Phebe Lauretta Gowing Weaver v William L. Weaver
She's Forced to Perform Manual Labor, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1883
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
About four months before the birth of their son, her husband left her with no food or clothing. In order to support herself and the child she was forced to perform manual labor in the fields. The wife, after the legal requirement of three years, sued for a divorce from her wayward husband.
Lauretta "Retta" Gowing, born April 1856, in Ohio, was the daughter of Civil War veteran Charles S. Gowing and his wife Sarah J. Tharp. CS as he was known, a tanner by profession, served in the Civil War in Co H 123rd OVI. He was born in Cortland Co, NY on 19 Oct 1820 and married Sarah in Marion Co, OH, on 1 Dec 1841. The couple had the following children: Christopher M, Mary J, William O, James L, Lauretta, Martha K, Ida A, Emma C, and Effa C. All this was substantiated in an account of his life found in Presidents, Soldiers, and Statesmen, 1892, p596.
Little is currently known of Retta's early life but on 29 Nov 1877 in Pioneer, Madison Twp, Wms Co, OH she married William L Weaver (Marriages V4 p547). On 3 Nov 1880, Wms Co, Retta gave birth to a son, Charles M. Weaver (Births V2 p19). Her parents were enumerated in the 1880 Madison Twp federal census, p474A, but only the younger sisters, Emma and Effa, resided with the parents. Lauretta traveled to the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 12 p138 - 30 Nov 1883; Roll 39 Box 129 case number 1185 - 7 Aug 1883) and requested a divorce from her absent husband. She told the court about her predicament and stated that William Weaver was living in Bay City, MI. He had left her before the son's birth and would not return. The court granted her a divorce.
Perhaps another record will give the reader an idea of how Retta's life had changed. Retta L. Weaver married Robert A. Snodgrass on 21 Sept 1889 in Wms Co (Marriages V6 #55). According to the 1900 Madison Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census p5A widowed dressmaker Laurette Weaver lived with her parents and was listed as 44 OH, and the mother of one living child. No dates or stone give further data about her death, but she was reportedly buried beside her parents in Floral Grove Cemetery in Pioneer, Madison Twp. Next to her lies the grave of her son, Charles Weaver (1880-9 Mar 1937).