Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Divorce - You've Come A Long Way Baby?

Look how far the concept of divorce and martial squabbling has come. At SideTaker.com we now have a method where a couple can each post their side of an argument then have total strangers weigh in with their opinions for a 60 day period and vote as to whose side makes the better argument. The results are non-binding, like some versions of alternative dispute resolution, but I'm not sure I could hate someone enough to subject them to this method of airing dirty laundry. And to have to pay for the privilege no less!

This is the second instance where I've come across some rather odd divorce, separation or marital problem situations.

Over the weekend, while working online at the wonderful Northern New York Historical Newspapers site, I came across this ad:


Whereas my wife having left my bed and board without just cause, I hereby forbid anyone trusting her or harboring her on my account, as I will not be responsible for any debts contracted by her after this date.

October 31, 1935
Milford F. Keib
Croghan, N.Y., R.1.

I am assuming this represents what was commonly known as a "marital desertion" advertisement and meant to notify the public that the person placing the ad, almost always the husband, would not be held responsible for any debts incurred by his wife.

There are a variety of interesting marital desertion ads listed here which include phrases such as:

"Whereas my wife Catherine has refused to live with me . . ."

"Whereas my wife Genet has eloped from my bed and board . . ."

"Whereas, my wife Thirza, left my bed and board about three weeks ago, having lived with me but half the honeymoon, during which short and loving period it is difficult to imagine that any great provocations could have been given for leaving me, . . ."

and here is one which contains the only "counter argument" ad from the wife that I've seen:


My Wife Elizabeth Witter, having for some time past refused to live with me, I hereby caution all persons having any dealings with her, or trusting her on my account.




As EZRA WITTER saw fit to post his Wife, I think it is my duty to let the public know what for.  He took other women home, who talked very unbecoming, besides using very hard threats towards me.  He likewise denied he had any wife, said he had women enough without me, and would not part with them but by reason of the disease which afterwards appeared to his shame.  I thought it best to stay at my own place.




[1] The Journal and Republican, Lowville, New York, Vol. 77, No. 4, p. 10.

1 comment:

Apple said...

Good for Elizabeth!

I've run across several of these ads but one of my biggest finds, at the Old Fulton Post Cards site, was the details of the court testimony in the divorce case of a cousin. I'm glad that by the time my parents divorced the details were no longer deemed newsworthy.