Barnes Divorce Petition

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Barnes Divorce Petition – November 25, 1898

(compiled and transcribed by Jenifer Talbert)



November 25, 1898

Joanna Barnes, Plaintiff
Frank Barnes, Defendant


Comes now the plaintiff and for her cause of action against the defendant say:

1st. That she has been an actual resident in good faith of the state of Kansas for more than 10 years past and is a resident of Atchison county, Kansas.

2nd. That the plaintiff and defendant are husband and wife and were married in this county on or about the26th day of December 1883 and have ever since said time lived in Atchison county, Kansas

3rd. The plaintiff has at all times conducted herself toward the defendant as a faithful wife and has at all times conducted herself toward the defendant as a true and faithful wife and performed her duties as such.

4th That there has been born to the plaintiff and the defendant as a result of such marriage, three children, to wit:

                                Lydia, aged 14
                                Anna, aged 12
                               And Elizabeth, aged 8

The oldest child now being with relatives in the state of Texas, the youngest two being under the care and control of plaintiff in the city of Atchison, Kansas and supported by plaintiff and ? plaintiff is now pregnant by defendant.

5.            Plaintiff further state that the defendant is a strong well able bodied man, capable of earning a large amount of money and plaintiff alleges the fact to be that the defendant does now and has for the past five years earned a large amount of money, that he also possesses in his own name sixty acres of land in Atchison county, Kansas, to wit, sixty acres in the south half of the N.W. ¼ of lot J7R19 of the value of about $2000.00 and that the defendant has recently sold a team of horses for $150.00, a cow for $35.00, hogs for $100.00 and also flax, potatoes, and other items to value about $100.00 and has been employed all the fall at the ? of $1.75 or $2.00 for day and board and has a large amount of other property at his cou? and under his control.

6.            That plaintiff is without any means except her daily earnings and the rental of eighty acres of land that she inherited from her father and by reason of having to care for her children as a mother, is prevented from earning full wages and often finds herself in the want of many necessities of life.

7.            The plaintiff further says that the defendant notwithstanding his marital vows and obligations has been guilty of gross neglect of duty in this, that notwithstanding defendant is a strong able bodied man, having property as stated in count five of this petition and capable of earning at least $1.75 per day and earning a large amount of money, as a farmer, thresher, and otherwise, he has failed, neglected and refused for the past five years, to properly clothe this plaintiff and her children, and has failed to provide a suitable home and maintenance for plaintiff and her children. In fact, has not furnished plaintiff for her own clothing in the past five years spend the sum of $5.00 and other necessities in like proportion.

8.            The plaintiff for a further cause of action states, that the defendant has been guilty of gross neglect of duty of and toward the plaintiff also in this; that plaintiff is a woman of an extremely sensitive nature, and very keenly feels the slight and neglect of the defendant all of which has long been known to the defendant, but not withstanding the defendant has for years failed, neglected, and refused to accompany the plaintiff to see her friends or to public entertainments, public places, parties or elsewhere, but has attended such places alone, leaving plaintiff neglected t home with her children, though plaintiff has been willing, able, and anxious to attend such places and friends with defendant, but that she has been whall?, neglected, ignored and left to herself through living and performing her duties as the wife of the defendant.

9.            For further cause of action, plaintiff says, defendant has been guilty of extreme cruelty toward plaintiff in this to wit that the plaintiff is a woman of an extremely sensitive nature, and sorely feels ill words, actions, and cruel treatment of the defendant, all of which has long been known to the defendant, but that the defendant notwithstanding has, during the past year, circulated reports, that the plaintiff is insane, unreasonable, and untrustworthy, all of which charges he at the time, knew to be untrue, but that the defendant circulated such reports in the neighborhood where plaintiff and defendant lived, for the purpose of prejudicing plaintiff in the minds of her neighbors and friends and to cause the plaintiff to be harassed by her friends and neighbors all of which reports were untrue and at the time known by the defendant to be untrue, but that circulating of such reports by the defendant and knowledge of same by this plaintiff caused this plaintiff great mental pain and anguish and caused plaintiff to become ill and her married life undesirable.

Wherefore plaintiff prays judgment that she be granted a divorce from the defendant for the reasons a fore said and for an order for alimony in such sum as to the court seems proper and just during the purduacy? Of this suit for the support of plaintiff and her children and for suit money to enable plaintiff to prepare her case for trial, including a reasonable attorney’s fee in the sum of at least fifty dollars, that another final trial of this case plaintiff may recover such sum as permanent alimony as the court shall deem just and property also that the court decree plaintiff whom the care, custody, and control of her minor children and recover her costs herein.


In the District court of Atchison County, Kansas
Joanna Barnes, Plaintiff
Frank Barnes, Defendant

Now comes the above named defendant and for his answer to the plaintiff’s petition filed herein says:
        1. That he admits the residence of the said plaintiff.
        2. That he admits that the plaintiff and the defendant are husband and wife and were married at the time alleged in plaintiff’s petition.
        3. Defendant admits that the plaintiff and the defendant have three children and as named in plaintiff’s petition.
        4. Defendant here denies each and every other statement, allegation and averment set forth in plaintiff’s petition.



About Debra Pickman

After living in an extremely haunted location with my husband who was physically and mentally brutalized by an unseen force my husband and I became experienced investigators applying our knowledge to other locations. We continue to speak at events, conferences and on radio shows around the world. Contact me at

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