Man and Wife
A History by Henrik Hartog
pages 128-129
Contributed by Charlott Wells Jones

Marytie (Maria) Wendell was the daughter of John J. Wendell and 
Hannah Van Den Bergh. She was born in Schagticoke, New York
on 17 September 1786, but apparently lived in Otsego, Otsego
County at the time she married Elisha Chadwick, who had been
born in Conneticut. However, they resided in Petersboro which was a part of
Smithfield, New York with their four daughters, two of whom
were probably Susannah and Elizabeth. The following article concerning Maria Chadwick has to do with
"settlement". The system that was used in the early 19th
century to determine "poor relief" was called settlement. It
was based on where you were from, not where you resided when
the problem arose. If you did not have settlement where you
resided, meaning that you had moved from your original
location you did not have any claims to relief in that
location. If you became indigent that town would issue a
"warning ". This simply stated that you must return to your
original home where you might have had settlement. If you
were an unwed mother, the place you were located might
actually transport you there. When a woman married she would loose her settlement in her
hometown, if she removed to another place with her husband
that had coverture there. If a man did not provide for his
wife or family then his settlement would take over. The following is from "Man and Wife" A History by Henrik Hartog
page 128-129. Overseers of the Poor of the Town of Otsego vs. Overseers of the
Poor of the Town of Smithfield 5 cow 760 (no doubt court
file number) Elisha Chadwick -- Maria Wendell "But what if the husband lacked a settlement in any town in the
state? Maria Chadwick, originally from Otsego, New York,
lived in Smithfield, New York with her husband Elisha, who's
settlement was in Conneticut. Elisha was a drunkard and did not provide for his wife and
children and in 1823 had lost their house. When Maria turned to the charity of her neighbors, the town
warned her out and ordered her removal to Otsego. The town
of Otsego responded that her settlement there was suspended
during coverture (her marriage). She remained a member of
her husbands community. The law, Otsego argued, should not
tolerate the dispertion of families. But Cheif Justice John
Savage of the New York Supreme Court held that the
Smithfield's order of removal was right legally, although he
concluded that it was a close and difficult question.
Marriage should not put a woman in "worse" position than she
was in before marriage, should not leave her without
settlement because her husband had none. Savage insisted
that he appreciated the importance of "rights of marriage to
the individuals concerned and to society. However, he saw no
reason why a town should be compelled to support paupers, who
had a settlement in another "merely to accomodate a vagabond
intemperate husband with the society of his wife and
children, whom he had by misconduct reduced to pauperizm. Maria Chadwick, in asking for relief, revealed that she was no
longer "under the power and protectiion of her husband", and
so in order to keep the itinerate poor from acquiring
effective settlements in their places of residence, and in
order to give Maria a settlement somewhere in New York, Chief
Justice Savage ruled against a care of coverture - that a
wifes place was with her husband within his household. Maria Chadwick would be returned to Otsego. With so many family members in that area she and her girls were
probably provided for, as the Wendell family was a very close
knit one. Maria would eventually marry Joshua Gustin/Gustine who was born
in Rockingham, Vermont and move to Assyria, Berry County,
Michigan. ------- Maria Wendell was the daughter of my 4th great-grandfather John
J. Wendell and brother of my 3rd great-grandfather Jacob
Wendell. Charlott Wells Jones
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