Date Original

1843 July 2


This is the handwritten proof of a marriage by Justice of the Peace William Clark for Jacob Mading and Clary or Clara Mading. It was sent to the County Clerk for recording and is dated July 2, 1843. Forms for marriage licenses would not become prevalent until the years after the Civil War. It is one of only two marriage licenses for Free Persons of Color in the antebellum marriage records of Hempstead County, Arkansas.


State of Arkansas
County of Hempstead
Township of Missouri - Be It Remembered that I
Wm. Clark an acting justice of the peace in and for the
County and Township aforesaid have this day solemonised
[sic] the rights [sic] of matrimony between Jacob Mading aged about
forty years and Clary Mading aged about forty-five
years both of the County and Township aforesaid.
Given under my hand this the 2nd day of July A. D. 1843.
Wm. Clark, J. P.

Physical Description

License, 4.5" x 6"


Marriage; Marriage licenses


William Clark, J. P.

Geographical Area

Missouri Township, Hempstead County (Ark.)



Resource Type



Hempstead County marriage licenses collection, MSSA.0017


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives

Recommended Citation

Jacob and Clary Mading marriage license, Hempstead County marriage licenses collection, Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives, Washington, Arkansas.


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United States History


In the document Jacob Mading, about 40, is marrying Clary or Clara Mading, 45. Both were Free Persons of Color who had been emancipated at the death of their master Absalom Mading, the first county judge of Hempstead County, along with his other slaves. Jacob Mading was a very successful farmer and carpenter who commanded the respect of the White community for his farming, building and management skills. He and his wife Clary were the leaders in their group of former slaves who remained together until Free Persons of Color were expelled from Arkansas in the late antebellum period. Jacob and Clary left Arkansas for Kansas and then went on to California. This little piece of paper is a symbol of their status within their unique community. Enslaved persons had no formal marriages until after the Civil War and emancipation. Marriages even among Free Persons of Color were seldom solemnized. Their marriage license is one of only two in the antebellum marriage records of Hempstead County for free persons of color. The former Mading slaves scattered widely. The time and place of Clary's death is not known. Jacob came back to Arkansas after the Civil War and sold his remaining property. He returned to California where he lived until the 1870s. He is buried in San Jose, Santa Clara County, California. His descendants remained in California while other former Mading slaves settled in and around Lawrence, Kansas. - Peggy Lloyd


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Jacob and Clary Mading marriage license