PART II:                                                Petition, Counter Petition, Responses, and Judgment

 Tarter v. Tarter: Petition for divorce

1860 May 23rd - filed in Clerk's office Pulaski Circuit Court.

Jacob Tarter, Plaintiff against Mariah Tarter, Defendant: Petition in Equity

The Plaintiff Jacob Tarter states that him & Defendant Mariah Tarter were lawfully married and as man and wife lived together for some [fold in paper -- about four words missing] ...provided for her comfortably and performed all the duties of a husband, but Defendant Mariah Tarter abandoned Pltff without cause or provocation, and lived apart from him some time. She then proposed to return to Pltff's house and again live with Pltff as his wife and Pltff consented. She did return and live with Pltff some short time but about the 16th day of May 1859 more than twelve months ago she abandoned Pltff and left his home with the intention avowed by her not to live with him as his wife and not to return to his home and has continued ever since to live apart and has avowed that she will not live with him. He charges she abandoned him & left his home with the intention not to live with him again & without cause or provocation.

Wherefore he prays Judgment that the marriage contract & rights existing between Pltff & Defendant be dissolved and that he be divorced from her and for such other Judgment as he may show himself entitled to.                       F.M. __ & _____ Fox, [attys] for Pltff


Mariah Tarter vs. Jacob Tarter: Answer & Cross Petition

filed June 7th, 1860

Jacob Tarter, Pltff. against Mariah Tarter, Deft: Answer & Cross Petition

The Deft Mariah Tarter admits that she and the Pltff were married as stated and that they lived together as husband and wife for some months. She also says it is true that they have not been living together for the last twelve months but she positively denies that she at any time abandoned Pltff.

She states that soon after they were married the Pltff and his family commenced abusing and mistreating her in a very cruel and inhuman manner, and did all they could to annoy and injure Deft, as she believes and charges for the purpose of causing her to leave Pltff.

She states that notwithstanding he had treated her in such a manner, she was still inclined to live with him if she could do so and live with him, but she states that the longer she lived with him, the worse he treated he, and at last tried to compel her to leave his house by threats, persuasions, & c. and at last he come to Somerset and employed a lawyer to draw up an instrument of writing by which they were to live separate and apart from each other, and for doing so he promised and agreed to give her one hundred dollars and finding his feelings were so adverse to her that she and Pltff signed and executed the writing aforesaid at the time of the separation.

She charges that the separation was effected in the way stated, that their separation was by consent and agreement between the Pltff and Deft, and that she in no other way left the house of Pltff.

She denies that Pltff is entitled to a divorce on any account. She denies that the contract and separation was in any way an abandonment of Pltff. She denies that Pltff has a right to cause her to execute the writing mentioned and then after he had obtained it, it being contrary to the policy of the law, take advantage of it, and in this manner deprive her of her just rights.

She states that by the terms of that writing she was to get one hundred dollars in full of all her claims upon him or his property, but she states that at the time of signing it she was as stated by Pltff a married woman. She therefore pleads this as a bar to that part of the writing. She states that said writing is in the hands of Pltff or some one holding it for his benefit. She calls upon him to produce it and make it a part of this suit.

She further states that at the time she and Pltff separated she was and had been for some months previous and subsequent deranged and did not know what she was doing, and in this condition Pltff with a fraudulent design to obtain a divorce and deprive her of any of his property procured the writing aforesaid.

She states that in August last some three months after they separated she had a child, that Pltff has never furnished anything to her or for the support or maintenance of her child, and refuses to do so, although he has some $7,000 or $8,000 in land, negroes, money, & c. She states that ever since they separated she has been supported by her father, and that the Pltff has not paid him anything for so doing, and he has never even paid the physician who waited on her during her confinement but she and her father have had it to pay.

She states that almost ever since she married Pltff her health has been bad, so much so that she has been unable to do much labor.

Therefore she asks that she be allowed out of his property a sufficiency for her and her child's separate maintenance.

The Deft by way of cross petition against Pltff states that she was married as before noted, that soon after their marriage she ascertained the fact that the Pltff was a cross, crabbed and disagreeable old man who had no regard for anything or any one that was not a source of pecuniary profit to him, that he forgot his God and worshiped the almighty dollar, and seemed determined that all who were associated with him should do the same.

She states that she had and still has a delicate constitution and could not endure excessively hard labor, that she did all in her power to make the marriage agreeable, but there was no such thing as pleasing him.

She states that shortly after their marriage the Pltff commenced abusing and mistreating her in such a cruel and inhuman manner as to indicate a settled aversion to her all of which continued more than six months before the separation. She states that she has... [fold in paper; several words missing]

She states that often during the time they lived together Pltff would strike her, throw her down and drag her over the floor, and that too while she was pregnant.

She states that the Pltff at one time locked up his doors and nailed his windows down to keep her from living with him.

She states that she was so much afraid of her life or of receiving great bodily harm that when he would bring his neighbors there and ask her how he treated her she was afraid to answer in any other way than that it was all right, as he would always in private tell her what he would do if she refused to answer as he directed.

She states that before and since they separated the Pltff kept and still keeps a set of prostitutes about him for the basest purposes, such treatment and conduct all took place in this state.

