written by Joe Ganger, 20 Nov 2000
They fought and broke up, until .. well... until he wanted clean underwear!
The first decree of divorce in St. Joseph County was entered in the circuit court, at the October term of 1835. It was a petition of Aurora Amulet Gilbert, filed against David Gilbert, on a plea of cruelty and desertion. It was "most piteously expressed" by her lawyer, Neal McGaffy, Esq.
No dates are given on an incident related by the Honorable E. H. Lothrop of Three Rivers. We know it was before 1877.
"One day a lady came to Mr. Lothrop complaining bitterly of the cruel treatment of, and desiring Mr. Lothrop to effect a legal separation from, her tyrannical lord. Mr. Lothrop expostulated with her, declaring it would scandalize the community if such an old and worthy couple should, after so long a wedded life as theirs, separate; but the lady was immovable in her determination. Thinking to conciliate the parties, Mr. Lothrop went to the house occupied by them, accompanied by the lady, where they found the husband fortifying his position with an array of scriptural texts, and the upshot of the matter was that a separation was agreed upon. The wife was to retain the farm for her support, and the husband was to take the team and wagon, and go out from the homestead and begin anew. The arrangement was consummated, but after the clean linen was soiled which the old gentlemen took with him, he came to the lady and engaged her to do his washing. Not long afterwards he came and engaged board with her, and the result was soon manifest in her taking him back altogether, and no further was made of disagreements or separations."
I wonder how it all would have turned out had there been a Laundromat in the neighborhood. Man does not live by bread alone!