The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 124
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
grants. There is a book of cattle brands dating from February
15, 1830, when Winslow Turner claimed as his brand and for
his mark "a swallow fork in the right Ear 8c a smooth crop of
one underbit." And, richest of all, there is the Old Marriage
Book. To read it is to follow the changing laws governing mar-
riage in early Texas, to meet but too briefly those hardy minis-
ters of the Gospel who played the Word against the wilderness,
and last, to glimpse fleetingly the valiant people whose lives and
loves are forever recorded in the Marriage Book. For the roman-
ticist, the genealogist, and the historian, the book is a treasure
Actually, the book itself is an ordinary, paperback journal
such as any country grocer might use for his pencilled accounts.
The first recorded entry was made on October 8, 1837, and the
last page was inscribed on January 31, 1856. Considering that
it is as old as the Republic, it is remarkably well-preserved, and
the ink is still clear and legible. Some attempt was made to
number the licenses in chronological order, but obvious dis-
crepancies occur, as if the task of enumerating the licenses were
an after-thought and done too hastily to allow accuracy.
There are little grace notes in the recording that give in-
sight into the character of the men who performed the marriage
rites. For example, in No. 36, the Reverend Edward A. Clarke,
with an ear attuned to a high moment of history, inscribed his
entry thus: "Be it remembered on this 27th day of July A D
1843 the bond of matrimony between Isaac N. Mitchell and
Mary M. A. Kerr daughter of James Kerr was celebrated by the
undersigned. Revd Edward A. Clarke." More economical of
speech and ink was J. M. Brown, a justice of the peace, who
made his required return of No. 41 briefly and succinctly: "Mar-
ried the day Sc date within J. M. Brown."
That the language barrier complained of in the Texas Declara-
tion of Independence was a real and formidable one between
the Anglo-Americans and the Spanish-speaking citizens of the
Republic is evidenced in No. 14. J. S. Menefee, clerk, made the
best possible effort for the prospective bridegroom and came up
with but a single name. The license reads: "You are hereby
authorized and commanded to celebrate the rites of Matrimony
between Rosindaz and Mary Moore, etc." In making due return,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/137/: accessed March 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.