Intentionality of Love

I’ve just found, through, original records of Horton Howard’s first marriage, to Anna Mace. The Quaker customs of 1791 were unlike most weddings my readers can remember. The couple had to appear before their congregations (or Meetings) over the course of several times and announce their intention to marry. Elder members of the congregation would interview the couple, and the parents would have to approve. If, after “mature and deliberate consideration” the couple passed these tests, they would go before the congregation to formalize their marriage with simple vows. A certificate of marriage was signed by the couple and by everyone present.

“They, the said Horton Howard and Anna Mace have appeared in a Publick meeting of the said People at their Meeting House on Club Foot Creek in Craven County aforesaid and the said Horton Howard taking the said Anna Mace by the Hand said Friends you are my Witnesses that I take this my friend Anna Mace to be my Wife promising through Divine assistance be unto her a True and Loving Husband until Death separate us, and she the said Anna Mace having him the said Horton Howard by the Hand said, Friends you are my Witnesses that I take this my friend Horton Howard to be my Husband promising through Divine assistance to be unto him a True and Loving Wife until Death separate us or words to that effect.”

I love the brevity and the deliberateness of these vows. Letters written by HortonĀ and other Quakers of the period show that same intention to create loving relationships. Sadly, Anna Mace Howard’s marriage to Horton was not long. She died in March of 1797 – less than 6 years after her marriage. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Ruth who was 16 month old.

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