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These are the (known) records of the marriage -- and -- divorce of
Elisha Whittington and his wife, Melina Dalton.
They are given here for their historical significance and for
their relevance to the research of the descendants of Elisha &/or Melina (Dalton) Whittington.


July 7, 1824

  Know all men by these presents that ......... Elisha Whittington and Thomas Choate are held and firmly bound unto Thomas Bolling Robertson  Governor of the state of Louisiana, and to his successors in office in the sum of one thousand dollars, the which payment well and truly to be made and done, we bind ourselves  .... (entire line obliterated) .... severally, firmly by these presents ........... under our hands............. at Opelousas, this seventh day of July one thousand eight hundred & twenty four.
        The condition of the above obligation is such, that whereas the above bound Elisha Whittington hath this day obtained a License to marry Malina Dalton.   Now if there should be, or hereafter appear, no lawful cause to obstruct the said marriage, then this obligation to be null & void, otherwise to remain in full force.

 Witness:  Ben B Jefferson                                       Elisha Whittington  (seal)

                                                                Ths. Choate    (seal)

July 7th   1824
Judge Kinge sin   you oblige  me to let Elisha Whittington have licence four to wed my dautor

Melina Dalton.

        Teste ---Ths. Choate                            Delilah Dalton

 

March 23, 1836

To the Honorable Judge of the fifth judicial district in the western circuit division of the State of Louisiana, holding Court in and for the Parish of St. Landry----
            The petition of Elisha Whittington a resident in the Parish of St. Landry respectfully sheweth ---  That some time about the month of July in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty four he intermarried with Melvina Dalton his wife, and lived with her always treating her kindly, until about the month of June in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty one, when in violation of her marriage vows and without any good cause for so doing, his said wife abandoned him and went off into the Province of Texas without the territorial limits of the United States, and has been there living for a considerable time in the habit of committing adultery with some person or persons to your petitioner unknown, and has actually brought forth one or two illegitimate children -- since she abandoned your petitioner -----.
            The premises considered, your petitioner prays that a curator ad hoc may be appointed to represent and defend his said wife in this suit, that such curator ad hoc may be cited, as the law directs, to appear before your Honorable Court, to answer to this petition, that after hearing the evidence a judgment may be legally rendered in your petitionerís favor against the said Melina Dalton, divorcing him and her from the bonds of matrimony and placing them in the same situation in relationship to each other as if they had never married.  -- He prays for all other and further relief, in the premises, that law of equity will allow for.

 

Thos H. Lewis,  Atty.
  for Petitioner

            Let Caleb L. Swayze Esqr. be and he is hereby appointed curator ad hoc to represent & defend the aforesaid Melina Dalton the defendant, and let citation issue as prayed for.  Given at Opelousas this 23d March  A.D. 1836.
                                                                                                S Lewis  District Judge

Filed 23d March 1836
Robert Taylor    DLblksd?  Court    ..............  *(DYCLRKSD -- Deputy Clerk of said Court)

 

March 23, 1836

The State of Louisiana

Elisha Whittington Plaintiff                }
Melvina Dalton his wife Defendant   }

District Court
No. 2224 

Parish of St. Landry

To the Defendant Melvina Dalton, wife of Elisha Whittington

        You are hereby summoned to appear before the District Court in and for the Parish of St. Landry, on the fourth Monday of May next and comply with the demand contained in the petition of Elisha Whittington against you, a copy of which is hereunto annexed; or file your answer thereto in the office of the Clerk of said Court, at the Court-House in the Town of Opelousas, if ten days shall remain between the time of the service hereof and said fourth Monday of May next-but if so many days shall not remain then in ten days after the service hereof

Witness the Hon. Seth Lewis   Judge of
said Court, this 23rd day of March A. D. 1836

Issued and Delivered
23rd March 1836

Robert Taylor
Deputy Clerk of Said Court 

 

May 24, 1836

Elisha Whittington
vs.
Melina Dalton

Court of Fifth District
Parish of St. Landry Louisiana
Spring term 1836

The defendant in the above entitled suit for answer to Plaintiffs Petition denies all and singular the allegations therein contained wherefore she prays that Plaintiffs Petition may be rejected at his costs and for further answer says that Plaintiff maltreated her that he failed to furnish her with the necessaries of life, denying her the dues of matrimony and devoted that which justly and legally belonged to her by the act of marriage to another use & gratification and for further answer denies ever having committed adultery and puts him to strict proof of the allegations in said petition contained.  &c

 

Garland & Swayze
Attorneys for Defendant

Filed 24th May 1836
Robert Taylor    Dlblksd  Court    ..............  *(DYCLRKSD -- Deputy Clerk of said Court)

 

May 26, 1837

Elisha Whittington
vs.
Melina Dalton his wife

District Court
 No. 2224
Parish of St. Landry
Spring Term 1837

    On the trial of this cause the plaintiff having satisfactorily proven all the material allegations in his petition contained and particularly the acts of adultery charged upon the defendant and the law and evidence being in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant (see acts of the Legislature _?_.130 section 8.  act relative to divorces.  Approved March 19th 1827) --  It is therefore ordered, Judged and decreed by the Court that the plaintiff Elisha Whittington and the defendant Melvina Dalton his wife be, and they are hereby, forever divorced from the bonds of matrimony, and placed in the same situation with regard to each other as if they had never been married.    That the plaintiff be entitled to keep the custody of the children issue of and marriage now in his possession ---
     It is further decreed that the defendant do pay the costs of this suit to be taxed -- and that twenty five Dollars be allowed to Caleb L. Swayze Esqr. curator ad hoc appointed by the Court to defend this suit.

