19 November 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Sweetman


Nancy Oxenrider Sweetman v Thomas Sweetman (Journal 6 p302/314  - 4 Aug 1863 - 11 Nov 1863; Roll 16 case number 87 - Nov 1863) – see Langel

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married in Wms Co on 28 June 1854 (Marriage V2 p144). Nancy was the daughter of William and Mary Oxenrider, who were enumerated in the 1840 Pulaski Twp federal census, p229. In the 1860 Bryan, Wms Co federal census, p46B, Nancy Sweetman, 26 OH domestic servant, resided with the Jonathan Oxenrider family. 

Nancy charged that Thomas was willfully absent for three years or more and his whereabouts were unknown.  They had a daughter, Mary Jane, b 19 Sept 1854.  She wanted $1,000 in alimony and a share of his real estate.  She had a 1/11th share as her inheritance in the estate of her father, William Oxenrider.  From The Bryan Democrat, (initiated on 27 Aug 1863), a petition for divorce appeared, stating that Thomas Sweetman’s residence was unknown and that on 1 Aug 1863 Nancy began divorce proceedings.  She charged him with willfull absence for three years previous to the date of filing and wished care and custody of their child, Mary Jane, the rights to their real estate, which she had inherited since her marriage.  An interesting side note is that Nancy’s lawyer was Elon Langel, who would himself become embroiled in a nasty divorce later.

By the 1880 Bryan federal census, p646C, Nancy Sweetman 46 PA divorced was listed with the Elmer Tressler family.  By 1888 she lived in Butler, IN.  Nancy died in Bryan, OH on 14 Oct 1896.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Sumner


Eliza Jennie Preston Sumner v Alonzo J. Sumner, 1878

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married on 8 Aug 1874 in Amboy Twp, Hillsdale Co, MI.

“My wife Jennie Sumner, having left my bed and board without just cause or provocation, this is to warn all persons not to harbor or trust her on my account, as I will pay no debts of her contracting. Signed Alonzo J. Sumner of Bridgewater, 28 Sept 1878 (Fountain City Argus, 31 Oct 1878, Number 24, p2.

“Legal Notice - Alonzo J. Sumner, whose place of residence is to the plaintiff hereinafter named unknown and cannot be ascertained is hereby notified that said plaintiff Eliza J Sumner, wife of the said Alonzo, defendant did on 5 Oct 1878 file petition in Clerk’s Office of the Common Pleas Court of Williams Co, OH against said defendant for the purpose of divorce.  The said defendant is guilty of extreme cruelty, and gross neglect of duty.  The care, custody, education, of Maud Sumner, daughter of the couple, may be decreed to the said plaintiff.  Mrs. Sumner wishes to be allowed reasonable alimony, paid out of the real estate of the following: Section 14 of Bridgewater Twp, comprising of 40 acres of land.  Her court appearance on 6 Nov 1878 was with Hon Selwyn N. Owens Judge; MR Willett and Philetus Smith, Plaintiff’s Attorneys.”

Alonzo J. Sumner, born on 1 April 1851 in Bridgewater Twp, Williams Co, OH, was the son of William and Elizabeth Pool Sumner.  Jennie Preston, born on 6 Jan 1856 in Lenawee Co, Michigan, the daughter of Samuel and Sarah Jane Brown Preston, was the mother of Maude (born 1874), Nellie (born 1879), and Charles Melvin (born 1887).  It would appear that this divorce action was dismissed. 

According to the 1880 Bridgewater Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census p461C the Sumners were enumerated as Alonzo 29 OH-NY-OH, Jennie 26 MI-Ire-OH, Maud 5 OH, and Nellie 8/12 OH (born in October 1879).  By the 1900 Bridgewater Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census p3A the family was listed as Alonzo 49 OH, Jennie 46 MI, Nellie 20, and Charley 12 OH.  Alonzo died on 22 May 1904 in Bridgewater Twp and Jennie passed away on 10 Feb 1940 in Pioneer, Madison Twp, Williams Co, OH; she was buried in Floral Grove Cem, Pioneer, OH next to husband Alonzo, who was originally buried in Pease Cemetery.

This is an example of a divorce action that was NOT found in either the journal or rolls of the Civil and Criminal Court records, but in the newspaper article cited above.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Sullivan

Lucy Marilla Higley Sullivan v Amos Sullivan (Journal 4/5 p425 - 9 Nov 1855; Roll 9 case number 128 - 28 May/Nov 1855)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 4 June 2011)

The couple was married in PA in Aug 1845.  Marilla, daughter of Jacob S. and Nancy Spencer Higley, was born in Canandaigua Co, NY on 7 Dec 1828.  She told the court that she and her husband came to Wms Co shortly after their marriage.  On 15 July 1853 in Brady Twp he committed adultery with Susan Deck; he left Marilla in Dec 1853.  She knew that in Delta, Fulton Co, OH Amos committed adultery with an unknown woman on 20 Jan 1854.  They had two children, Emily Rosetta (9) and Cornelius Eugene (3).  Marilla received a divorce plus $200 alimony and custody of the children. 

Marilla married Solomon Rogers in Wms Co on 24 Feb 1856 (Marriage V2 p162).  Solomon was the son of Eli and Mary Rogers; he was born in Bedford Co, PA on 10 Oct 1817.  He first married Cordelia in Morrow Co, OH on 27 May 1841; she died on 15 Jan 1856 and was buried in the Johnson Cem, German Twp, Fulton Co, OH. Solomon and Cordelia had the following children: George W, Margaret E, Catherine, Jonathan, Samuel H, and Emily.  In 1843 the Rogers lived in Fulton Co, OH where Solomon was a carpenter; by 1864 they lived in Butler, IN where he was a postmaster, express agent, and a jeweler.  He moved to Stryker c1876. 

According to the 1860 German Twp, Fulton Co, OH federal census p346 the Rogers family was enumerated as Solomon 43 mechanic PA, Marilla 31 NY, Emma Sullivan 14 MI, Cornelius Sullivan 8 OH, Geo W Rogers 17 OH, Catherine Rogers 12 OH, and Samuel H Rogers 7 OH.  By the 1870 Butler, Wilmington Twp, DeKalb Co, OH federal census p444A the couple was listed as Solomon 52 PA jeweler and Lucy M 41 NY plus John C. Smith 30 NY apprentice to jeweler.  In the 1880 Stryker, Springfield Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census p661B the Rogers were enumerated as Solomon 62 PA apiarian and Marilla 51 NY-VT-VT; there was a notation that Marilla suffered from heart disease.

In the 1900 Stryker federal census, the family was listed as Marilla Rogers 71 NY widow, and grandchildren, William Sullivan b1873 OH, Sebius (m) b1877 OH, Charles Sullivan b1879 OH, and Bertha Sullivan b1879 OH. Marilla died in Stryker on 12 May 1909 and was buried in Boynton Cemetery.   Solomon who died 10 Sept 1887 was buried near his first wife and children in the Johnson Cemetery.


Bryan Democrat, 19 Jan 1888
Solomon Rogers to Cornelius Sullivan, lot and parcel of land in Stryker, $150........it looks like Cornelius paid the estate of Solomon Rogers for this land as Solomon had died several months before the transaction.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Stover


Lettie E. Bachman/Baughman Stover v Charles H. Stover (Journal 12 p345 - 1 Aug 1884; p370 - 27 Nov 1884)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married on 3 Apr 1879 in Medina, Lenawee Co, MI. Charles was born c1854 in Ohio and Lettie was born c1858 in Indiana according to their marriage license. Lettie charged her husband with gross neglect and adultery.  She wanted a temporary injunction to stop him from selling their property.  They had a son, Earl H. Stover.  Note there was only record of this in the journal and not the rolls of the Civil and Criminal Court records.

