Renaissance Man of Williams Co, OH - Divorce c. 1846


Pamela Pattison Lash

A Renaissance Man by definition is a fellow who is a "jack of all trades." This genealogical detailing pertains to a man who at one time in the Williams Co area followed the occupations of physician, lawyer, soldier, and newspaper editor.

Roll 6 Box 20 of the Wms Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court Records gave some details about our Renaissance Man that the local history books failed to mention.  Dr. Thomas H. Blaker, b.1820, PA, parentage unknown, married Elizabeth -- in Philadelphia, PA on 1 May 1839.  Six months later the couple moved to Cincinnati, OH and lived there until Aug 1842 when they traveled to Henia, Green Co, OH, and stayed there until moving to Bryan, OH in Oct 1845.  According to The History of Williams Co, OH, Weston Goodspeed, 1882, p267, Thomas established  The Northwestern, a newspaper that ran from 31 Oct 1845 to November 1846.  This was reported to be the first newspaper in the county and Blaker's partner was another well-known physician, Dr. Thomas Kent.

            Testimony in this divorce case stated that Dr. Thomas Blaker sued his wife, Elizabeth in June 1846.  In this Thomas charged that between Feb and Mar 1846 Elizabeth had "prostituted herself to the purposes of adultery with Dr. Thomas Kent of Bryan", his newspaper partner, and that Elizabeth threatened to destroy Dr. Blaker's personal property.  On 30 Mar 1846 Elizabeth assaulted her husband with a club.  On the next day he summoned the following women to court to testify to the shabby treatment he had received at her hands: Mary Monow, the mother of the newspaper printer, Sarah Connin, Mary Athy, Lucinda Casatt, and Betsey and Nancy Kent.  He was later granted his divorce.

            Whether this ex-wife Elizabeth went back home, possibly to Philadelphia, or stayed here is not definitely known, but there is a Defiance Co, OH marriage of an Elizabeth Blaker to a Robert Randall, 11 Apr 1847.  This Robert, a Virginia native, was a voter of Highland Twp in Defiance, 1845; he died in Defiance Twp, 18 Oct 1874 @73Y.  He is reported to have married an Elizabeth Arter, 8 Mar 1830 in Muskingum Co, OH, and had six known children. In the 1850 Defiance Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p16, the Randall family was listed as Robert 49 VA farmer, Elizabeth 30 PA, Alexander 19 OH, Felix 12 OH, Isaac 10 OH, and Henry 7 OH.  The family was enumerated in the 1860 Defiance Twp federal census as Robert 59 VA, Elizabeth 40 PA, Isaac 20 OH, and Henry 16 OH. Further research needs to be done to determine if our divorcee' was his second wife.  Thomas Kent, the former partner, published a notice in the Sept 1847 issue of The Northwestern, stating that he had sued his former employer (Blaker) and received a judgement for a total of $700.  He wanted to be paid what was due him.  In the 21 Jan 1848 issue of that paper there was a notice to remove Tom Blaker from the list of representatives to the Ohio General Assembly as he had removed from the county and returned to his former residence in Green Co, OH.

            Dr. Blaker healed his broken heart by marrying Mary Ann Huyck on 11 Nov 1849 (Wms Co, OH, V2 p108) and was enumerated in the 1850 German Twp, Fulton Co, OH federal census p357 on 4 Oct 1850 as Blaker, Thomas 30 physician PA and Mary Ann 20 OH.  By the 1860 Bryan, Pulaski Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p67 the family had grown: Blaker, Thomas H. 40 lawyer, PA; Mary A. 30 OH; Charles E 5 OH; and Albert P 2 OH.

            Mary Ann Huyck was born c. 1829 in Huron Co, OH, the eldest child of Lucinda Basil and John T. Huyck, natives of Connecticut and New York, respectively.  By 1844 Lucinda died after John Huyck moved his family to this area.  He later married Mrs. Elizabeth B. Gibbons Ferrier, widow of Andrew Ferrier, on 5 Mar 1844 (Wms Co, OH V1p73). 

            When the Civil War called men to service, Dr. Blaker joined the 80th OH REG as assistant surgeon and died 13 Nov 1862, Battle of Corinth.  His Wms Co, OH probate (#756) filed on 9 May 1863 left all his goods to widow Mary and even though he supposedly had legal training, he did not leave a will.  In 1863 Mrs. T.H. Blaker was the President of the Bryan Aid Society, doing her part for the war effort.  Further probate (#1204) showed the court set up guardianship for sons Albert and Charles on 23 Mar 1868. 

            Mary Ann Blaker married Bryan butcher Eli R. Bennett, 14 Sept 1863 (Wms Co, OH V3 p323).  In the 1870 Bryan, Pulaski Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p13, Charles Blaker 14 OH resided with E.R. Bennett and his sons Joseph Bennett 16 OH and Fred Bennett 3 OH.  What happened to Mary Ann now Mrs. Bennett is not known at this time, but there is a land transaction whereby Thomas Clodfelter and wife sold land to Mary A. Blaker Bennett (Wms Co Deeds V26 p596).  In the Bryan Democrat, 12 Feb 1891 p5, Al Blaker was badly crushed between two railroad cars; this could be the son of Dr. Thomas H. Blaker.

            Our Dr. Thomas Kent, son of Benjamin and Sarah Kent, was born in Loudon Co, VA, 30 Mar 1806 and was married four times.  The alleged affair would have taken place after his first wife died (27 Aug 1845) and before he married a second time in 1851.  He had seven children from his first wife, Elizabeth Garretson.  His other wives were Susan Amanda Carter, Hannah M. Edgar, and Sarah Kittredge.  Dr. Kent was a physician in Unity Twp, Columbiana Co, OH before setting up practice in the Pulaski area c. 1839.  He died in Bryan on 20 Mar 1883.  Drs. Kent and Blaker dissolved their newspaper partnership in Nov 1846, about five months after Dr. Blaker's divorce.  There is no known record as to whether the two ever associated with one another after this, except in court.


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