She therefore prays to be divorced form Pltff whose dollar is his God and whose house is the abode of prostitutes. She prays the court for a judgment against him for $3,000 and all other proper relief.                                                Bradley & Bachellor [attys] for Deft


 Tarter v Tarter: Answer to Cross Petition, filed Sept. 25, 1860

Jacob Tarter, Pltff. agt Mariah Tarter, Deft.: Answer and Cross Petition

The Pltff Jacob Tarter in answer to the cross petition of the Deft Mariah Tarter says that he denies that soon after they were married he & family commenced abusing and mistreating her in a very cruel & inhuman manner or in any other way, and denies they did all they could to injure Deft, and deny [sic] that they done it for the purpose of causing her to leave Pltff as charged.

He denies that the longer she lived with him, the worse he treated her and he denies expressly that he tried to compel her to leave his home by threats & persuasions.

He admits that he got the writing charged by Deft but he avers that at the time the writing was drawn, the Defendant was living apart from him having before that abandoned him without cause and being anxious to close the matter without a lawsuit he got the writing drawn, she having agreed that it should be. He avers further that before the writing was signed by Deft she came back to Pltff's home and commenced again to live with him and did for somewhere upward of a month, but in a short time after she came back she told this Pltff that she would leave him, that she would not live with him, and she did leave & abandon him as stated in her petition, and after her abandonment of him, she signed the writing and agreed to accept the $100 which was paid to her.

He denies she made the agreement finding his feelings so adverse to her. He avers she made the agreement because she had abandoned Pltff and was herself unwilling to live with Pltff.

He denies the separation was effected in the way stated in the Deft's cross petition. He denies their separation was by consent & agreement and denies the charges that in no other way she left his home.

He denies that Deft was at the time she separated from Pltff and had been for several months previous & subsequent deranged and did not know what she was doing, and he denies whilst in this condition with a fraudulent design to obtain a divorce and deprive her of any of her property procured the writing aforesaid.

He admits Deft has had a child but he denies that he has never furnished any thing for the support to Pltff [sic] or the child and denies he refused to do so.

He charges that since Deft abandoned him he paid her $100, all that she required and she signed the writing which is referred to and also gave a receipt which is also referred to, and since the birth of the child, he has sent her bacon, coffee & flour.

He denies that shortly after their marriage he commenced abusing & mistreating her in such a cruel and inhuman manner as to show a settled aversion to her and he denies it continued for six months before the separation as charged.

He denies she was sickly and unable to perform the labors usual with women. He denies he was cross, crabbed & ill to her. He denies he required her to work. He told her to work when she pleased and play when she pleased. He denies he ever struck her, threw her down, or dragged her over the floor.

He denies he locked his doors & nailed his windows to prevent Deft from living with him.

He denies she was afraid of her life or bodily harm and he denies he told her in private what he would do if she did not answer as he wanted her to answer questions put to her about his treatment of her as charged.

He denies that before she separated from him and since he has kept a set of prostitutes about him for the basest of purposes. He denies he has kept any about him.

Pltff here offers to take and raise the child Deft has had since she left. Pltff is willing to raise & educate it as he can and treat it as his other children.

He states he is a hard working man, always has been, [and] is worth he supposes about $500 [$5,000?? -- final zero appears to be marked through -- jg] and not more.

Fox _ [atty] for Pltff

"Jacob Tarter says that he believes the statements in the aboveforegoing manner are true." /?s/ Jacob Tarter." Sworn to by Jacob Tarter before me the 25th day of Sept. 1860. /s/ J.?B. Crawford, Clk."


Jacob Tarter, Plaintiff against Mariah Tarter, Defendant: In Equity

This case was submitted to the Court by the parties, upon the pleadings, proof and exhibits in the case, for Judgment and the Court being sufficiently advised, orders and adjudges that the marriage contract, entered into between Pltff Jacob Tarter and Defendant Mariah Tarter be annulled, canceled & vacated and that Plaintiff be divorced from Deft Mariah Tarter.

The cross petition of Mariah Tarter against Jacob Tarter is dismissed.

The Defendant Mariah Tarter moved the Court, to make her an allowance for support & maintenance during the pendency of this suit which motion was overruled.

To the Judgment of the Court in dismissing the cross petition of Defendant and in overruling her motion for an allowance, the Defendant excepts and prays an appeal to the Court of Appeals which is granted.

 [Comments about the above document -- jg

Nowhere in this document does a date appear, either stated or implied. However, I believe the divorce decree was granted in the March, 1862 term of the Pulaski County Circuit Court, based on the text of the judgement and these court entries: "1862 Judgt. & Deft. prays an appeal" (pg. 7, above) and "March 1862 'Order praying app. 25c, order granting app. 25c'" (pg. 6).

On 11 December 1870, Jacob Tarter married Polly Ann Bird in Russell County KY. In his will (Russell County KY, Will Book 3, pp. 293-294), written on 21 December 1872, Jacob makes specific reference to "...my two youngest sons (children of my present wife) William Thomas Tarter and Elias Jefferis Tarter...". Jacob died in Russell County in 1874. On 8 January 1878, in Russell County, William D. [sic] Tarter, age 17, his mother Polly Ann Tarter consenting, married Sarah Jane Dixon (Marriage Book 5, page ?). If the age given for William is correct, he would have been born in early 1861 at the latest and as possibly as early as January, 1860. Assuming a normal nine month term, these parameters fix the date of his conception between late March to early April, 1859 and late March to early April, 1860. These dates are quite interesting in light of a couple of the depositions which follow.]


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