01 October 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Everett

Lucy J. Caulkins Everett v Charles Everett
Two Physicians' Children, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1884
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 25 November 2010)

The notion that divorce is more prevalent back in the day by people with little education and few resources is definitely false.  This genealogical detailing concerns two Williams County, Ohio doctors who had social status and more resources than most in the 1870-1880 period.  Their respective son and daughter married but money became an issue that landed them in divorce court.

From the 1860 Mansfield, Richland Co, OH federal census p16, one finds the Everett family enumerated as J H Everett 50 VA doctor, Rebecca 35 OH, George 18 OH law student, Martha 15 OH, Curtis 11 OH, Lovina 9 OH, and Chas 3 OH.

In the 1870 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census, p36, one finds JH (Jonathan Holden) Everett, a physician, 59 VA with family of wife Rebecca 44 OH, Mabel 18 OH, and Charles 13 OH.  Jonathan Everett died in Wms Co, OH on 9 Feb 1877 (Deaths V1 p41) leaving his son Charles as head of the house.  In 1874 he owned property in Bryan and his widow, according to the 1894 Wms Co Atlas, owned land in Center Twp, Section32.  Mrs. Rebecca Everett was also a leading member in the Bryan Library Association as of 1882.

In the 1870 Center Twp federal census, p39, another physician was enumerated as Daniel Caulkins 46 NH, Lydia 46 VA, Mary 16 OH, Alice 14 OH, John M 12 OH, Lucy 10 OH, and Rose 2 OH.  Dr. Daniel Chapelle Caulkins, b. 4 July 1824, Lempster, Sullivan Co, NH, received collegate training at the school of Bishop Peck while working his way through college.  He earned degrees in medicine, law, and theology.  He read a poem during the county's Centennial Celebration on 4 July 1876.  Daniel married Lydia Russell on 31 Mar 1848 in Holmes Co, OH. The Caulkins family had lived in Greenvile, Knox Co, OH before settling in NW Ohio. He practiced medicine at Farmer (Defiance Co), Bryan, and Williams Center for many years; he was listed in the 1860 Washington Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p815, as Daniel Caulkins, physician; he had served in the Mexican-American War, and also taught medical courses after the war.  He also began designing airships in the 1860's and tried to construct a flying machine.  While fever was prevalent in the county in 1860 he never lost a patient, treating each fever case as "typhus fever."

Within their social circles both families would get together and form tight friendships.  Possibly upon the death of Dr. Everett, Dr. Caulkins took on the role as protector of the family.  Charles Everett married Lucy J. Caulkins in Bryan on 31 Aug 1879 (Marriages V4 p642).  In the 1880 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census Charles Everett was listed as 23 OH clerk along with wife Lucy 19 OH and his mother RC 53 OH.  In the 1880 Washington Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p237D, Lucy’s father, Daniel Caulkins, was listed as Daniel 53 NH doctor.  Mother Lydia had died and Daniel remarried a Caroline M Hyke sometime after the 1880 census was taken.

All was not a happy alliance as discovered in Journal 11 p571, Roll 38 case number 1088 for 29 Dec 1882 of the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court.  Lucy requested a divorce from Charles citing gross neglect.  She stated that in Aug 1881 Charles had abandoned her and refused to offer any financial support.  She told the court that he was worth $1800 and Lucy wanted a reasonable alimony.  Charles appeared in court disputing his net worth, saying it was much lower.  The court allowed Lucy separation money but denied her a divorce. 

From Journal 12 p28 Lucy appeared in court again on 1 March 1883 and said she had been to the Paulding Co, OH divorce court on 4 Jan 1883 requesting a divorce and more alimony but the court told her to petition the Williams County court again, which she did.  The court found Charles had abandoned her and a separation existed.  It set permanent alimony of $300 and from a later record (Journal 12 p354 - 24 Nov 1884) the court finally granted her a divorce.  This came almost two years after the initial filing. 

Nothing further is directly known of this couple, but in 1895 Lucy's father, Dr. Daniel Caulkins, moved to Toledo prior to 1900 and spent his remaining years practicing medicine, designing his airship that used gas, and publishing a book, Aerial Navigation.  According to the 1900 Toledo, Lucas Co, OH federal census p220, Daniel was enumerated as Daniel July 1824 (75) NH physician, married 20 years, and wife Caroline M May 1843 (57) no birthplace. He died in Toledo in 1905.  The Neil Armstrong Space Museum at Wapakoneta, Ohio had a display as of 1975 honoring him for his interests in flight.  According to Dr. Caulkins' obituary four daughters and son, JM Caulkins of Bryan, survived him. The daughters listed were Mrs. AB Replogle, Mrs. Perry Humbert, and Mrs. Fred Cress, all of Toledo, and Mrs. Martin Zimmerman of Bryan.  Checking the 1900 and 1880 census I was able to place Mrs. Perry Humbert as Rose Annette Caulkins, Mrs. Replogle as Mary Ellen Caulkins, and Mrs. Martin Zimmerman as Alice Caulkins; this leaves Mrs. Fred Cress as the candidate for Lucy, but currently there is no further information.

Charles Everett’s mother, Rebecca, was living with another son, Curtis, as boarders in the 1900 Summer Shade, Metcalf Co, KY federal census.  Rebecca b Feb 1827 OH had 5 children with 3 living.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Evarts

Mercy J. Thompson Evarts v Benjamin Franklin Evarts
I Shot Peter Himes, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1885
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The Stories of Fountain City, Van Gundy, 1975, p50, gave an account of the mysterious shooting of Peter Himes, 55, by Benjamin F. Evarts, 61, on 3 Dec 1873 at the Evarts home, located one mile out of Bryan on the old Pulaski Road.  Benjamin was sitting in the parlor with his wife, Catherine, and a domestic, Mrs. Minerva Webster, when they heard a dog barking.  Evarts fired four shots from his navy revolver from his back porch and hit Himes, who was found by the door of the Evarts' outhouse without a coat or vest, although it had been raining for sometime.  He did not die right away but uttered no words as to why he was there. A trial was held in May 1874 whereby Evarts was found not guilty, although he had a "checkered career".  Evarts at some point claimed to be a first cousin of Abraham Lincoln.  Evarts later died in the Williams County Infirmary.

The Bryan Democrat, 11 Dec 1873, gave a lengthy account of the shooting and a physical description of Evarts.  He was "tall, large boned, a heavy man, and was at one time doubtless very muscular.  He lived in this vicinity for a number of years and owned a fine farm of about seventy acres near town." There was much speculation as to why Himes was there with some innuendo of meeting either Mrs. Evarts or 27-year-old servant Mrs. Mercy Webster for a late night rendezvous.  Evarts was arrested immediately but later released on his own recognizance to appear in court later; he had to post a $3,000 bond for this.

The servant, Mrs. Mercy Webster, gave testimony in court that she was married but currently lived in the Evart home.  She was married a year ago on 23 Oct 1873 in Bryan, but no other particulars were mentioned.. She told the court that she had known Peter Himes for five years. It is tempting to surmise that this Mercy Webster may have become the second Mrs. Evart of this story but there is currently no evidence to support this notion. 

So what is known of Benjamin before moving to Williams County, Ohio?  An internet site posting states that Benjamin was born on 22 Feb 1812 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the son of Timothy and Hannah Bigelow Evarts, Vermont natives.  On 9 Mar 1836 he married Elizabeth Ann Stealts, daughter of William and Catherine Shewey Stealts; on 29 Aug 1849 he married Catherine Joliff, daughter of John and Catherine Shaffer Joliff; Catherine was a native of Wooster, Wayne Co, OH.  The Evarts were enumerated in the 1850 Plain Twp, Wayne Co, OH federal census p19 as Benjamin 38 OH and Catherine 31 OH.  Note that Benjamin’s birthplace is listed as Ohio.

According to the 1860 Pulaski Twp federal census, p42, Benjamin Evarts was listed as 48 Canada West with his wife Catherine 42 OH.  They again appeared in the 1870 Pulaski Twp federal census, p17, as Benjamin 58 CAN and Catherine 51 OH.  Catherine died c15 Apr 1880.   According to the 1880 Pulaski Twp federal census p620, Benjamin F. Everts 68 Canada with parents born in VT lived with a niece, Mary A. Cramer 29 OH with parents born in PA.

On 12 June 1882, Wms Co, Benjamin Evarts married Mrs. Mercy J. Thompson (Marriage V5 #160).  Benjamin appeared in the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 13 p245 - 23 Nov 1885; Roll 42 case number 1517 - 15 Sept 1885) requesting a divorce.  He told the court that wife Mercy had been willfully absent for three years or more, and she had not performed her marital duties. Benjamin provided witnesses, Clem, Alonzo M., and Rebecca Beatty to substantiate his claim. He was granted his claim.  Note that Clem Beattie/Beatty, a neighbor, was a witness during the murder trial of Peter Himes and he gave testimony in support of Benjamin Evarts.

On 20 Nov 1890 a Mary A. Pratt sued Benjamin over land rights in Pulaski Twp. Apparently at this time his health began to fail and he died c 6 July 1893 in the county infirmary with no known relation to pay for a proper burial.  Such was the demise of the man who shot Peter Himes.

30 September 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Ellis


Mary Ann Kogin Ellis v Orlando Ellis
Who Takes the Children? Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1886
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

When there are children to consider in a contested divorce, the court papers can be rather extensive.  This genealogical detailing concerns a husband and wife who sue each other for divorce and haggle about which parent gets custody of the children.  Usually, one would think, the mother would become the custodial parent, especially when the children were female, but this case does not follow that pattern.

Orlando Ellis, b. Apr 1847, Otsego Twp, Steuben Co, IN, the son of NY and OH natives, respectively, Hamilton and Gracia Burch Ellis, married Mary Ann Kogin on 12 Nov 1870 in Steuben Co, IN.  The Ellis family was enumerated in the 1880 Otsego, Steuben Co, IN federal census, p383B. Mary Ann, b 1855 in Indiana, was the only daughter of Tuscawarus Co, OH natives, John and Elizabeth M. Gilbert Kogin. The parents were enumerated in the 1880 Richland, Steuben Co, IN federal census, p399C; John Kogin died several years before these divorce proceedings.

