-PA-PA as head of household with Charles E 19 OH, Cyrus W 26 OH, Walter H 28 OH with his wife and child, and Joseph 34 OH with his family. Abraham was enumerated in the 1880 Madison Twp federal census, p481C, as Abraham 57 OH-VT-NY, father-in-law to JD Esterline, his wife Almira Moulton Esterline, and grandfather to their two sons. Abraham and Clarissa did not have any minor children at the time of the divorce filing. The divorce was granted but no further information was included in the records as to alimony or division of personal property.
The Moultons were the parents of the following eight children: Joseph A (1846 OH - ?, m1 Rebecca J. Fries, 4 Feb 1875, Wms Co, OH [Marriages V4 p380]; m2 Olive Fries); Salina (1848 OH - ?, m Jacob H. Esterline, 26 Mar 2870, Wms Co [Marriages V4 p104]); Sarah A (1850 OH - ?, m Jacob Sines, 7 Sept 1867, Wms Co [Marriages V3 p708]); Walter H (1852 OH - 5 Dec 1894, Wms Co [Deaths V3 p83], m Rachel Anna Fries, 16 Oct 1878, Wms Co [Marriages V4 p483]); Cyrus W (1853 OH - 4 Feb 1929; m Mary Josephine Gilcher, 28 Dec 1897, Wms Co [Marriages V7 #478]); Almira Adazella (20 May 1854 OH - 6 Apr 1882; m1 __ Kurtz; m2 JD Esterline, 31 Oct 1872, Wms Co [Marriages V4 p246]); Charles E (7 Aug 1860 – 5 Jan 1939, m Sarah A Hauer, 19 Sept 1884, Wms Co [Marriages V5 #522]).
Abraham's death took place on 13 Dec 1896 at the Poor Farm, Barry Co, MI. Matilda's obituary in The Bryan Democrat, 4 Mar 1910, p8, reduced her life to four lines of newspaper type: "Matilda Moulton died Feb 19 at 2:45 o'clock at the Williams County Infirmary at the age of 85 years." Her death certificate placed her death on 23 Feb 1910.