Signed in open Court this 26th day of May  A.D. 1837.   ----

H. Myer Judge
of the fifth District

 

July 29, 1837

The State of Louisiana
To the Sheriff of the Parish of Saint Landry---Greeting

        WE COMMAND YOU, that you demand from Melvina Dalton, wife of Elisha Whittington the sum of _______________ Dollars, and _________________________cents,  debt, with interest, thereon, at the rate of ___per cent from the ___day of ______.

        And also the sum of Forty-five Dollars and ?? Cents, which Elisha Whittington lately recovered by judgment of the District Court, in and for the Parish of St. Landry; and if she shall not pay the same on demand that you cause the same to be made out of  the personal estate of the said Melvina Dalton, wife of Elisha Whittington, in your Parish, if sufficient personal estate, exclusive of slaves can be found therein, but if sufficient personal estate of the said Melvina Dalton, wife, exclusive of slaves cannot be found in your Parish, that you cause the said sum to made out of the real estate and slaves of said Melvina Dalton, Wife, in your Parish, whereof She was owner on the 26th day of May 1837 in whose hands soever they may have come. But if sufficient moveable or immovable property or slaves cannot be found in your Parish, that then you cause the said sum to be made out of the rights and credits of the said Melvina Dalton, wife of Elisha Whittington in your Parish, and that you have those monies before our said Court, to render to the said Whittington for the Judgment aforesaid , in Seventy days from the date hereof together with this Writ.

WITNESS the Honorable  __________Seth Lewis

Judge of the said Court, this  29 day of
July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and thirty seven

Robert Taylor  Clerk of said Court

 

June 14, 1838

The State of Louisiana
To the Sheriff of the Parish of Saint Landry---Greeting

        WE COMMAND YOU, that you demand from Melvina Dalton, wife of Elisha Whittington the sum of _______________ Dollars, and _________________________cents,  debt, with interest, thereon, at the rate of ___per cent from the ___day of ______.

        And also the sum of Fifty-three Dollars and fifty Cents, which Elisha Whittington lately recovered by judgment of the District Court, in and for the Parish of St. Landry; and if she shall not pay the same on demand that you cause the same to be made out of  the personal estate of the said Melvina Dalton, wife of Elisha Whittington, in your Parish, if sufficient personal estate, exclusive of slaves can be found therein, but if sufficient personal estate of the said Melvina Dalton, wife, exclusive of slaves cannot be found in your Parish, that you cause the said sum to made out of the real estate and slaves of said Melvina Dalton, Wife, in your Parish, whereof She was owner on the 26th day of May 1837 in whose hands soever they may have come. But if sufficient moveable or immovable property or slaves cannot be found in your Parish, that then you cause the said sum to be made out of the rights and credits of the said Melvina Dalton, wife of Elisha Whittington in your Parish, and that you have those monies before our said Court, to render to the said Whittington for the Judgment aforesaid , in Seventy days from the date hereof together with this Writ.

WITNESS the Honorable  __________Seth Lewis
Judge of the said Court, this  fourteenth day of
June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and thirty eight

Robert Taylor, Clerk of Said Court

 

Notes:

  • Thomas Choate, who participated in the marriage bond with Elisha and who witnessed Delilah Holstein Dalton's affidavit of permission for her daughter, Melina, to marry Elisha, had married Melina's older sister, Jane, 15 years before.  He was obviously standing in the place of Melina's father, William Gallihue Dalton, who had died two years before.  Thomas and Jane Choate removed to Tejas/Mexico with the Daltons probably at the same time Melina left with her brothers.
     
  • Thomas Choate's mother was Sarah Holston or Holstein.  She may have been a relative of Delilah's -- perhaps even her sister, making Thomas her nephew and a first cousin to Jane.  The Choate family all settled in East Texas near the Dalton family.
  • Why didn't one of Melina's older brothers act as witness and as participant in the marriage bond?  Her oldest brother, William Dalton, was married there the next year.  Her other brother, Samuel, was listed on the Avoyelles Parish censuses of 1820 and 1830 and so lived nearby.
     
  • A marriage bond was posted by the bridegroom to defray the cost of litigation in the event the marriage was nullified.  Often a second person, like the father or brother of the bride, participated in the bond -- in this case, the bride's brother-in-law, since her father was deceased.  The bond was to ensure that there was no moral or legal reason to prohibit the couple from marrying and that they would not become charity cases.  $1,000 was a significant amount of money in 1824.
     
  • Regarding the response by Melina's appointed attorneys of May 24, 1836 -- did Melina actually respond, or did they simply file a motion with standard wording without ever having heard from her?  Did she even know of the divorce proceedings?
     
  • Remember that allegations in legal proceedings are often exaggerated and sometimes prove to be false.
     
  • It is clear that Elisha was somewhat aware of Melina and her activities in Texas from the wording of the divorce petition of March 23, 1836 in which he refers to her children conceived in Texas.
     
  • Besides her children, what other ties did Melina still have in Louisiana?  At the time of her divorce (1837), Elisha alleges that she had property in St. Landry Parish.  She had been in Texas for 6 years and had obtained a land grant there.

return to Whittington surname page

 


  
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