Catherine (Gares) Baum vs. Thomas J. Baum

He Deserted His Family for a Honey in Nebraska, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1886

            The wife received custody of the minor children and alimony of $200 while the husband willfully absented himself from the family obligations, proving his character unfit in regard to the care of his children.

            Catherine Gares, born c1846 OH, was the daughter of German immigrants, Jacob and Mary Gares.  They were enumerated in the 1850 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p13, as Jacob 44 DEU, Mary 40 DEU, Peter 13 DEU, Charles 10 NY, John 8 OH, Catherine 4 OH, Sarah 2 OH, and Mary 7/12 OH.  The family resided in West Unity as shown by the 1860 Brady Twp federal census p149, as Jacob Gares 54 DEU, Mary 50 DEU, John 17 OH, Catherine 14 OH, Sarah 12 OH, Mary 10 OH, and Louise 4 OH.  Jacob, a Civil War veteran, and wife Mary died on 28 Nov 1876 and 9 Sept 1885, respectively, and were buried in Floral Grove Cem, West Unity.

            Catherine married Thomas J. Baum on 31 Mar 1864, Wms Co, OH (Marriages V3 p369).  Thomas and his family were enumerated in the 1870 Brady Twp federal census p10, as Thomas J. Baum 28 OH, Catherine 24 OH, Mary E 3 OH, and Angeline 2 OH.  They lived close by to Catherine’s parents and siblings.  Through the Williams Co, OH  birth records one learns that the family increased with the births of Jason, born 22 Aug 1874 (V1 p73) and Alta, born 13 Dec 1875 (V1 p83), both in Brady Twp.

            In the fall of 1885 Thomas abandoned his family.  Prior to this from 21 Mar 1885 – 25 Mar 1885 he traveled to Hardin Co, Nebraska with Alma Coffee.  From there they moved to Stratton, Hitchcock Co, NE and lived openly together until 8 May 1885.  In Dundy Co, NE they stayed until 1 Sept 1885 when he returned home.  Catherine sought a divorce in Apr 1886 when she appeared before the Williams Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court (Journal 13 p496 - 2 June 1886; Roll 43 Box 144 case number 1626 – 1 Apr 1886) and testified to the above-mentioned dates and circumstances of desertion and adultery.

            She also told the court that Thomas used obscene and profane language in the presence of the minor daughters, now Anna 17, and Alta 10.  Thomas had borrowed $1,000 from her at the time of their wedding and she wanted this paid back.  She owned a house and lot in Barley, Guthrie Co, IA valued at $500.  Thomas had personal property valued at $800, which he left behind, such as a cook stove and furniture.  Catherine wanted these items as well as a divorce.  She told the court that Thomas’ last known address was Norwalk, Huron Co, OH.  A legal notice of divorce appeared in the Bryan Press, on 1 June 1886. The court granted Catherine a divorce, alimony of $500, and custody of the minor daughters.  Nothing is further known of Catherine, Thomas, or his Nebraska sweetheart, Alma Coffee.


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