22 November 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Travis

Shurman Travis v Julian Jones Travis

He Sought a Remedy in the State Supreme Court, No Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1838

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

In the very early days of our county's history a remedy for an unhappy marriage could be sought by one or both parties applying to the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio for a divorce.  This may be the case of this genealogical detailing.

Shurman Travis, parentage unknown, appeared in the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court (Roll 2 - 16 July/Oct 1838) requesting a divorce from his wife, Julian Jones, whom he married in 1823, Delaware Co, OH.  Note that a search of marriage records for this couple yielded a Sherman Travis marrying Julian Courtright, 5 Mar 1823, Franklin Co, OH.  In his complaint Shurman clearly stated his wife's maiden name as "Jones".  He further remarked that the couple had lived together for 18 months before "she absented herself from him."

Shurman told the court that he repeatedly went to her and begged her to come back to him, but she refused.  With the help of her blood relatives and friends, she took all his personal property, "not real property as he had none", and carried on her life "as if she had never been married."  The reason for this divorce was Julian's willful absence for three years or more, which appears in reality to have been about 13 years.  Shurman was instructed by the court to seek his remedy by appearing before the Ohio State Supreme Court, which he pledged to do.  Whether he carried out his plan is not currently known.

In the 1830 Wms Co federal census, although there was no Shurman Travis listed, there were the following Travis entries: Ezra, David, and William, residing in Defiance and Delaware Twps.  These three men were listed in the 1827 Wms Co tax lists; in the 1845 Defiance Co voter registration lists there were William and John Travis.  Whether these Travis men were relatives of Shurman, or Shurman himself, is not currently known.

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