James French and Keziah Callaway received their marriage bond on June 19, 1783, in Lincoln County, Virginia – later, Kentucky. At this time, there were three counties – Jefferson, Fayette and Lincoln – of what was once Kentucky County, Virginia. It has been said their wedding was the first celebrated at Fort Boonesborough.
Quite interesting to share this particular marriage with you today since I just finished reading Sue Kelly Ballard’s My Blessed, Wretched Life, Rebecca Boone’s Story. I heartily recommend this book. Ms. Ballard gives us personalized characters and clear descriptions of the life lived during those tumultuous years. I didn’t search for this marriage – just pulled it out of the file.
James French was born in November 1756 in Prince William County, Virginia, and died in April 1835 in Montgomery County, Kentucky. Keziah ‘Cuzza’ Callaway was born August 8, 1768, in Bedford County, Virginia, and died September 26, 1845, in Montgomery County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Col. Richard Callaway of Boonesborough, and Elizabeth Hoy, his second wife. Two of their daughters, along with Jemima Boone, were captured by the Indians near Fort Boonesborough. Richard Callaway and Daniel Boone left immediately to rescue the girls, which they did within two days. Richard was killed in 1780 by a party of Shawnee Indians. Elizabeth then lived with her daughter and son-in-law. It was said that on May 24, 1840, Keziah was the honored guest of a reunion at Boonesborough where more than seven thousand residents of Madison and Clark counties, along with the Governor, attended the event.
James and Keziah had at least seven children – Catherine, Richard, Susannah, Stephen, Keziah, Theodosia and Livia French.
Notice the lovely handwriting of Elizabeth Callaway – a learned woman!
Know all men by these presents that we, James French and John Holly, are held and firmly bound unto his Excellency, the Governor of Virginia, for the time being, in the sum of fifty pounds current money, to the payment whereof to be made to the Governor and his successors, we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals and dated this 19th day of June 1783.
The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas there is a marriage shortly intended to be solemnized between the above bound James French and Cuzza Callaway, for which a license has issued. Now if there be no lawful cause to obstruct the said marriage then this obligation to be void or else to remain in full force.
James French, John Holly
Sealed and delivered in presence of Willis Green
You have my approbation of, and request to issue a marriage license to Mr. James French and Miss Cuzza Callaway. I am, sincerely yours.
Elizabeth Callaway, June 16, 1783
To the Clerk of Lincoln Court