According to the 1880 Woodbridge, Hillsdale Co, MI federal census p326B, Lettie Stover 22 IN-NY-NY with her son Earl Stover 2M MI-OH-IN; they lived with William P and Harriett Bachman, both natives of NY.  From the 1910 Gorham, Fulton Co, OH federal census p3A, Voletta Ritter 50 NY widow lived with her son Earl Stover and his family. In the 1930 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Co, OK federal census p1B Earl Stover was enumerated as 50 MI with his wife Elvira and children plus his mother Valetta M Ritter 72 IN-NY-NY, divorced. Ten years earlier, Voletta also lived with her son Earl as a divorced lady.  In the 1900 Adrian, Lenawee Co, MI federal census p14B Charles H. Stover, music teacher, lived as a boarder in the Electora Woodward household; he was born in June 1855; he and his parents were Michigan natives. CH Stover died on 3 Sept 1930 in Amboy Twp, Fulton Co, OH; he was a resident of Adrian, Lenawee Co, MI and a piano tuner by trade.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Stough


Lyman P. Stough v Mary Ann Stough (Journal 4 p289 - Oct 1853; p321 - Apr 1854)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

Lyman Stough stated that Mary Ann was willfully absent for three years or more.  He was known to be opposed to the use of tobacco and intoxicating liquor. Using the facts stated below, it would appear that he married this second Mary Ann (unknown surname or parentage) c1845/46 -1850.  The divorce was granted.  Note there was only mention of this in the journal and not the rolls of the Civil and Criminal Court records.

Lyman, b 6 Aug or 7 Nov 1813 in Ravenna, Portage Co, OH, was the son of Jacob and Margaret Ettinger Stough.  He came to Wms Co c1843 and first bought a farm in Jefferson Twp; later he bought a farm in Springfield Twp c1860. He married his first wife, Mary Ann Mercer, daughter of John Francis and Mary Dilworth Mercer, natives of PA, on 1 Sept 1836 in Ravenna, Portage Co, OH; she died on 27 May 1845 or 46 and was buried in the Lash Cemetery, Jefferson Twp, Wms Co.  This couple had three infant daughters and Wallace H (b 26 Nov 1840), Henry (b1842), and Ira V. (1843-Mar 1865; CW soldier).

Lyman married a third time to a Margaret Jane (unknown surname or parentage) and they had a daughter Leila May, b1862-1863.  In the 1860 Superior Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p184, Lyman Stow 43 OH was enumerated with Margaret 27 OH, and Ira 17 OH. Lyman died of heart disease on 26/27 Dec 1869 in Stryker, Springfield Twp, Wms Co according to his obituary ("Portage County Democrat", 12 Jan 1870); in the 1870 Springfield Twp federal census, p40, the Stough family was listed as Margaret 36 OH and May 7 OH. along with three school teachers, ER Lyon, M Townsend, and P Shields; by 1880 the Stoughs were listed in the Stryker, Springfield Twp federal census as Margaret 43 OH and May 17 OH; third wife Margaret died on 1 Mar 1907, Wms Co (Death V3 p127).

18 November 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Stoneburner/Porter

Elizabeth Beamont Stoneburner v Adam Stoneburner

Albert Porter v Sophia Stoneburner Porter

Sad Outcome for a Father and Daughter, Divorces in Williams County, Ohio, 1876 and 1883

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 17 Mar 2013)

A German family emigrated from their homeland to the US sometime between 1847-1850 in the hopes of creating a better life for themselves.  As in all families the hope was fulfilled for some but not for others.  This genealogical detailing deals with a father and his daughter, both experiencing the divorce process in Wms Co, OH.

Johann Jakob Steinbrenner, b 25 Jan 1807, and his wife Veronica Lamade, natives of Wiesloch, Baden, Germany, were married there on 6 Mar 1828.  They remained in Wiesloch where Protestant parochial registers revealed the names and birthdates of many of their children.  By the 1850 Polk Twp, Crawford Co, OH federal census, p371, showed the family, which changed its name to Stoneburner, as Jacob 43 Germany, Frances 42 Germany, Jacob 21 Germany, Adam 19 Germany, Mary 17 Germany, Barbara 13 Germany, Elizabeth 11 Germany, and Eliza 3 OH.  The family moved to Wms Co and was listed in the 1860 Nettle Lake, Florence Twp, p1, as Jacob 53 BD, Verosa 52 BD, Elizabeth 18 BD, Frederick 16 BD, Louisa 12 OH, and Sophia 7 OH.  Note that mother Veronica appeared in the census records as Verosa and Frances.  Next door to Jacob appeared his son Adam and his family.

Adam Stoneburner, b 27 Sept 1831, married Elizabeth Beamont, daughter of Jesse and Catherine Grose Beamont, on 23 Dec 1855, Putnam Co, OH.  As was stated previously this couple resided in Florence Twp as the 1860 federal census, p1, showed as Adam 26 BAD, Elizabeth 21 BAD, Catherine 3 BAD, and Sophia 1 BAD.  Note that the birthplace for Elizabeth should be PA and OH for the daughters.  Later the family was enumerated in the 1870 Nettle Lake, NW Twp federal census, p32, as Adam 38 BD, Elizabeth 32 PA, Catherine 13 OH, Sophia 11 OH, David 8 OH, Alberta 5 OH, and Jacob 3 OH.  By 24 Nov 1874 court records found in Wms Co probate record #1693 Adam began experiencing some emotional problems and by Mar 1875 he was granted Robert Lougheed as a guardian.  In the meantime the children, Alberta, Catherine, David, Jacob, and Sophia (Probate case number 1697) were also granted a guardian to oversee their interests in a real estate sale on 9 Aug 1875, whereby the land would be sold at public auction, appraised at $1,522.50.  A legal notice with a full description of the real estate appeared in a local Bryan newspaper.

Elizabeth Stoneburner appeared in the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 8 p423, 459, 546 - 15 Nov 1875/29 Feb 1876; Roll 28 case number 50) requesting a divorce.  By subpoena a myriad of friends, relatives, and interested parties such as Robert Lougheed, Adam's guardian, and Dr. Finch, the family physician, testified as to the abnormal behavior of Adam and the potential harm he could do to himself and others.  There is a possibility, although not directly stated, that Adam may have molested his daughter, Sophia.

The Bryan Argus, 16 Jan 1879 p2 ran a list of those who were delinquent taxpayers with Adam Stoneburner of NW Twp named, showing that not all his real estate was sold at the earlier mentioned auction.  In the 1880 NW Twp federal census, p432C, Elizabeth, head of household was listed as 41 PA with children Alberta 15 OH, and Jacob 13 OH.  In the 1880 Adams Twp, Lucas Co, OH federal census, p85B, Adam Stoneburner was listed as 48 German, divorced, an insane patient, institutionalized in the mental asylum.

The couple had the following children: Catherine (1857-aft 1874); Sophia (1859-?, m Albert Porter, 1876), Albert (1861-25 July 1861, buried Columbia Cem), David (1862-?, m Lydia L. Oberlee), Alberta (1865-aft 1880), Jacob (1867-aft 1880).  Two other children, both buried in Columbia Cem were James B (d 29 Aug 1875) and Effie (22 Mar 1872 -24 Mar 1872); however, Effie was the daughter of Adam Stoneburner and a Frances Jerusha (Birth V1 p28) with a birthdate of 22 Mar 1871, but her tombstone inscription stated she was the daughter of A and E Stoneburner, d1872.

