He abused and abandoned her.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
State of North Carolina, Guilford County } Superior Court of Law In Fall Term 1866
To the Honorable the Judge of said County
Zilpha Ann Goings of the county and state aforesaid by her petition respectfully showeth unto your Honor, that she was born free, that she intermarried in the county of Alamance on 7th of August 1858 with one Barrister Goings, a free man of color, that the said Barrister obtained a license from the clerk of the County Court for said County of Alamance, and the rites of matrimony were solemnized between them by a Justice of the Peace according to Law that the said Barrister lived [with] her about eighteen months, that for the first three months their life was peaceful and happy, that about that time, for some reason unknown to your Petitioner but wholly without Just cause, the said Barrister became Jealous of her, and began to curse, whip, illtreat, and threaten your Petitioner, that this course of conduct was kept up until some time in June 1860, when the said Barrister without cause and against the will of your Petitioner, left her and went to the county of Chatham, that in the autumn of that year, he returned to her, staid three weeks, quarreled with her, abused her threatened to take her life and again abandoned her, that she strove to make him happy and induce him to live with her, but it was all in vain, that he hath never returned to her house since that time, and has wholly and cruelly abandoned her, that he hath never since then helped her, in furnishing her in any thing to subsist, or paid any the least attention to her, whatever, that she is advised and believes that he has led a lewd life, since he quited her, that she is informed and believes, that he after leaving her, visited one Ruth Bass, a free woman of color, had illicit intercourse with her, and that afterwards the said Ruth was delivered [page missing] ly him, that she good reasons to believe and does believe that he has had illicit and adulterous intercourse with persons to her unknown, in the county of Chatham where he lived for some time after he left her, that she has not heard of him for about two years, and does not know now where he lives, or in what manner he is conducting himself, that she has resided in Guilford county over seven years, that the course of action has existed for nearly eight years, that she hath born herself, as a wife should, hath observed her vows, of chasity and fidelity, and regretted no little that she could not induce her husband to continue with her, and observe his own vows of chastity and fidelity, help her to make a livelyhood, and lead with her a correct and upright life, that she hath never given him any cause for the course he has since stronly pursured, your Petitioner therefore prays your Honor that she may be dissolved from the bonds of matrimony with her said husband, the said Barrister Goings, and for further and such other relief, as the nature of her case may require and to your Honor may seem meet. May it please your Honor to grant unto her [illegible] writ of supoena directed to the said Barrister Goings, commanding him to appear at the next Term of the Superior Court of Law to be held for the county of Guilford at the Court in Greensboro on 4th Monday after 4th Monday in September 1866 then and there to plead, or answer the Libel of your Petitioner and stand to, abide by, and perform such orders and Judgments as shall lie made in this case, And as in duty bound will pray Scott & Scott Atty
Divorce Records, Guilford County Records, North Carolina State Archives.
In the 1850 census of Southern Division: Barister Goans, 13, in the household of William Workman, 32. In the 1860 census of Eastern Division, Chatham County: Barrister Goings, 30, and Emeline Goings, 28. In the 1870 census of Pittsboro Road North Side, Chatham County: Barrister Goens, 40, wife Nancy, 35, and children John, 11, George, 7, and Nathan, 5.
In the 1860 census of Alamance County: Stephen Bass, 60, with Ruth, 16, Sarah, 12, Jonathan, 10, and Eliza Bass, 6, and Maria, 23, M.J., 6, and John Dunnan, 2.