Bligh/Bly vs. Diadema (Green) Bligh/Bly
The Lady's Reputation Was Tarnished, Divorce
in Williams County, Ohio, 1869
A husband, fed up with his wife's philandering, was forced to air some
dirty laundry in order to rid himself of this woman, but the neighborhood
where they lived in St. Joseph Twp, Wms Co, OH, would not be the same nor
would his family. The wife
countered in court with a catalogue of physical abuse and a defense of her
John Bligh, an Irishman, was born c. 1819, and immigrated to the US
sometime before 25 Mar 1841 when he married Diadema "Amy" Green in
Wms Co (Marriages, V1 p51). The
couple was enumerated in the 1850 St. Joseph Twp federal census, p76B, as John
Bligh 31 IR, Diadema 28 OH, Jeremiah 7 OH, Ira 5 OH, John 3 OH, George 2 OH,
and Michael 6/12 OH. According to
the 1860 St. Joseph Twp federal census p118a, the Bly family was listed as
John 42 IR, Diodemia 38 OH, Jeremiah 17 OH, Ira 15 OH, John 14 OH, George 12
OH, Michael 10 OH, Thomas 8 OH, Mary 6 OH, Homer 4 OH, Martha 2 OH, and
Stephen D 3/12 OH.
was born c. 1822, the daughter of Thomas and Mary Willson Green, the second
family to settle in Milford Twp (now Defiance Co, OH) in 1835.
Thomas died there on 7 June 1845 @46Y and his wife died on 8 June 1853
@52Y; he was a native of Virginia while his wife was from Hagerstown, MD.
Amy became the parents of the following children: Jeremiah, Ira, John, George,
Michael, Thomas, Mary, Homer, Martha, Stephen A., and Ellen.
According to the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court Records
(Journal 7 p216, 240, 255 – 4 Nov 1868; Roll 20 case number 55 - Mar 1869),
John came to court with a large number of witnesses and a list of dates
intended to show that his wife was unfaithful on many occasions with some of
his neighbors and that at least two of the Bligh children were not his.
He petitioned for a divorce.
John stated that daughter Mary (b. 1853) belonged to Joel Smith and son
Stephen (b. 1860) was the issue of Levi Wilder.
John listed the names and ages of the children and even called some of
the older boys such as Ira and John to testify against their mother.
He further said that in the fall of 1868 Amy committed adultery with
railroad watchman Edward Butt and for the last three years she had also
committed adultery with neighbor William Foster.
All these third parties were neighbors of the Bly family.
Amy appeared in court with a list of dates when John physically abused
her. According to her John was
habitually rude, had a petulant manner, and used obscene language in the
earshot of her and the children. She
said on 14 May 1868 he violently assaulted, beat, and kicked her.
On 15 June 1868 she was pushed out of her home; there was a repeat of
this abuse on 25 July 1868.
the court Amy declared that she was "chaste, moral, and acted in a
becoming manner." She hoped
the court would see that John was unfit to have custody of the minor children,
Mary, Homer, Martha, Stephen, and Ellen.
Finally Amy stated that in 1843 John took $140, which was hers, and
used the money for himself. She
wanted the marriage to be dissolved, custody of the children, and reasonable
alimony as John owned 80 acres of land and could well afford the money.
The court did not see fit to grant her wishes on custody but did grant
John the divorce and awarded Amy $40 in alimony.
By the 1870 St. Joseph Twp federal census, p20, John Bligh was listed
as John 54 Ireland, Michael 19 OH, Mary 16 OH, Homer 14 OH, Martha 12 OH,
Stephen D 10 OH, and Ella 8 OH. Note that most of these children were the
minors mentioned in the court case. His next-door neighbors were Joel Smith
(since 1850), William Foster, and Levi Wilder, the men he accused in court. In
the 1870 Milford Twp, Defiance Co, OH federal census p132, Diadema Bly was
head of household as Diadema 48 OH, Ira 25 OH, John 23 OH, and George 22 OH.
Note that Ira and John bore witness against their mother in the divorce
case, but must have been forgiven by her as they lived with her at this
By 1880 both Diadema and John Bly lived separately in Noble Co, IN;
Diadema Bly was listed in Cromwell, Sparta Twp p426 as Diadema 58 OH divorced,
a boarder in the house of Rufus Smith 39 OH baker, Mary A 33 OH, Margaret 15
OH, and Willard 8 OH. John Bly
was enumerated in Ligonier p415, as John 62 Ireland, single.
Diadema Geen Bly died on 21 Feb 1900 @78Y 22D and was buried in the
Valley Cem, Sparta Twp, Noble Co, IN. Nothing further is known of ex-husband,
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