Walter & Emily Stepp Burkhart divorce
Southeastern Kentucky Genealogy & History
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Divorce Case - Harlan Circuit Court records
Box 10, Kentucky State Archives©
Walter Burkhart states that more than twelve months before the filing of the petition, Emily Stepp now Burkhart, his wife, abandoned him and is now living in open adultery. He states that they were both born, raised & married in Harlan County and now & have always since their birth lived in Harlan County. He seeks a judgement for "a divorce from the sd Emily Burkhart & other proper relief." It is signed Walter Burkhart and followed by a statement by Adron Nolan in which he declares that the above is the substance of the original petition filed by Burkhart more than twelve months ago and that process was fully executed & returned but that the original papers are lost and that he has been searching for the said papers but cannot find them. Nolan's statement is dated 27 Sep 1860.

Noble Smith states in his deposition, taken 28th Sep 1860 in the Town of Mount Pleasant, that Walter Burkhart has lived in this county ever since his birth & for more than one year before the institution of this suit and that "neither he nor his wife the defendant have ever lived any where else as he knows of & that they have not been married over five years & consequently the cause of divorce must have occurred & existed within less than five years before the institution of this suit" The Examiner was George B Turner.

David Bailey, sworn, states "I understand or the deft told me that her and Walter Buckhart was married. She the deft is now living with James Roarack and has been for ten or twelve months. She is now in the family way or at least told me so and looks so. They have left the county and gone to Clay Co Ky and said child is by Roarack and further the deponent sayeth not."

The deposition taken of John C Howard taken at the same time and place states that "at the best of my knowledge the deft Emily has been a part from plaintiff some two or three years and has now been living in adultery ten or twelve months with James Roarack [Roark] and is pregnant and has left the county & has been a few days and further the deponent sayeth not."

George B Turner, Examiner for Harlan County certified the depositions of David Bailey and J C Howard. "The said Howard & Bailey having been just sworn by me that the evidence should be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth and their statements reduced to writing by me in their presence the plaintiff alone being present at the examination and that they are credible witnesses." It is signed by Turner and dated 24 Sep 1860.

The decree is granted, apparently in September or October of 1860.

NOTE: Walter Burkhart married Emily Stepp on 4 Feb 1856. After the divorce, Walter married 6 Apr 1861 in Harlan to Selina Spurlock and Emily married in Clay County on 3 June 1861 to James Roark [the same James Roarack with whom she is accused of living in adultery in the divorce suit].

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