This one is a bit different because the conflicting evidence is on a single document.
The above marriage document from Marion County, Mississippi shows that W. A. Garraway and W. L. Simmons posted a marriage bond on 22 March 1887. The bond was for the impending marriage of W. A. Garraway and Sarah J. Burt.
On that same date a marriage license was issued to W. A. Garraway and Miss Sarah J. Simmons. The certificate portion was not completed.
William A. Garraway married Sarah Jane Burt, daughter of Christopher Burt and Almeda Watts. I have several records to support this, no problem there.
The question is, why is she referred to as Miss Sarah J. Simmons? Who was W. L. Simmons that posted her bond? My first guess was that Sarah had married someone name Simmons before marrying William and that person died shortly after their marriage. There are a couple of problems with this theory. Sarah was only 16 when she married William so there isn’t much room for another marriage in there and the Marion County Circuit Court clerk can’t find a previous marriage for Sarah, at least not in Marion County. She is also identified as Miss which puts her in the first marriage category.
The second theory is that it was a simple typo by the clerk. The bondsman was W. L. Simmons and the clerk could have easily just wrote Simmons in as her surname. That would be pretty careless though considering that the clerk had already written her name as Sarah J. Burt. This leads us back to who was W. L. Simmons and why was he posting the bond?
Both of Sarah’s parents were dead by the time she married. It wasn’t any of her brothers that posted the bond so how about a brother-in-law? Older sister Serena married Colon J. Simmons. Colon’s father was William Simmons. (W. L.?). One thing that leads me in this direction is that this particular William Simmons just might be the type to sign a marriage bond. Why? He was the sheriff. He was a well-respected member of the community and a public servant. The only thing is, I have never seen his name as W. L. I have him as William Simmons or W. Simmons.
I will be doing more research on this. The whole point of this post is to tell you that when you have conflicting evidence you have to reconcile it. I can’t just leave things they way they are. I have to try and figure it out.
Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis