Sometimes a divorce presents a different type of surprise. When I requested a divorce file in Chautauqua County, New York, the clerk returned snickering. "This is a juicy one," she exclaimed.
My great-great-grandmother Sarah (Bly) Thayer, a native of Ashville, New York, married Daniel Brainard Thayer in 1853. He died in October 1863 of illness contracted as a Union soldier in the Civil War. I learned of Sarah's divorce from her application for his widow's pension.
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