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The Trials and Tribulations of Bartholomew Ellett’s Two Marriages

Post by Randi Richardson

On December 8, 1852, Bartholomew “Bartley” Ellett took Mary Ann Stimson (consider Stimpson a spelling variant) for his lawfully wedded wife in Monroe County, Indiana.  Mary Ann was 33 at the time of her marriage, quite a bit older than the average bride.  Soon after the marriage, or even before that time, she became pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl subsequently named Mary Josephine.  According to Mary Josephine’s death record, she was born October 8, 1854; according to a document prepared by an attorney on behalf of Mary Josephine’s father in August 1854, Mary Josephine was born about May 1853.

elletsIn March 1854, when Mary Josephine was ten months old, her mother took off with her from Bartholomew’s household aided by three of Mary Ann’s brothers, Henry, Jr., John and Francis Stimson.  About the first of July, Mary Ann returned Mary Josephine to the care of her father, but on the sixth of August she took her back.  On August 8, 1854, Bartholomew asked the Monroe County court for custody of Mary Josephine and said he was willing to accept Mary Ann back as his wife.

Apparently Mary Ann acquiesced to Bartholomew’s proposal and returned home.  According to the 1860 census record, three more children were subsequently born to Bartholomew and Mary Ann.  Luella came along about 1856, Jane about 1858 and John Henry in March 1859.  Unfortunately, however, the status of the marriage was not one of wedded bliss.

In 1870, Mary Josephine, Luella and Jane were all noted in the home of their paternal grandparents, John and Amelia Ellett, in Bean Blossom Twp., Monroe County, Indiana.  The whereabouts of Bartholomew, Mary Ann and the youngest child, John Henry, are not known.  Census records of 1880, however, suggest Bartholomew had a new love interest, that of Nancy C. (Jackson) Gilland, a woman more than 20 years younger than himself.    Bartholomew fathered two children with Nancy—Edward Ellett in 1877 and Lou Beadie in 1879.  If the couple was legally married, there is no evidence of a marriage record.

In 1880, Mary [Ann] Ellett, age 60 and reportedly single, was enumerated with her widowed sister-in-law, Elizabeth Ellett, in Bean Blossom Township, Monroe County.  Elizabeth was the widow of James Ellett, the brother of Bartholomew.  There is no indication in the Monroe County Divorce Index, that Mary Ann was ever divorced from Bartholomew.

Mary Ann died on March 29, 1884, at the age of 65.  According to her obituary in the Monroe County Citizen, she professed religion some 30 years earlier but did not belong to any denomination because she was never where she could connect with the Christian Church.  All who knew her were said to love her.  No survivors were noted and burial was in the Ellettsville Presbyterian Cemetery.

Nancy, Bartholomew’s second wife, disappeared sometime between 1880 when they appeared together in the census and 1900 when the enumerator noted that Bartholomew was a widow and head of a household that included his two children by Nancy.   Perhaps Nancy, too, had died, but there is no record of her death among records from the health department or burials.  Neither is there evidence of a divorce or remarriage.

At the age of 81, Bartholomew Ellett died near Ellettsville in March 1911 having been a resident of Richland Township almost 80 years.  According to his obituary, he was a veteran of the Civil War and a widow who had been married twice—first to Mary Ann Stimson and second to Mrs. Nancy Gilliland (sic).  He was survived by six children:  Mary Cornman, Luella Brown, Jane Parker and John Ellett by his first wife; and Beada Holsapple and Edward Ellett by his second wife.  He was buried at the Ellettsville Presbyterian Cemetery where members of his family had been interred earlier and some would be later.


  • Bartholomew Ellett Monroe County (IN) Civil Court Record, Box 109, Monroe County History Center, Bloomington, Indiana.
  • Census records
  • Obituaries for Bartholomew and Mary Ann Ellett


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