Saturday, August 16, 2014

Divorce over Bed-Bugs in 1895

Bed bugs have obviously been around for a very long time biting and infesting our homes but little did we know that they could contribute to a divorce. I guess you could say the Bowen home didn't follow the saying "a clean home is a happy home". 


Old Farmer Sues His Wife for Divorce, His
Plea Being that His Wife Didn't Keep 
the Beds In Order and Allowed the
Creatures with Incisors to Take Posses-
sion of the Home and Drive the Chil-
dren to the Barn to Sleep-Number of
Convicts Now Lodged in the State Peni-

Leavenworth, Kan., Sept. 5 -Joseph 
Bowen, a farmer of Sherman township,
began suit in the district court yester-
day for a divorce from his wife, Jennie
Bowen. His petition is a long one and
makes some rather sensational charges.
  He says he was a widower with eight 
children when he married the defend-
ant, who was an "old maid" and had
nothing but a tunk and a few old 
dresses. That he gave her $25 to pur-
chase a wedding trousseau. He says
she married him for his money and has
told neighbors since that she would not
have done so, if she had known he did
not have more that he has. 
  He says that during the first four 
months of their married life she con-
ducted herself very decently, and seem-
ed to think a great deal of the children
and a great deal more of the plaintiff,
but she soon became jealous of his at-
tentions to the children and turned 
against him and made his home a per-
fect hell.
  One of the first things she did was to 
neglect her household duties; to keep
the beds of the children by his former
wife in such a shape that they became in-
fested with "bed bugs;" that the chil-
dren had to leave the house and sleep
in the barn and other houses on the 
  For a further cause for divorce the 
defendant has been guilty of extreme
cruelity, as she has often cursed and
abused the plaintiff by the calling him a
liar, son --------- and other vile epit-
hets, and saying that he was no bet-
ter than the chickens and dogs run-
ning in the yard.
  He says the defendant would fre-
quently get mad and sulky and leave 
his home for days and weeks at a time:
that she usually did so during harvest
and threshing times or in the busy sea-
son: that she left his home on the 10th
of August and is now away.
  He said that he had to lose 160 acres 
of land owing to her actions and that 
he still has 80 acres with a mortgage
on. The he earned and asks to be award
ed to him absolutely. 

Clipping from The Wichita Daily Eagle, Wichita, KS September 1895

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