Friday, April 3, 2009

Bigamist Minister

As far as I know, the subject of the following article is not related to me. However, from time to time, I will be posting interesting articles like this one from Cocke County and the surrounding area. This article was published on page 1 of The Washington Post on March 8, 1905.

Sentenced to the Penitentiary for Violation of Pension Laws.

Knoxville, Tenn., March 7. – Rev. Benjamin W. Ashley, a minister of the Christian church, residing near Newport, Tenn., was given a sentence of fifteen months in the penitentiary in the Federal Court today for violating the pension laws. In investigating his case a pension examiner discovered that he was a bigamist. After Ashley had been placed on the pension rolls a North Carolina woman claiming to be his wife made application for a division of the pension. Ashley swore she was not his legal wife, but that his wife was a Tennessee woman. Investigation proved that Ashley married his first wife in 1865, and had never obtained a divorce, but had abandoned her thirty years ago, marrying a second time after coming to Tennessee to reside. He pleaded guilty of perjury, and may be prosecuted for bigamy when he has served his Federal sentence.

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