How I Attended My 3rd-Great-Grandparents’ Wedding: (Stevens/Dickinson 52 Ancestors #25-26)

They say that genealogy connects us with the past, and I firmly believe that to be true. There are ancestors to whom I feel especially connected. But when I found the marriage record of my third-great-grandparents David Steven(s) and Rebecca S. Dickinson, I felt like I had stepped into a time machine and was at their wedding.

David and Rebecca were both Quakers. I had seen references to their marriage in the Robeson Monthly Meeting in Berks County, Pennsylvania before, but had never seen the record until recently. Many of my other ancestors’ Quaker marriages have been documented in in the certificates of removal, such as when Rebecca’s father, Nathaniel Dickinson, left the Exeter Monthly Meeting to marry Rachel Moore of the Sadsbury Monthly Meeting. But the marriage record itself is truly incredible. I’ll let David and Rebecca’s marriage record speak for itself:

Whereas David Stephen of Robeson Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, son of Samuel Stephen, late of the same place, deceased, and Elizabeth his wife, and Rebecca S. Dickinson daughter of Nathaniel Dickinson of the aforesaid place, and Rachel his wife, deceased, having declared their intentions of marriage with each other, before a Monthly Meeting of the religious society of Friends, held at Robeson aforesaid, and having consent of surviving parents their said proposal of marriage was allowed of by the said meeting.

Now these are to certify, that for the full accomplishment of their said intentions, this twenty-second day of the fifth month in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and twenty nine, they, the said David Stephen and Rebecca S. Dickinson appeared in a public meeting of the said people held at Robeson aforesaid; and they the said David Stephen taking the said Rebecca S. Dickinson by the hand, did, on this solemn occasion openly declare, that he took her the said Rebecca S. Dickinson to be his wife, promising with divine asistance [sic] to be unto her a loving and faithful Husband until death should seperate [sic] them; and then, in the same assembly, the said Rebecca S. Dickinson, did in the like manner declare, that she took him the said David Stephen to be her husband, promising with divine assistance to be unto him a loving and faithful Wife until death should separate them.

And Moreover, they, the said David Stephen and Rebecca S. Dickinson (she according to the custom of marriage assuming the name of her husband) did as a further confirmation thereof, then and there to these presents set their hands.

/ss David Stephen
Rebecca S. Stephen

David Steven and Rebecca S. Dickinson marriage record (page 1). From Marriages, 1791-1864, Robeson Monthly Meeting, Berks County, Pennsylvania. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1944, Ancestry.com.

David Steven and Rebecca S. Dickinson marriage record (page 1). From Marriages, 1791-1864, Robeson Monthly Meeting, Berks County, Pennsylvania. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1944, Ancestry.com.

Following that are the names of the 61 people who were in attendance at David and Rebecca’s wedding.

David Steven and Rebecca S. Dickinson marriage record (page 2). From Marriages, 1791-1864, Robeson Monthly Meeting, Berks County, Pennsylvania. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1944, Ancestry.com.

David Steven and Rebecca S. Dickinson marriage record (page 2). From Marriages, 1791-1864, Robeson Monthly Meeting, Berks County, Pennsylvania. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1944, Ancestry.com.

I’m happy whenever I can find the marriage record of any of my ancestors. But this particular marriage record makes me feel like I was actually at the wedding.

David and Rebecca eventually moved from Berks County, Pennsylvania to Morgan County, Ohio. Their children include: William, my great-great grandmother Ann (wife of Eber Johnson), Elizabeth, Elwood, Lydia, Rachel, and Deborah. David Stephen(s) died 15 March 1865; Rebecca died 27 June 1874.

16 thoughts on “How I Attended My 3rd-Great-Grandparents’ Wedding: (Stevens/Dickinson 52 Ancestors #25-26)

  1. Jade

    The narrative and the list of witnesses are awesome. It is wonderful to be able to imagine the host of smiling faces.

    One of my ancestral-couple’s marriage records included signatures of a host of actual witnesses, although it was not a Quaker wedding. You never know what you’ll find.

    Thanks for posting this joyful episode in ancestral lives.

    Reply
  2. Michelle Taggart

    What a wonderful find! It’s one thing to find a record of marriage, but to have it include the details that his one has and then to have the bonus of the list of those in attendance at the wedding—I can see how you would feel as if you were there.

    Reply
  3. thegenealogygirl

    Wow! No wonder you felt like you were there. It would be so fun if every record were that detailed. Of course then they would start to feel a bit ordinary and this treasure is definitely extraordinary.

    Reply
    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      There are several familiar names in the list of witnesses. Sorting them out might be a bit difficult, since the same names were used in different generations.

      Reply
  4. Charity Johnson

    Yes, indeed! Having barrels full of Quakers on my Mom’s side makes it fun and interesting.
    I’ve been told it was partly due to the Friends’ long-standing disagreement with the monarchy (civil authority) that they chose to start schools for their girls and boys, thus not only emphasizing their statement of equality but also ensuring every meeting would have a meeting clerk to record births, received to meeting, dis. frm meeting, and weddings. I had the joy of discovering a female ancestor who was the driving force on Long Island to get all the slaves held by Quakers freed in 1777. I found out first through the Quaker Meeeting records.

    Reply
  5. Claire Moniz

    I enjoyed reading the wedding narrative you found. They are my third great grandparents too. Their daughter Deborah is my second great grandmother. Thanks for sharing the story!

    Reply

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