Bigamy–The Story of Ken and Anne and Debby and Cathy and…


First story-

Story two about Bigamy. I thought I had an issue in my family with bigamy. This took the cake when I read this.



Ken married Ann, had two children then Ann and then died shortly after  the birth of her second child.

Six months later Ken married Betty.  Betty raised the two children from first marriage, and had three more in the next ten years.  Betty died shortly after birth of her third.

Three months after Betty’s death, Ken married Cathy, and the five children were in that household, alas and suffered several still births.

Ken married Debbie four years after Betty died, and then told Cathy that she was not wanted, because she was a drunkard.

Within the week, Cathy had found Debbie and dumped the five on Debbie.  Cathy went to the police and had Ken arrested for bigamy.  Ken raised bail and discovered that Cathy had walked out on him, so he left the children with Debbie while he tried to figure out the bigamy issues.

Two months later Ken was tried, and a jury found him guilty of bigamy.  The judge deferred passing sentence, because Ken announced that he had discovered that Cathy was not a widow and that her husband (Lionel) was on his way to the court to provide proof of the marriage of Lionel and Cathy.  Lionel was delayed and did not return to the court until the next sitting.  Ken sat in the gaol waiting waiting. Debbie organised for the eldest child to marry, and she then dumped the remaining four on the newly wed couple.

Ken was released from gaol, but Debbie would not have him back. Lionel would not have Cathy back.  Ken moves in with his children who are living with their eldest sibling and spouse.

Within the year, Debbie marries someone else.  Debbie states she was a widow. The clergy was the same chap who had married Ken and Debbie, he was also the same chap who had married Ken and Cathy.  He was not the clergy who married Lionel and Cathy.

Ken’s next child marries, and so that newly married couple takes on the three youngest and Ken too, and they go on to have some 16 children themselves.

Ten years later, Ken’s three youngest are adults.  Ken marries again, this time a childless widow, Elaine. Ken makes a will leaving everything to Elaine.  Three weeks into this marriage, Cathy calls on Elaine and tells Elaine that she (Elaine) is not the lawful wife of Ken.  Cathy claims she is that lawful wife.  Elaine tells Cathy where to get off.

Cathy died three years later, and exhaustion is the cause on her death certificate. Interestingly, her death certificate is issued with her surname shown as Ken’s surname, and the informant was Lionel’s brother.

Ken was only ever charged with one count of bigamy.  No charges were ever laid in respect of Ken’s marriage to Elaine…  The Seven Year Rule applied in that instance.

Nine years later, Ken dies.   Debbie learns of his death from the newspaper announcement  and yearns for a part of his estate.  Elaine  and Debbie go to court.  Elaine wins, Debbie is admonished by the judge because in effect she is claiming that the children of her current marriage are illegitimate. Debbie is told to pay all the court costs, including Elaine’s.  The court rules that Debbie is the “de jure wife” and that Elaine is the “de facto wife”

Debbie appeals to the higher court.  The full bench hears the appeal.  They support the earlier judgement and again award costs to Elaine, and  the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court reiterates that Elaine is the ‘de facto wife’ while Debbie is the ‘de jure’ wife.   By this time, Queen Victoria was already well and truly a widow of many years.

Within two years of Ken’s death, Elaine dies.  Ken’s five children had all been given “their share” by Elaine, and then they abandoned Elaine. Debbie lived a long life and died many many years after.

The End or was it?

Get It On
Bang a gong
Get It On

If you are tracing your family tree visit:

The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Lanark Genealogical Society

Archives Lanark

North Lanark Regional Museum

Middleville Museum

Lanark Museum

Smiths Falls & District Historical Society

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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