divorce

Barber v. Barber.

Attorney John E. Woodard filed this divorce petition on behalf of his client, Sallie M. Barbour, in Wilson County Superior Court in early 1901.

  • Charles and Sallie M. Barber were married 11 July 1896 in Clayton, Johnston County. [Note: as shown in her signature, Sallie, at least, spelled her last name “Barbour.”]
  • Their sons — Luther, 13, twins James and John, 9, and Hubert, 7 — live with their father, “who is not a proper person to have the care and custody” of the children.
  • On 27 February 1900, Charles assaulted Sallie with a pistol, forcing her to flee their home to a neighbor’s house.
  • Charles, “who is a strong man,” also struck Sallie, “a frail delicate woman,” with his fist.
  • Charles is a “habitual drunkard” who, when under the influence, has repeatedly threatened Sallie’s life.
  • Since she was forced to leave their house, Charles has refused to support Sallie. Sallie has tried to support herself as a school teacher, but Charles, “to annoy and embarrass” her, notified the school superintendent and trustees to pay her salary to him.
  • Charles has committed adultery with Dora Sills, Hannah Cooke and others.
  • Sallie, a life-long North Carolina resident, is seeking divorce, child custody, and costs.

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In the 1880 census of Clayton, Johnston County: Essex Blake, 53; wife Clara, 43; and children Della, 23, Robert, 21, Sallie, 19, Benjamin, 17, James, 15, Halsey, 12, Antney, 10, Timothy, 8, Ardelia, 6, Narsissie, 6, and Jerry, 5.

The 1900 census reflects the Barbours’ separation. In Wilson, Wilson County: mechanic Charley Barber, 41, described as married; sons Luther, 13, James and John, 7, and Hubert, 5; widowed sister Mary Tomlingson, 42, and her children Ella, 9, and Charley, 4; and boarders Turner Utley, 27, John Purkison, 31, and George Garrett, 25. In a different household: John W. Rodgers, 30; wife Mary E., 22; sister Minnie, 17; and boarder Sallie Barber, 35, described as “widowed.”

In the 1908 version of Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory, the only Barbers listed are James M., Jno. W., and Luther Barber at 129 Pender Street, and Sallie Barber next door at 131 Pender.

However, over the next decade, the couple reconciled. In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: mechanic Charlie Barber, 47; wife Sallie, 40, teacher; sons Luther, 21, James and John, 17, and Hubert, 15; and roomers Willie Harris, 17, and Carrie Mayswood, 16.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 809 Nash Street, barber John Barber, 27; wife Ethel, 26; widowed mother Sallie, 59, a school teacher; and brother Luther Barber, 32, also a barber.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 1100 East Nash Street, Sallie Barber, 67, widowed public school teacher, and her sister Tiny Hill, 69, also a widowed teacher.

Sallie Minnie Barbour died 22 April 1942 at her home at 1100 East Nash Street, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 71 years old; was born in Wake County to Essex Blake and Clara Hodge; was a widow; and was a schoolteacher. Ardelia Nunn, 1100 East Nash, was informant.

Divorce actions, part 2.

Second in a series abstracting some of the folders of actions filed in Wilson County Superior Court. (The allegations of misdoing summarized are derived from court pleadings and were not necessarily true.)

  • Bettie Barnes v. Morrison Barnes

May term, 1910. Married 8 October 1903 in Wilson County. In November 1903, defendant Morrison Barnes deserted plaintiff Bettie Barnes and now lives in a state of fornication and adultery with Mollie Howard, by whom he has three children.

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On 28 October 1903, Marson Barnes, 20, son of Silas and Mary Barnes, married Bettie Batts, 26, daughter of Tom Batts, at Mary Barnes’ in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Frank Barnes, Mary M. Barnes and Mary Thorn.

  • Henrietta Barnes v. Lemon Barnes

May term, 1909. Married 23 January 1907. In March 1907, defendant Lemon Barnes abandoned plaintiff Henrietta Barnes and now lives in a state of fornication and adultery with Fannie Horne. Witnesses to these facts were Otho Isham, who lived on the Frank W. Barnes place) and Jerry Williams.

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On 23 January 1907, Lemon Barnes, 21, of Wilson, son of Charles and Jack Ann Barnes, married Henrietta Blowe, 20, of Wilson, daughter of Joe and Jane Blowe, at Jane Blowe’s. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Merriman Watkins, James Taylor and Charlie H. Barnes.

  • Champion Barnes v. Luvenia Barnes

Married October 1899. Plaintiff claimed defendant committed adultery with Bill Thompson in February 1911. Divorce granted.

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On 11 November 1897, Champion Barnes, 44, of Stantonsburg, son of Daniel and Ercy Barnes, married Louvenia Applewhite, 21, of Stantonsburg, daughter of Enos and Cherry Applewhite, at Enos Applewhite’s in Stantonsburg. [This was Champion Barnes’ second marriage.]

