Turner, Sarah Jane (Higginbotham)
vs. Leonidas Aust-duBignon-Turner
State of Georgia}
To the Superior Court of said County.
The petition of Sarah Jane Turner of said county show that she is the lawful wife of Leonidas Turner also of said County, that they were married on the 24th of November 1860, by John M. Tison, deceased, at the time one of the justices of the Inferior Court of said County, and that on or about March 1st of the present year your petitioner separated herself from the said Leonidas Turner and refused and still refuses longer to live with him, and now brings this her libel for a total divorce against the said Leonidas Turner, and thereupon she complains and shows unto the court as follows, and to say;—
That before their said separation your petitioner was for a short period each time, twice separated from the said Leonidas Turner, to wit: from July 5th 1882 until about the 20th of the same month and again from about September 1st 1885 until the 15th of that month and that these two separations happened from the same causes that produced said first mentioned separation to wit: The causes hereinafter mentioned and laid as the grounds of the suit that saving and excepting said two times your petition lived with the said Leonidas Turner as his wife from the day of the date of their said marriage up to and until the first day of March aforesaid and that during the whole time that your petitioner was living with her said husband, she was a faithful and affectionate wife unto him, and endeavored at all times and in every way to perform all the duties of a good wife; but your petitioner shows that for some time before and ever since their said first separation to wit July 5th aforesaid, her life has been one of extreme misery on account of the neglect and cruel treatment of your petitioner by her said husband, and on account of his evil habits. And your petition avers and so she shows unto the court that she is entitled to a total divorce from the said Leonidas Turner on the grounds of adultery on the part of her said husband for that the said Leonidas Turner did on July 4th 1882 commit the offense of adultery with one Caroline Smith, and since that time has repeated the same offense on divers and many times and occasions and has been for some time previous to the said first day of March and is now living in adultery with her, said Caroline Smith. And your petition also avers that a total divorce from her said husband the said Leonidas Turner, should be granted her by this Honorable Court on the ground of the cruel treatment of your Petitioner by her said husband for that, and so your petitioner charges the said Leonidas Turner neglect and has neglected and has abandoned your petitioner for the said Caroline Smith, to whom he gives all his earning and at whose house he sleeps and eats the greater part of his time, and utterly fails & refuses to assist your petitioner in the maintainance [sic] of herself and the children of their said marriage, and your petition charges that for the past seven years the said Leonidas Turner has done nothing towards the support of his said family except on one or two occasions he gave one of his children a pair of shoes. And your petition further shows that she is entitled to a total divorce from the said Leonidas Tuner and the ground and the ground of the cruel treatment of your petitioner by her said husband for that on or about July 17th 1882, the said Leonidas Turner did draw a pistol on your petitioner, and said to, and of your petitioner,, “dam [sic] you I will shoot you,” and tried to shoot your petitioner and was only prevented from so doing by three of their sons rushing upon and wrestling the pistol from his hand, and for that the said Leonidas Turner did on or about January 15th 1883 attempt and endeavor to kill your petitioner with a knife, but she was again saved by three children overpowering and disarming him; and for that also the said Leonidas Turner has on many occasions since last named date attempted to kill your petitioner, and did on the said first day of March curse vilify and abuse your petition and threatened to kill her and since then ahs continued in these threats and frequently comes to where your petitioner happens to be and curses, abuses and vilifies her in the most outrageous manner, calling her a dam [sic] fool, and accusing her of being unchaste and wanting in virtue and that he also abuses her family, and curses abuses and vilifies your petitioner in the presence of their children to their great moral degradation, and before the negroes who happen to be about the house to her own extreme mortification. And your petitioner further avers and shows unto the court that she is entitled to a total divorce from the said Leonidas Turner on the ground of the habitual intoxication of her said husband for that the said Leonidas Turner has been for many years past addicted to the excessive use of ardent spirits, and for some time before and since the said first day of March has been and remained and is now in a beastly state of intoxication. And your petitioner shows unto the court that the said acts of adultery cruel treatment and intoxication were not and are not occasioned by the collusion of herself and her said husband and with the intention of causing divorce nor was your petitioner consenting thereto now has she been guilty of like conduct, neither has your petitioner condemned the same nor cohabitated with her said husband since said first day of March and since the last of his said acts of adultery, cruel treatment, and intoxication, but, and your petitioner avers, that at the time of and before their first said separation, your petitioner had struggled long and hard to reclaim, and reform her said husband until distress, anguish and misery, on account of the wicked conduct had well nigh wore her life away, when she separated from him as aforesaid; and that after your petitioner had so separated from him, in a