Williams County, Ohio birth records show that two of their three daughters were born and recorded within as Minnie May Ellis, b. 4 Dec 1880, Otsego, Steuben Co, IN (Births V2 p19) and Cora E. Ellis, b 19 Aug 1883, NW Twp, Wms Co (Births V2 p56).  Beginning on 25 Nov 1885 (Journal 13 p253) Orlando, a resident of NW Twp, brought a divorce suit against his wife, but the court dismissed the case (Roll 42 case number 1512).  On 8 Feb 1886 (Roll 43 Box 148 case number 1593) Mary Ann sued Orlando for divorce charging him with gross neglect.  From Journal 13 p429 - 22 Mar 1886, showed that this couple was divorced.  Mary Ann called relatives Eugene and EM Kogin, her brother and mother, to testify on her behalf.  She asked for a reasonable alimony and custody of their 2-year-old daughter Cora while she wanted Orlando to have custody of 14-year-old Orla and 4-year-old Minnie.  She also stated that for more than one year Orlando had left her and the girls without food or support, without any provocation, and she was forced to perform manual labor to earn a living.

Six days after the divorce was granted Orlando Ellis married Eliza Pugh in Wms Co (Marriages V5 #808) on 28 Mar 1886.  This Eliza is believed to be the daughter of Spafford and Esther Conklin Pugh of NW Twp.  An interesting birth record (V2 p90) showed a son born to Orlando Ellis and Eliza Friend named Howard F. Ellis, b. 26 Sept 1886, NW Twp.  Whether this Orlando Ellis is the subject of this divorce has yet to be proven.  Mary Kogin Ellis’ widowed mother, Elizabeth, married Levi A. Barber on 17 Aug 1889, but nothing more is currently known of Mary.

On 19 Mar 1893 in Steuben Co, IN, Orlando married Cora E. Campbell, daughter of Obadiah and Arvilla Spencer Campbell and had seven children.  Cora died on 10 Apr 1917 in Hillsdale Co, MI; several months later Orlando married Nancy N. Wilson on 22 Sept 1917 in Hudson, Hillsdale Co, MI.  Sometime the next year Orlando died in 1918 and was buried in a Hillsdale Co, MI cemetery.

In the 1925 Burlington, Des Moines Co, IA state census, Mary Kogin Ellis was listed as Marie Harmon 67, widow, along with her daughter and son-in-law, Cora Ellis Smith and Andrew Smith. 

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Eckler

John Eckler v Mary Eckler (Journal 11 p80 - 24 Dec 1880)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 27 Oct 2010)

A divorce was granted but nothing further was mentioned in the record.  In the 1900 Bryan Ward 1, Pulaski Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p155, an Eckler family was listed as John born June 1866 (34) OH married 10 years with German parents, wife Anna born May 1869 (31) IN, mother of two living children, and Florentine (m) born Sept 1892 OH, and John born June 1897 (2) OH.   Could this be the former bridegroom?

There was a marriage for a John Eckler and Ara Ann Zigler in Wms Co on 2 Feb 1881 (Marriage V4 p732).  From Wms Co birth records this couple had three children: Zelda, b 15 Apr 1886 (V2 p94), Ford David b 21 Aug 1887 (V2 p100), and Dwight E. b 25 Dec 1890 (V2 p137).  They also had a stillborn child who died on 22 Dec 1882.  Riverside Cemetery in Montpelier is the burial site for John Eckler (1852-1921) and wife Ara Ann (1854-1919).  Could this be the former bridegroom?

Prior to this in the 1870 Superior Twp federal census, p30, an Eckler family was listed as Henry 56 Baden, Sarah 48 OH, George 20 OH, John 18 OH, Jacob 16 OH, Mary 14 OH, Elizabeth 12 OH, (see Kint), and Catherine 6 OH. There is no current data on wife Mary, but a Mary Rice Eckler was listed in the 1880 Campbell Twp, Jennings Co, IN federal census as Mary Eckler 22 IN divorced and her son James 3 OH with father born in IN; Mary’s parents were James and Phebe W. Rice.  The connection to this divorce action of any of the three scenarios is speculation at this point.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Eckenroad

Melissa Eckenroad v John C. Eckenroad (Journal 8 p45 - 22 Nov 1876; Roll 28 case number 62 - 19 Jan 1876; Journal 15 p98 – 16 Nov 1889 case number 1939)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 20 November 2011) - I am looking for Melissa's maiden name.

The couple was married on 29 Mar 1871 in Adams Twp, Defiance Co, OH.  Melissa stated in court that her husband had willfully abandoned her on 1 Sept 1872.  A legal notice of her intent was published in The Bryan Press, with John's last known address as Defiance, Defiance Co, OH.  Melissa was granted a divorce.  In the 1880 Ada, Hardin Co, OH federal census a John Eckenroad 32 OH was listed with wife Fannie 23 OH and daughter Daisy 3 OH.  Whether this was the errant husband is not currently known.


Years later Melissa Eckenroad brought suit against James M Dorrell et al on 16 Nov 1889 (Journal 15 case number 1939).  Melissa was listed “now as Melissa Mote”.  This apparently was a land suit.

On 27 Apr 1878 Malissa Eckenrode married John Mote in Williams Co, OH.
Alva John Mote (1817 Upwell, Norfolk, England – 14 Feb 1887 Farmer Twp, Defiance Co, OH; to US c1855; wife Mary Jarvis died c1877)

1860 Farmer, Defiance, Ohio; Roll: M653_947; Page: 364; Image: 180; Family History Library Film: 803947.  Mote

1870 Farmer, Defiance, Ohio; Roll: M593_1195; Page: 84B; Image: 172; Family History Library Film: 552694.  Mote

1880 Farmer, Defiance, Ohio; Roll: 1011; Family History Film: 1255011; Page: 225D; Enumeration District: 240; Image: 0676.
h/h 202/210 Mote, John 66 England
Melissa wife (1830 NY) 50 NY-VT-VT

On 16 Nov 1889 Melissa Eckenroad (now Mote) sues James M Dorrell.

On 29 Sept 1891 in Williams Co, OH Mrs. Melissa Mote married Joseph Hively.

In 1890 CW records Joseph Hively of Bryan, Pulaski Twp was a private in Co B 19th OVI and Co M 6th OVI; diabetes and general disability; later living in National Home for Disabled Vets in Dayton, Montgomery Co, OH (1887); 64Y; born Columbiana Co, OH; barber in Bryan, OH

On 19 Dec 1895 in Williams Co, OH Joseph Hively married Samantha Haskins.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Eby


Phoebe Snyder Eby v Orra A. Eby
No Sympathy, No Comfort, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1881
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

Sometimes I found a very simple divorce record that did not have much information but was so touching, so sad.  This is one of those situations.

Phoebe Snyder married Orra Eby on 16 June 1878 in Montgomery Co, MI.  She may be the daughter of Samuel and Libia Snider who were enumerated in the 1850 Brady Twp, Wms Co federal census, p5B, as Samuel 48, Libia 42, and Phebe 6, all born in Ohio with other siblings; this family is also found in the 1860 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p2 as Samuel Snider 57 OH farmer, Lydia 52 OH, Amelia 23 IN, John 21 OH, Theodocia 18 OH, Phebe 15 OH, Martha 13, Sarah 11 OH, and Hiram Miller 14 OH adopted.  In the 1870 Florence Twp federal census, p34, there was an Orra Eby 14 OH living in the Harrison Martin household.  If these two census records reflect the couple, Phoebe was born in 1844 and Orra was born in 1856.

What is known is that Phoebe appeared in the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court (Roll 36 case number 865 - 23 Feb 1881) requesting a divorce. She complained that Orra failed to provide for her and their son Tharsend.  On 1 Oct 1879 she returned to the household of her uncle, John Snyder, and Orra fled to Kansas.  Their son died on 24 Nov 1880 at which time Phebe received no sympathy, no comfort, and no money for their son's funeral.  The court granted her a divorce.

Amos Beebe, son of William and Polly Truman Beebe, was born in DeRuyter, Madison Co, NY.  He first married Martha Ross on 1 Jan 1826 in Knox Co, OH.  By 1860 he had moved to Scott Twp, Steuben Co, IN and married Rachel Elizabeth Palmer.    The Beebes had three children, William C, James Edward, and Jesse, all born in Scott Twp.  Amos Beebe died in Steuben Co, IN on 11 Mar 1873 and was buried in the Alvarado Cem there.  You may wonder how this family impacts the aforementioned divorce.  Rachel Beebe was the mother of Orra A. Eby.

According to the 1880 Center Twp, Rush Co, KS federal census p538B, Oran A Eby 23 OH lived with his mother and siblings, Rachel Beebe 53 NY, Joel D. Eby 25 IN, and Beebe sons William C 19 IN, Edward 16 IN, and Jesse J 13 IN.  The record showed that both Oran and mother Rachel were divorced. The Eby father, unknown at this time, was from OH according to this census.  Orra was also listed in the 1880 Franklin, Jackson Co, KS federal census p 139 as married man Orra A. Eby 24 OH-PA-NY, living in the household of Henry Eaby 61 OH. By the 1885 Center Twp, Rush Co, Kansas state census, Rachel Beebe and her sons, Orra and Joel Eby, plus Beebe step-children were enumerated there.   Orra lived in Los Angeles, CA with wife Janet according to the 1910 federal census and was a widower/roomer there as of 1930.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Eaton

Jared Eaton v Emily J. Mason Eaton
A Man With Several Stray Children and Many Court Appearances,
Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1864

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 19 January 2014)

Charges of abuse on her side countered by charges of adultery and worse on his side.  County records tell the reader two different scenarios.  One must infer some elements of character and purpose.  The reader is invited to sort through the charges and decide whose story seems the most plausible, detailing a man who according to family tradition was proud of his Native American heritage although there is no documented evidence to date to support this.

Jared Eaton, parentage unknown, possibly both PA natives, b. 1819, OH, married Emily (probably Mason) in Palmyra, Lenawee Co, MI, on 14 Oct 1848.  Emily, parentage unknown, was born c.1833 in OH.   The parties were living in Seneca Co, OH at the time of their elopement to Michigan.  On 12 Feb 1848 George Eaton of Seneca Co. sold land to Jared in the NW quarter of Sec 13 in German Twp, Fulton Co, OH, which was about eight months before Jared's marriage.  Most of the land was located in the defunct ghost town of Edinburg.

