Monday, July 11, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Marriage Deposition in Joseph Oatley's Revolutionary War Pension File

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme many months ago called Amanuensis Monday. What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

The subject today is a Deposition concerning a marriage included in the Revolutionary War Pension File of Joseph Oatley (1756-1815) of South Kingstown, Rhode Island.  His widow, Mary (Hazard) Oatley (1765-1857), applied in 1838 for a pension based on Joseph's Revolutionary War Service (File W. 21862).

One of the documents in this Pension File is a deposition written by Matthew Waite as dictated by Thomas Vernon, Minister of the Gospel, and Stated Supply of the Presbyterian Church in South Kingstown in 1838 (accessed on

The transcription of this document is:

South Kingstown December 7th 1838
I hereby certify that I find Recorded on the Record Books of Marriage of the Revd Joseph Torry formerly Pastor of the Presbyterian Church in this Town the following marriage viz, 29th Day of twenty ninth day January Seventeen hundred and Eight one Joseph Oatly and Mary Hazard (daughter of Stephen) both of the Town were Lawfully married - 29th Jany 1781. a true Copy with the Exception of the Date in writing, the same being Expressed in fair [??] Legible figures in above written.
Thomas Vernon Minister of the Gospel & Stated Supply of the Presbyt Church in South Kings..

I Thomas Vernon above named Depose and Say that I hold the Place of Stated Supply of the pulpit in the Presbyterian Church in South Kingstown in the County of Washington & State of Rhode Island and that the above is a true Extract from the Records of said Joseph Torry with the Exception above named as Certified by Me.
Thomas Vernon, Minister of the gospel,
& Stated Supply of the Presbyterian Church S.K.

The State of Rhode Island & Providence Plantation
South Kingstown December 7th ???? 1838 There personally appeared the Revd Thomas Vernon & Made ????? affirmation to the truth of the above Certificate & Deposition by him Submitted that the Above Named Extract was made by Me in his Presence and Signed by him in my Presence I also Certify that the Deponents Carracter for Truth and Veracity is Good --
Matthew Waite Justice Peace.

This deposition provides a date of marriage (29 January 1781, although it may have been written wrongly in the Record Book as 1780), the names of the couple (Joseph Oatly and Mary Hazard), the bride's father's name (Stephen), the place of marriage (Presbyterian Church of South Kingstown) and the minister (Joseph Torry). 

1 comment:

Geolover said...

The Rev. Oatley said that the marriage was among the church records written by Rev. Torry, former minister, not that Rev. Torry performed the marriage. He would not have known anything but that Rev. Torry wrote the entry. The rite may have taken place at the bride's home, performed by a visiting minister.

One should bear in mind that records occurring long before or elsewhere frequently appear in specific church records. This can be quite confusing for those looking at a series of, say, records of baptisms, some occurring before a congregation existed, some entered by a circuit-rider in the churchbook at what was the next chronological stop on his circuit. Sometimes the hard-pressed minister noted a specific place of the event, but often not.