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MR. WHITING'S UNRECORDED MARRIAGES

Will be completed by 8/31/06

Under the Puritan government, marriages were performed by colony magistrates, those men elected as Assistants or those specially designated by the General Court for that task. Mr. Thomas Flint was so appointed in the early 1640s. With the revocation of the Old Charter, English law and customs were reimposed. Only then did ministers begin performing marriages. Most marriages were still performed by the Justices of the Peace, as the magistrates were retitled.

Concord's fourth minister, Mr. John Whiting, conducted more marriage ceremonies than his predecessors combined. As with the JPs, he was required to make return of all such ceremonies to the Concord town clerk. To do so, he must have kept some record, but he did not dedicate any one volume to this task. Instead, he seems to have used self-made almanacs to make notes of the occasional marriages he performed.

One has survived at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts.