Too Young to Marry: Sarah A (TAGUE) VAN DUYN – 52 Ancestors (Ancestor 29)

My 2nd great grandmother, Sarah A. (TAGUE) VAN DUYN died of a stroke (cerebral hemorrhage) in Greensboro Township, Henry County, Indiana, on Valentine’s Day of 1935. She was 79 years, 9 months, and 15 days old. Sarah’s parents were George TAGUE and Eliza Emaline (BROOKS) TAGUE.

Twenty-three year old George W. VAN DUYN of Hancock County had taken her as his very young bride in 1869 when she was only 14. For what reason? Was she an enamored young teen who begged her father for permission to marry? Was she “in trouble” or thought she was? Was this an arrangement between George’s father, Civil War veteran Isaac VAN DUYN and Sarah’s father, Civil War veteran George TAGUE? George TAGUE had five children, and only one daughter, Sarah. These are all thoughts of my wild imagination. It was too long ago and the truth may not have been known then, let alone now.

When she was fifteen, Sarah’s first child was born. There were to be six more during the next 17 years.

  1. Arthur Clinton
  2. Claudius Monterville
  3. Obe Dallas
  4. Emma Irene
  5. Allie
  6. Marylou Nellie
  7. Charles George

She was only 32 when her last child was born. If there were others not listed, I cannot find any evidence. These are the ones shown in census records, from death certificates, and from family knowledge. All married, and the three women were married as follows: Emma to William BURNS, Allie to Floyd KITTERMAN, and Marylou Nellie to Thomas Milton BROOKSHIRE.

All of these children lived and most died in Hancock County and/or Henry County, Indiana.

Something happened in the fall of 1914. On 17 October 1914, The Indianapolis Star published a short announcement:

NEWCASTLE — Sarah VanDuyn of Shirley has filed suit for divorce and $5,000 alimony from George VanDuyn. She charges cruel and inhuman treatment. The couple have been married forty years.

I don’t remember hearing about this when the family would talk about this line of ancestors, and it was a surprise when I found it a few years ago. I haven’t sought out the public records, but on later censuses and on her death record, she is still shown as being or having been married to George.

At age 14, she seems too young to have married, at 15, too young to have been a mother, and from the divorce announcement, clearly things were not rosy. Was her husband, yet another of my 2nd great grandfathers, a difficult and cruel person? Again, we may never know.

I am not sure if anyone has photographs of Sarah, but she certainly lived most of her life during the years when photography was available.


This entry was posted in 52 Ancestors, Mom's Side, TAGUE, VAN DUYN and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Too Young to Marry: Sarah A (TAGUE) VAN DUYN – 52 Ancestors (Ancestor 29)

  1. We always have so many questions and too few answers. One of my ancestresses married a much younger man after the death of her husband who fought in the Civil War. I found the women back home were marrying the single men coming home and raising the age difference. Maybe George TAGUE was seeing this trend and worried there wouldn’t be any men of marrying age by the time Sarah turned 18.
    If he had been cruel to her, it is sad to know she came to a point where she actually filed for divorce but later dropped the case and remained with him. This takes us back to the too many questions and too few answers – we always want to know and imagine the worst or the best and miss all the possibilities in between.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope you find that divorce decree!


  3. Pingback: Emaline Eliza (BROOKS) TAGUE: Struck By a Railroad Car in 1912 – 52 Ancestors (Ancestor 59) | Diggin' Up Graves

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