Adam's father died in 1887, leaving a will (Probate #2785) and division of his estate to daughters, Catherine Bowdish, Mary Kern, Barbara Eichler, Elizabeth Limpert, Louisa Klink, and Sophia Krous; to sons Jacob and Adam he left $5 apiece, expressing disappointment in the pair. 

Our story next shifts to Adam and Elizabeth's daughter, Sophia.

Albert Porter v Sophia Stoneburner Porter (Journal 12 p100-101 - 9 June 1883; Roll 39 case number 1135 - 13 Apr 1883)

The couple was married in Camden, Hillsdale Co, MI on 16 Apr 1876 (Lib E p205). There was an Albert Porter married to Caroline Richards, 23 May 1869 in Steuben Co, IN; whether this was the subject's first wife is not known.  Albert, born in 1857 OH, was the son of George and Orpha Ann Porter. Albert and Sophia had two children, Chester L (b 1 June 1878) and Altha M (b 22 Mar 1880).  According to the 1880 New Hartford, Butler Co, IA federal census p113A Albert Porter and family were enumerated as Albert 23 OH day laborer, Sophia 21 OH wife, Chester 2 IA son, Alpha 2M IA daughter, and Robert 17 OH brother.


1850 Northwest, Williams, Ohio; Roll: M432_741; Page: 54B; Image: 112.
h/h 754/756 Porter, George 28 OH $900re
Orpha 17 NY
Next door to Augustus Porter 32 OH farmer $900 re and wife Rachel plus children Jane and Mary

1860 Northwest, Williams, Ohio; Roll: M653_1052; Page: 1; Image: 5; Family History Library Film: 805052.
h/h 7/7 Porter, George 37 OH merchant
Orpha 28 OH
Daniel 9 OH
Alfred 7 OH
Remalie 5 OH
Albert 3 OH
Mary 8/12 OH

1863 – George Porter, 41, NW Twp, Williams Co, OH, Postmaster – CW Draft Records

1870 Northwest, Williams, Ohio; Roll: M593_1282; Page: 154B; Image: 312; Family History Library Film: 552781.
h/h 244/244 Porter, George 49 OH farmer $2500re/$400pp
Daniel 18 OH day laborer
Alfred 17 OH
Parmelia 15 OH mar Isaac Reynolds
Albert 13 OH
Mary 10 OH
Robert L 7 OH mar Della Bruner, 1890, Hillsdale Co, MI
Lucy 5 OH
George I 3 OH in 1880 NW Twp living w/sister Parmelia Reynolds and her husband Isaac

1880 New Hartford, Butler, Iowa; Roll: 329; Family History Film: 1254329; Page: 113A; Enumeration District: 099; Image: 0747.
h/h 141/144 Porter, Albert 23 OH day laborer
Sophia wife 21 OH-Germ
Chester son 2 IA-OH-OH
Alpha dau 2M IA-OH-OH
Robert brother 17 OH

Albert charged his wife with gross neglect.  He said on 22 Mar 1882 she deserted him and she lived in Angola, Steuben Co, IN.  She was not fit to have children.  He called Plessie Fenton of Steuben as a witness.  Plessie stated that she had known Albert for 4-5 years and Sophia for 8 years.  She worked as housekeeper for them in Mar 1882 for one week. "Sophia always was dissatisfied and scolded Albert all the time.  She did not do anything for the children.  Sophia picked quarrels but Albert did not."  The "Bryan Press, 25 May 1883" carried Albert's legal notice of divorce which was granted plus he received custody of the children.


Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Stocking


Harriet A. Gould Stocking v Sidney F. Stocking (Journal 8 p204 - 12 Mar 1874; Roll 26 case number 15)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married in Toledo, Lucas Co, OH on 5 June 1870.  Harriet stated that on 10 June 1870 he deserted her and was willfully absent from that time to the present.  He lived on Colburn Street in Toledo, where his mother kept house for him. He was drunk when he married and later said he did not like her.  Harriet had lived in Bryan for the past two years.  She brought the following witnesses from Lucas Co to substantiate her claims: Rebecca Prouty and Francis S. Prouty, Sidney's business partner in a grocery.  The divorce was granted.

On 10 June 1874 Hattie A. Gould married John B. Metsker in Williams Co, OH; John had married Lucinda Hudkins on 1 May 1870 in Williams Co, OH.  On 19 Oct 1879 Hattie A. Metsker married John Womelsdorff in Defiance Co, OH.

According to the 1880 Arkansas River, Fremont Co, CO federal census p521 the Prouty family resided as FS and Rebecca Prouty with their children and lodger, Sydney Stocking, 48 NY laborer.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Stewart


Genova Ann Law Stewart v John H. Stewart (Journal 12 p75 - 23 May 1883; Journal 14 p45 - 8 Dec 1886; p71 - 15 Dec 1886; Roll 38 case number 1039) – see Boos

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married in Wms Co on 16 Nov 1880 (Marriage V4 p716).  Genova, born 8 Dec 1859 in Van Wert Co, OH, was the daughter of Richard and Sarah Jane Holden Law of Jefferson Twp.  In the 1880 Jefferson Twp federal census p522, the Law family was listed as Richard A 48 PA, wife Sarah J 47 OH, son Jason A 23 OH, daughter Jeneva A 20 OH, and Robert Brown 13 OH.

Genova charged her husband with being willfully absent for three years or more. She wanted alimony and articles of property such as a bed, pillow, cupboard, etc.  A divorce was granted after several continuances and she was restored to her maiden name. Her second husband was Charles Boos whom she married on 7 July 1897, Wms Co, OH (Marriage V7 #382).  Charles Boos was living in St. Joseph Twp, Williams Co, OH. In the 1920 St. Joseph Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census p8A Genova A. Law was 60 and divorced.  Genova died on 14 Mar 1937 in Oakland, Alameda Co, CA.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Stevick


Hannah Rebecca Sherriff Beard Stevick v Jacob Stevick  (Journal 9 p469 - 28 Mar/25 June 1878)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married in Richland Co, OH on 28 Jul 1852.  Jacob’s mother was Mary; his father is unknown at this time.  Hannah, possibly the daughter of John and Mary Sherriff, had been married before to William Beard; the marriage took place on 3 Sept 1846 in Richland Co, OH. According to the 1860 Jackson Twp, Richland Co, OH federal census p114 the Stevick family was enumerated as Jacob Stevick 39 PA farmer, Rebecca 30 OH, Sarah 7 OH, Hannah 4 OH, Mary 72 PA, and Mary Bard 12 OH, William Bard 9 OH, and Sarah Bard 7 OH. Since 19 June 1876 Hannah told the court that Jacob was in the penitentiary in Michigan for the crime of manslaughter.  She wanted custody of daughter, Quintilla Alice, born 1863 in Richland Co, OH, the real estate, and a reasonable alimony of $500.  Quintilla later married George Lyons of Williams Co, OH on 3 Nov 1883 in Wright Twp, Hillsdale Co, MI.

