At the same time, John Potter, one of the most influential men in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, had left his wife Margaret in dire straits. Margaret petitioned the State Assembly for support because her husband was "destitute of all congugall love towards her and . . . gone from her." John was arrested and granted a divorce from Margaret on 27 June 1665 after making provision for her for the rest of her life, whereupon he promptly married the redoubtable Herodias Hicks. They evidently lived happily together until her death in 1712. These early cases are notable as they seem to favor women.
In 1643 the Boston Quarter Court allowed Anne Clarke to divorce her husband. Denis Clarke signed an affidavit in which he admitted abandoning his wife for another woman, and having two children with each woman. He refused to return to his wife leaving the Court no choice but to punish him and grant his wife a divorce. The Quarter Court's final decision read: "Anne Clarke, beeing deserted by Denis Clarke hir husband, and hee refusing to accompany with hir, she is graunted to bee divorced."