Two Physicians' Children
 Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1884  
Pamela Pattison Lash


            The notion that divorce is more prevalent back in the day by people with little education and few resources is definitely false.  This genealogical detailing concerns two Williams County, Ohio doctors who had social status and more resources than most in the 1870-1880 period.  Their respective son and daughter married but money became an issue that landed them in divorce court.

            In the 1870 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census, p36, one finds JH Everett, a physician, 59 VA with family of wife Rebecca 44 OH, Mabel 18 OH, and Charles 13 OH.  Jonathan Everett died in Wms Co, OH on 9 Feb 1877 (Deaths V1 p41) leaving his son Charles as head of the house.  In 1874 he owned property in Bryan and his widow, according to the 1894 Wms Co Atlas, owned land in Center Twp, Section32.  Mrs. Rebecca Everett was also a leading member in the Bryan Library Association as of 1882.

            In the 1870 Center Twp federal census, p39, another physician was enumerated as Daniel Caulkins 46 NH, Lydia 46 VA, Mary 16 OH, Alice 14 OH, John M 12 OH, Lucy 10 OH, and Rose 2 OH.  Dr. Caulkins, b. 1824, NH, received collegate training at the school of Bishop Peck while working his way through college.  He earned degrees in medicine, law, and theology.  He read a poem during the county's Centennial Celebration on 4 July 1876.  The Caulkins family had lived in Greenvile, Knox Co, OH before settling in NW Ohio. He practiced medicine at Farmer (Defiance Co), Bryan, and Williams Center for many years; he was listed in the 1860 Washington Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p815, as Daniel Caulkins, physician; he had served in the Mexican-American War, and also taught medical courses after the war.  He also began designing airships in the 1860's and tried to construct a flying machine.  While fever was prevalent in the county in 1860 he never lost a patient, treating each fever case as "typhus fever."

            Within their social circles both families would get together and form tight friendships.  Possibly upon the death of Dr. Everett, Dr. Caulkins took on the role as protector of the family.  Charles Everett married Lucy J. Caulkins in Bryan on 31 Aug 1879 (Marriages V4 p642).  In the 1880 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census Charles Everett was listed as 23 OH clerk along with wife Lucy 19 OH and his mother RC 53 OH.  In the 1880 Washington Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p237D, Lucy’s father, Daniel Caulkins, was listed as Daniel 53 NH doctor.  Mother Lydia had died and Daniel remarried a Caroline M (unknown maiden name) sometime after the 1880 census was taken.

All was not a happy alliance as discovered in Journal 11 p571, Roll 38 case number 1088 for 29 Dec 1882 of the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court.  Lucy requested a divorce from Charles citing gross neglect.  She stated that in Aug 1881 Charles had abandoned her and refused to offer any financial support.  She told the court that he was worth $1800 and Lucy wanted a reasonable alimony.  Charles appeared in court disputing his net worth, saying it was much lower.  The court allowed Lucy separation money but denied her a divorce. 

From Journal 12 p28 Lucy appeared in court again on 1 March 1883 and said she had been to the Paulding Co, OH divorce court on 4 Jan 1883 requesting a divorce and more alimony but the court told her to petition the Williams County court again, which she did.  The court found Charles had abandoned her and a separation existed.  It set permanent alimony of $300 and from a later record (Journal 12 p354 - 24 Nov 1884) the court finally granted her a divorce.  This came almost two years after the initial filing. 

Nothing further is directly known of this couple, but in 1895 Lucy's father, Dr. Daniel Caulkins, moved to Toledo and spent his remaining years practicing medicine, designing his airship that used gas, and publishing a book, Aerial Navigation.  According to the 1900 Toledo, Lucas Co, OH federal census p220, Daniel was enumerated as Daniel July 1824 (75) NH physician, married 20 years, and wife Caroline M May 1843 (57) no birthplace. He died in Toledo in 1905.  The Neil Armstrong Space Museum at Wapakoneta, Ohio had a display as of 1975 honoring him for his interests in flight.  According to Dr. Caulkins' obituary four daughters and son, JM Caulkins of Bryan, survived him. The daughters listed were Mrs. AB Replogle, Mrs. Perry Humbert, and Mrs. Fred Cress, all of Toledo, and Mrs. Martin Zimmerman of Bryan.  Checking the 1900 and 1880 census I was able to place Mrs. Perry Humbert as Rose Annette Caulkins, Mrs. Replogle as Mary Ellen Caulkins, and Mrs. Martin Zimmerman as Alice Caulkins; this leaves Mrs. Fred Cress as the candidate for Lucy, but currently there is no further information.


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