From Shelby Independent News: 13 April 1876, Vol. 8, No. 25, one learns that Jacob Stevick, formerly residing in Jackson Township, but more recently in Michigan, during the past year shot a man, and we learn has been sentenced to the Penitentiary for life. Evidently on 6 Feb 1876 in the town of Ransom, Hillsdale Co, MI, Jacob assaulted and killed Horace A. Burnett. Jacob was tried in the Hillsdale Circuit Court, found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to ten years, which is what Pioneers of Bean Creek, Lenawee Co, MI, Scarritt, 1876 p137, history entry stated. In the 1880 Jackson State Prison, Jackson Co, MI p441C Jacob Stevic, prisoner, was listed as a divorced 59 MD native.

17 November 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Stevens


Pascarlina Hawk Stevens v Daniel Stevens (Journal 13 p529 - 19 June 1886; p577 - 16 Oct 1886; Roll 44 case number 1650 - May 1886) – see Gatchel

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married in Crawford Co, OH on 30 Nov 1842. Pascarline/Pascarolina, the daughter of David and Margaret Hatten Hawk, was born on 16 Nov 1825 in Somerset Co, PA; Daniel, possibly the son of Amos and Margaret Hannah Cunning Stevens, was born on 27 July 1822 in Crawford Co, OH.  This couple was listed on the 1850 Auburn, Crawford Co, OH federal census p326A, and the 1860 Holmes, Crawford Co, OH federal census p235. The family was enumerated in the 1870 St Joseph Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census, p9, as Daniel 47 OH, Pascarlina 44 PA, Leroy 20 OH, Augustus 14 OH, Webster 12 OH, Charles 10 OH, Iva 8 OH, and Rollie 4 OH.  Edith Stephens 6 OH resided nearby with the John and Minnie Richert family.  By the 1880 St Joseph Twp federal census, p17, Daniel was listed as 58 OH with his wife Pascarline 55 PA, and children Charles 20 OH, Iva 18 OH, and Rollie 14 OH.  Their farm was three miles north of Edgerton.

Pascarline charged Daniel with habitual drunkenness for the past five years.  She gave an extensive list of their children and their birthdates as follows: Margaret L (4 Oct 1843), Hannah L (18 Dec 1844), ? A (1 Feb 1846), Mary E (28 Mar 1848), Alfred M (14 Feb 1849), Amos Leroy (9 Mar 1850), Daniel (4 Mar 1852), Napoleon (30 Mar 1854), Augustus W (28 Feb 1856), Daniel Webster (14 Feb 1858), Charles L (29 Feb 1860), Iva (Nov 18 **), Edith (30 Mar 1864), and Rolla J (30 Mar 1866).  She said that on 12 Jan 1886 Daniel was extremely cruel, intoxicated, and used profane language stating that he would burn down their house; he kept this up until 4 AM.  On 20 Jan 1886 he got a bottle or flask of powder and said he would throw it into the stove and blow them up; she feared to retire for the night.  On 13 Feb 1886 he upset furniture, broke dishes, and took down and flourished his gun until long after midnight.  She wanted her personal property, the house in Edgerton, valued at $500, and 8 acres of real estate plus a reasonable alimony.  She further desired to be restored to her maiden name.  The action was later dismissed.

Daniel died on 18 or 28 Feb 1897 (Death V3 p120) and was buried in the Maple Grove Cem, Edgerton; Pascarline died on 14 Mar 1906 (Death V3 p126); however her obituary appeared in the "Bryan Democrat", 22 Feb 1907 p4.  She was buried beside her husband, Daniel Stevens.  

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Stenger


Charles Edward Stenger v Ninna Ogle Stenger (Journal 12 p360 - 25 Nov 1884; Roll 38 case number 1041-1042 - Nov 1884)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married on 24 Mar 1878 in Wms Co (Marriage V4 p567).  He stated that Ninna was willfully absent for three years or more.  A divorce was granted.

Charles, born on 3 Mar 1857, Farmer, Defiance Co, OH, was the son of George and Mary Bowman Stenger, who had married on 24 Dec 1854 in Williams Co, OH (Marriage V2 p150).  The Stengers were listed in the 1860 Center Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census p82 as George Stinger 25 OH, Mary 26 OH, Charles 3 OH, and Mary 1 OH; the family next appeared in the 1870 Center Twp federal census, p30, as Mary 37 OH, Charles 13 OH, Mary 12 OH, and William 9 OH.

Charles married Caroline Easterday on 30 Nov 1890 in Wms Co (Marriage V6 #334).  They had four children, Ralph William (b1891), Maude (b1895) and Gretchen (b1902), and another infant daughter. Charles died in Feb 1929 and was buried in the Fountain Grove Cem, Bryan; Caroline (1861-1945) was buried beside her husband.   Nothing more is known about Ninna.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Stauffer


Hiram Stauffer v Lovina Weaver/Weber Stauffer (Journal 9 p5 - 14 Nov 1876; Roll 30 case number 74 - 14 Nov 1876)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married on 1 Dec 1867 in Center Twp, Wms Co, OH (Marriage V3 p736).  Hiram, born in 1836 PA, was the son of George and Elizabeth Stark Stauffer who lived in Wayne Co, OH.  Hiram appeared in the 1850 and 1860 federal censuses for that location. By the 1870 Center Twp federal census, p13, the couple was listed as Hiram 34 PA shoemaker and Lovina 25 OH. 

Hiram said his wife had been willfully absent for three years or more.  They had a son, George Frederick, born on 15 Oct 1872 at Melbern, Williams Co, OH.  He brought the following witnesses to court to verify his charge: Jacob and Noah Nihart, Mrs. Amelia Nihart, Samuel Weaver, and Jared Lafayette Cunningham.  Lovina, a resident of Center Twp, was given custody of their son.

According to the 1880 Center Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census p604A, Hiram Stauffer had married Rebecca Douglas prior to 1880 as they had a daughter Amanda, born 24 Nov 1881 in Center Twp, Williams Co, OH.  By the 1900 East Union Twp, Wayne Co, OH federal census p2A the widow Rebecca Stauffer, born Oct 1841 in OH, was listed with her three children, Amanda, Mary E, and Earl.

Using the 1880 Liverpool, Medina Co, OH federal census p334A, one finds George F. Stauffer 7 OH, his mother Lovina 34 OH with Bavarian native parents, and his stepfather Frederic Wurmstich 52 Saxony native.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Starr


Samantha J. Fulton/Sluts Starr v Thomas M. Starr (Journal 8 p113 - 11 Mar 1873; Roll 25 case number 34 - Mar 1873)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married in Wms Co, OH on 10 Nov 1859 (Marriage V3 p76).  Samantha, b1841 OH, was the daughter of Joseph and Catherine Fulton.  In the 1850 Pulaski Twp federal census, p86B, the family was listed as Joseph 57 PA carpenter, Catherine 49 PA, Elizabeth 21 PA, Maria 22 OH, Viletame (f) 20 OH, Joseph 18 OH, Sarah Ann 16 OH, William 13 OH, and Samantha Sluts 11 OH.  Mother Catherine Fulton was listed with her children Elizabeth and William in the 1860 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census, p36, as Catherine 58 PA insane; the father or stepfather of Samantha was not listed.  In the 1870 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census, p47, Samantha was enumerated as Samantha Starr 29 OH milliner with son A. Lincoln 10 OH.  The Bryan Democrat, 12 Jan 1871, listed area business people with mention of Mrs. T. Starr, milliner, on the corner of Beech and Bryan Streets.

