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A Bill of Divorce in Williams County, OH

 1868

By

Pamela Pattison Lash

Serious family researchers, if possible, should consult the civil and criminal records of the geographical areas where an ancestor resided.  There is a wealth of information available that can put flesh on the bones of these relatives.  Using this data I shall detail the life of several early Wms Co. settlers who deal with betrayal of trust, divorce, and assault.  I wish to thank Patricia Kennedy for all the information she shared on this couple.  I will now set the stage by introducing the couple and their families.

            Samuel Amsbaugh, the son of Adam and Tena E. Amsbaugh, was born on 1 May 1820 in Wheatfield Twp, Indiana Co, PA.  At the age of 30 Samuel married 14 year-old Adaline Osmun, the eldest daughter of Israel and Sarah A. Osmun, on 29 Oct 1850, Wms Co, OH.  Adaline was born in Chemung Co, NY, on 22 Mar 1836.

            Samuel’s father, Adam Johann was born on 2 Oct 1778 in Westmoreland Co, PA and died 12 Sept 1859 in Richland Co, OH.  By 1807 Adam paid taxes in Wheatfield Twp and later in 1833 purchased land in Auburn Twp, Richland Co, OH; he probably moved his family there by 1834 and farmed the land.  He wrote a will on 28 Aug 1856 which was probated on 19 Sept 1859, leaving his wife Tena $500 and his children certain monetary bequests: daughters in order of mention in the will were Catherine Gochenaur, Barbara Moch, Mary Moch, Nancy Cooper, Sarah Moss, Angeline Cypher; sons in order of mention were Michael, Valentine, Samuel (who received $90), George, Henry, Eli, Adam, and Archibald.

            Before his father’s death Samuel traveled to Wms Co 1842 and was a schoolteacher by profession.  He is found in the 1850 Millcreek Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census records living with the Israel Osmun family as follows: Israel Osmun, a farmer, 39 NY; Sarah Osmun 34 NY; George Osmun 16 NY; Adaline Osmun 14 NY; Emily Osmun 11 NY; Adelia Osmun 9 NY; Ann Osmun 6 NY; Samuel Osmun 2 OH; and Samuel Amsbaugh, teacher, 28 PA.  Note his age does not list him as 30 years old. In that same census Adaline was also listed in the household of HP Sanger of NY on 17 Aug 1850 in Brady Twp.  She may have been a relative or a caretaker for the young children in the Sanger family.  Samuel’s oldest brother, Michael Amsbaugh, and his family also lived in Millcreek Twp as well.  Less than two months later Samuel married Adaline.

            In those days a teacher would be “put up” in the household of his/her students so it is not unusual to find Samuel at the Osmun residence, but it is unusual to find the teacher marrying such a young student within the very household in which he resided.  What the thoughts of the Osmun family were on this marriage can only be surmised.  They may have been very angry at Samuel’s betrayal, or they may have been happy that their daughter found a “man of letters” to be her husband.  Samuel’s brother, George L. Amsbaugh, was later a supervisor and school director in Fayette, Fulton Co, OH, so at that time the Amsbaughs were well respected in the vicinity.

            Samuel was summoned to the Wms Co Court of Common Pleas in Sept 1851 where Catherine Deck sued him for bastardy.  He appeared in court with another brother, Eli, and paid $250 as surety that he wouldn’t skip the area.  In April 1852 Catherine Deck returned to court and requested that the case be dismissed.  She dropped her case about the same time that the very pregnant Adaline gave birth to her first child.  This case did not seem to hurt Samuel’s reputation, as he was secretary of the first school board in District 6 of Millcreek Twp and still a teacher in 1857.

            Samuel and Adaline Amsbaugh had set up their own household in Millcreek Twp and had the following children: Dicey E. (6 May 1852-28 Oct 1852); Milo Valentine (22 Mar 1854-16 Mar 1914, Bottineau Co, ND; mar. Elizabeth A. Alleman, 29 Jul 1875, Wms Co, OH); Cecelia Adaline (1856-aft 1905, pos. Parsons, KS; m1 Henry Bashelier, 10 June 1874, Wms Co, OH; m2 __ Schubert); Sarah Ann (15 Apr 1858 – 25 May 1858); and Ida (23 Apr 1861-10 May 1861).  Dicey, Sarah, and Ida Amsbaugh were buried in the West Franklin Cemetery, Franklin Twp, Fulton Co, OH where their grandparents, Israel Osmun (6 Apr 1811 NY-6 Jan 1888, Wms Co, OH) and Sarah Ann Osmun (17 May 1816 NJ-3 Sept 1882, Wms Co, OH) would later join them.

