Did a Husband used to Possess a Wife?

Have you noticed how the wife’s given name is hardly ever mentioned in pre-1960 news articles?  For exmple, it was always written as Mr. and Mrs. Wilber Dayton, instead of Wilber and Jessie Dayton. It was not at all uncommon to read news like “Mrs. Wilber Dayton entered the hospital today. ” instead of “Jessie Dayton entered the hospital today.” I’ve even seen obituaries where the deceased woman’s given name is never mentioned.  She was always referred to as Mrs. “Husband’s name” “surname.” It’s a shame that we treated the wife as a possession of the husband. I presently have in my possession, the church minutes of the Corinth Wesleyan Methodist church dating all the way back to the 1800’s. Grandma Dayton, for some reason, is the only female in the books with this desgnation (Mrs. Wilber Dayton or Mrs. Dayton). I have not found her to be referred to as Jessie. All other married females were referred to by their given name, i.e.-Cora, Alma, Mabel, Blanche, Mary, Elizabeth, Ruth, etc. (This makes it difficult for genealogists. They might find it difficult to locate Jessie Dayton). I wonder if it was a distinction of respect.

The following article illustrates this problrm. The article is the annoucement of a Dayton family reunion. Of all of the invitations, the only exception is an invitation to Mrs. Flossie Denton. This was very unusual and was an afront to husband George who was not even invited to the affair. He was estranged from the Dayton family, and the afrontery was definitely intentional.

1 reply

  1. That’s very interesting. I know George was really rough, but it does make you wonder how much being snubbed by the family affected him. I feel bad that my family didn’t seem to have a Christlike attitude toward him or maybe he wanted it that way. Don’t know. It doesn’t seem like a Dayton thing to do, does it?

    Sent from my iPhone

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