Divorces Granted by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania from December, 1785, until 1801

Pennsylvania was the first state to legalize divorce. Initially, the action had to be brought before the state Legislature or state Supreme Court, and based upon sterility or impotence, bigamy, adultery, desertion for four years, or remarriage upon the false rumor of a spouse’s death. Jurisdiction over divorce proceedings was extended to the circuit courts and the county courts of common pleas in 1804, and marriage between related parties was added to the list of recognized grounds.

These records are an extraction from Pennsylvania Supreme Court records of the divorces granted under its’ authority from 1785-1801. I am not certain why the original transcription did not include divorces between 1801 and 1804, the time in which it still held responsibility for granting such. The original publication within the manuscript did not have any accompanying text to the actual records themselves. The order is as found within the original article.

  • John Brice, of Philadelphia, from Sarah Brice (maiden name Bernard); married 26 November, 1774; divorced 13 December, 1785.
  • Anthony Felix Weibert from Altathea Wibert; married 5 February, 1782; at marriage was the widow of John Garrison; divorced in 1788.
  • Mary Cordell from James Cordell, of Germantown; married 18 January, 1780; divorced 24 September, 1787.
  • William Keith, of Philadelphia, from Ann Keith (maiden name Burgess); married 27 August, 1785; divorced 3 September, 1791.
  • Mary Steele from William Steele, of Germantown; in 1788 had been married ” upwards of twenty years;” divorced 2 January, 1789.
  • John Dicks, of Chester, Pa., from Mary Dicks (maiden name Culin) married 14 June, 1763; divorced 2 April, 1789.
  • Sophia Paulus from Peter Paulus; married “about the month of October, 1783 ;” divorced 24 September, 1788.
  • Joseph Wright, of Lancaster county, from Catharine Wright, maiden name Leek; married 8 September, 1784; divorced 24 September, 1788.
  • Margaret Erben (maiden name Bickley), of Philadelphia, from Adam Erbin, married 25 September, 1792; divorced 2 January, 1790.
  • Sarah Bossier (daughter of John Garber) from Henry Bossier, of Cumberland county; married “about” December, 1781; divorced 2 January, 1790.
  • Elizabeth Hare from Daniel Hare; married 11 November, 1772; divorced September, 1791.
  • Margaret Friday from Henry Friday, of Philadelphia; married “about” 1778; divorced 2 January, 1790.
  • Phillipina Fisher (daughter of James Davis, of Cumru township, Berks county) from Merchant Fisher, of Berks county; married 17 March, 1788; divorced 3 January, 1791.
  • Mary Peyatt (daughter of Rev. David Philips) from Benjamin Peyatt, of Washington county; divorced 24 September, 1790.
  • Sarah Thompson from James Thompson, of Chester county; married 28 February, 1768; divorced 17 September, 1791.
  • Jane Harris from James Harris, of Paxton township, Dauphin county; married 23 May, 1779; divorced 3 January, 1791.
  • Elizabeth Black, daughter of Frederick Shingle, from James Black; married about 6 January, 1786; divorced 16 September, 1791.
  • Jane Kinsey from Philip Kinsey; married 18 November, 1774; divorced 5 September, 1791.
  • Elizabeth McBride from Andrew McBride; married about July, 1789; divorced 7 January, 1792.
  • Elizabeth Beans from John Beans, of Northampton, Bucks county; divorced 2 January, 1792.
  • Frederick Wilhelm Vonderstoot, of Northampton county, from Ann Margaret (Reidt) Vonderstoot; married 10 July, 1788; divorced 18 August, 1791.
  • Ann Holland from James Holland, of Philadelphia; married 24 February, 1788; divorced 7 January, 1793.
  • Juliana Zuber from John Zuber; married August, 1785; divorced 2 September, 1793.
  • John Martin from Catharine Martin (Heist); married 2 April, 1778; divorced 6 January, 1794.
  • Hannah Miller, of Northumberland county, from James Miller; divorced 7 January, 1794.
  • Mary Hopps from Samuel Hopps; married 28 June, 1792; divorced 12 December, 1799.
  • Maria R. Moore, of Philadelphia, from John Moore; married May, 1795; divorced September, 1799.
  • Catharine Leamon, of Lancaster county, from Samuel Leamon; married about 1792; divorced 4 September, 1800.
  • Tobias Shurtz, of Northampton county, from Charlotte (Hartman) Shurtz; married 6 April, 1785; divorced 6 April, 1795.