They first appear as a couple in the 1850 Big Spring Twp, Seneca Co, OH federal census, p333, as Jared Eaton 30 OH carpenter, Emily 20 OH, Oliver G. 4 OH, and Robert 4/12 OH.  Note that Oliver's age is either incorrect or he is the issue of Jared from another marriage, Emily's issue from another marriage, a son born to the couple before their 1848 elopement or another relative who happened to be living there when the census taker arrived.

Jared is found next in the 1860 Plainfield, Alpine Twp, Kent Co, MI federal census, p735, as a logger aged 35, state of birth unknown, living with lumberman Walter Nicholson and his family.  The Eaton family as a family unit was listed in the 1860 Adrian, Seneca Co, OH federal census as Jared 40 OH lumbering, Emily 30 OH, Perceival M. 10 OH, Charles C. 7 OH, Ira T. 5 OH, and Clara B. 2 OH.  Note that Oliver and Robert, who should be 14 and 10, respectively, are missing.  Also another possibility on the missing children could be that Oliver died or left the family and that Robert could really be Perceival as the age is similar. 

Even though Jared Eaton was old enough to serve in the Civil War, Jared does not appear to have enlisted in any Civil War unit, as a search for military service has not discovered such to date.  Jared and Emily Eaton may have had six children as follows: Oliver G. (1846 OH -before 1860); Robert (1850 OH -before 1860); Perceival Mason. (May 1850 OH - aft 1910,, CA; m Justina Frances McCumsey, 2 Jan 1873, Porter Co, IN; m. Anna L. __, c. 1895); Charles C. (Dec 1851 OH - aft 1910, San Francisco, CA); Ira T. (15 May 1855 or 5 May 1856, OH - 11 Oct 1916, Chicago, IL; m. Rocelia L. Meese); Clara Bell (1860 OH - aft 1899, IA; m. ___ Marshall).

According to the Williams Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court Records (Roll 16 case number 71 - Nov 1863), Jared sued Dr. James M. Viers of Fulton Co, OH for alienation of affection, stating that Dr. Viers had an affair with Mrs. Eaton and Jared wanted compensation for this in the form of $10,000.  From the case one learns that in 1858 the Eatons left Seneca Co, OH and moved to Adrian, MI.  In the fall of 1860 they left Adrian and lived first in Wms Co and then by 21 Dec 1861 resided on a farm in German Twp, Fulton Co, OH.  By 23 Jan 1862 Jared stated to the court that Emily was not living with him.  He said Mrs. Eaton had a fever and chills, perhaps suffering from a miscarriage, when she sought medical help from a Dr. Finch and later from Dr. Viers.  She was living in a boarding house in Stryker, OH at the time.  Jared claimed that Dr. Viers had given her medicine and performed an abortion.  She only left the boarding house when Jared discovered her there and took her away; also she had one of the young children with her.  On 21 Dec 1861 her bill was left unpaid until two weeks later when a Sol Wynn paid it. 

Dr. Viers testified that Jared was a jealous husband and had pursued his sick wife to the Stryker establishment.  Viers denied doing anything improper either in a personal or professional manner with Mrs. Eaton.  Emily told the court that she only had one pair of shoes and the clothes on her back.  Her husband had threatened to choke her to death and she fled the home for safety. 

Jared countered that he had "two stray children, Clary and Charles", but out of the kindness of his nature he raised them as his own. Later in his testimony he said the second and youngest sons were not his children.  He further stated that Emily had twice before taken medicine to perform abortions and this was the third time; she did this to hide her adultery.

John C. Dewitt of Seneca Co, OH stated that Emily was the niece of his wife.  (John C. Dewitt and family were enumerated in both the 1860 and 1870 Seneca Twp, Seneca Co, OH in McCuthenville p12 and Adrian p267, respectively, with John b. 1808 OH with wife Artemitia b. 1808 CT.  If his wife was Emily's aunt, perhaps one of her parents was also born in CT.)  Dewitt said that Emily had four children, she was 32 years old, and had been married to Jared Eaton for about 16 years.  Emily married him against her parents' wishes when she ran away to Michigan at age 15.  Dewitt told the court that Eaton often left Emily without any money while he was engaged in the lumber trade.  Emily had to get help from relatives to put food on the table for her children.  Jared's case against Dr. Viers did not convince the court of any improprieties and the suit was dismissed.

I recently did a bit of research on Artemisia Mason (28 June 1808 Plainfield, Windham Co, CT – 31 Mar 1885 McCutchenville, Wyandot Co, OH; d/o Jenks Mason and Elizabeth Corey. She married John C Dewitt (31 March 1808 Columbia, Jackson Co, MI – 24 Oct 1886 McCutenville, Wyandot Co, OH.  If she is the aunt of Emily, perhaps Emily’s maiden name is Mason and not Martin.  The records I had initially used were very poor quality.  I also discovered that Ruhamah Sprague Mason (25 Mar 1810 Plainfield, Windham Co, CT; married Ira Taft, 3 Oct 1827; died 15 May 1859 OH.  She was a daughter of this Jenks Mason.  Emily and Jared’s son is named Ira Taft Eaton.  The oldest son, Percival M Eaton, has the middle name Mason.  So now I am inclined to believe Emily’s surname is Mason.  

Shortly after this case was settled a second Williams Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court Case (Journal 6 p387, Roll 16 case number 110 - 26 May 1864), attests to the tenacity of Jared Eaton as he filed for a divorce from Emily, again citing her adultery with Dr. Viers.  He stated that on 10 Sept 1861 she was unfaithful to him with Viers at the public house owned by Sol Sanford in Stryker and again on Christmas of 1861 at the Bryan House.  Note that these dates were not mentioned in the earlier case.  Jared requested custody of the four children, Perceival M., Charles C, Ira Taft, and Clara Bell.  Sons Oliver and Robert were not mentioned as either they had died or, being old enough, had left home.  The court 's decision was that the defendant was not to interfere with the rearing of her children and Jared was granted a divorce.  Nothing more is known of Emily Eaton; however on her son Ira’s death certificate, an informant listed his mother as “Harriet”.

Dr. James Madison Viers, b. 25 Apr 1824, Fulton Co, OH, was the son of John and Rebecca B. Salsberry Viers.  He was enumerated in the 1850 Swancreek, Fulton Co, OH federal census, p310, as James Viers 34 OH, Eliza 34 PA, Charles 11 OH, William 4 OH, Angeline 4 OH, and Eleanor 9 OH.  His Civil War service consisted of his enlistment in Co I 38th OH and the 6th OH Cavalry.  According to his obituary in the "Bryan Democrat", 13 Apr 1865, Dr. Viers died in West Unity, Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH on 11 Apr 1865 at the age of 41.  He was a mason and a teacher in the first log cabin school in Brady Twp, on the property of Dr. JN Runnion (Goodspeed, 1882, p384).

The story now switches to Jared, who according to another family tale, rode a team of horses over to the farm of Widow Opdycke and proposed marriage to her.  The couple was married in Wms Co, OH on 6 July 1864, (Marriages V3 p390) about six weeks after Jared had filed for his divorce.  The new bride was Eliza Dawson Opdycke, daughter of John and Helen Lutz Dawson, born on 14 Oct 1840, Peoria, IL, who had first married Albert H. Opdycke, in Wms Co, OH on 21 Feb 1856 (V2 p162).  Eliza became a widow upon Albert's accidental death at the age of 38Y 2M 8D (4 June 1824 - 12 Aug 1862).  Albert and Eliza were the parents of three Opdycke children: Henry Herman (14 Mar 1857 OH - 2 Nov 1926, West Unity, Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH; m. Mary E. Shaffer); Wallace Willis A. (1859 OH - aft 1903, pos Melvern, KS; m. bef 1881, Mary A. "Molly" Crum; and Eliza or Ida M. (1862 OH - Jan 1910; m. Henry Faber, 26 Feb 1885, Wms Co, OH (Marriages V5 #61).

Shortly after her second marriage Eliza Eaton, according to a Williams Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court Record, (Roll 17 case # 16), sued her children, Henry H., Willis A, and Eliza M., plus new husband Jared Eaton, to establish her 1/3 share of 80 acres and a reasonable dower right of her first husband's estate.  John S. Cannon at the time was serving as the children's guardian.  By probate case #869, 7 Sept 1864, Eliza Eaton petitioned the court to become the legal guardian for sons Herman and Willis.  The Eaton farm was listed in the 1864 Wms Co, OH Atlas as being located in Sec 35, 36, Jefferson Twp, under Mrs. Opdycke's name; the 1874 atlas shows the same land then listed under Eliza Eaton's ownership; the 1894 atlas shows 40 acres in Sec 35S as the property of Eliza Eaton.  Evidently Jared was never the legal owner of this property which came to Eliza through her first husband.

Still another civil case found in Roll 21, Nov 1869, listed Jared Eaton as the defendant, being sued by Daniel Deck over a promissory note for $38, for which Jared denied owing.  He called his sons Perceival and Charles as witnesses plus Opdycke relatives John and Herman.  The outcome of the case is not presently known.

By the 1870 Jefferson Twp federal census, p8 in print form, the Eaton family was listed as Jared 55 PA farmer, Eliza 40 OH, Perceival 20 OH, Charles 17 OH, Ira 14 OH, Henry 14 OH, Willis 11 OH, Ida 7 OH, Mary 5 OH, Betta 3 OH, and Lucy 1 OH.  The 1880 Jefferson Twp federal census, p529, enumerated the Eatons as farmer Jared 62 OH-PA-PA; Eliza 38 IL-OH-OH; Lucy 11 OH, Hattie 8 OH, Frances 7 OH, Junietta 5 OH, Fannie 3 OH.


(Eaton) The Bryan Press, 10 July 1879, p1
Jared Eaton and his son Charles have returned from the east where they have been on business for the last three or four weeks.

Prior to this census the county sheriff for possessing a concealed weapon, a pistol, in a public place, arrested Jared on 9 Apr 1880.  Again the outcome of the charge is not presently known.

At the time of the 1880 federal census in Eden, Seneca, OH, p337A, there is an Ira Eaton 79 stonemason, PA-EN - unknown and his son George 18 OH-PA-NY.  Further investigation needs to be done to determine if this Ira might be related to Jared whose son was named Ira Eaton.