Thomas Starr, b1838 PA, was the son of John and Elizabeth Kennedy Starr.  This family was listed in the 1850 Superior Twp federal census p43, as John 59 PA, Elizabeth 57 PA, William 22 OH, Arthur 20 OH, Lucinda 14 OH, and Thomas 12 OH along with Grandmother Elizabeth Kennedy 83 PA, the widow of John Kennedy.  When his father died in 1852, Thomas, when he became of age, was granted the farm on which we now reside in Superior Twp, Williams Co, OH, it being the north half of the northwest quarter of section twenty-three in township seven north of range two east in the district of lands subject to sale at Lima Ohio containing eighty acres more or less; Thomas received the west half and his brother Arthur the lands in east half.  Thomas may have been a Civil War veteran, having served in Co E 38th Ohio Infantry.

Samantha charged Thomas with being willfully absent for three years or more.  The couple had a son Charles Lincoln, b1861; another female child, b 30 July 1868 had died before 1870.  The divorce was granted.  On 15 Oct 1876 in Williams Co, OH Samantha J. Fulton married Christopher A. Weaver.  In 1880 the Weavers plus CL Starr (son) lived in Hicksville, Defiance Co, OH.  Samantha Fulton Starr Weaver, born in Middletown, Holmes Co, OH on 29 Dec 1839, died on 14 Dec 1921 in Hicksville and was buried in Forest Home Cemetery.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Spencer


Amy Johnson Spencer v David M. Spencer (Journal 13 p378 - 23 Dec 1885; p442 - 26 Mar 1886; Roll 41 Box 143 case number 1491 - 8 July 1885)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married in Waldron, Hillsdale Co, MI on 1 Jan 1884 (Marriage Lib F p44).  David was born in 1850 in NY. Amy was born in 1865 in Williams Co, OH; he was 34 years old and she was 19 according to their marriage license. Amy charged that they lived together for three weeks and three days when David abandoned and neglected her.  In Jan 1884 in Montpelier, OH, David committed adultery with Mandania Amanda Moore.  He told Amy that he thought more of Mandania's little finger than Amy's whole body.  He made no secret about this affair and Amy was humiliated.  Amy wanted $500 in alimony.  A legal notice appeared in the Bryan Democrat, 8 Sept 1885.  A divorce was granted.

16 November 2010

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Speaker


Sarah A. Ault Speaker v David Speaker (Journal 12 p130 - 27 Nov 1883; Roll 39 Box 129 case number 1169 - 2 July 1883)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married in Wms Co on 18 Dec 1873 (Marriage V4 p310).  Sarah was listed as Mrs. Sarah Ault; she was the widow of David/Daniel Ault who was buried in the Riverside Cemetery, Montpelier (1833-1871).  There is a Sarah A. Harbaugh who married David Ault on 3 Jan 1862 in Seneca Co, OH; this could be the Sarah A. Ault, but more research needs to be done.  They had three Ault children: Lydia A (b 22 Jan 1862), Mary Ida (b1864), and Catherine (b1868), all born in Ohio, as evidenced in the 1870 Superior Twp federal census, p27-28. 

Neighbor David Speaker, b1805 MD, lived with his family listed as David 65 MD, Mary A 59 PA, Hannah 22 OH, Thomas 20.  His wife Mary A Linn Speaker died in 1872.  Earlier in the 1860 Bridgewater Twp federal census p105b-106, David Speaker and his family were listed as David 54 MD, Mary 53 OH, Marcille 20 OH, Frank 19 OH, Jacob 16 OH, Harriet 10 OH, Hannah 8 OH, and Berton 9 OH.

By the 1880 Superior Twp federal census, p545A, David 74 MD lived with the HP Nigh family as the father-in-law; Sarah A Ault 40 was head of house down the way from the Nighs, enumerated as Sarah Ault 40 OH, Ida 16 OH, Katy 12 OH, and Charles Campbell 22 IN hired help.  David came to Wms Co from Seneca Co, OH c1855 and set up a blacksmith shop; he was a great checker player.

Sarah charged David with being willfully absent for three years and more.  She wanted a divorce and restoration of her former name, Ault.  The divorce was granted.  David died on 12 Jan 1889 in Wms Co (Death V2 p48).  Sarah married John Schaffer in Wms Co on 19 June 1884 (Marriage V5 #494).  She died in 1894 and was buried in the Sandy Hill Cemetery, Riverside, Montpelier, OH.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Spangler

Eleanor Chase Spangler v Samuel B. Spangler (Roll 7 case number 13 - Aug 1848)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 10 October 2011)

The couple was married according to the divorce record on 36 (?) July 1842 in St. Joseph Twp, Wms Co, OH; the marriage took place according to the marriage record as 22 July 1842 (Marriage V1 p48).  Note that the month of July at that time and currently only has 31 days. Eleanor charged Samuel with gross neglect and being willfully absent for three years or more.  She said on 6 Nov 1842 after about six months of marriage he began to neglect her and was absent.  She lacked good clothing and sufficient food for the health of her and her child, Frederick M. Spangler, 4 years of age.  She brought Elizabeth Smith and Mary Chase to court as her witnesses.  According to the Appearance Docket, Clerk of Courts, 1846-1852, the case of Eleanor Spangler v SB Spangler was transferred to the Issue Docket on Sept 1847. A divorce was granted about a year later.

Eleanor Chase married Robert Wines on 31 Dec 1848 in Wms Co (Marriage V2 p103).  In the 1850 St Joseph Twp federal census p79B, the Wines family appeared as Robert 25 OH, Ellinor 25 NY, Andrew 9 OH, Frederick 6 OH, and Edwin 9/12 OH plus Elizabeth Smith 50 EN, Sarah Chase 20 NY, and Augustus Smith 10 OH. It may be that Elizabeth Smith was Eleanor's mother and Sarah Chase was Eleanor's sister.  Both of these women appeared as her witnesses in the divorce from Samuel B. Spangler. In the 1860 St. Joseph Twp federal census p120b, the Wines family was listed as Robert 34 OH, Eleanor 35 NY, Frederic 16 OH, Edwin 10 OH, Mary 5 OH, and Louis 2 IN. 

Eleanor married again on 3 Nov 1864 to Aaron Street in Wms Co (Marriage V3 p405).  Aaron, the son of Thomas and Catherine Street, had been married before to Sarah Sinkey c bef 1832, and to Florilla Ball, 29 Apr 1854, Defiance Co, OH.  He was the father of 14 known children.  The West Buffalo Cemetery showed tombstones for Eleanor Street who died on 4 Nov 1872 @46Y 7M and Aaron Street who died on 8 Dec 1878 @67Y 8M 9D.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Sowle


Matilda J. Hoover Sowle v Andrew H. Sowle (Journal 8; Roll 30 case number 61 - 14 Nov 1876 - June 1877)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)

The couple was married on 16 Feb 1869 in Hillsdale Co, MI.  Matilda, born in Nov 1843 in OH, was the daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth Hoover. The family was enumerated in the 1850 NW Twp federal census, p52, as Jacob Hoover 45 OH, Elizabeth 38 OH, Matilda 6 OH, Jacob 5 OH, Anna 3 OH, and Catherine 2 OH.  They appeared in the 1860 NW Twp federal census, p12A, as Jacob 54 OH, Margaret 44 OH, Matilda 15 OH, Jacob 13 OH, Catherine 12, and Lorenzo D 5 OH. 

