Did He or Didn’t He Commit Bigamy? Scoundrel Andrew Whitten

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Did He or Didn’t He Commit Bigamy? Scoundrel Andrew Whitten

 

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(Stock photo)

I found an article from the Chicago Times in January of 1871. The newspaper  was charged of containing  a most libellous article, charging, among other things, that Andrew Whitten ( formerly lived in Lanark County, and one has to wonder if he had to leave the County) who lived in adultery with another man’s wife, and that his children were illegitimate.

Without intending here to notice the other libels contained in the publication, it has seemed that the charge, was so foul and false, and made through a newspaper having a wide circulation, and involving, as it does, the reputation of his wife and children, demands a conclusive answer. Borne little time since its publication has been required to obtain the documentary evidence necessary, which is now produced:

Bigamy was punished by being burnt in a hand and imprisoned for a maximum of one year this punishment was later changed to a fine and or public whipping later the sentence was  of up to 7 years deportation.

Very ironic; if a couple were parted for a period of seven years and one of the couple was overseas the marriage could be dissolved.   I wonder if it is only now that we can look back at Census records and see such activities hidden between the lines.

Perhaps back in those days, people were moving from relationship to relationship with a lot more freedom than we my give them credit for, and, while not being exactly “the done thing” may have been at least tolerated. Maybe it was only when an aggrieved partner reported it that such cases came before the law.

Another note that sometimes these Lanark County folks that wrote letters, no matter how influential they were would share in the spoils of the litigation for their part in supporting the defendant. Just because he was a church man as they said did not make him innocent. In doing more research on Andrew Whitten it seems money was an issue, as he was charged of arson later on in February and March and ended up being found non guilty. No doubt from an array of ‘witnesses’ once again.

 

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Clipped from

  1. Chicago Tribune,
  2. 10 Mar 1871, Fri,
  3. First Edition,
  4. Page 1

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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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