26 February 2011

Divorce Action in Williams County, Ohio - Hoadley (Roll 47) and Murder!

By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 25 Dec 2011)

Sarah E. Newman Hoadley v Hiram Hoadley, Jr. (Journal 15 p18 – case number 2076 – 10 May 1889; p57 – case number 2078 – 17 July 1889; p159 – 16 Dec 1889; Roll 47 Box 156 case number 2076/2078) – 4 May 1889

The couple was married in Edon, Florence Twp, Wms Co on 6 Oct 1886 (Marriage V5 #880).  They did not have any living children.

Sarah stated that Hiram was guilty of extreme cruelty, gross intoxication, misconduct with other people, calling them and her vile, indecent names.  He often referred to Sarah as a “damned whore.” 

In the spring of 1887 he was drunk, rolled around the floor at home, and used abusive language.  In June 1887 as a drunk Hiram ripped Sarah’s bed clothes and abused her. In July 1887 at ***, MI, at a room occupied by them he vomited on the carpet while drinking and swearing. 

In the spring of 1888 he came to (or from) Angola, IN late at night, and in a drunken state compelled his little daughter to leave her bed and move to another room while he called Sarah vile names.  In the autumn of 1888 he took Sarah and Sarah’s sister and his daughter to Montpelier to attend a public performance where he quickly became grossly intoxicated.  The women feared driving home with him in the carriage. In Nov 1888 Hiram threatened her life with a revolver but she escaped to a neighbor’s home.

In Feb 1889 Hiram caught her arm and punched it; he drove her from their home and for personal safety she moved to the home of her parents.  One time he was drunk on a train from Cleveland to their home and used profane language, embarrassing Sarah in front of others.

On 1 Mar 1889 Hiram promised to pay $800 to Sarah; this was documented as a promissory note.  On 15 Apr 1889 Sarah obtained an attorney to represent her, which resulted in Hiram paying his $800 indebtedness to her.  Sarah stated in her divorce papers that she knew Hiram owned 40 acres and 53 acres of real estate and that he owned notes and mortgages in excess of $3,000.  She wanted reasonable alimony, livestock, hay, and farm equipment.

In his answer to the court, Hiram Hoadley, Jr., wanted his wife to return to him and as to the claims of abuse; he wanted her to state the exact word, exact dates, and exact witnesses to these events.

On 10 May 1889 the divorce action was dismissed.
On 17 July 1889 Sarah asked for as was to receive $40 for expenses.

The divorce action sparked a tragic outcome for Sarah, her father, and Hiram Hoadley, Jr.  The following news articles give the reader a word picture of the scene:

Cleveland, OH, 21 July 1889—“A terrible tragedy was enacted at Edgerton today. About three years age Hiram Hoadley, Jr., married Miss S. E. Newman, daughter of a farmer living near Edgerton. During the lapse of about two years...” (snippet online)

Montpelier Leader, Montpelier, OH, 22 July 1889 – “A Leader special from Bryan, Williams County, says a terrible tragedy was enacted at Edgerton, this county, today. About three years ago Hiram Hoadley, Jr., married Miss S. E. Newman, daughter of a farmer living near Edgerton. During the lapse of about two years some unpleasantness grew up between Mr. Hoadley and his wife.”

The Newberry Observer - Cleveland, OH 25 July 1889 –“A terrible triple tragedy occurred near Edgerton, Williams Co, today on the farm of a man named Newman, whose daughter had left her husband, Hiram Hoadley Jr formerly a prominent county politician and a prosperous and respected citizen.  Hoadley’s wife was seeking a divorce and this morning early he secreted himself near the farmhouse of his wife and killed her with a revolver as she passed by to milk the cows.  He then shot three times and instantly killed her father who was attracted by the pistol shots.  He pursued the mother and sister of his wife also but they escaped and he returned to where his wife’s body lay and killed himself.”

The Bryan Democrat, 25 July 1889
Terrible tragedy – last Sunday morning at farm house of Christ Neuman in St Joe 1 mile east and mile north of Edgerton.

Hiram Hoadley shot to death his wife, her father, and himself.

Nearly 3 years ago Hiram, a widower, married Sarah Newman, daughter of Christian.  Soon afterward Hoadley joined church and all accounts agree that for a time thereafter his habits were all that could be desired.  In 1888 he deviated from the narrow path and yielded himself to temptation.  When himself he was affectionate and liberal to a fault but when under the influence of liquor he was abusive and sometimes violent. 

His wife submitted to his ill treatment hoping that he would straighten up but finally his conduct became so bad that she left him and soon afterward filed a petition for divorce and alimony.  Late in the fall she came to Bryan and while here Hiram came and through the interposition and kind offices of friends he signed a pledge to abstain from intoxicants, reconciliation was affected and the twain returned to his home.  Matters ran smoothly for several months.  Hoadley was sober and almost demonstrative in his affectionate regard for his wife.  In the early spring they made a trip to some of the eastern cities, visiting and sightseeing.  It was a most enjoyable pleasure trip to both of them until they reached Cleveland on their return.  Then he procured a bottle of whisky.  There the silver cord was loosed and peace took wing.