Andrew, son of Riley and Lillian or Millian McMahon Sowle, was born in June 1837 or 1831 in Trumbull Co, Ohio. He was first married to Theressa A. Richardson on 27 June 1854 in Windsor, Eaton Co, MI; the couple lived as residents of Steuben Co, IN in 1860.  Next he married Margaret Fee in Steuben Co, IN on 14 May 1865.  Presumably his second wife died between 1865-1869 when Andrew married Matilda. The Sowles were listed in the 1870 NW Twp federal census, p21, as Andrew 34 OH, Matilda 23 OH, and Leander 9/12OH.

Matilda charged Andrew with extreme cruelty and violence on 1 June 1874.  On 1 Mar 1875 with a clenched fist Andrew threatened to kill her and he used profane language; she left him and took the children, Justin Leander (6 - b 28 Sept 1869), Elroy (5 - b 15 May 1871), and Sarah (3).  Andrew owned five acres in NW Twp and she feared he would sell this property plus the livestock to Philip Neer/Nunn and leave her with nothing.  She subpoenaed the following people to testify: Catherine M. Krites, Miranda Sickles, Redding Larr, and Nancy Huston, her next-door neighbor. 

The couple stayed together and had another child, son Irwin, born 1 Mar 1878.  It is also possible that the court dismissed the action due to Matilda’s pregnancy. They were enumerated in the 1880 and 1900 NW Twp, Williams Co, OH federal census; later in 1910 they had moved to York, Steuben Co, IN.  Andrew may have died between 1910-1920 in Steuben Co, IN as Jane M. Sowle, widow, was lised in the 1920 Angola, Steuben Co, IN federal census p3B; she was 78 OH, living alone.

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Snyder (Isaac)


Sarah R. Williams Shellhart Snyder v Isaac M. Snyder (Journal 12 p273 - 12 Apr 1884; p330 - 15 July 1884; Journal 13 p81 - 26 Mar 1885; p128 - 28 Mar 1885; Roll 39 Box 140 case number 1139 - 14 Apr 1883; Roll 40)

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 8 September 2013)

The couple was married in Wms Co on 25 Dec 1873 (Marriage V4 p308) as Mrs. Rodilla Shellhard and Isaac Snider.  Sarah was first married to Joshua B. Shellhart in Wms Co on 26 July 1860 (Marriage V3 p123).  They had the following Shellhart children: Sarah F (b1866), Joshua Ulysses (b1868), and Frances A (b Aug 1872, Madison Twp). The family was enumerated in the 1870 Madison Twp federal census, p3, as Joshua B. 33 OH, Sarah R 25 OH, and Sarah F 4 OH. Joshua died on 16 Jan 1872, Wms Co (Death V1 p14).

After he married Sarah the couple was enumerated in the 1880 Brady Twp federal census, p497A, as Isaac 52 OH-PA-VA laborer, Sarah R 35 OH, and stepchildren Sarah F Shellhart 14 OH, Joshua Ulysses 12 OH, and Frances A 8 OH. 

Sarah charged Isaac with extreme cruelty.  She stated on 1 Mar 1881 he assaulted her, threw her to the floor, and grabbed her by the hair until her father came into the room.  On 17 Aug 1881 he beat her with a chair and was willfully absent since the fall of 1881.  She wanted a reasonable alimony and a divorce.  The case was continued three times and later dismissed.  


There is an Isaac Snyder in 1900 Brady Twp, Williams Co, OH 69 (Nov 1831) OH-PA-VA; boarder with Albert and Sarah F Anderson family; widower, boarder. This appears to be the participant in this divorce action, not to be confused with another man by the same name who lived in Montpelier.

Dr. Isaac Snyder, born in Putnam Co, OH, came to West Unity, Wms Co, OH with his parents and graduated from the Buffalo Medical School in 1859. Dr. Isaac M. Snyder's obituary in the "Bryan Democrat", 16 Oct 1890, p5, stated that he died at his home in Montpelier@54Y; the pressures of life ruined him and he took drugs to combat these pressures.  In June 1889 he was one of the new bank directors there. Mrs. IM Snyder in Feb 1893 sold the "Wabash Saloon" in Montpelier.

Isaac Morris Snyder (11 Sept 1836 Putnam Co, OH – 9 Oct 1890 Montpelier, Superior Twp, Williams Co, OH); s/o Samuel Snyder and Lydia Morris
Married Eleanor Silver Merry, 10 Feb 1861; children b 1862- 1884; she died 15 Jan 1897
 

15 November 2010

Divorce Primer


Should a Family Researcher Consult the Divorce Records?
By Pamela Pattison Lash

            As you, the reader, see the laundry list of possible findings in the divorce records, you will hopefully realize the value these records hold.  When I began delving into these records, I quickly discovered that they were hidden "gold mines" of data for family research.  Most people would never think to consult such records because first of all they never conceived the notion that an ancestor had divorced or had experienced the divorce process. Secondly, if they wondered whether there was a divorce, they did not know where to look or did not want to find anything distressing.  If the latter is the reason you, the reader, have never looked at divorce records, then do not do it.  The material within may indeed be unsettling.  If, however, you share my view that these people were flesh and blood with human frailties and that one can never know all of the circumstances that surround the situation of divorce, then "go for it."
            The method I used to compile this publication consisted of a two-pronged attack.  First I paged through the first 14 journals of the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court records (1824 - June 1886), from which I created a list of divorces that were mentioned therein.  This gave me surnames and dates, such as Phebe Daggett v. Ethan Daggett, Journal 7, November 1869 Term, p 369, 380-381. By the way, this case was the first one I waded through because I was writing a genealogical detailing of the couple for the Williams County Genealogical Society's newsletter, Ohio's Last Frontier, entitled "A Native Daughter Abused: A Bill of Divorce in Williams County, OH (1869)".  The reasons for my interest in this case are contained within that two-part article, which I have included in this publication along with an update on Ethan Daggett.
            Next, I used the indices to the microfilm rolls of the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court records, which are located at both the Williams County Records Center and the Williams County Public Library, Bryan, Ohio.  The index directed me to Roll 21, case numbers 39 and 57, which yielded a great deal of information about the couple and their subsequent divorce.  I further learned that Ethan Daggett's attorneys later sued Ethan for failure to pay representation fees. 
The indices for the early rolls are listed by surname only.  Some divorces were mentioned in the journals but no case file was included in the microfilm rolls or vice versa.  Some divorces were mentioned in old county newspapers such as the Bryan Democrat, 21 May 1863, without being discovered in either the journals or the rolls. 
I also want to alert you as to what may not be in the divorce records.  Each divorce was as different as each couple who experienced this process. Some cases were full of detail and some only contained the bare necessities of the filing process.  Also, not all people who sought a divorce received one. In fact, some of the over 360 divorces listed herein were dismissed or continued and then later dismissed because the court felt there was not enough evidence or one or both of the parties requested a dismissal.  Some of the dismissed cases were refiled as many as three times before the court acted upon them.

What Are the Contents and the Location of Divorce Records in Williams County, Ohio?

Journal
(Series of sequentially numbered, bound volumes with surname index, held in the Williams County Record Center, Bryan, OH)

This is the summary of the final court proceedings of the case and may tell the names of the parties (plaintiff and defendant), grounds for divorce, final outcome, restoration of the maiden or former name, date of the case when finalized, and who paid court costs.  This may use the legal phrase, "pendente lite", which means this is a suit in progress where temporary support is granted while the divorce is being heard by the court.  Other types of records included in these journals involved assault, theft, bastardy, land disputes, naturalizations, insolvency, and failure to repay promissory notes.

