On Saturday, 22 December 1900, Mancel Coker was issued a bond for marriage license by the clerk of Searcy County, Arkansas.

Bond portion of the marriage record.

In those days, the groom had sixty days to execute the marriage and return the completed license to the county clerk. If the groom failed, he and his “heirs, executors, and administrators,” would owe the penal sum of one hundred dollars, which was intended to benefit the common school fund. Mancel, as the groom, was the principal on the bond with Ace S. Duck as security.

The groom.

Mancel’s name was recorded as Mancel C. Coker. Most records spell his first name this way, but there are a couple that spell it Mansel. His middle name was Cebern.

The bride.

The bride was Mrs. California Copeland, the young widow of Silas Richard Copeland. Silas died three years earlier, in 1897, leaving Callie and their three children to tend the family farm at Watts. Callie’s maiden name was Cypert.

In the lines for signatures, Mancel and Ace’s names were filled in by the county clerk. In the middle of Mancel’s name there is an X surrounded above and below with the words “his mark.” This indicated that the clerk signed for Mancel because he couldn’t write, however, the 1900 census reported that Mancel could read and write.

1898 Documentary Stamp.

There is a stamp in the upper right corner of the bond. It is a fifty cent stamp depicting a battleship and reads “documentary” along the bottom. This stamp was authorized by the War Revenue Act of 1898 which authorized a fifty cent tax on certain activities, such as deeds, leases, contracts, and bonds. The revenue raised from this tax was used to fund American involvement in the Spanish-American War. Though the war began and ended in 1898, the tax was authorized for a period of three years.

Affidavit for Marriage License.

The affidavit for marriage license was not completed.

Marriage License

The marriage license was issued the same day, 22 December 1900, by county clerk W. F. Reeves. This section provided some further detail about Mancel and Callie:

  • Mancel was 28 years old and resided at Debie in Searcy County. Debie was a populated place that seems to have been forgotten as the Twentieth Century progressed.
  • Callie’s middle initial was E, she was 26 years old and resided at Watts. The E was for Evelyn.
Certificate of Marriage

C. D. Rambo, Justice of the Peace, solemnized the Rite and published the Banns of Matrimony on Sunday, 23 December 1900.

The certificate was filed and recorded on Wednesday, 2 January 1901. W. F. Reeves was Clerk and Ex-Officio Recorder and W. T. Moore was Deputy Clerk.


“Arkansas, County Marriages, 1837-1957,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V4FQ-DZJ : 9 March 2021), Mancel C Coker, 23 Dec 1900; citing Marriage, Searcy, Arkansas, United States, county offices, Arkansas; FHL microfilm 1,031,120.

“United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M3X4-GT6 : accessed 26 June 2021), Mansel S Coker, Red River & Spring Townships, Searcy, Arkansas, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 125, sheet 13B, family 224, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,076.

Langlois, John. “Battleship Revenues: 50 Cent Documentary.” 1898 Revenues, 2 July 2009, 0100, http://1898revenues.blogspot.com/2009/07/battleship-revenues-50-cent-documentary.html.

Wikipedia contributors. (2020, August 24). War Revenue Act of 1898. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:52, June 26, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=War_Revenue_Act_of_1898&oldid=974639613

Ancestry.com, Arkansas, Birth Certificates, 1914-1917 (Lehi, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2019), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Arkansas Department of Vital Records; Little Rock, Arkansas; Birth Certificates. Record for Paul Coker. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=61774&h=868297&indiv=try.