Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Hog Reives" and Newlyweds

In The Handbook of Medway History, 1713-1913 by Orion T. Mason (1913), I came across the following interesting tidbit:

"For many years all newly-married men were elected "Hog Reives" at the annual April meeting."  This item was dated 1800.

Now this makes for a very interesting marriage record substitute!  If you had an early Medway ancestor whose marriage date you did not know, you could possibly surmise the date within a year  if you discovered that they had been elected a Hog Reave.

Of course, one of the challenges with this is that there are no parameters with which to frame the tradition.  The text doesn't say when the practice started or ended.  There may, however, be more information about that in the Medway Town Record Books.

Also, one would think that if a gentleman was elected a Hog Reave that his marriage had been recorded in the town record book.  You would think the marriage record was one of the factors in getting him appointed.

However, genealogy being the quirky discipline that it is, you may just find this works as a marriage substitute in some cases.

I wonder if this was a common tradition in other Massachusetts towns.  Let me know if you have come across traditions like this for newlyweds in your research.

Source: Orion, T. Mason, The Handbook of Medway History, 1713-1913. (Medway: G.M. Billings, Printer, 1913), 27.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Marian,
    I haven't come across this tradition, but in letters to my grandmother from "the old country" (i.e. Austro-Hungary before it became Romania), she was chastised by her former employer for rushing off so quickly to get married to my grandfather who had come to America first. The boss claimed her marriage wouldn't be valid unless it had been officially announced in their home church! Not as quirky as what you describe, but an interesting idea. I've blogged several of my grandfather's letters on the 100th anniversary of their writing (November & December) and will be adding more this year -- the 100th anniversary of Josef Gärtz arriving in America.