From the Bryan Democrat, 7 August 1884, p5 c2, an interesting account shows Eaton was ridiculed for his carelessness- “Jared Eaton tied his horses loose in the street Monday while he went into a barber shop to get shaved.  Something frightened the horses and they lit out.  They also lit into an open buggy hitched on the north side of Court Park.  You ought to have seen that buggy after Eaton’s team went into it and through it.  Body, dash, pole, wheels, all broken and piled up in the street by a larger majority than any other buggy ever received in Bryan.  The ponies hitched to the buggy were knocked under the railing into Court Park by the collision.  Both teams were skinned and bruised.”

Jared and Emily had at least four children, Eliza, the second wife, had three Opdycke children, and together with Jared they had the following eight children, all born in Wms Co, OH: Mary Margaret (1865 - 30 Sept 1870); Elizabeth R. (1867 - 28 Sept 1870); Lucy L. (12 June 1869 - aft 1899; m. William E. Winans, 2 July 1893, Wms Co, OH, V6 #979); Harriet D. (1871 - 1950; m J. Waldo Beggs, 12 Apr 1891, Wms Co, OH, V6 #431); Frances E. (1873 - 1944; m William Grindle, 8 June 1892, Wms Co, OH, v6 #704); Junietta (1875 - 1960; m. Festus Agrippa Oberlin, 16 Apr 1896, Wms Co, OH, V7 #123); Fanny Fern (1877 - ; m Deforest C. Bentley, 8 June 1899, Wms Co, OH, V8 p35); Jessie E. (5 Nov 1880 - 1943; m Carl Beach, 7 Oct 1902, Wms Co, OH, V8 p411).  The two oldest daughters' death dates are recorded in Wms Co, OH Deaths, V1 p6, having died two days apart. 

Jared Eaton's obituary in the "Bryan Press", 14 Feb 1895, stated that he died of heart trouble on 9 Feb 1895, at his home in Jefferson Twp, leaving a wife and six daughters.  The deceased was buried in Shiffler Cemetery.  Wms Co, OH probate case #3586, filed 26 Jan 1899, shows Eliza as the estate administrator with children named as heirs - from the first marriage: Perceival of Placerville, CA, Charles of Oakland, CA, Ira of Chicago, IL, and Clara Marshall of IA; from the second marriage - Lucy, Hattie, Frances, Junietta, Fanny, and Jessie, with married names and addresses. 

What happened to Emily's children?


Bryan Democrat, 7 September 1893 p5
Percy Eaton, who was raised in this county, but took Horace Greeley’s advice and went west some 24 years ago, is here visiting the home fireside of his youth.  His present home is at Pacerville, California.


In the 1900 Placerville Twp, El Dorado Co, CA federal census, p151A, one finds Percy W. Eaton, teamster of 50 OH, b. May 1850 with wife Anna L 27 Canada, and sons Ira M., Henry T. and George D., all born in CA.  The 1910 San Francisco, CA federal census shows Anna L. living with her five sons, the three aforementioned and Percy and Wilbert, but no husband Percy even though Annie is listed as married. Percy Eaton is living in Pulaski Twp, Williams Co, OH in 1910, listed as married three times.

In the 1900 San Francisco federal census single Charles C. b. Dec 1851is a lodger in a rooming house listing his parents as natives of Germany and Maine.  Remember Jared referred to Charles as "one of the strays".

The 1880 Mishawaka, St. Joseph Co, IN federal census, p316A, has Ira T. Eaton, agent for school furniture, 26 OH residing with his wife Celia and children Edith and William.  The New Auburn Cemetery in Auburn, Steuben Co, IN, was the final resting-place for Ira Taft Eaton, who died in Bryan, Williams Co, OH, on 11 Oct 1919 and some of his family members.

Widow Eliza had her share of court appearances with numerous suits over money and property, which she owned, levied against a wide variety of Williams County residents. Eliza died on 5 Aug 1911 and was laid to rest between her two husbands, Albert Opdycke and Jared Eaton in Shiffler Cemetery. 

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Duval


Mary Duval v Thomas Duval (Roll 1 - 18 Jan 1830)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

A divorce was granted to her by the Ohio State legislature under Ohio laws, V28 p26.  There were no Duvals listed in the 1830 Wms Co, OH federal census.  Please keep in mind that in 1830 the boundaries of Williams County were much larger than in later periods.

28 September 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Durr


Anna Hauk Durr v Emmanuel Durr (Journal 11 p85 - 14 Feb 1881; Roll 36 case number 837 - Dec 1880)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married on 1 Nov 1877 in Bryan, Pulaski Twp, Wms Co, OH. Emmanuel, born 12 May 1854 in Chatfield Twp, Crawford Co, OH, was the son of Johann Heinrich and Catharina Grun Durr. Anna told the court that she had a son Frederick, 3 years old; she wanted custody of the child plus a divorce from errant husband Emmanuel who had been willfully absent for three years.  A divorce was granted.  

Emmanuel next married Henrietta Beach on 11 Apr 1882 in Crawford Co, OH. A child, Elmer Durr, b 5 Aug 1886 in Florence Twp (Birth V 2 p87) was the issue of Emmanuel Durr and Henrietta Christman.  This Henrietta was born in Mar 1848 in Gallion, Crawford Co, OH.  

The couple was enumerated in the 1900 Blakeslee, Florence Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p17 as Emmanuel Durr 46 OH (hauls cream), Henrietta 52 OH (mother of 7 with 3 living), Elmer H 12 OH, and Adam 11 OH. By the 1910 federal census the couple lived in Ovid, Branch Co, MI. Emmanuel died on 25 Aug 1928 in Kingsley, Grand Traverse Co, MI.  Nothing else is currently known of Anna; however in the 1870 Edgerton, St. Joseph Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p251, there is a Fred Hauk family with teenage and preteen daughters, none of whom are named Anna.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Duroy

Sarah Matilda Rosendaul Duroy v Eugene Duroy
A Case of She Said, He Said, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1881
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
She said, "I was violently assaulted.  It was late at night.  He pulled me out of bed, tore off by bedclothes, and beat me with his fist.  I had bruises for two weeks.  He choked me and used profane language.  I fled to another room and locked the door.  He broke down the door.  This has happened many times."

He said, "I wanted my supper after a long day's labor and she refused to feed me.  She struck me, seized me by the back of my neck, and dug in her fingers.  I defended myself."

She said, "My husband has been habitually drunk for more than three years and I charge him with gross neglect and failure to provide for me and the child.  He brings home whisky bottles instead of food."

The following divorce case illustrates the "she said, he said" cases that are all too prominent in the civil and criminal court records of the county, and probably any county in the US, both in olden times as well as today.  Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between.  You be the judge.

Eugene Duroy, b. 18 June 1857, Stryker, Springfield Twp, Wms Co, was the son of James and Catherine (Sharpie?) Duroy, natives of France.  He married Sarah Matilda Rosendahl on 22 Nov 1877, Wms Co (Marriages, V4 p546).  Sarah M. or Matilda as she was known was born on 26 Nov 1858 in Wms Co, the daughter of Francis and Margaret E. (Partee) Rosendaul.  The Duroys had a daughter, Myrta Alice (b. 24 Aug 1879, Springfield Twp [Births, v2 p10] - 13 Oct 1931, Toledo, Lucas Co, OH; m. Elwin E. Taylor, 27 Apr 1896, Wms Co [Marriages, V7 #129]; Elwin was a veteran of the Spanish-American War).

Eugene's family was found in the 1850 Springfield Twp federal census, p94B, as James 43 FR, Catherine 35 FR, Henry 12 FR, Catherine 8 FR, Charly 5 OH, and Peter 1 OH.  Next door to them were the Sharpies, James 65 FR and Catherine 64 FR.  Speculation exists that these were Eugene's maternal grandparents, but this had not been proven todate.

James Duroy, a farmer, owned various pieces of land in Sec 1 Pulaski Twp and Sec 7 Springfield Twp.  Some were deeded to his wife Catherine.  The Duroys added more children to the family shown by the 1860 Springfield Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census PO Stryker p57, as James 49 FR, Catherine 48 FR, George 19 FR, Louisa 17 FR, Charles 15 FR, Peter 12 OH, Lewis 10 OH, Catherine 8 OH, Adalade 6 OH, and Eugene 4 OH.  By the 1870 Springfield Twp federal census, p20, the family appeared as James Duroy  48 FR, Catherine 47 FR, Louis 20 OH, Kate 17 OH, Adaline 15 OH, and Eugene 13 OH.  Catherine Duroy died 6 Sept 1877 @63Y 3M 11D and was buried in the French Cemetery, Springfield Twp, several months before son Eugene married Matilda. 

Eugene owned real estate as part of his mother's estate (Probate, #1974 - 24 Sept 1877) with brother-in-law, Rudolph Reed, as the executor and holder of the purse strings.  Reed controlled the estate even though Eugene's father, James Duroy, was still living.  At the time of the divorce, Matilda knew Eugene had real estate and money.  She claimed the right to part of these holdings in her suit.  Eugene requested and was granted visitation rights to see his daughter.  James Duroy died @73Y 5M 16D on 13 June 1884, and was buried beside wife Catherine.  His estate was divided among his children with Eugene receiving an equal share (Probate, #2554 - 24 June 1884).  Matilda learned of this and proceeded back to court to claim more alimony and child support.

Matilda's parents, Francis and Margaret Partee Rosendaul were married in Wms Co, on 27 Nov 1856, and Matilda had early Wms and Defiance Co settlers as grandparents, Peter and Elizabeth Metz Rosendaul and James and Charlotte Reid Partee.  Her father Francis, a carpenter, was a Civil War veteran, serving in Co H 38th Reg Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  He and Margaret were enumerated with his parents in the 1860 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census, p49B, as follows: Peter 60 Prussia, Elizabeth 55 Prussia, Benjamin 22 OH, Maria 17 OH, Franklin 26 Prussia, Margaret 19 OH, Matilda 2 OH, and James N. 2/12 OH.  By the 1870 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census, p15, one finds Frank 36 PR, Margaret 30 OH, Matilda 12 OH, James N. 10 OH, John 9 OH, Minerva 7 OH, William 3 OH, and Dana 1 OH.

After Matilda's marriage and before applying for her divorce, she lived with her parents according to the 1880 Bryan, Pulaski Twp, p620, as Frank 47 PR, Margaret 39 OH, Sarah M. Duroy 21 OH, Myrtie Duroy 10/12 OH, plus the other Rosendaul children.