few days he came back to her and begged her to take him back again and promised if she would receive him he would never more be guilty of such conduct, whereupon your petitioner allowed herself to become reconciled to her said husband and lived with him again, but so it was. May it please the court that the said Leonidas Turner did not long remember his promises, and soon returned to his former habits of drunkenness, cruelly entreating your petitioner and following after lewd women, and entirely neglected your petitioner, but your petitioner bore this conduct until the time of their said second separation by which time his conduct had became altogether intolerable and so your petitioner separated from him again as aforesaid. And your petitioner shows also that this time after only a few days of separation her said husband came back to her again and implored her to receive him and promised that he would not only do better and reform, but that in future he would be governed by her and do as she said, and your petitioner trusting to these promises, and yet hoping to reclaim her said husband again became reconciled to him upon his said promises, and lived with him again; but your petitioner shows that on the same day, the day on which they began living together again after their said second separation the said Leonidas Turner broke his promises and came home drunk to your petitioner, and your petitioner suffered and worked with him and tried to reclaim him and reform him until the time of their said last separation by which time the said Leonidas Turner had become intolerable in his manner towards your petitioner so that she could not live with him at all, for every time he came home, he cursed, abused and vilified her disgracefully, and made threats against her life so that your petitioner had to and did separate from him as aforesaid. And your petitioner shows that she bore unto the said Leonidas Turner fourteen children, three of whom are dead, and those living having the following names and ages, to say: Thomas twenty five years, Alfred twenty four, Augustin twenty three, Hardee twenty, Andrew eighteen, Joseph fourteen, Sarah twelve, Ada ten, Rosa eight, Maud four, Charlotte one, and your petitioner prays that the custody of those, of said children that are minors be adjudged to her. And your petitioner further shows that she has attached hereto a schedule of the property belonging to her and her said husband, which your petitioner avers was set apart to her said husband for the benefit of his said family as a homestead under and by an order of the ordinary of said County of date November 18th 1874.
And your petitioner shows that when said homestead was set apart the same was a goodly property, but that since that time her said husband has squandered the greatest part thereof, and that what they have now consists mainly of the savings, and acquisitions of herself and children and therefore she prays that the whole of the property hereto attached be adjudged to your petitioner and her said minor children as permanent alimony for them. Whereof your petitioner prays that she be granted a total divorce from the said Leonidas Turner and that process may issue requiring the said Leonidas Turner to be and appear at the next Superior Court to be held in and for said county, to answer your petitioner’s libel for a total divorce. And your petitioner will ever pray and so forth.
Symmes & Johnson
Schedule of property owned by Leonidas Turner and Sarah Jane Turner at the time of their separation and of and of [sic] making this application. The homestead property mentioned in the foregoing petition:
One single wagon $25.00
Shrimp Net $1.50
Homestead & Kitchen Furniture $35.00
Property of Sarah Jane Turner, one lease lot with improvements thereon in the City of Brunswick Georgia $500.00
One Cooking range and utensils $25.00
One Feather Bed $10.00
Georgia—Glynn County—Personally appeared before the undersigned Sarah Jane Turner who on oath says, that the foregoing is a true and correct schedule of the property owned and possessed by herself and husband Leonidas Turner at the time of their separation and of making the foregoing application for a total divorce.
Sarah Jane Turner
Sworn to and subscribed before me this April 9th 1887, Isaac S. Cohen, Notary Public Glynn County Ga.
State of Georgia}
Sarah Jane Turner}
The defendant Leonidas Turner is hereby notified and required in person or by attorney to be and appear at the Superior Court next to be holden [sic] in and for said county on the first Monday in May next, then and then [sic] to answer the said plaintiff Sarah Jane Turner, on her foregoing libel for a total divorce. As in default of such appearance said Court will proceed thereon as to justice shall appertain. Witness the Honorable Spencer R. Atkinson, Judge of said Court this April 11th 1887.
E.A. Nelson, Clerk Sup’r Court Glynn County Ga.
Filed in office this April 11th 1887—E.A. Nelson Clerk S.C.
I have this day served the defendant Leonidas Turner personally with a copy of the within. This 14th day of April 1887.
Wm. H. Berrie, Sheriff G.C. Ga.
Recorded [left blank] Clerk S.C. Glynn Co., Ga.
NOTES BY AMY L. HEDRICK:
In 1880 Glynn County, Caroline Smith was living in Dist. 26, as was Leonidas. She was a widow aged 37 years with children Louisa 15; Martha 13; Bell 8; William 5; and Mary age 3 years all born in Georgia.
If this is the same woman mentioned in the divorce decree (she was the only Caroline Smith in the 1870 & 1880 Glynn County census) she was formerly Caroline Goodbread, daughter of Adam Sowder Goodbread and Louisa M. Higginbotham.
What is also interesting is that Caroline Smith lived next door to Putnam Hickman in 1880 whose daughter, Alice, married Andrew Turner, the son of Leonidas and Sarah. Caroline was the sister of Martha Jane, the wife of Putnam. Upon her death in 1908 Caroline was listed as Mrs. Caroline Turner.
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