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February 27, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: A Thwarted Wedding

Those of us who have done extensive genealogy concerning our Buckingham County families know that marriage between first cousins was a common occurrence, especially during the nineteenth century. By the turn of the twentieth century, however, not everyone supported the practice as is revealed in this story that ran in the Appomattox and Buckingham Times and August 1901.

Young Couple in Buckingham Foiled.

A highly interesting incident occurred yesterday at the Tabernacle at Dillwyn, Buckingham county, at which there were 4,000 persons in attendance. James Benninghove and Mary Meadows, first cousins, were present, and expected to be married.

They had contemplated matrimony for some months, but had deferred the ceremony. About a month ago the young couple went to Norfolk on an excursion, and while there, it is stated, obtained a license to marry. They presented themselves to a local minister to perform the ceremony. While waiting for the divine to come into the parlor the couple concluded that they would wait until they returned home. When the parents of the young lady heard of this Norfolk episode they were very much offended.

The young man obtained a second license in Buckingham, but the girl’s brother balked the wedding. Young Benninghove, not to be outdone, a day or two ago secured another license, and by the aid of a young doctor hoped to have the ceremony performed yesterday during the services at the Tabernacle at Dillwyn. At one time they were nearly successful. Miss Meadows slipped out from the Tabernacle, where she was attending service, and joined the young doctor. The doctor summoned the expectant groom, who entered the Tabernacle and beckoned to the minister. He was discovered by her brother however, who went out, found his sister and led her back to the building. The young woman’s parents say that their only objection is the near relationship of their daughter and the young man.

— Special to the Baltimore Sun.


Evidence from the 1910 census indicates that the couple was successfully wed in 1901. A James and Mary Benninghove were enumerated in Marshall District, Buckingham County, married nine years, with four living children. James’ occupation is given as blacksmith.


Leave a Comment
  1. R G Ward / Feb 27 2020 10:30 am

    Thanks for highlighting our MEADOR/BENNINGHOVE cousins 1901 marriage of Thomas Benton MEADOR’s daughter. Will check for the Norfolk records cited The BENNINGHOVE’s came from Philadelphia Pennsylvania area after the Civil War, and had several inter-marriages with the MEADOR/WHITLOW/MOSS clans of the Dillwyn to Gravel Hill area. Really some “Gnarled Roots”, but not as extreme as our PENDLETON by PENDLETON cousins in the same area.

    • Joanne Yeck / Feb 28 2020 5:40 am


      If you find more in the Norfolk records about these families, please let us know. I thought it was a terrific story worthy of coverage even in Baltimore’s SUN!


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