Race and Slavery Petitions Project

Petition 20184833 Details

Location Type:County
Salutation:To the Honorable Joseph W. Lesesne Chancellor of the Southern Chancery Division of the State of Alabama (LESESNE, Joseph W.)
Filing Date:1848-December-25

General Petition Information

Abstract:On Christmas Day 1848, Albert G. Wray of Montgomery County, Alabama, sued his wife for divorce. Albert Wary had married Susan Mary Cox in 1833, in Georgia, and in 1842 they moved to Alabama. He continued to live with his wife until 15 October 1848, when he discovered that she was having a "carnal connection" with C. G. M. Prime, a portrait painter and physician. Albert asks the court to dissolve the marriage and issue a divorce decree. In her answer, Susan explains that she now lives in Oglethorp County, Georgia, with her mother. She had married Albert when she was "not exceeding sixteen years of age." She claims that, within six months of the marriage, his conduct became "cold, indifferent, distant, harsh and cruel ... better the relation of master and servant than husband & wife." He repeatedly "used violence ... shoving her down violently, boxing her jaws and face and committing other personal injuries on her body." A year after their marriage, she asserts, her husband began "a promiscuous illicit intercourse with his own negroe wenches and continued ... so long as complainant and defendant resided together, say for the space of fourteen years." Albert had in fact a special relationship with a female slave named Mary, a seamstress, who, Susan claims, bore him four "mulatto" children. In the summer and fall of 1843, Susan suffered mental breakdowns, and since then has "enjoyed but few lucid intervals." Her mental problems are a direct result of the cruel and inhuman treatment by her husband, she asserts. Now "ruined in mind, broken in Spirits," she is accused of adultery with C. G. M. Prime, "a drunken worthless vagabond" hired by her husband to "take advantage of defendant's mental imbecility." In her answer and counter-petitions, Susan reveals that her husband was the owner of eighty-five slaves, some of whom he had received upon his marriage to her. The related decree reveals that Susan was in fact in a mental institution by the time the court issued its decree in 1850.
# of Petition Pages:2
Related Documents:PARs #20184911, #20184912, #20184915, #20185009, #20185012; Copies of Order of Publication, 25 December 1948; Answer, Susan M. Wray, 31 March 1849; Answer, Complainant, Cross Bill, 14 May 1849; Interrogatories for Henry White, 26 July 1850; Deposition, Henry White, 26 July 1850; Correspondence, Susan Wray to George [Prime], 27 January, 12 February, 6, 9, 12 March 1849; Petition, Susan M. Wray, 31 March 1849; Supplemental Petition, Susan M. Wray, 1849; Answer, Albert G. Wray, 2 February 1849; Affidavits, P. S. Gerald, James M. Goodwin, 1 February 1849; Decretal Orders, 20 May 1849, 9 July 1849; Supplemental Petition, Susan M. Wray, 18 June 1850; Decretal Order, 22 February 1850; Supplemental Petition, 1 August 1850; Decree, ca. August 1850
Pages of Related Documents:45

People Associated with Petition 20184833

Free Persons of Color:0
Other People:0

Citation Information

Repository: Montgomery County Courthouse, Montgomery, Alabama

  • Records of the Circuit Court, Records 1849-1850
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  • Page: 454-462; 474-481; 489-497; 565-586;
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Processing Information

Record Created:7/16/1996
Record Final Edited:11/18/1999
Record Last Updated on:5/14/2007 9:58:00 AM