Tarnished Reputation in Wms Co, OH,
By Pamela Pattison
They done her wrong, or at least
someone had a nasty tongue and would spread the most evil stories about her.
In the 1850’s a lady’s reputation was the most important aspect of
her being and the worst thing to happen to any lady would be to have that
reputation tarnished. So is the story I’m about to relate.
Roll 8 case number 12 Box 24 of Civil and Criminal Court Records for
Williams County, OH, October Term (a hold over case from the April Term 1850)
shows the following case of Christiana Ritchey v Nathan Hazen.
Christiana Ritchey was an
unmarried woman who has always behaved and conducted herself well until
committing the alleged grievances brought forth by Nathan Hazen, a neighbor and
inhabitant of her vicinity. Christiana
objected to the false, malicious, and defamatory words of Nathan Hazen who said
she was guilty of fornication, adultery, and unchastely.
On 15 Dec 1849 in Wms Co he falsely accused and attacked her in the
presence of other neighbors that she has been delivered of a child (later two
children mentioned in the case), a Jeremiah Ritchey.
On 15 Feb 1850 Hazen called her a strumpet and a lewd woman, even before
she came to this county. Her
attorney was SE Blakeslee. Witnesses called for the plaintiff were Henry
Rummel, Henry Sheets, Charles Gideon, Hannah Sheets, Harvey Depuy, and John
Nathan Hazen appeared in court
with his attorney, of Case and Smith Law Firm, and stated in Bulford Twp,
Cuyahoga Co, OH Christena had illicit and sexual intercourse on 1 May 1846 and
other times with Thomas Sheets and Martin Sheets in a cornfield belonging
to Benjamin Clayton. It was implied
that she may have had relations with Hazen as well. Nothing more was found in
Christina Ritchey, daughter of
Jacob and Sophia Glass Ritchey, was born in 1826 Columbiana Co, OH.
Her father, Jacob Ritchey, was b 1796 and died 24 Feb 1846 in Ashland Co,
OH; her mother Sophia Glass was b 26 Sept 1796 in Franklin Twp, York Co, PA.
After the father died, the mother Sophia Ritchey moved to Bridgewater
Twp, Wms Co, OH and the family was enumerated in the 1850 Bridgewater Twp
federal census p47 – 21 Sept 1850 as Ritchey, Sophia 50 MA, Peter 31 OH
farmer, Chasuna (f) 24 OH, Lewis 22 OH, Margret 20 OH. Jeremiah 16 OH, Sophia 14
OH, and Mariah 11 OH.
in Wms Co, OH show various property sales as follows: Vol 1
(1824-1855)Grantor: John Woolf of Columbiana Co, OH; Grantee: Margaret Ritchey,
a girl that was raised in my family, of Columbiana Co, OH; Ref Vol 4 p231 – 6
Apr 1837 $200 sold to him at Lima Land Office dated 24 May 1836, 80A, E 1/2 of
NW 1/4 Sec 18 T7N R3E;
Grantor: John Woolf of Columbiana Co, OH; Grantee: Jacob
Ritchey of Columbiana Co, OH; Ref Vol 5 p49 – 15 Apr 1837; $300 sold at Lima
Land Office, 80 A dated 24 May 1836, W 1/2 SE 1/4 Sec 7 T7N R3E. Grantor: Jacob
and Sophia Ritchey of Columbiana Co, OH; Grantee: Christena Ritchey of
Columbiana Co, OH; Ref Vol 5 p401 – 11 Oct 1839; 80 A $400 W 1/2 SE sec &
T7N R3E; Grantor: Christena Ritchey of Columbiana Co, OH; Grantee: Peter Ritchey
of Columbiana Co, OH; Ref Vol 7 p163 – 24 Oct 1842; $100 W 1/2 of SE 1/4 Sec 7
NR3E +; Grantor: Peter and Lucinda Ritchey of Williams Co, OH; Grantee: Joseph
Cummings; Ref Vol 8 p22 – 29 Jan 1845; $75 W 1/2 SE 1/4 Sec 7 T7N R3E;
Grantor: Jeremiah Ritchey and wife, Margaret Gilbert; Grantee: Peter Ritchey;
Ref Vol 11 p582 – 7 Jan 1852; $20 Town Lots in Montpelier, OH #75 & 138.
Shortly after the defamation of character suit Christenia Ritchie married
Charles S. Gideon in Wms Co, OH V2 p122 – 8 Jan 1852.
The Sheets family appeared in the 1850 Madison Twp, Wms Co, OH federal
census p34 as of 15 Sept 1850 as Sheats,
Martin 27 OH carpenter, Eliza 19 OH, and Abagail 2 OH; Sheats, Henry 29 OH
farmer, Hannah 28 OH, Mary 8 OH, Mariah 7 OH, Malissa 4 OH, Abner 2 OH, and Mary
2 OH. From the 1860 Madison Twp,
Wms Co, OH federal census, p202 one finds this family enumerated as Sheets, MB
38, Eliza 29, Abigail 12, Sarah 8, and George 3; Sheets, Henry 45 OH, Hannah 40
OH, Mary 19 OH, Maria 18 OH, Melissa 14 OH, Abner 11 OH, Nancy 11 OH, Henry 5/12
OH, and Lewellen, Mary 17 NJ.
Henry Sheets ran for the Wms Co,
OH Recorder position in 1860 and won as the Democrat candidate.
In 1852 his cabin was often used as a school in Madison Twp and he served
as a teacher in District #4 of Jefferson Twp as well. (History of Williams Co,
OH, Goodspeed, 1882, p260, 422, 474). In
1863 he and his family moved to Bourbon, IN and in 1873 they resided in Inwood,
IN. On 3 Mar 1887 they moved to
Sand Lake, MI.
The accuser, Nathan S. Hazen, was b
23 Jan 1827 OH, the son of Henry and Abigail Lewellan Hazen. Nathan’s parents
were married in Columbiana Co, OH (Marriage V2 p166) on 24 Dec 1823. Henry Hazen
was b 19 Sept 1802 Greene Co, PA and d Jul 1878 Deer Lick, Wms Co, OH; Abigail
Lewellyn Hazen was b 12 Jan 1804 NJ and d 8 Feb 1855 @53Y 27D with burial in
Cogswell Cem, Bridgewater Twp, Wms Co, OH. He married Eliza J. Mercer, the
daughter of John and Mary Dilworth Mercer in Wms Co, OH (Marriages V2 p104 –
12 Oct 1848); she was b 1837 Ravenna Twp, Portage Co, OH and died bef 1874 Wms
Co, OH. John Mercer, her father, was b 3 June 1794 PA and d 8 Feb 1878 Jefferson
Twp, Wms Co, OH with burial in the West Jefferson Cem.
The Hazen family was enumerated in the 1850 Madison Twp, Wms Co, OH
federal census p34 as Hazen, Henry 48 OH carpenter, Abigail 44 NJ, Lervis 17 OH,
Henry 12 OH; Hazen, Nathan 23 OH no/occup, and Elv** (f) 18
OH. They were again listed in the 1860 Madison Twp federal census p202 as Hazen,
Nathan 35 OH, Eliza 28 OH, David 6 OH, Albert 5 OH – b 1854 OH, and Henrietta
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