3 Replies Latest reply on Sep 3, 2020 9:44 PM by David Kline

    Seeking explanation of a wedding bond

    A Judd Newbie

      Two pieces of supporting documentation were submitted to a Virginia county clerk's office with a 1785 marriage bond and I don't understand the significance. The families involved are not Quakers so I do not believe "friends" is used in that manner. Does anyone have ideas why these documents accompany the marriage bond? Thank you.


      Transcript 1: Sir, This is to Certify that I am Ingaged to be married to Thomas Murray + that all my friends is a Greed to the Match Given under my hand this 26 of Septbr 1785

      Susannah Scott

      Teste Gross Scruggs

      Mr. James Steptoe Clark B County



      Transcript 2: Sir, I do hereby Certify that my Sister Susannah is of full age, to choose or refuse for herself, & that I believe that there is no Objection amongst her Friends of her intermarriage with Thomas Murray.

      From yr

      Humb Sert

      William Scott



      Nathan Reed

      Thomas Scruggs


      To Mr Ja Steptoe

        • Re: Seeking explanation of a wedding bond
          Cara Jensen Tracker

          Dear A. Judd,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          It could be a Marriage Consent document - according to the LIbrary of Virginia’s Early Virginia Marriage Records:


          “According to Virginia law, individuals under the age of twenty-one needed the consent of a parent or guardian to marry. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, officials were especially concerned about females under the age of sixteen marrying without consent. County clerks were not authorized to issue a marriage license without certificate (permission) from the parent, master, or guardian. In the nineteenth century, a parent or guardian could give consent verbally to the clerk of the court, or provide written consent in front of one to two witnesses; the consent was then delivered to the county clerk. “


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


            • Re: Seeking explanation of a wedding bond
              A Judd Newbie

              Dear Cara Jensen,


              Thank you for responding. I see now that my question was not clear in my original post.


              The two documents submitted and attached with the bond state "all my friends is a Greed" and "there is no objection amongst her friends." As the bride and groom aren't Quakers, friends is not used in that manner.


              Can anyone explain why the opinions of Susannah Scott's friends were specifically mentioned?

            • Re: Seeking explanation of a wedding bond

              In Kentucky, a bond is posted when applying for a marriage license.  This document is a performance bond that assures the court that there is no lawful cause to obstruct the marriage.  The bond amount would be paid if this was not the case.  A bond does not guarantee that the marriage took place.  In rural counties where the clerk knew the parties, a bond might not be required. Since women had no contractual rights under Virginia or early Kentucky law, this contract of marriage could not be arranged by the bride.  As a result, two parties were necessary to obtain the marriage license based on the bond executed: a male relative or guardian of the bride and the groom himself.  The bondsman was usually the bride-to-be's father or brother; but a close friend or guardian of either the bride or the groom often served as bondsmen as well. Bonds beginning circa 1860s to 1900 included the ages of the bride and groom and places of birth of both the marrying parties and their parents.  Beginning in 1902, the names of parents are also given.  By 1900, the marriage bond fell into disuse by some county clerks.