Kittie Cox Royce v Benjamin Y. Royce
Mary A. Fuller Lyon v Abram M. Lyon
The Seamstress and the Grocer – Divorces in Williams County, Ohio, 1878 and 1886
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
Often when reading census records a family researcher may discover that in Williams County, Ohio, most of the women are either “keeping house” or “at home”. This genealogical detailing points out a working woman, her devotion to her mother, and a man who would keep her in groceries for the rest of her life.
Our story begins with the 1840 Jefferson Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census p228 for the John Cox family (1 male 5-10), (1 male 20-30), (2 females under 5), and (1 female 20-30). In the 1850 Brady Twp census p88 one finds John Cox 35 PA no occupation, Catherine 32 MD, Ralph 15 OH, Jane Ann 13 OH, Susan 10 OH, Margaret 9 OH, Mary Ann 7 OH, Catherine 5 OH, John 3 OH, and George 1/12 OH. This family appears to have two other children as the records for Rings Cemetery, Brady Twp lists Rebecca F. d. 4 Sept 1855 @2Y26D and Ransom L. d. 10 Aug 1859 @1Y2M20D.
The Cox family is enumerated in the 1860 Brady Twp census p139b as John Cox 46 PA day laborer, Catherine 42 MD, Susan 19 OH, Catherine 15 OH, and George 9 OH. Things change for this family as Kitty Catherine Cox born 1846 in Williams Co, OH married Benjamin Y. Royce of New Jersey in 1865. Their son, Clarence Theodore Royce was born in Indiana 1866. In the 1870 Brady Twp, West Unity census, the family is listed as Kittie Royce 24 OH seamstress, Clarence 4 IN, and Catherine Cox 52 MD.
According to the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court Records, Journal 9 p462 on 20 Feb 1878 Kittie sued Benjamin Y Royce for divorce stating that he had been willfully absent for more than three years and she wanted custody of her minor son, Clarence T. She was granted this divorce and on 6 June 1878 (V4 p575) Kittie married Andrew Hamilton, a NY native who appears in the 1870 Springfield Twp census as a merchant living with fellow merchant and first cousin John J. Fuller and his wife Mary S. The Fullers were married in Wms Co on 18 Jul 1867 (V3 p699) and appear to have three sons who died as youngsters, Charles Claud b. 15 Feb 1872; and twins Clement Leroy and Clarence Ray b. 25 Mar 1875 (Births V 1 p32, 77). Mary S. Hamlin Fuller who died in 1911 is buried in Oakwood Cemetery with these children while John J. Fuller (1845-Nov 1905, Toledo, Lucas Co, OH) is buried in the same cemetery with his parents, Reverend Evert W. and Sarah D. (Sullivan) Fuller, who both organized the Stryker Methodist Church and Sunday School.
Kittie’s new husband, Andrew Hamilton was a Civil War veteran having served in Co H 1st Reg. NY VC and was a GAR member. He was born on 3 Feb 1845, Caroline, Tompkins Co, NY, the son of Joseph and Ann Elizabeth (Sullivan) Hamilton. The 1850 Caroline, Tompkins Co, NY federal census p14 lists Joseph with wife Ann E. and children Amanda and Andrew. In 1860 for that location p780 one learns the family has grown with additional children Clement J. and Anna Eliza. Sometime after his Civil War service Andrew traveled to Wms Co, OH, where he remained for the rest of his life. Andrew was married once before to Ellen M. (Miller) Hamilton who is buried in Lockport Cemetery, “wife of A. Hamilton, married 5 Mar 1872 and died 4 Aug 1872”. She may be the daughter of Arthur and Elizabeth Miller.
By the 1880 Stryker, Springfield Twp census the family is recorded as Andrew Hamilton 35 NY grocer, Catherine 33 OH milliner, Clarence Royce 14 IN step-son, and Catherine Cox 68 MD mother-in-law. The History of Williams Co, OH, Goodspeed, 1882, p437, shows Mrs. A. Hamilton running a milliner business in Stryker along with the Hamilton & Fuller business of groceries and provisions owned by business partners Andrew Hamilton and John J. Fuller. Andrew was a member of Stryker Lodge #611 and at one time was mayor of Stryker. Andrew later formed a partnership with his stepson and the grocery became known as Hamilton and Royce.
