An Old Document Found which Made Early Pioneers Man and Wife --
The Anniversary Fittingly Celebrated
(This document, apparently printed in 1903, was found in the Family Bible of Lemuel and Mary Stanton Taylor Watkins. Because of its deteriorated condition, the contents have been reproduced below.)
"Housecleaning is one of the times of pleasure to the curiosity seeker. At this season old boxes, drawers, and cupboards are turned inside out, and the revelations are often surprising. What a delight it is to sit in an old attick of a century and rummage amid old relics buried in cobwebs of long ago, and to bring forth hidden treasures, to illumine the present with the facts of the past. In a pleasant homestead in Marmon Valley, the busy wife of Mr. James M'Atee discovered a secret corner, and in it found the first land grant from the government to one Robert Bowling, dated according to Act of Congress, April 10, 1790, located from a certain tree on Miami river to a certain oak and popular on Mud creek.
The deed is written on parchment and signed by President Monroe. About 40 years after the land was transferred to Reuben Watkins, in whose family it yet remains.
A strange relic was also brought to light, namely, the marriage contract of the grandfather of Mrs. James M'Atee which occurred 100 years ago, Nov. 6, 1903 (See footnote). With that old Quaker hospitality burning in her soul, the daughter-in-law, Margaret Jacobs, now 84 years, determined to have a family reunion on this centennial day. From an old Bible record they knew of one daughter, Lucinda Johnson, Carthage, Ind., one daughter-in-law, Margaretta Jacobs, here, and 20 grandchildren now living. These were invited to the celebration. Among those who came were Matilda Neely, Susan Walker, Pheriba French, Eliza Stratton, Mrs. James M'Atte, Anna E. Thomas -- these with a number of friends and others who had married into the family. The feast provided was greatly enjoyed, especially the religious services at the close, in which many of the guests took part. Owing to ill health, James Outland could not be there to represent his mother, who was present in North Carolina at the wedding, and to give his reminiscences of 80 years ago concerning his knowledge of Grandpa Watkins. The marriage certificate is not framed and may be seen in the home of Mr. J. Watkins. It deserves a place in every home in Ohio to guard against the low estimate of the marriage vow, the easy laws of divorce, and the awful sin of trailing marriage, a sacrament of God, in the dust:
Whereas, Rueben Watkins, son of James Watkins, deceased of Sussex county of Virginia, and Anne Patterson, daughter of Josiah Patterson of Northampton county, having declared their intention of taking each other in marriage, before several monthly meetings of the people called Quakers in North Carolina, according to the good order used among them, whose proceedings therein being by consent of parents, and nothing appearing to obstruct, were approved by the said people.
Now, these are to certify all whom it may concern, that for the full accomplishing of their said intention the said Reuben Watkins and Anne Patterson, appearning at public meeting at Jackswamp, in Northampton county, the sixth day of the 11th month, in the year one thousand, eight hundred and three; and then and there, in the said assembly, the said Reuben Watkins, taking the said Anne Patterson to be his wife, and promising, with devine assistance, to be unto her a true and loving husband until death should separate them. An then and there in said assumbly the said Anne Patterson did in a like manner declare that she took the said Reuben Watkns to be her husband, promising with divine assistance to be unto him a true and faithful wife, until death separated them (or words to that effect.)
And the said Reuben Watkins and Anne, now his wife, she assuming the name of her husband. According to custom for a further confirmation of their said marriage do hereunto set their hands, and we, whose names are hereunto subscribed, being present at the solemization of the said marriage and subscription aforesaid did, as witnesses, subscribe our names the day and year above written.