Airing Out the Dirty Laundry, 1800s-Style

While reading old newspaper abstracts for a client project, I came across this gem of an exchange between a quarreling husband and wife:

3 Aug 1822: Notice – “‘Whereas my wife, Celia Stevens has left my bed & board….’ – Samuel Stevens”

10 Aug 1822 – “Celia Stevens answers the notice of her husband, Samuel Stevens, saying ‘He has neither bed or board… it being mine and the fact is he left it…'”

(F. Edward Wright, Maryland Eastern Shore Newspaper Abstracts, Volume 4, 1819-1824 (Silver Spring, Md.: Family Line, 1982), page 37, entries 231-232.)

This led me to look up the term “bed and board” and, not surprisingly, it’s the basis of a legal definition of a divorce where the husband and wife are not legally separated, but are not living together either (see a modern definition here).

These posts no doubt caused a stir at the time. I would love to find the original clippings — it appears the Maryland State Archives may have them. Hmmm… Maybe after I finish the client project.