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I believe that if a criminal man was taken away from his family and incarcerated for a long period ( or transported) then that was just about the only circumstance where a marriage could be annulled. Therefore it is possible that she could legally remarry, but perhaps in her maiden name.
Can you give us the names and approx birth years of the 3 children please?
According to newspaper reports, John Copley aged 27, nail maker, resided
at Scholes which is about one mile from Thorpe Hesley and where he stole one sheep
from farmer John Cutt.
I agree with you. My 3x great grandfather was transported to Australia in 1834 for 7 years for a relatively minor crime (theft of clothing).
He left behind a wife and 2 young children in Sheffield.
Their marriage was annulled in Australia and they both remarried.
His wife in Sheffield married under her married name but, as a "spinster". It appears they used any name they wanted.
When she died she'd reverted back to her first married name, obviously she didn't like the second husband!
Who were John’s parents? I have Copley ancestors from Ecclesfield / Wortley area and they were also nail makers.