Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - William Washer and Ida Sharp, 1876 - Part 1

William P. Washer and Ida B. Sharp, both residents of Livingston County, Kentucky, were married on 19 July 18761. The ceremony was officiated by Jonathan Graham, Justice of the Peace, in Golconda, Pope County, Illinois. On the day of their wedding, the reported ages of the bride and groom were 16 and 21, respectively. Scanned images of the marriage affidavit, license, and certification follow.

A marriage affidavit was first required to establish that the couple was qualified to be married. It was obtained on the same date (19 July 1876) as the marriage:
Then a marriage license was issued enabling them to be married. At the bottom of this document is a certification section, which gives the date on which the marriage took place and a signature of the person performing the ceremony:


The marriage affidavit was used to ascertain the ages of the parties under oath. Illinois statutes2 of that time required that the consent of the father, mother, or guardian be given for a groom less than 21 years of age or for a bride less than 18 years of age. In these circumstances, the marriage license would include a phrase indicating that parent or guardian had given assent to the marriage. For Ida, who reports her age to be 16, that would seem to be a requirement but the documents do not reveal an explicit consent from her father. The person named G.A. Sharp, who signed as witness to the marriage affidavit, is probably Ida's older brother George A. Sharp. He appears with her in the 1870 U.S. census in the household of William Sharp3.
In the past, ferry transportation made Golconda, Illinois easily accessible from Livingston County, Kentucky. The U.S.G.S. Topographic map of Golconda Quadrangle from 19214, shows 3 ferry routes crossing the Ohio River connecting to Golconda:

1. Pope County, Illinois, Marriage Book D: 26, license 994, William P. Washer and Ida B. Sharp, 1876, marriage affidavit, license and certification; County Clerk's Office, Golconda.
2. Underwood, William H., et al., Statutes of Illinois construed, containing the statutes of 1874, as amended by the acts of 1875 and 1877 (St. Louis: W.J. Gilbert, 1878), 858; digital images, Google Books ( : accessed 15 October 2014). [See Section 13, "Penalty for wrongful license to minor."]
3. 1870 US. census, Livingston County, Kentucky, population schedule, Carrsville Precinct No. 5, p. 175A (stamped), dwelling 313, family 321, William Sharp; digital image, ( : downloaded 15 November 2012); citing National Archives micro-film publication M593, roll 482. [See William Sharp household, 1870 U.S. Census, Livingston Co., KY; Ida is enumerated as "Ader B. Sharp"]
4. U.S. Department of the Interior, Geological Survey Topographic Map: Illinois-Kentucky, Golconda Quadrangle, 15' series, 1921; digital images, The National Map: Historical Topographic Map Collection ( : accessed 14 October 2014).