Shelby  County,  Indiana

Elizabeth  Coleman

Austin  Coleman

Box 33

Elizabeth Coleman
Austin Coleman                                                     Copy of Bill & Summons

State of Indiana Shelby County SS
Shelby Circuit Court August Term 1846

To the Honorable Judges of the Shelby Circuit Court now in Chancery sitting
            Your complainant Elizabeth Coleman of said county Respectfully represents unto your honors that she has been a resident of the State of Indiana for a long time, antecedent to the marriage hereafter mentioned And still is a resident of said County and state, that on the third day of December Eighteen Hundred and forty three, your complainant and one Austin Coleman of said County and State were lawfully married at the County and State aforesaid that is your complainant was legally joined in marriage with the said Coleman according to the laws of Indiana, from which time until the fifteenth day of May 1844 your complainant continued to live with said Austin Coleman and performed for him all the duties of an affectionate dutiful and obedient wife.
            And your complainant would further represent that the said Coleman was at the time of said marriage contract and marriage a person of infirm bodily constitution having no use whatever of his legs but using crutches for purposes of locomotion. And further that said Coleman was then and still is not only a person of infirm bodily constitution but totally imbecile in his genital organs wincing during all the time of cohabitation a total privation of virility although said Coleman is a person of 35 years of age at least And said complainant had no reason to know or suspect such impotency until after wedlock hence she was greatly deceived.
            And that the said Austin Coleman was then and is yet a person of property both Real and personal and had ample means at his command to hire and employ a man Servant or a person to do the labor of cutting the fire wood for the family use and feeding the stock in the winter season. And your complainant further represents that it was a part of the contract and understanding between the said Coleman and your complainant when they intermarried that the said Coleman should employ some person to do and perform the outdoor work which properly belonged to the said Austin Coleman as her husband. And your Complainant would further represent that the said Austin Coleman did not and would not employ any person to do the chopping of wood feeding of live stock working in the fields and garden at or during any of the time which said Complainant lived with him the said Austin Coleman, though requested and solicited so to do, but on the contrary he the said Austin Coleman cruelly compelled her your complainant to go far into the woods to cut and procure firewood and carry it on her shoulders great distances both in summer and winter, And to prepare corn and hay for and feed to the stock in the cold winter weather, And compelled your complainant to work out in the field and garden in and about attending the crop against all of which cruelty and oppression your complainant mildly remonstrated and protested and in reply to such remonstrance and protestation your complainant received nothing but abuse and threats of personal violence from him the said Austin Coleman And that the said Coleman became so abusive and ill tempered that your complainant could not do anything in peace and quiet and such was his violence and scandalous and indecent abuse in all domestic matters that it became apparently impossible for said Coleman and your Complainant to live together. And long before the separation herein after mentioned said Coleman had made repeated threats to beat and whip your Complainant, and for a long time before had declared that your complainant should not live with him and repeatedly ordered her to leave his house and never return to it again And if she did not leave soon he would make the house too warm to hold your complainant meaning thereby that he would harass threaten and vex your complainant till she would consent to be driven from his house bed and board and further that said Austin Coleman failed to provide suitably for your complainant compelling her when she wanted fire wood to cut her wood and build the fires on all occasions and to go through the neighborhood and borrow provisions for substance. And the said Coleman further failed to provide decent clothing for your complainant And after all of which harsh and cruel treatment to wit on or about the fifteenth day of May 1844 said Coleman being in a fearful passion ordered and commanded your complainant to quit and leave forever his house and premises on pain of being kicked out of doors whereupon your complainant left to return to her fathers house, but on her way the said Austin Coleman called a witness and falsely and deceitfully declared that he had not driven off your complainant but by agreement we had separated.
                 And further that soon after this separation your complainant being anxious to return and live in peace and happiness with said Coleman if it even possible so to do, to wit on or about the 15th day of July 1844 returned to one Paul Mitchell when and where said Coleman was living and requested an interview with said Coleman for the purpose of prevailing on him to receive your complainant as his dutiful and obedient wife which interview he peremptorily declined saying that he would not see your complainant nor would he ever receive or live with her again. Your complainant being wholly destitute and unprovided for returned in sorrow and anguish to her fathers house. And further on the ___ day of ___ 1844 your Complainant still anxious for a reconciliation and said Coleman then being at the house of one Fielding Mitchell in said county went with several other members of her family to have an interview with him the said Coleman to prevail on him to receive your complainant back to the said defendants bed and board. And said Austin Coleman did receive your complainant so far as to cohabit with her that night, but all the persuasion of your complainant and her friends could not prevail on said defendant to receive and live with said Complainant as his lawful wife. And on the following day when your complainant entreated the said Austin Coleman to receive her as his wife in as much as she had conducted herself properly in all things but he positively refused so to do and still doth refuse. And your complainant would further represent to your honors that she is a woman of weak constitution and that the said Austin Coleman has never made any allowance to support or maintain her but on the contrary has wholly failed to make any provision whatever for your complainant as she charges since the separation above mentioned at the house of Fielding Mitchell.
            And your complainant further represents that the said Austin Coleman has abandoned her for the space of two whole years next preceding the filing of this bill of complaint without any intention of returning. And further charges that the treatment of your complainant by Austin Coleman her husband has been inhuman and cruel, and his general conduct towards her when living together was such as to render it unsafe and improper for her to live with him unless he should reform his conduct which she sincerely hoped he would do when she proffered so often to live with him And charges further that the said Austin is the owner and possesser of in fee simple and was at the time of the marriage of the following real estate towit

