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22 Nov 2015

Marriage rights and wrongs 💑

What a silly title, but I did notice a family who slightly flipped the textbook on marrying.

Normally in modern England women change their name, couples had to stay married, and there was some longevity.

Harriet Bowman and her offering bucked this trend. She is the sister of my Henry Smith and of Richard (who divorced his first wife in an agricultural way), and William (who married their niece after circumstances left them alone together).

Generation One. Harriet is shown as a widow in the 1901 census and then disappears. The next census explains. She had married William Cadnum in 1894 but they'd clearly not got on, so she wound back her name a notch. Her truthful son enumerates her as Cadnum in 1911 and under this name she dies.

Generation Two. At the truthful son's funeral the very next year who should attend but youthful Rob Read. The widow replaces truthful for youthful, "marrying her toyboy", according to the diary of a great niece.

Generation Two continued. The second son, Richard Bowman senior married three wives in a row starting at age 18. He tries to divorce the last, and believe it did make it through the divorce courts. He was a grandfather by the time the youngest baby arrives.

Generation Three. From the glitz of St George Hanover Square, a church in London ⛪ where Rose Bowman marries a wealthy sea captain... to her siblings. Amy married a Yorkshireman at 21 far from home, but ten years later settles with another man, a dangerous game that fails.

Generation Three continued. Blanche Bowman loses her first husband to a habit of dicing with prussic acid. And Richard junior is the subject of the wife swap story.

Generation Four. Richard junior's daughter, born 1922, elects not to marry her husband until she is fifty, despite having been together for years and raised a family. She'll have been influenced by her mother, who was happiest when with her partner, not her husband, and whom she wed after 15 years of union.

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