26 November 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Van Fossen

Thomas Sloss Van Fossen v Mandana Van Fossen

Childless Husband Petitioned Three Times, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1884

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 26 November 2010)

Thomas Sloss Van Fossen, b. 5 July 1844, Florence Twp, Wms Co, OH, was the son of William and Mary Ann Sloss Van Fossen, natives of Perry Co, PA and Caven Co, Ireland, respectively.  William was apprenticed as a carpenter but in 1829 he was a teacher in Granville, OH.  He married Mary Ann on 8 July 1830 in Licking Co, OH; the couple moved to Dearborn, MI where William worked at the arsenal and taught school.  The family eventually settled in Florence Twp c1838.  They had the following ten children: Elizabeth Ann, John Wilson, William Abner, Rachel Minerva, Mary Mathilda, Sarah Amelia, Thomas Sloss, Margaret Ellen, Keziah Jane, and Levi.  William, the father, farmed 80 acres and served as the postmaster at Spring Lake for 33 years as well as functioning as the local justice of the peace.

The Van Fossen family was enumerated in the 1850 Florence Twp federal census, p59B, where Thomas was 6 years old and the 1860 Florence Twp federal census, p26A, where Thomas was 15 years old. Thomas served as a private in Co D 195th Infantry.  His older brother William Abnser, b.12 Jan 1837, Dearborn, Wayne Co, MI, served in Co G 88th Indiana Infantry. According to the 1870 federal census for that township Thomas Sloss Van Fossen was not residing with his parents.  Father William, a grandson of a colonel in the War of 1812, died on 15 Mar 1878, Wms Co (Deaths V 1 p46) @74Y 1M 26D and was buried in Malcolm Cemetery, NW Twp.  Mother Mary Ann died on 13 May 1879 @71Y 11M 2D in Wms Co (Deaths V1 p51) and was buried beside her husband.

Thomas S. Van Fossen married Mandana (unknown surname and parentage) on 27 Apr 1880, Graffville, Montcalm Co, MI. Mandana was born c1860 in Ohio. From the 1880 Florence Twp federal census, p574C, one learns that this family was listed as Thomas 36, Mandana 20 OH, along with sisters Rachel 38 OH, and EA Waller 48 OH.  Thomas appeared before the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 12 p134 - 28 Nov 1883; p244 -27 Mar 1884; p395 - 12 Dec 1884; Roll 39 Box 130 case number 1181 - 2 Aug 1883; Roll 41 Box 131 case number 1379 - 25 Oct 1884) and requested a divorce.  He had to file three different times as the court dismissed the first two efforts for insufficient evidence.  Thomas stated that Mandana was guilty of gross neglect of duty and desertion.  She had been willfully absent for more than three years and was now (1884) a resident of Blanchard, Montcalm Co, MI.  The couple did not have any children.  He said that Mandana left him on 24 Oct 1881 and called to court Miranda Sickles, Melissa Everhart, EA Haller, and William Durr as corroborating witnesses.  The court finally granted Thomas' request.  Nothing further is known of the errant Mandana.

Thomas next married Elizabeth Ann Clark on 22 Mar 1885, Wms Co (Marriages V5 #616).  Elizabeth was born on 14 Aug 1846, Crawford Co, OH, the daughter of Morgan and Dorcas A. Joice Clark.  Thomas continued teaching and farming like his father before him.  He and wife Elizabeth did not have any children either.  Thomas died on 9 July 1923 in Florence Twp, Williams Co, OH and was buried in Riverside Cem, Montpelier, OH.

Note that there is a wealth of information on the Van Fossen men - father William, and sons William A and Thomas S in a Williams County Genealogical Society publication, Presidents, Soldiers, and Statesmen, 1892, p639-640.  This and many other valuable publications are available by visiting the Society website - check my links.

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