Friends in y’e fear of God and in y’e presence of this assembly whom I declare to bear witness, that I take this my Friend Sarah Weed to be my wife promising by y’e Lord’s assistance to be unto her a kind and loving husband till death, or to this effect; and then and there in y’e s’d assembly she y’e said Sarah Weed did in like manner declare as follweth: Friends in y’e fear of God and presence of this assembly whom I declare to bear witness that I take this my Friend Thom’s Challis to be my husband promising to be unto him a faithful and loving wife till death separate us, or words of y’e same effect. And y’e s’d Thom’s Challis and Sarah Weed, as a further confirmation thereof did then and there to these presents set their hands, she assuming y’e name of her husband. And we whose names are hereto subscribed being present amongst others at their solemnizing Subscription in manner afores’d have hereto set our names as witness.”
Then follow the names of groom and bride, relatives on either side, and then the names of members in the assembly, first the “menfolks,” then the “womenfolks.” The names all told are forty-one. Among them is that of Joseph Whittier, which name with those of Challis and Weed have long been honored names in Amesbury.
The marriage gift to the husband on the part of his parents was usually a farm, a part of the homestead; the dowry to the young bride from her parents was a cow, a year’s supply of wool, or something needful in setting up house-keeping. If the homestead farm was not large the young couple were brave enough to encounter the labors and toils of frontier life, and begin for themselves on virgin soil and amid new scenes. It required bravery on the part of the young bride. But there were noble maidens in those days. The cares and duties of motherhood soon followed, but the house-cares and the maternal obligations were performed to the admiration of later generations. The fathers and mothers of New England were strong and hardy. Their praises come down to us. Witnesses new and ancient testify of their worth and royalty of character.
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In a private conversation with the writer not long since General Marston, of New Hampshire, related the following story:
“On the morning of the thirtieth of August, 1862, before sunrise, I was lying under a fence rolled up in a blanket on the Bull Run battle-field. It was the second day of the Bull Run battle. My own regiment, the Second New Hampshire Volunteers, had been in the fight the day before and had lost one-third of the entire regiment in killed and wounded.