The New York Sun/1878/Whipping Her for Her Soul's Good
Whipping Her for Her Soul's Good. An Aged Wife Seeking a Divorce on Account of Alleged Cruel Treatment. An old gray-headed farmer sat in a despondent manner yesterday morning, in the law office of S. B. Nobles, Long Island City. A fine-looking elderly woman sat opposite him, and two younger women were between them. The eldest woman was suing for a limited divorce from her aged partner. "Glory, hallelujah! Bless the Lord!" the old farmer said, clapping his hands, as he listened to testimony recounting his taking his wife by the throat and knocking her down. The aged couple are Henry Lattin and Hannah Lattin, the farmer seventy-two, the latter a few years younger. The younger women were Mrs. Lattin's daughters. The suit is in consequence of alleged cruel and inhuman treatment, consisting of violence to the person and neglect to furnish support. Both lived at Farmingdale, Long Island, for many years, where Farmer Lattin has a farm house and a few acres of ground. Four yearn ago he was a widower and began to pay attentions to Mrs. Hannah Williams, a well-preserved widow with two daughters. He complained of his lonely state, and after a few months they were married. Mrs. Williams had no means, but Farmer Lattin said he had enough for both. They lived in peace for two years after their marriage, and then the old farmer began to develop intense interest religion, and became a constant attendant on the Methodist Church. At about the same time he began to treat his wife badly, and continued to do so until April of this year, when she was forced to abandon him, and go to her daughter's home for shelter. The testimony before the referee recited several cases of violent treatment, showed that she was not provided with clothing, and was given only one pair of shoes in four years. The first occasion of bad treatment was in 1876, when Mrs. Lattin went to the hennery to get some eggs. Farmer Lattin came in and said: "You _____, what have you done with those eggs" He then grasped her by the back of the neck and choked her, he said: "If you go to the hen house again, you _____, I'll kick you out, you will stay there. By the law of Moses, I'll take your head off." At another time the farmer missed some blankets which Mrs. Lattin was forced to cut up for underwear. He shook her and knocked her down when she told him what she had done. Some time afterward he chased her with a club, and would have struck her head with it had she not warded off the blow with her arms. These assaults were always interspersed with ejaculations of the name of the Deity. Since the beginning of the suit Farmer Lattin has offered Mrs. Lattin 50 cents a week for her support, and avers that his conduct is for her soul's good. After the plaintiff's case closed yesterday, Mrs. Lattin's lawyer said: "Now, Mr. Lattin. I want you to go quietly off and not interfere with my client as you did before. Don't cut up any of your monkey shine." At a previous hearing, the farmer followed his wife to the depot, and attracted a great throng by his violent manner. The old farmer was highly indignant, and, gesticulating wildly, replied: "If I'm a monkey, what be you! Bless the Lord! You've been telling all kinds of lies against me. Just wait till my turn comes. Glory! You'd better repent." On hearing that his turn would come August 2, he went down stairs, firing off at every step a fusillade of Scriptural quotations.