Assault with a Deadly Table, No Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1883


Pamela Pattison Lash


Catherine Dull, daughter of Abraham and Elizabeth Dull of Rudsburgh, Plain Twp, Wayne Co, OH, married Benjamin A. Smith on 9 Dec 1866, Wayne Co, OH (Marriages V6 p498); the Reverend Penn officiated at the ceremony.  The 1860 federal census for Rudsburgh p260-261 shows Abraham Dull 46 PA, Elizabeth 44 PA, Daniel 19 PA, Catharine 15 PA, Nathaniel 11 PA, Albert 6 OH, Irvin 1 OH, and Catharine Smith 69 PA widow.  Perhaps the Dulls and the Smiths were related before this marriage.

The Smith couple had a son, Harvey, born 16 Jan 1868.  The time frame of the Smiths arrival here is not known, but Catherine appeared before the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 12 p164 - 18 Dec 1883; p274 - 12 Apr 1884; Roll 39 Box 135 case number 1186 - 8 Aug 1883) stating she had been a resident of this county for more than six years.  On 6 July 1883 husband Benjamin had been extremely cold and distant towards her; on 27 July 1883 he assaulted her with a table while she was eating.  He yelled, "D**** you, if you don't get out of this room, I will smash you."  Catherine left.

            This desperate housewife requested a restraining order to keep Benjamin from disposing of his real estate, Lots 24 and 25 in Edgerton's 2nd Addition, Bryan, which had several mortgages attached.  She also presented a list of goods owned by Benjamin, valued at $455 such as horses, wagons, a cook stove, and dishes.  By April 1884 the case was continued and apparently neither party took any further action until Nov 1886 (Journal 14 p79, 143, 263 - 16 Dec 1887) when Catherine appeared again requesting a temporary restraining order to keep Ben from selling the real estate.  The court awarded her $200 in June 1887 as alimony and on 16 Dec 1887 she was granted a divorce. 


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