I found a marriage record:

"North Carolina, County Marriages, 1762-1979 (FamilySearch)," database with images, FamilySearch (10 March 2021), W J Moses Knight and Charity Wenton, 22 Sep 1761; citing Edgecombe, North Carolina, United States, p. , North Carolina State Archives Division of Archives and History; FHL microfilm.

for Charity Benton (Wikitree) that reads that she is a spinster widow. (Note that the FamilySearch transcription reads Wenton but my reading of the handwriting gives Benton.) This seems to be a contradiction since in general use, a spinster (Wikipedia) is a woman who has never married and a widow (Wikipedia) is a married woman whose husband has died.

Charity is believed to have the maiden name of Carter due to her presumed father, Kindered Carter, having an Edgecombe County will that is dated 1777 (Ancestry) and that names his daughter Charity Knight and her husband Moses.

What does this unusual combination of terms mean on a marriage bond from Edgecombe County, North Carolina in 1761?

  • 2
    Your question could be improved by showing your research effort. Do you have any other documents about this person? Did you consult any dictionaries? One of the meanings of "spinster" found in Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary (1755) is a “woman that spins” (i.e. wool, linen, etc.)
    – Jan Murphy
    May 30, 2021 at 6:40
  • 1
    @JanMurphy I expanded the question, please see if that looks better to you? Note the linked Charity Benton shows the full extent of the research I have on her.
    – WilliamKF
    May 30, 2021 at 16:15
  • 'whose maiden name is probably Carter' < How do you know? Wikipedia would say 'citation needed'. I don't object to people linking to WikiTree. But the information you'd like call people's attention to from a WikiTree profile should be copied into the body of your question, to preserve it so we can know WHAT YOU SAW when you wrote the question. What makes you think this Charity Wenton is the Charity Benton from the cited profile? Have you looked for her previous marriage, or found any other records for her? I also think it's better to put in link titles that show where the link is going to.
    – Jan Murphy
    May 31, 2021 at 0:34
  • The point about showing research effort is not to point to an info dump somewhere else of everything you've looked at so far. I want to know what effort questioners have already made to answer their own questions so someone won't spend an hour writing an answer about things to try and have the person writng the question say 'I already tried all that'.
    – Jan Murphy
    May 31, 2021 at 0:52
  • Have you looked at any of the surrounding records? Note this discussion on Twitter about a baptism record where 'late spinster' is how they mark the maiden names of the mothers of the children. twitter.com/digupancestors/status/1399794208970612737 Context is important.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jun 1, 2021 at 22:18


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