            On 9 June 1860 Millcreek Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census records the family was listed as Samuel 26 PA, Adeline 23 NY, Milo 6 OH, and Cisselia 4 OH.  Note again that Samuel’s age is different.  On Nov 1860 the State of Ohio vs. Samuel Amsbaugh is listed in the criminal court index but the actual case has not yet been found.

            When men in Wms Co decided to fight in the Civil War Samuel Amsbaugh enlisted on 14 Aug 1862, as a private at the age of 42 in Co C 111th Inf, Reg OH and was later transferred to Co 79, 2nd Battalion Reg RC on 1 Jan 1865; he later mustered out in Lexington, KY, on 28 Apr 1865.  From his CW records and pension application Samuel is described as 5’9”, brown hair, grey eyes, and light complexion.  In Jan 1863 in Bowling Green, KY, while carrying rations he fell backwards striking himself on some rocks, which caused a disease of the spine.  In July 1863 while on a forced march he developed a disease of the generative organs.  He was disabled by the time of his discharge and later was reported by friends “to have a lame back and shoulders; he is not now and was not more than 1/4 of the man he was before the war”.

            Whether Samuel joined the army for patriotic reasons, several facts must be considered.  A son, Thomas Lavern Amsbaugh, was born on 28 June 1861 in Michigan.  The mother was not Adaline but one Phebe Twining.  According to Samuel’s will written 23 Oct 1891, he listed his heirs, one of whom was this Thomas L., but he did not record the relationship between himself and this man.

            On 5 May 1868 Adaline began divorce proceedings, stating that she needed $60, as she was destitute.  She charged Samuel with extreme cruelty, but not adultery.  The court awarded her a divorce, restored her maiden name of Osmun, and set up alimony of $700 to be paid over a 3-year period.  Samuel’s real estate was mentioned as being 80 acres (Journal 7 p173, 256 – Nov 1868).

            Samuel next married Phebe Barger, also known as Phebe Twining, mother of Thomas Amsbaugh, on 27 Oct 1869 in Gilead Twp, Branch Co, MI, witnessed by Sarah M. and Francis M. Beers.  The Ohio born Phebe was 32 years old and Samuel was listed as 47. 

            In the 1870 Millcreek Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census records the family was enumerated as Samuel 48 PA, Phebe 37 OH, Milo V. 16 OH, Cecelia 14 OH, and Thomas 12 OH.  Adaline 33 NY served as a domestic servant of the David A. Wolfe family in Pulaski Twp.  Note that Samuel kept the children and the real estate while Adaline lived apart from her home and children.

            On 8 Feb 1871, Millcreek Twp, Phebe Amsbaugh gave birth to son Cletus Perry (some records say Philo T).  From Journal 8 p391 of 2 Nov 1875 Samuel sued Phebe for divorce in Wms Co and charged her with adultery.  On 18 Nov 1875 Phebe appeared before the court and asked that the divorce decree be set aside and petitioned for a new trial, asking the court to expunge any old court records.  On 7 Mar 1876 there was a second trial in which Phebe was proven to have committed adultery with a Robert Liddlle and a divorce was granted to Samuel who had to pay court costs.

            On 24 Apr 1879 in Wms Co, Samuel married Delilah Jenny Hammon.  From the 1880 Millcreek Twp federal census records the family was listed as Samuel 58 PA, Delila 42 OH, Cletus P. 9 OH, and Elnora Hammon 15 OH as stepdaughter.  In the meantime in Pulaski Twp, Adaline was living alone as 44 NY and recorded as keeping house and divorced.  Her two living children were married and had established their own homes.  Two years later Adaline’s mother would die and 5 1/2 years after this her father passed away as well.

