Like Father, Like Son
Three Divorces in Williams Co, OH?
1876, 1880, 1886
By Pamela Pattison Lash
A Civil War veteran settled in
Williams Co, OH with his first wife who later died, leaving him with seven
children. He married for a second time to a divorcee with five children of her
own. That marriage did not work out and ended up in the divorce court. Our
blacksmith by trade next married a third time to a twice-widowed lady and they
had two more children. In the meantime one of his sons from the first marriage
followed his father's example and married but was soon divorced within a two
year span. This genealogical detailing shows a sociological pattern that many
families experience; just as today divorce is a more familiar domestic affair
with some but not with others.
Jonathan Kosier, Jr., b. 28
Sept 1832, Perry Co, PA, the son of Jonathan and Mary Ann Culbertson Koser, Sr.,
of Mifflin, Cumberland Co, PA, first married Catherine Rhoads, 9 Jan 1855,
Richland Co, OH. Prior to his
marriage Jonathan Jr. should have been enumerated with his parents and siblings
in the federal census of 1850 for Mifflin Twp, but he was not; perhaps since he
would have been 18 years old, he may have been training as an apprentice
blacksmith elsewhere. His bride,
Catherine, b. 1 Dec 1832, PA, may be a relative of Daniel and Susannah Rhoads
who later moved to Wms Co. In the
1860 Millcreek Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census, p123b, one finds the Kosier
family as Jonathan 27 PA, blacksmith; Catherine 27 PA; I.M. (male) 4 OH; A.B.
(female) 2 OH; and twins, Joseph and Josephine 11/12 OH.
Note the surname change of Koser to Kosier.
This PA blacksmith heard the call to arms of the Union Army and enlisted
in the Civil War as a private of Co F 182nd OVI on 5 Sept 1864 and
was later discharged with the rank of corporal.
Interestingly enough, another blacksmith, David Kosier of Millcreek Twp,
most likely Jonathan's brother, enlisted in the same company two days earlier
and rose to the rank of sergeant. This
David Kosier married Anna Eliza Ozmun, 20 July 1863 and he died 12 Apr 1925,
Edon, Florence Twp, Wms Co, OH. David
was buried in the West Franklin Cem, Franklin Twp, Fulton Co, OH.
By the 1870 Millcreek Twp federal census p29,
the family had grown as follows: Jonathan 37 PA blacksmith; Catherine 37
PA; Alexander 14 OH; Alice Verona 12 OH; Joseph 10 OH; Josephine 10 OH; Rosanna
8 OH; George W. 6 OH; Cora 4 OH; and Samuel Kosier 24 PA, probably Jonathan's
younger brother. Another child,
Lilly M. (b. 29 July 1870; d. 19 Oct 1871), was the first of the family to be
buried in the West Franklin Cem, Fulton Co, OH.
Mother Catherine Kosier who passed away on 29 Sept 1873 (Wms Co, OH
Deaths, V1 p23) joined her. Jonathan
was listed in the 1874 Wms Co, OH Atlas as the owner of several lots in the
village of Hamer in Millcreek Twp.
Our blacksmith did not remarry until 6 May 1877, Amboy Twp, Hillsdale Co,
MI (Lib E-228). His new bride, Mrs.
Hulda Retan, did not wish to stay married very long as she deserted Jonathan on
10 Aug 1877 and moved to Gall River, Isabella Co, MI, where she resided when
Jonathan sought a divorce. According
to the Wms Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court Records, Journal 11 p79 - 24 Dec
1880, and Roll 36 case number 809 - Nov 1880, Jonathan requested this divorce on
the basis of Hulda's willful absence from him for more than three years.
His case was quickly settled and the divorce was granted.
Prior to this marriage and divorce according to the Wms Co Civil and
Criminal Court Records (Roll 30 case number 60 - July 1876) Mrs. Hulda Retan,
b.c. 1834, NY, sought a divorce from her errant husband, William H. Retan, b.c.
1830 NY. The couple was married at
Wells, Bradford Co, PA on 1 Apr 1852. Hulda
listed her children's names and ages as of 1876 as follows: Marion S. 21,
Harrison E. 18, Edgar Herman 16, Francis 8, and Netta Sophia 6.
She stated that her husband had willfully absented himself from her for
more than three years and during that time had not provided any food or clothing
for his family. William Retan lived
in Morenci, Lenawee Co, MI at the time of this divorce.
In the 1870 federal census the Retans lived in Wright Twp, Hillsdale Co,
MI, PO Hudson, p576. In the 1880
Morenci, Lenawee Co, MI federal census p442B William Retan lived with a new
wife, Charlotte from Vermont, who was 16 years his senior.