Divorces Found Within the Journal Parts
Journals 1 and 2 - No divorces found
Journal 3 - June 1846
Journal 4 - Nov 1848 -Apr 1852
Journal 5 - Nov 1852 - Mar 1860
Journal 6 - May 1860 - Mar 1865
Journal 7 - Mar 1867 - Nov 1871
Journal 8 - May 1872 -May 1876
Journal 9 -Nov 1876 - Jul 1878
Journal 10 - Nov 1878 - Jun 1880
Journal 11 - Nov 1880 - Mar 1883
Journal 12 - Feb 1883 - Dec 1885
Journal 13 - Dec 1885 - June 1886
Journal 14 - Nov 1886 - Mar 1889

Note that some of the journals had only a few divorce cases while other journals had vast numbers and even overlapped within a time frame.

Roll and Case Number Packet
(Microfilm rolls of the Williams County, OH Civil and Criminal Court Records held at both the Williams County Record Center, Bryan, OH, and the Williams County Public Library, Local History and Genealogy Collection, Bryan, OH)
This is the actual case file of the divorce complaint, which will tell the names of the parties and the filing date. This may reveal any or all of the following:

¨     Marriage date and/or place plus who officiated at the ceremony. [Sometimes this marriage date will conflict with the marriage data in different county registers.  In a few marriages the plaintiff stated that a ceremony was to have taken place in a particular county but no record has been located there for this union.];

¨     Statement of residency in Ohio and the county. [Sometimes the number of years is mentioned.];

¨     Names and/or ages of minor children.  [Sometimes birth dates of minor children or that of all children born to the couple is included.];

¨     Dates of evidence that corroborate the grounds for divorce. [Specific dates of abuse, adultery, or abandonment may be mentioned.];

¨     Statement that the complaining party performed his/her marital duties in good faith;

¨     Statement of desire for divorce, reasonable alimony, custody of children, visitation rights for the other spouse, restraining order to keep the other party from moving out of the court's jurisdiction or from selling property, restoration of maiden or former name. [Sometimes the maiden name is really the married name of a former spouse.];

¨     Residence if known of defendant in this case or last known residence as of a certain date or number of years; if residence is known or suspected a constable from that geographical location was sent to serve the divorce complaint and would then notify the court of his success or failure;

¨     Guardianship of minor children or incompetent parties. [Sometimes the name of the guardian and the circumstance for this arrangement are included.];

¨     Status of the case: continuance, dismissal, or divorce granted;

¨     Request for alimony by the plaintiff in order to apply for a divorce;

¨     Statement of dissatisfaction with the outcome which may prompt an appeal for a new trial;

¨     Statement of desire for one's own divorce if the other party has obtained a divorce in another jurisdiction;

¨     Reference to another civil or criminal trial involving one or both of the parties such as a bigamy trial, insolvency case, or estate division;

¨     Description of land or real estate with its value and whether it has liens, mortgages, rents due, promissory notes. [Sometimes this may tell whether the wife had property in her own right.];

¨     Description of personal property, sometimes in the form of laundry lists of goods, animals, furniture, farm equipment, books, etc., its value, and date of purchase;

¨     Temporary injunction or restraining order not to sell property or not to leave the court's jurisdiction;

¨     Depositions of witnesses with questions and answers as to the witness' name, age, residence, length of time and nature of familiarity with either or both parties in the case plus pertinent details that offer proof to substantiate the grounds for divorce or to refute these allegations. [Sometimes the witness is underage and a guardian must speak for that person; sometimes a witness may not be physically able or a resident of the county so a court official must take statements outside the court and offer these as evidence.];

¨     Statements from the chambers of another jurisdiction where one or both of the parties were present;

¨     Financial status of one or both of the parties such as the owing of money via a promissory note or holding a promissory note from a third party where monies are owed to one of the parties in the divorce case;

¨     Names and residences of parents or relatives who may be witnesses, deceased persons who left property with a statement that one of the parties is an heir to land or property as part of a will or estate or named as custodians of one of the parties or their children;

¨     Newspaper notification running six consecutive weeks in a county newspaper with proof of this public notice signed by the paper's editor along with a clipping of the actual notification and the initial or last date of notice publication;

¨     Medical or mental condition of one of the parties which could include such afflictions as feeble mindedness, inability to walk, afflictions due to military service, or contracted disease;

¨     Military service which may include dates and company of service and pension application;

¨     Grounds for divorce
¨     Willfully absent for three years or more - [may include circumstances such as abandonment, serving a sentence in the penitentiary, confinement to mental facility; may give date when the defendant left and place of current residence]
¨     Adultery - [may include dates and names of person(s) known, a statement that this occurred with diverse person(s) unknown to the plaintiff, or the house (of ill fame or prostitution), residence, or geographical location (town, county, state) where the "alleged" adultery took place]
¨     Gross neglect of marital duty - [may include failure to provide financial support, clothing, food, housing, or marital rights]
¨     Fraudulent marriage contract  - [may mention one party has a living, legally-wed spouse elsewhere (bigamy), a pregnancy which prompted the marriage but is not the issue of the complaining husband, or the promise to live as husband or wife and not complying with this promise]
¨     Extreme cruelty - [may include dates, circumstances, weapons, resulting injuries, profane statements, and witnesses]
¨     Habitual drunkenness for three years or more - [may include dates, circumstances, places, and statements from witnesses such as tavern owners]

¨     Alimony  [This may include the cash amount or a fee schedule for payment over a certain period of time, the residuals from real estate, harvests, farm equipment, animals, furniture, and other property; this may also state if the alimony has been increased or decreased over time and whether there are any appeals on this matter from either party.];

¨     Names of the legal representatives for one or both of the parties. [Sometimes other case files are found that show the client was later sued for failure to pay these legal fees.];

¨     Arrest warrants issued by date and place to apprehend the defendant or material witness;

¨     Physician statements as to injuries incurred by the complaining party with anecdotal notes;

¨     Inferred data which may indicate if one or both of the parties was previously married and had children from a prior marriage, where the couple lived in this county, and when they resided there; and,

¨     Residual impact of this divorce case on other divorce actions where the party of one divorce action and the party of a second divorce action end up marrying each other or another individual. [By consulting the marriage records of the time frame after a divorce has been granted, one may fill in the gaps of why the divorce was initially sought.].


Microfilm Rolls of Civil and Criminal Court Cases Including Divorce
Note that each roll has an alphabetical surname index in the front of the roll and is in print form. Also there is a combined surname index for Rolls 1-8 in print form located at both facilities that house these rolls.  Case rolls 9-29 each contain a number in the upper left-hand corner and consecutive numbering begins with 1.  Case rolls 30-62 begin consecutive numbering using the actual case number from the case jacket. I have included Rolls 1-44, which cover the divorces in this publication, but this microfilmed series finishes with Roll 63 for the year 1900.
Many thanks to Jacque Whetro for constructing this listing after case files were microfilmed a number of years ago due to the efforts of the Williams County Commissioners and a small group of dedicated volunteers from the Williams County Genealogical Society.  Prior to that project the case packets were housed in attics and basements of buildings and were subject to conditions that do not encourage preservation of such old records.

