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ONHGS Publication List
The Church of St. Thomas Apostle Register of Marriages
Sheppard, Joseph E. Church of St. Thomas Apostle; Register of Marriages: 1845 - 1863, Roman Catholic Parish, Wilmington, North Carolina USA. Wilmington: New Hanover County Public Library, Old New Hanover Genealogical Society, 2017.
Sacramental marriage, shared with six other sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church, reveals the Lord Jesus and through which his divine life and love are communicated. The Minister of the Gospel holds a license by the state to marry and historically he normally recorded a marriage bond with the New Hanover County registrar. Marriage bond documents began during the British American Colonial period. Bonds obligated a prospective groom to pay a stated sum if impediments to the marriage were subsequently discovered to exist. Bonds ended in North Carolina by statute in 1868. Marriage licensing began in New Hanover County in 1843 and continues in various forms. North Carolina issued marriage certificates after 1851. In most cases all types of middle Nineteenth Century marriage records for a single marriage may exist, yet sometimes only the church marriage registration survives and especially in the event of slave’s marriages. A bibliography at the end of this book lists the different publications for marriages records in Wilmington and New Hanover County, North Carolina.
The Very Rev. Thomas Murphy officiated as pastor of the Church of St. Thomas for 19 years. He registered 68 of the 70 marriages recorded in the marriage register 1845 through 1863 before his death on Tuesday 18 August 1863. The Johnson’s marriage on 31 March 1845, overlooked from listing in the actual registry, makes the grand total of 71 marriages. The last two marriages in 1863 received registry by the Rev. John Bannon, a visiting CSA chaplain, and the Rev. James A. Corcoran D. D., who became pastor after Murphy died. Father Murphy celebrated marriages on days Monday through Friday and Sundays. He posted marriage bonds with New Hanover County selectively during 1851 – 1860. Father John Bannon offered the only Saturday marriage on 19 September 1863 and he was the only officiator to register a woman first, Elizabeth S. Becaise. All others registries list the groom first. The author of this book, J E Sheppard, transcribed exact information from the Church of St. Thomas Register of Marriages, which includes the date of the event; the specific wording of the document, names bolded for easy glance of a page, and the notes taken from the register side bar. The source page from the actual register is listed beneath the record in smaller type print. Additional sources for proof of a marriage also included with the record, such as, a New Hanover County marriage bond or a local newspaper marriage notice.
Couples with a party from outside the faith required a dispensation from the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston to marry within the Holy Church. 24 marriages mention dispensations out of the 70 recorded. Six slave’s marriages recorded and 5 slave couples married according to the Rites of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
Publication A-80 - 36 pages - Price: $12.00
OBITUARIES Abstracted from the