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"But a Mournful Remedy": Divorce in Two Texas Counties, 1841-1880

Description: Little scholarship has been dedicated to nineteenth-century Texas family life and no published scholarship to date has addressed the more specific topic of divorce. This study attempts to fill that gap in the historiography through a quantitative analysis of 373 divorce actions filed in Washington and Harrison Counties. The findings show a high degree of equity between men and women in court decisions granting divorces, and in property division and custody rulings. Texas women enjoyed a relatively high degree of legal and personal autonomy, which can be attributed, in part, to a property-rights heritage from Spanish civil law.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Pruitt, Francelle LeNaee

Class and Freedom of Choice in the Marriage Patterns of Antebellum Texas Women

Description: Little scholarly analysis has been devoted to the hypothesis that antebellum Texas women generally married within their own socioeconomic (slaveholding) class, and thus had only limited choice in the selection of marriage partners. This quantitatively based investigation suggests that the popular image should be carefully qualified. This study reveals that although a majority of Texas women who married during the early 1850s chose men who had the same slaveholding status, a significant minority crossed class lines. By using marriage records of the period in correlation with information gleaned from the census, conclusions were reached. Contemporary women's diaries, letters and reminiscences were investigated, in addition to a historiography of marriage in the South, which created the background for this study.
Date: December 1991
Creator: Brown, Lisa (Lisa Christina)