In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Champ Barnes, 48; wife Louvenia, 30; and children Violet, 18, Granvill, 17, Anarchy, 15, Effie D., 11, Henry, 14, and Droy, 6. [Louvenia reported having given birth to one child, who still lived. Was this Droy?]

  • Ben Barnes v. Annie Barnes

Plaintiff Ben Barnes is 49 years old. He and defendant Annie Barnes were married 22 November 1888. Defendant Annie left him in April 1898 and gave birth to a child about five years later. A pencilled note in the file reads: “Vance Street. Boy Zack works at 5 & 10 c store.”

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On 21 November 1888, Benjamin Barnes, 23, son of Gaston and Watey Barnes, married Annie Parker, 24. John Hagans applied for the license, and John Parker, Dennis Parker and Kiziah Mercer witnessed the ceremony.

  • Ben Barnes v. Lou Barnes

The parties were married 5 January 1885. About 10 June 1892, defendant Lou Barnes committed adultery with Roy Jones.

 

Divorce actions, part 1.

The files of nineteenth and early twentieth century divorce cases are housed at the North Carolina State Archives. This is the first in a series abstracting some of the folders of actions filed in Wilson County Superior Court. (The allegations of misdoing summarized are derived from court pleadings and were not necessarily true.)

  • Henry Artis v. Mary Ann Artis

May term, 1901. Married 4 January 1893 in Wilson. After about a year, defendant Mary Ann deserted plaintiff Henry. She also committed adultery with Jim Pool and others and was a “common prostitute.”

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On 4 January 1893, Henry Artis, 20, of Wilson township, son of Richard and Eliza Artis, married Mary Ann Lewis, 19, of Gardners, daughter of John and Mary Lewis, in Wilson.

  • Tom Artis v. Ida Artis

November term, 1910.

  • William Artis v. Mollie Artis

May term 1906. Married December 1898 in Wilson County. Mollie abandoned William in December 1903. In 1905, she committed adultery with Noah Foreman.

  • James Artis v. Louvenia Artis

February term, 1914.

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On 28 February 1908, James Artis, 29, of Gardners township, son of Jesse and Patsey Artis, married Louvenia Pleasant, 19, of Gardners, daughter of George Pleasant. Blount Best performed the ceremony.

  • George Barnes Jr. v. Milly Barnes

June term, 1896. Married 4 July 1895 in Wilson County by Free Will Baptist minister Crockett Best. Witnesses produced at trial: Richard Eatman, Smith Battle, Jerry Scarboro, William Barnes, Reuben White, George Towe, Alfred Thompson and Alfred Woodard. Divorce denied.

Plaintiff George asserted that he was unaware that Milly was pregnant at the time of their marriage. When he discovered her condition three weeks later, he left her as he was not the child’s father. Defendant Milly responded that she was an “innocent young woman and was seduced by the plaintiff under a promise of marriage to yield to his embrace and that she became pregnant by cohabitation with him”; that he was the child’s father; and that she had never had “carnal intercourse” with any other man.

Richard Eatman, who was served his subpoena in Halifax County, testified that he was acquainted with Milly Barnes for a number of years, “having been raised in the same neighborhood” with her; that about four years prior he began to have sex with her from time to time for about a year; that he never promised to marry her; that he did not think she was “innocent” when he first had sex with her; and that she had admitted to him having sex with Daniel Barnes.

H.E. Bell testified that he lived near Milly and had known her a number of years and that she had the general reputation of “a woman of loose morals.” He also knew George: “he is a young colored man, of good habits, sober and reliable in every way, that his reputation for truth is as good as any colored man” that Bell knew. Also, Bell stated, Milly lived with her father, Hilliard Ellis, who “provides for her and is able to continue to do so.”

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On 4 July 1895, George Barnes, 24, son of George and Anica Barnes, married Milly Ellis, 20, daughter of Hilliard and Feriby Ellis as Hilliard Ellis’ house. A.J.C. Moore applied for the license, and Free Will Baptist minister Crockett Best performed the ceremony in the presence of G.W. Ellis, William Roberts and General Barnes.

On 20 December 1900, Millie Ellis, 23, daughter of Hilliard and Phereby Ellis, married James Smith, 22, son of Pink Smith, in Taylors township.

Virginia divorces.

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Annie Barnes, 24, daughter of Charles and Rebecca Barnes, married Moses Gunn, 31, son of Joe and Amanda Gunn, on 22 December 1900 in Wilson. (Annie Barnes Gunn was a sister of John M. Barnes and B. Frank Barnes.)

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Artelia Marian Darden, daughter of Charles and Diana Scarborough Darden, married John Jesse Tennessee in Wilson on 14 November 1914.