Knox County, Tennessee 4th Circuit Court, Docket # 3629:
TO THE HONORABLE HU. B. WEBSTER, JUDGE OF THE COURT OF DOMESTIC RELATIONS, OF KNOX COUNTY, TENNESSEE.
Otha Ward, a resident of Knox County, Tennessee (COMPLAINANT)
Tressie Teffeteller Ward, a resident of Knox County, Tennessee (DEFENDANT)
Complainant respectfully shows to the Court:
I. That he and the Defendant, Tressie Teffeteller Ward, were married on or about the month of August, 1923, in Knox County, Tennessee. That they have resided in Knox County since the date of their marriage.
II. That the Defendant had willfully and maliciously deserted or absented herself from the Complainant without a reasonable cause for two full years.
The complainant charges and avers that on or about the 1st of July, 1932 the Defendant left your Complainant and has not returned since. At the time the Defendant left she told the Complainant thst she was going to her brothers and that she would never live with the Complainant again and that she would not live with him another day to save him out of hell. Since this date your Complainant has been advised that the Defendant has been living in Maryville, Thorn Grove and is now living somewhere in Knoxville. The Complainant charges and avers that the Defendant has no just cause or excuse for her deserting and abandoning herself from him. The Complainant has always provided for the Defendant when she would live with him and has been a dutiful husband in every respect.
III. That the Defendant has been guilty of such cruel and inhuman treatment towards him as renders cohabitation unsafe and improper for him to cohabit with her as man and wife any longer.
Since their marriage in 1923 the Defendant would only live with your Complainant two or three months at a time and without any reason or excuse would leave your Complainant and would stay separated from him for a period of from one month to a year before she would return to live with the Complainant. During the time that they have lived together the Complainant has always provided a home for the Defendant and each time she would leave him he was forced to break up house-keeping and go back to live with his mother and store his furniture.
The Complainant charges and avers that the Defendant is a very careless, extravagant and wasteful person and has utterly disregarded him in his efforts to provide for her and his child. Your Complainant would show that on many occasions he would bring fresh meat to their home for them to eat and she would throw it in the back yard for the dogs to eat.
The Complainant avers and charges that the Defendant is a person who is hard to get along peaceably with and she has a very mean and violent temper. That at the least incident she would start cursing the Complainant using the most profane language possible. The Defendant continually during the entire time that they have lived together always fussed and nagged at your Complainant.
The Complainant alleges and charges that during the last year they lived together the Defendant would not sleep with the Complainant or sleep in the same room with him, and that during this year referred to they have not had marital relations as the Defendant positively refused to have any relations with the Complainant whatsoever. During the entire time that the Complainant and the Defendant have been married each time that they ever had marital relations the Defendant would always object and say she did not want to have anything to do with the Complainant in that respect.
Your Complainant would show and therefore avers that during the entire time he has been married to the Defendant that he has been true to his marriage vows, and that at all times while the Defendant has lived with your Complainant he has always provided for her and their minor son to the best of his ability and has always provided a comfortable home and the necessities of life.
IV. There has been born to this union one child, William Fredrick Ward, age 9.
Your Complainant would show that their child is now in the custody of the Defendant and that he believes that it is for the best interest of the child that he be given the exclusive care and custody of their son. That he is able to provide a proper home for his son and can support and educate him. Your Complainant would show that since the Defendant deserted him that she and the child have had no fixed or permanent home and have been living either in Maryville, Tennessee or Thorn Grove, Tennessee, and he is advised that they are now living in Knoxville. That about one year ago the Defendant had a non-support warrant for the child, issued against him in the Juvenile Court for Knox County, and that this Court decreed that the Complainant was to pay $5.00 every two weeks for the support of this child. That he complied with the order of this Court until about five or six months ago when he became sick and was unable to work due to his high blood pressure, and since that time has been unable to pay anything towards the support as he was ordered to do. Your Complainant would show that he is now about able to return to his job at the Jefferson Woolen Mills and that he will make sufficient money to support himself and his child; also that he lives with his widowed mother who will personally look after the care of the minor child.
Your Complainant charges and avers that the Defendant is not a fit and proper person for her to have the care and custody of their minor child, and that she cannot properly educate and care for him while she works to earn her own livelihood. Your Complainant further charges and avers that he has been advised and believes that the Defendant has said that she does not want the care and custody of their child and was going to turn the child over to him.
V. THE PREMISES CONSIDERED COMPLAINANT PRAYS;
1st. That proper process issue to compel the Defendant to appear and answer this bill but not on oath, her oath to said bill being waived.
2nd. That at the hearing the bonds of matrimony uniting the Complainant and the Defendant be absolutely and perpetually dissolved, and that the Complainant be forever freed of the obligations thereof, and that he be restored to all the rights of an unmarried person.
3rd. That he be given the exclusive custody and control of their infant son, William Fredrick.
4th. And that the Complainant have such further and other relief as he may be entitled to in this cause.
Otha Ward (Complainant)
STATE OF TENNESSEE
COUNTY OF KNOX
Otha Ward, being duly sworn, makes oath that the facts in his foregoing bill are true to the best of his knowledge, and belief, and that his complaints are not made out of levity, or by collusion with the Defendant, but in sincerity and truth, for the causes mentioned in the bill; and that he is justly entitled to the redress to the best of his belief.
Sworn and subscribed to before me this the 1 day of September 1934.
