Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

30 June 2015: The sordid divorce of John Rogers and Elizabeth Griswold June 30, 2015

I love how you sometimes come across genealogy info in the strangest places, like books on the institution of marriage.  Case in point … see below.  While cleaning out my genealogy files, I came across this item I must have stumbled across some time back.  An interesting telling of the divorce of John Rogers  Sr. (1648-1721) (my 6th great-grandfather) from his first wife, Elizabeth Griswold (1652-1727) (my 6th great-grandmother).

A History of Matrimonial Institutions, by George Elliot Howard, Ph.D.  Volume Two, 1904, Page 356-357

The case of Elizabeth Rogers is of special interest; for it is much to be feared that the worthy deputies and magistrates regarded “free thinking” as a sufficient cause for dissolution of wedlock.  In 1675 she laid her petition before the court of assistants, which found “some difficulties as to a present issue final.”  Yet the case being one which called “for compassion to the woman under so great distress and hazard,” it was referred for settlement to the general court, Mrs. Rogers having liberty meanwhile to dwell with her father.  Accordingly, at its next session the assembly, accepting the “allegations and proofes presented to clear the righteousness of her desires,” released Elizabeth from her “conjugall bond.”  A year later provision is made for alimony with custody of children; and now at last the reason for Goodwife Rogers’s “great distress and hazard,” thus far carefully omitted from the record, is clearly divulged.  “Her husband,” runs the order, “being so hettridox in his opinion and practice,” and having even “in open Court declared that he did utterly renounce all the visible worship of New England, and professedly declare against the Christian Sabboth as to a mere invention,” the court grads the mother and her father, Matthew Griswold, the care and custody of the children “to be brought up and nurtured by them (in the admonition and fear of the Lord),” also ordering John Rogers to pay “towards the maintenance of his children, the sume of twenty pownds” in four equal annual instalments.  In case “he fayle of payment, the reversion of the land by sayd John Rogers made over to Elizabeth his late wife, at Mamcock” is to be held security.

Here’s a PDF Copy of the pages in the book:  History of Matrimonial Institutions – John Rogers and Liz Griswold Divorce

Just another glance into the lives of our ancestors.  I have to say I was surprised to see that John had to pay alimony/child support.  Didn’t even realize that had those things back in the 1600’s.  Whoda thunk!

before I sign off, I’ll mention that my latest novel is due out on Amazon on Friday!!  Don’t forget to check out If Love is a Lie by Jennifer Geoghan for part of your summer reading!


Three More Days!  Until If Love is a Lie is released on Amazon!!

Three More Days! Until If Love is a Lie is released on Amazon!!


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