"Lots of Them Did That": Desertion, Bigamy, And Marital Fluidity in Late-Nineteenth-Century America.

By Journal of Social History

  • Release Date: 2004-03-22
  • Genre: History
"Lots of Them Did That": Desertion, Bigamy, And Marital Fluidity in Late-Nineteenth-Century America. book review score

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"Lots of Them Did That": Desertion, Bigamy, And Marital Fluidity in Late-Nineteenth-Century America. Journal of Social History Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

Introduction In 1859, Caroline Dunkel married schoolteacher John Martin, whom she had known for two years. John was a black-haired, dark-complexioned man, as revealed in the small leather-framed tintype of him that Caroline saved. He enrolled in the service during the Civil War, and after mustering out prepared to work at a bookbindery in Pennsylvania. He went ahead of his wife, telling her "he was going to have me sel of [sell off] the things and come and move there. He left his soldiers clothes with me ... and went away and I never saw him again." John, apparently, had gone off to rendezvous with another woman, Mary Ellen Krant or Krone, who had done his washing and cooking during the war, and to whom he may have been married--bigamously--as John McAninch in 1863. Apparently he lived with Mary Ellen "as man and wife" until he died in 1878, while Caroline, retreating from the role of wife and returning to her role as daughter, moved to her father's house, where she remained as a family caretaker. (1)

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