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



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

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

“Sale” Fairs — Crops and Sometimes Fair Damsels

If you are tracing your family tree in Lanark County 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

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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