  • Philip Shriner, of Newbury, York county, from Elizabeth Shriner; married 31 January, 1786; divorced 6 April, 1794.
  • Mary Allen, of Philadelphia, from Thomas Allen; married 2 October, 1786; divorced 12 December, 1796.
  • Agnes Henry, of Lancaster, from John Henry; married 18 November, 1792; divorced 14 December, 1795.
  • Robert Irwin from Catharine (Nugent) Irwin; married 1 March, 1791; divorced 14 September, 1796.
  • William Kenley, of Philadelphia, from Catharine Kenley; married 16 September, 1795; divorced March, 1797. Petition states that Catharine Lauer married, 2 Nov. 1777, William Cuniers or Cunnius, who removed to South Carolina, and that in his absence, without a divorce, she married Casper Iseloan, who had another wife at the time, and that she married third as above, the said William Kenley, no divorce having been obtained from either the two former husbands.
  • Mary Pfeiffer, late Mary Nutter, from Peter Pfeiffer, of Philadelphia; married 29 April, 1779; divorced 8 January, 1798.
  • John Jones, mariner, from Catharine Jones, formerly Catharine Collins, widow of Captain James Collins; married 28 April, 1785; divorced April, 1787.
  • Elizabeth Clendennin from John Clendennin; married 25 Feb., 1779; divorced (from bed and board) 19 Jan., 1798.
  • Catharine Conrad from Matthias Conrad; married 27 January, 1777; divorced 15 July, 1798.
  • Valentine Clemens from Catharine Clemens, of Philadelphia; married 16 July, 1786; divorced 2 April, 1791.
  • Hannah Walpper, of Philadelphia, from David Walpper; married 24 December, 1785; divorced.
  • Rosanna McKarraher from Daniel McKarraher; married October, 1780; divorced 15 June, 1793.
  • Rebecca Livingood from Jacob Livingood; married October, 1770; divorced ” from bed and board ” with alimony, 2 April, 1793.
  • Susanna Evans, of Philadelphia, from William Evans; married in 1784; divorced 11 April, 1793.
  • Jacob Engleman from Magdalen (Hemich) Engleman; married December, 1791; divorced 1 September, 1794.
  • Lewis Alburtus, of Philadelphia, from Ann (Harnet) Albertus; married 9 August, 1792; divorced 5 January, 1795.
  • George Waggoner, of Lancaster County, from Dorothea (Foulke) Waggoner; married 25 February, 1775; divorced 7 September, 1795.
  • John Campbell, of Montgomery Township, Franklin County, from Rebecca Campbell, daughter of Josiah Clapham, of Loudon County, Virginia; married October, 1787; divorced 14 December, 1795.
  • Mary Lloyd, daughter of Henry Fritz, from John Lloyd; married 13 April, 1794; divorced 7 September, 1795.
  • Mary Bealert from David Bealert, of Middletown, Dauphin County; married 1 Aug., 1768; divorced 14 Dec., 1795.
  • Jane Corvaisier (daughter of Samuel Grove and Jane, his wife), of Charleston, South Carolina, from Bartholomew Corvaisier; married 2 January, 1780; divorced 7 September, 1795.
  • Mary Trenchard from James Trenchard; married about 10 October, 1777; divorced 1 April, 1797.
  • William Adair, of Philadelphia, from Ann Adair (maiden name Dayman); married 31 July, 1783; divorced 21 March, 1796.
  • Ann Crosby, of Philadelphia, from Elisha Crosby; married 27 June, 1787; divorced 5 September, 1796.
  • Dorothy Loller, of Philadelphia, from Alexander Loller; married 18 February, 1776; divorced March, 1796.
  • Catharine Griscom from George Griscom; married 28 July, 1785; divorced 20 December, 1797.
  • Hannah Updegrave, of Montgomery Co., from Joseph Updegrave; married 4 September, 1791; divorced 28 March, 1798.
  • William Britton from Catharine Britton (maiden name Smith); married about 23 September, 1794; divorced 20 December, 1797.
  • Cornelius Mayer from Catharine Mayer (maiden name Kendrick), of township of Conostogoe, county of Lancaster; married 1 November, 1791; divorced 7 September, 1795.
  • Margaret McCrea, of Philadelphia, from William Archibald McCrea; married 5 June, 1784; divorced 25 March, 1801.
  • Margaret Nusam (maiden name Matthews), of Washington County, Penna., from Richard Nusam; divorced 29 December, 1798.
  • Abraham Moyer, Northampton County, from Mary Moyer (maiden name Donut); divorced 10 December, 1798.
  • George Gardner, the younger, of borough of Reading, Berks County, from Margaret Gardner; divorced 27 March, 1799.
  • Mary Burk, of Philadelphia, from William Burk; married July, 1795; divorced 29 December, 1798.
  • Ann Blaney from Edward Blaney; married 4 May, 1797; divorced 27 December, 1798.
  • John Stenman from Maria Christina Stenman; married 5 March, 1794; divorced 10 December, 1799.
