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Land and Divorce

Is it normal for a woman to have to purchase back her first husband’s land from her second husband prior to divorcing her second husband?

That appears to be what happened with my second great grandmother, Sarah Jane Thompson Briles.

The land in question is the West half of the Northeast quarter of Section Twelve (12) in Township twenty three (23) of Range fifteen (15).


  • 1866 – Sarah Jane Thompson married Noah Washington Briles in Wapello County Iowa on 9 August 1866
  • 1869 – Noah W. Briles purchased the land in question from his father, Alexander Briles.
  • 1879 – Noah Briles died leaving his wife, Sarah and two children: Ida Angelina and Edward Grant Briles
  • 1886 – In November, Sarah J. Briles mortgaged the land to W. H. Fear for $150.00
  • 1888 – In May, Sarah Briles married Jeremiah D. Davis
  • 1888 – In November, the mortgage to W. H. Fear was paid off
  • 1889 – In December, S. J. Davis and J.D. Davis and E. G. Briles mortgaged the land for $165 to Angeline Myers (Angeline Briles Myers)
  • 1896 – In July, the mortgage to Angeline Myers was paid off
  • 1898 – In July, Jeremiah D. Davis sold to Sarah J. Davis two parcels of land for $1,000
    • the parcel in question: the West half of the Northeast quarter of section twelve (12) in township twenty three (23) of range fifteen (150
    • and the Southwest quarter of the Southeast quarter of section thirty six (36) in township twenty two (22) of range fifteen (15)
  • 1898 – In September, Jeremiah Davis was granted a divorce from Sarah J. Davis. Sarah J. Davis’ name was restored to Sarah J. Briles
  • 1901 – In July, Sarah J. Briles mortgaged the land in section 12 to R. Waldron for $350
  • 1910 – In March, the mortgage to R. Waldon had been paid off
  • 1910 – In March, Sarah J. Briles sold the land in section 12 to H.E. Myers (first husband of Ida Angeline Briles)

Below is a transcription of the deed where Sarah J. Davis purchases the land from Jeremiah Davis.

Coffey County Kansas
Deed Book 51
Page 383

Warranty Deed
Jeremiah D Davis
Sarah J Davis

The State of Kansas
Coffey County
Filed for record on the 20th day of July A.D. 1898 at 4 o’clock p.m.
Minni Gilman

This indenture made this 20 day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety eight between Jeremiah D Davis of the county of Coffey and state of Kansas of the first part, and Sarah J Davis of the same place, of the second part.
Witnesseth, that the party of the first part, in consideration of the sum of one thousand dollars to him duly pad has bargained and sold and by these presents does grant and convey unto the said party of the second part her heirs and assigns all that tract or parcel of land situated in Coffey County and State of Kansas and described as follows, to wit:
The West half of the North East quarter of Section Twelve (12) in Township Twenty Three (23) of Range fifteen (15) and the south west quarter of the south east quarter of section thirty six (36) in township twenty two (22) of range fifteen (15)
And the appurtenance, and all the estate, title and interest of the said party of the first part therein and that he will warrant and defend the same in the quiet and peaceable possession of eh said party of the second part, her heirs and assigns forever against the lawful claims, mode or suffered by him but against none where in witness whereof, the said party of the first part has hereunto set his hand and seal, the day and year above written.

Jeremiah D Davis

In presence of
I R Stamp $100 canceled
State of Kansas
Coffey County
On the 20th day of July AD 1888 before me a notary public in and for said County, personally came Jeremiah Davis to me personally known to be the same person whose name is affixed to the fore (going) conveyance as granter had he acknowledged the execution of the same.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my official seal on the day and year last above written.
W H Gray
Notary Public
My Com expires May 16th 1899

Coffey County, Kansas, Deeds, Book 51 page 383, Jeremiah D Davis to Sarah J Davis, 20 July 1898; Recorder of Deeds, Burlington, Kansas.

One thought on “Land and Divorce

  1. I can’t tell you if that’s normal or not. It depends on state law at the time. In some places during that period, any assets a woman brought to the marriage remained her property. In other places, it may become joint property or property of the husband.

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