Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
Sandusky County, Ohio, Supreme Court
Sandusky County, Ohio, District Court
Scope and Content
Abstracts of Divorce Actions in Supreme Court
The Sandusky County, Ohio, Supreme Court and District Court records were microfilmed by the Center for Archival Collections, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio. The film is located in the Hayes Presidential Center library reading room.
The Supreme Court of Ohio originated with the Ohio 1802 constitution. Initially, two judges appointed by the legislature traveled to the individual counties where terms were held at least once each year. Eventually, four judges traveled the circuit, but only two were necessary for a quorum. Once each year, all judges gathered at the capital for a general term. The session was referred to as the Court "In Bank."
The first term of the Sandusky County Supreme Court was held on July 30, 1823, at the log school house at the corner of Croghan and Park Streets in Fremont [then called Lower Sandusky], Ohio. Cases were heard at this location for the next three or four years. The presiding judges were Charles R. Sherman, father of General William T. Sherman and Ohio Senator and Cabinet Member John Sherman, and Jacob Burnet, previously a United States Senator and historian of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Cases heard before the Ohio Supreme Court were suits involving more than $1000, cases appealed from common pleas court, and capital punishment cases. After 1825, capital cases could be tried at the option of common pleas courts. Decisions were not subject to review. The Ohio Supreme Court also had the power to issue a change of venue in cases where a fair trial could not be had in the county of origin. The system continued until constitutional changes occurred in 1851. Its successor was the District Court, which existed until 1883.
The state Supreme Court had exclusive jurisdiction over divorce and alimony cases through 1844. Divorce petitions could be filed for the following causes: adultery, desertion, impotence, bigamy, and extreme cruelty. Later, imprisonment for violations of Ohio criminal laws and/or other state and territorial laws comparable to Ohio’s were added. Gross neglect of duty, habitual drunkenness for three years, and fraudulent contract were included as causes for divorce in 1840. After divorce cases were removed from the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction in 1844, county chancery courts handled the suits until those courts were abolished as a result of the 1851 constitutional changes.
Records of the court’s actions are found generally in the clerk of courts office in each county, but many counties have placed their records with one of the state’s regional network research centers. Only the index remains in the Sandusky County, Ohio, Clerk of Court’s office.
Scope and Content
The collection consists of three rolls of microfilm containing Sandusky County, Ohio, Supreme Court and District Court records extending from 1823 to 1857. Even though incomplete, the records offer an understanding of Ohio’s judicial process, the types of cases heard by the Supreme Court during Sandusky County’s antebellum years, and the disposition of cases. Arranged chronologically by court terms and then by trial dates, the appearance dockets list each case assigned for trial, the term of court, names of attorneys and litigants, the case’s title and status, and the court orders issued. The Law Record of the Supreme Court and its successor the District Court provide a record of proceedings in cases of original jurisdiction and civil and criminal cases appealed from common pleas court. The record contains copies of particulars, transcripts, petitions, affidavits, pleas, motions, briefs of trial proceedings, court orders, and sheriffs’ returns. The names of judges, litigants, and frequently witnesses are given. In some instances, verbatim testimony of witnesses has been recorded. Cases are arranged chronologically.
The abstracted Sandusky County, Ohio, divorce petitions (1823-1843) heard by the Supreme Court appear in their entirety in the Supreme Court Journal designated as Roll #55.
Supreme Court Law Record
Volume 2 1837-1840
Volume 3 1840-1842
Volume 4 1842- 1846
Supreme Court Law Record and District Court Law Record
Volume 5 1846-1847
Volume 6 1848-1851
District Court Law Record
Volume 6 1852-1856 (beginning on p. 239)
Supreme Court Law Record and District Court Law Record
Volume 1 1838-1843 Supreme Court Appearance Docket
1852-1857 Supreme Court Appearance Docket
Volume 2 1839-1851 Supreme Court Appearance Docket
1852-1857 District Court Appearance Docket
Volume 3 1838-1851 Supreme Court Witness Record and Bar Docket
1852-1857 Supreme Court Witness Record and Bar Docket
Supreme Court Journal 1823-1851
Abstracts of Divorce Petitions, Sandusky County, Ohio, Supreme Court:
P. 1 COCHRAN, Jane vs. Samuel; dismissed by wife.
P. 2 GAVITT, Polly vs. Benjamin F.; Benjamin had been absent for a period of 3 years. Divorce granted.
P. 3 SHAW, Harriet vs. George; George had been absent for a period of 3 years. Divorce granted. Harriet
was awarded alimony of $250.