Andrew passed away on 19 Mar 1919 in Stryker and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery. This couple did not have any children. Andrew died intestate and the grocery, which had more liabilities than assets was sold. From the 1920 Stryker, Springfield Twp, Wms Co, OH census p6A one finds Kate C. Hamilton 73 OH widow as head of house on Defiance Street with her widowed sister, Sue Fleck, 78 OH. The census record states both of their parents were born in Maryland.
Clarence T. Royce first married Emma L. Zimmer, 24 Sept 1885 (V5p593); Emma died 24 Dec 1889 and guardianship was set for daughters Ruth and Coral on 16 Jan 1891. Clarence then married Clara Allen on 27 June 1891 (V6 #471) and she died 6 Sept 1899. His third bride, Sarah Henning, daughter of Jacob and Catherine Henning, tied the knot on 3 Feb 1901 (V8p221). Sarah is buried in Oakwood Cemetery (1873-1948) with her parents.
Clarence’s will, written 28 Mar 1916, listed heirs as wife, Sarah H., son Robert R., daughter Coral Randall (1888-1969) of Toledo, and daughter Ruth Bruns (1886-1973) of Stryker. The will was probated on 19 Apr 1926 after Clarence’s death. In 1930 Kittie Cox Royce Hamilton died and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery next to her beloved Andrew. Later her granddaughter, Coral, a poet, and her husband Archie L. Randall join them.
Records have been searched for cemetery burials of Kittie’s parents, John and Catherine Cox, but to-date they have not been located. Nothing further is known about Benjamin Y. Royce, Kittie’s first husband. The following in another divorce that ties into this family:
Mary A. Fuller Lyon v Abram M. Lyon (Journal 13 p572 - 16 Oct 1886; Journal 14 p6/75 - 15 Nov 1886; Roll 44 case number 1659 - 16 Aug 1886)
The couple was married in Stryker, Wms Co on 20 Nov 1862 (Marriage V3 p278). Abram, b1835, was the son of Nathaniel and Hila Lyon, Quakers and natives of NY. Mary, b19 Jan 1840, OH, was the daughter of Reverend Evert W. and Sarah D. Sullivan Fuller. Mary was enumerated with her parents in the 1850 Evansport-Tiffin Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p49, as EW Fuller 41 NY clerk, Sarah D 41 NY, Martha A 14 NY, Bishop E 12 NY, Mary A 10 OH, Alice J 8 OH, and John J 5 OH. The Lyons family, possibly from Sherman Twp, Huron Co, OH, was listed in the 1850 Brady Twp federal census, p10 and in 1860 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p144a showed them as Nathaniel Lyons 52NY, Hila 41 NY, Abram 24 OH, Hila 22 OH, Elizabeth 17 OH, Nathaniel 14 OH, Dila (m) 10 OH, and Francis (m) 5 OH.
In the 1870 Brady Twp federal census p13, the couple was enumerated as Abraham Lyons 34 OH, Mary A 30 OH, Alice 7 OH, Adell 5 OH, Dalton 2/12 OH. In the 1880 Jefferson Twp federal census, p532D, Mary and the minor children lived apart from Abram.
Mary told in court that they had the following five children: Mrs. Alice A. Durler (22- b1863), Adell M. (20 - b1865), Camilla J. (15 - b27 June 1871), Maud C (7 - b1878), and Mabel (3 - b18 Aug 1882). They also had a son, Benjamin Dalton, who died on 2 Sept 1870 @4M 9D and was buried in the Lockport Cemetery. Mary said in the winter of 1877-78 Abram hit her with a chair and she feared for her life and that of the children. She stated that Abram was guilty of gross neglect on 28 Aug 1884. He called her vile names and threatened her. On 27 May 1886 they separated. Abram was charged with contempt and breach of a temporary injunction in chambers held in Defiance Co, OH, on 26 Aug 1886; Abram was not to sell his real estate in Springfield Twp. She had to return to court again to get custody of Maude and Mabel. She charged him with gross neglect. Abram was given a visitation schedule of 1PM-6PM each Thursday. He was told again not to sell Lot 35 in Stryker, but he was found in contempt of court and remanded to the custody of the sheriff. Mary was granted a divorce in Nov 1886 and Abram was released from custody.
Mary died on 24 Mar 1895 @55Y 2M 5D and was buried in the Oakwood Cem, Stryker, beside her parents and some of her siblings; Abram, apparently falling on hard times, died on 1 Feb 1899 @ 64Y and was buried in the Williams County, Ohio Infirmary Cemetery.