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Going thru the pension file of Noah Washington Briles, I found a few hints about his wife’s marriage and later divorce.

First was a copy of the marriage license for Sarah J. Briles and J. D. Davis from Coffey County Kansas. The license is dated 9 May 1888.

The second hint was in a claim Sarah Briles filed in 1917 to have her widow’s pension restored. In that file, Sarah states she was divorced from Jeremiah Davis in September 1898.

Number 284667 Widow Claim
In the matter of the application of Sarah J. Briles, widow of Noah W. Briles late a member of Co. I 1st Iowa Cavalry Civil War.
Sarah J. Briles, of lawful age, being duly sworn upon her oath says:
In answer to the request for explanation concerning the name of applicant, I say:
I married the soldier Noah W. Briles, known also as Noah Washington Briles late a member of Co. I, 1st Iowa Cavalry, 1866. My name is Sarah J. Briles also known as Sarah Jane Briles. I was placed on the pension roll under certificate No. 284667 and continued as pensioner under said certificate until my marriage to J.D. Davis also known as Jeremiah D. Davis. I was divorced from said Jeremiah D. Davis, September 8th, 1898 and restored to my former name of Sarah J. Briles as shown by the decree of court attached hereto.
In the divorce proceedings he procured the divorce because I offered no resistance. I lived with Davis, raised his two small children. After that he was so cruel to me that I could not live with him. I left him and he later obtained the decree in 1898 as shown by the attached decree.
But in the matter of our separation I was wholly without blame and I now ask to be restored to the pension rolls under my old or former certificate No. 284667 as the widow of my first husband Noah W. Briles.
Sarah J. Briles
Sarah J. Briles, of lawful age, being duly sworn on oath says: I am the Sarah J. Briles, applicant for restoration to the pension rolls under certificate No. 284667. I have read the foregoing affidavit and know the contents thereof and the allegations and denials therein are true, So help me God.
Sarah J. Briles

Pension File for Noah Washington Briles (: U.S. Government).

Armed with that information, I was able to locate the divorce packet.

No. 3973
Jeremiah D. Davis Vs. Sarah J. Davis
filed 5 Sep 1898

State of Kansas
County of Coffey

In the District Court of said County

Jeremiah D. Davis plaintiff
Sarah J Davis Defendent

Comes now the said plaintiff and complains of the said defendent and says that he has been an actual resident in good part of the state of Kansas for more than ten year last past and is now a bona fide resident of Coffey County, Kansas.
That said plaintiff and defendent were married to each other on the tenth day of May A.D. 1888 and have lived together as husband and wife ever since that time.
That plaintiff had, during all of said time conducted himself towards said defendant as a faithful and dutyful husband; yet the said defendant wholy disregarding her duties as a wife towards this plaintiff, has been guilty of gross neglect of duty towards this plaintiff during nearly all of

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said time; that said defendant has during nearly all of said time been in the hapit of ‘gadding’ about neglecting her household duties failing and refusing to get meals for plaintiff and was cross and abusive to plaitiffs children by a former wife, to such an extent that she drove them from the home of this plaintiff that the continuous neglect of defendant to perform her duties as a wife tothe plaintif has rendered his life miserable that no children have been born to theplaintif and defendant as the fruits of said marriage.
Whereupon plaintiff prays judgement against said defendant divorcing said plaintiff from said defendant and disolving the marriage relations heretofore existing between plaintiff and defendant and for such other nd further relief as in quity and good conscience plaintiff may be entitled.
James Redmond
Atty for plaintiff

State of Kansas County of Coffey
Jeremiah D. Davis being first duly sworn on his oath says that he is the plaintiff in the within named action, that he has read the within and foregoing petition and knows the contents therof and the several allegations the[re]
in stated are true in substance and in fact.
Jeremiah D. Davis
subscribed and sworn to before me this third day of September 1898
[Orson] Kent
Notary Public
my comm exp Oct 15 1900

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State of Kansas
County of Coffey
In the District COurt of Said COunty
Jeremiah D. Davis plaintiff
Sarah J. Davis Defendant

Comes now the said defendant Sarah J. Davis and waives the issuance and service of summons in the above entitled action and enters her appearance and files her answer to the petition of plaintiff in said action and says that she admits the marriage and residence as therein alleged; and denies each and every other allegation [averment] matter and thing in said petition contained
Sarah J Davis
Thereby conduct that the above case may be tried at the September A.D. 1898 term of the above named court and in the event of a decree of divorce being granted I ask that my name be restored to my former name of Sarah J. Briles.
Sarah J. Davis

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Jeremiah D. Davis, Plaintiff
Sarah J Davis Defendent
And now on this 8th day of September A.D. 1898, at the regular September 1898 term of this court comes the said plaintiff in his own proper person and by James Redmond his attorney as comes the said defendant in her own proper person and this case having been reached and called for trial is by consent of the parties submitted to the court for trial upon the petition of the plaintiff, the answer of defendant and the evidence and [now] Court after hearing the evidence and argument of counsel and being fully advised in the promises do find for the plaintiff that several allegations in plaintiffs petition are true in manner and form as therin alleged and stated It is therefore considered by the court that this marriage relation heretofore existing between plaintiff and defendant be and they are hereby disolved and the plaintiff is hereby divorced from said defendant and it is further considered by the court that said plaintiff pay the costs of this action taxed at $3.35 and himself let execution issue
And upon applicaiton of said

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defendant and good cause shown it is ordered and decreed that the said defendant be restored to her former name of Sarah J. Briles
It is further ordered that this decree shall not take effect for six months from this date so to allow either of said parties to any other person

This is another lesson I learned — reading the pension file leads to other finds!

One thought on “Divorce

  1. Yes, pension and bounty land files can contain some great information! I wish I could get ahold of some – crossing my fingers that NARA will open again soon.

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