Sunday, 24 January 2010

A Case of Bigamy

I've been looking through old newspapers at today and the following story caught my eye. Not only because it involves bigamy (always popular with genealogists) but because of the great amount of detail given about each marriage.

The article comes from the Caledonian Mercury of Monday, October 13, 1851:

ABERDEEN CIRCUIT COURT. - This court was appointed to have been held on Wednesday; but, in consequence of that day being the Aberdeen sacramental fast, it was formally adjourned until Thursday morning, when it was opened by the Lord Justice Clerk. There were only nine cases, six of which were for thefts, one for assault, one for forgery, and one for bigamy. The name of the party accused of bigamy was Robert M'Intosh, miller, Bagrie Mills, Forgue, as respectable-looking young man. On the 23d day of July 1849, he was lawfully married, by the Rev. Robert Houston, Glasgow, to Catherine Anderson, then residing there, yet, notwithstanding his knowing that the said Catherine Anderson was alive, he entered into a matrimonial connection, at the Inn of Cornhill, parish of Ordiquhill, Banff, with Isabella Murdoch, daughter of George Murdoch, mason, parish of Marnoch, having been married to her there, on the 9th day of February 1850, by the Rev. James Grant, minister of Ordiquhill. He pled guilty, and the judge, in sentencing him, remarked that this was a most heinous offence, being always deliberately conceived and committed. That the present was one of the worst he had ever heard of - only eight months elapsing between the marriages. A great number of parties now, in shifting about the country, labouring, seem to think that they should get a new wife at every place they went to; but he (the judge) felt he would not be doing his duty to his country, nor affording due protection to women, if he was to let the prisoner pass with a slight punishment, and he therefore sentenced him to transportation for seven years. In concluding the criminal business the Lord Justice-Clerk congratulated the Sheriffs on the lightness of the calendar.

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