The Feuding Porters, Divorces in Williams County, Ohio
Pam Pattison Lash
Abraham Porter v Hannah M.
Elizabeth Metzler Porter v
Hannah M. Brooks Porter
Porter v Samuel Porter
Once upon a time there were four Porter brothers, natives of W. PA, who
traveled to Richland Co, OH. James Jasper Porter (b 2 Apr 1801) and wife Ruth
Ferguson (b28 Mar 1806) migrated from Richland Co, OH to Wms Co c1840.
James' brother, William Porter, came too.
James and Ruth had six children, the oldest of whom was Samuel.
William Porter married Margaret
Ferguson, a sister of Ruth Ferguson Porter, and they had several children, one
of whom was Abraham. Our story
deals with first cousins, Samuel and Abraham.
In the 1850 Superior Twp federal census p44, Margaret Porter 45 OH
appeared with sons John 18 OH and Abraham 14 OH.
Nearby James 50 PA and Ruth 44 OH were listed with their children
Samuel 8 OH, William 14 OH, Henry 11 OH, Jane 8 OH, John 5 OH, and James 3 OH.
Samuel, b 22 May 1832, Richland Co, OH, married Elizabeth Dunlap in Wms
Co on 9 Jan 1859 (Marriage V3 p40). The
couple was enumerated in the 1860 Superior Twp federal census p184B, as Samuel
27 OH, Elizabeth 24 OH, and Ellen 1 OH. Samuel
and Elizabeth's children were Ellen, Edward Laurence, and William Henry.
Elizabeth died in 1864 of complications during childbirth.
By the 1870 Superior Twp federal census p29, Samuel 38 OH engineer in a
sawmill lived with his mother Ruth 64 PA, brother James 22 OH, and children
Ellen 11 OH and Edward 8 OH.
Abraham, b Apr 1836 OH, married Hannah M. Brooks in Camden, Hillsdale
Co, MI. The couple was enumerated
in 1860 Superior Twp federal census p185B, as Abraham 24 OH and Hannah 20 OH.
By the 1870 Superior Twp federal census Abraham's family appeared as Abraham
35 OH, Hannah 32 OH, William 10 OH, Sarah 7 OH, and Ida Brooks 12 OH.
According to the Williams County Civil and Criminal Court Record, Roll
26, Mar 1874-May 1875, Abraham Porter sued Samuel Porter for $625 in damages.
This suit stemmed from an earlier action over money that the court had
granted Abraham on 20 Oct 1869; Samuel had not paid his debt to Abraham so
Abraham sued Samuel again and won.
From the Wms Co Ohio Civil and Criminal Court Records Roll 27 case
number 78 on 16 Nov 1875, Abraham Porter sued Hannah M. Porter for a divorce.
He stated that in Aug 1862, except between the fall of 1864-June 1865,
he resided in Wms Co. On 17 Oct
1870 Hannah abandoned him and left with Samuel Porter for Toledo, Lucas Co,
OH, taking their daughter Sarah Jane; Abraham was visiting a relative in
Mahoning Co, OH; prior to this in Apr 1869 and on 11 Oct 1869 Hannah committed
adultery with Samuel Porter in Abraham's home.
Hannah now lived in Rockwood, Wayne Co, MI.
Abraham brought the following witnesses to corroborate his story: John
Platt, Lewis Howell, William Fifer, and David Hawkins.
A legal notice appeared in the Bryan Press.
A divorce was granted; Hannah received $100 in alimony and $100 in two
years. If Abraham failed to pay,
his property would be sold.
From Roll 34 case number 644 in Nov 1879, Elizabeth Metzler Porter sued
Abraham Porter for divorce. The
couple was married on 18 Nov 1875 in Amboy Twp, Hillsdale Co, MI and lived in
Superior Twp, Wms Co. They
married two days after Abraham’s divorce from Hannah. Elizabeth, daughter of
Abraham and Margaret Markle Metzler, was born in 1850, and charged that on 10
Mar 1879 Abraham abandoned her and went to Michigan to the house of Lucinda
Murdich in Hillsdale and committed adultery with Hannah Porter, his former
wife. Elizabeth catalogued other
dates when this happened (15 Mar, 20 Mar, 25 Mar, 30 Mar, and 20 Apr 1879).
Abraham had a wandering eye before this as Elizabeth told the court in
the fall of 1876 he committed adultery with a Lucy Squires.
Elizabeth and Abraham had a son, Emmett Porter, b 22 June 1876.
She stated that Abraham had 40 acres in Superior Twp, valued at $1600
plus other land and property and she wanted a reasonable settlement.
The court granted her a divorce. Later
in Nov 1879 Elizabeth sued Abraham again for non-payment of a promissory note
for $100 and other funds owed to her. Elizabeth
died in 1908 and was buried in Beaver Creek Cem close to her parents, Abraham
(1814- 18 Apr 1891) and Margaret (1816 – 7 Aug 1891).
From Roll 36 case number 827 in June 1880, Hannah M. Brooks Porter sued
Samuel Porter. It seems that on 2
Mar 1876 in Wauseon, Fulton Co, OH, Hannah married Samuel (Marriage V3 p500).
Hannah told the court that on 1 Feb 1879 Samuel was harsh and cruel to her,
compelling her to perform household labors beyond her strength.
She wanted alimony based on Samuel's real estate in Superior Twp,
valued at $6,000, plus livestock. Hannah
resided in Montgomery, Hillsdale Co, MI. The couple had children Sarah A (17)
and William (20). She stated that 12 years before she married Samuel, he
wanted to destroy the happiness that existed between her and her husband,
Abraham. Samuel wanted them to
divorce so he could marry Hannah; he lived about a half mile from her.
In 1864 under a false guise of friendship Samuel told her of Abraham's
infidelities. He told her that
Abraham had contracted a sexual disease and that he wanted to poison Hannah or
"put her away". Samuel
promised her $1500 if she'd divorce Abraham and marry him.
She left for Monroe, MI with her daughter and did abandon Abraham.
She obtained the divorce and married Samuel. Now Hannah has learned the
truth. Abraham was always able to
clothe her in fine and costly attire
Samuel borrowed $400 from her, which she had earned as a servant after
leaving Abraham. On 1 Aug 1878
Samuel was abusive, violent, and tyrannical.
Hannah told the court she was 43 years old and in feeble health.
came to court stating that Hannah abandoned him for her ex-husband, Abraham
Porter, his cousin. He also told the court that he did provide her with
clothing, food, etc. He said she committed adultery with Abraham in Samuel's
home between 1 Sept 1878 - 1 Feb 1879. The
court granted Hannah a divorce. In the 1894 Village of Montgomery, Camden Twp,
Hillsdale Co, MI state census, p207, Abraham and Hannah lived together.
They were also in the 1900 Camden Twp, Hillsdale Co federal census,
p66, as husband and wife. By the
1910 federal census for that location Abraham lived alone; presumably Hannah
the 1880 Superior Twp federal census p12, Samuel 47 OH was listed with sons
Edward 18 OH and William 16 OH, plus his first wife's sister, Lenore Dunlap
45. In the 1900 and 1910 Superior
Twp, Wms Co federal censuses, Samuel lived alone, identified as
"divorced" in 1910. He died on 27 Dec 1912 and was buried beside his
first wife Elizabeth in Riverside Cemetery.
the Porter marriages, Samuel was married to Elizabeth Dunlap and Hannah M.
Brooks Porter. Abraham was
married to Hannah M. Brooks, Elizabeth Metzler, and Hannah Brooks Porter. The
common denominator for the feuding cousins was Hannah.
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