28 November 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Van Wormer (Mark)

Bethema Moss Van Wormer v Mark Luce Van Wormer (Journal 5 p474 - 16 Mar 1859; p590 - 7 Dec 1859; Journal 6 p60/72 - 29 Nov/8 Dec 1860; p134-135 - 31 May 1861; Roll 15 case number 91 - Mar 1861) – see  Joab Van Wormer

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 7 November 2011)

The couple was married on 21 July 1844 in Defiance Co, OH (Marriage V1 p77). Mark, born 4 Sept 1824 in Rochester, NY, was the son of Henry and Mary Van Wormer.  Supposedly by 1834 Mark lived in Crawford Co, PA. Mark and Bethema had a son Henry Joseph, b Sept 1846.  Bethema, born 10 June 1823, Ross Co, OH, was the daughter of Joseph and Mary Jones Moss.  The family was enumerated in the 1850 Pulaski Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census p176, as Mark 29 NY, Bethemia 27 OH, Joseph 3 OH, and Wesley Plummer 13 OH. She brought the divorce suit first and later he countersued.

Mark charged that Bethema in the house of Elizabeth Van Wormer of Bryan committed adultery with Joseph W. Mankins on 18 Mar 1860 and again on 4 July 1860 with William Green. Miranda Kent of Ligonier, IN, stated that Bethema was with Joseph Mankin for more than a year in White Rock, MI. Mark wanted custody of their son Henry Joseph (15).  Note than Mankins and Green was later divorced in Wms Co, OH.

Bethema denied these allegations and in turn charged Mark with adultery on 4 July 1858 in Toledo, Lucas Co, OH at the home of John Belle with Sophia Petty; this happened again on 18 Aug 1858.  While Mark was in Defiance Co, OH at the Mellon House he committed adultery with Elizabeth Barnes, Mary McDaniels, Mary Bell, Louisa Kent, Rachel Kent, Elizabeth Kent, and Ann Dignan.  She called witness Henry Hosteller, JP of Noble Co, IN, who stated that Mark told him he got gonorrhea at Defiance during the Democratic Convention of 1858; he had been with Miranda Kent, Rachel Kent, Louisa Kent, and a French girl. Others such as Mary Plummer and William J. Bowlby, by deposition, stated that Mark committed adultery with Sophia Petty and one "Dutch Kate" many times.  Bethema also called witnesses, Elizabeth Van Wormer, Martha J. McKean, and Peter Himes, to substantiate her claims. On 1 Jan 1858 Mark struck and knocked her out.

Republican Standard, 6 January 1859
Notice is hereby given that on the 1st December my pocket book with its contents consisting among other things of three several promissory notes, viz: one of $160 made Aug 6, 1858 by Mark L Vanwormer and payable in the two years after date with interest.  One made by Joseph Moss for $10 and one by Henry Moss of $8, a more particular description of said two last notes, not recollected but they were due when taken and $20 in gold was stolen from my dress pocket at my residence in Bryan during my absence.  All persons are hereby notified against purchasing the same, as they are my property.
Bethany VanWormer
Jan 3, 1859

Mark has property lots in Bryan valued at $1,000.  She wanted alimony as he held Lots 11 and 12 in Bryan; she obtained a restraining order so Mark could not sell this property.  A divorce was granted after multiple filings on both sides and she received $200.

Mark married Emma Emeline Bennett in Bryan on 28 July 1862.  Emma, the daughter of Thomas and Mehetabel Read Bennett, was born on 29 June 1837 in Seneca Co, OH.  They had the following children: William Bennett (b 29 Jun 1863), Mark Luce (b 2 Aug 1867), Thomas (b 17 Feb 1872), Mercey Belle (b 19 Apr 1874), and Julia Margaret (b 23 Jan 1877).  By 1867 they moved to Missouri and were enumerated in the 1870 Livingston (PO Avalon), Fairview Twp, Missouri federal census p532; by then son Henry lived with his father.   Mark died on 17 Jan 1900 in Osborne Co, KS; his wife Emma died there on 4 Mar 1905.

Mark L Van Wormer is indeed buried in the Osborne Cemetery, Plot D-66, Osborne, Kansas. From "Osborne County Burials 1866-2000" compiled by Von Rothenberger find this: Mark Luce Van Wormer born September 4, 1825; died January 17, 1900. Mark was born in Rochester, New York. No obituary.

Bethema later moved from Wms Co with her parents and brothers and died in Venton, Benton Co, IA on 6 Nov 1879.  Family lore states that Mark beat her so badly that she developed "breast cancer", but she died at age 56 about 18 years after the divorce was finalized, so this may not be true.  According to Mark's descendants he was always in trouble but he straightened out after his second marriage.

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