According to the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court records (Journal 11 p195 - 21 June 1881; Roll 36 case number 877 - 4 Apr 1881) Matilda described the events outlined in the beginning of this detailing.  She stated this happened on 29 Dec 1880 and that she left home with her child on 11 Feb 1881.  Considering the 1880 federal census one surmises that this was not the first time she left home and returned to her parent's care, but there could also be another reason for her appearance on that census record.  The Rosendauls had 13 children, with Matilda being the oldest.  At the time of this 1880 census, her mother Margaret was pregnant with child #13, Viola or Olive L., b. 13 Sept 1880.  Matilda could be living in the household to take care of her younger siblings and to give assistance with her mother's eminent lying in period.  The Rosendauls had the following children: Sarah Matilda, James Newton, John A., Minerva J, Elizabeth, William E, Dana B, Alice M, Francis, Daniel E, Lemuel B, Charles, and Viola.

Francis Rosendaul, b. Aug 1833, Westphalia, Germany, died on 6 Nov 1914, Bryan, and was buried in Shiffler Cemetery.  His wife Margaret, b. 17 May 1841, Brunnersburg, Wms Co (now Defiance Co) died on 18 Apr 1918, Bryan, and was laid to rest beside her husband.

Matilda Duroy again appeared before the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 12 p430 - Mar 1885 and Journal 13 p208, 243 - Nov 1885) asking for more alimony and child support.  The case was continued both times.  Matilda eventually married Harvey Kline, on 29 Dec 1887, Wms Co (Marriages, V5 #1142).  On 21 Apr 1889, Stryker (Births, V2) the Klines became parents to William F. Kline, born in April 1889. They were enumerated in the 1900 Stryker, Springfield Twp federal census as Harvey 42 OH, Matilda 41, married 13 years with three children, 2 surviving, Myrtle 20 OH, and William F 11 OH. Matilda died on 22 Oct 1917 and was buried beside her husband, Harvey, in Oakwood Cem, Stryker.

What happened to Eugene Duroy after 1885?  He married Eliza Adeline Towers, b. 5 June 1866, Bryan in 1887.  "Addie" was the daughter of Thomas and Hariette Dawson Towers. A later divorce case from Journal 14 p238 - Nov 1887 showed a Kate Duroy wanted a divorce from husband Eugene Duroy.  The case was continued after 19 Mar 1888 and by 23 June 1888 Kate requested the case to be dismissed. Is Kate Duroy this Eliza Adeline Duroy or was there another wife in between?  Perhaps there was another Eugene Duroy, but no other man has been found.

What is known is that this couple had four children: Irwin Levi (18 Oct 1888 -?), Herbert Franklin (28 July 1891 - aft 1910), Sylvia Leone (18 Dec 1894 -?), and Louis Roscoe (17 Feb 1895 - aft 1910). Eugene and Addie were enumerated in the 1900 Brady Twp federal census with Eugene as a 42 year old teamster, married 13 years, with 4 children, 3 surviving along with wife Addie as 33 OH; again they were listed in the 1910 Lincoln Twp, Osceola Co, MI federal census as Eugene 53, Addie E. 43, and two children, Herbert 18 and Louis 15.  Eugene died on 12 Aug 1913 in Stryker.  His wife, Eliza, died on 4 Oct 1947 in Gladstone, Delta Co, MI. 

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Durbin


Elvira Teeter Durbin v William Henry Durbin (Journal 9 p538/550 - 20 Jul 1878; Journal 10 p14 - 11 Nov 1878)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married on 14 Apr 1861 in Wms Co (Marriages V3 p168). Elvira was born on 16 Oct 1839, pos Knox Co, OH. William Henry, b 20 Apr 1840, Wms Co, was the son of George and Mary A. Roberts Durbin.  He was a Civil War soldier in Co D 195th OVI.  In the 1870 Madison Twp federal census, p25, the couple was listed as Henry Durbin 28 OH, Alvira 27, Carrie 8, and Charles (George F) 3 with his family living next-door, George W 50 OH, Mary A 62 VT, and Thomas A 24 OH dry goods clerk. 

Elvira wanted $60 in alimony; she also wanted a lien placed on real estate in Madison Twp if William failed to pay her alimony. The children were split as William received custody of son Charles (George F). and Elvira received custody of daughter Carrie. After the divorce was approved, William married Agnes Emeretta "Emma" Hershiser, on 31 Aug 1880.  Emma, b 30 Sept 1855, Richland Co, OH, was the daughter of Henry and Elizabeth Albright Hershiser.  The couple had a son, Clyde Durbin.

Alvira Durbin 42 OH-PA-OH and Daughter Carrie 17 OH-OH-OH were enumerated in the 1880 Madison Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p475; both were laborers with Alvira listed as divorced. Elvira’s son, George F. Durbin, b 11 Oct 1866, married Lois Kathryn Hubbell on 30 Sept 1888 in Ransom, Hillsdale Co, MI.  The couple had four known children.  The particulars for Carrie Durbin are not known at this time.

Elvira died on 20 Dec 1899 and was buried in Floral Grove Cemetery, Pioneer, OH, but no tombstone exists for her. William H. died on 8 Jan 1901 and was also buried in Pioneer, but no stone exists for him as well.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Dunkle


Antoinette McKelvey Dunkle v Charles P. Dunkle (Journal 6 p597 - 31 Oct 1866)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married in Edgerton, St. Joseph Twp, Wms Co on 6 Mar 1860 (Marriage V3 p99).  Antoinette, b1839, Portage Co, OH, was the daughter of Stephen Beckett and Janet/Jennett Byers McKelvey, originally of Portage Co and Trumbull Co, OH, respectively, who came to Wms Co c1851 and settled on Sec 9 Center Twp property of 180 acres.  Father Stephen was a Justice of the Peace, a county commissioner, a township treasurer, a teacher, and a member of the Grange.  Both he and his wife were teachers. 

Charles P. Dunkle was born on 24 Oct 1825 according to information on an Internet posting; however in the 1850 Granger, Medina Co, OH p341 Charles Dunkle was listed with his family as Charles 32 NY, Minerva 32 NY, Lavina 11 NY, and Edwin 6 OH and in the 1860 Center Twp federal census p77, the Dunkles appeared as Charles 42 PA, Antoinette 21 OH, and Edwin B 15 OH.  Charles’ first wife was Minerva Collas.

From The Bryan Democrat, 25 June 1863, Antoinette Dunkle sued Charles Dunkle, Elbridge O Ensign, Hugh Mills, and Edwin B. Dunkle, all defendants formerly of this county but whose current residences were unknown to Antoinette.  She filed a petition for alimony.  It stated the marriage date, the fact that she was his lawful wife and a legal resident of this county for more than 10 years.  Charles was the owner in fee simple of 3 acres in Sec 2 of a township in Defiance Co, OH and another parcel in this county which was worth $1500.  Charles sold this property to Edwin Mills for $1300 plus other properties such as horses and wagons for cash.  Charles told her he wanted to sell this because he planned to take the family to Iowa.  He also sold property to Ensign, his son-in-law, and left Antoinette and their daughter Olive with no means of support.

In 1866 Antoinette told the court that she had a daughter Olive O. Dunkle.  Husband Charles was willfully absent for three years or more and lived in Maltie, Winnebago Co, IL.  Antoinette wanted $600 as reasonable alimony.  She received a divorce.  In the 1870 Rockford, Winnebago Co, IL federal census p192, Charles’ son Edwin, a livery stable keeper, was enumerated as Edwin Dunkle 24 NY; perhaps Charles left Antoinette to live with his son.

Again an Internet posting on the couple stated that they also had a daughter Louisa C. Dunkle, born c1860.  If that is true, this child may have died before the 1870 federal census mentioned below and the 1863 newspaper notice of lawsuit.  In the 1880 Center Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p608B there was a Charles Dunkle 65 NY who was a father-in-law to Oren E. Ensign 48 OH and his wife Louisa C 40 NY plus Ensign children Clara V 17 OH and Ada 10 OH.. Backtracking to the 1870 Center Twp federal census p36, one finds Elbridge Ensign 39 OH and wife Clara 31 NY plus daughters Eunice 7 OH and Addie 2/12 OH. In the 1900 Center Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census p The Williams Center Cem has a couple buried there that fits the Dunkle profile; Charles Dunkle (1816-1901), Manerva, his wife, (d. 10 Apr 1838 @41Y 8M – note that the year is inaccurate and probably she died in 1858), and son Albert F. (d. 10 Apr 1855 @2Y 2M).  Charles Dunkle Sr. died in Wms Co on 19 Feb 1901 (Deaths V3 p27).

Later Antoinette married Abijah H. Corbett in Wms Co on 8 Dec 1866 (Marriages VV3 p631). The Corbetts were early settlers of the county arriving c1849. From the 1850 Superior Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p36, one finds the Corbetts as Abijah 24 OH, Nancy 26 OH, Alice 2 OH. Abijah was first married to Nancy Gilbert who died on 11 Oct 1865 @41Y 5M 14D and was buried in the Brown Cem, Center Twp. 

From the Wms Co, Probate (#1174) one finds a guardianship set for Olive O. Dunkle. In the 1870 Center Twp federal census p2, the Corbetts were enumerated as Abijah 43 OH, Antoinette 31 OH, Alice 22 OH teacher, Arteman 15 OH, Flora 13 OH, Edmund 9 OH, and Olive Dunkle 9 OH. Abijah and Antoinette had a daughter Ada who died on 12 Oct 1870 and Antoinette was buried next to Ada in Brown Cem when she died on 5 May 1886 @47Y 19D of a heart attack.

Abijah married a third time to Lydia Shirkey on 24 Dec 1887 (Marriages V5 #1129) and later passed away on 15 May 1898; he joined his first two wives and several children in Brown Cem.  Antoinette’s daughter, Olive Dunkle, married George Zigler in Wms Co on 10 Feb 1887 (Marriages V5 #942).  She died on 23 Nov 1897 @36Y 11M 25D and was buried in Brown Cem next to her grandparents, Stephen B. (1814 – 1888) and first wife Jennet Byers McKelvey (1812 – Apr 1886).  Stephen married his twice-widowed sister-in-law, Mrs. Lucy Byers Eckis Finch, a physician and educator, on 4 Sept 1886 (Marriages V 5 #869). 

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Duhamel


John Duhamel v Marie Duhamel (Journal 12 p105 - 13 June 1883; Roll 39 Box 128 case number 1142 - 28 Apr 1883)see Smith Kent (when posted)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married on 15 Mar 1876 in New York City, NY.  John, parentage unknown, was born in Nov 1824 in Paris, France.  According to the 1880 Stryker, Springfield Twp, Wms Co federal census, p663A, John was listed as 58 Paris, FR, laborer, married but living alone.