Soon afterward she again left him and renewed her application for divorce, claiming $5,000 alimony.  The case was docketed for June term of Common Pleas.  Efforts were made to affect a compromise.  Mrs. Hoadley consented to accept a decree of divorce and $1500 in money but her father Christian Newman rejected Hoadley’s proposition and insisted upon payment in full amount claimed.  Thus matters stood when the present term of court came on.  All accounts agree that Hoadley was abstaining from the use of liquor but his health seemed impaired and his spirits broken.

Last week Hoadley went to Defiance to consult his attorneys, Hill and Hubbard, returned to Bryan where he remained some 3 days waiting for his case to be called, and finally returned to his home.  Saturday he superintended some repairs about his premises; in the afternoon went to Blakeslee where he aid a few outstanding bills and sold a lot of cattle and returned home.  Between 5-6 in the evening he went to the barbershop in Edon and was shaved.  He seemed in excellent humor and was free with joke and laughs.  Later he employed a neighbor to drive him over to Edgerton, a distance of 8 miles.  He told his daughter that he was going to Chicago; he told the driver not to mention where he left him.

Sometime during Sat night the Newmans thought they heard somebody prowling about the house.  Subsequent investigation showed that it was Hoadley who was seeking his opportunity.  About 40 feet to the rear of the Newman dwelling Hoadley found a hiding place under a tree near a pile of fence posts.  He sat under the tree, placed his hat, containing a number of cartridges and a revolver on the fence posts and waited

Between 6-7 Sunday morning Sarah, his wife, started out to milk the cows.  As soon as she had passed the point where Hoadley was concealed he rushed upon her with a revolver in either hand, caught her around the waist with his left arm and held her while he shot 5 bullets into her body.  Her screams and the reports of the pistol brought Mr. Newman, Mrs. Newman, and a younger daughter to the scene.  Hoadley let go of his wife who dropped to the ground and turned quickly fired 3 shots at Newman all taking effect in the breast one ball passing through the heart.  Newman fell dead.  The younger daughter clinched Hoadley and during the struggle which lasted but an instant he fired twice at her over his shoulder, the first ball going wide of the mark and the second penetrating his own right shoulder. 

At this juncture Mrs. Newman who had secured a club, struck him a severe blow to the head which, aided by the efforts of the daughter, felled him to the ground.  Mother and daughter then started on a run, Hoadley, arising pursued, but failing to overtake them, retraced his way to the pile of pence posts, secured the revolver which he had left there and going to where his wife lay upon the ground fired 3 shots into her head, 2 in the forehead and the third one near the eye. He then laid down upon his back, beside his dead wife, placed his left arm under her right side, put the muzzle of a revolver near the center of his own forehead and fire.  He lived 4 hours after shooting himself but was not conscious for a moment.

The tragedy has no parallel in the history of Williams County.  The prominence of the parties, the evident premeditation, and preparation by the principal actor, the deliberation with which he carried his purpose into execution and the determination of the man to kill as evidence by the number of shots he fired into the bodies of his wife and her aged father comprise to make it one of the most terrible domestic tragedies of which we have record.

It is generally believed that Hoadley became convinced that his wife would be granted a decree of divorce and liberal alimony and he determined that she should not share in his estate.  He owned one of the very best and most thoroughly cultivated farms in the county, all the improvements and farm machinery were of the highest class of farm property, his livestock was of the best, his household appointments were superb, everything about the place indicated intelligence, thrift, almost luxury. 

By a former wife he had 3 children to whom he was most devotedly attached and he spared neither effort nor expense in contributing to their comfort and advancement. The eldest daughter, an amiable and accomplished young lady of 18 just returned from school at Chicago, was the pride of her father; the other children, a son of 15 and a daughter of 9 were objects of parental solicitude.  He had in contemplation for them educational advantages equaling those of their sister.  Caring for them as he did he could not brook the idea that the wife who had left him and sued for divorce should have part or parcel of his estate.  Failing to affect the $1500 compromise above referred to, he determined to remove his wife and others who he believed stood in the way of the compromise, and then avoid the penalty of the law, by taking his own life.

The Bryan Democrat, 8 Aug 1889
“We were in error last week saying that the Masonic fraternity conducted the funeral rites over the burial of Hiram Hoadley, Jr.  Such a thing could not be, as the rules of the order forbid the burial of a murderer, in conformity with their custom as in other cases.”

Journal 15 p159 – case # 2078 – 16 Dec 1889:
Sarah Hoadley estate v Hiram Hoadley; court costs to be paid by executor, Seth Brosius of $12.13.

Next I’ve done a bit of research on the two parties and their history.  I’ll begin with Hiram and his family.

