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Jeff K.

The Mormon Menace: Violence And Anti-Mormonism In The Postbellum South

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Having deep roots in the south and having a deep interest in genealogy, I was surpised to find that after the Civil War there were many men that had families from several different women. My great, great Grandmother was a second women. She bore several children and all of them kept her maiden name. She never took the name of the father. One distant relative had up to 24 wives or mistresses however one wishes to call it. These types of relationships seemed to last up until about 1925. The south was religious, but it was not puritan in its approach.

jWere they concurrent or serial relationships? Marriages and divorce were not always seen as necessitating government recognition. Is there a chance these were common law marriages (and divorces)? Though the 24 relationships seems to be pushing those boundaries.

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jWere they concurrent or serial relationships? Marriages and divorce were not always seen as necessitating government recognition. Is there a chance these were common law marriages (and divorces)? Though the 24 relationships seems to be pushing those boundaries.

These were all concurrent relationships; no divorce, no separation. I have not found any formal government recognition for any of the relationships (there were no marriage certificates that I have found); however, on a Civil War pension claim one man recognized his wife and children as beneficiaries as well as my ggaunt and her son.

I was really surprised to see how much of it occurred in the South. Yes, it may have been a social abnormality due to the lack of men in the south after the Civil War, but that would demand that the society quickly adapted to polygamy and then reverted back to the previous standard.

These multiple relationships appear to have been engaged by a small minority of people i.e. small town of a couple thousand people you would find up to five families in such relationships. I suspect that they may have been looked down upon, but when you have a man with over twenty wives it certainly could not have been too severe of a rejection by society at large.

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