To Buy a Wife?

I’ve recently found a mother lode of Bembry deeds on the Martin County, North Carolina Register of Deeds website. I’ve been downloading the originals and updating (often correcting) information pulled several years ago from a book of abstracts. I’ve also found several new deeds in the original index books, thanks to the many creative spellings of “Bembry!”

The following deed clarifies the name of Miles Bembry’s wife, referred to as either Nancy or Ann by various other researchers. In the deed below, she is called both Nancy in the formal document and Ann by the interviewers who knew her personally. So, I think it’s pretty clear that her name was Nancy Ann Bryan Bembry, and she went by “Ann.”

The other item that caught my eye is in bold below. What are these “divers good causes and considerations”?

The land appears to have been sold to John Mayo at a discount at $900. An earlier deed shows that 225 easily identifiable acres of it (“along Jones line”) was purchased five years earlier from John Long for $750. It seems doubtful that the remaining 300 acres were only worth $150. Some of it must have been the land that Ann inherited from her father, Needham Bryan. That is why she was required to sign off on the sale.

Miles and Ann Bembry’s son William Miles Bembry, who would have been about 11 or 12 at the time of this deed, later married John Mayo’s daughter, Marina Mayo. John Mayo was a wealthy landholder in Martin and Edgecombe counties. He is referred to as “Esquire” in many records, and served as a Justice of the Peace in Edgecombe.

colonial_coupleKenneth Bembry also married a Mayo, and John Bembry married Maria Wiggins, daughter of another wealthy landowner. (Thomas, it appears, married for love, or maybe he just got Patsy Dickens pregnant, judging from his later activities.)

In short, it appears that Miles Bembry, plantation overseer who married well, had similar plans for his sons.

So, I wonder if the “good causes and considerations” in this case may have been a down payment on a marriage contract?

This indenture made the [illegible] in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ten between Miles Bembery and his wife Nancy Bembery of the county of Martin and the State or North Carolina of the one part and John W Mayo of the county of Edgecomb and State aforesaid of the other part

Witnesseth that the said Miles Bembery and wife Nancy Bembery for divers good causes and considerations them thereunto moving but more especially for and in consideration of the sum of thirteen hundred dollars to them in hand paid by the said John W Mayo the Receipt whereof they do hereby and acknowledge themselves therewith fully satisfied contented and paid have bargained sold conveyed and confirmed and by these presents do absolutely bargain sell convey and confirm until the said John W Mayo 

one certain tract or parcel of land situated lying and being in the county of Martin on Cain’s branch Beginning at the Mouth of a small branch in said Cain’s branch thence up said branch one hundred poles to a Hickory thence south eighty seven west forty poles to a pine Jones Corner

thence So 20 East one hundred and ninety three poles to three pines along sd Jones line to a pine in sd Jones line South sixty eight west three hundred and seventy two poles to three pines

thence North three hundred and forty poles to a pine in the north west side of the sd Cain’s branch 

thence down the various courses of sd branch to the first station

being by estimation five hundred and twenty five acres of Land be the same more or Less 

to have and to hold the sd Land and premises with the appurtunances thereto belonging free and clear from all manner of incumbrances whatsoever and the sd Miles Bembery and wife Nancy Bembery doth further for themselves their heirs Execr’s + administrators covenant promise and agree to and with the said John W Mayo his heirs and assigns to warrant and forever defend the said land and Premises against the lawfull rights claim or demand of any person or persons whatsoever

 in witness thereof the sd Miles Bembery and life Nancy Bembery hath hereunto set their hands and affixed their seals the day and date above written

Miles Bembery (seal)

Ann X Bembry her mark + seal

Signed sealed and Delivered in the presence of 

Jonathan Cherry

John Hyman

Sept term 1810 the within deed was acknowledged in open court by Miles Bembery and ordered to be registered. Henry B Hunter Clerk

State of North Carolina Martin County Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions Dec term 1810 being Deputed (?) by the mouship (?) Court to take the Private examination of Ann Bembery to her consent to the within deed we the under signed have examined the said Ann Bembery and apart from her husband and she says that she assigned the same and freely and willingly. E Slade (?) Cotton

(Martin County, North Carolina Deed Book E, page 186)

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