            The North west half of the North East quarter of section twenty six Township Eleven of Range Seven east and containing forty acres and also the South East half of the South East quarter of Section twenty three Township Eleven Range Seven East and containing forty acres lying and being both tracts in the County of Shelby and State of Indiana and both tracts well improved and worth at least Eight hundred dollars besides some personal property amounting to two hundred dollars the whole amounting to one Thousand Dollars And also a sixty acre tract lying in Boone County Indiana whose number is unknown to complainant

            Your complainant therefore in consideration of the grievances aforesaid prays that your honorable Court will decree the bands of matrimony heretofore and now subsisting between your complainant and the said Austin Coleman be forever dissolved and your complainant by a decree of your honorable Court be forever divorced from the said Austin Coleman. And that your Honorable Court will decree to your complainant such suitable alimony and share of the Estate of said Austin Coleman as to your Honors may be reasonable and proper under all circumstances of this case. And such other relief as this honorable court in the exercise of a sound discretion shall meet.
            And may it please your honors to grant unto your complainant a summons commanding the said Austin Coleman to be and appear before your honorable Court on the first day of your the August term of your honorable Court to be holden at Shelbyville August 1846 to pleads answer or demur to this bill of complaint against him And that he the said Austin Coleman particularly answer on his corporal oath as to his property both real and personal aforesaid also as to the charge of impotency and want of virility made by complainant and to stand and to and abide by the Decree of your honorable Court in the premises And your complainant will ever pray
Martin M. Ray      Solicitor                             Elizabeth Coleman

State of Indiana Shelby County SS

The State of Indiana to the Sheriff of Shelby County Greeting
            Whereas on the third day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty six Elizabeth Coleman by Martin M. Ray her solicitor filed in the office of the Clerk of the Shelby Circuit Court her hill of Complaint against Austin Coleman of which I certify the foregoing to be a full true and complete copy
            You are therefore hereby Commanded to summon the said Austin Coleman if he may be found in your bailiwick to personally be and appear before the Judges of the Shelby Circuit Court on the first day of their next term to be holden at the Court house in Shelbyville on the third Monday of August 1846 then and there to plead answer or demur to the allegations and charges contained in said bill of complaint or the matters and things therein contained will be held as true and confessed and will be heard and determined in his absence and decreed upon accordingly and have you then there this writ.
            Witness Jacob Vernon Clerk and the Seal of Said Court this 3rd day of June August AD 1846
J. Vernon     Clerk            

Contributed by Barb Huff

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