Original Marriage Certificate Needs to Go Home – John Williams & Mary Lord/Loid, Hempstead Co., AR 1870


John Williams & Mary Loid, married 27 October 1870

I have this original marriage certificate from 1870. It was never picked up at the Hempstead County Courthouse in Arkansas. When I visited in the 1990s, I thought that perhaps my husband’s 2X great grandfather, also John Williams, had married and perhaps lost a wife before he married Louisa Miller in 1871. He was about the same age as this John Williams. The clerk told me to keep the certificate, just in case.

However, I later learned that this John Williams was black. The 3 August 1870 census of Hempstead County includes this Williams family:


Sam Williams, 1870 Hempstead County, Arkansas
Source: Ancestry

Williams, Sam, 50, born TN
Dortheny, 46, born TN
John, 22, born TN
Sarah, 20, born TN
Jack, 16, born AR
Flora, 14, born AR
Ann, 12, born AR
George, 8, born AR
Ella, 6, born AR
Sam, 4, born AR
Jane, 2, born AR
Eliza, 1/12, born AR

I strongly suspect that John in this family, aged 22, is the same John Williams who married Mary Loid two months later.

I am stumped, though, because as big as this family is, I can’t pick up a trail for any of them. I can’t even find Mary Loid (or Loyd, Lloyd, Lord, etc.) in 1870. Given that they don’t appear in the 1860 census, Sam, Dortheny and their children may have been enslaved.

If you are a descendant of John and Mary, or of anyone in this family, and would like to have the original marriage certificate, please leave a comment. I would love to send this certificate back home.

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