He ill-treated, whipped and abused her, then took up with a slave.
by Lisa Y. Henderson
North Carolina, Guilford County } Superior Court of Law, To Fall Term, A.D. 1866.
To the Honorable, the Judges of the said Court:
Mary Hubbard, of said County, by her petitioner, respectfully showeth unto your Honor, that she was born free and was intermarried, about twelve years ago, with a free man of color of the name of John Hubbard; that they obtained a license from the Clerk of the County Court of Alamance County and the rites of matrimony were solemnized between them by a Justice of the peace in said county; that your petitioner and her said husband, John Hubbard, lived together agreeably, and as man and wife should, for about three years; that during this time she was treated affectionately and kindly; that for some cause, to your petitioner then unknown, the said John Hubbard, her husband aforesaid, began to ill-treat, beat, whip and abuse your petitioner in such wise as to make her life oppressive and burthensome; that this abuse of your petitioner continued from that time, with short intervals when he was less cruel and unkind to her, now and then, up to about the first of September, A.D. 1865; that prior to that time and to your petitioner’s quitting her said husband’s house, her said husband, the aforesaid John Hubbard, became intimate with one Emily, a slave then and in property of one Tobias May, of Alamance, and, as your petitioner is advised and believes, her said husband had habitually illicit and adulterous intercourse with the said Emily; that for these reasons and for the further reasons that her life with him became intolerable and unendurable, she left him and hath not cohabited with him since that time; that she is advised and believes, that the said John Hubbard, her husband aforesaid, hath since kept up his illicit, adulterous and criminal intercourse aforesaid, with the said Emily May, who is now free, and he is illegally and improperly cohabiting with the said Emily at this time, contrary to law and in despite of his vows of chastity and fidelity to your petitioner, made and entered into at the time of their marriage; that your petitioner hath resided in this county for the last twelve years and ever since she was married, and now resideth here; that the course of action hath existed ever since last September, which is about ten and a half months; that your petitioner hath kept her vows of chastity and fidelity to her said husband, both before and since this parting; that she is now leading a correct and chaste life:
Your petitioner, for the reasons aforesaid, most respectfully prays your Honor, that the bonds of matrimony, now existing between her and the said John Hubbard, her husband aforesaid, may be dissolved, and that your petitioner may have such other and further relief as the nature of her case may require and to your Honor may see merit. She further prayeth, that the said John Hubbard be served with a copy of this libel, and a subpoena, commanding the said John Hubbard to appear at the next term of this honorable Court, to be held for the County aforesaid, at the courthouse in Greensboro; on the Fourth Monday after the Fourth Monday of September next; then and there, to plead, or answer, to this libel, and to stand to, abide by and perform the order, claims and Judgments of this Court. And an in duty-bound she will ever pray. Scott & Scott, Attos. for Petitioner.
Divorce Records, Guilford County Records, North Carolina State Archives.