Cyrus Wheat vs Sarah Wheat
The Case of the Unwilling Wife
This lawsuit was filed in Russell County, but the principals later lived in Adair County at Montpelier for many years. Cyrus Wheat ran a general store at Montpelier until his death in 1898. For quite a number of years, his son-in-law, Z.T. Williams, was in business with him, and the store was known as Wheat & Williams.
Just a bit of background. Cyrus Wheat married Sarah 'Sallie' Murrah on 9 November 1843. Their only child, Clementina 'Clemmie' J., was born 14 January 1845.
A number of words in the orignal documents were difficult to read.
The following was filed 14 December 1846.
Cyrus Wheat v. Sarah Wheat:
To the Honorable the Judge of the Russell Circuit Court in chancery sitting.
Your orator Cyrus Wheat would most respectfully (?)represent unto your (?)honor, that on the 9th day of November 1843 he married his wife Sarah Wheat. She was then Sarah Murry. Your orator states and charges that they lived together as man & wife, [word 'until' stricken] about one year when she left his house without cause or provocation and has abandoned his from that time to this. He states & charges, that during all the time his wife lived with him, he treated her kindly and affectionately, and would have continued to treat her with affection & kindness if she would have stayed & lived with him as a wife.
He again states & charges it to be true that he gave her no cause to leave him, but she left and abandoned him without cause or provocation, & has refused ever since to return [words 'to him' stricken] & live with him. he charges that it has been upwards of two years since she left him. The (?)promises _______________ & he prays that his said wife Sarah Wheat may be made defendant to this bill, and that a subpoena in chancery may issue against her to compell her to appear & answer this bill, and upon the hearing of this cause, your orator prays your honor to grant, and decree him a divorce for m his said wife, & grant whatever else may be just and equitable, & all the relief he may show himself entitled to, & in _______ will (?)ever pray & c.
P.C. Hardin [attorney]
Sarah responded; the following was filed 25 March 1847
Sarah Wheat v. Cyrus Wheat (answer to bill)
The answer of Sarah Wheat to a bill _____________ against her in the Russell Circuit Court by Cyrus Wheat, this respondent saving & reserving & c. for answer thereto or so much thereof as she is advised necessary and proper for her to answer, answers and says [:] That it [is] true as represented in complainant's bill that she married complainant on the 9th day of November 1843. She further states that it is not true as stated in complainant's bill that they lived together about one year when she abandoned him without cause or provocation. She states the facts to be that she did not live with him as much as 12 months and even during that time his treatment was od so cruel unfeeling and inhuman a character as to destroy her peace and happiness. It is true she abandoned him but it was for just cause as she conceives. It was as above stated because of his unkind and cruel treatment. She denies most posatively that his treatment to her during the time they lived together was kind and affectionate. It is true she has refused to live with complainant ever since she abandoned him the last time which was about the month of Oct. 1844. She had left him twice prior to to that time [and] each time by complainant's importunities and promises of reformation in his treatment towards this respondent she was influenced to return and live with him complainant, not one of which promises has he complied with, but upon the contrary if possible, has treated this respondent with still more and more inhumanity. This respondent does not therefore believe that complainant is entitled to the relief prayed for in his bill and now having fully answered she prays to be dismissed with her proper cost and c.
Shelby Stone [attorney]
Notes: Cyrus and Sarah apparently worked out their differences. They appear together in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 Adair County census records (Sarah died in 1879), and are buried together in the Pleasant Hill Church cemetery, Highway 92, Adair County.