Today’s post will show that, sometimes, treasures are delivered right to your mailbox.
Nancy is a distant cousin on my father’s side of the family. She lived an hour or so away when we were children, so we rarely saw each other. (Travel then wasn’t as frequent nor as easy as it is these days.) Through family circumstances, we reconnected a couple of years ago – first through snail mail and then by e-mail. She now lives in New York, and we’re hoping for an in-person visit soon. Nancy’s late mother researched the genealogy on my father’s side back to when my great-great-great grandfather, Duncan McGuriman, arrived in the United States from Glasgow, Scotland in the 1700’s. I’m fortunate to have a copy of the family history she researched.
A couple of months ago, on my birthday, a package addressed to me from Nancy arrived in the mail. I wondered what it could be? Was it a coincidence that it arrived on my birthday? Then I remembered that she has the family history, too, so she would know my birth date.
I hurriedly opened the box and found two framed documents. The first was a copy of the marriage bond for Duncan McGuriman. (In “the old days”, following a marriage proposal, the perspective groom went to the courthouse with a bondsmen, usually the father or brother of the bride, to obtain a marriage bond. No money was paid at that time. But if the marriage couldn’t take place, because of circumstances pertaining to the groom, he was required to pay the amount of the bond.)
The bond reads: “Know all Men by these Presents that We Duncan McGuriman And John Judkins—-are held firmly bound unto his Excellency Benjamin Harrison Esq. Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Sum of Fifty Pounds Current Money to be paid to the said Benjamin Harrison esquire or to his successours We bind ourselves our Heirs Executors & Administrators firmly by these Presents Sealed with our seals and dated this 26th day of February 1783 and in the Seventh year of the Commonwealth of Virginia ~
The Condition of the above Obligation is such that if there be no lawful Cause to obstruct a marriage shortly intended to be solemnized according to The Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England under the CommonWealth of Virginia between Duncan McGuriman & Elizabeth Kerr——that this obligation to be void otherwise to remain in full force and virtue~
Sealed & delivered Duncan McGuriman, L.S.
In presence of John Judkins, L.S.
The second (smaller) framed document Nancy sent was a copy of the exterior of the marriage bond, as it was folded.
Bond for Marriage
Licence Feb 26, 1783
“In the Seventh year of the Commonwealth of Virginia”: it’s amazing to me to realize that this document was written just seven years after the American Revolution.
Thanks, Nancy, this is a special gift, and I will treasure it.