A May-December Romance

I found the following story from @HistoryWeird on Twitter. Their original post is here.

On March 27th, 1802, the Richmond Recorder in Virginia reported the happy details of a new marriage:

"Lately married in New Kent, county, Michael Sherman, aged NINETY-SEVEN YEARS and FOUR DAYS, to the amiable and accomplished Miss Eliza Poindexter, aged FOURTEEN."

The capitalization of their ages is from the original article (not my emphasis), so clearly they were highlighting the, uh, interesting details of this wedding announcement. Question–if Mr. Sherman made it to ninety-seven years old, why is it necessary to add the four days? Surely the number of days should be given to the girl's age to give her as much help as she could get in the age department. Unless, of course, she got married on her fourteenth birthday and was therefore fourteen years old and no days.

. . . which would indicate that the courting and engagement happened when she was only thirteen. And I thought the Marquis de Sade was bad for taking a 13-year-old mistress when he was in his 70s. It's a rare day when a gentleman can, while maintaining total respectability, publicly out-weird the Marquis de Sade. BLERG, BAD TOUCH, DO NOT WANT.

As @HistoryWeird notes, nothing further was reported as to the length or the happiness of their union.

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2 Responses to A May-December Romance

  1. telophase says:

    I have to wonder if this was a case similar to the young women who married elderly Civil War veterans in order to get pensions, and then inherit when their husbands died. Or of families arranging an inheritance to go in a particular direction.

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  2. I wondered the exact same thing. I don’t want to sound completely cynical (hopeful?), but I was wondering if it was purely a financial arrangement between, say, a father with more children than he could afford to keep and some aged distant relative or friend.

    I know women tended to marry much younger and men much older than they do now, but this is extreme even for the Regency era, probably pointing to non-romantic motives.

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