A 19th Century Prison Wedding

On the night of November 13, 1885, a buggy rolled up to the Chatham Hill Gaol under the cover of darkness. Out leaped 18 year-old Mollie Downes, her brother, and a minister. What was this young woman about to do? Marry a prisoner, of course.
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Studebaker Goddard Buggy, 1893. An example of what the buggy driving Mollie Downes could have looked like. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)
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Her beloved, James Fauntleroy, was in the Virginian gaol for the charge of attempted murder. He’d been accused of trying to kill his rival for Mollie Downes, a farmer named Dugan. In order to avoid acting as a witness against Fauntleroy, because she was the only witness to the supposed crime, Mollie Downes married him in a rather interesting ceremony.
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Mollie’s entourage located James Fauntleroy’s cell window. Her brother, Thomas Downes, hoisted her up onto his back so she could hold James’s hands while the minister performed the ceremony.
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Declared man and wife, Mollie broke into tears. She incessantly kissed James’s hands–hands that might have tried to kill Dugan. That didn’t seem to bother the blushing bride. It took Thomas’s objections to get her to leave her new husband, complaining that she weighed 135lbs and couldn’t hold her forever.
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BLW_Wedding_Dress
Example of a Victorian wedding dress. This dress dates to 1870 and was made on New Bond Street, London for an unknown bride. Mollie Downes didn’t wear a dress for her wedding. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Valerie McGlinchey, CC BY-SA 2.0 UK. )
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Mollie clamored off her brother’s back. Everyone boarded the buggy and drove off. When the constable caught wind of the marriage the next day, he supposedly took to his sickbed at having been foiled.
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This might sound like a clever story written by a clever author, bit it is in fact true. There are a few newspapers contemporary to the time that reported this strange prison wedding.
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Further Reading:
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Married At Midnight; While the Groom was in Jail and theh Bride on Her Brother’s Shoulders Note: Source from the New York Times. Can view  via NYT’s TimesMachine with a subscription. 
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