There was no internet, no television and no radio. Though life today is in many ways very different in Butler County than life was 100 years ago, in some important ways it is very much alike. People still fall in love, get married and have children. And sometimes those marriages end in divorce that can be complicated by child custody disputes, property disagreements or differences about just about anything and everything else.
The New York Post recently went through recently unsealed divorce records from a century ago. Unlike Ohio, New York State seals those records for 100 years.
When 70-year-old Harriet Cadman began corresponding with 47-year-old author Francis C. Wright, she was undoubtedly flattered that a man so much younger was interested in her. His interest soon paid off, as the older woman sent the writer $500 (today worth $12,000) to help him publish a book.
When he arrived in New York for a visit, things quickly became serious. The pair married at Niagara Falls in late 2013. A year later, Harriet was asking a court for a divorce, however, stating that her husband had “falsely and fraudulently” presented himself as a man of good character. In reality, he was already married – to a fortune teller.
Harriet claimed her husband used hypnosis to trick her into marriage; he countered by saying the thought of marriage had never occurred to him until Harriet suggested it.
A court annulled the marriage in 1915.
Another unsealed court record revealed an annulment was granted after a husband caught his wife cheating on him. The court imposed a sentence on her not seen today: it barred her from remarrying.
In 2016, divorce is not as rare as it was back then, and the social stigma that was so powerful a century ago has been erased.
The process begins with a confidential conversation with an experienced Hamilton family law attorney.