Bowling Green Is No Place to Raise a Daughter

by Pamela Pattison Lash


William S. Sears v Esther Brewer Sears (Journal 12 p111 - 13 June 1883; p197 - 4 Jan 1884; p331 - 15 June 1884; Roll 39 Box 139 case number 1127 - Mar 1883)

            A Methodist minister married the couple in Trumansburg, Tompkins Co, NY on 8 Apr 1876.  William, b. 5 Oct 1852 in NY, was the son of Benjamin P. and Elvira Shannon Sears.  In the 1870 Hector, Schuyler Co, NY federal census p553, the Sears family was listed as Benjamin P 50 NY farm laborer, Elvira 43 NY, William S 18 NY farm laborer, and Adell Thornton 17 DC domestic.  By the 1880 Bowling Green, Wood Co, OH federal census, the family moved and increased to Benjamin P 61 NY, Elvira 53 NY, William S 28 NY, Esther 22 NY, and Elvira 3 OH.  Esther Brewer, b Oct 1856 NY, was the daughter of William Augustus and Martha Brewer, also NY natives.  In the 1860 Lodi, Seneca Co, NY federal census p499, the Brewers were listed as Augustus 28 NY, Martha 22 NY, Abraham 6 NY, Esther 5 NY, Sarah 3 NY, and Kate 10/12 NY.  The 1870 Trumansburg, Tompkins Co, NY federal census p412, listed the Brewers as Augustus 38 NY blacksmith, Martha 36 NY, Abram 16 NY, Esther 14 NY, Sarah 12 NY, Mahala 10 NY, Zora 8 NY, and William 3 NY. 

            William charged Esther with willfully abandoning him three years ago.  He had a deposition from his father, BP Sears of Bowling Green, Wood Co, OH, who stated that he (BP) lived with William and his family and that Esther left on Feb 1880 and returned to NY.  "William doesn't own any property, real or personal."  The couple had a daughter Elvira, b June 1877 and Esther by deposition wanted custody.  She stated she did not have any support from William and she wanted $50 as an allowance until this matter was resolved.  Esther received custody of Elvira and alimony; William received a divorce and paid the court costs after this case was continued several times.

            In the 1900 Ulysses, Tompkins Co, NY federal census p12B, Esta Sears 43 married 24 years with 1 child was head of household with daughter Elvira June 1878 (22) OH clerk in cigar store.  By the 1910 federal census for that location p275, Esther 54 NY married with one child lived with her parents WA Brewer 77 NY and Martha 72 NY.  Note that even though Esther was divorced she continued to be known as a married lady with the surname Sears.

            William S. Sears married an Emily sometime after the divorce 1883-1884 and the birth of his son, Harold F. Sears, 1890 OH.  William was buried in the Oak Grove Cem, Bowling Green, Wood Co, OH where his parents also lie in repose; his wife Emily died in 29 Oct 1927. 



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