Constable's Daughter Pregnant and Abandoned - What's a Girl To Do?, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1885


Pamela Pattison Lash

            A marriage in name only does not often last as this genealogical detailing demonstrates. A girl becomes pregnant and wants the child's father to marry her, which he eventually does about six weeks before the baby is born. Prior to this birth the girl begins proceedings against him for bastardy, filing a complaint under Section 5614 of the Ohio Revised Statute. He tries to evade and prevent these proceedings, promising to live with and provide for the girl and the baby.


Almira Stuller, b. 1865, OH, was the daughter of James and Phebe A. Foster Stuller.  James, a native of Carroll Co, OH, came to Wms Co c.1852, settling in Florence Twp.  On 11 Apr 1857 he married and raised his family of William, David, Abigail, John, and Almira.  He enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War and served as constable for St. Joseph Twp where he owned a hotel known as the Arlington House plus he ran a feed and livery store.  The Stullers were enumerated in the 1860 Florence Twp, PO Lukes Corners federal census, p19, in the 1870 Florence Twp federal census, p17-18 where Almira was listed as 5 years old, and again in the 1880 Edgerton, St. Joseph Twp census, p580C, where Almira was recorded as 14 years old.

            Almira was married on 12 June 1883 in Edgerton, Wms Co (Marriages V5 #356) to George N. Jacobs, parentage and particulars currently unknown; however in the 1880 Edon, Florence Twp federal census, p553A, there is a George Jacobs, age 15 OH, a harnessmaker who may be our subject.

George was the father of son James Harvey Jacobs, b. 29 July 1883, Edgerton, Wms Co, OH (Births V2p62).  Almira was falsely promised that George would take care of them, but she found herself in need of a divorce.  According to the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court records (Journal 13 p205 - 2 July 1885; Roll 41 Box 138 case number 1459 - 2 May 1885) Almira stated the facts mentioned above.  George did not treat her as his wife and neglected her by not providing any money or support.  She sought a reasonable alimony and her maiden name restored.  Almira called witnesses Neil Decker and Mrs. John P. Walter to support her statements.  The court granted Almira a divorce and alimony of $500.  About two months later she married Levi Hopkins on 13 Sept 1885, Wms Co (Marriages V5 #708).  About a year after this divorce, Almira’s parents moved to Butler, DeKalb Co, IN where her father later died in Mar 1898.  He was buried in Edgerton, Wms Co, OH. Nothing further is known of the principals of this case.


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