Illegitimate Child Briefly Kept Couple Together,

 No Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1886


Pamela Pattison Lash

            A husband planned to obtain a divorce because his wife was unfaithful. She became pregnant with a third party's child and delivered a live son. The court then told the husband that there would be no divorce unless more evidence of adultery was presented. The child died, the couple may have reconciled, the wife died soon after, and the husband disappeared. Such is the genealogical detailing of this tragic situation.


Abraham Metzler and wife Margaret Markle appeared in the 1850 Jefferson Twp federal census, p27, as Abraham 35 PA, Margaret 34 OH, Julia Anne 9 OH, Sarah 8 OH, and Mary 6 OH.  By the 1860 federal census for that township the family changed to A 44 PA, Margaret 42 OH, Julia 18 OH, Mary 15 OH, Elizabeth 10 OH, Angeline 7 OH, Laura 5 OH, George 2 OH, and Jeneva 2 OH.  Abraham owned land in Sec 3 of Jefferson Twp as found in atlases for 1864-1894.  The family was again found in the 1870 Jefferson Twp federal census, p35, as Abraham 55 PA, Margaret 53 OH, Elizabeth 18 OH, Laura 15 OH, George 13 OH.  By 1880 son George was 22 OH single, living with his parents.

            George B. Metzler, apparently a fraternal twin, b1858 OH, married Arvilla Sedelia Hart in Morenci, Lenawee Co, MI on 5 Apr 1884.  Arvilla, the daughter of George W and Rosetta Hart, was born on 3 June 1867.  The Harts lived in Brady Twp and were found in the 1880 federal census for that township, p514A, as George W 45 OH engineer, Rosetta 51 OH, George W 10 OH, Sedalia A 13 OH.  Given the fact that Sedalia was underage, the couple eloped to Michigan.

            According to the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court records (Journal 13 p481 - 2 Apr 1886; Roll 43 Box 146 case number 1578 - Mar 1886) George accused Arvilla of adultery on 25 Nov 1884 at their home in West Unity with Whit Porter or Pointer.  Arvilla had a child born out of wedlock, b 15 June 1885.  George wanted a divorce and Arvilla wanted a reasonable alimony.  The court denied the divorce and the proceedings were dismissed. 

            Sedalia A. died on 3 Jan 1887 @19Y 7M and was buried in the Floral Grove Cemetery, West Unity, Oh, beside her son Clarence V. Metzler, who died on 29 Apr 1886 @10M 14D.  Clarence's tombstone stated "son of GB and SA." George B. Metzler disappeared and nothing is currently known of him.  George’s sister, Elizabeth Metzler Porter, also filed for and received a divorce from her husband, Abraham Porter.


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