She Didn’t Want to March to the Beat of His Drum or His Fist  

No Divorce, 1870-74, Williams Co, OH

by Pamela Lash 

            The couple was married in Defiance Co, OH on 22 Jan 1855 (Marriage V1 p106). Sophia born Apr 1837, OH, was the daughter of James and Lucinda Burke; the Burke family was enumerated in the 1850 Farmer Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p66-67, as James 37 OH lawyer, Lucinda 35 OH, Sophia 15 OH, Margaret J 13 OH, Alonzo 10 OH, Shaler 8 OH, Rachel A 5 OH, and Martin Struble 23 OH farmer.  By 1860 Sophia’s father owned and operated the Burke House in Bryan.

            Israel Riley Whitmore, born Nov 1819, PA, parentage unknown, married  Lydia Wickwire, daughter of Seba and Nancy Duesler Wickwire in Sandusky Co, OH on 16 Apr 1846.  Lydia died in 1848. Her father Seba was a veteran of the War of 1812 and owned about 1,0000 acres of land in the Clyde, Sandusky Co, OH area.

            According to the 1860 Bryan, Pulaski Twp federal census, p183B, the Whitmore family was recorded as IR 40 PA carpenter, Sophia 21 IN, James 3 OH, and unnamed female 1/12 OH.  In the 1870 Bryan federal census, p15, the family was listed as Riley 50 PA millwright, Sophia 35 OH, James R 13 OH, and Julia 10 OH.  Stories of Fountain City, Van Gundy, 1975, p126, mentioned IR Whitmore and his family, who lived in a frame house on the southeast corner of North Main and Mulberry Street.  He was a carpenter and millwright who repaired the old Pulaski Mill and reconstructed the Bowman Mill on Lick Creek.  Being a large man, IR played a big drum in the village brass band, was a Civil War veteran in the 38th OVI playing in the regimental band, and was "fond of pugilistic encounters."  He mustered out as Musician Third Class.

            From the Williams Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court Records found in Journal 7 p522; Journal 8 p198 - 10 Mar 1874; Roll 23 case number 12 - Oct 1870; Roll 26 case number 19 – 1872, Sophia, a resident of Ohio for more than 12 years, stated the couple had children, James R (13) and Julia Ann (10).  IR was seized in fee simple of real estate, Lot 96, Bryan, valued at $2500.  Sophia had land in Bryan in her own right.  On 15 Sept 1870 he was extremely cruel by kicking and striking her at home, causing her to be sick and unable to attend to her duties.  He kicked her out of the home and kept the children.  IR was a habitual drunk for three years or more.  He did not provide food or clothing for her or the children.  He said he would sell his property and dispose of the cash so she could not benefit and he threatened to take the children.  She later asked for the action to be dismissed.

            Sophia came to court again in 1872 and claimed the same charges, abuse, intoxication, and fear of having no home.  Israel was extremely cruel to her on 10 Oct 1871 and they had children, James R (15) and Julia Ann (12).  He owned property lots in Bryan.  Sophia later dismissed the action. Whether there was an actual divorce or just a separation of many miles has not been determined.

            In the 1880 Delaware, Defiance Co, OH Federal Census, p159B, Israel Whitmore lived in a boarding house and was listed as 59 PA with parents from PA as well; his occupation was millwright.  He still resided in Ohio as of 17 July 1890 when he filed for a Civil War serviceman’s pension.  By the 1900 Jefferson Twp, Montgomery Co, OH Federal Census p18A, Israel was 80 PA living in the Central Branch, National Home for Disabled Veterans; his occupation was still millwright and he was identified as divorced.  Israel died on 2 June 1903 and was buried at the Dayton National Cemetery; his burial record stated he was a former resident of Clyde, OH.

            In the 1880 Mission, Shawnee Co, KS Federal Census, p224, Sophia and her children lived with her parents as follows (all Ohio natives): James Burke 67 farmer, Lucinda 65, James Whitmore 22, Julia 20, Sophia 43, and Albert Titus 22 servant; Sophia was listed as a widow, although her husband was clearly still alive back in Ohio.  In the 1900 Wichita, Sedgwick Co, KS Federal Census p35, Sophia, 63 IN, is again listed as a widow with 2 living children; she was born in Indiana with PA native parents and she resided with her son-in-law and daughter, Levi and Julia (40 OH) Fisher plus their four children.  Julia was enumerated as having a father born in NY and a mother born in Indiana.  Nothing more is currently known concerning Sophia.


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