from The Guide  November 8, 1877
The late Thomas Ward, the first registrar for the County of Northumberland, residing at the town of Newcastle (Presque Isle) was appointed registrar of the County of Durham in March, 1808, when he removed to Port Hope, succeeding Major Rogers, the first registrar for the County, who resided in Haldimand. The first deed recorded by Mr Ward was on the 16th of May following. He held the situation and that of Clerk of the Peace for the District of Newcastle in the strictest sense of honesty and uprightness until old age incapacitated him to perform the duties of his office, when his son George was appointed his deputy and succeeded him as Registrar of the County of Durham after his death, and continued in that capacity for the East Riding of the County, the office of registration of deeds having been lately divided by act of Parliament between the East and West Ridings.

Few men pass through life such an utter stranger to contumely at did this exemplary man. In the whole course of his long career in the responsible office he held there was never the least murmur lisped against him by any one with whom he had business transactions. The estimation in which he was held by this community is demonstrated by having his portrait painted and hung up in the Town Hall as a memento of this good and upright man. He was the first lawyer in the District of Newcastle and was designated the 'honest lawyer'. He was one of the early Judges of the County Court, which office he held for several years, but resigned on account of his over-taxed labours, consequent on his other arduous duties.

Our settlers were now rapidly increasing in numbers by the acquisition of emigrants. The young folks attained their majority and the young men settling down on their farms for life, new and important wants began to be manifest, the most important and prominent of which was to change their life of celibacy by finding a helpmate to share their fortunes. They therefore commenced to enter into the holy state of matrimony. But in referring to this necessary and momentous programme they were laying out for their pursuit to enliven their hitherto solitude, we do not intend to pander to the curiosity of our young marriageable readers by crossing the precincts of the private room the old folks had, by retiring for the night, given possession to the lovers; neither do we intend to give a history of the courtship prevailing in those early days leading to the important state in which man involves himself for life. But in choosing a partner we suspect he considered it a synonym of fortune in more honourable motives than the mere acquisition of gold. Nor do we intend to say whether the custom was similar to that of the States of New Hampshire and Vermont in their early days; or whether the enjoyment was achieved by the sudden impulse at the first sight or by long and mature consideration and acquaintance of the parties.

We, however, have a better opinion of the sons of our hardy pioneers than to suspect them of being so ungallant as to be guilty of the unique and undignified course that Zedekiah Snooks of Vermont adopted to espouse Sally Sweetman, who, in his first visit (and we vouch for it, his last) when the old folks retired and left them masters of the kitchen, occupied in silence until the short hours of the morn the opposite side of the spacious fireplace to that of which Sally had already taken possession, the embers of which betokened the only emblem of cheerfulness. At last he broke the sad monotony by rising, to leave for home, asking the fair damsel as he did so if she liked maple sugar. She, in response to this most important inquiry, answered in the affirmative, when Zed said "Wall, when I come to see you again, I'll bring you a gob full," and decamped.

Having told what we did not intend stating, the question naturally arises, 'What do we intend?' Well, our intention is only to relate a few anecdotes in reference to the manner in which they remunerated, not the minister of the gospel for tying the sacred knot, as there were none near, but the magistrate who was authorised by law to perform the important ceremony when there was no minister residing within 15 miles of the parties to be united in holy matrimony. Among the many others that might be produced, let the following suffice: -

As cash was scarce in those days of yore, many were not in possession of this very necessary circulating medium at this important crisis, and would agree to pay in kind, not, however, like the Virginians who bought their wives with so many pounds of tobacco, nor have we knowledge of their paying the magistrate as some of the new Englanders used to do in the early settlement of that country, in butter and pumpkins. Some would agree to make the magistrate a fan for cleaning grain; another, a white oak corn basket, which had to be manufactured after the sacred knot had been tied.

The magistrates, it would seem by the following narrative, were beginning to be tired of this kind of barter remuneration for performing these momentous undertakings, for when Mr F, a well-to-do farmer, had become convinced of the utility of becoming a Benedick, when he went to engage the attendance of the magistrate, who resided 12 or 14 miles off - and by-the-bye in order to secure his attendance started a fortnight before the auspicious event was to take place - he was told that he, the magistrate, couldn't go on any other condition than his paying cash down. "For you know," he said, "that the old woman must have her tea and other store goods that cannot be procured without the cash, and being called away so much on these occasions, I'm neglecting my work at home, and the pay I'm receiving will not answer my purpose." "Why, Squire," said our intended groom, "you know that I'm pretty fore-handed and am able to pay cash, which it is my intention to do." On the strength of this avowal the magistrate agreed to be there at the time set. At the appointed time, he made his appearance, but, alas, only to be disappointed; for, as soon as the greetings were over, the groom took him to a private room to inform him of his inability to fulfill his agreement in regard to paying cash down, on account of being disappointed; but if he, the magistrate, would wait until the fall, he would give him a barrel of good fresh salmon.

The Squire received the announcement with no little indignation, particularly on account of the disappointment the 'old woman' would sustain. On the first impulse he determined on returning home without performing the ceremony, soliloquizing that 'one disappointment deserves another', which was as true an axiom as the old 'one good turn deserves another.' But on consideration, continuing his soliloquy, he concluded to finish the work as agreed on, as the salmon would be a very good acquisition to the culinary operations through the winter.

At a more recent date, after the ceremony was finished by the Rev Mr Thompson, on the groom being informed that the charge was $2, he deliberately handed over a quarter, which the reverend gentleman, in his kindly disposition, received and stuck in a crevice of the wall of the log house to be kept as a souvenir of the liberality and honour of the groom.

We saw the Book of Common Prayer which the late James Sculthorp gave us for inspection. It is worthy of a passing notice on account of its connection with our early settlers. It was printed in London, England in 1785 . It is illustrated with 45 engravings representing the most important events related in the Old and New Testaments. It is a relic of his father, who belonged to the Church of England in the early days of the City of New York. When Mr Sculthorp came here there were very few books of Common Prayer in the neighbourhood and it was in great requisition on the occasion of marriages taking place in the settlement, which renders it interesting apart from its rarity and unique typography. Those who relish researches of antiquities would be amply paid by a perusal of this little sacred manual that was used in worshipping God in the old city, the original name of which was New Amsterdam.