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William Bruce
Susie Bruce
Divorce, 1917

Source:  TSL&A Microfilm A 5078
Loose Record #4990

Transcribed by Jan J. Barnes

© 2004

*Notation - This lawsuit was behind Loose Record #4990, but was unrelated to #4990.  Loose Record #4990 is entitled:  H. C. Dison vs. Miles F. Bixler & Co., 1916.  There is a third loose record under this same number - S. P. Jent vs. Orr, Jackson, & Co, and V. A. Keen, D. S.

William Bruce vs. Susie Bruce - In the Circuit Court at Gallatin:

The answer and cross-bill of defendant, Susie Bruce, to the Bill filed against her in the above styled cause.

The said defendant, Susie Bruce, for answer to so much and such parts of the bill filed against her in the above styled cause, as she is advised is necessary and material for her to answer, answering, says:

It is true that she and the plaintiff were married in Sumner County, Tennessee, on the 22nd day of November, 1907, where they lived together as man and wife until the 22nd day of February, 1917.  But it is wholly untrue that defendant committed adultery with on Charles Motsenbocker on the said date or before or since said date, as alleged.  The said allegation is wholly false and without foundation in fact and was known to the plaintiff to be false at the time alleged and the only purpose of the said allegation was to slander and render infamous the character of the defendant in the neighborhood.

It is true that defendant left on the night of the 22nd day of February last and went to Indianapolis.  But the causes of her leaving was that plaintiff forced her to do so as will more fully appear hereinafter.

It is untrue that defendant committed adultery with one (left blank) Hall in Nashville in October, 1916, or at any time or place with said Hall, or any one else, and that the said allegation is wholly false and made with a malicious purpose, to slander the defendant.

It is untrue, as alleged in Section #2 of the bill that plaintiff is a hard working man.  The truth is that he has become an habitual drunkard since their marriage and when he does work he spends all his substance for drink, while defendant and their little children go hungry and cold.

It is true that two children were born to their union and that their names and ages are correctly stated in the bill but it is denied that he furnished the said children a good home and that he is the proper person to care for them and to have custody and control of them.  It is true that he carried the said children to his parents but they were not cared for there and when defendant returned from Indianapolis she found them in a fearful condition, being horribly filthy and poorly fed and clothed, showing that they had no attention at all.

And now having answered specifically each and every allegation of the bill of complaint defendant for further answer says:

That plaintiff has been guilty of such cruel and inhuman treatment of her as rendered it improper and unsafe for her to cohabit with him and be under his dominion and control.  That he has become an habitual drunkard since their marriage, defendant not knowing at the time of their marriage that he drank whisky.  Defendant would show that when the plaintiff is drinking is a veritable brute; that he would come home drunk and curse and abuse defendant and offer indignities to her person; would assault her and throw her clothing out of the house and do other things unspeakable, rendering her condition intolerable; that when he got so drunk that he could no longer walk he would go to bed with his clothing on and there vomit all over the bed until his condition would be unseemly and as filthy as a pig its sty.  Furthermore plaintiff would not pay his debts and more especially his rent for their house and defendant would be compelled to borrow the money with which to pay it, as she often did, to prevent their landlord from throwing them out on the commons.

Plaintiff has charged defendant with adultery when he has no foundation whatever for such charge, and knowing all the time that it is untrue.  Often has he charged her with infidelity to him.  When their last child was born he disowned it, saying that she had been guilty of illegitimate relations with one Tom Dunham, all of which is untrue.  Plaintiff has persisted in disowning the said child and in consequence has mistreated it and abused it, often cursing it.

Defendant answering further alleges that plaintiff abandoned her, on the 22nd day of February last, and turned her out of doors and has since failed and refused to provide for her.  That at the time she left and went to Indianapolis she was compelled to go somewhere to work for a support for herself and children; that plaintiff ordered her to leave for that he was unable to support her and that he would give her money with which to go away and procure employment.  Just a few days before he had assaulted her with a polker and threatened to kill her, saying that it took too much to keep her and the children up and he was not able to do it.  Accordingly she made preparations to go and on the day and date last aforesaid she went to Indianapolis where she had some friends, former Sumner Countians, who aided her in procuring a position with the Diamond Chain Factory.  She worked for 9 hours each day for wages about $1.00 per day, and after she paid her expenses she saved enough to send as much as $12.00 to her children.  She sent this money to her mother because he had told her that if she would leave he would let her mother have the children.  When her mother wrote her that he had refused to allow her to take the children she returned on the 6th of May, 1917.

During all the said time she has been compelled to work for her own support and plaintiff has done absolutely nothing towards her support and now she will be compelled to seek employment here or elsewhere.  She has been employed with Englehardt Bros. of Nashville, making cigars, and now has been offered employment, there again, where she desires to go, and without the molestation or interference of the plaintiff she will be able to earn a living for herself and their children.

Defendant has at all times been true to her marital vows; has been forbearing and patient with plaintiff, enduring his said conduct all along, as best she could although at times it seemed intolerable; that she has been kind and motherly to their children and loves them and is as much devoted to them as a mother could be and that she is more able to care for them and is more nearly the one to have the custody of them than the plaintiff who cares nothing for them and who has unjustly slandered their mother and who disowns the younger of the said children.

