Runaway Groom, No Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1885


Pamela Pattison Lash


Not much is known of the principals in this case but the story is touching.  Ellen Bash married Joseph Long on 2 April 1881 (no site stated).  She went to the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 12 p265 - 12 Apr 1884; Journal 13 p66 - 16 Mar 1885; Roll 40 case number 1223 - 5 Nov 1883) requesting a divorce and the restoration of her maiden name.  In her request Ellen told the court that immediately after the marriage ceremony, even though he had pledged life-long fidelity to this marriage, Joseph departed from the room, had been absent for close to three years, had neglected her, and had refused to cohabitate ever.  The big problem was that a child was born to the couple.  Ellen was compelled to ask for public charity and she lived at the county infirmary where the child was born and subsequently died.  Ellen could not provide for herself due to impaired health and a delicate condition involving this pregnancy.  The defendant, Joseph Long, knew all this.

            Ellen filed the divorce in 1883, the case was continued in 1884, and it appears the court dismissed her petition in 1885.  This is interpreted as no divorce.  What happened to Ellen Bash Long or her runaway groom is not currently known. There was a Joseph Homer Long, son of George (18 May 1833 Wayne Co, OH 30 June 1905 Defiance Co, OH) Long and Nancy Van Vleet (19 July 1835 Rockford Co, IL 3 Aug 1907 Mark Center, Defiance Co, OH), in the 1880 Mark Center, Defiance Co, OH federal census, p194D.  He was born 24 Feb 1854, Bucyrus, Crawford Co, OH, and could be the candidate for the runaway groom. An Internet source stated that Joseph who died in Nov 1930 was married to America Blair, b c1863 OH. In the 1870 Farmer, Defiance Co, OH federal census, p86, there was an Ellen Bash 6 OH living with Philip Silders and wife Hannah.


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