Obviously Hulda was looking for someone to take care of her and her minor
children and she thought that someone was Jonathan Kosier, but she became
dissatisfied with the arrangement and left Jonathan just as William Retan had
In 1880 Jonathan was enumerated in the West Unity, Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH
federal census as Jonathan 47 PA, living alone and still following the
occupation of blacksmith. Where his
minor children were is not known at this time.
On 20 Nov 1880 in Clayton, Lenawee Co, MI, Jonathan tried his marital
luck again and married Mrs. Angeline Babcock Rowley Sell.
Wms Co, OH Birth Records, V2 p54 and 78, contain info on the births of
the couple's two daughters, both born in Millcreek Twp: Bessy E., b. 9 Sept 1883
and Laura A., b. 20 Sept 1885.
Angeline Marie Babcock was born on 10 July 1842, Clayton, Lenawee Co, MI
to Herman and Eliceva Darrow Babcock. She
first married Warren K. Rowley on 23 Feb 1858 in Hudson, Lenawee Co, MI.
Warren, b. 2 Dec 1831, Brutus, Cayuga Co, NY, was the son of Caleb Smith
and Sophia Bidlack Rowley. Warren
enlisted in Co H 18th Infantry as a musician during the Civil War and
died in the explosion of the prisoner ship, Sultana,
near Memphis, TN, on 27 Apr 1865. Warren
and Angeline were the parents of two children: George Henry (30 Jan 1859 - 11
Feb 1915, Lenawee Co, MI) and Orvina A (b.c. 1861 - ?).
On 11 Oct 1870 Angeline married Peter Sell (b. c. 1836, PA) in Medina,
Lenawee Co, MI. Nothing further is
known at this time concerning her second marriage.
Jonathan Kosier died on 17 Oct 1921 and was buried beside his first wife
in the West Franklin Cemetery. His
widow Angeline applied for and received a widow's pension for his service in the
war. Ten years later on 6 July 1931
in West Unity, Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH, Angeline died and was also buried in the
West Franklin Cem.
father Jonathan Kosier’s second son, Joseph D., a twin, was born on 19 June
1859 in Wms Co, OH, and was enumerated in the 1880 Millcreek Twp federal census
p493 as Joseph 20 OH laborer, living with the John Bavin family.
On 29 May 1884, in Jefferson Twp, Wms Co, OH (V5 #489) Joseph married
Mary Emma Shive, the daughter of Jacob and Rachel Hoskinson Shive.
Emma was born on 22 Aug 1865, Jefferson Twp, Wms Co, OH.
Her parents were married in this county on 25 Jan 1863 (Marriage V3 p290)
and she appeared on the 1870 census roll with them in Jefferson Twp p20 as Jacob
Shive 53 OH, Rachel 48 VA, Mary E. 6 OH. The
Shives were buried in West Jefferson Cemetery, Jefferson Twp, Wms Co, OH as
Jacob Shive (5 Jan 1817 - 27 Aug 1898) and Rachel Shive (7 May 1822 - 22 Apr
to the Williams Co, OH Civil and Criminal Court Records Mary E. Kosier sought
and was granted a divorce from Joseph Kosier on 19 June 1886 based on evidence
of gross neglect from Journal 13 p577 and Roll 43 case number 1629.
Mary and her daughter were compelled to live on the charity of friends as
Joseph refused to provide them with anything or to cohabitate with Mary.
Mary stated that he left them and his last known address was West Unity,
OH. Mary Emma was allowed $500
alimony, was restored to her maiden name Shive, and was given custody of the
couple's minor daughter, Dorothy Jane.
after the divorce Mary Emma married Willis William Colon, son of Stephen and
Lucinda Johnson Colon, on 18 July 1886 (Wms Co, OH Marriages V5 #855).
Their seven children were: Orison Vernon, Ira Ernest, Hosia Orvilla,
an unnamed baby (died at birth), Alma Robertia, Charles Merl and Hazel. Mary's
daughter, Dorothy Kosier, married John W. Murbach in Wms Co on 29 Mar 1902
(Marriages V8 p349).
Kosier died on 23 Sept 1895 (Wms Co, OH Deaths V3 p71) and was buried with his
parents in West Franklin Cemetery. While driving his buggy near West Unity,
Joseph fell forward across the dashboard, striking his neck; he died from either
breaking his neck or from stragulation (“Bryan Press”, 26
Sept 1895). Mary Emma Colon died of
heart disease on 19 Apr 1900 and was laid to rest in Floral Grove Cemetery, West
Unity, OH. Her second husband, William Colon, later married Lucinda Werder Farr,
widow of Isaac Farr, who along with five Farr children added three Colon
children to the family.