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Re: [WarOf1812] Re: Soldier's Wife

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  • Raymond Hobbs
    Mmmm! Linda, I wonder whether this was so. The 41st Regiment of Foot, of honoured memory, were stationed in the Canadas for sixteen years (1799-1815). Would
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 2 3:07 AM
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      Mmmm! Linda, I wonder whether this was so. The 41st Regiment of Foot, of honoured memory, were stationed in the Canadas for sixteen years (1799-1815). Would the
      married rank and file be considered dead because of this? The matter - like all we raise - was more complex.
      YH&OS
      Ray Hobbs
      1/41st Regiment of Foot (CD)

      Five Rivers wrote:

      > My books are still packed and so I cannot quote the source, but my
      > recollection is there was a common law in England stating if after seven
      > years a husband (or wife) had not returned they were considered dead and the
      > remaining spouse was free to remarry, barring any caveats the Church (Rome
      > or England) might have placed upon the couple.
      >
      > Lorina
      > Five Rivers Chapmanry ~ purveyors of quality hand-crafted cooperage
      > fine hand-sewn embroidered garments, historical sewing patterns & embroidery
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      > info@...
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      >
      > The War of 1812: In Europe, thousands fought over the fate of hundreds of square miles: in North America, hundreds determined the fate of THOUSANDS of square miles...
      >
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    • petemonahan@aol.com
      Erika Re your soldier s wives question: As someone has already pointed out, the Br. Army kept impecable records, so that presumably anyone recorded as
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 2 7:33 AM
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        Erika

        Re your "soldier's wives" question:

        As someone has already pointed out, the Br. Army kept impecable records, so
        that presumably anyone recorded as married "on the strength" would be carried
        as such even if he and his wife were separated. On the other hand, only six
        men per hundred were to be married (officially) per regulations and that was
        the number authorized to take dependants overseas. Therefore, it follows
        that in most regiments many of the 'married' men would have either married
        without permission or simply be living as 'married" with women regarded by
        all except the (War Department ) as their wives. It's also almost certainly
        the case that a large percentage of the couples from the social classes in
        which the Br. Army recruited never went before a parson. Men and women
        simply "took up together" and were regarded be one and all as married as long
        as they chooses to live as a couple.

        Having said all that, through in the fact that on campaign women who were
        widowed might have as liittle as 72 hours to "re-marry" before a colonel
        could legally declare them "lose women" and have them drummed out of camp.
        Obviously such "marriages" were a matter of common knowledge and company or
        battalion level paper-work, not civil or divine ceremony.

        Combine all these facts with the certainty that almost no private soldier
        shipped out without his "wife" would ever see her again and the extreme
        unlikelihood that he would be able to send her financial suport and it
        becomes a virtual certainty that women "left on the docks" were considered
        for all practical purposes to have been divorced/widowed! There are in fact
        any number of accounts of old soldiers eventually making their way home to
        find wives re-married - which would be regraded as unfortunate/tragic but in
        no way a slur on the woman. Her alternatives, after all, were starving or
        "going on the game" and selling her body. (In fact in rural England as late
        as the 1820's, literally selling an unsatisfactory wife was not unheard of
        either.) Those old folk songs about dressing up as a man and going along
        with her man to the wars probably had more to do with desperation than an
        excess of romantic love and passion: marriage was an economic necessity for
        women in the 19th century, as the world of women (at least lower class ones)
        was divided into girls, wives, very poor widows and whores!

        A long-winded answer to your question, but I wanted to give you the reasoning
        behind it: any abondoned wife would be regarded as simply doing what she had
        to to survive if she took a new husband if her husband went to the wars; no
        surprise, no shame, simply "the way things worked". Hope all this helps!

        Your most humble and obedient servant,
        Peter Monahan, Corporal, Royal Newfoundland Regiment
      • petemonahan@aol.com
        Erika Just read some of the other answer s to your query. Both the seven year rule and parish charity are correct so far as they go, which would be: if
        Message 3 of 12 , Aug 2 7:40 AM
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          Erika

          Just read some of the other answer's to your query. Both the "seven year
          rule" and "parish charity" are correct so far as they go, which would be: if
          she had papers showing she was officially married "on the strength" and if
          the parish would accept them. Keep in mind that clearing out the parish
          workhouse was often done by having the men recruited into the Army: "Good
          luck and don't ever come back!" Alzo, seven years would be a h--l of a time
          to wait on widowhood, living on grass soup the while, so, as with today, what
          the law said and what people did might be markedly different. If you're
          working up an historic impression, claiming that your hubby went for a
          soldier several years aggo and you've got a new one would undoubtedly be
          historically accurate in many many cases!

          Yr M H & O
          P. Monahan
        • yawors1@uwindsor.ca
          Five Rivers wrote: [snip] my recollection is there was a common law in England stating if after seven years a husband (or wife) had not returned they were
          Message 4 of 12 , Aug 2 9:03 AM
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            Five Rivers wrote:

            [snip] my recollection is there was a common law in England stating if
            after seven years a husband (or wife) had not returned they were considered
            dead and the remaining spouse was free to remarry, barring any caveats the
            Church (Rome or England) might have placed upon the couple.

            Lorina

            Ray Hobbs added:
            Mmmm! Linda, I wonder whether this was so. The 41st Regiment of Foot, of
            honoured memory, were stationed in the Canadas for sixteen years
            (1799-1815). Would the married rank and file be considered dead because of
            this? The matter - like all we raise - was more complex.
            YH&OS
            Ray Hobbs
            1/41st Regiment of Foot (CD)

            Jim adds: I think the Common Law says 7 years absence = "legally" dead.
            But "absence" means: whereabouts totally unknown.
            Which of course would not apply if everyone knows one was serving on
            blockade duty on one of HM ships, or garrisoning a hill station in India,
            etc...
            Now, if the soldier or sailor deserted , and then "disappeared" for seven
            years, or went missing in action etc., the wife could apply for an order
            that he was legally dead... which makes her a widow, who could then legally
            remarry.
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