P. 3 HOLBROOK, Nathaniel vs. Polly; The court found Polly guilty of adultery with James CLARKE.
P. 12 BURNETT, Betsy vs. Joseph; Divorce granted.
P. 16 BOND, Amy vs. Samuel; Amy was awarded custody of Robert Bond, "about 5 years, issue of said
marriage" and any personal property in her possession. Divorce granted.
P. 16 PURNIA, Orcilla vs. Joseph; Divorce granted.
P. 18 CALLOWAY, Susan vs. James; Divorce granted.
P. 19 WOLFLEY, Augustus vs. Lucinda; Case continued.
P. 19 CURTIS, Cynthia vs. Joseph H.; Dismissed by the court.
P. 20 WOLFLEY; Case dismissed by Augustus.
P. 22 SPADE, Mary vs. George; Case continued; Court ordered depositions to be taken in the household
of Jacob SPADE [also spelled SPAYDE, SPAID], Walnut Twp., Pickaway County, Ohio.
P. 23 SPADE; Case continued.
P. 24 CURTIS; Joseph vs. Cynthia; Cynthia had been absent for a period of three years. Divorce granted.
Custody of the two older children was given to Joseph. Custody of the youngest child was given to
P. 27 SPADE; Case dismissed by Mary.
P. 27 COLE, Catherine vs. Ebern; Case continued.
P. 27 WATTERMAN, Ellen vs. Warren; The court ordered the petition amended. Case continued.
P. 28 BROWN, Jane vs. Luther; Divorce granted. The real and personal property belonging to Jane
Brown at the date of her marriage was restored to her. The court awarded $300 alimony to be paid
within 10 days.
P. 29 COLE; Case continued.
P. 29 WATTERMAN; Case continued.
P. 33 COLE; Case dismissed by Catherine Cole.
P. 34 PARKER, Samuel vs. Rachel; Case continued.
P. 41 PARKER, Samuel vs. Rachel; Divorce granted.
P. 49 DISHLER [also spelled DESHLER] Hannah vs. Jacob; Court ordered the case continued, $75 per
year alimony to be paid, half in 30 days and the remainder in 6 months. The court further ordered that
the alimony payments were to be charged against land in NS 1/4 of section 33, Jackson Township,
Sandusky County, Ohio.
P 54 HILDRETH, Arminda vs. William; Case dismissed by Arminda Hildreth.
P. 55 HURD, Nancy vs. Benjamin; Divorce granted. Custody of the children was awarded to Nancy.
P. 56 HIGBY, Sarah vs. Elijah; Case dismissed by court.
P. 59 HERBSTER, Solomey vs. Christian; Case continued with $500 alimony to be paid quarterly and in
advance during the pendency of suit. Further, the court forbid Christian from selling property. The
house and lot were to given to Solomey for her use.
P. 61 DISHLER; Case continued with alimony to remain in force.
P. 64 DISHLER; Case continued with alimony to remain in force.
P. 65 RATHBUN, Rhoda vs. Lucius; Case dismissed by Rhoda Rathbun.
P. 69 HERBSTER; Divorce granted because of gross neglect and extreme cruelty. The court awarded
Solomey lot #48 on the east side of Lower Sandusky [Fremont, Ohio] bought with Solomey’s money
for her use from her ancestor’s estate. The court also awarded her all of her personal property, 14
sheep, 2 cows, $300 alimony, dower right in Christian’s estate, and custody of youngest child until he
can choose a guardian.
P. 72 DISHLER; Case dismissed.
P. 81 WONDERS; Elizabeth vs. Christian; The court ordered the case continued and the petition to be
P. 80 RATHBUN; Divorce granted. Alimony of $2500 and custody of the children were awarded to
P. 87 WONDERS; Divorce granted. The court found Christopher guilty of adultery. The court awarded
Elizabeth all personal and real property acquired since separation, $300 alimony, and custody of minor
P. 93 MOORE, James vs. Cyrena; Case dismissed by the court.
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