In Sept 1863 Jem and Mary Ann legally separated. A Deed of Separation was drawn up. The terms required Jem to pay maintenance.
On 22 Sep 1863 Jem seconded Tom Kelly in a fight against Bill Brown at Aldershot.
On 4 Oct the “Jem Mace Circus” played Nottingham Goose Fair.
On 18 Oct they played Swinton.
On 22 Oct the circus was put up for auction at Manchester, where Jem now made his base. It seems very likely that Jem’s attempts to run his own circus proved costly.
On 10 Dec 1863 Jem attempted to officiate at a Heenan v. King fight at Wadhurst, Sussex. The fight was prevented by the Police, who arrested the principals and seconds. They were subsequently bailed.
Following is a cutting from the “Brooklyn Eagle” describing the arrests and preliminary trial.
After their separation, Jem’s wife, Mary Ann, went to live with Richard Roberts, who had been born in Norwich in 1835.
Benjamin Boorn and his wife Hannah were a show business couple living in London with roots on the Russian Steppes. Benjamin trained and ran a family equestrian circus troop. Their children were Caroline (b.1846), Hannah (b.1847), Mary (b.1850), Benjamin (b.1852) and Alfred (b.1860). The children were taught to ride and perform circus acrobatics as soon as they could walk. The family can be found on the 1861 census living in Southwark, London. (Ref. RG9/312/124). The troop joined the Jem Mace Circus.
In 1863 Jem became infatuated with one of the daughters, 16 year old bare back rider Hannah Boorn.
In Jan 1864 he brought divorce proceedings against his wife Mary Ann with Richard Roberts as co-respondent. It was not in Mr Roberts’ interest for the divorce to be granted, he might then be sued for enticement. It was not in Mary Ann’s interest for the divorce to be granted because it might absolve Jem from the financial support he was providing for their children. So they both opposed it, quoting Jem’s obvious prior adultery with Selina Hart. Jem failed to get his divorce. Some of the original divorce papers are in the National Archives and make amusing reading. Following is a report of the case from “The Times”.
On 13 April 1864 Jem and 7 other boxers were charged with riot and assault at Lewes, Sussex, as a result of the aborted fight at Wadhurst. All except Jem were bailed in the sum of £100 to appear at a later date. Jem successfully argued that he had, as a second, only been a spectator, not a participant and was found not guilty. Following is a scan of the court records.
On 25 Jan 1864 to 30 Jan 1864 and again on 15 Feb to 17 Feb Jem and Tom King gave exhibitions at Meyer’s American Circus, Crosshall Street/Dale Street, Liverpool.
On 18 Feb 1864 Jem obtained a licence and bigamously married Hannah at St Johns, Manchester. Although it is difficult to be sure, it seems likely that both Hannah and her parents knew that this marriage was bigamous, but agreed anyway. Jem was, after all, at this time, a wealthy man, a good catch and he clearly had tried to get a divorce.
On 27 Feb 1864 Jem gave exhibitions at Hogini’s Circus, Victoria Street, Belfast.
On 4 Mar to 9 Mar Jem gave exhibitions at Great Clyde Street Bazaar, Glasgow.
On Mar 14 Jem gave an exhibition in Edinburgh.