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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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This article was contributed by Kay Reitberger

Sheboygan Press October 5, 1917

Goodwin Divorce Case

"You defy your Maker and hate His word. Your face is turned toward darkness," Mrs. Helen GOODWIN wrote to Henry S. GOODWIN who has had a 19-acre farm near Plymouth for over 30 years, and from whom she separated Sept. 15, 1914, for reasons that the husband in circuit court yesterday indicated were based on their religious differences. He is suing for divorce. The wife who left him with their children is teaching school in South Dakota.

"We are parted on account of her parents, to some extent," GOODWIN testified. "They're differed a great deal and she in trying to fix up their misunderstandings seemed to get us involved in a way. Her father wants to give all property to foreign missions and seems to think everything should be done for the heathen. I believe in God but not in the Bible. She wanted me to join the church but I did not see fit to do it. I think if she got hold of the property that's where it would go."

The couple married August 28, 1889, and lived on the homestead obtained from GOODWIN's father by the son, who said he worked for his father on the place until he was 30 years of age. When it was made over to him there was a $500 mortgage on it, which he has cleared. His father paid him $100 per year for his work.

Charles LAACK, assessor for the town of Sheboygan Falls, testified that the farm was worth about $2,800, 12 acres with buildings being put at $175 each and the other acres at $100.

GOODWIN says he wrote his wife to come back with their boys and they could get along all right but she refused. She wrote him they were far apart in their interests and that she believed him better off not having to take care of all.

Attorney Frank DENISON, of Mellen, Wis., formerly of Sheboygan, representing Mrs. GOODWIN, brought up the question of the winter power on the farm and GOODWIN testified it was of practically of no value.

This morning Judge KIRWAN suggested that the best way of solving the couple's troubles, since there seemed to be no likelihood of their ever desiring to live together again, would be for them to withdraw their divorce pleas and give the wife a lien for a judgement on the farm."

"You are both asking for a divorce," he said. "I advise you now you are both likely to fail, from the evidence so far introduced. I don't say that such will be the result but I see a possibility of it."

GOODWIN on being examined further said to Judge KIRWAN he would be willing to let the wife have the farm on a valuation of $3,500, he to take such mortgage on it as the court would deem wise, and that she could have the personal property at $600. He said he would hate to part with the farm as he had been on it so long.

"I judge from the desposition and letters written by the wife that she is a superior woman," said the court. "I think that any child would be fortunate being with her. I would not think of taking the children away from her. It may be possible that she looks too much on the spiritual side of things to be a good provider or to be as economical as would be possible but that is not anything against her. She is entitled tot he greatest consideration from any court. It may be that she is guilty of a desertion in a technical sense, but only that.

After taking the case under consideration the court decided to grant the divorce decree and leave the farm in possession of the husband, the wife to take a judgement lien against it with ??? interest, the husband to have ?? year to pay it. The husband paid the costs for the suit.

In the divorce granted Mrs. C??? HALL from Edgar HALL in circuit court it was ordered that until further action the father pay $??? per week toward maintenance of ?? two minor children, Myette and Bernard A., and costs of the suit. The findings of fact, conclusions ?? law and judgement were submitted to and approved by Francis WILLIAMS, divorce counsel for Sheboygan county.

Saying the testimony in the court promised to be loathsome, Judge Michael KIRWAN this morning told the attorneys in the divorce case Elsie BARBER against Nelson BARBER that if they could avoid going ??? those disagreeable features he would be very glad to have them do so.

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