He charged that Marie was willfully absent for three years or more.  She lived at 132 Madison Ave, NYC.  A legal notice appeared in the Bryan Press, 8 June 1883.  He was granted a divorce.  Nothing further is known of Marie Duhamel. 

On 13 June 1883 in Wms Co (Marriage V5 #357) John married Catharine Kent.  In the 1900 Letcher Twp, Sanborn Co, SD federal census p245, John Duhamel, who immigrated to the US in 1873, first settling in NY, was listed as John Nov 1824 (75) FR and wife Katherine, who came to the US in 1854, Apr 1837 (63) FR, married 24 years with two children, both surviving. Note that Katherine was married before her marriage to John Duhamel and they were married 17 years before the 1900 census. Why the Duhamels were living in South Dakota is not currently known. Wms Co, OH Death V3 p29 showed John Duhamel died on 26 Jan 1908 and was buried in French Cemetery, beside second wife Catharine (1837-?).   Catharine may be the daughter of French natives John and Mary Myer; she may also have ben previously married to Smith Kent.  This speculation needs further investigation.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Dongan


Mary K. Beechler Dongan v John A. Dongan (Journal 8 p41 - 29 May 1872; Roll 24 case number 40 - May 1872)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married in Wms Co on 23 Aug 1866 (Marriage V3 p595).  Mary K, born in April 1833, Wayne Co, OH, was the daughter of George and Susan Hawkins Beechler. The Beechlers moved to this county in 1840 and had the following children: Malona, Thomas, Mar, Elizabeth, John C, George Nicholas, Sarah, Susan, Oscar, Martha, Curtis W, and Xenophan.  They were enumerated in the 1850 Center Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p73, as George 49 PA, Susan 40 OH, Malona 21 OH, Mary 17 OH, Elizabeth 15 OH, John 11 OH, George 9 OH, Sarah 6 OH, Susan 5 OH, Oscar 3 OH, Martha 1 OH. By the 1870 Bryan federal census the Beechler family was listed as George 69 PA, Susan 60 OH, Mary Dongan 32 OH, Elizabeth Beechler 23 OH, Oscar Beechler 23 OH, Xenophie 16 OH, and Agnes Dongan 3 OH. The Dongans lived in the Ney and Williams Center areas before moving to Bryan. Bryan business owners listing of 1877 showed a J. Dignan/Dongan, brick mason, on North Lynn Street.  The couple had a daughter Susan Agnes, born June 1867. 

Mary wanted a divorce stating that John was willfully absent for three years or more and he lived in Albia, Monroe Co, Iowa.  A legal notice appeared in the Bryan Press and she was granted a divorce.  Mary married Peter F. Burgoyne, a tailor, in Wms Co on 23 Nov 1875 (Marriage V4 p431).  Peter was married to a Minerva who died on 1 Aug 1870 @56Y 3M 23D.  Upon Peter's death on 18 Jan 1887 @76Y 3M 26D, he was buried beside Minerva in the Fountain Grove Cemetery, Bryan.  Mary Burgoyne lived in Akron, OH at the time of her mother's death (13 Dec 1903) and was also buried in Fountain Grove Cemetery with her parents, Lancaster, PA native George Beechler (1800-1876) and mother Susan (1810-1903) but Mary did not have a tombstone.  Her brother, Oscar Beechler, an attorney, died and his obituary (Bryan Press, 9 Jan 1913, p4) stated that sister, Mrs. MK Burgoyne of Wilkinsburg, PA, survived him.  Two interesting side notes were that Oscar was married three times and divorced twice; two of Mary’s brothers were dentists in Butler, DeKalb Co, IN.

27 September 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Doner


Mary Eve Gaestel Doner v Francis Joseph T. Doner (Journal 6 p199 - 27 Mar 1862; Roll 15 case number 110)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

Samuel Slanker, JP, married the couple in Canton, Stark Co, OH, on 16 Nov 1857. (Marriage C p206).  Francis Joseph Doner, born Mar 1819, FR/GERM, was the son of John T. and Sarah Doras Doner, both natives of France, and immigrated to the US c1849.  Francis was married to Thetcla Hilbert, bc 13 Jan 1826, on 31 Jan 1853, Wms Co (Marriage V2 p131); Thetcla died on 14 Sept 1857.  They had two children, Joseph William and Ludwig. About two months later he married Mary, born May 1841, FR/GERM, of French parentage, who set up residency in the US c1849-1852. The Doner family was listed in the 1860 St. Joseph Twp federal census p119A, as Joseph 39 FR, Mary 21 FR, Joseph 6 OH, and John 1 OH.

Mary told the court that she had a 19-month-old son, Edward L, and on the following dates Joseph, her husband, had been extremely cruel: 15 Oct 1859, 15 Feb 1861, 1 Oct 1861, 26 Jan 1862, and 9 Feb 1862.  He had threatened to take the infant from her.  At the time of the filing she was pregnant with another child.  Joseph owned 82 acres of land, valued at $2,000, plus livestock.  Mary called George Arnold and Augustus Karle as her witnesses. She wanted a reasonable alimony.  The court dismissed the case.  This may be due to Mary's pregnant state, the fact that the parties were Catholic, or some unknown factor.

The couple had the following children: John A, Edward L, Flora T, Clara, Felix, Anna V, Christian, Alice A, and Adrian.  According to the 1870 St. Joseph Twp federal census, p22-23, the family was enumerated as Joseph 51 FR, Mary E 31 FR, William 16, Edward 10, Flora 8, Clara 6, Felix 4; in the 1880 St. Joseph Twp federal census, p24, they were listed as Joseph Dohner 61 FR, Mary 41 FR, Edward 20, Flora 18, Clara 16, Felix 14, Anna 9, Christian 6, Alice 3, and Adrian 2.  Joseph's obituary ran in The Edgerton Earth, 29 Sept 1911, p2; he was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, Edgerton.  In 1920 wife Mary lived on Hull St in Edgerton and later died in 1927; she was buried beside her husband.  

Black Sheep Stories of Williams County, Ohio - Derby

Suicide in Williams County, Ohio - A Wasted Life

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

It all started with the following article from a local newspaper found in the family files of the Williams County, Ohio Public Library in Bryan, Ohio.  I was compiling a surname list from the file folders in the letter "D" when I stumbled upon this article on a suicide in Pioneer, Ohio.  It was so moving that I planned to transcribe it and to include the transcription in our Williams County Genealogical Society newsletter, "Ohio's Last Frontier".  I then decided to research the parties involved, which I did.  Later, I stumbled upon several other newspaper articles that really threw me for a loop, as I had naively believed the cause of this suicide was strictly "from drink", as the article stated.  Little did I know there would be another potential reason for this drastic action.  The account I have written details a very interesting family life and a sad demise for one.  One caveat I include is that we (modern readers) should not judge the subjects as we do not know all the facts, only those that have been herein discovered. I would also like to acknowledge the help I obtained with this detailing to Darcy Fritche, a descendant of a brother to the man who said his life was wasted. Darcy can be contacted at Darcyfritche@aol.com.

Tri-State Alliance, Pioneer, Ohio, 9 March 1894, p8
"A Wasted Life
Sid Darby, Suicide"

"That is what he called it, as I led him home to his wife and little ones.  I had picked him up in the gutter.  His ragged coat was smeared with mud, his face was bloated and his eyes were bloodshot.  As I led him home he told me the story of his life.  It was a story of temptation, weakness, failure.  He had received a college education.  He had stood high in several benevolent orders, but his love for strong drink had brought him down to the gutter.  There I found him; and as I lifted him up he said, 'my life is wasted'.  We reach his home, a drunkard's home.  He had not only wasted his own life but had blasted the lives of wife and children.  I urged him to shake off the chains that bound him, but in his utter despair, he cried 'too late'.  I told him of the loving Christ who would help him break his chains but he had no hope.  He said he had tried again and again but he had always failed, and now he would end his miserable life.  I left him and fearing that he would destroy himself, I suggested that he be watched through the night.  His neighbors thought there was no danger, so I returned to my own home and thought much on this 'wasted life'.  Through the night the poor drunkard was in my dreams.  My first thought on the following morning was of 'the wasted life'.

As I went out to begin the duties of the day I noticed an unusual commotion in the part of town where the poor drunkard lived.  Then the word came to me, 'He is dead.  He committed suicide'.  I hastened to the scene of the tragedy, and there before me, suspended from the branch of the tree, was the blackened corpse of the man whose life had been wasted.  The impression made by the object lesson will never be erased while memory lasts.  And yet there were those upon whom this awful tragedy seemed to have no effect.  Two or three men were standing within a hundred feet of the dangling corpse.  These men had a few hours before purchased for the suicide the liquor, which made him drunk, and now in the presence of the blackened remains of their former companion they poured more of the fiery liquid down their throats.  And thus the wasting of lives goes on, which, but for the apathy of Christian people, might be greatly lessened at least.

The subject of this story was the son of Christian people, the child of many prayers, but his life was wasted by the demon drink.  Are we doing all we can to destroy this demon? " Rev J. L. Rusbridge in the Presbyterian Messenger as told by J. F. Hadley, (an event that took place years before as I discovered).

Many of you will share my sentiments on such an emotional piece; it was so sad.  I wondered who was this man and what happened to his wife and children?  I felt compelled to research his family to give some meaning to his "wasted life".  As I stated earlier, I found more newspaper articles that turned my first impressions toward a completely different direction.  Here are these articles.

Bryan Press, 14 Aug 1879, p3
"Last Thursday morning Sidney A. Derby of Pioneer provided himself with a piece of clothesline and went into Joy's Woods, just south of town (Pioneer) and committed suicide by hanging to a limb of a fallen tree.  Intemperance and family trouble are supposed to have been the causes of the rash act.  Mr. Derby was a member of Co G 68th OVI during the Civil War.  His remains were taken to West Unity, his former home, last Friday for burial."