Defendant has given plaintiff no just caused or excuse whatever for his said conduct towards her.  She would further show that since he filed his said bill of complaint int his honorable Court, charging her with adultery, he has been to her asking her to return and live with him, thus showing that he has no faith in his said charges or else he is willing to live with an adulterous wife.

And now having fully answered this defendant is advised that on proper application by a cross bill, your Honor will declare and enforce her her rights granting her proper relief and she therefore files this, her answer as a


and assuming to that extent the character of a cross complainant, on the foregoing facts, which she says are true, prays:
1-That proper process issue and be served on the cross defendant, requiring him to appear and answer this cross bill, but his answer under oath is expressly waived.
2-That on the hearing the cross plaintiff be granted and absolute divorce from cross defendant, absolutely and perpetually dissolving the bonds of matrimony subsisting between them.
3-That she be granted absolute and exclusive custody of their said children, Will Allen and Herman Reese and that cross defendant be perpetually enjoined from molesting or interfering with her or the said children in any manner whatsoever.
4-And that cross defendant be required to pay the costs of this cause, and that the original bill be dismissed.
Grant cross complainant such other and further relief as she may be entitled to under the proof and as in duty bound she will ever pray
Murray and Denning
Attys for Deft.

State of Tennessee
Sumner County

Mrs. Susie Bruce makes oath in due form of law that the matters and thing in the foregoing answer and cross bill alleged are true to the best of her knowledge and belief; that her complaint is not made out of levity or by collusion with the cross defendant but in sincerity and truth for the causes mentioned in the cross bill.

She further sears that owing to her poverty she is unable to bear the expenses of her said cause brought here by the said cross bill but that she is justly entitled to the redress sought, to the best of her knowledge, information and belief.

Susie Bruce
Subscribed and sworn to before me
this the 16th day of May, 1917.
J. W. Hill Clerk
Filed May 16, 1917

J. W. Hill Clerk

To the Hon. W. L. Cook, Judge etc., holding the Circuit Court for Sumner County, Tennessee, at Gallatin, Tennessee.

William Bruce a citizen and resident of Sumner County, Tennessee, complainant,
Susie Bruce a citizen and resident of Sumner County, Tennessee, defendant.
Complainant would respectfully show to the Court: -

That he and the defendant were married in Sumner County, Tennessee, on the 23rd day of November, 1907, where they lived together as man and wife until the 22nd day of February, 1917, when the defendant committed adultery with one Charles Motsenbooker, and your complainant is advise and upon information and belief charges that the defendant committed adultery with the said Motsenbooker upon various other occasions both previous and subsequent to the 22nd day of February 1917.

On the night of the 22nd day of February, 1917, defendant left home stating she was going to the picture show, and did not return, the next morning complainant found out that she left on the 9:30 o'clock train for Louisville, and the next time he heard from her she was in Indianapolis.  She did not return to Gallatin until the fifth day of May, 1917.

Complainant is informed and believes, and upon the information and belief charges, that the defendant, committed adultery with one ____ Hall, in Nashville, in October, 1916.

Complainant would further show that he is a hard working man, that he has not been guilty of like conduct, or condone that of the defendant.

Complainant would further show, that two children were born unto complainant and the defendant, Will Allen Bruce, now seven years of age and Herman Reese Bruce, now two years of age, that said children have been in complainants custody ever since defendant went to Indianapolis until she returned to Gallatin, and took them away from complainant.  Complainant would further show that he is a hard working man, and that he has provided a good home for said children, with his father and mother, where complainant now resides, and that he is the proper person to have the custody and care of said children.

Premises seen and considered, complainant prays:-

That process issue and be served upon the defendant, that she be required to appear and answer this bill, her answer upon oath however being waived.
That at the hearing of this cause, complainant be granted an absolute divorce, and restored to all the rights and privileges of an un-married man.
That he be granted the exclusive custody and control of said children, Will Allen Bruce and Herman Reese Bruce, and that the defendant be adjoined and inhibited from interfering with complainant in the management of said children.
Grant complainant such other further and general relief as the nature of the case may require.
T. A. Jenkins
J. Durham

William Bruce, the petitioner in the foregoing bill makes oath in due form of law that the facts stated in this foregoing bill are true to the best of his knowledge and belief, and that his complaint is not made out of levity or by collusion with the defendant, but in sincerity and truth for the causes mentioned in the bill.
Subscribed and sworn to before me
                                                                                        Will Bruce
This May the 9th, 1917
K. B. King
Notary Public

Gallatin, Tennessee, 5/8, 1917
Mr. J. W. Hill,
Clerk, Circuit Court.
Dear Sir
I acknowledge myself as complainants surety for the cost in the cause of William Bruce against Susie Bruce, filed in your Court.
Luther Wallace

The Sumner County Marriage Index has Will A. Bruce & Susie Cardwell, 23 November 1908.

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