Plenty of Tasty Talk in Williams County, Ohio, Divorce 


Pamela Pattison Lash

Highly improper conduct can vary from one geographical and historical era to another. The reader can determine if this early Williams Co, OH couple was inundated with accusations from nosey neighbors and concerned relatives. If they had been left alone, perhaps there would not have been a divorce or was this action justified? You decide.

Roll 7 Box 22 (#11) of the Williams Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court Records in Nov 1848 tells the tale of a couple who lived in this county about ten years before tongues wagged and reputations were ruined but eventually one of the parties appears to have rebuilt a damaged name and was accepted by society in Florence Twp, Wms Co, OH.  Obviously, other details had to be pieced together from various sources.

            George W. Perkey was born 28 Nov 1815 in Columbiana Co, OH, the ninth of ten known children in the family of Daniel and Sarah Firestone Perkey.  George married Elizabeth Richey, daughter of Abraham and Catherine Glass Richey in Butler Twp, Columbiana Co, OH on 18 Sept 1837 where Elizabeth was born c. 1816.  Her parents were also married there on 26 Feb 1815.  The Richey family lived there according to the 1820 federal census where father Abraham later died in 1823.  Peter Richey was named both the administrator of the estate and the guardian for minors Elizabeth, William, Isaac, and Rebecca Richey.  In Columbiana Co, widow Catherine Richey married widower John Allomong, a native of Berks Co, PA, and sometime in the 1840's they moved to Florence Twp, Section 8. 

            Perhaps earlier the young Perkey couple traveled here in June 1838 and the couple was enumerated in the 1840 Florence Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p232 as George W. Perky with male under 5 =1, m 20-30 =1, female under 5 = 1, and female 20-30 = 1.  Other records indicate that they had at least 4 children, 2 of each gender; one son, Daniel or David Perky is known to have lived to be enumerated in later census records.

            Depositions from neighbors abound with sordid details of Elizabeth's improper conduct with William Demming between the summer of 1845 to Feb 1846, and again in Aug 1846.  People were called before the Wms Co court to state their claims.  Some of those called were James McClenan of Florence Twp, Sarah and James W. Welsh formerly of this twp but in 1846 living in Celina, Mercer Co, OH, David and Martin Perky, Lydia Sickles of Richland Twp, Steuben Co, IN, and Henry Rummell also of Steuben Co who was the brother-in-law of George Perkey.  All told tales of secret meetings between Elizabeth and William Demming down in the marsh.  Sometime later this couple took a sleigh ride together which the neighborhood felt was highly improper.  Lydia Sickles related that in Aug 1846 Elizabeth and William were living together as husband and wife but she did not state where this alleged cohabitation took place.  On 17 Dec 1846 George Perkey told the court "his wife had prostituted herself to the purpose of fornication and adultery with William Demming".  A published statement to that effect appeared in a local newspaper on 27 Sept 1848.  By Nov 1848 George was granted a divorce but he had to pay the court costs. 

What happened to George after this is not known at this time, but on 8 Sept 1850 Elizabeth Richey Perkey married widower Cyrenus Palmer in Wms Co, OH (V2 p113) and is enumerated with Cyrenus in the 1850 Florence Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p62B as Palmer, Cyrenus 50 NY, Elizabeth 35 OH, several Palmer children, and Daniel Perkey 7 OH.  They were also listed in the 1860 Florence Twp census, PO Lukes Corners, p19 as Cyrus Palmer 61 NY, Elizabeth 44 OH, William H. 8 OH, Margaret 7 IN, and Silas Palmer 4 OH.  By the 1870 Florence Twp census, Edon, p12, William H. Palmer is living with his step grandfather, John Allomong 74 PA and step uncle Joseph Allomong and his family. His father Cyrenus died in 1864 and his mother Elizabeth passed away in 1899 in Kansas.

Elizabeth known as "Betsey" and Cyrenus Palmer were the parents of William Henry (27 Mar 1852 - 13 Apr 1917; m1 Annie J. Stewart; m2 Celestia Prough); Margaret 1853 IN - aft 1905) and Silas (1856 OH - aft 1905).  Elizabeth's stepfather, John Allomong, was first married to Julianna Elizabeth Rarick who died in Columbiana Co, OH 17 Feb 1827, probably in childbirth.  One of their sons, Joseph Allomong united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, leaving the Lutheran faith; father John Allomong was not pleased with this switch and John refused to give Joseph an 80 acre farm in Florence Twp.  Joseph moved to Alvarado, Richland Twp, Steuben Co, IN and eventually farmed 456 acres there.  Joseph also switched to the United Brethren Church because there was no close Episcopal Church in his neighborhood. 

Henry Rummell, George Perkey's brother-in-law, had married George's older sister Elizabeth Perkey and they were the parents of 16 children.  Another older Perkey sister, Sarah, had married Robert Carlin and they too lived in Richland Twp, Steuben Co, IN.  One of their sons would eventually become the Superintendent of the Steuben County Schools.  The Carlins are buried in NW Twp, Wms Co, OH in the Columbia Cemetery.  Elizabeth Richey Perkey Palmer's mother and stepfather are buried in the Leggett Cemetery, Florence Twp, having died 18 July 1859 @67Y 4M 13D (Catherine Allomong) and 31 Mar 1872 @75Y 8M 13D (John Allomong).  

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