On 17 July 1873 Hiram Hoadley, Jr., was elected treasurer of the Edon Lodge, No 474 AF and AM.  He was a charter member. (The History of Williams Co, OH, Weston Goodspeed, 1882, p459)

From a Bryan newspaper entry, 13 Sept 1880, Peter and Ann Luke sold 40 acres to Hiram for $900.

Online there is a site where excerpts of a genealogy on the Hoadley family stated:
Hiram Hoadley, Jr. of Edon, OH killed self, second wife, and her father, SC Newman, 21 July 1889 in Edgerton, OH, 4 children by first wife. (Hoadley Genealogy, Francis Bacon Trowbridge, p228)

The Bryan Press, 25 July 1889 – obits of Christian Neuman, Hiram Hoadley, Jr. and Sarah Neuman Hoadley
The Bryan Democrat, 1 Nov 1894 p5; The Bryan Press, 1 Nov 1894 – obit of Hiram Hoadley, Sr.
The Leader Enterprise, 12 June 1978 p1; The Bryan Times, 12 June 1978, p3 – recap of Hoadley tragedy

Father – Hiram Hoadley, SR. (5 Oct 1810, Columbiana Co, OH – 22 Oct 1894, Florence Twp, Williams Co, OH; burial in Edon Cem) – probate case number 3554 est on 16 Nov 1894
Mother – Elizabeth Davies (c1812 Montgomery shire, Wales – 1 May 1893, Williams Co, OH; burial Edon Cem)

Children – Erastus, Sarah, John D, Hiram J, Mary H.

Hiram Hoadley, Jr. (3 Aug 1844, Smith Twp, Columbiana Co, OH – 21 July 1889, Edgerton, St. Joseph Twp, Williams Co, OH @45Y 11M 18D; bur Edon Cem) – probate case number 3020 est on 7 Aug 1889
The Hoadley moved to Edon between 1860-1870.

1850 Smith, Mahoning, Ohio; Roll: M432_707; Page: 302A; Image: 22.
Hiram Hoadley 6 OH living with parents and siblings

1860 Smith, Mahoning, Ohio; Roll: M653_1005; Page: 253; Image: 509; Family History Library Film: 805005.
Hiram Hoadly 17 OH farm laborer living with parents and siblings John and Mary

Civil War Soldier - Enlisted as a Private on 28 May 1862 at the age of 18
Enlisted in Company G, 86th Infantry Regiment Ohio on 10 June 1862.
Mustered out Company G, 86th Infantry Regiment Ohio on 25 September 1862 in Camp Chase, Ohio

Married Elizabeth Starr (1843 OH – 15/21 Mar 1886, Edon, Florence Twp, Williams Co, OH; bur Edon Cem), 26 Sept 1865 in Williams Co, OH
Children – Cyrus W, Clemont H, Louise Emma, John Seldon, and Generva S

1870 Florence, Williams, Ohio; Roll: M593_1282; Page: 74B; Image: 152; Family History Library Film: 552781.
h/h 220/220 Hoadley, Hiram 27 OH farmer
Elizabeth 27 OH
Emma 1/12 OH  April

1880 Florence, Williams, Ohio; Roll: 1077; Family History Film: 1255077; Page: 559A; Enumeration District: 8; Image: 0752.
h/h 1908/116 Hoadley, Hiram J 36 farmer OH-OH-Wales
Lizzie 36 wife OH-PA-OH
Emma L 10 dau OH-OH-OH
John S 8 son OH-OH-OH
Genevra S 2 dau OH-OH-OH
Fetters, William 23 servant OH-OH-OH

Sarah E. Neuman (1859 OH – 21 July 1889 Edgerton, St. Joseph Twp, Williams Co, OH, daughter of Christian and Christiana Neuman, both natives of Mechlenburg, Germany; Christian’s probate case number 3037 est on 21 Oct 1889

1860 St Joseph, Williams, Ohio; Roll: M653_1052; Page: 115; Image: 236; Family History Library Film: 805052.
h/h 319/308 Neuman, Christ 41 Germany farmer
Christiana 39 Germany
Caroline 15 Germany deaf and dumb
Charles 10 Germany
Amelia 7 MI
Sarah 4 OH (should be 2)
Hill, Jane no age MD

1870 St Joseph, Williams, Ohio; Roll: M593_1282; Page: 244B; Image: 494; Family History Library Film: 552781.
h/h 202/202 Wenman, Christian 52 Mecklenburg farmer
Christiana 49 Mecklenburg
Amelia 17 MI
Sarah 12 OH
Louisa 8 OH
Charles 20 Mecklenburg rr laborer

1880 Saint Joseph, Williams, Ohio; Roll: 1078; Family History Film: 1255078; Page: 595A; Enumeration District: 9; Image: 0050.
h/h 191/194 Neuman, Christian 63 farmer Meck-Meck-Meck
Christina wife 58 Meck-Meck-Meck
Sadie dau 21 OH-Meck-Meck
Louie dau 18 OH-Meck-Meck

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