Upon doing extensive research on March 14, 2011, I found information in 3rd District Court records, Anderson County, Texas, that Dr. Albert Towels had married a woman named Kate Petree. He had not divorced Mary Ann Howell Towels when he married Kate Petree. Dr. Towles wife, Mary Ann Howell Towles, was still in Alabama in 1871. In about 1873, Mary Ann Towles, her father (Isaac Howell) and her two daughters, Sarah Towles and Elizabeth Lee Towles, moved from Alabama to Texas, and lived close to Drury and Mary Elizabeth Howell Couch in Cherokee County, Texas. Thus, Mary Ann Howell Towles was not in Texas at the time of these court cases. The case number for Kate Towles vs. Albert Towles is 2060, 3rd District Civil Court. He was also charged with bigamy by the Anderson County, Texas, district attorney and this case number is 955, 3rd District Court.
The affidavits and files on old cases have been removed from the Anderson County courthouse. A clerk there told me they might be in boxes at the federal building or they might have been destroyed. On a trip to the Anderson County, Texas, courthouse on March 14, 2011, I was unable to locate the files and affidavits. Wayne Stafford posting indicates that he reviewed the files in 2002 and posted this – “Kate Petree living in Cherokee County, Texas, Albert Towles living in Anderson County, Texas. United in marriage 12th July 1869 in Falls County, Texas, he claimed to be a single man. Chambers County, Alabama [now Lee County, Alabama] he was married to Mary A Howell in 1860, affidavit from B. Tankersely. Said they had two daughters, Sarah Towles and Elizabeth Lee Towles. Also affidavit from Mrs. B. Tankersely, and Mrs. J. C. Dickens. Affidavit from E. W. Petree, father of Kate Towles, that Albert Towles and Kate Petree were married 12 July 1869 in Falls County, Texas, by Rev. McGee, in the resident of Mr. W. K. Dickerson. Albert Towles represented himself as a single man. They were together until January of 1870 when she came to “my residence” in Cherokee County, Texas.” NOTE: Mr. & Mrs. B Tankersely (b: AL)-on the 1870 Cherokee Co, TX census, family 184. Mr. & Mrs. J. C. Dickens (b: AL)-on the 1870 Cherokee Co, TX census, in household 184. E. W. Petree (b: KY) and daughter, Kate, are on the 1870 (Nov) Cherokee Co, TX census, family 252. Drury and Mary Elizabeth Howell Couch are on the 1870 Cherokee County, TX census, family 229.
Both Case 2060 and Case 955 were concluded in 1871. Case 2060, Kate Towles vs. Albert Towles, was resolved on 27 January 1871. The wording of the resolution was as follows: “An on this day (27 Jan 1871) came the Plantiff and Defendant by Attorneys and announce themselves ready for trial and thereupon came a Jury of twelve good and lawful men For. S. C. Vandevender and Eleven others who being duly empanneled and sworn well and truly to try the issue joined between the Parties, after hearing the Evidence and charge of the Court retired to consider of their verdict and returning upon their oath do say ‘We the Jury find the material allegations in Plantiffs Petition to be true’ signed S. C. Vandevender Foreman Jury No. 1. It is therefore ordered adjudged and decreed by the Court that the Marriage of the said Planitiff with Said Defendant on the 12th day of July A. D. 1869 was and the same is declared illegal, null and void from the beginning and held for naught; and that the marital obligations heretofore Existing (if any there be, be and the same are hereby forever dissolved and that the said Plantiff Kate Towles be and she is hereby forever released from the said Defendant Albert Towles Bonds of Matrimony with the said Defendant Albert Towles, and it is further ordered adjudged and decreed that the said Plantiff do have and recover of the said Defendant all costs of suit in this behalf expended for which let Execution issue” (Anderson County, Texas, 3rd District Court, Minute Book K, Page 101, 27 Jan 1871).
On 22 August 1871 Case 955, The State of Texas vs. Albert Towles, the Bigamy case against Albert Towles, was dismissed. The wording of the dismissal was as follows: “And now comes Thomas D. Evans Dist attorney and says that he will not further prosecute this case. It is therefore ordered by the court that this case be dismissed and that the Deft go free without pay” (Anderson County, Texas, 3rd District Court Minute Book K, page 537, 22 August 1871).
Then there is a court record showing that Albert Towles remarried his wife, Mary Ann Howell Towles in Cherokee County, Texas. The record is found in the Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977. In this index, the following information can be found: Name: A. Towles; Event: Marriage; Event Date: 27 Jun 1876; Event Place: Cherokee County, Texas; Spouse: Mary Ann Towles; Spouse Title: Mrs.; Film Number: 988077; Digital Folder Number: 4539376; Image Number: 00350. Dr. Albert Towles had served as a medical doctor and surgeon in the Civil War. Many questions are left unanswered by these court cases, and the re-marriage of Dr. Towles to his wife, Mary Ann Howell. Some of those questions are as follows:
(1) Why did Dr. Towles come to Palestine, Anderson County, Texas, after the Civil War to practice medicine?
(2) Did Dr. Towles have some kind of abnormal mental problem after the Civil War (the war was reported to be extremely difficult for medical doctors)?
(3) Did Dr. Towles think his family was dead? Did he go back to Alabama after the war or come straight to Palestine, Anderson County, Texas?
(4) Why was the bigamy case against Dr. Albert Towles dismissed? Did he give testimony (which we could not locate) that convinced the district attorney that he either thought his wife and family were dead or that he had some kind of mental condition after the Civil War? Is it possible that Dr. Towles had lost portions of his memory during the Civil War?
(5) Did Mary Ann Howell Towles divorce Dr. Towles after she learned that he married Kate Petree (I have yet to locate a divorce record)?
(6) Why did Dr. Towles and Mary Ann Howell Towles re-marry?
(7) Why did the re-marriage between Dr. Albert Towles and his wife, Mary Ann Howell Towles, take place some five years after these court cases on 27 June 1876?
Perhaps we will never know the answers to most of these questions. We know that Albert Towles was on the 1870 Anderson County, Texas, census record and that he was on the 1871 Palestine, Anderson County, Texas, Voter List (Voter 633.) Dr. Albert Towles was reported to have been treating a patient with pneumonia, catching the disease from the patient and dying about 1877 or 1878 (Source: Ancestry.com, World Tree Project, Entry: 2731). Thus, Dr. Albert Towles died a year or two after re-marrying Mary Ann Howell Towles. Albert Towles is not on the 1880 census records, but his wife, Mary Ann Towles, is on the 1880 Cherokee County, Texas, census records, living in her father, Isaac Howell’s household. By 1880, Albert and Mary Ann Towles, daughter, Sarah Towles, was married, but their daughter, Lizzie Lee Towles is on the 1880 Cherokee County, Texas, census in Isaac Howell’s household, listed as “granddaughter, age 14.” Some of the court records are reproduced below and on the following pages.
If anyone has more information about Dr. Albert Towles, please email be at: email@example.com
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