Friday, March 11, 2016

Marriage in the Middle of the Night in the Middle of Nowhere

We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about the past. Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, or downright laughable.

Records say the darnedest things!

“Mac,” who shared the following marriage return with me, wrote, “It appears that the good reverend wanted to make very clear in writing that he was within the law in conducting the nuptials.  The ceremony took place late in the evening, in the middle of winter, on a public road between Missouri and Kansas.  There were five (count 'em five) witnesses who attended the 'happy' event (and might have suffered frostbite for their efforts).  We can only hope the marriage lasted after this auspicious beginning.”


This is to certify that the undersigned a regular minister of the
Gospel in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church on Wednesday
Feby 10th 1875 at 10 Oclock P M. in Jackson County Missouri
near the state line between the states of Mo. and Kansas
in the Public Road opposite my residence in Johnson Co Kan.
did solemnize the rights of Matrimony between Mr Charles
Caldwell and Miss Fannie P. Robinson in the presense of
Jospeh Bryant, George Caldwell, Thomas W. James, W. F. Morrow and
Mrs. E.C. Morrow                                 J W. Morrow {seal}
  Filed for Records Feby 15th 1875.
                                            C.D.Lucas Recorder
                                            By W.A. Symington D.R

Yes, records say the darnedest things!


Jackson County, Missouri, marriage records, v. 7 (1872-1879), p. 224, last paragraph, county clerk’s office, Independence; digital image, “Missouri, County Marriage, Naturalization, and Court Records, 1800-1991,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 2 January 2016), path: Jackson > Marriage records 1872-1881 vol 7-8 > image 152 of 500; FHL microfilm 1,019,758.


  1. Oh, how I enjoy reading your column. From every entry, I am amused and enlightened. Thank you for all you do for us budding and experienced researchers.

  2. Randy Wilson of FamilySearch wrote privately to me:

    According to [FamilySearch] Family Tree, they ended up having 5 kids and living happily ever after. :)

    (Still married in 1920 U.S. Census, too. :)

  3. Was the first one born at 10:05 pm?

  4. Near Corinth Cemetery in Leawood Kansas? That is just a short distance from State Line Road, which divides Johnson County Kansas from Kansas County Missourj.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.