Petition #20185006


In 1843, Milley David married Henry P. David in Autauga County, Alabama. The bride owned twenty-two slaves, eight mules, a stock of cattle, hogs, a piano, household goods, and about six hundred acres of land. She estimated the value of her property at $20,000. Henry David, a recent migrant from Georgia, owned two slaves and a small amount of land. In 1844, the couple moved to Coosa County. It was then, Milley contends, that her husband began to abuse her. He whipped her with a cowhide, inflicting ten lashes; "the blows were so severe," she said, "as to cut the skin." On another occasion, he put her head between his legs, "striped up the clothes," and "inflicted about a dozen lashes upon the bare person of your Oratrix with a whip which was commonly Called a negroe whip." In August 1847, Milley abandoned their farmhouse. She now asks for a divorce, and that all property acquired by her husband through his marriage to her and acquired "since the said marriage by & with the profits or proceeds of the property the said Defendant acquired by his said Marriage, be vested in your Oratrix to her sole and separate use free from the control, management, debts & liabilities of said Defendant." Henry P. David denied that he whipped or struck his wife, claimed she drank to excess, and when drinking was "of a very high and bad temper." His defense was eventually successful. In 1855, Milley's divorce suit was dismissed by the Alabama Supreme Court.

Result: Granted; reversed; dismissed.

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Citation information

Repository: Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama