Caroline E. Marsh Fullmer v George Fullmer, Jr.
Her Family Beat Her, No Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1883
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
He conveyed to her a parcel of 30 acres and she discovered the deed was defective. He gave her a cow and a horse and buggy and then he took them back. He and her son plus a daughter-in-law beat her with sticks and clubs upon her hands and feet, driving her off her own property. She was turned out to survive on the charities of the world after being a faithful wife for forty years. She told this story to the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court but was denied a divorce. Approximately a year later she died.
Caroline E. Marsh, b. 2 Oct 1822, NY, (Internet source says PA) was possibly the daughter of Johan Jacob and Mary Gortner/Gertner Marsh, PA natives. Caroline became the bride of George Fulmer, Jr., in Medina Co, OH c1843. The couple plus a son Jacob were enumerated in the 1850 Chatham, Medina Co, OH federal census as George 32 PA, Caroline 30 NY, and Jacob 3 OH.
George, born 19 Feb 1818, PA, the possible son of Adam and Susanna Wauck Fullmer, PA natives, brought his family to Florence Twp, Wms Co, OH before Nov 1852 and they were listed on the 1860 Florence Twp federal census, p31A, PO Springlake as George 40 PA, Caroline 37 NY, Lenore S 5 OH, Amelia 10/12 OH, and Maria Hackens 18 PA. What if any relationship this Maria had to the family is not currently known. The couple's son Vanderbilt Fulmer died and was buried in West Buffalo Cemetery, Florence Twp on 3 Nov 1852 @ 1Y 8M 24D. Later a daughter, Amelia (25 July 1859 - 18 Aug 1860) would join him there. What happened to older son Jacob is not currently known.
The Fulmers were again enumerated in the 1870 Florence Twp federal census, p32-33, as George 50 PA, Caroline 47 NY, Lenora 16 OH, and George S. 8 OH. The 1880 Florence Twp federal census records, p567B, followed the family's stay here as George 60 PA, Caroline 58 NY, and George S. 18 OH. Daughter Lenore married Oliver Oberlin and lived in DeKalb Co, IN. Son George S. married Amelia A. Custer on 8 July 1883, Wms Co (Marriages V5 #367).
Caroline sought a divorce from George as found in the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court Records (Journal 12 p155 – 30 Nov 1883, Roll 39 Box 130 case number 1197 – 24 Aug 1883). She stated that husband George on 20 Jan 1878 deeded land in Florence Twp to her but she had since discovered the land description was incorrect and the deed was worthless. Caroline further told that George owned several outlots in Krathwell's Addition, Edgerton, and land in Section 35 of Florence Twp, valued at $7,000. He had wheat, hay, sheep, cows, and wagons, which were valued at over $1,000. George was extremely violent on many occasions such as on 1 Apr 1883 when he beat her. The final straw for Caroline, who was almost 62 years old, a mother who could not read or write, was when she was beaten by her family on 20 Aug 1883. She appealed to the court for help. Whatever the court did about the alleged abuse was not recorded, but no divorce was granted.
Caroline M. Fulmer died on 13 Nov 1884 @62Y 1M 11D and was buried in West Buffalo Cemetery. According to the 1900 Garrett, DeKalb Co, IN federal census, George, b Jan 1820 PA, lived with his son George S. Fullmer, his wife Millie D, and their children. George W. Fullmer, age 92 years, died on 10 Oct 1910 in DeKalb Co, IN and was brought back to Williams County, OH for burial beside Caroline. There is a George Fulmer and a Catherine Parker who married on 9 Dec 1887, Wms Co (Marriages V5 #1105), but whether this is husband George or son George has yet to be determined. Obviously even in death Caroline could not escape her husband George.