Slave Marriages Pension Ruling May 17, 1901 National Archives - Pension
Was a slave marriage a "real" marriage? In 1901 the legal department of the Pension Bureau gives an opinion. A former slave stated that they were married by Mr. Jenks who was a magistrate. She said "our owners would put us togehter in those days to keep us together and that was our marriage." William Mickler whose parents owned Joseph and Charlotte Cryer said: "I know she must have been married to Joseph, legally because they lived right in the yard together and I know my mother and father would not have allowed it if they had not been married." J. W. Cuddy, Chief of the Law Division, ruled essentially because they lived together after President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation then it served as a ratification of their former slave marriage. Joseph Cryer was a veteran of the 33rd USCT Company A.