Leah Weist Jackson v Silas Estelle Jackson
Rest Together for Eternity, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1884
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
A divorce may be granted to a couple who upon their deaths are buried side by side. Without benefit of divorce information a family researcher may erroneously believe that the couple was always married. Even though supported by obituaries, census, and other sources, this stance would not be correct. Here is an example of a couple, legally divorced who rested in peace forever.
Silas Estelle Jackson, b 18 Dec 1836 in Loudenville, Ashland Co, OH, was the son of John and Delila Whiteman Jackson. It is through his mother’s lineage that he was named after an early ancestor, Silas Estel. He was married to Leah Weist in Pulaski Twp, Wms Co on 9 Dec 1858 (Marriages V3 p36). Leah, b 1834 OH was the daughter of John and Rebecca Shoemaker Weist. Mother Rebecca was a PA native who lived with the married couple until her death on 30 Jan 1881 @70Y 4M and was buried in Floral Grove Cemetery, West Unity, OH, later to be joined by this divorced couple.
Silas and Leah were listed in the 1860 Brady Twp federal census, p157B, as Estell 26 OH, Leah 24 OH, Dora 7/12 OH, and Rebecca Weist 49 OH. Estell joined Co I 86th OVI and served in the Civil War as a private. The 1870 Brady Twp federal census, p8, showed the family as Estell 33 OH, Leah 35 OH, Dora A 10 OH, John W 8 OH, and Rebecca Weist 59 PA. Again for that township's federal census, in 1880, p499B, the family was enumerated as Estell 42 OH, Leah 46 OH, Dora A 20 OH, Levi Mills 21 MI, and Rebecca Weist 69 PA. The Jacksons had the following children: Dora A. (1859 - 1929; m Milton C. Shetler); John W. (1862 - ?); and Ira L. (22 Aug 1865 - 11 Aug 1868 @2Y 11M 20D, buried in Floral Grove Cemetery, West Unity).
According to the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court records (Journal 12 p241 - 25 Mar 1884; Roll 40 Box 132 case number 1286 - 21 Mar 1884) Leah requested a divorce citing extreme cruelty. She stated that Estell assaulted her and pulled her hair on 1 Jan 1881 and on many other dates. On 18 Mar 1884 Estell ordered her out of the house. Keep in mind that Leah's mother died about two months before this. Leah stated that in her own right she was the owner of property west of the turnpike from Evansport in Defiance Co to Lockport in Brady Twp. Estell had between $10,000-$12,000 that he kept concealed along with two work horses, a wagon, harnesses, farm utensils, and a sleigh. Both James Wirick, Jr., and Sr., were indebted to Estell for $180 and Lewis Altman owed him more than $40. She believed that Estell might try to cheat her out of alimony and support by his secret plans to sell both his and her property. The court gave Leah control of the chattel, goods, and animals plus awarded her a divorce.
Leah Jackson died on 29 June 1897 @64Y. Estell Jackson was listed in the 1908 Enumeration of Soldiers in Williams Co, OH as he resided in West Unity at the time. He died on 5 Aug 1915 @75Y 7M 17D in West Unity, Brady Twp, Williams Co, OH and was buried beside Leah in Floral Grove Cemetery. Perhaps there was no money in the estate or a burial lot was vacant beside ex-wife Leah; more research needs to be done to verify this.