Fountain City Argus, 14 August 1879, p3
"On last Thursday, Sid Derby, who had been mentioned last week as being bound over to the Court of Common Pleas, on the charge of attempt to commit rape on his daughter, hung himself in Joy's Woods, near Pioneer.  He was seen on the streets of town about 7 AM and discovered between 8-9 AM hanging by the neck, dead.  This was a sad ending of a misspent life; ever since the close of the war he has been going downhill at almost railroad speed.  He had threatened his life on several occasions before, but the thing had become old, and even his family thought his threats were only intended to scare them.  This time he put his threat into successful execution.  The sympathies of the community are warmly extended to his wife."

Fountain City Argus, 7 Aug 1879, p3
"Mrs. Clara Hart, nee Derby, last week swore out a warrant against her father, Sid Derby, on charge of attempting to rape.  Constable Jones went to Pioneer and arrested Derby and lodged him in jail.  He had a preliminary trial and was bound over to the Court of Common Pleas under $100 bail.  If there is any truth to the charge, the bail is entirely light.

As I began my research I discovered there were several Derby families located in Williams County, Ohio, but the account had listed the victim's name as Sid Darby.  I checked the census records of 1900 for the family of Sid Darby, living in Pioneer, Madison Twp, Williams County, Ohio, but I quickly discovered there were no such people living there.  I backtracked to 1880 with some success and then checked the 1870 and 1860 census records.  It was then that I determined Sid Darby was really Sidney Alverus Derby, and the event was not in 1894 but in 1879, some 15 years earlier. Now I had the person and the time frame.  I then located the three newspaper articles included above.

No man is an island unto himself; with this in mind Sidney Derby's story must be looked at in the context of the greater picture - that of his parents and grandparents, his wife and her family, and his children.

Erastus and Ru Derby

Erastus Hitchcock Derby, born 14 September 1810, in Hawley, Franklin Co, Massachusetts, was the son of Edward and Ruth Hitchcock Derby.  Erastus, the ninth children of fourteen, was born under a wandering star. He was a year old when his parents relocated the family to Rome, Oneida Co, New York. Father Edward Derby, a carpenter, went off to fight in the War of 1812, earning the rank of captain. After his military service was completed, Edward moved his family to Sangerfield, Oneida Co, NY and they were enumerated in the 1830 federal census for that place (Roll 99 p164).

Erastus attended an academy in Waterville, PA to learn the tailoring trade, but wanderlust led him to seek his fortune in the Wild Wild West.  He and his brother Thomas Derby ended up in Cincinnati, Ohio where they worked on the canals.  It was there that Erastus met the love of his life, Ruhamah Knowlton, the niece of the owner of Knowlton's Store and Roadhouse. Ephraim, the uncle, and Sidney, her father, were early pork merchants and storekeepers, but by that time they were in the canal business.

Ru Knowlton, born on 6 September 1817 possibly in Dunbarton, Merrimack Co, NH, although some accounts claim Susquehanna, PA, was the eldest daughter of Sidney Algernon and Harriet Burnham Knowlton, natives of Ashford, Windham Co, CT and Dunbarton, Merrimack Co, NH, respectively.

Erastus and Ru were married on 10 August 1834 and moved to Bear Creek, Hancock Co, Illinois before July 1835 with Ru's parents who intended to become farmers. On 5 May 1836 the Derbys became parents of their first child, son Freeman E. Derby.

About that time Mormon missionaries visited them from Nauvoo, IL and soon Erastus and Ru plus his in-laws became Mormons.  Convinced there would be more tailoring work if they moved to a bigger city, Erastus transferred his family to Nauvoo in 1840 and became part of the Nauvoo Legion; Nauvoo was located on the banks of the Mississippi River so a large amount of commerce took place there. By then the Derbys had two more children, Sidney Alverus, born 31 Mar 1838, and Harriet A., born and died on 29 June 1840.  Erastus' father Edward Derby had died in Pittsburgh, Allegheny Co, PA, never to see his two grandsons. 

After joining the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, Erastus was elevated to the role of elder, in which capacity he was allowed to marry people. Records show that he as Rev Erastus H. Derby did indeed marry a couple, Gilbert H. Rolfe and Eliza Jane Bates, on 6 Jan 1842 in Nauvoo.  On 5 July 1843 Erastus, an elder of the church, was sent on special mission to Lee Co, IL, to seek converts to his faith. He also became a sheriff in Nauvoo and even ran for Hancock County Sheriff.

The people of Nauvoo were having difficulties with the Indians and the plural marriage beliefs of the Mormons, which made it difficult to practice their faith.  In 1842 their leader, Joseph Smith, was threatened by mob violence to the extent that Erastus and others hid Smith for a time until tempers cooled down.  Erastus was in the party of men who tried to negotiate Smith's surrender, but Smith was later killed.  Brigham Young, the new Mormon leader, planned to take his people to Utah; Ru Derby was not keen on sharing Erastus with another wife, and Erastus was being pressured to do that very thing. Marriage records for the Nauvoo Temple Endowment show that Erastus and Ru were formally married in the Mormon Church on 6 Jan 1846. It now seemed prudent for Erastus to move his family across the river to Council Bluff, Iowa.

Erastus had always wanted to establish a sawmill, so he and his brother Thomas Derby set out to do this, but once again the people of Council Bluffs did not welcome the Mormons to their community.  Mormon records state that the Derbys lived in Garden Grove Branch, Decatur, IA in 1847. While at Council Bluffs Erastus was urged to court a girl who would make an excellent wife, so he visited her.  Local folks saw him there and proceeded to make a scene.  This lady had enough of the ruckus and poured hot coffee on some of the men, blinding one individual for life.  When Ru found out about this she gave Erastus and ultimatum. The idea of a sawmill was put on hold and the family once again moved to Atchison County, Missouri, where Erastus served as sheriff.  By this time the couple had more children, Martha Cornelia. born 2 June 1841; died 7 Sept 1842; Louis Philip, born 14 Feb 1844; Ruhamah Ruth, born 31 March 1846; and Joseph Ephraim, born 24 July 1848 in Atchison Co, MO. 

The Mormons were later willing to give Erastus another chance so the Derbys packed up and moved back to Council Bluffs. However, the pressure to take another wife was still being exerted. According to the 1850 Pottawattamie District 21, IA federal census (3 Sept 1850, p71-71a), Erastus Derby and his family were enumerated as follows: Erastus 40 MA tailor, Ruhanah 33 PA, Freeman 14 IL, Sidney 12 IL, Louis 6 IL, Ruhanah 4 IL, Joseph 2 MO.  Their ninth child, Julia Ann, was born on 13 Oct 1850 and Mary, the next daughter, was born on 6 Mar 1852 but died four days later.

For numerous reasons it was time to make a fresh start and put some distance between the Derbys and Council Bluffs, so once again the family moved to Chicago, Cook Co, IL, where son George Quincy Franklin was born on 16 March 1855.  Later another son, Edward Francis, appeared on the scene, 9 September 1857.  Erastus had plenty of carpentry work to keep him busy, but the wanderlust hit again and by the fall of 1859 he purchased land in West Unity, Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH. His brother Thomas Derby and family also moved there, as that was where his wife's Badger relations lived.

Their last child, Jennie Wilhelmina, was born there on 8 Nov 1860.  Census reference to 1860 shows the Derby family enumerated in Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census, p140b, as Erastus Durby 49 MA, Ruhamah 42 PA, Freeman 23 IL, Louis 16 IL, Ruhamah 14 IL, Joseph 11 IL, George 5 IL, and Edward 2 IL.  Second son, Sidney Alverus Derby, who married Adelaid Louise Rockwell, on 2 July 1859, Wms Co, OH (Marriages V3 p180), was listed in the 1860 West Unity, Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census records as SA Derby 22 IL carpenter, Adelaid 17 OH, DL Rockwell 58 CT boot and shoe business, and Hannah 52 CT.

When the Civil War was raging, Erastus and his sons, Freeman, Sidney, and Louis, enlisted.  Sidney joined Co C 100th OVI, while the others enlisted in Co B 68th OVI.  Erastus, a sergeant, returned home from Cairo, IL, after receiving a surgeon's certificate of disability on 5 May 1863, but later joined the Veterans' Reserve and was discharged in 1865.  By the 1870 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census (15 June 1870, p23), the Derbys were listed as Erastus 52 PA, Rohama 52 PA, George 15 IL, Edward 12 IL, Jennie 9 OH, Sarah Moore 17 OH, and William Derby 8 OH. 

About 1871 Erastus and Ru decided to move again; their destination this time was Le Suer, Le Suer Co, MN. Erastus Derby and his family were enumerated in the 1880 federal census there as EH Derby 69 MA carpenter, Ruhama 68 PA, George Q. 25 IL painter, Edward 23 IL barber, and Jennie 19 OH, and Erastus was listed on the 1890 US Veterans Schedule federal census for Le Seuer, MN; he died on 3 December 1890 of heart failure; his widow, Ru, departed life on 29 Dec 1896, in Fargo, ND.

The Knowltons

Ru's father, Sidney Algernon Knowlton, was the seventh generation from the founder of that family in America.  He was born on 24 May 1792 in Ashford, Windham Co, CT, the oldest child of Ephraim and Jemima Farnham Knowlton; Ephraim was the son of Lt. Daniel Knowlton, a soldier in the American Revolution.  Sidney married Harriet Burnham, daughter of John and Sarah Andrews Burnham, on 30 June 1816; Harriet was born on 7 Mar 1797 in Dunbarton, Merrimack Co, MA.  Sidney Knowlton and his youngest brother, Ephraim Knowlton, Jr., and their families lived in Cumminsville, a suburb of Cinncinnati, OH by 1825.  They supervised the building of the Miami Canal between 1825-1827 and owned the first boat, the Hannibal of Carthage, to use the canal.  It was Ephraim's store at Knowlton Corners, an early roadhouse north of Cinncinnati where Erastus Derby became acquainted with Ruhamah Knowlton.

Later as stated, the Knowltons moved to Bear Creek, Hancock Co, IL. Bear Creek was also known as Basco or Knowlton's Settlement in honor of Ru's family. Younger brother to Ru's father, Ephraim Knowlton, decided to stay in Ohio. Sidney Knowlton and his family became zealous Campbellite followers and were baptized by Elder John Page in Feb 1840.  His children ranged in ages of 23 to two years of age.  Sidney Knowlton was an incorporater of the Nauvoo Agriculture and Manufacturing Association by 27 Feb 1841 and became a successful farmer.  In 1842 Sidney was called to mission for his church and made the only mission trip known for him as far east as the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania.