C. Corkland Strauss(Notary Public)
My commission expires the 10 day of July 1938.
IN THE JUVENILE AND DOMESTIC RELATIONS COURT, FOR KNOX COUNTY, TENNESSEE. NO. 3629
Tressie Teffeteller Ward
ANSWER AND CROSS BILL
The answer and cross bill of Tressie Teffeteller Ward to the bill filed against her in the above-styled cause, the defendant, Tressie Teffeteller Ward, for answer to the said bill says:
I. That she and the complainant were married in Knox County on August 21, 1921, and that they have resided in Knox County since the date of their marriage.
II. The Defendant denies that she has willfully and maliciously absented herself from the Complainant without a reasonable cause for two whole years. The Defendant denies that she left the Complainant on the first of July, 1932, but says that he forced her to withdraw on June 1, 1932. The Defendant denies that she told the Complainant that she was going to her brother's to live and that she would never live with the Complainant again---that she would not live with him to "save him out of hell."
III. The Defendant denies that she has been guilty of cruel and inhuman treatment towards the Complainant. The Defendant denies that she would live with the Complainant two or three months and then leave without any excuse. The Defendant denies that the Complainant has provided her with a home or that he has supported her. She denies that she is a wasteful and extravagant person, or that she ever threw fresh meat out in the back yard for the dogs to eat. She denies that she has a violent temper or that she cursed the Complainant or used profane language. She denies that she fussed and nagged at the Complainant. She denies that she refused to sleep with him or to sleep in the same room that he slept in. She denies that she refused to have marital relations with the Complainant. The Defendant denies that the Complainant has been true to his marriage vows.
IV.The Defendant admits that there was one child born to this union, William Frederick Ward, but says that his age is twelve instead of nine. The Defendant admits that the above named child is now in her custody. She denies that it will be to the best interest for the Complainant to have exclusive care and custody of their child. The Defendant admits that she was forced to sue out a non-support warrant against the Complainant, and that the Court ordered the Complainant to pay $5.00 every two weeks for the support of this child. The Defendant says that the Complainant is now far in arrears of this Court order. The Defendant denies that she is not a fit and proper person to have the custody and control of their minor child.
V. All allegations of said bill not heretofore denied are here and now denied as fully as though specifically denied and put at issue, and strict proof thereof demanded in so far as the rights and interests of this Defendant are affected thereby.
VI. And now having fully answered the said bill and being advised that on the facts herein before alleged she is entitled to relief, she assumes the character of a cross complainant and alleges:
That on the last Sunday in May, 1932, the cross defendant attempted to beat up and abuse the cross defendant; that he smacked her and abused her. That in April 1932, the cross defendant cursed and abused your cross complainant, called her vile names and that on many other occasions he cursed and abused your complainant and called her vile names. From the foregoing facts, your cross complainant charges that the cross defendant has been guilty of such cruel and inhuman treatment towards the spouse as renders cohabitation unsafe and improper.
VII.The cross complainant charges that the cross defendant has been guilty of non-support, that she has been compelled to work in cotton mills, to seek the aid of her relatives and the Knoxville charities to support herself and their minor child, but notwithstanding all these circumstances of your cross complainant the cross defendant continued his non-support, has made no effort to support her and their minor child. From the foregoing facts the cross complainant charges that the cross defendant has been guilty of non-support, abandoned her, turned her out of doors and has refused and neglected to provide for her.
VIII. The cross complainant further alleges that the cross defendant willfully absented himself from her on June 1, 1932, and that he has remained away ever since. From the foregoing facts, the cross complainant alleges that the cross defendant has been guilty of two whole years desertion without a reasonable cause or just excuse.
IX. Cross complainant alleges that she has been true to her marriage vows and has given the cross defendant no cause or just cause for his said misconduct, and has not condoned the same; and that she is a fit and proper person to have control and custody of their minor child.
X. Premises considered, cross complainant prays:
1. That her answer be filed and admitted and treated as a cross bill; that a subpoena and copy of same be served on the cross defendant, Otha Ward, to compel him to answer this cross bill, but his oath to his answer is waived.
2. That alimony pendente lite ne allowed for her support, and to enable her to defray the expenses of this suit, including a reasonable fee to her solicitor.
3. That at the hearing, the bonds of matrimony now subsisting between the complainant and the defendant be dissolved, and that the cross complainant be forever free from the obligations thereof, and that she be restored to all the rights and privileges of an unmarried person. That she be granted the exclusive custody and control of their minor child, William Frederick Ward, now twelve years old, he being a tender infant.
4. That alimony be decreed her in sufficient amount to support her and their minor child.
5. That the defendant or cross complainant have such further or general relief as she may be entitled to at the hearing.
Tressie Teffeteller Ward
STATE OF TENNESSEE
COUNTY OF KNOX
Tressie Teffeteller Ward, after being duly sworn, makes oath in due form of law that the facts contained in her foregoing answer and cross bill for divorce are true to the best of her knowledge and belief; that her complaint is not made out of levity or by collusion with the defendant, but in sincerity and truth for the causes mentioned in her cross bill; and that owing to her poverty she is unable to bear the expense of this suit, and that she is justly entitled to the redress therein sought, to the best of her knowledge and belief.
Tressie Teffeteller Ward
Sworn to and subscribed me this the 8th day of September, 1934.
Oscar Rogers (Notary Public)
[Final Decree was October 9, 1934]