Roll 1 - Oct 1824 - Nov 1836 partial
Roll 2 - April 1836 partial - Sept 1839 partial
Roll 3 - Sept 1839 partial - Sept 1840 partial
Roll 4 - Sept 1840 partial - Sept 1843 partial
Roll 5 - Sept 1843 partial - Sept 1844 partial
Roll 6 - Sept 1844 partial - Sept 1847 partial
Roll 7 - May 1847 partial - June 1850
Roll 8 - Oct 1850 - Apr 1854 partial
Roll 9 - Apr 1854 partial - Mar 1856 partial
Roll 10 - Mar 1856 partial - Jul 1857 partial
Roll 11 - Jul 1857 partial - June 1858
Roll 12 - Nov 1858 - May 1859 partial
Roll 13 - May 1859 - Nov 1859 [case boxes 41-43 are missing containing many 1859 cases.]
Roll 14 - Nov 1859 partial - Nov 1860 partial
Roll 15 - Nov 1860 partial - Dec 1862 partial
Roll 16 - Dec 1862 partial - May 1864 partial
Roll 17 - May 1864 partial - May 1866
Roll 18 - Oct 1866 - May 1867
Roll 19 - Nov 1867 - Nov 1868 partial
Roll 20 - Nov 1868 partial - Mar 1869
Roll 21 - May 1869 - Mar 1870 partial
Roll 22 - May 1870 - Feb 1871 partial
Roll 23 - Feb 1871 partial - Feb 1872 partial
Roll 24 - Feb 1872 partial - Oct 1872
Roll 25 - Misc. 1872 - Mar 1874 partial
Roll 26 - Mar 1874 partial - Mar 1875
Roll 27 - May 1875 partial - Feb 1876 partial
Roll 28 - Feb 1876 partial - June 1877
Roll 29 - Nov 1877 - Feb 1878 partial
Roll 30 - 1876, 1877, 1878 partial, case #1-124
Roll 31 - 1877, 1878 partial, case #125-279
Roll 32 - 1877, 1878 partial, case #286-458
Roll 33 - 1878, 1879 partial, case #460-580 [cases missing]
Roll 34 - 1879 partial, case #581-693
Roll 35 - 1880 partial, case #694-805
Roll 36 - 1880, 1881 partial, case #806-898
Roll 37 - 1881 partial, case #899-987
Roll 38 - 1882 partial, case #988-1097
Roll 39 - 1883 partial, case #1098-1199
Roll 40 - 1883 partial, case #1200-1330
Roll 41 - 1884 partial, case #1372-1473 [cases missing]
Roll 42 - 1885, 1886 partial, case #1474-1539
Roll 43 - 1886, 1887 partial, case #1540-1644
Roll 44 - 1886, 1887 partial, case #1645-1740


What Other Types of Records Can Help?

After locating a divorce record one may find other helpful data from the following general types of print, microfilm, or on-line sources if available:

¨     Marriage records
¨     Birth records
¨     Death records
¨     Probate records - wills, estates, guardianships
¨     Land records, atlas entries, city directories
¨     Cemetery records - tombstone inscriptions, burials surrounding the deceased
¨     Census records
¨     Tax records
¨     Newspaper articles - local gossip, obituaries, legal notices
¨     Civil and criminal court records
¨     County histories
¨     Family histories or compiled data from family group sheets, ancestor cards, newsletter articles, Bibles, diaries, letters, or journals
¨     Church records
¨     Funeral home records
¨     Naturalization records
¨     Surname guides, queries, and message boards
¨     Photograph collections
¨     Military records of service, pension application, and veteran facilities
¨     Mental asylums or hospitals

This list is not meant to be definitive but to serve as a springboard for further inquiry.

 What Is Included in This Divorce Index?

            After compiling the data from the records mentioned previously, I set up a spreadsheet that contains the following information:

¨     An alphabetical index by surname for both spouses. [If the maiden or previously used married name is known, then the wife carries that surname; if no other surname is known, the wife carries the surname of her husband in the divorce action.];

¨     Bold face and underlined format to show the plaintiff or complaining party in each divorce. [In a few cases both the husband and wife brought a suit and that is the reason for the treatment of their names.];

¨     Parentheses ( ) around the wife's previous marriage name if known;

¨     The marriage date which may be mentioned in the divorce records or other sources;

¨     The place of marriage which may be mentioned in the divorce records or other sources;

¨     The journal number(s); and,

¨     The roll number(s)

Extracted Information from the Journals and Rolls

            The information that was extracted from the above-mentioned sources was set up alphabetically using the husband's surname and first name as the wife may have a married, maiden, or previously married surname that would be more complex for alphabetical organization.  The journal and roll numbers plus dates follow.  Information from the divorce data plus other material I gleaned from many sources (birth, death, probate, census, histories, etc) was included with each entry if found.  I encourage the reader to view these records first-hand, as not all material was included in this publication.

Genealogical Detailing from the Divorce Records

Some of the divorce cases were so interesting both on educational and human interest levels that I decided to research the couples and compile a mini-history of Williams County, Ohio, 1830-1886, that was different from the usual county history, which includes either prominent individuals or those who could afford to pay the price of inclusion in a "vanity" publication.  I took as my example the publications of Civil War soldiers whose commonality was being a veteran of that war.  These types of works include biographical details plus data on the service record of the individual.  In my detailings the commonality was the fact that each couple had experienced, not a national war, but a domestic war of sorts.  I imagine the parties were in financial turmoil, physical distress, and emotional trauma. 
I must confess that as I researched these divorces I discovered a gender bias for many of the wives included herein.  Most were hardworking women who suffered deaths of children, cheating husbands, unbelievable physical abuse, and financial insecurity for many years.  Some of the cases covered women who had terrible tales to tell and then were denied a divorce.  Who denied them, you may ask?  The court system was peopled with men who may have harbored their own agendas.  They may have known the male defendant, treated their own wives with the same heavy-handiness, or as moralists believed that the sanctity of the marital union should be preserved at all cost.  Who will speak for these women?  That was the task I set for myself.
            Furthermore, I found it interesting that few men who sought divorce were denied their request.  The great majority of these husbands claimed willful absence of their spouse, adultery, or fraudulent contract, but wives who even had physicians as corroborating witnesses to physical abuse were often denied a divorce.  That is not to say that all men were unsympathetic characters as there were many whose wives seemed to take their marriage vows lightly, but again they were a minority within the great majority of abused and misused wives of this period. 
            Another surprise I uncovered was that the majority of divorces in this county involved future or former Civil War soldiers.  Perhaps the brutality of war was a residual effect on their view of marriage and women in general.  Next, I must confess a struggle of conscience in the detailings of physical abuse and adultery.  Should I provide all that I uncovered or leave it up to the imagination of the reader?  Should I list the "third parties" by name or leave them as "adultery with unknown" person?  I chose to disclose what was found in the records and again mention that we do not know what was happening in their lives; therefore, we should not judge them, but I believe if their presence is noted in the records, their presence should be noted here.
            Lastly, I want to mention "the great cover-up" I found when doing this research.  Since divorce in the early years of our country had a negative connotation, it was not mentioned, even as I discovered, in newspaper obituaries or county histories.  The writers of those items went to great lengths and careful wording not to divulge this information.  Thus, a modern reader may never know about an ancestor's divorce action without consulting these records.
            The couples I have included in this publication have both unusual circumstances of life and the usual situations prominent in their time frame. Their social history may give the reader a window through which to glimpse the past.  These detailings are not meant to be definitive examples of work completed but to be springboards for further investigation. As most family researchers can attest, the work is never completed, but one must start somewhere and detail something.

Pamela Pattison Lash
Williams County Genealogical Society
<pam_lash at yahoo.com>