The Divorce of Sarah Ray Huffines Williford

Source and Credit: This information was generously shared and transcribed by Charlene McClain on 25 Mar 2002. Charlene is an avid Huffines family researcher who has acquired quite a wealth of primary documents on the family throughout the years. Many thanks to Charlene for sharing part of her collection with all of us.

Background: Sarah ‘Sally’ Ray was first the wife of Riley Washington Huffines of Jackson County, Tennessee. Following Riley’s death in 1876, Sarah remarried to Jerry Willford. Their marriage took place in Jackson County, Tennessee on 11 Sep 1879, and was performed by G. W. Jenkins, Minister of the Gospel. Their only witness was T. G. Settles, Sr. The marriage was a troubled one from the beginning and on 27 Apr 1884, Sarah filed her first complaint for divorce. The following is a petition on behalf of the Clerk and Sheriff of Jackson County, Tennessee. It shows with certainty that a bill of divorce was filed by Sarah Ray Huffines Williford against Jerry Williford, her second husband, but also seems to indicate that that suit was compromised by both Sarah and Jerry, and that they, together, had begun to dispose of all attached property to avoid the payment of the fees associated with their petition for divorce. Whether they ever refiled or not is still a mystery to be solved, but that they lived separate lives from this point forward is evidenced in the fact that Sarah is found in Jackson County, Tennessee records through to her death and Jerry Williford, as stated below removed to Kentucky.

1884 Chancery Court, Jackson County, Tennessee

Honorable W. G. Crowley presiding

To the Hon. W. G. Crowley, Chancellor of the 5th Chancery Division of Tennessee presiding at Gainesboro, TN, Petition of John A. Dycus and H. W. Williams, Citizens of Jackson County, TN vs Jerry Williford, a temporary citizen now of Jackson County, now petitioners will show your honor that about the 27 day of April, 1884, Sarah Williford filed her bill for Divorce and Alimony in your honor's court at Gainesboro, against Jerry Williford, charging failure to provide for her and cruel and inhuman treatment and praying amongst other things for writs of attachment to issue which prayer was granted and certain property was attached, to wit, some corn, horses, and household and kitchen furniture and etc. Petitioners charge that all of said property mentioned was attached and impounded in your honor's court. Petitioners charge that on the 13th day of May, 1884, complainant and defendant Williford compromised their suit and are now disposing of their property to defeat your petitioners of the cost in the case of Sarah Williford vs Jerry Williford. Petitioners charge that said property so attached was and is liable to petitioners Dycus and Williams for their costs as Sheriff and Clerk of your honor's court. Petitioners think defendant Jerry Williford is about fraudulently to dispose of his property to defeat your petitioners of their just costs in the case above mentioned. They charge that said Williford is now the owner of one half a crop of corn grown on about 8 acres of land. They charge Williford is now trying to dispose of corn with a need to remove himself to the state of Kentucky where he has heretofore removed a portion of his property and unless said corn is attached your petitioners will not be able to get anything for their claim so justly owed. In view of the premises petitioners pray that this petition be filed in the case of Sarah Williford against Jerry Williford in your honor's court, and that copy and sub to answer to being defendant Jerry Williford before the court and on a final hearing your petitioners pray that said property be held liable for their costs. And they pray for writs of attachment to ----- to attach defendant’s interest in said 8 acres of corn to satisfy the debt and claims of petitioners Dycus and Williams. They pray that defendant Jerry Williford be enjoined from disposing of any of his corn crop. This is the first application for injunction and attachment in this cause.

Signed: J. T. Anderson, Sol. for Complainants