Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Hasty Wedding

Marriage Extraordinary.

Married, at Edgecombe House, in this place [Tarboro, Edgecombe Co., NC], on Sunday morning last, by J. T. Clark, Esq, Mr. James Groves to Miss Amanda Ward, daughter of Mr. Joseph Ward. The youthful pair, aged 18 and 15 years, left Hamilton, Martin county, [North Carolina], on Saturday night last, and after divers mishaps by mud and flood, (the course of true love never running smooth,) arrived here at 4 o'clock on Sunday morning—by 5 o'clock they obtained the requisite fixins and were married—remained here until 8 o'clock, and turning their faces homeward, went on their way rejoicing.

[Tarboro' Southerner, 9/16/1855]

The Rest of the Story
For the Southerner

Hamilton, Sept. 10th, 1855

Mr. [George] Howard: Dear Sir, Having seen my marriage published in the papers, I will give you a small sketch of things that passed before we were married. If you see proper, you can have it added to what has been said.

I had been visiting her father's house and waiting on Amanda for the last six months, and was received as a neighbor or a friend by the old man and the rest of the home family; but her grandmother being offended with me, began to be quite suspicious thinking I was courting Amanda.

I was in the presence of both one night and Amanda and I conversed freely together until 9 o'clock; after I retired the old lady said to Amanda, you seem to treat Mr. Groves with great respect; she replied, yes, grandmother, I treat him with the great respect I have for him.

Yes, the old lady said, the first thing I know you and he will be married. You need not be surprised, was the reply.

It filled the old lady's heart with anger; she then resolved to break peace between us. She then done and said everything of evil against me that she could, but as true lovers it did not seem to avail anything, or to turn her at all; but her words were to me that the more she said, the better she loved me.

The old lady making a failure in that undertaking, she thought she would seek revenge some other way; she then goes to her father and her cousin Tiur, and said to them as follows: Groves is going to your house for the purpose of seeking the advantage of your daughter, and if I was in your place I would stop him from going there—and also slandered me every way she could.

Then the old man went home on Tuesday morning and said to Amanda, do you give Mr. Groves encouragement to come here? Father, If I was not here he would not come. Well, Amanda, I had rather see you laid in the grave than to marry him. Why father, what have you got against him? Don't you find him every time the same? Yes, said the old man, I have nothing against him, but I don't want you to marry. Well, father, you can stop him from coming here, but that will never turn me from him. Her father then left her, and said no more at present.

On Wednesday following the old Mother went to her father again telling him a great miraculous tale, such a one as I am not able to describe. Her father being much disturbed, he hastened home to talk to her again. Words were passed as follows: Amanda, it is reported all over town that you and Mr. Groves are going to marry; whether or no, what you intend shall never be, and if I ever catch him here again there will be blood spilt, as sure as there is another world.

It filled her heart with sorrow to hear him talk so about one she dearly loved. She then sat down to write a note to me, to let me know how words had passed about me. Her words were as follows: Mr. Groves, my true one, for you feel dearer to me than any one on earth; therefore I will write a few lines to you to let you know how words past about you and I today. He said if you did come here again there would be blood spilt as sure as there is another world. My true one, that will never turn me from you. If they take my life, oh! I can't, I can’t turn from one I love so dearly. I do love you and that you do know. I am willing to take the first share, I am willing to die for you; but my true love, will you turn from me? Will you ever?

I being present and in her father's house, I as a man that fear no man, I arose from my seat in her presence, and in the presence of the rest of her folks said, No, no, I will never—be ye faithful unto me and I will to you—though I am a little man, I am not afraid of any man; for we are contending for that which has been deemed honorable from the foundation of the world, and if God is for us who can be against us—and we shall come out more than conquerors at last. We then departed. She said with a trembling voice, do not forget me. My answer was, I never will.

Arrangements I then made, and Saturday night at 10 o'clock I went to her residing place, took her and started to Tarboro', and there was married. Her people knew nothing of it until next morning. Correct errors, and mistakes. Ages 18 and 23.

James D. Groves.
Amanda W. Ward as were.

[Tarboro Southerner, 10/22/1855. The Connector, newsletter of Tar River Connections Genealogical Society, Winter 2007 issue.]

Note: J. D. Groves, 18, and Amanda, 22, were listed on the 1860 Census in Hamilton, Martin Co., NC. They had 2 children: Jenigan, female aged 3 and Thadis, male aged 1. Groves was a merchant with real estate valued at $1,250 and a personal estate of $4,300. They were census record 1010.

Groves's father-in-law, J. J. Ward, was record 1016, so they apparently lived near each other. Ward was a farmer with real estate valued at $9,500 and a personal estate o $1,200. He had 5 people, aged 10 and younger, living in his household. The oldest female was 16, so perhaps he had needed Amanda as his housekeeper in 1855.

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