When the families decided to leave Bear Creek, Ru's father took care of selling their land and moving the livestock west with financial help from Sidney Knowlton's brother, Ephraim of Ohio. Sidney had bought and sold property in Bear Creek from 19 Aug 1836 - 19 Apr 1846, so there was a considerable amount of land business to execute.

In 1848 the Knowltons traveled as far west as Grand Island (Fort Kearney) and Sidney built the first home there where he boarded officers of the fort and took care of the government beef. Then between 6 July 1849  - 11 Sept 1849 the family journeyed to Utah and Sidney built the first lime kiln there.  They had many provisions when they arrived at this spot which made them perhaps more financially stable than others there.

The Knowltons settled in the original 19th Ward and built a house on Lot 8 Block 114 but they also owned property on Lot 7 Block 117 on which Sidney erected a large home where the family remained.  Sidney was the chairman of the Deseret Agricultural and Manufacturing Society by Oct 1860.  The next year he was selected as commissioner to locate university lands in Utah and raised livestock in Skull Valley, Tooele Co, UT. One of the tributaries of Red Butte Canyon bears Sidney Knowlton's name.

Ru's younger brothers, John Quincey Knowlton and Benjamin Franklin Knowlton, followed the Mormon practice of plural marriages as did her father Sidney who married at least five more women (Margaret Slater, 25 Mar 1855; Cecelia Verston Johnson, 25 Mar 1855; Mary Ann Wood, 16 Nov 1856; annulled 12 Mar 1857;  Charlotte Regina Artegren, 19 Jan 1863; and Mary Mortenson, 17 Jan 1863.  In fact Sidney sired another child, Abraham Benjamin Knowlton, born 30 Oct 1863, six months after Sidney died on 20 Apr 1863 @70Y.  This child lived to be 81 years old and served his Utah community as a mail carrier.  Sidney died intestate so the administration and distribution of his estate fell to widow Harriet and son George; the estate was valued at $9,000, with the final distribution made on 10 Dec 1868.  Whether his daughter and son-in-law, Ru and Erastus Derby received anything is not currently known.  Mother Harriet Knowlton did on 10 Sept 1881 @84Y.

Ru Derby was the only one of the Knowlton children not to remove to Utah, but her son, Louis Phillip Derby, came to Utah for a short time and some of his children married there. For more information on the Knowlton family one should consult The Utah Knowltons, Ezra Clark Knowlton, 1971; Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, p992; Knowlton Ancestry, Charles Stocking, 1897, p334-335; and Errata and Addenda, George Henry Knowlton, 1903, p105-106.

Sidney and Adelaide Derby

Sidney's bride, Adelaide, born c1842 OH, was the daughter of Delazon and Hannah Lockweed Smith Derby.  The Rockwells came from Norwalk, Fairfield Co, CT and were married in Richland Co, OH on 1 June 1825.  Delazon and his family were listed on the 1850 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census (29 Aug 1850, p5) as: Delan 47 CT shoemaker, Hannah 42 CT, Francis 20 OH carpenter, Hulda 14 OH, and Adelade 8 OH, plus Orlando Fitch 6 OH.  As earlier mentioned, the Derbys lived with the Rockwells according to the 1860 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census.

Sidney Derby was a corporal upon enlistment on 5 Aug 1862 in Toledo, OH at the age of 24; he served three years and was a first lieutenant in the US Colored Heavy Artillery; he resigned on 28 Nov 1865 in Greensboro, TN but later was commissioned a captain in 1866.  In the 1870 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census, PO Stryker, (1 June 1870, p14), the Derbys were listed as Sidney 36 OH dentist, Adeline 28 OH, Clara 8 MI, and Lewis A.1 MI, living with DL Rockwell 58 CT shoe and boot business and Hannah 52CT. Sidney was listed as a dentist so sometime between 1860-1870 he learned this trade; it was probably in the military service or shortly afterward.  His son Lewis A. was born in Williamston, Ingham Co, MI; why the Derbys were there is currently unknown.  Daughter Clara was also born in Michigan before or during the time of Sidney's enlistment.  Again why were the Derbys in Michigan?

To summarize, Sidney and Adeline were the parents of three children, Clara b 1862, Lewis A b 4 Jan 1869,Williamston, Ingham Co, MI, and Nellie Hannah b 11 Sept 1873.  It appears from the previously mentioned newspaper articles that Sidney was charged with rape in early Aug or late July 1879 and killed himself on 7 Aug 1879; his body was buried in Rings Cemetery in West Unity, Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH, with the tombstone inscription "CW Vet Co C 100th OVI b 1838".  By the 1880 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census PO West Unity (25 June 1880, p514b) Delazon Rockwell was enumerated as Delezon 78 CT shoemaker with crippled limb, Hannah 72 CT, and daughter Adeline Derby 37 OH, with her children Clara 18 OH, Louis 11 MI, and Nellie 7 OH.  

According to the newspaper accounts of Sidney's legal trouble, his daughter Clara Hart would have been married before Aug 1879 but there is no marriage license for her in Wms Co. By the 1880 federal census Clara was 18 and single, living with her mother and maternal grandparents.  There is a marriage record for a Clara Derby and a John C. Beidler, 6 May 1881, Branch Co, MI. Nothing more is currently known of Clara.

On 8 Sept 1883 in Jackson, MI Adelaide Derby Rockwell married Jonathan P. Lane. Is this the widow of Sidney Derby?  Follow-up census information showed some interesting things.  In the 1900 Prairie Twp, Wyandotte Co, Kansas federal census, a Jonathan F. Lane lived alone.  He was born in April 1840 IN, married once, and was sixty years old.  Could he be the missing second husband of the widow Derby?

Also in the 1900 Lemont Twp, Cook Co, IL federal census there was a Sylvester Derby born Apr 1837 NY, widower, and lumber merchant, and Adeline Lane, born May 1830 NY, aged 70, a single lodger.  This could be the woman who married Jonathan Lane in Jackson, MI, but the age and place of birth are not the same for the widow of Sidney Derby.  This Adelaide was Adelaide Derby Rockwell, while the widow of Sidney was Adelaide Rockwell Derby.  In 1910 Lemont Twp, Cook Co, IL Sylvester Derby who was now married a second time was listed with new wife, Alice H, a German immigrant, and lodger Adeline Lane, now 79 years old from IL.  I believe this is not the widow of Sidney Derby; so what happened to her?  Her future events are not known at this time.

However, across Cook Co, IL in Chicago, one does find Sidney Derby's son, Louis, enumerated in the 1900 federal census as follows: Louis Derby b Jan 1869 (31) OH-Eng-Eng, barber, married c1894, having one child; wife Lizzie, b June 1873 (26) IL; son Earl S. b June 1897 (2) IL. Cook Co, IL marriage records reveal that Louis A. Derby married Lizzie Fertig, on 11 Sept 1893.

In 1910 Louis was married to a Mary L c1903; he and his family were living in a boarding house in Macon, Bibb Co, GA, and he worked in a barbershop.  By 1920 Louis and son Earl were living in Florida where Louis was a showman in a carnival.  Earlier Earl had served his country in WWI.  Louis died c1954 in Osceola, FL; his son Earl Sidney died c1966.  It is interesting to note that Earl Sidney had a son Robert Sidney, so the "Sidney" name had come down through the generations; it is also possible that the Sidney name was an honor to Ru's father, Sidney Knowlton, rather than to Sidney Derby.

Youngest daughter Nellie married Clayton Hamilton on 11 September 1892 in Yale, Guthrie Co, IA.  Why Nellie was in IA has not been currently discovered.  She in turn was the mother of three children, none of whom carried down the name of Sidney or Adelaide. Was Sidney Derby a man with a "wasted life"?  You be the judge.

Questions to Ponder

1.     Did the wanderlust of the Derby family and the experiences during his Civil War service impact the mood and behavior of Sidney Derby?  Also, since we know so little about his relation with his wife, Adelaide, would they have benefited from modern-day marriage counseling?  Was this alleged assault on Clara, the daughter, the result of a tortured soul in the throes of an alcoholic stupor - in other words would this have happened, if indeed it did, had Sidney been sober?  Also, could Clara have been angry with her father and chose this public humiliation as a way to get even?  If so, she would have also brought shame to herself given the mind-set of that timeframe.  Rape was considered the fault of the victim.
2.     Why didn't Sidney take his family to Minnesota when his parents moved there c1871? Also remember that his aunt and uncle, Thomas and Martha Badger Derby chose to stay in Williams Co, OH as well. Martha was the aunt of Phebe Badger, first wife of Sidney Derby's brother, Freeman Derby. 
3.     What happened to the husband of Clara Derby Hart?  Indeed, what happened to Clara? Her mother Adelaide?  The Rockwells?  They all seem to disappear after the 1880 federal census.
4.     Why is Nellie in IA c1892 to become Mrs. Hamilton?  Did she live with relatives?  Was there any communication with her mother, sister, or brother?
5.     Did Sidney take his own life or was it meant to look like suicide, given the nature of the formal charges against him?  It would not have been difficult to lynch him and pass it off as suicide.  Remember there was no CSI-type investigation in those days.  The facts that he was a drunk, was accused of a heinous crime, and perhaps other facts we do not know would have made him an easy target to dispose of and have the sympathy of the community behind this.  Conspiracy theories have been born from much less information.

Who was the Good Samaritan?

Now the JF Hadley who told the story in 1894 was Jesse F. Hadley, a retail dry goods merchant who came to Williams County in the 1860's and lived in Pioneer.  He married Anna Johnson and they had four children, some of similar age to the Derby children.  Being a local merchant he should have been familiar with most of the inhabitants of a small village such as Pioneer, Ohio in 1879.

The evening he picked Derby out of the gutter would have been 6 August 1879.  Small towns are notoriously filled with gossip of the day, so it would seem ridiculous for us to assume that Hadley did not know about the legal charges.  He was being careful in his story to allude to them but not overtly mention them.  The reader is more or less led down the garden path to believe the entire problem and eventual suicide dealt only with Sidney's fondness for alcohol.  Polite society of the time and respect for the feelings and reputation of the widow and her children would have been expected.  So why did Hadley bring up the subject 15 years later?  In that time frame the temperance movement was very popular; also I suspect none of the principals of the story such as the widow or the children lived in the area, so it could be openly discussed.  Was Hadley trying to weakly disguise Sid Derby by referring to him as Sid Darby?   Food for thought.

Side Story of Sidney Derby's Brother - see Divorces - Derby