Monday, January 26, 2015

Did Husbands and Wives go their Separate Ways?

Although during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, there were few divorces and separations, it did happen!  In those those days, a husband did not simply ignore his estranged wife, because if he did, his reputation suffered.  Reputation meant everything to friends, family and merchants. However, if the spouse expected the continued support of her husband, she did it legally.   Here is an example.  Henry Dixon and his wife, Anne, resided in Halifax County, Virginia.  Henry had applied for numerous land grants, all in increments of 400 acres, some of it in Pittsylvania County, so we have to assume that he was a substantially wealthy gentleman of his day.  During May of 1768, Henry Dixon signed a separation document to his wife, Anne, for "loving affection", giving Thomas Douglass the power of attorney to receive all alimony maintenance due Anne.  Then, Henry Dixon went off to South Carolina and later the same year, when he removed to Georgia, revoked his power of attorney to Thomas Douglass.

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