Note:Richard Farmer has written the following summary:
Richard Farmer has written the following summary:
"Mary Elizabeth Kate filed a petition for divorce on 19 January 1884. Following her marriage to John Stephen, they lived in Pimlico, Hendon and Brixton. During part of this time, they lived at 69 Eccleston Square Mews, Pimlico. [Census returns show that Mary Elizabeth’s parents were living at this address in 1871 and 1881.] The petition lists two children, Jessie Sarah, born 23 August 1878, and Janet Daisy, born 3 November 1880. The petition claims that John Stephen deserted Mary Elizabeth in July 1880 and thereafter cohabited with “a woman who passed as Mrs Farmer” at Epsom and East Moulsey. [The Mrs Farmer referred to is very likely Edith, who appears in the 1881 census returns as John Stephen’s wife; and there is, in fact, no evidence that they were married.] As part of her petition, Mary Elizabeth asks for a dissolution of the marriage, custody of the children and alimony payments. At the time of the petition, she was living in Dunstans Road, Honor Oak in Surrey. John Stephen was living at 3 Great James Street, Bedford Row in London, and working as a journalist.
On 9 August 1884, John Stephen was found guilty of adultery but not of desertion. No reason for this decision is given in the documentation. John Stephen did not appear in court. On 20 January 1885, he was ordered to pay costs of £65 19 shillings 4 pence and on 12 May 1885, was ordered to pay alimony at the rate of £1 per week, backdated to 25 April.
On 14 February 1887, Mary Elizabeth filed a supplementary petition, alleging that John Stephen had deserted her for a period of two years prior to submission of the second petition. This was accepted by the court, and a decree nisi was granted on 30 March 1887. Mary Elizabeth was given custody of the children. On 1 November 1887, a decree absolute was issued. [This was just 9 days before his marriage to Alice Amelia Caswell.]
On 4 June 1891, John Stephen was ordered to pay further costs of £30 2 shillings.