  • William Henderson, of Franklin County, from Mercy Henderson (Mercy Viol, widow, of Philadelphia); divorced 15 September, 1798.
  • Catharine Copeland, of Dauphin County, from Robert Copeland; married 17 April, 1792; divorced 28 December, 1798.
  • Ann Dunning from Dennis Dunning; married 4 September, 1789; divorced 29 March, 1799.
  • John Lovingyer, of Philadelphia, from Louisa Lovingyer (maiden name Ellenberg); married March, 1796; divorced 12 December, 1800.
  • Jacob Gideon from Mary Gideon (maiden name Grace); married 1786; divorced 16 March, 1801.
  • Ann Catharine Heger from Philip Heger, of township of Northern Liberties, Philadelphia County; divorced 17 March, 1801.
  • Mary Ann Dodd, of Philadelphia (maiden name Schnyder), from Robert J. Dodd; married 7 February, 1797; divorced 21 March, 1801.
  • Mary Davis, of Philadelphia County, from Benjamin Davis, late of the same county; married upwards of 25 years; divorced 4 September, 1800.
  • Jacob Painter from Eve Painter; divorced September, 1800.
  • Richard Stout, of township of Frankford, Philadelphia County, from Rachel Stout; married about 1 March, 1798; divorced 1 September, 1800.
  • Philip Ducomb, of Allegheny County, from Catharine Ducomb (maiden name McLocklin); divorced 16 March, 1801.
  • Jacob Hantz, of York County, from Elizabeth Hantz (maiden name Sheaffer); married about four years past; divorced March, 1801.
  • Elizabeth Alexander (maiden name Woolley) from George Alexander; married about five years ago; divorced 1 September, 1800.
  • Johanna Browne from William Browne, of township of Northern Liberties; married many years ago; divorced 8 September, 1800.
  • Susanna Sheifley from George Sheifley, late of Philadelphia County; married 20 May, 1795; divorced 16 March, 1801.
  • Elizabeth Hesser from John Hesser, late of Philadelphia County; married about fifteen years ago; divorced 25 March, 1801.
  • John Mullowny, of Philadelphia, from Catherine Mullowny (maiden name Quinlin); married 14 May, 1789; divorced 1 September, 1794.
  • Elizabeth Bishopberger from Jacob Bishopberger the younger; married 29 April, 1783; divorced March, 1796.
  • Mary Flinn from Richard Flinn, Philadelphia County; married 8 November, 1793; divorced April, 1796.
  • Reuben Bennett, Philadelphia County, from Charlotte Bennett (maiden name Brogden); married 3 November, 1793; divorced 21 December, 1796.
  • Deborah Bellot, of Philadelphia, from Peter Bellot; married 13 December, 1795; divorced September, 1799.
  • Lucy Bryant (daughter of John Ansley) from Prince Bryant, late of Wallenpapeck settlement, Northampton County; married about seventeen years ago; divorced March, 1797.
  • George Rose, Borough of Reading, Berks County, from Catherine Rose (maiden name Boyer); married 1792; divorced 1796.
  • Mary Murray, of Philadelphia, from Robert C. Murray; married 16 February, 1797; divorced 23 March, 1798.
  • Daniel Bender, of Philadelphia, from Elizabeth Bender (maiden name Albrecht); married 8 June, 1794; divorced March, 1800.
  • Eleanor Pettit from Samuel Pettit, late of Chester County; married about seven years ago; divorced 19 March, 1800.
  • Nancy Council (maiden name Cox) of Philadelphia, from William Council; married 20 December, 1788; divorced 24 December, 1800.
  • Catherine Bernhart, of York County, from Jacob Bernhart; married about 17 years ago; divorced 8 September, 1801.
  • Charlotte Castle from Joseph Castle of Philadelphia; married 14 June, 1784; divorced 29 March, 1798.
  • John Honoraty from Mary Ann Honoraty (maiden name Oates); married 11 September, 1785; divorced April, 1796.
  • James Gamble from Elizabeth Gamble; divorced 6 April, 1795.
  • Gabriel Blakeney, of Washington County, from Mary Anne Blakeney; divorced 11 May, 1798.
  • Phoebe Glous, of Philadelphia, from William Glous; married 19 July, 1796; divorced 28 December, 1799.
  • Jacob Stiteler, of Chester County, from Mary Stiteler (maiden name Carnahan); married 1 April, 1795; divorced 27 March, 1800.

Source: Divorces Granted by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania from December, 1785, until 1801; as published in Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, December 1898 , pp 185-192; series published as Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, vol. 1. Philadelphia, PA: Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, 1898.

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