of the Bigamist Bride, Divorce in Williams County, Ohio, 1848
Sometimes the husband was the last to know. This genealogical detailing
ponders the question, why didn't he know? Here's what the records reveal.
Nuchter aka Bonaparte Nichter was married on 3 Aug 1845 in Wms Co, OH to Susan
Flora or Flowers (Marriage V1 p84). Bonaparte
and his older brother Joseph were immigrants from Germany who settled in Wms Co
between 1840-1845. Their oldest brother Jacob had inherited all the land and
property of their father and so they, plus other siblings, decided to seek their
fortunes in America. Their parents were Johannes Christian and Anna Katharina
Wiegard Nuchter. Another brother,
Peter, settled in Fort Wayne, IN.
b. 25 Mar 1808 in House #14, Unterstork, Fulda, Hesse, Germany, owned 80 acres
in Sec 9 and 16, Brady Twp. He and
his brother gave one acre for a church site and burial ground eventually known
as the Floral Grove Cemetery in West Unity. (The Advance Reporter,
to the Williams County, Ohio Civil and Criminal Court records (Roll 7 Box 22
case number 17 - July 1848) Bonaparte sued Susan for a divorce, claiming that
they were married on 1 July 1845 in Brady Twp; after a year of marriage he
learned that Susan was already married to a lawful husband in New Haven, Huron
Co, OH. At the time of Bonaparte's
marriage Susan said she was single, but she knew she wasn't.
On 1 Aug 1846 Susan left the bed and board of Bonaparte and stuck him
with debts contracted during the marriage.
Bonaparte stated that he had to pay off the creditors.
He summoned two witnesses, Adam and Rachel Nickerthina, who vouched for
his claims against Susan. The court
quickly granted him a divorce in July 1848 based on this fraudulent contract.
Nothing further is known of Susan and apparently no criminal action was
taken about Susan's bigamy.
The groom soon comforted his broken heart by marrying Margaret Belaugh/Billow
on 23 Nov 1848 in Wms Co (Marriage V2 p103).
The couple was enumerated in the 1850 Brady Twp federal census, p8B, as
Bonaparte 35 DEU, Margaret 31 DEU, and Louisa 1/12 OH.
By the 1860 West Unity, Brady Twp federal census, p149b, they were listed
as Bonaparte 52 DEU, Mary 42 DEU, Leora 10 OH, Margaret 7 OH, Jacob 6 OH,
Caroline 4 OH, and Elizabeth 2 OH.
to her obituary in The Advance Reporter,
Apr 1900, Margaret was born in Nordheim, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany on 28 Nov
1819. In 1844 she and her parents
immigrated to this country. She
married Bonaparte and had seven children, four of whom survived her.
She was a member of the German Methodist Episcopal Church and was buried
beside her husband in the Floral Grove Cemetery.
Anna Margaret Nichter died on 8 Apr 1900 @80Y 4M 10D while Bonaparte died
earlier on 2 July 1891 @83Y 3M 8D. Their
known children were Louisa Leora Karshner, Anna Margaret Lutz, Jacob, Caroline
Schmucker, Elizabeth Kunkle, and possibly George.
When Bonaparte's will was probated (Probate #3222), he left Margaret the
use of the home during her lifetime plus land and personal property to son Jacob
and money to daughters Louisa ($5), Anna Margaret ($425), Elizabeth ($425), plus
$100 to grandson Calvin Arthur Schmucker when he turned 21.
Louisa had received other money from him during his lifetime.
With regard to his bigamous wife Susan, there are questions of curiosity
to which we will not readily know the answers: How did Bonaparte find out about
this fraud? Did he know all the
time and decided when Susan left him to bring this out in court?
Was his second, actually first wife, Margaret, the real reason behind
this action? Did money and debt
play a bigger part in these proceedings?
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