It’s been a slow genealogy week for me. One of our computers is down and another is acting wonky – freezes and shuts itself off. Since I’m still holed up at home this greatly impacts my genealogical research.
Last week I blogged about my 3rd great grandmother Jane Morrison Duer who was mostly forgotten by her children and I was seeking to discover why. I suspected that discovering the divorce documents may shed light on this mystery.
Jane married John Duer in Trumbull County, Ohio on 29 Jul 1827. The couple had 11 children together and relocated to Holmes County and later, Mercer County, Ohio. They are last found together in the 1860 US Federal census with their youngest children residing in a residence two units away from their oldest surviving married daughter, Maria Duer Kuhn.
John remarried widow Margaret Martz Searight in Mercer County on 11 December 1864. John was raised a Presbyterian so there most likely is a divorce document somewhere. In other words, I doubt he was a polygamist.
I suspect he asked for the divorce because Jane’s tombstone in Kessler Cemetery records her as “wife of John Duer.” But she wasn’t that at the time of her death, 10 July 1866.
When the second wife died, her tombstone, also in Kessler Cemetery, records her as the “wife of John Duer.” She actually was the widow of by the time of her death but she was also the widow of her first husband. I suspect that her children purposely engraved the stone to reflect what was on Jane’s.
No tombstone has been found for John. Family legend says he’s buried next to Jane, which is possible but unconfirmed because Kessler’s records are incomplete. There is a sunken space next to Jane that likely is a burial but who is in that space is unknown. Second wife is buried in another section of the cemetery and there are marked stones on both side of her so that is not where John lies.
I was hoping to find the divorce document to get a better understanding of the circumstances. I guessed that John asked for divorce; I reasoned Jane would not have wanted all eternity to be known as his wife if she had wanted out of the relationship. She did not remarry so likely was not involved in another relationship.
I did not think finding the divorce document would be difficult but is has proven to be. In Mercer County, the Common Plea Court holds divorce records and they are not available online. I wrote to the Clerk and was informed that a search was made between 1860-1866 and no divorce record was found.
I then thought that perhaps the divorce was granted in Adams County, Indiana where John had purchased property in June 1860 when he was still married to Jane and where he eventually resided. He was shown with his second wife, their children, a child from her first marriage and two children from his first marriage in Adams in the 1870 census.
In March and May1863, John sued in Common Plea Court in Mercer for money owed him in the sale of property he had made in November 1862. Jane was not mentioned in the court document so it’s likely that she was not on the deed.
Why he remarried in Mercer and not Adams is another mystery.
I reached out to Adams County this week and was informed yesterday they have no divorce record.
So, do I give up. NOPE! I did ask both Mercer and Adams County Clerks where I might look and neither answered that question. My next step was to email a genealogist who lives in the Mercer area for recommendations.
I’m looking forward to the reply.