My (very...) great grand-father Silas Carpenter married a woman by the name of Phebe Penn(e)y on 27 Mar 1804, likely in Pittstown, New York.

There's a family legend that states that Silas used to say something to the effect of:

I traded a dollar for a Penny and it was the best trade of my life

owing to the fact that a marriage license cost a dollar.

I'm trying to figure out if this family legend could in fact be true, but I'm not finding a great source to find the cost of a marriage license in those days.

Is this true, and if not, is there another possible source (Pastor cost for performing ceremony, etc) that could result in this legend?

1 Answer 1


Call and ask

Rensselaer County County Clerk: 9am – 5pm, Phone: (518) 270-4080, Fax: (518) 271-7998, Location: 105 Third Street, Troy, NY 12180


Rensselaer Public Library
(518) 462-1193 http://rensselaerlibrary.org/

  • 2
    I very much doubt whether a county clerk or a public librarian would be able to tell you offhand how much a marriage license cost in 1804. They would probably have to due a considerable amount of research...
    – Harry V.
    Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 0:05
  • They just need to know which book to look in. The answer is there. The problem is whether they will take the time. Commented Oct 1, 2015 at 1:54

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