            However, happiness does find Adaline as she became the bride of John N. Punches on 13 Nov 1881.  John was the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Punches of Center Twp.  Adaline died on 26 Oct 1905 @69y 7M 4D and was buried next to second husband John in Fountain Grove Cemetery in Bryan.  John had died the year before on 26 Jan 1904.  Adaline’s obituary was amusing as it stated “at the age of 14 she was united in marriage to Samuel Amsbaugh.”  Sometime after the death of her first husband, she married John Punches”.  Obviously that is not true because Samuel was very much alive when she married again.  Samuel himself was on his third marriage.

            On 17 Aug 1885 Samuel “did strike and assault James Corlen”.  In court Jennie Amsbaugh appeared as a witness for the state and a Clinton Amsbaugh was a defense witness.  What happened to Samuel in regard to this assault is not known.  An interesting story appeared in the “Bryan Democrat”, 16 Sept 1886, “Friday’s Bee (Toledo, OH newspaper) published a report of a shooting scrap near Primrose (Millcreek Twp) in which it was stated that Sam Amsbaugh shot John Shaffer through the body; that the wound would probably prove fatal and that Amsbaugh had skipped the country.  Our officers say that no information of that kind has reached them and people from that neighborhood know nothing about this affair”.  From Journal 13 p212 - 2 July 1885; Roll 42 case number 1506, Sept/Dec 1885,  "Anna" Amsbaugh charged her husband Samuel with extreme cruelty and gross neglect and wanted $50 in alimony.  She claimed they had a daughter Mabel.  A divorce was granted.  In Journal 13 p230 - 5 Sept 1885 one learns that Delila Jane Amsbaugh came before a judge in Defiance County who ordered Samuel to pay her the sum of $100 and set up a fee schedule, which was recorded in Wms Co the next day.

            Delilah further stated that on 15 Aug 1885 Sam left her; he was guilty of gross abuse and cruel, profane language.  Prior to this in Jan 1884 he assaulted her with a shovel; on 21 June 1884 he threatened to kill her with a knife, struck her with a clinched fist, grabbed her hair, and struck her in the mouth.  On 7 June 1885 he brandished a long knife and shouted, “I’ll shut you up so damned fine that dogs won’t find you”.  When she separated from him he took all her clothing.  Deliah also said that she had loaned Samuel $119 since their marriage and she wanted her money back even if she has to place a lien on his property which was valued at $9,000 in real estate and $2,000 in livestock.

            What is known of Samuel’s later years is that he wrote his will of 1891, as stated earlier, leaving equal shares to son Milo V of Bryan, son Cletus Perry of Alvordton, dau Ceclia A. Bashelier of Parsons, KS, plus grand-dau Goldie Bashelier.  He stated that if after the sale of his property there was a residue, Thomas L. Amsbaugh would be an equal heir to that money.  No ex-wife was mentioned in his will, but Delilah J. Amsbaugh did not die until 23 Sept 1892 @53Y 10M 23D.  Her “Bryan Democrat” obit does not mention any husband or ex-husband.

            Samuel Amsbaugh died on 9 Apr 1898 in Sandusky, Erie Co, OH, and was buried in the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Cemetery there.  According to the 1910 Madison Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p87, Thomas L. Amsbaugh was 50 MI  m26Y with wife Sarah M 44 OH, and children Ethel G 15 OH, and Alma O 3 OH. Again in the 1920 Madison Twp federal census Thomas 58 OH was listed with his wife Sarah M 52 OH and daughter Alma 12 OH. Both his parents were born in Indiana according to the 1920 census, but in the 1910 his father was a PA native and his mother was an OH native. Cemetery records state that Thomas (28 June 1861-7 Jan 1930), buried in Pioneer’s Floral Grove Cemetery, was the son of Samuel and Phebe Twining Amsbaugh and this was also stated on his death certificate.

            Samuel Amsbaugh, the teacher, did not appear to have a wonderful life as a three-time husband; Adaline Osmun Amsbaugh Punches, the student, does appear to have found some happiness at the end of her life.  A question I have wondered about is what was her relationship with her children?  Why did Samuel get custody of the children?  Can anyone shed light on this family?

 

 
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