Julia Ann Richey Friend v Leonard Friend

An Abused Friend, No Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1875

Pamela Pattison Lash  


Blatant abuse was well-documented with dates, witnesses, and circumstances offered, but the court felt this couple should stay together, possibly for the sake of the children, many of whom were grown and gone.  This genealogical detailing demonstrates what modern readers might call a dire need for anger management and utter disregard for the well-being of a spouse, the mother of ten of her husband's 14 children.

            Leonard Friend was born in Ohio on 28 Feb 1807.  Some sources on the Internet claim his place of birth was West Bethlehem Twp, Washington Co, PA, but all census records showed his birthplace to be Ohio; if that is correct he may have been born in Stark Co, OH, where his family lived.  Leonard was the son of John Henry and Magdalena Mocherman Friend, both natives of West Bethlehem Twp, Washington Co, PA.  He first married Catherine Mocherman on 30 Sept 1831, Stark Co, OH (Marriages V1 p3 c2) and became the father of John (1832 - aft 1881), Henry (May 1839 - aft 1881; m. Lucy Merhling), Margaret (24 Nov 1842 Stark Co, OH - aft 1881, m1 Abraham Haynes, m2 Mr. Thomas), Elizabeth (? - aft 1881, Canton, Stark Co, OH, m Mr. Stimmel).  Leonard may have been in the 1840 Paris Twp, Stark Co, OH federal census rolls, but this needs to be verified; sometime before Sept 1849 wife Catherine had died.

            Leonard married his second wife, Julia Ann Richey, parentage unknoen, in Stark Co, OH on 22 Sept 1849. He and his family were enumerated in the 1850 Nimishellen Twp, Stark Co, OH federal census, p467, as Leonard Friend 30 OH, Julia 24 OH, John 18 OH, Henry 11 OH, Margaret 8 OH, and Benjamin 1 OH.  Note that his daughter Elizabeth was not listed but a son Benjamin by his new wife was and Leonard was ten years younger than he should be.  The Friends moved to NW Twp, Wms Co, OH c1851-1853. By the 1860 NW Twp federal census, p9B, the family appeared as Leonard 50 OH, Julia A. 29 OH, Benjamin F. 10 OH, Mary A. 8 OH, Eliza 7 OH, Adam 5 OH, Frederick 4 OH, Electa J. 1 OH.  Again they were listed in the 1870 NW Twp federal census, p36, as Leonard 63, Julia 41, Benjamin 20, Mary 18, Eliza 17, Adam 15, Frederick (Louis) 12, Catherine 11, Jacob 9, Joseph 1, Abraham 4, (Sarah) Jane 6 with son Henry 30 and his family living next door.

            Wife Julia b. 1826 OH, parentage unknown, could not read or write but she knew when she's had enough abuse, or so she thought.  Note that Julia was about 20 years his junior. According to the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court records (Journal 8 p393 - 2 Nov 1875; Roll 27 case number 52) Julia was 44 years old when she filed for a divorce charging Leonard with extreme cruelty.  She outlined the dates of abuse beginning in Williams County on 1 Mar 1853 when Leonard dragged her by her hair and administered violent blows to her head.  She stated that ever since then he would beat her up with his fists and hands.  This first date of abuse coincided with a time when she would have been pregnant, although from the list of children she seemed to have been in a perpetual state of pregnancy from about 1850-1869. 

            The next date of extreme abuse was 15 Sept 1874 when he beat her, forced her out of the house on a cold and damp evening until she was allowed back in at midnight.  On 1 July 1875 Leonard would have killed her except for the intervention of others.  On 8 Aug 1875 he beat her again and on 11 Aug 1875 she left him due to all the wrongs and injuries she had sustained.  Julia listed the children by name and age ranging from 24-year-old Benjamin to 7-year-old Joseph.

            Leonard had land held in fee simple in NW Twp, valued at $2500 plus a large collection of personal property, which she catalogued for the court.  She wanted custody of the six minor children who at that time were residing with their father.  About the same time Leonard in Roll 27 (case number 79) was being sued by Albert M. Pratt for a financial deal of $125.  The court decided there would be no divorce and dismissed the proceedings.

            Leonard and Julia were the parents of the following children: Benjamin Franklin (1850-aft 1881; m. Ellen May); Mary A. (1852 - aft 1881; m. Clark M. Coblentz); Eliza (1852 - aft 1881; m. possibly Charles E. Pew; Orlando Ellis); Adam (1853 - 5 Feb 1909); Frederick Louis (1856 - aft 1881); Electa J. or Catherine (1858 - aft 1881; m. John Bordner, 7 Dec 1879, Wms Co [Marriages V4 p659]); Jacob (1861 - aft 1881); Sarah Jane "Jennie" (1864 - aft 1881; m. Levi Augustine, 9 Oct 1886, Wms Co [Marriages V5 #887]); Abraham (1866 - aft 1881); Joseph (23 May 1869 - aft 1881).

            The couple did stay together as evidenced by the 1880 NW Twp federal census, p434A, as Leonard 73 OH-PA-VA, Julia A 50 OH-OH-VA, Jane 17, Adam 15, Joseph 11.  On 22 Sept 1881 at his home in Springlake Leonard Friend died of eryalpelas when he caught a cold in his foot, which he had injured a week before. ("Bryan Press", 29 Sept 1881).  Leonard was 74Y 6M 22D at the time of his demise and was buried in the Malcolm Cemetery in NW Twp. 

            Williams County, Ohio Probate (#2346) showed his estate record as of 4 Oct 1881 where the letters of administration gave a laundry list of his heirs: widow Julia and children John, Henry, Margaret Thomas of Montpelier, Elizabeth Stimmel of Canton, OH, Benjamin of Semer, IA, Mary A. Coblentz of Montpelier, Eliza Pugh, Adam, Frederick of Burrall, MI, Catherine, Jacob, Jennie, Abraham, and Joseph.  Most of the children resided in Springlake with the above noted exceptions.

            Widow Julia Friend needed to sell the property of 40 acres to satisfy Leonard's debts of $800.  His personal property was valued at $220, with Peter Friend and Lewis Mocherman providing sureties for the estate.  Julie died in 1892 and she was buried beside her husband; later her son Adam (1853 - 5 Feb 1909) who died in NW Twp when a tree fell on him would join them.




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