French Charm Does Not Last
 Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1885
By Pamela Lash


            The language of love may not last but when there are children involved, a divorce can take a nasty turn.  He has money and she, with three small children to support, does not.  She asks for reasonable alimony and eventually obtains it.  She is the victim of the French charm that does not last.

            Native Williams County, Ohio Emeline "Emily" DeGroff, daughter of David and Elizabeth Spangler DeGroff, was born 1858, probably near Stryker, Springfield Twp.  Her parents were married here on 5 May 1858 (Marriages V2 p178) and first appeared as a family unit in the 1860 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH PO Stryker federal census, p17b, as David DeGroff 27 OH, Elizabeth 20 OH, Emily 2 OH, Chester 4/12 OH.  Again in the 1870 Brady Twp federal census, p20, the family had grown as David 30 PA, Elizabeth 31 OH, Emily 12 OH, Chester 10 OH, Phebe A 8 OH, Margaret 5 OH, Clara J 2 OH, and Sylvester 1 OH.  Note that father David's birthplace changed from OH to PA.  He was listed with his parents, William and Margaret DeGroff, from the 1850 Jefferson Twp federal census, p22, as David 20 OH.

            Emily DeGroff married Louis Emile Bruot, a native of Valentigney, FR, on 10 Aug 1878, Wms Co (Marriages V4 p587).  Emile also known as "Lem", the son of Pierre Louis and Marianne Louise Brognard Bruot, was born on 29 Mar 1858.  His family immigrated to the US and eventually settled in Springfield Twp after 1867.  They were listed in the 1870 Springfield Twp federal census, p21, all natives of FR, as Peter Bruot 41, Mary A 35, Amale (m) 12, Henry 10, Alseda 8, Louisa 9, Alla 6, and Eulice (Ulysses) 3.  Emile and his family lived in Brady Twp as the 1880 federal census p503B, showed as Emile 22 FR, Emily 20 OH, Albert 1 OH, and George Julliard 50 FR.

            Emily Bruot appeared in the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 13 p61 - 14 Mar 1885; Roll 41 Box 137 case number 1399 - 27 Dec 1884) asking for a divorce.  The Bryan Press starting with its issue of 12 Mar 1885 and running six consecutive weeks demonstrated her desire for this action.  Emily stated that on 9 Nov 1881 Emile willfully absented himself and that he "is a sinful person."  Emily listed the names and birthdates for their three children as follows: Albert "Bert" (7 Feb 1879, Brady Twp, Births V1 p118) who lived with his grandparents, Peter and Mary Bruot;, May or Mary (7 June 1880), and Daisy (29 Apr 1882).  Note that when Emile left her in Nov 1881 she was pregnant with Daisy. 

            Emily told the court that Emile had received money from hs parents but had not given her anything for the support of the children.  She believed Emile was in Ft. Wayne, Allen Co, IN for a year but at the time of the divorce filing she was unaware of his residence.  She further produced witnesses that corroborated her statements; her father David DeGroff and her brother Chester plus a concerned friend, Charles Besanson, told the court of Emile's shameful dealings with his family.  Emily requested and received a reasonable alimony of $800.

            Emile's parents were buried in the French Cemetery, Springfield Twp as Peter Bruot (8 Mar 1829 - 5 Oct 1889) and Marion (d. 15 Feb 1897 @61Y 10M 22D).  Emily's parents rest in Floral Grove Cemetery, West Unity, Brady Twp as David DeGroff (1831 - 1909 @79Y 7M 27D) and Elizabeth (d. 8 Mar 1894 @54Y 11M). Emile remarried and had children Lewis, Roy, and Amelia Bruot according to an entry in the Williams County, Ohio History, WCHS, 1980, p472-473.  By the 1910 Madison Twp, Allen Co, IN federal census p132, Emile Bruot was head of house as Emile 53 FR, Phoebe 54 IN, Lewis 20 IN, Amelia 20 IN, and Roei 17 IN; this record stated that Emile was naturalized in 1887. Louis Emile Bruot died in Ft. Wayne, IN in 1913 according to an Internet source. 

            In 1900 Emily and Emile’s son, Albert or Burt, born Oct 1878 (21) OH hostler lived with the George and Ida Sherwood family in Brady Twp.  Note that his birthdate does not match the earlier cited birth record.  Nothing more is currently known of mother Emily Degroff Bruot or their other children.



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