Thursday, June 25, 2015

Articles of Separation - 1847

After 11 years of marriage and several children, Nathan Gray and his wife, Lydia G. Gray, decided to separate.  Lydia agreed to leave "the bed and board of the said Nathan and he in full discharge and payment to her for all alimony, dower or other interest which she may have in and to his estate"[1] and Nathan promised to give her a gray mare with "Laydies" Saddle and bridle, blanket, a feather bed and furniture, spinning machine, a cow and a set of plates.  

Not only did Nathan and Lydia divide the household items, they also divided the children. Lydia was permitted to take Caroline, Elizabeth and Lucretia, the three daughters born of this marital union, and Nathan would take the [unnamed] sons born to him and Lydia. One has to wonder how one feather bed would be sufficient for Lydia and three young daughters.

 It was also agreed that Nathan and Lydia would have a divorce as soon as they wish or the law would permit.  Nathan signed his name to the separation agreement and Lydia signed by making her mark. The document was recorded the same day it was written - 2 September 1847.

And then ... something happened to change their minds. Less than two months later, the couple announced that a  "new order of things has taken place between them and Gray and wife having now thought better of it, they do mutually agree  ... to annul and make void the  ... articles of separation ..."[2]

"They do hereby pledge themselves to each other that they will henceforth faithfully and affectionately discharge their several duties as husband and wife and endeavor to live for the sake of themselves and their children in the affectionate and tender relation of husband and wife the remainder of their days."[3]

No clue is given in public records as to why the couple separated or reconciled, but they appear together with their children, including two born after the separation, on the 1850 Caldwell County census[4]. This isn't my family and I don't know many details, but Lydia was listed as married at her death on  28 November 1858.

[1] Caldwell County, Kentucky Deed Book N:251, 2 September 1847.
[2] Caldwell County, Kentucky Deed Book N:279, 16 October 1847.
[3] Ibid.
[4] 1850 Census, Caldwell County, Kentucky, 2nd District, p. 368A, image 314,, accessed 11 May 2015.

Published 25 June 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

No comments: