Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Divorce Petition of Drury Fletcher to Sarah Benham, daughter of Mary Hobbs Benham & John Benham

From Early Settlers of Lee Co., Virginia by Hattie Bales:

This decree tells us: Sarah Benham is the daughter of Mary & John Benham; Vincent is brother of Sarah Benham; that she was married to Drury Fletcher & Edward Wilburn; that she left Fletcher about 1799 and married Wilburn shortly after that.

Divorce Petition Transcript:
Lee County Legislative Petitions, 1793-1826
"To the honorable the General Assembly of Virginia. The petition of Drury Fletcher humbly represents that about nine years ago his wife Sarah, without any cause or evil treatment, within the knowledge of your petitioner, eloped from him and fled with a certain Edward Wilburn into a neighboring State, and has, as your petitioner is informed since married the said Wilburn, and continues to live with him. Your petitioner humbly conceives that conduct of the aforesaid description is a sufficient manifestation that the said Sarah, his once wife, is totally regardless of every kind of virtue and chastity, that it has deprived your petitioner of the comforts which ___ to result from the married connection in a moral and religious point of view. Your petitioner viewing the marriage connection as a contract and conceiving the moral rectitude of the parties generally and the chastity of the parties particularly, as the very ___ of that contract; as soon as that ceases to exist or is destroyed the legal ties of the contract ought to be dissolved also. Your petitioner however, without venturing an opinion further in his own case, humbly submits the foregoing facts to the consideration of your honorable body praying that a law may pass divorcing him from the said Sarah." - Drury Fletcher
Affidavits by Neighbors and Friends of Fletcher:
Jacob Blubough (near neighbor)
Mary Bailey (near neighbor)
Mary Benham, Widow (son-in-law)
James Huff (near neighbor)
John Russell (acquaintance)
Obedience Huff (near neighbor)
Vincent Benham (Brother to Fletcher's wife)

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