Petition #20985703


Margery Wells, the petitioner, married James Wells, the defendant, in 1849. Margery states that some years later her husband "commenced, and has ever since continued, to associate only with the most depraved and dissolute in their manners and conversation; that he consorts with negroes upon terms of perfect equality." She claims that her husband encouraged "the said negroes" to meet at their house and engaged with them in "acts contrary not only to the law of the land, but in the most flagrant degree subversive and in contempt of religion and morality." Although Margery attempted to reform her husband through "kind conduct," James, without provocation, "abuses and curses her, and heaps upon her epithets the most opprobrious and vile." Margery claims that James "has threatened both to whip and kill her" if she tried to visit her friends; has refused to buy her clothes; "has refused her the use of candles;" has forbidden "her the use of a horse;" and has accused her of adultery. James has also been physically abusive as well; in 1856, he "threw her down, and with his knees upon her breasts, choked her, and unmercifully and cruelly struck her violent and repeated blows in the face ... accompanying his inhuman brutality with the words -- 'damn you, i'll kill you.' " After that, she fled the house and has not returned. Margery Wells asks the court for a decree of divorce with alimony. She also asks for an injunction to prevent James from selling his personal property, which includes four slaves, as she fears James will endeavor to defeat her efforts "to obtain any such alimony."

Result: Granted.

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Citation information

Repository: Maryland State Archives, Annapolis, Maryland